Saturday, April 30, 2005

It Only Took Four Hours To Tidy


My Study
Originally uploaded by NellyMoser.
This picture was requested by Hannah.

She said she's only ever seen this room in a big mess.

The solitary little lopsided picture on the wall is of Hannah as a baby.

But when we move I will have a huge picture of baby Hannah.

Friday, April 29, 2005

No Smoking Zone

Inspired by mquest

It is raining hard. He stands outside the hospital entrance shivering in a blue towelling dressing gown. He has a hacking cough. He is smoking a cigarette.

It is a sunny morning. She sits on a bench outside the hospital entrance. She is heavily pregnant and attached to a drip on a stand. She is smoking a cigarette.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

She's A Star


Jazzer
Originally uploaded by NellyMoser.
She's Mrs Motivater too. She's the good friend who came over today to help Bert and I get the pigpen ready for the seven, not six as stated previously, potential buyers coming tomorrow. Thanks Jazz. You're a star.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Then This Happened

Daddy had to go into hospital.

The staff at the nursing home were not happy with his response to the treatment of a recent throat infection. They thought it might have reached his chest In addition he was dehydrated. They can't do intravenous treatments in the home so he had to go to hospital.

He was admitted to A&E for assessment at around 2.30pm. I stayed with him until 7, then
my brother took over. The overworked staff in A&E do their very best in the hardest of circumstances but there are not enough of them. The unit is poorly designed and poorly equipped. To tell you the truth it is a scarey place.

Daddy was the oldest and frailest person there but the majority of patients were 60+. Some of them had waited for endless hours on uncomfortable trolleys. I actually saw one man who'd come in by ambulance laid on a mattress on the floor as all the trolleys were in use. After they'd decided to admit Daddy they told me that he would probably have to stay in A&E until morning at least. At that point I insisted he got a bed with a ripple mattress. When the bed came I was so relieved for him I almost wept. But the mattress was wrong so I had to keep on insisting on a ripple mattress. It came several hours later. It also took a long time for cot sides to be produced. I think a porter I got friendly with eventually nicked them off another patient.

Maybe some of the hardworking staff thought I was a demanding bitch but that is how I had to be to protect my father from the short comings of the modern National Health Service.

Please God he'll be stable soon that he can return to his angels in the nursing home.

Bursting With Potential

And an open market rarity!

That's how the estate agents ad in the local rag described our place.

I know what 'bursting with potential' means. It means the current owners have done nothing with it. You can make your mark. Not too sure what 'open market rarity' means. Sounds good though.

Yesterday evening I spent at least 30 minutes searching for my green plastic mop bucket and mop. If I'd got the paper I needn't have wasted my time for it was right there in the photograph stuck between two rows of corylus contorta. Paddy got himself pictured too but he's not part of the deal. Neither is my green plastic mop bucket or the corylus contortas.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

We Chase Our First Potential Viewer

I only went out for 20 minutes and when I returned our first potential viewer was scuttling hurriedly to his 4x4. He must read this blog as there is no sign up yet and the paper doesn't come out until tomorrow.

Bert hunted him telling him to make any enquiries or appointments through the agent. Bert says he is glad that I'm in turmoil as he feels less lonely now.

Turmoil for Two

Now we are both in turmoil. This smallholding goes on the market tomorrow. Visitors by appointment only. I am not looking forward to the experience and I'm thinking of learning how to use the .22 so I can better discourage those nosey arseholes who DARE to come up this lane without an appointment.

Of course this will not apply to regular visitors or clematis seekers. Just don't be thinking that a For Sale sign at the bottom of the lane means you get to rummage through my drawers and cupboards.


Monday, April 25, 2005

It's A Dirty Oul Job...

...but somebody's got to do it.

Tonight I was the cause of coitus interruptus. I didn't know she was entertaining when I knocked at her door but the way she shouted out "fuck aff!" and the grunting, panting noises coming from within aroused my suspicions. I did my horrid duty demanding entry and found himself, a poor tim'rous cowering beastie, hiding behind the bed. She, on the other hand, was a brazen little madam who told me to mind my own business and, even worse, called me Fuzz Buzz. Must get this hair cut soon.

I couldn't help feeling sorry for her paramour. Firstly for having to find his shoes and do up his jeans, with great difficulty, while I glowered at him and secondly, for being escorted off the premises while her mates jeered at him.

