Kingdom – Norman McCloskey

Kingdom is Norman McCloskey’s third landscape photobook based in Kerry. He started with Parklight in 2013, followed by Beara in 2018, and now in 2022, Kingdom. I have all three gorgeous books.

Every detail of Kingdom is beautiful, from the textured cover and lino cut style image of Skellig Michael to the paper and colour reproduction and tonality.

All books feature the grandeur and beauty of Kerry, it is a wonderful tour around a picturesque and dramatic county, that is well worth a visit if you are in the Country.

Launching a Podcast

It feels like I was the last person on the planet to start a Blog, and now I am repeating this habit with a Podcast. Like the Blogs, I had been thinking about it for a very long time (maybe a couple of years or more). The problem was the details, what would the subject matter be, would I share it with another person, how long should it be, should I use the season concept. Anyway, one evening recently, the completed plan popped into my head and I had decided on all the details and the subject matter. The subject matter and style had been rolling around in my head for quite a while. My Podcast will be six, ten minute episodes per season and each season will have a different theme which will be released on a Sunday evening. I decided that 10 minutes was probably long enough for someone to listen to me waffling on and I think the idea of six episodes per season makes the whole thing more manageable, as there will be a lot of research needed for my topics.

The Podcast is called ‘Bits, Bobs, Thingies’, I believe that the name reflects both me and the breadth of subjects that I intend to cover. It will be in the style of those ‘did you know’ informative type of Podcasts and I will be telling lesser known stories from around Dublin (Season 1) that I find interesting, and hopefully you will too. I love the idea of the hidden history that is right in front of us, and it is these stories that I will be focusing on.

Within minutes of the completed plan forming in my mind, I had a website registered, as well as Twitter and email accounts. I had set the Podcast up on for distribution purposes and my Channel Art was in place. As of yet, I have not opened a YouTube account, or other Social Media Accounts for the Podcast, as I believe that the ones already set up will be sufficient. The main function of the website will be to both feature the Podcast and any supporting or further information that I think listeners might be interested in.

I would love to buy the Rodecaster Pro, but, I think for the moment, I will see how things go with the equipment that I have. Each episode will have elements of sound design in it, to support the story being told, this means that each episode might take a little longer for me to produce than it would, if there was not any sound design.

The website is, but, it is yet to be launched, as I am still designing it. I will let people know when the site is launched.

Do you have any tips for starting a Podcast, or, do you have a Podcast? If you do, please comment below.

Thoughts on Toastmasters

This evening we are returning to our usual schedule after the Summer break, it seems like as good a time as any to write a post on my thoughts on Toastmasters after my first few months of active Membership. When I was deciding which Club to join, I attended two different Clubs as a guest to see what I thought, both Clubs meet in the same hotel on Tuesdays, but on alternative weeks. Having chosen which Club to join, I have attended every meeting since. All the Members in D.18 are incredibly friendly and nice, they have been so helpful and kind to me, as I try to find my way through Toastmasters Pathways. It has been a great Club to join and I am very pleased that I did, joining had been on my to do list for a long time. The Club Committee asked me to join the Committee as Sergeant At Arms, which I accepted, it is an enjoyable role to hold. I am two speeches in on my Dynamic Leadership Pathway. In Toastmasters, you have two threads to follow, one is your Speech Pathway and the other involves taking on various officer roles and fulfilling various duties, this is also an enjoyable part of being part of Toastmasters. So far, I have managed to take on the majority of these roles. If asked, I would suggest that people consider joining their local Toastmaster Club, as it is a beneficial activity.

Listening Post

Another role in Toastmasters is that of the Listening Post, the aim of the role of listening post is to listen to all the evenings speakers and then test how well members have been listening during the meeting. It is also to help all members with their listening skills. When it is your turn to be introduced to the audience, take 2 minutes to explain the role to the gathered members.

During meeting:
Listen for facts, quotes and listening points.
Turn these into 8-10 questions and answers
Keep notes as meeting goes on

End of Meeting:
Stand at lectern
Present your questions to the audience to test their listening skills
Mix them up, don’t do them in chronological order

Start easy and get harder
Try true/false format
Split into two team’s right vs left or girls vs boys

Try to be amusing

Reporting time: 2-3 Minutes

Grammarian Word #1

In Toastmasters, one of the roles involved is that of Grammarian. One of the main elements of this job is that you need to pick a new word for each meeting to encourage people to improve their vocabulary. Last night the word was ‘Stochastic’.

The meaning of stochastic is: “having a random probability distribution or pattern that may be analysed statistically but may not be predicted precisely.” Another definition is that it means ‘contains random variable’ or ‘involving chance or probability’.

An example sentence would be: “Random, stochastic mutations allow species to diversify.”

More Toastmasters

Toastmasters had a meeting last night, which I attended. It was a good evening as the theme was music, something I love. One of the things that the Toastmaster does during these meetings, is that they ask all the people that are helping to run the meeting, a question that fits the theme for that night. On this occasion, the question was about musical memories. Some of the answers were really funny. The people I was talking to you were friendly and kind. I won a second ribbon for the Table Topics section of speeches, myself and the other two guests who spoke, won them. I am glad that I started to attend this club.

My First Toastmasters Meeting

On Tuesday evening, after my guitar class, I attended my first Toastmasters meeting. This is another thing that I have intended to do for the longest time. The people at the meeting were very friendly and helpful, they explained how the event is run as well as explaining a bit about the qualifications you can earn over time. Having been in the debating society in School and enjoying language, I thought that Toastmasters might be a good fit. The evening pivots around four people making prepared speeches and a section called Table Topics, where one of the club members is charged with the task of coming up with various topics that people need to speak about, without being able to prepare any remarks. There were about 10 different topics that people tackled. As a guest, I was allowed to take part in this part of the evening, so I picked the last Table Topic, which was the question ‘Where else would you like to live and why?’. I stood up and told the gathered members that I would choose to live in an international airport hub, due to the prospect of different daily adventures you could have, travelling to the various countries that airports serve. They liked my little speech and awarded me the ribbon for best Table Topics speech for that evening. This was a wonderful surprise and I was ridiculously pleased to receive it. Thank you, Toastmasters! I will go back to join this club, as I believe that Toastmasters has valuable lessons for me to learn. I have included a link below to Toastmasters, should you be interested in learning more about the group.