Monday, September 30, 2019

Piano Lessons Kilkenny

Is there anybody out there who would love their children to discover the joy of music or their own voice? Children can come as young as six although many people start much later to fulfil a long-held dream to play!! Learning is guaranteed great fun right from the start. Lessons are held on the Kilkenny Carlow border, at Harmony Hall near Paulstown and can be arranged around school, work and weekend schedules.

And if you're wondering if I can play:

This is a clip of me playing Chopin's Nocturne in C Sharp Minor

For lessons, email or ring 083 144 3978 And if you're wondering about how to tune your piano and the special 432 hertz tuning of the piano here at Harmony Hall Creativity and Sustainability Hub, then see For piano tuning in this sunny south east, call Michael Black on 087 272 4949. 

I started a Facebook page Piano Lessons Kilkenny only a fortnight ago and somehow it has worked as a promotional tool. I have 9 students a week now, all learning classic pieces and my two originals taking their second exam in November.

There are too many highlights to mention, including hearing Heart and Soul played and sung to rhythmic perfection: Hearing first songs learnt by memory and ready to play at any passing piano. Some like to start at the beginning but others have something in mind they have always wanted to play. For me it was Clementi.

Now my other favourite song to play is Love by John Lennon & Yoko Ono


Sunday, September 22, 2019

Mangalitsa - the beautiful curly haired pigs

Here are the lovely pigs safe and it's not often you can say that! See it on my Facebook page either as that link isn't even working for me!

The first I heard of them, they were described as juvenile but friendly and I said to myself well, aren't we all? But up at Sheerans that was not thought of as good enough excuse for hanging around the pub all day! Thank goodness for Mary who is, like myself, a keen horticulturalist and animal lover at the same time.

There ensued an effort to find the original owner and slap them about a bit for neglecting them for their short, so-far lives. You would guess they had never seen daylight before that day's escapade.

All the authorities, people with herd numbers, local farmers and the gardai were called and ruled out and then a home could be sought.

Poor little guys but courageous too and they've won their freedom and a long happy life!

Why Do Councils Delight In The Death of Horses?

'It's a waste of animals' lives': A new film looks at why 2,000 horses are killed by Irish councils every year

Is it possible that while investigating the situation, they didn't spot it's not a waste of life at all for one party, it's direct exploitation; someone is cashing in on the collection of loose horses and their 'disposal' for councils and then again will get a good price at the carcass stage too. 

The ACS are the carcass collection company who are the firm who have the major national contracts for 'horse control' and who the guardai call at first sight of a loose horse. At 950 euro of tax-payers' money a pop, for coming out to collect each horse - a figure that every other rescue or even horse owner could work miracles with - they just keep that. 

The ACS registered business address is in Riga, Latvia - home of the biggest animal body parts factory in Europe and is a handy destination for the slaughtered horses too. They don't have to take them to a factory to be killed in Ireland first, the not even slightly glorified knackers lorry drivers carry a gun. That way, they can save time and money and the horse can already be considered a 'fallen animal' and they well get more public funding and a thank you from the councils, for disposing of the bodies.

Then of course there is an explicit policy by councils now, which we are all upset about (especially when councils came down so heavily on no-kill pet shelters and threatened not to give them their measly 5-20k a year support, if shelters didn't agree to kill animals not re-homed in 6 weeks) So the councils' policy is to NOT look for owners, re-home or keep horses in a pound even over night, so old or new owners could be found. This is literally not only 'a license to kill' but incentivised killing and big, big business. The article says that horses are kept five days in a pound and release fee is 700 plus more each day held. I know for definite of horses, microchipped, not on the road, had owners, who had passports and several of the horses were in foal were seized and were dead within the few hours, the owners were granted the right to check them and arrange for them to be brought home.

The moral of the story is, next time you see a horse out - don't call the guards, try and usher him or her in somewhere safe and call a rescue like my lovely horse or post a photo here and somebody good and decent and competent will respond....very different from the council, guards and ACS classic combo.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Halal - disapproval letter to copy and sent

The announcement that Irish schools were providing halal-approved school dinners has stepped up the urgency for the department to act and ban the halal slaughter methods. 

I hope they'ree teaching the young on how that means slaughtered in noncompliance to Irish Laws. I hope they are told that it means animals are slaughtered without stunning and being left to bleed out for however long it takes. In fact we know, that some animals are still conscious and fighting for their lives as the first cuts of meat are removed. 

Yes, for it to be Halal-approved, 'the animal must NOT be unconscious'
Also, the word Allah, meaning God, must be pronounced at the time of slaughter. 
Let's guess which of these the meat factories are adhering to? Cheap as chips not to stun or gas anyone before hanging them upside down and slitting their throat. 

There is RTE, proud as punch about the school dinners, all halal-approved. What are we, a bunch of ignorant sadists or whoops, we didn't know. We just thought it was a religious preference and hey, what harm. 