She Returns To The Coal Face

If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work;
Shakespeare, Henry IV, Pt 1

I still don't want to go back to work after this lovely, relaxing week at home. It will be good to escape Bert's turmoil for a while, instead, to hear of the turmoil of others - who matter less to me than he does.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Political Correctness

A few years ago Bert and I were in a bar in downtown Natchez when we got talking to a guy named Tommy. He had caught my eye because he seemed to know everybody and was hopping around chatting to everyone. The hoppy thing was a bit odd but the reason became obvious when I saw the empty left leg of his Levis tucked into his back pocket.

Turned out Tommy was a Vietnam veteran. He went out at age 18 and lost his leg to a mine about a week later. That was the end of the war for him. We had a good chat with him and a few others in the bar. Before we left Tommy told us that every Thursday the regulars from the bar got together for a barbecue. He said we'd be very welcome to come. We would have liked that but we were touring the Southern States with Clint and Clint was running a tight intinerary. So, as we were leaving next morning, we had to decline. But before we left I asked Tommy to recommend somewhere for breakfast.

Next morning we went to the place he'd suggested. It was good and the lady who ran it was very pleasant and friendly. I told her that we'd had a recommendation from a local and she was very interested to know who this could be.

"Guy called Tommy."
"Tommy? Can't think who that would be."
"Tall man, fiftyish, slim, neatly trimmed grey beard, glasses."
"Nope. Can't think who. Where'd you see him?"
"We met in a bar."

She frowned a bit at this. I pressed on.

"He only had one leg."
"Oh yes! Thomas! Thomas the Cripple!"

Ploppy Loves Parsley


cherry2
Originally uploaded by NellyMoser.
Last night I had a really fun argument with Ploppy Pants about Paisley, or Parsley as Jenny Wren's grandchildren call him. I said that ol' Parsley won't be in any organisation where he cannot be top man.

  • He is top man of his own church.
  • He is top man of his own political party.
  • And he is top man of his own Orange Institution.
But Ploppy says ol' Parsley did not start the Independent Orange Order and he should know as he's in it. here

Then Ploppy said, when I announced my voting intentions, that I'd be far better voting for the Shinners as the SDLP were sleekit dogs. He says that John Hume is the sleekitest man that ever drew breath. (This is what passes for intelligent political analysis chez Nelly) I reminded Ploppy that John Hume won the Nobel Peace Prize but Ploppy said that just proves how sleekit he is.

So later on in the pub I ran Ploppy's theory past Peadar. He liked it very much and shook Ploppy by the hand saying that the country needed more men like him leading middle of the road voters to the proper path.

And the picture? That's our Ian up playing with The Low Down Dirty 'Coon Dogs or whatever it is they're calling themselves this week. So what's the big deal do I hear you ask? Well - it's this. Ian only took up the guitar a few years back and this is the first time he's played and sang in public with a mic n'all. He was nervous but damn good. As they say across the pond - way to go Ian!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

The Perfect Old Lady


Rube with Matty
Originally uploaded by NellyMoser.
That's what Rube, in the centre tile, said Matty was.

His reasons?

She looks right.
She sounds right.
She's kind.
She's full of mischief.
She's got lots of stories to tell.

A reason he did not mention is that she adores him and has done so since he was a tantrum-throwing pre-schooler.

That is one of Matty's great skills. She is marvellous with children and they love her. She keeps them on board after they grow up too.

Friday, April 22, 2005

We Pass The Gateway To Hell



Dundermot Mound near Ballymena
Dundermot Mound near Ballymena

Bert and I went to Cloughmills this evening for a meal. We went to a restaurant recommended by Ian. On our way we passed Dundermot Mound near Glarryford Bridge. This mound is rumoured to be one of two 'Gateways to Hell' in Ireland. You can read more about it here.

Happily for us the 'Gateway to Hell' remained closed and we encountered no ghostly coachman.

The meal? Not bad. Afterwards the waitress enquired if everything was to our liking. I replied,

"There was just one thing that spoiled it."
"Oh?"
"The music. I hate Cher."

She laughed. As long as we liked the food all was well.

Bert's turmoil? He's working his way through it. He'll survive - as long as he doesn't meet a ghostly coachman on Glarryford Bridge.

A Sit Down Protest


The Kitchen Sofa Stays
Originally uploaded by NellyMoser.
Bert is in turmoil. See him bite his lip as he ponders his many worries.

That sofa they're all sitting on was top of my list for the bonfire. I wanted to discourage hordes of long-legged men from sitting about my kitchen impeding me from going about my housewifely business. Yes Clint, yes Young Lothario, yes Rodders - I'm talking about you. At least Ian sits on a hard chair with his legs tucked under the kitchen table.

