Sunday, July 31, 2005
If so I have a solution. I am prepared to take a walk on your behalf. At your request I'll walk your chosen route, take some photographs along the way and write about it on the blog.
Option 1. The walk should be no more than 5-7 miles in total. The going should be moderate and the range should be within 15 miles of Cullybackey. Cost for this option is nil, free and gratis.
Option 2. The walk should be in Northern Ireland. The going should be moderate to slightly tough. The distance covered 8-10 miles. A small fee plus expenses will be charged.
Option 3. The walk can be anywhere in the whole wide world. It can be any length, any distance or any kind of terrain. A huge fee and expenses will be charged.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Originally uploaded by fugax.
We can be richer than industry,
As long as we know there's things we
don't really need
Some other far less original person said, "The best things in life are free."
I wouldn't want to be that woman from Limerick who has won £77 million on the Irish lottery. That's more than enough to thoroughly wreck your life. It would make me deeply depressed to have the responsibility of it. And I'd never live long enough to spend it and it would not be good for my children. So it's just as well I don't do lotteries.
And many of the best things in life are, if not entirely free, low cost. Like walking. So why is it that I returned from my walk today with a great desire for new possessions sparked by my envious glances into other people's fields and gardens?
I want -
Chickens like those ones
A donkey like the one Rosie nuzzled and kissed
And some red pom pom dahlias like those ones
*No picture of the donkey available
Friday, July 29, 2005
According to The Concise Ulster Dictionary 'futless' means to be unsteady on the feet or staggering about as in 'futless drunk'. I have also heard it being used to insult someone's dancing ability as in, 'ye wouldn't want to be getting up with Jimmy for he's futless'.
'Futless' may also be used to describe the situation of being without decent or serviceable shoes. I once heard someone tell my mother that she was futless and hadn't a shoe to her fut.
Matty says that during her childhood it wasn't uncommon for children to go without shoes during the summer. She also said that she and her sisters and brother weren't allowed to go barefoot and that having their children decently shod was a big priority for her parents. She said she felt envious of the children who could go without shoes during the summer months.
Meanwhile over at my father's homestead going barefoot in summer was perfectly OK even though his parents were quite well off and able to afford luxuries like paid-for education. But then my father's mother was a mountainy woman and as everyone do know mountainy people are very rugged and don't care much for the conventions of flatlanders.
There are very few people today who cannot afford a decent pair of shoes yet among my friends and fellow bloggers foot injuries due to futlessness abound. The first was Stephen who spiked his foot then Mrs The Wee Manny (pictured above with her hubby The Wee) had her daughter's horse clip clop the big hoof on her bare foot. Mrs The Wee being as tough as old boots, and she should have been wearing those old boots, swears it wasn't a bit sore but it seems she's going to lose a toe. The horse's newly shod hoof ripped all the skin off to the bone and the doc says it could take six months to heal. Part of the nail bed remains which means she'd grow a big horny protuberance on the flayed toe so the best advice is to chop it off. Luckily it's a middle toe so her balance shouldn't be affected.
Nelly's advice to those of you who like a bit of air about your toes is to get yourselves a nice pair of comfy sandals. But not flip-flops unless you've been invited to the White House where they are de rigeur. However if you're hanging out with horses it's boots you need.
*My 1996 Christmas present from Ganching. Invaluable resource.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Rosie says: We all hate you cat. All the wee wrens hate you and all the wee thrushes. All the wee birds and all the wee shrew mice hate your guts. Francis Joseph Banjo hates you and so does Paddy. I hate you and Nellybert hates you and Ed and Mikey hate you. Everybody hates you.
Harry de Cat says: Fuck yez all.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
So Hannah this message is for you - we love you to bits and we're hoping it all works out good for you.
Hope to see you soon.
I hate Harry today.
I said to Bert,
I feel like getting rid of him.
You were keen enough to have him.
I know but Scarey Tam got me in a weak moment just after Caps died. At least Caps didn't kill anything towards the end of her days. With only the three legs and all.
I wonder what the vet would say if we brought him down and asked for one of his legs off?
She'd be shocked. But he'd need two off to stop him.
The two back ones?
He'd be able to trail himself out and kill on. We'd need his teeth out too.
He'd probably go out and punch the birds senseless then suck them to death.
What about getting two legs off on the same side? That'd stop him.
