IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE #weekendcoffeeshare

 If we were having coffee, I’d be gushing over poet Adam O’Riordan, reading his words aloud.  He opens In the Flesh with a page-long poem called, simply, “Manchester”.


Manchester (in recovery from a terror attack) is the city of his birth.



In the Flesh is his first collection of poems, a winner of a Somerset Maugham Award.  Adam O’Riordan ~ imaginative, emotive. The world being as it is, you will do well to seek him out. Can I pick up a copy for you?

His next book, A Herring Famine, will be published in 2017 along with his debut book of stories, The Burning Ground.

I wonder if he is sporting this tattoo.  Would you be, if you were a Mancunian?


Artists are offering tattoos of a bee for £50 with all profits going to aid victims of the attack.

O’Riordon happens to be a Manchester native son. And nearly as famous as the bee, the enduring symbol of Manchester’s hard workers.  I read that in the 1800s, the city was awash with textile mills that were commonly described as ‘hives of activity’ and the workers inside them compared to bees.



The bee is everywhere in Manchester – on the clock face of the Palace Hotel, the mosaic flooring at Manchester Town Hall, and even above the arches of Links of London.



The beehive has long been one of the main symbols of the Cooperative Movement, representing working together for the good of the whole. I love that concept, don’t you?


I discovered that the folks at Bombas are big fans of bees too. Their whole hive works together to pollinate the world. When you buy a pair of socks, they donate a pair.  Isn’t that just a honey of an idea?  BTW, My socks just arrived and they are epic.

What are you waiting for? You, too, can have a shpadoinkle day! 


“The word Bombas is derived from the Latin word for bumblebee. Bees work together to make the hive a better place.  We like that. When we say Bee Better, we mean it as a mantra, a way of approaching every day. It’s stitched into the inside of every pair of Bombas for a reason. It’s a reminder that these socks are engineered and designed with thought to bee better. A reminder that you helped someone in need with your purchase. And a reminder that we’re all connected and little improvements can add up to make a big difference.”



I’m so grateful for poetry that heals my soul and socks that cradle my soles.  And, of course, bees.

Real bees never send invoices, do they?



Toni 5/29/17

“There’s something special about a grandmother’s house. You never forget how it smells.” Fredrik Backman’s character says that in his book, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. Backman* is so much more than a writer. He’s a touchstone for humanity.

My grandmother married quite young and came straight to America.  Her disillusionment was profound.

Happy Mother’s Day, Nonna.  Thank you for buying a return ticket. ♥

I’m more curious than George about these two, wishing I had asked more questions and begged for more stories.

The Ticket

In the dank cellar on Oak Avenue,

she shovels coal into the firebox.

Outside, the hens squawk about their fate.

She misses the hill town in Piemonte,

where the earth drives you mad with the scent of growing things.

Here there is bread to bake and children to bear,

the ache in the small of her back

indifferent to her desire

for purses of gnocchi and fresh butter.

Here there are no clusters of purple grapes

ripening under an apricot sky,

just grey sheets to scrub

and a brown metal bed that lists.

She used to feast on music and laughter,

stories, tart and sweet,

but those days are done

and she is swallowed up

by black stockings, rolled down to just below her knees,

and shapeless dresses skirting hard-looking calves.

With a ragged moppeen,

she scrubs away sin and regret,

kneels on yellowed linoleum squares

in a house grown smaller in size.

She fingers the ticket in her pocket.

Will he remember the feel of her cheekbones?

the line of her hip under his hand?

She packs the one photograph of them.

That and the white silk dress on a wire hanger.

Toni 5/13/17

*Bachman’s books are not to be missed.

“Behind all your stories is always your (grand)mother’s story. Because hers is where yours begin. – Mitch Albom

Life is full of surprises…. and serendipity.

Sometimes it’s the little victories.

Like making it through Wednesday, right?






But wait.  Sometimes a serendipitous moment just takes your breath away.






Yes, it happens.  The world is a smaller place because of the Internet and the potential for happy accidents is, well, infinite.  Like Horace Walpole, you merely need to be open to good things and accept the gifts that come your way.


Horace Walpole, the 4th Earl of Orford, coined the word serendipity, a pleasant surprise. He was a curious intellectual.  Horace would have loved the Internet.



When he read the Persian fairy tale “The Three Princes of Serendip”, he was enthralled by the princes who made amazing discoveries by accident. And the word serendipity was born.


” This discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word. And was formed from a fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip: as their highnesses travelled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of.”

So here’s my fairy-tale-story.  I got an email from a folksinger/songwriter/poet in the UK.  It seems that while he was searching the Internet, Google linked John Richards to a post I wrote about my dad, Foundryman’s Daughter.  

Serendipity, I’m telling’ ya.


John says that he has a lot of songs covered by UK folk artists and the most recent one is Foundryman’s Daughter.  Don’t you just love Google?


(partly inspired by the experience of John’s daughter when going to University)



They laughed at your past and the town you were born in
Laughed when you spoke of your romantic dreams
They made you feel small in the biggest of cities
Friendship it seems isn?t all that it seems
They laughed at the hopes of the father that loved you
Foundryman’s girl in a smoke covered town
Where life had been hard for this King and his Princess
With no silver spoons and no golden ball gowns
But be who you are
And be proud of where you?ve come from
Be true to yourself
And be true to those that wish all that’s best for you
Don?t ever forget you’re as good as the next man
And better than most when you know who you are
You’ve made your own way
Earned the things that surround you
Houses and land and a seamless blue sky
But you won’t forget how to treat those around you
Foundryman’s girl with such steel in her eye.
You know who you are
And you’re proud of where you’ve come from
You’re true to yourself
And you’re true to those who wish all that’s best for you
Don’t ever forget you’re as good as the next man
And better than most when you know who you are.

John wrote this song in honor of his dad, a foundryman made redundant after 20 years of service via an impersonal letter posted through the door.   Have a listen.


John is one special guy. Not only did he seek me out because of our shared history, he sent me the CD.


I know his dad would be so proud.  Maybe John will share a photo of his foundryman father to post alongside mine.


So, that’s the story. Who could ask for anything more?

Toni 6/1/16

P.S.  A big hello to everyone who is reading WWWW for the first time — *waves* — thanks for being here!