But with Bert in turmoil I have decided that I cannot deprive him of his comfy sofa.

And now he has found a home for the spare den chair that was also destined for the fire. Apparently Dee Mac wants a comfy chair for her polytunnel. She says it's for her dog Herman. Mmmm.

This bonfire is getting smaller by the minute.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

How Burly Are You?

You'll need to be very courageous indeed to try the quiz that I found at Burly Adventurer
You'll have to make up a zip code or they won't let you in. I must have entered the zip code for Lesbos.

Well Blogger That

I cannot even post a comment on my own blog! In case you're still interested Ed the furniture is mine and I have five reasons for wanting to burn it.

  1. It is crap.
  2. Less furniture means easier cleaning. i.e. no sofas to pull out
  3. Less beds is a brilliant reason not to have overnight guests.
  4. I don't want the crap in our new abode.
  5. Everybody likes a bonfire.
Now to try a comment to see if Blogger allows it.

Moving On

I have an urge to pack our life away in preparation for the big move to Spring Hill later this year. My home-making days in this house are over so it doesn't make sense to have all this crap sitting around making my life harder than it need be. After all we all get on great on holiday with about 2% of our usual possessions. The thing is, I just know that as soon as it's been packed and stashed, that is when I'm going to think I need it. You should have seen the amount of boxes that Bert went through last night to find his copy of 'Stalingrad'.

I also have an urge to burn furniture. Is this a bad thing?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

I Used To Be A Feminist...

...but I'm all right now. Recently Zoe remarked, that after having been force fed feminism throughout her childhood, she found it unsettling to hear me say "I feel so guilty. I haven't got anything for Bert's tea."

This evening I'm feeling virtuous as I have given Bert and his friend Clint an excellent supper.. We followed it with home-made gourmet brownies courtesy of Zoe who gave me the mix at Christmas. They were delicious.

Before supper Bert and Clint, who have a combined age of 91, went out searching for tadpoles . Now they are happily sitting in the kitchen discussing the Battle of Stalingrad with reference to Antony Beevor. Aren't men sweet?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Political Thought For The Day

What's Your Political Persuasion?


You Are a "Don't Tread On Me" Libertarian

You distrust the government, are fiercely independent, and don't belong in either party.

Religion and politics should never mix, in your opinion... and you feel opressed by both.

You don't want the government to cramp your self made style. Or anyone else's for that matter.

You're proud to say that you're pro-choice on absolutely everything!


So how does that translate into local politics then? Ian Paisley has been the MP for this constituency for longer than I've had a vote. I always vote and in all that time I've never put the big X beside his name. Because of this I've always had to think of my vote as a means of reducing his majority, never as a means to unseat him as that just isn't going to happen. The voters like him around these parts. And when he finally falls of his perch (he's 79) I reckon they'll continue to like his successor. For a while anyway.

Ian Richard Kyle Paisley was born locally in 1926. Today I had conversations with two different women also born in 1926.

The first - A South Antrim voter did not like me discussing an anti-SF voting strategy nor dissing SF supporters. She took palpitations and claimed 'not to be worth tuppence' after our debate. Memo to self - don't discuss politics with mother again.

The second, a North Antrim voter said she didn't think she'd trouble hersel' voting this year. "Good-oh," says I. "Don't you bother supporting Big Ian and that'll be the same as me having two votes." She laughed heartily and threatened to poke me with her walking stick saying, "I'm away in now to hear if there's any more about the new Pope."

That's what I like. People opening their minds, having a laugh, thinking outside the box and being tolerant of each other. That's what I'd like to be able to vote for.

Our Religious Correspondent


Our Religious Correspondent
Originally uploaded by NellyMoser.
We asked our religious correspondent, Harry de Cat, what his thoughts were on the election of the new German Pope Benedict XVI.

"Ach it's great news, so it is, tae see Ratzie getting in. And sure he's brought the good weather with him."

Raving Shavers

Well boys - do you know what the latest is? Thanks to Beckham, and other nancy boys of that ilk, it seems women are going off your hairy chests n'all.

Philips are in the process of developing an electric razor to take care of all your other fuzzy bits. According to a survey they've carried out eighty per cent of women prefer their men hair-free and nearly half of youse admit to shaving parts of your bodies.

Why do I get the feeling that Marc won't be putting the all-terrain shaver at the top of his Christmas wish list?