So we've decided to get him a collar with a bell on it. A really big bell about as big as his head. Made of cast iron. Or lead.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Now Elias Canetti, one of Iris Murdoch's many lovers, has had his memoirs published eleven years after his death and Iris gets her usual pasting. Nobel laureate Canetti was at least ten years older than Iris. He wasn't exactly a matinee idol, not that Iris would have cared about that, but he had a huge intellect to go with his enormous ego and maybe, for all I know, he had a big wanger too. He had a three year affair with Iris and in his memoir, written 40 years after it ended, he was most ungallant about her - out of sheer jealousy of her reputation and literary success I'd wager.
And how has he expressed this lack of gallantry? He sneered at the food she offered him, he mocked her 'ungainly' underwear and he accused her of being lumpen in the sack. Apparently she only became animated at the talking after the act stage and then she devoured everything he had to say so that she could use it in her best selling novels. But the worst thing he said, in my opinion, was when he referred to her as wearing 'grotesque sandals' on her big ugly feet and of walking like a 'repulsive bear'.
That hit me hard for I'm not certain that I don't have a bear-like walk and I also have 'ugly feet' and 'grotesque sandals'. Men can be so shallow.
Anyway it inspired me to write this song. Sing it to the music 'Bette Davis Eyes' in the husky manner of Kim Carnes. Of course it's about me.
Her hair is curly brown
Her temper's not too sweet
She'll really bring you down
She's got Iris Murdoch feet
She'll set her dogs on you
She'll put you on the street
She'll tell you nothing true
She's got Iris Murdoch feet
And she'll tease you
She'll unease you
She just hates to please you
And she knows just
what it takes to leave you crushed
Feeling like you've been beat
She's got Iris Murdoch feet
Monday, July 25, 2005
"Why can't you hunt rats and mice...and squirrels?" Bert asked the cat. Harry made him no reply and leapt on the cat feeding surface and roared for Kitty Treats.
Oh the wee birds are lovely but - hoochin with worms. And natch so is Harry which is why he's always hungry. Bert says the pet shop girl's worm treatments are no good and that we should take Harry to the vet for a good strong cure. "Like being put down," I suggested.
Now Bert has told me a terrible thing and I'm too scared to look it up in case it's true. He says that the roundworms that Harry gets from the birds and rodents can drop out of his bum and dessicate. Then if they are ingested they rehydrate and off they go again laying their horrible eggs and so on. Bert says they can lie dormant and dried up for six months or more. I asked him where he heard this and he said "I read it in a book." I said I hoped it was the Book of Lies.
Why are so many empty Red Bull cans and Lucozade Sport cartons flung from cars on to the roadside? Are these not energy drinks? Can the drivers therefore not summon enough energy to properly dispose of their empties in a bin?
"Have yez any of that clematis Garibaldi'?.
"We have indeed."
"Keep me a whole big pile of them. I'll be up with the trailer tonight.
Well I knew he meant 'Sieboldii' but as you know the customer is always right.
I was telling Bert about it and he said,
"Oh I know that wee boy. He was up with his trailer one night loading up with clematis and he says to me, 'Can you sell them oul clematis?' and I says to him that I could sell them to a band playing and he says to me as he loads them on thick, 'Thats funny for I cannae sell them atall.'"
It was killing him yesterday when we walked over to Gillies Bar for our tea. Incidentally Gillies was pretty full for an early summer evening. Apparently this was because Phil & Jill were playing (stifles yawn) the afternoon session. While we were there we ran into M & K who we haven't seen for ages. I was telling K about Bert's poorliness and she said, jokingly, that I'd have to trade him in for a 'toy boy'. Bert, being six years younger than me, was a 'toy boy' when we met back in the 80s but now I'm afraid he is a bit wrecked. I shan't trade him in though. His back will get better with a little TLC.
Which is why I said I'd write him a letter to give to the digger man Sammy 'Gorgeous' Gage. Bert was dreading today. He always hates it when he has to hire the digger man. He said "If Gorgeous thinks I'm for spending all day operating a shovel with this back I don't know what I'll do...."
Please can Bert be excused digging with a shovel as he has a very sore back.
