Hope is a thing with feathers – and a new chimney.

Seagulls on our Chimney - Something about DartmoorOur other chimney had leaned into the wind for too long.  If our builder hadn’t dismantled it brick-by-brick – I think a gale-force gust may have toppled it in one fell swoop. Luckily for us the old chimney leaned into the prevailing Westerly – and not a northerly or easterly direction.  There have been a few nights – when the wind has howled and whistled around the old stack and I have had a fancy that some other invisible force must have braced the chimney until our builder was ready to come; a good builder always has a waiting list! Old Chimney with scaffold (1)- Something about Dartmoor

Over the last couple of weeks – Glen has single-handedly resurrected our once banana-shaped chimney – into a stack that is strong and straight again – heavenward. Glen - Something about Dartmoor

Glen crowned his masterpiece on Monday – 18th September 2017 – by restoring the original Victorian pot to its rightful place atop thirty-two angled layers of new red bricks.  The scaffolder’s skill is worthy of great admiration too – its design and rigidity has enabled Glen to safely access the otherwise inaccessible chimney – I think it’s a remarkable structure – an art form in itself albeit a transient one.

At my behest – Glen’s last flourish – is an inscription in his otherwise super-smooth finish – in memory of Dad who lived here for forty-four years until he passed away on the 6th January 2017 – aged ninety-two.  

The cement cap will serve as a memorial seat – a perch between worlds – where the birds can rest a while before ascending – as smoke signals – carrying our thoughts and messages away to the next…Chimney (5) 18th September 2017Chimney (4) 18th September 2017

Thanks Dad X

Dad sitting by his fire. December 2009

Dad chillin’ by his fire – December 2009.


A small light white curl of hope – found on an otherwise gloomy day – lying on the hall floor outside Dad’s old room. It was especially significant because I’d been at work and returned to an empty house that was otherwise undisturbed.  It’s probably a seagull’s feather but to me it’s about that mind’s eye moment of suspended disbelief that it was something other.  That’s why I’ve preserved it under a small glass dome.

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‘Hope is the thing with feathers’ – poem by Emily Dickinson – performed by Máirín O’Hagan.

Bricks and Mortar – and Ties that bind.  27-X-2017. 

Glen's chimney.

Now that all the scaffold has been taken down – and the dust and debris of the old chimney has been swept up and removed – I have a fancy that Dad comes and sits to the right of the pot.   I see him with long, tapered wings like his namesake – against a clear, blue sky.

Or when I go out to the green recycle bin at the end of our yard to dump something whilst preparing an evening meal.  I turn around to comeback in – and suddenly – there he is again – up there closer to the stars than me.  It’s funny how a chimney can be such a comfort!

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