Just for the record though I believe than both men and women should be as hairy as yetis if that is what they so desire.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Bert Begs To Differ

I keyed How Good A Wife Am I? into Google and came up with this little test from the Surrendered Wife website. No link as I cannot get those little buggers to work this morning. Blogger must be having one of its hissy fits again. Anyway its usually only Ed and Mikeyboy do quizzes and they are hardly going to want to know how good a wife they are.

So I answered the questions completely honestly and scored 82!

61 and Up
Congratulations!
Your marriage is very intimate and passionate. You found a man you respect, and the two of you have a positive impact on each other. This union is a healthy mix of individuality and togetherness. You're quick to apologize, and he adores you for it.

But when I was telling Bert how lucky he was to have me all he said was,

"I suppose you do think you're a really nice person."
"Indeed I do. Why? What do you think?"
"I think you're horrible."
"Huh! How come you don't get rid of me then?"
"Because I'm just too nice."

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Wheels & Valentine

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I knew inspiration would come from somewhere. Beauteous Colleague's new name is Ursa Minor - because she's got stars in her eyes, she is often as cross as a bear and she's shorter than her older sister Ursa Major. And don't worry folks - Ursa Minor doesn't mind featuring in Nelly's Garden any more than Bert does, as both of them love being the centre of attention.

The other day She Who must Be Obeyed said, "Ursa's got a new vest top. Apparently it cost £95."

There followed a conversation on the insanity of spending £95 on a vest top.

"She said the label was irritating the back of her neck so I said 'Why don't you cut it off then?' She said 'Cut it off! That's the bit I spent 95 quid on!'"
"Which label was it?"
"I can't remember. Anyway I'd never heard of it."


So I had to ask her.

"What about this 95 quid top then?"
"Oh yes. My Wheels & Doll Baby."
"Wheels and who? Never heard of them."
"Everybody's wearing it. Victoria Beckham, Rachel Stevens."
"And Jodie Marsh, I suppose. And Jordan?"
"Oh yes - everybody. The slogan goes 'Clothes to snare a millionaire.'"
"Well I never heard that name until today. I suppose it's a generation gap thing. Have you heard of Robinson Valentine?"
"Nope."

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Paddy's Care Instructions


Paddy In Bed
Originally uploaded by NellyMoser.
Stephen couldn't make out Paddy's care/washing instructions so here they are:

  • 100% natural fibre
  • handwash only
  • do not tumble dry
  • do not use bleach
  • give him a big cuddle after the whole nasty business

Beauteous Colleague Gets A Name Change

This afternoon I informed Beauteous Colleague that I intend to change her Nelly's Garden pseudonym as her current moniker is making her far too full of herself now that she has a new boyfriend* who is constantly telling her how gorgeous she is.

But what shall I call her?

She aspires to chav fashion so she could be a Colleen or a Waynetta.

Gertie has a ring to it but I think she'd object.

Her childhood nickname is rather good - just two letters of her real name transposed and it's deliciously scatological.

I have consulted blogthings
name generators. I will ask her which one she likes best. Then I'll choose the one that I like best.

Her Drag Queen name is: Ursula Uranus
Her Hippie Chick name is: Autumn
Her Irish name is: Grainne O'Byrne
Her Japanese name is: Sukey Kimura
Her Porn Star name is: Albino Kitty
Her Stripper name is: Mystique

I like the first one.

*The handsome young PSNI officer from 'Spots' January 2005

The other weekend this handsome young PSNI officer called to the office.... I think he had been hoping to run into my younger colleague, who is in possession of a tumble of hair as dark as a raven’s wing and with sultry good looks to match. But sadly he had to make do with Nelly who presents a much homelier face.

The Skirly Pool

Since he stopped smoking Bert's appetite has increased and if he doesn't watch out that size 10 nurse's dress will soon be too small.

He's always staring in the fridge and cupboards with a wistful expression on his face. He doesn't really understand how food works. He can't make that leap of imagination that turns ingredients into meals. Many times I've heard him wail,

"There's nothing to eat in this house!"

Yeah - nothing to eat except bacon, onions, fruit, cheese, eggs, cereal, potatoes, rice and tins of fish, beans and tomatoes.

I blame his ma, Pearlie, who was/is notoriously bad in the kitchen. Pearlie hates cooking and one of the joys of her old age is that she doesn't do it any more. In the days when she had to cook her preferred method was to throw something on the pan, set the gas to high, and go off and do something more interesting instead.