Yours lovingly Mrs Moser
I have another one to write concerning Mrs The Wee Manny,
To whom it may concern at IT support
Please can Mrs The Wee Manny be excused from lugging hard drives about as her wee toe is in a jar in the fridge after she was prancing around in her bare feet at the stables after Cleo (a horse) got new shoes and stood on her fut.
Yours sincerely, Mrs Moser
Ian says that'll put the bongo dancing out of her for a while.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
ME: I hear the Pope thinks the Harry Potter books are a bit dubious. What's your take on it?
VNCL: Our Pastor doesn't agree with them either.
ME: Why so?
VNCL: He says they're demonic and they celebrate the devil.
ME: But there are tons of children's books, TV programmes and films about witches and magic. Why all the fuss about Harry Potter? I think it must be because J.K. Rowling is making shed loads of money out of it.
VNCL: Sure she's a witch too.
ME: What! I never heard that. Who says she is?
VNCL: Paisley's church.
So I had a wee look on the web and turned this up. Here is a bit of advice from the site.
What should be done if you have occultic objects, toys, games or Harry Potter books in your house? Simple... destroy them. Do not garage sell them or give them to someone else. No, destroy this Satanic trash and never again allow such filth into your house.
Don't forget to get rid of your rock and roll collection, your boxed DVD set of Lord of the Rings, the Narnia books, any Tarot or Pokemon cards you've got lying about and a zillion other things. It's what God wants.
No doubt this is the sort of scene that Ed often sees from the bottom of his garden if he looks to the left instead of straight ahead and across the Maine.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Today Ian and I had a chat about what I wanted to take from the garden. Sadly I cannot take my Stag's Horn Sumach (I love its furry branches) because it is just too big. Ian promised me he would take very good care of it. And that I could have visitation rights.
Note to those that know him - hasn't he got skinny since he's been doing all this house-selling, granny flat converting and gardening?
Friday, July 22, 2005
I was getting bored of my regular walks so now if I'm out and about I just park the car anywhere and go walking. Yesterday, after dropping Matty and her People's Friend off, Rosie and I headed down to Randalstown to walk over the Arches bridge. Nice views - especially looking up the river towards the motorway - but the walk was far too short so we headed up the riverside walk.
I saw lots of interesting things on the walk.
I saw a fly fisherman who had lots of people watching him. I took a picture but never managed to get one with his line swishing about. Two of the men who were watching him asked me if he was my husband. I said he was not and that I didn't have to be married to a man to take his picture. To prove it I took their picture too so they wouldn't feel left out.
I saw that old factory where I worked for a very short time after throwing in the towel (or nurse's cap and stiff starched apron) with the psychiatric nursing. God I was crap at hemming tea towels. And that sewing room was a worrying place for a country girl from Tannaghmore what with all those mad IRA women from Toome and then the Queen fans. No - not Freddie Mercury's Queen - the real deal Queen. So one Monday morning I woke up and decided not to bother going in. And that was that.
I saw two police officers sitting in their car on the path (I had to walk around them) and they were eating ice cream and skiving. I decided not to report them to Mrs O'Loan because if I was a police officer I'd skive too when I got the chance.
I saw a very tattered Union Jack flying from a lamp post and I saw a guy with dreadlocks picking up dog poo.
I did not see Ed and had no idea I was standing at the bottom of his garden when I took the picture of the Old Bleach.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
So even though I'm not a fashionista I thought to myself, I'll have a bit of that, and headed off to Dunnes. Well there is no Primark in Antrim. Which is where I was when this urge for new garments hit me.
I ignored the underwear section as I am very particular about my underwear. I like it to be big and I like it to be firm and I like it to be well put together - the same as how I like my men really. Dunnes underwear being cheap and cheery (and scratchy and uncomfortable) obviously does not meet my high standards.
Now the other night I was watching that Makosi one on Big Brother. That girl has some backside. Nobody could accuse her trousers of looking like her arse had fainted. But her knickers, they were definitely in a twist. They appeared to be some sort of pink thong that had been kneaded and shredded between her ample cheeks. She looked very uncomfortable indeed.
When I was a girl we got our comfortable and cosy Cherub knickers in Woolworths. Cherubs came up to your waist and cuddled the top of your thighs. They had a double gusset. They fulfilled the function of knickers as laid down by our mothers and grandmothers. They were modest and they kept our kidneys warm. Now I see these sort of knickers feature in some rather dubious websites I once stumbled upon. But unlike the pure white and boilable knickers we favoured these were in navy and bottle green. Very strange.
