Monday, August 10, 2020

Monday Musings

Musings, now there is a word. A decade or so ago, when personal blogs were a thing, at least 20% of them featured that word, 'musings'. The other 80% were 'rants'.

Nevertheless, today Nelly has musings.

This morning Bert had clematis deliveries to a well-known shop in Broughshane and as it is mandatory mask-wearing Monday in Northern Ireland, he wore a mask. Afterwards, he reported that mask-wearing compliance in Broughshane was good.

This evening I visited Lidl in Ballymena and wore a mask. There were perhaps twenty shoppers there. Mask wearers were in the majority but it was light. Maybe twelve complying, eight not. Lidl had nothing to say on the matter.

In between times, I took a van load of recyclables to the council yard in Ballymena. Since the lockdown, there has always been a queue to get in. The queue starts on Waveney Road just outside the Fire Station. There are signs outside the Fire Station stating KEEP CLEAR. These are being ignored, people are queuing in vehicles outside the Fire Station. Not me, of course. But, while I was considerately leaving lots of room for Fire Engines another van driver (wedding planner) overtook me and plonked himself right in front of the Fire Station. I made a note of the name and number and decided never to avail of their services, ever. As if!

Whilst at the council recycling yard and encumbered with a huge pile of Ikea cardboard (hoarded from last year's kitchen buying and at long last fucked out) and half-blinded by my mask, I stumbled into one of the traffic cones they were using to help the punters socially distance and fell over. Grazed knee, barked shin and mucho embarrassment. The council workers were most solicitous and kind and I assured them it was my own fault and I would not be seeking a claim. Who could be arsed?

All blog posts must have a picture. This is it.

It's a selfie with aquilegias. One I prepared earlier.

Thursday, August 06, 2020


Look at that pair of darlings, Aunt Clare and Matty, two sisters born ten years apart, both died aged 84. Not just sisters, they were also close friends from a close family of seven sisters and one brother. Clare was the youngest and she died five days ago, the very last of the Randalstown McAnespies.

Clare was very family orientated. She adored Matty, my mother and was always a great support to her, as she was to all her other siblings. I loved Clare because she was always the same, genuine, sharp, funny and loyal. 

My brother Joe and I called on her about three weeks ago. She'd been in hospital and during this Covid-19 thing, that meant no visitors. There were no hugs when we took our leave, not that Clare would have cared for she didn't go in for unnecessary sentiment although she'd tolerate it.

Clare was the one everyone turned to in a crisis. She cared about everyone in her extended family and she looked after both her parents until their final days. She was a great woman and I shall miss her so much.

Every picture tells a story. This was taken (by Zoe) at my sister Deirdre's wedding. Clare was always there at all the important family events. I don't remember what she said to me or why I am laughing but, knowing Clare, it would have been something really naughty and rascally.

Clare the teenager.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020


Yesterday morning, I'm getting ready to go into town. My bank first, as I need to set up internet banking so I don't have to actually go to the bank ever again and then Waterstones to pick up some books for my sister. And I might as well get some wine while I'm out. I'm going to wear a mask, a white cotton one that looks like I repurposed my knickers.

Upstairs changing into something civilised and I hear a siren in the distance. It gets closer. I look outside - a fire engine. Then police cars. Something bad has happened. I go to town and do my errands. It's not until I get home a few hours later that I hear what the bad thing was. Just one and a half miles from here three people lost their lives in a devastating car crash. Three people in their 50s, one woman, her husband and her brother. It made the news that evening. Six years ago there was another fatal car crash at the same crossroads, three English soldiers returning from a fishing trip, they overshot the crossing and collided with a tractor. Two died. We heard the sirens that day too.

 The thing is, that woman, her husband, her brother - yesterday morning, they were just living their lives, doing stuff, making plans. And now they are not. This isn't the city. Sirens are notable, recalled. This isn't a war zone, we're not used to sudden death any more. We were once, but the Troubles are over now. We lead quiet, uneventful lives and we like it like that. But, as Seamus Heaney wrote, 'Anything can happen.' And this, just this... because anything can happen, be good to each other, meet people half-way, say the kind thing, patch up your quarrels and hug your darlings.

The road, by Sinead

Today was my mother's birthday and it gained another layer of meaning. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Don't Mow, Let It Grow

Every picture tells a story...

This used to be 'a lawn'. We'll work on making it less Yorkshire foggy more meadow flowery. Meanwhile, ringlets adore it.

To be encouraged...

Self Heal

 Yellow Rattle

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Happy Birthday James

If it wasn't for the current situation I'd be counting down days until seeing this lovely five-year-old, my first and only grandson. Happy fifth birthday James. See you as soon as we can.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Screen Time

Like many other children, my two oldest grandchildren would like to spend a lot of time with a screen in front of their faces. In this, they are not alone as Granny Nelly is also often found in front of a PC screen for she is old school.

However, their sensible parents place some restrictions on their screen time which allows more free time for reading, songwriting, gardening, trampolining, crafting, fighting, dressing up, imagination, conversation, slime making, art, more fighting. You get the picture.

Does looking at my vast collection of short videos count as screen-time? Not at all. Martha and Evie would see this as an opportunity to study history. For instance, this screenshot of Hannah and Holly is from a little avi shot more than two years before Miss Martha was born. I always did think, back in the olden days, that no portrait could ever fail to be improved by the addition of a cat and a backdrop of long grass.