Today Bert was pacing around, sighing and looking wistfully into the fridge so I told him I'd make bacon sandwiches. That cheered him up and he headed out to poke at clematis or something. Ten minutes later he returned to find the kitchen filled with a blue reek. "Ha!" he jeered, "I see you belong to the Skirly Pool* of cooking."

Isn't it great when someone tries to slag you and it backfires?

*Pearlie School

It Takes Two

"What Kind of Blogger Are You?" - Results from two quizzes found at Quizilla and Blogthings:

You are a Diary Blogger.

Your blog is your online diary. Sure you've changed a name here or there, but there's enough info there that someone with enough time could figure out who you are. And secretly that thrills you, because secretly you want an agent to discover your blog and offer you a book deal. You aspire to be the next Dooce, only maybe without having to lose your job first.

This is where I got the first one Quiz

You Are a Snarky Blogger!

You've got a razor sharp wit that bloggers are secretly scared of. And that's why they read your posts as often as they can!


And this is where I found the second Quiz

So I suppose I must be a snarky, diary blogger risking my job and longing for a book deal.

"Someone with enough time could figure out who you are" Ha! Someone with 5 seconds to spare could gather enough information here to apply for my birth certificate, a replacement passport and my entire identity. If you ever hear of Nelly Moser the serial killer or international drug smuggler that will be one of the other Nellys. I'll still be here leading a quiet life in Cully and looking to you for an alibi.

Pollyanna Takes A Hike

I have noticed that since I stopped taking the happy pills that my patience has diminished - just a little. I rant a little more, I get bugged a little more. Is this a good thing? I think so.

Consequently there has been less of a Pollyanna feel to Nelly's Garden. It's good to have somewhere to have a bit of a rant occasionally. But never fear, for Nelly is by nature an optimist (don't see the point in pessimism), and the Garden is not to become a bed of thistles, nettles and poison ivy.

But as I said it's good to have somewhere to have a whinge as Bert's ears do get tired.

So the moan of the moment is, naturally, work-related. These are the words I hate to hear. "Can you give me a call in the morning?"

Excuse me? Are you by any chance mistaking me for your mother?

When I was young and lived in the parental home my mother's entire morning was taken up making breakfast, inspecting ears and necks. untangling hair and trying to get the older ones (including me) out of bed. I can hardly believe she kept her sanity throughout that time. I vowed that when I had kids that I wouldn't go through that performance and that's how it worked out. One, maximum, two calls and after that it was up to them. In fact I must confess that by the time they were old enough to shake cornflakes into a bowl I pretty much left them to it. Now some might call this neglect and I'll not deny that but it was mild neglect and it turned them into the resilient, punctual, organised early-risers that they are today.

"Can you give me a call in the morning?"
"Haven't you got an alarm
clock?"
"I never hear it 0r if I do I turn it off."
"Can't you get a
louder one?"
"I'd never hear it. I need someone to come into my room and
give me a shake."

Huh! The only way you're going to get me to do that dear is if I can follow up the shake with a bucket of icy water.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Surely There Must Be Some Mistake?



You May Be a Bit Schizotypal ...
A bit odd and socially isolated.You couldn't care less of what others think. And some of your beliefs are a little weird. Like that time you thought you were Jesus.
Moi?
I think it must have been one of the other Nellys did this test.

We Visit The Meerkats



...and I'm tired. The photograph above was not taken in Belfast Zoo but we did see some very similar looking fellows.

On Wednesday I went to Newry with Vancouver brother to pick up Reuben, who had been staying over with family. VB was tired of driving after having driven to and fro Dingle last week so I got to do it. Next day I got up at 5.30am to drive VB to the City Airport. Of course VB, the big Jessie, got into a tizzy about whether he was actually there on the right day. "Shall I wait?" I asked him. "No. Definitely not," he replied. "If I've got it wrong I'm holing up in a hotel, rearranging my flights and telling nobody." Bon Voyage Eamon. I'm sure you're safely back in Vancouver by now.

His stepson Reuben is staying on for a bit and had an extra day in Norn Iron before travelling to Manchester today to see daughters two and three. To kill his last day I said I'd take him to Belfast. We had no actual plan but I said it had all the usual city attractions, shops, museums, zoo... "Stop right there," Reuben said. "Don't you know I'm a big kid? Let's go to the zoo." So we did.

They're funny places zoos - a mixture of sadness and fun. Not so bad if you're a prairie dog, better than Chipperfield's if you're an elephant and pretty grim if you're a big cat. We avoided the big cats.