The rot set in with the coming of mini skirts. Big sensible knickers didn't sit well with shorter skirts and something called briefs was introduced. By today's standards these were anything but brief but back in the sixties we thought they were pretty daring. Nowadays the brevity and scantiness of underwear is shocking and what passes for knickers would do nothing to mind a girl's modesty or warm her kidneys. Maybe it's because of central heating and/or global warming but if the scientist's gloomy predictions for these islands should come to pass then girls will be back in Cherubs by the middle of this century and thongs will just be an unpleasant memory - or not depending on individual taste.
But I'm away off on one again. What did I buy in Dunnes? Well I bought Bert two tee shirts that go by the unfortunate and hopefully not prophetic name of wife beaters and I bought myself very many tee shirts and two pairs of those three-quarter length summer trousers that show off a neatly turned ankle (of which I possess two) and guess what? When I tried the trousers on at home they were nearly full-length. Rats! I hate being short.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
That was the confessional part - now for the rant. Cartridge World. Yes you, you little twerp. I notice you're not displaying R plates so I assume you've been driving for a while. Long enough anyway to have forgotten your Highway Code. Just after 6pm on the A26 this evening - you cut me up on the roundabout. I was worried about you, thought your indicator signal wasn't working for you failed to use it on six occasions. Then at the mini-roundabout at Sainsburys you made a right turn and for once you indicated. So no problems there then. Car's a good advertisement then - for a really crap driver.
Harry is counting the days until Frankie goes back to Antrim. Won't be long now.
Monday, July 18, 2005
At first Bert couldn't find the road into the wood and every two minutes he'd be stopping to look at his OS map. A major difference between Bert and myself is that he likes map reading while I like going for walks. I had to say to him that us sitting in the van studying up maps was doing very little to reduce the dimensions of my fat arse. If I had been driving I'd just have charged about until I found the road.
The wood was lovely and cool and in one part the path was edged with bilberry bushes so we took some time to feast on one of Nature's superfoods. But it was also hoochin with horseflies (malevolent fairies?) and I was bitten at least three times.
Afterwards Bert was mad for an ice cream. It was a hot evening. I was driving on the way back and dropped him off in Rasharkin. I watched him come out of Rogan's shop slurping a Magnum and I thought to myself that he is still a big kid. Which is one of the reasons I love him still.
*hoochin - infested with
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Frankie is a very short dog. Its small legs are only approximately four tariff long. Consequently, if it is gone through long grass, you are impacts along, as if it is on springs. This maintains much, in order to watch out. Now approximately two-third of the way is in Berts baby wood little discharge or sheugh *. Frankie is a dog of the very small brain there and normally falls in sheugh. This evening it jumped over it on the outgoing journey however misses it on the return and fell inside. When I received back, I suggested to Bert that he Frankie surplus catch a run take should, before he keeps too intelligent to sheugh. Bert took it more rueber and reported on a very satisfying result. "it fell inside. Twice!"
- Organising tiles and other floor coverings.
- Moaning at the kitchen people.
- Choosing light fittings.
- Painting & decorating.
- A bit of new furniture i.e. beds
- Choosing sanitary ware and other bathroom fittings.
This last few months have been difficult. My father's illness and death concerned me a lot more than picking floor tiles - but somehow we've got most of it arranged. And now with those hard arrived decisions made I am getting people coming in with 'Oh no! I wouldn't do it like that that. I'd do it like this.' Want to know something you people? Get stuffed. You're doing my head in.
For the last time I don't want:
- A Belfast sink
- Period light fittings (as if! Bakelite!)
- Wooden floors throughout
- A yellow kitchen etc. etc.
Friday, July 15, 2005
It is a fact recognised universally that people with a fortuin in research a woman must be.
English to Dutch to English
Between other public buildings in a certain city with for much of reasons it will be careful to abstain from with the mention, and so that I will assign with any factitious name...
English to French to English
A broad level, where the extending glass cinder hurries on between its green banks to the sea, and affectionate tides, rushing, in order to meet it, examines its passage with impetuous covers.
