I am still in awe at Pádraig’s ability to use the exercise equipment in Tolka Park. It was another one of these moments when I realised that it is mostly us who are limiting his experiences by our (lack of) expectations.

We had tried this push-out machine with him by helping Pádraig to hold on to the handle bars and had then moved the bars with the weights out to help him get a feel for how this works. And as Pádraig was sitting there for a few seconds while we were getting ready to go, he all of a sudden started to push the bars out – not just once, but several times. We had just not given him enough time before to try and do this by himself.

The weather here is great for walks. Hardly any wind and very mild temperatures. So we went to Dollymount and walked along the man built sea barrier out to the statue of Mary. The place was jammed with people, all of us enjoying the fresh sea breeze.

For a few days, we’ve been eating turkey and ham, and by the looks of it, supplies will stretch over another couple of days. – Tomorrow, I’ll look up a turkey & ham curry recipe!


Dublin Corporation have set up an exercise area for people, including those in a wheelchair. Over the Christmas days, Pádraig tried it out for the first time.

It was incredible. Something I never had expected. (Though I should have.) Now check out the following.


We had helped Pádraig to use this equipment and were about to leave when Pádraig started to use it by himself. He pushed away 5kg on each side. Not just once, but at least half a dozen times.


How was your Christmas? There must be more to it than what just happened. At least that’s how I see it. If I think, on ‘normal’ days, that I am not in control of my life, well, Christmas completely takes over. There is an extraordinary amount of cleaning up, cooking, eating, cleaning up, cooking, eating, cleaning up, …. to be done. No time to sit back and relax. To just do nothing.

All mixed up with emotions, many and big emotions. Not always easy to handle. Most of it is looking back, remembering. Most of the memories are sad. People I used to spend time with over Christmas.

Today was better than yesterday. Things went a little more relaxed. Turkey was cooked and ham was boiled. It was just a matter of re-heating.

They interviewed people on the radio today about famous people who died over the past year, with quotes by those famous people. One of them said about life that it is an obligation to make an impression on the world. Another one said that helping other people is to see the face of God in them.


Happy Christmas!


The turkey is in the fridge, together with the ham, waiting to be cooked bright and early tomorrow morning. For hours. Tonight we had a nice dinner, tapas style, Tonight, Santa will come (so we hope) tonight and leave the presents out for everybody to enjoy. And, “!of course The Germans got their presents a little bit earlier than us:)


It’s the fourth Sunday of Advent today, just a few days before Christmas. It’s one of the busiest shopping days of the year in Ireland. Strange thing for a German who would traditionally have got into a more relaxed reflective pre-Christmas mood. At the same time, what has to be done has to be done…

This white shirt, made in Bangladesh, costs 6 euro and I discovered it today when I was doing my Christmas shopping. That’s less than half a packet of cigarettes. In other words: if I still smoked a packet a day, I could buy 2 shirts a day for the same price. Even more astonishing: If I would post this shirt in a package to me friend in Bangladesh, it would cost me 28 euro with ordinary post, four and a half time the price of the shirt itself. Assuming the shirt has about a dozen buttons, these could cost me, if I bought them on the internet, nearly as much as the shirt. In other words, it would almost be worthwhile buying the shirt and, to get my money back, cutting off the buttons and selling them online.

I don’t understand how or, more importantly, why this works. I know that the shirt is probably not being shipped to Ireland in a package with An Post. I know that workers in Bangladesh earn less than workers in Dublin. And I know that large scale manufacturers get better prices on raw material. But still…

We have started to prepare a plan for action for the next week or so. We will eat healthy, sleep as much as we can, drink loads of fluids, and go for a walk every day. There will be days without carers and the house will be much quieter. And in a strange way, we will have more time for ourselves and with Pádraig. It will be nice. And relaxed. And peaceful. As Christmas should be.

(Just in case you were wondering: I did not buy the shirt. It seemed wrong. very badly wrong.)

Ho Ho Hoooo

This was the real Christmas. Earlier on, one of Pádraig’s best friends had called from Kathmandu. And then, at late afternoon, friends came together. Meeting for an evening of great chat and reunion. There were so many of Pádraig’s friends here tonight, all in festive mood, all having a glass of that fantastic mulled wine one of his friends had prepared in accordance with an ancient recipe (at least that’s what he told me). I really loved this night and I’m sure Pádraig did as well. It was really and truly outstanding!

There weren’t many of Pádriag’s friends missing tonight, though the presence of one person in particular was sadly missed.

For him, they sang this song.

Seosamh was here. Even though not in person, he was here amongst us in spirit.

Happy Christmas to all of Pádraig’s friends!


Have you ever been hurt? Badly, not just every-day disappointment, but really hurt? Or has someone very close to you ever been hurt to the extent that it changed their life?

I think that if you have ever made that experience there will always be a raw wound. You might have learned to live with it, You might have ‘forgotten’ about it. Consciously or subconsciously. But that open wound will always be there. And it is most likely that you will do whatever you can not to get hurt again, for that open wound to be touched ever again. And if anybody got ever near it you’d be likely to freak out and go into full defence mode.

That’s how I feel at times. Hurt. With a wound that will never heal. But that I will have to learn to live with.

Pádraig had a good massage day today (moved from Wed) and enjoyed a walk down the street to the post office with the last of the Christmas Cards (so far…).


Not sure what it is like in your country. In Ireland, at this time of the year, almost every second ad on the radio (they are cheaper than the TV ads; there it’s a little less frequent) is about somebody dying or starving somewhere in the world: Sudan, Syria, Yemen. Concern, Trócaire, or the Society of St. Vincent de Paul are all making urgent appeals to our conscience, often using pictures showing utter desperation.

One radio ad caught my attention because it made an appeal to listeners to donate money so that children didn’t have to go to school hungry. In Ireland. I thought I was hearing voices. But I wasn’t. They were dead serious.

I had a checkup today and spent a good part of the day in hospital. Thankfully, nothing serious. But it brought home what it means to be healthy, what it means to be ill, what it means to fear that there might be a serious illness. Hospitals are full of people with this fear. When I walked home, I decided that I will concentrate on what matters most. And that I will get rid of all baggage of all sorts. I decided to do this a few times before. But I’ll give it another go.

Pádraig is doing well. Still doing his ‘tricks’ sliding down and pushing himself back up in the chair.

About a week ago, the German parliament was forced by the courts to make “diverse” an option on the birth register. According to an article on a German news website, people whose sexual anatomy does not fit the typical definitions of male and female will be allowed to change their entry to “diverse.” The “third gender” option places Germany in line with other countries that have introduced measures to recognise intersex people or a third gender, such as Austria, Australia, New Zealand, India, Canada and Portugal.


Going into town to see the lights and feel the excitement of Christmas must be one of the highlights of the year. Pure happiness.

Then, there is the commercial site. I only found a German site and then it didn’t say from which year these statistics are (though looking at the link they seem to be from 2010).

But Ireland is most definitely leading the field when looking at how much people spend on Christmas presents per person. More than three times as much as the Germans!