On the seashore

With such high temperatures, the best place to be is beside the sea.

where the mountains of mourne sweep down to sea

There’s a line in a Percy French song that goes:

“Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.”

Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland.  Enjoy it here!  Or better still, why not visit this glorious part of the Northern Ireland coast.

shore 6

shore 5

shore 4

shore 3

shore 2

shore 1


Have a great weekend,



It’s almost the middle of July and the night skies are light until late.  However, if you want to look beyond our solar system, the James Webb Space Telescope has produced amazing pictures of deepest space.

Closer to home, on the 13th July here in the UK, we may see something amazing in the early evening!

enso a

Mid July;
For those who lift their eyes from the earth,
A supermoon.


Original artwork and verse by Ashley



Summer Solstice


Here we are,
On the hill of summer;
The longest day.

This is a verse I published last year and it so I happened that I was in the same place yesterday where my verse came to me!  I hope you don’t mind me repeating it?  When I first wrote it, I’d been browsing through one of my favourite books, The Hill of Summer by J.A. Baker.  I just love the descriptive writing in that book.  Baker is probably better known for his extraordinary book, The Peregrine.

(The title of J.A. Baker’s book, The Hill of Summer, comes from a line in A.E. Housman’s poem A Shropshire Lad.)


A New Year


For several years my writing has been aligned to the four seasons, and in following the seasons more closely, I believe that I have changed too!  Towards the end of December last year and through the Winter Solstice, I became aware of the need to return to a journey that began many years ago!

The Winter Solstice is a time when our inner wisdom moves out of the dark unconscious into the slowly increasing light.  We can name our dreams and allow them to expand as the new year brings light and warmth.

Not so long ago I read a biography of Tenzin Palmo and some of her words resonate with me now as I write:

The purpose of life is to realise our spiritual nature, to go away and practice, to reap the fruits of the path, otherwise you have nothing to give anyone else.

You can find out about her here:

I have been writing for a very long time, since my teenage years, but I also have a passion for the visual arts especially illustration, and as we approach Imbolc at the end of January, I am reminded that intuition, inspiration, and the healing powers of this celebration of the life-force need to be addressed.  Imbolc, Candlemas, Brigid’s Day, the earth awakening; these things are approaching. 

I also think of Anthony Gormley’s words:

In creating art, participating in it, doing it, we become our true selves.



Those words are important to me, right now, to become my true self, my whole self, and so I have decided to stop blogging and to concentrate on my art, my writing and my drawing.

For now, to all my followers, keep well and safe, and have a great New Year.


Holding my breath

In one of the breathing exercises that I’ve been reading about recently, it was suggested that as I reached the fullness of my in-breath, I should pause, for just a moment, before exhalation.  Noticing this pause would help to quieten the mind if practiced regularly.

Now, I’m only at the beginning of this journey but during my first attempts of this practice, my thoughts were taken right back to my childhood, to the swing tied to a big sycamore tree in the back garden.  When alone, it was always exciting to see how high I could go; backwards and forwards, higher and higher!

Do you remember such moments, magical moments?  For a second you floated, before gravity pulled you back towards the earth.  This is what I recalled when I first started mindful breathing; a moment of wonder.


Today, I’m thinking of another magical moment, the winter solstice.  I know the exact moment when the short dark days change to being longer and brighter, but being outside in the garden this morning, listening to the birds, I was aware of the underlying energy.  A time of transition from cold and dark to growing warmth and light!

Why not celebrate this wonderful moment, this shift in the cycle of life and open yourself to being a part of Nature.

A woven garland,
Dressed with evergreens,
Hanging on an open door!

Happy Winter Solstice!


End of Autumn

pexels-zeinab-ghassemi-6632182 (2)

Original picture:Zeinab Ghassemi (Pexels)

Even though I know it is dark outside, I open the curtains.  I can’t see much except the rain which sparkles on the window, reflecting the street light; a nightscape of melting stars.  Sunrise is still two hours away.  I close the curtains and go back to bed!

This was a few mornings ago and now it seems like the shorter days and longer nights are gaining ground, quicker than I had expected.

After rainy days, mists!

Opening the curtains
No trees can be seen;
Morning mist!

Morning mist,
Hides the pond;

pexels-arina-krasnikova-6012834 (2)

Original picture: Arina Krasnikova (Pexels)

In a couple of days time, it will be Samhain, the ending and beginning of the Celtic New Year. Some also see November as the start of winter and certainly here on these islands, British Summer Time will end when we turn our clocks back by one hour on the last day of October.

The change in the amount of light means we will adjust, perhaps unconsciously, to the earth’s dark and mysterious energies.

To all my readers, happy inner journeys!