English to German to English
In the residents in a timber almost each species of tree has his voice as well as his characteristic trait. In the crossing of breeze the fir-trees sob and the sigh no least from distinctly from ljknj'zoyn the holly sfyrj'zej as it fights with the wheezes of ash ana'mesa tremoylja'sej his beech rustles while his level big clones are increased and fall. And the winter, that modifies the note of such trees as the shed their leaves, it destroys his personality.
English to Greek to English
Thursday, July 14, 2005
I was up at Bert and Nelly's tonight (Thursday night is music night) and found Bert boiling spuds. I passed him this useful tip I learned at my mother's knee.
If you aren't sure if your potatoes are thoroughly cooked just remove one from the pan and throw it at the window. If the window breaks return it to the pan and carry on cooking. Repeat as necessary.
So when Lost Identity asked me what my opinion was on the whole carry-on I had to reply. Now anybody who reads this blog will know that, unlike some of my fellow bloggers, my opinions tend to be as mild as milk and this one will be no exception. So if I get a lot of mad ly'lists and Orange apologists attacking me for them I shall be ever so upset and stick to writing about whimsy and fluff until Christmas when, as is my traditional route, I will become an anti-consumerist Scrooge who will rant non-stop about the crapness of Christmas before rushing out and spending £17,000 on tat.
As I said in comments there are a lot more than two sides to this story. But this is the way I see it.
(And at this point I was interrupted by Ploppy Pants who happens to be an Independent Orangeman but more of that later)
I was brought up a Catholic in County Antrim, which, like County Down would be one of the more Protestant counties of Northern Ireland. Our parents expected us to respect our neighbours. Neither hate nor sectarianism was taught in our home. Neverthesless I remember the Orange marches then as being oppressive and not for us. The 'Marching Season' was seen as their celebration, their party, one to which we weren't welcome.
Now it seems to me that the Orange celebrations are not as mainstream as they were. Thirty, Forty years ago the Order was much more popular and included Protestant people from all spheres of society. Nowadays the professional and middle classes are less represented. The rural lodges are dying off. The only lodges that are surviving are those from the loyalist working class areas of towns and cities.
The future? On the surface the parades are all about costumes, raucous military style bands and a fun day out. They're also about sombre faced Orange men and women walking their 'traditional routes' and remembering a battle from a 17th century political and cultural movement that few have any knowledge of. Underneath it's the same old story - sectarianism and exclusion.
That said I still would not support the violence of some of those protesting against the parades. Apart from everything else it only fans the flames. Perhaps if the parades were let be they'd fade away in time - or grow into something more inclusive. And pigs might fly. But I don't live in a flashpoint area - what do I know?
Ol' Ploppy Pants and I had a coffee and a conversation about all this stuff. Naturally we mostly disagreed on what the Orange Order actually is. He told me something interesting things about the Independent Loyal Orange Institution which broke away from the main Orange Order in 1903. The breakaway happened because the established Orange Order was inextricably tied up with the ruling classes, the political elite and big business interests. In fact one of the ILOI's mottoes is 'Protestantism not Politics'. PP said that at that time the people who broke away were evicted from their homes, sacked from their jobs and generally ostracised. He said that some of this ill feeling exists to this day. As recently as Tuesday when Independents and Old School met in Portglenone they were still either glaring at or looking through each other.
Here are two more interesting snippets I turned up while doing a bit of sketchy research for this post.
- The Independents' unionism and loyalty to the British crown is dependent on the constitutional monarch being Protestant. No shit?
- The original Orange Order only allowed Presbyterians to join in the 1840s.
There is an article on Orangeism on Wikipedia.
It's neutrality is in dispute.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
It wasn't marching up the road that made my old joints ache. It was the descent that did the damage. Nevertheless after a short recovery period I took Frankie out through Bert's Baby Wood for another walk.
Frankie is a very short dog. His little legs are only about four inches long. Consequently when he is being walked through long grass be bounces along as if he is on springs. This is very amusing to watch. Now about two-thirds of the way into Bert's Infant Wood there is a little drain or sheugh*. Frankie is a dog of very little brain and usually falls into the sheugh. This evening he jumped over it on the outgoing journey but missed it on the return and fell in.
When I got back I suggested to Bert that he should take Frankie over the field a run before he gets too wise to the sheugh. Bert did take him over and reported a very satisfactory result.
"He fell in. Twice!"
*Sheugh - pronounced shuck
And bearing that pronunciation in mind here's part of what I had to listen to last night outside my bedroom window in Spide City.
