A reciprocal roof

On Saturday we raised the roof of the building that will become my studio. Because of the pandemic this happened about a year later than planned, but at least that made the timbers lighter. Thanks to everyone who helped, this couldn’t have happened without you all.

This was also a great way to celebrate Birch’s fourth birthday!

The Dwyer Castles

Just before the pandemic, I stopped off in Ireland while travelling home from the US to do a tour of the Dwyer Castles. My family heritage is from Ireland; my ancestors built these castles to defend their land from the invasion of the English lead by Oliver Cromwell. They were unsuccessful, the castles were confiscated and many were destroyed.

Because of the pandemic it’s taken me over a year to do this post (homeschooling!). I’ve enjoying looking at the photos again; it’s a small taste of the travel we’re all missing.

Ballysheeda Castle

The best preserved of the castles I visited (Killenure was closed). I was very lucky with the timing of the sunrise. I had spent the night wide awake on an aeroplane…

The Cell Of The Monks

Not a Dwyer castle, but kind of interesting. I’m not really sure what it is. It’s just down the road from Ballysheeda Castle

Ballagh Castle

Not much left of this one. There’s also a memorial to Eamonn O’Duibhir just next to it, and the Clonoulty memorial up the road.

Graigorne Castle

Another ruin. There’s another possible castle on the hill opposite and a church yard with some Dwyers in it:

Drumbrane Castle

Only a stump of this one left, but it’s in an amazing location.

Clonyharp Castle

This one is part of a farm but the farmer was very friendly and let me take a few pictures:

Ballymore Castle

This foundation is all that remains of Ballymore Castle – there is now a barn inside. The owner very kindly let me look around:

Moyaliffe Castle

I never found this one, I think the house might be on top of it:

Millborne Castle

Not much left of this one either. It was a long walk from the road in the mud!

Signs

I also saw my name on a few signs:

Have you had your medicine?

It is well documented that being outside, taking exercise and enjoying nature are helpful to combat depression. Speaking personally, I know that getting outside makes me feel better about life. Seeing the world outside the four walls of my room puts my own problems in perspective. Doing exercise gives makes me a sense of achievement, which can often be the first step in achieving more.

When we are given medicine for a health condition we are suffering from, it is important to take our medicine so that we can recover from the illness.

I have found it helpful to think about daily exercise like a daily dose of medicine. I don’t always want to take it, but I know if I do I will end up feeling better. In the same way that taking that medicine from the doctor is a priority, so is getting outside.

I am by no means suggesting the exercise is a cure for mental health issues, simply that it can help to lift your mood and sense of well being, for anyone.

If you’re feeling down ask yourself, have I had my medicine?

Isolated

The world’s first vocoppella (vocoder only) album. It’s about isolation, snow scenes, old books, viruses, loneliness, self-doubt, werewolves, getting old, moths, that darkness which lies within us — being human. Today I wrote my 2020th haiku. Many of the words in this album came from these haiku. It’s also an album about 2020.

If you download the album on Bandcamp you get an extra 11 tracks of extended versions and demos.

You can listen on Spotify if you prefer:

It’s also on all the other music places.

I recorded a long rambling monologue about why I decided to do this project and how it came about:

I made some alternative album art. These stones are hidden around the UK. I hope someone finds one!