There is less than 1% Muslims in Ireland. We are all supposed to be eating less meat and moving away from animal agriculture and pesticides to protect the environment. Yes, the media are pressing the benefits of hale-approve hot, meat meals for children (Gougons were totally processed entrails from the meat plants are being condoned when the World Health Organisation say that the preservatives in convenience pre-prepared meats contain the highest levels of carcinogens)

The department vets must be overseeing this halal-approved slaughtering, I would like a response as to what you are going to do about it. I know that it is tolerated so far so that we can export our god-forsaken produce to Egypt - when I say 'we' again obviously I mean the meat industry. Thank God Muslims don't eat pork or they would be halal-slaughtered too. But is that how you are making your decisions now, what some random countries and religious traditions want, regardless of Ireland's laws, politics, public opinion and basic human consideration for other sentient beings. You wouldn't even bring a Catholic consideration to the trade table. While we're talking though, I am a big follower of St Francis and calling upon him right now to make sure you put a stop to Halal-Approved slaughter and the other industry cruelties you overlook.

Do you intend to let the animals suffer like this and the farmers, as I wrote to you before about and let the whole society be fed with chemical-ridden, cruelly exploited animals?

Say no to big animal agriculture, big agrichemical companies and all their produce. It's not rocket science and don't turn a blind eye discussion of school dinners debacle

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Activist Art 2018 Part 2


Helping and being helped by other artists 

2) Royal Art Academy Submission

This final showdown between the unicorn and dragon was started in response to the county dog shelter and 450,000 euro of public money being given to the knackers lorry, an animal body parts company, registered in Latvia. For more information see Dog Shelter Tender 2016.

3) Article on reverse osmosis water filtration.

4) Plant out water garden, new bed, following stone masonry 

5) Date With An Angel: Haye House Publishers open submission competition. Entered with book on conscious concepts: Life as a mirror, creating your own reality and conscious creativity. 

6) Attended Peace Talks in Oxford, with head of Oxfam.

7) Interview with Freya Lawton, author of The Peace Intention and creator of the Stillflow Healing process. Creating Calm Network - a past interview on The Peace Intention

8) HSE consultants problems for Chronic Pain patients. Advocacy submission.

9) Clearing the land

Pendulums for retreats


1) Creative Health meetings 

2) Piano lessons

3) Writing: Early Years Education Thesis

4) Exhibition and Talks planned to coincide with the Summer Solstice, creative writing group, knitters group and lifestyle/cooking group.

5) Garden-based Clearings, one-to-one

6) Painting in Milan


1) Ceramic coasters work

2) Working with other creatives

3) Continued Professional Training - Maynooth

4) Art Exhibition starting for one month, including talks and tasters of vegan cooking and nutrition


1) Submission for National Forum on working parents.

2) Article for Conscious Magazine on navigation and geometry.

3) Building the polytunnel out of what friends could find.

4) Exhibition moved. New three week programme of talks and artworks on display


5) Piano tuned to 432 hertz

6) 2 concerts: Yours truly at the Castlcomer Academy of Music. Then Wolfe Island Records artists from Canada. Video from a 2017 concert here; Chris Brown performing Superior with Kate Fenner and Suzanne Jarvie- both of which had new albums too

Photo credit: Dee Sewell
7) Designs requested from architect Michael Rice, original architect of Harmony Hall, for a greenhouse.

Just two of the amazing pages of his proposal
8) Investigated carbonated water shortage and found that they use the same gas to carbonate water as they do to gas pigs before slaughter. Them cutting back meant less unconsciousness for animals before the chop.

9) Piano Classes

10) Next Exhibition started with lots of interest in the art and the workshops run in tandem, over Kilkenny Arts Week.

11) Help from other artists again

Eclectic Interiors, Castlecomer Discovery Park

12) Canada Healing - this long-distance work might take a physicist to explain in writing. I just do it.

13) Corruption In Ireland, conference panel that toured. The information was shocking and submissions to the Dail and Transparency Ireland, as a result.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Activist Art 2018

The Tate Gallery: "The aim of the activist artist is to create art that is a form of political or social currency, actively addressing cultural power structures rather than representing them or simply describing them."

January 2018

Submission to Social Care Services: over the refusal to return foster children to their parents, even when appropriate to do so, through court hearings and years of separation caused by incentivising the keeping of the easier foster kids (the ones who are no trouble and were supposed to be just temporarily away while a relationship broke down or decent housing was found etc) and who could go home - to the tune of over €400 a week.

Submission to Irish and UK governments re animal welfare legislation: over the removal of the statement of animals’ sentience, from law.


4) Submission to Early Years International Commission: over the plan to introduce schooling from 1-3years and advertise public tenders to run these infancy and toddler units. The tender process precludes kindergartens, pedagogies and non-profit organisations from winning contracts by requiring applicants to have existing big financial contracts.  