Girl: Ye feughing did!
Boy: I feughing didn't!
Girl: Ye feughing did!
Boy: I feughing didn't!
And so on until Girl spots someone she knows,
Girl: Ya'right Maggie!Then:
Girl: Ye feughing did!
Boy: I feughing did'n.....
Fade into blessed distance feughing and blinding as they went.
There are lots more over at Flickr.
This was my absolute favourite picture of the evening.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
We did not bring any music with us for we were surrounded by (a sort of) music. Just past the hen factory we could hear the Orange bands at Galgorm, Ahoghill and Cullybackey.
When I got back home Bert was playing 'Give Me Your Hand' on his whistle. It was the best tune I'd heard all morning. Frankie must have interpreted it as 'Give Me Your Paw' because he started to sing along then Rosie came in with her doggy soprano. It was still the best music I'd heard all day.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Just because a blog is mega popular doesn't make it wrong - so I've added Waiter Rant to the roll.
Then there is Ayla Peajar from the eastern side of Canada. She's a young 'un just starting out in life but she has a lot of heart. So far she's the only fellow blogger whose posts have occasionally moved me to tears.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Except - the gap in my top row is in exactly the same place as that dam' Crazy Frog. And I've got a bit of that manic look going on too. A photo? Definitely not. I'm too vain.
"Bad news or good news?"Oh give me the bad. Get it over with.
"They're off scunging again. I just couldn't keep them in. I knew they were planning it because they were whispering to each other."Whispering?
"You know. Nudging each other. Eye contact. Nuzzling."
Oh. What's the good news then?
"Fridge is full of wine."So first things first. Coffee. A read of the Sundays. A sit in the sun. Consoled myself with the thought that this being such a Presbyterian area the local Johnny Farmers are not going to get the shotgun out on the Sabbath. So the scunging devil dogs are likely to return safely.
So I took Frankie out for a two mile walk. He was ever so good. Afterwards I was still hot but a lot less bothered. We listened to PJ Harvey.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Tricia took the photo. He wasn't one for posing for pictures and she just spent a few hours following him around until eventually he ignored the fact that he was having his picture taken.
Other pictures taken on the same day were Seamus tending sheep and 'Katy and Granda' that I posted before.
Things I like about this picture are the sharp angles and his large hand - and his farmer's flat cap.
Ardboe's graves are very well maintained. In fact it was like visiting a sort of cemetery showroom for we were able to examine a wide range of grave accessories. Matty favoured a sort of green plastic-grass rug that is put over the grave. It would be very easy to maintain but I thought it was horrid. I liked a sort of black shiny stone like polished coal. Maybe it was polished coal. Matty said that East Tyrone did have a coal industry in the olden days.
She told me this story from her youth about getting a boat from Cranfield to Ardboe to go to a dance. She said that all the boys were drunk except the one in charge of the boat. I was a bit surprised about that because I thought she wouldn't have mixed with the type of people who'd drink. But apparently the fellow she was looking for in the cemetery had been a drinker and she thinks he may have died of it.
Zoe is off to Dingle, the Banjos have gone to Waterford leaving their crazy dog with us, even Matty is planning to go to Scotland with Ganching to commune with midges. I won't even mention those who are heading outside the British Isles as I might explode with jealousy.
And here I am stuck in Harryville right in the middle of the Loyalist Party Season. No escape until Thursday next. There is a part of me thinking,
"I need excitement and I need it fast"
Then there is the sensible part that thinks "No! No! No Harryville type excitement please. Please let it all be as dull as ditchwater."
Thursday, July 07, 2005
We're selfish really aren't we? We must be sure that our own loved ones are well before we can think of the wider implications.
Poor London. It didn't get long to feel happy about the 2012 Olympics.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
I took Rosie on the second one and took some photos. If you pop over to Flickr you can see where our new house is. I listened to the CD compilation
that Mikey gave Bert for his birthday.
This evening Zoe and I went to Mass in Tannaghmore as it was Daddy's Month's Mind (a special mass said about a month after someone dies) It was also Uncle Kevin's (Dad's brother) first anniversary. Afterwards we went to Matty's for supper.
When I got back I went on my third walk to look for Paddy and Rosie who had gone off scunging again. I listened to Sidney Bechet. I didn't find the feckers but they're back now anyway.
