One of the main reasons for this French trip, this swim upstream back to the source, was the deadline of going to see my granny before she sinks further into the slowsands of dementia.

She did recognise me. Or rather she did recognise a version of me in her muddled past-cum-present.

Poor Brigitte. She is not in a good place. Physically, she is in as good a place as could be expected, given the circumstances.
But in her mind, she is in distress.

She catches glimpses of her current state.

She can feel herself sinking ever deeper.

And she cannot put it into words.

She cannot demand relief.

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The only thing that kept going through my mind.
The overwhelming trauma of the numbers.
The thousands upon thousands of white crosses.


11 months of systematic butchery. A French generation wiped. A German generation annihilated.


All these bones. So many of them. French and German mingled. Cells filled to the roof with bones. So many of them.

So many of them.

Young men who were born at the tail end of the old century. Born in pain and hope. Babies who survived the infantile diseases. Who turned into boys, who would turn into badly needed strong young arms for the farm work.
Babies, turned into toddlers, turned into boys, turned into men. Barely.
Turned into bones. With gruesome finality.

So many of them.

So many of them.


One battle. In one war. In the past.

Never forget.




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So many of them

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Three brothers


The three brothers R were all born in the house next to the cemetery, there, in the background.

And now they all rest side by side, here, in the foreground. Jean-Marie, André, Raymond.

Three lives closely entertwined, from start to finish, within a hundred yards.

Things were a lot more localised, back in the days.

This sort of thing could not happen nowadays. No way.

There is no WiFi in the old house…


Show us your tit

Sad spectacle, that of a cold, stiff tit early in the morning.

Couldn’t stop wondering if a granite headstone isn’t just a touch extravagant for a blue tit though.

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Belly up tit


Cross strand, Belmullet

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Chocolate ain’t good for you…

moused killed in a trap

Exit stage left, pet rodent…

As usual, I had mixed feelings this morning when I found out that our stowaway pet had seen an abrupt end to its cruise on the LÉ Mememe2U.

On the one hand, I cannot help but feel sorry for the little bugger. And there was much protesting from Mimi, who tried really really hard to make a case for the cute little rodent (“but Papa, it’s only trying to make a living, it’s only living off crumbs and little bits of food, it’s not bothering us at all”). And I totally see her point. It is a cute little creature, healthy, with a shiny coat, and shiny jet black eyes, and lovely little whiskers.

On the other hand, there is one word that does not have echoes of cuteness for me: infestation. And there is such a thing as an overdose of cuteness. When the cuteness reproduces at an alarming rate.

So farewell, cute little rodent. I know that the end was quick. Those mouse traps are terribly effective at achieving what they were designed to do. What a timeless, classic design too.

You had the choice between the cheese and the chocolate. Your sweet tooth was your Achilles’ heel.

You also helped me to reinforce a point to Mimi, the great defender of small cute rodents (she bought you at least three extra weeks of careless crumbs hoovering chez mememe2U): chocolate ain’t good for you.

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Ash Wednesday, George’s Street, Dun Laoghaire

I am not religious.
Yet I have a lot of respect for the tradition of Ash Wednesday.
Every year I ask people on the street if they wouldn’t mind me taking their portrait, with the ash mark on their forehead.
While most of the time people would normally be weary of a stranger taking their photograph, the vast majority today were willing participants.
For one day people are proud to display their beliefs, their tradition, their sense of belonging. Their awareness of mortality.
Ash to ash. Dust to dust.

A million thanks to you all for your good-humoured, spontaneous participation.

(You’ll have to scroll to the bottom to meet my youngest participants to date)


















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Ash to ash