I enjoyed seeing the giraffes, the meerkats and the primates. The chimpanzees were shamelessly rude. They were all inside pleasuring themselves and each other. None were outside swinging through their playground. As Reuben said, "The chimps are all in the orgy room." Definitely no place for a an innocent child.

Today is Hannah's birthday. Thinking about you all day long pet.

Hannah Hits 23

Happy Birthday Hannah Bo!

Licka Lamb in the Rock Shop

photograph courtesy of Zoe

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Strange

I don't go in the garage much. There's no room for my car because it is full of PA equipment and horticultural supplies. In the far corner sits an elderly tumble dryer that is rarely used. Today I need it to dry an ultra sensible outfit to wear as I am taking Reuben out for the day. Note to other middle-aged women - when going out in public with the younger generation do not draw attention to yourself by wearing anything remarkable. Of course this does not apply to celebrities. I wish I had some really posh togs or even a Chloe bag - then people who see us out together might think he was my minder as he is so large and menacing looking. Mind you to pull that one off we'd need to be pretty far away from the dented Astra that is still clarried in dusting powder from the time Bonnie & Spide tried to nick it.

But as usual I digress. As I said I don't go in the garage much. Which is why I was rather disturbed to see, draped over a bench, thankfully empty, a nurse's uniform around size 10. Now what's that all about?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Toucan If You Want To. I'm Staying With BT

A few months ago I answered a call from a call centre somewhere in India. Because I was in a very good mood, and had recently been reading (in the Guardian, damn their eyes) that working in an Indian call centre was not much fun, I was particularly pleasant to the caller. I won't make any attempt to describe the caller's accent but it was as heavy and impenetrable as, no doubt, my own accent was to him. The call went something like this.

Good evening. Is that Mr Robert Clematis-Grower?
No it is not.
May I speak with Mr Clematis-Grower?
No. Mr Clematis-Grower prefers me to take his calls when people ring up and try to sell him something. What are you trying to sell him?
Oh no. I am not trying to sell him anything. I just want to tell him about the fantastic telephone service that will save him lots of his money. Tell me, do you rent a line from BT?
Indeed we do - are you ringing from BT?
Oh yes. Now if Mr Clematis-Grower warble, warble, drone, drone....
That sounds very good. Tell me again - are you ringing on behalf of BT?
Oh yes warble, warble, etc. etc.
To tell you the truth I might have had a drink taken. There was some stuff about Bert's date of birth and his mother's maiden name.

I came off the phone feeling a little confused but soon forgot all about it.

Until the letter came in that welcomed Robert Clematis-Grower to Toucan.

I phoned BT and was informed that Toucan had indeed taken over our call provision.

We don't want them to.

So I cancelled it and the nice lady from BT said something about it taking a few weeks to change back.

Then I phoned Toucan and complained that I had been conned. They said they couldn't speak to me because I wasn't Mr Robert Clematis-Grower. I said well that's very funny as Mr Robert Clematis-Grower has never spoken to Toucan in his life and yet you changed his telephone provision on the say so of some eejit called Nelly Moser just because she knew his birthday and his mother's maiden name. And who was drunk at the time. Toucan said they would look into it.

Then they sent us a bill.

So I phoned Toucan and told them it wasn't going to be paid until they had investigated the circumstances surrounding our hook up with them because I believed it was illegal. They said they couldn't talk to me because I wasn't Mr Robert Clematis-Grower. Enraged I called Bert in from the clematis fields and he informed them of his birthday, his mother's maiden name and consented to their receiving verbal abuse, on his behalf, from some bint called Nelly Moser. After hearing my story Toucan promised to look into it.

Then they sent us a bill with an extra £7 tagged on to it and threatened to suspend our service. Too late Toucan - we suspended it first. I got back on the phone again and got talking to a very snippy little shit called Philip who gave me the impression he'd quite like to come over and lift our goods and chattels himself. I couldn't continue the conversation with him because I could feel the steam coming from my ears so I hung up on him and went and revised my Toucan file before phoning back. This time I was speaking to an extremely polite man called Mohammed. But I was still so enraged by Philip that I lost it and started using some very unladylike language. Words I used included shower, bastards, stick, bill and hole - and this, in all likelihood, to a Muslim. Oh cringe, cringe and cringe again. Mohammed said he would note my complaint although not in the exact language I had used if that was OK? I said it was.

When I had calmed myself I phoned Toucan again and spoke to a very nice person called Debbie. To Debbie I made a complaint about Philip and an apology to Mohammed. In return Debbie agreed to send a letter of investigation to the appropriate department. I took note of this.