My legs are sore. But then I did take 15ooo steps and many of them over rough ground.
I decided to walk into Cully this morning to collect my Tory rag. I strapped myself into my music listening apparatus, slotted in some Classical Favourites, slipped a fiver into my sturdy bra and went in search of a dog. Paddy was my dog of choice as I'd taken Rosie the last time. But it wasn't even 9am and he was still in bed. I trailed him out of it, hooked him to a lead and then had to drag him down our scarey back lane. It's so overgrown now that the postman won't even drive up it and he doesn't give a hoot about his wee red van. So that was the first instance of cruelty to animals.
On the way back there was a torrential downpour. Ironically enough it started just as 'Air on a G String' started on my player. That made me smile. Getting soaked but I didn't care for all I needed was my music and a metaphorical Hamlet cigar. The rain made me smile but my poor abused dog hated it. I wonder if he'd known there was going to be a big plout and that's why he'd been reluctant to go in the first place?
The second instance of animal cruelty was two-fold. It was very cruel of Harry de Cat to kill all the little wren babies in the polytunnel. It was also very cruel of Bert to kick Harry's arse. But also strangely satisfying. Bert said, "After I guarded them diligently too." I don't think he was pleased when I pointed out that he wasn't very diligent last night when he fell to the Bushmills and forgot to ensure that the wren-murdering bastard was indoors.
The only time I ever lost weight through stress was when the Pretty Welsh Boy dumped me for the Hard-Faced Ticket and that was 29 years ago. You should have seen the size of the jeans I was able to get into then. But it didn't last - I bounced back, found a Pretty French Boy and had to give those skinny jeans to a slimmer sister.
But I digress. Recently I've been eating lots of comfort food but now I'm happy to say that this is the fourteenth day that I've been eating healthy food - Gillian McKeith would be pleased with my output and I'm walking at least 10000 steps a day. I've been walking on roads just a mile or so from home that I've never walked before. I even walked to Ghillies yesterday and did the shopping on the way back. And I'm sleeping better.
All those super skinny people? Hard-faced tickets the lot of them. I'm going to go for the roundy, rosy healthy look.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
We spotted lots of newly fledged and robed QUB graduates wandering around with their proud families and that was very lovely. I felt proud of them too and I didn't even know them.
When I'm out with Ben I practice my grandmothering skills. I reckon I'll be very good at it by the time I get some of my own. I'm working on a mixture of fond indulgence and old-fashioned strictness. For instance I don't let him interrupt adult conversations but I always get back to him.
He was an awful prat in the Museum shop. Couldn't make up his mind which dinosaur he wanted.
I told him that all the food in McDonald's is chewed and spat out by other people before we get to eat it. I think he might have believed me but then again he knows I'm a terible liar. But at least we got out of going there. You know that magic word that children are always forgetting? I've got an even better one. Don't say it always but often enough to keep them from being spoiled brats. It starts with N and ends with O and it spells NO!
Bert and I went to measure floors for tiles and so on. Now that the concrete floors are down and the walls are plastered the house looks scarily big. I've decided I'm not sure about the floor tiles, which are a neutral sandy colour, as there is going to be such a big expanse of them.
I'd like to put linoleum in the bedrooms. Linoleum? Well it's clean, dog hair resistant, healthy and natural. It's also bloody expensive and hard to source. I've been in a few shops in Ballymena and have been looked at askance. One wee skitter started to tell me about this modern stuff called vinyl. Pah! They'll all be wanting lino in a couple of years time.
Then Bert starts messing around with decisions we made years ago. In the kitchen/dining room there is a fireplace. We decided a long time ago to put a little stove in there. I didn't want any kind of fireplace in my kitchen but Bert did. I certainly did not want an open fire, as they attract men, so we compromised on a stove.
Let me explain. All the time I've lived in this house the kitchen has been a room for living in as well. It's where the phone, fax and filing cabinet are kept. So Bert uses it as an office and entertains his mates in it from morning to night. Little wonder I hardly ever get it mopped. So in the new house Bert wants a sun room so he gets a sun room. It's not one of those silly looking things with a pointy ceiling that is stuck on to the side, it looks like part of the house - and it is. And it's there that Bert is going to keep his sofas, his phone, fax and filing cabinet and his hordes of long legged friends. He will also have his own little stove to keep him from hanging around mine. See I've got it all planned out. Years of feminism are ending up with Nelly reclaiming the kitchen!