5) Artwork

6) Analysis and sharing of the Economic Policy proposed by the Humane Party in America: A complete system change, excluding the exploitation of animals and demonstrating an inevitable and instant 1% increase in economic stability around the world. And other major benefits for the environment and public health.

7) Artwork


 1) Submission to TDs and UK MPs: regarding unnecessary and increased Animal Testing in Universities  

2) Artwork 

3) Garden Design

4) Artwork

5) First draft novel: Vegan Federation

6) Hare Coursing Demonstration posters, attendance and letter to government to ask that the licenses are revoked to capture hares every year (10,000). The wild Irish Hare is a national emblem and registered an endangered species. They are kept in boxes for months before the coursing championships where two dogs are set on a hare on a race track. Banned in every country but Ireland as barbaric. 2019 saw the revoking of licenses at last. 

7) Harmony Hall Conscious Creations; concepts include development of veggie accommodation and organic growing and food.

8) Investigate empty property scheme of Kilkenny Council. Find that it consists of a substantial reduction of the exorbitant rates for one year only and then it's much of a muchness. 

9) Analyse niche Food business in Kilkenny and Carlow. Over crowded with restaurants but no organic, vegan or vegetarian or raw health offerings. (That changed with Helen Costello's Lovely Raw cafe in Ormond Street.


1) Booked for a long display of artwork - 12 large pieces

2) Water research on fluoride added to Irish mains water. Study of scientist, Dr Emoto's theory that water holds memory and therefore  how the frequency of water can be raised and impurities eliminated, using one's own consciousness.

3) Had rubber stamps made of 'resonant words' written in intentional writing to use for ceramic coasters.

4) Article to Consciousness Magazine; About Sacred Geometry, the vesica pices and Plato's water symbol

5) Art Sale as Fundraiser for PAWS animal rescue.
Interview on SE Radio.  

6) Off-grid solution. Water turbine research. Movement to find alternative to ESB mega cables and pylons criss-crossing the county.  Wider battle to stop Ireland being made into a power station for Europe with out of date, inefficient and dangerous-to-health wind farms. 

7) Pipes in for turbine

8) Magic night at the exhibition opening and dinner and organic wine for 40 people 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

3 Gardening Insights on The Eve of The Harvest Festival Full Moon

3 Gardening Insights 

on The Eve of The Harvest Moon

1) Planting something to harvest, underneath other plants 

- like you might have planted spring bulbs in the past. For me it was potatoes.

I didn't want to waste a perfectly good pot of soil on just an ornamental flower so I planted potatoes under each. I had dragged the pots outside first, once their original contents had been planted out in the new indoor yin yang bed. All these avocados were started from stones - avocado stones mind you! Today I was sad to pull out the beautiful and edible nasturtiums too that had been going for months.

Younger avocados with rosemary and tarragon

Yesterday's was the tiniest potato harvest ever! However, it liberated the pot and soil again and the shrub on top has its own bed now half way down my re-wilded lawn!

Potato harvest that fitted in a cup

 Wherever I see a dock leaf starting, I dig it up and make a little new bed and plant whatever I have in it. It's not easy I've broken 2 shovels already but re-homed every earthworm safely. I even planted some St John's Wort in case I really feel I can't take it any more... I heard it's an anti depressant! 

2) Plants really bond with each other. 

There were 5 avocados that had taken root out in the garden - surely that says something about the climate changing! Anyway, they needed to come in before the weather gets cold.

Avocados that started themselves outside

But they flatly refused to come without their immediate neighbours

Plants love other plants

I'm only coming if she can come too!

So it is not a same-species connection. The plum tree that I planted at 1.5ft height, only four months ago, is now 7ft tall and has a protective arm around it's giant avocado and small but sturdy orange trees neighbours.

 It is simply incredible to see this synergy in action.

3) Every day it is wise to pick something, plant something and paint something.

Today's windowsill has, from left to right:
Me 22 years ago today, graduating with a first class batchelor of arts:
Two rounds of hazelnut harvest - 3 weeks ago and today. I bet you have them in the hedges too so don't forget to harvest some. I will put the recipe, perhaps my 'Sovereignty food' millionaire shortbread because it features them:
Chard and rocket started in the seed tray:
3 of my favourite dogs, Jonah, Zola and Sky, in autumn colours:
Four shot glasses for ginger wine inspiration:
A 'Harmony' inscribed ceramic coaster, to raise the resonance of the drinking water around here:
Out the window, the lawn can just be seen that is now mint and mini apple trees and lavaterre and every other thing planted out to support the birds and the bees.

I am definitely into nature worship and the veneration of plants, animals and geological structures. It just seems to be what is called for. To keep this practical, I am also writing to the today to ask them about animal testing and whether it has changed at all. I remember Ireland put several million to one side to promote and establish other testing methods that don't use animals and so I think we should follow it up and check it is happening.

Anyone else feel like writing to them as well please do. If you want help in the garden give me a shout. If you want to see more of my paintings see Frances Micklem on Saatchi Art