Then they sent us another bill informing us that our service had been suspended. I ignored it.

The other day a Scottish-sounding woman with a bit of an attitude phoned and asked to speak to Mr Robert Clematis-Grower. I asked her what it was she wanted to sell him. She said nothing, could she speak to him please. I told her she couldn't and asked her if she was from Toucan by any chance. She said she was ringing on behalf of Toucan (inferring that it was none of my business.) I said, "So you'll be ringing about that £64.07 then?" She said, "Who are you? Are you Mrs Clematis-Grower?"

"No I am not, not that it's any concern of yours."
"Well, to whom am I speaking?"
"You are speaking to Mrs Moser," I announced grandly, "And I am the person who got poor Robert into this mess." I proceeded to tell her the whole sorry tale from beginning to end. By the time I'd finished we were bestest chums.

So from now on if anyone rings asking for Mr Robert Clematis-Grower I am going to reply in a high, girly voice, "This is he. How may I help you?" After all I know his date of birth and his mother's maiden name and a lot more besides that even he doesn't know.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Driving Me Crazy

This post is dedicated to my father Seamus, our friend Clint and to all other HGV drivers past and present. They do not have their sorrows to seek. This evening I was reminded again of just how much the drivers of large wagons have to put up with from some of the silly people* on the road. I know my limitations as a driver but one thing I usually do well is pay attention to what's happening up ahead. I believe it's called 'reading the road.'

In the distance I could see two big wagons at a standstill. This is a daily occurence in Cullybackey and it usually happens like this. Cars are often parked/abandoned outside the butcher, the baker the candlestick maker without a thought for other road users. Instead of being tucked tight to the kerb they might sit more than a foot out from it. Of course the butcher, the baker etc. are positioned right on the narrowest part of the street. On the other side there is a narrow pavement, high wall, the usual street furniture and bollards. Along comes Mrs Muggins who isn't paying any attention to the road ahead. Instead she's thinking about making the tea, buying new curtains, her aunt in hospital - anything but the road ahead. She pulls out to pass Mr Arsehole's big Peugeot which is awkwardly parked outside the shops. Tight behind her comes Millie Spide and behind Millie comes White Van Man. Meanwhile Mr Trucker with the right of way is progressing along hoping that no eejit is going to drive into his road. Too late - Mrs Muggins didn't read the road and just kept coming. Now Mr Trucker can't get past her and she can't get past him. Millie Spide is up Mrs Muggins' arse and White Van Man, who wasn't paying attention either because his mobile rang, is right behind Millie. Mr Trucker can't move because there's another wagon behind him and behind that stretches a queue of vehicles. Impasse. Eventually with much manoeuvring White Van Man manages to wiggle backwards out of the way to give Muggins and Millie room to reverse and after ten minutes the traffic is moving again. I looked at the trucker as he passed and his face was a picture of calm. I suppose he'd need to be.

And Ed - was that you I spotted driving up the side of Slemish in a 4x4. Is it not enough that Clarkson and yourself are tearing up the Scottish hillsides, crushing the harebells and several rare varieties of snail? And was that a dead whooper swan I saw caught in your bull bars?

* use your imagination

Tact

How would you like a job where you had to advise people on their personal hygiene?

Problem: The Room
Approach A: Perhaps you ought to freshen your room up, open a window, tidy up a little.
Approach B: This room is stinking! Get it cleaned! Now!

Problem: The Person
Approach A: What a pity you missed work because you were out drinking last night. You've been in bed ever such a long time. I'm sure you'd feel a lot better if you had a nice wee shower.
Approach B: Phew! When did you last have a shower? When?!!! Don't you dare storm off while I'm talking to you!

Problem: Nelly
Approach A: Give her some time off to refill her deep wells of empathy and compassion.
Approach B: Pension her off. She's burnt out.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Time On My Hands

Well, first Acidman did it, and then Kim did it and I thought to myself - they've little to do with their time. Then Ed did it so I thought even though it's a bit blokey (not to mention hokey) I'll do it too.