So despite the decision taken a year ago he said, "What shall we do with this kitchen fireplace? Shall we have an open fire?" No Bert we shall not. Definitely not. No way. Imagine all the men standing in front of it toasting their arses. Isn't going to happen.
Then as if one nutty mama wasn't enough we've got Pearlie saying "I dinny like that house, I dinny like that oul Ballintoy dash ye's have on it. It makes my skin crawl." Even better that, than Matty's refusal to cut into an orange because the thought of it being bitter sets her teeth on edge. I wonder if I'll be mad and irrational when I'm seventy something? Probably. I'm more than halfway there already.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Here's some of the stuff I used to have to do for Zoe, Katy and Hannah when they were squealers.
- Hold on to them in town for fear they might run into the traffic.
- Monitor their unsuitable conversations with complete strangers.
- Encourage them to eat nourishing food.
- Leave them at home if I was going to do some serious shopping.
Now take that last point. Last Wednesday I visited a plumbing supplies shop in Kilrea and Matty came too. Now when the shopowner realised that I needed a lot of stuff for the new house he went into selling overdrive. After about two minutes I got awfully bored as he was speaking Plumberese and I don't understand Plumberese except for the odd word like pipe or tap. Now normally I'm awfully good at cutting these conversations short, usually by being very blunt. On this occasion I put it to him that I didn't understand a word he was talking about. that I was just here to look at the pretty baths and basins and that Bert would be along shortly to talk technical talk with him. But because I was also keeping an eye out for Matty I couldn't concentrate properly on getting away. Meanwhile Matty was becoming very restless indeed. Just like a toddler who hates this boring shop and wants to go somewhere more interesting instead. She was at her usual tricks. Wandering around aimlessly whilst sighing heavily, looking as if she might collapse if somebody didn't come and take her to a charity shop this minute and I swear I think I saw her, out of the corner of my eye, kicking one of the baths.
She buys oranges but she won't eat them - in case they're bitter. So she ends up throwing them away every week. So she decided she'd start taking her oranges in liquid form and to this end she purchased a litre bottle of orange Fanta. I explained to her that Fanta is nothing but carbonated water and sugar and contains no vitamins at all. She then suggested she might buy some of that orange stuff you dilute with water. I told her that this was just flavoured water and sugar - no fruity goodness. I told her about orange juice, which can be purchased anywhere and left her with this piece of Nelly sagacity - all that is orange is not necessarily packed with vitamin C.
I think these pictures tell a different story. The one on the left shows her in the days when all she had to her name was a couple of A levels. Now look at the snoots of her.
But seriously Mel - WELL DONE - you deserved it.
For a start I didn't see it as the telly wasn't on. There was a crazy rumour going round in the sink estate I was living in, and later put out of for hippiness and faint traces of Catholicism, that the TV licence detection vans would be out in force and I believed this rumour.
Then I didn't care for any of the acts that were appearing. OK I might have been mildly interested in some of them but not enough to sit through the dross anxiously awaiting the knock on the door and the dreaded words, "Hello miss, do you have a television licence?"
And anyway I spent most of the day in bed with the duvet pulled over my head as I was terribly depressed. And it was a lovely day too!
My little ones? They were having a happy day at their Dad's house and, no doubt, Live Aid was on.
To follow - Princess Diana, the Moon landings, Elvis Presley, JFK, the Coronation, the Ascent of Everest, D Day etc, etc.
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Stories like the one I heard yesterday about Old Bill. This man has his own house but during the day he prefers life on the streets for he enjoys the company of street drinkers and other unfortunates. He claims to be 86 but I think he's probably just 68 and looking for sympathy.
He's not really a looker and at 68/86 his pulling days are pretty much over. I have it on good authority (PSNI good enough for you) that Old Bill would relieve his tension by pleasuring Tesco frozen chickens. We wondered, Ursa Minor and I, if he couldn't have got himself a classier bird - say one from Sainsburys or Marks & Spencer.
He's going about with a woman now. As I said to Ursa Minor, "There's someone for everyone," and she replied, "At least she's warm!"
If anyone thinks that the subject matter of this post is too. too dreadful I refer you to Portnoy's Complaint. If it's good enough for Philip Roth..