  • What time is it? 12:15pm - and I've got a day off work.
  • Name as it appears on birth certificate: Mary Majella Byrne
  • Piercing: Two holes in each earlobe all practically closed over. They date from the seventies.
  • Eye color: Hazel. Green in some lights.
  • Place of birth: Antrim, Northern Ireland.
  • Favorite food: Fruit & Nuts, Bacon & Cabbage, Potatoes
  • Ever been to Africa? South Africa several years ago.
  • Favorite clothing? Red pyjama bottoms, tee-shirt, brown leather sandals.
  • Ever been toilet papering? What's that?
  • Have you ever had a speeding ticket? No. But I deserve one.
  • Been in a car accident? Does reversing into immovable objects count?
  • Favorite day of the week: Sunday
  • Favorite restaurant: Mrs Ditty in Dawson City
  • Favorite flower: Aquilegia
  • Favorite sport to watch: None
  • Favorite drink: White wine
  • Favorite fast food restaurant: None
  • What colour is your bedroom carpet? Green
  • How many times did you fail your driver’s test? Three times
  • Favorite perfume: L'Air Du Temps. I'm old-fashioned
  • What do you do most often when you are bored? I'm never bored
  • Bedtime? Around midnight
  • What is your favorite color? Definitely red.
  • How many tattoos do you have? As if!
  • Have you ever run out of petrol? Once in Bert's van and I was about 2 minutes from home
  • What is the last book you read? Urrgh! Do I have to answer that? Oh all right then, seeing as you've twisted my arm, "I Can Make You Thin" by Paul McKenna. Blush.

There. Don’t you all feel better for knowing all that?

To Hell In a Handcart

To mark the start of the week I have decided to add Twenty Major to my links. I've thought long and hard about this for if me ma ever finds out about it she'll definitely think I'm for hell in a handcart. What can I say about this new link other than that he's a dirty mouthed scur of the first order. If you enjoy black humour he's your man. Thanks to Ed for pointing the way.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Sunday Morning


Sunday Morning
Originally uploaded by NellyMoser.
Time: 10.55am
Venue: A bed in each of our three bedrooms
Guilty Parties: Rosie, Paddy and Harry de Cat. And off camera - Bert who is sharing a bed with Rosie.
Nelly's Opinion: A shower of lazy gets.
State of the Bedding: Hairy.

Bury Me Under The Mountain Ash


Vancouver Bro & Rube
Originally uploaded by NellyMoser.
Matty has been in TV heaven this past two days. It started yesterday with the funeral of the Holy Father and then there was Ken and Deirdre's wedding in Coronation Street. Today she had the Charles and Camilla Wedding and the Grand National. I watched the Grand National with her. I was shouting for Clan Royal and Tony McCoy because Tony started his career up the road at the late Billy Rock's place. Matty, being deaf, did not realise that Tony was out of the race until it was over. That is a terrible affliction because it is so hard to keep up with what's going on. Vancouver brother told me that himself, the mother and Rube were in Ditty's of Dawson City the other day. She's well known in there ever since the day I ended up hoking through their bins for my false tooth. And of course coming in there accompanied by two handome fellows had the friendly, chatty one straight over to her. The chatty one tells me ma, "Y'know I buried my husband the other week?" Matty beams up at her and says "Och, that was nice for you."

Poor Matty has been through the mill recently. Last week she had a very horrid procedure (an angiogram) carried out to determine what was causing her frequent angina attacks. The finding was that one of her arteries was 'just fine', another 'not too bad" and a third was 90% blocked. After a hard day at the hospital, which included lots of lifestyle and dietary advice, she returned home starving and requested an Ulster Fry. Which was cooked up and served by the Vancouver brother whose skinny arse, I proposed, should be taken out to the yard and given a damn good kicking.

She was a bit wrecked for a few days afterwards although it didn't stop her going out jaunting with Vancouver brother and his stepson Rube. Matty loves Rube. They met about twenty years ago when Rube was three. She made quite a pet of him and used to carry him around distracting him from his tantrums with stories and silly talk. She'd have a job carrying him now that he's 6'4" and built like a brick shithouse. When Rube stands next to Vancouver brother he makes the bro look like a wimp even though Vancouver bro's just an inch short of six foot.

But to get back to the Papal funeral. I only saw the tiniest bit of it as I was at work. I did like the coffin because it looked so unassuming and simple. I had a yarn about it with Hans from the garage,

"Very plain."
"Aye, but it's big."
"Aye, but the papal vestments and the tall hat..,"
"Wonder what it's made of?"
"Wood from the true cross...?"
"You wooden know."
"You wooden."

Turns out it was cypress. Kerry sister (the carpenter) will have noticed the big dovetail joints. Turns out it goes inside a hermetically sealed zinc coffin which is encased in an outer cedar coffin. Not so simple after all. But still - have to beware the sale of relics ending up on Ebay.

Which brings me to this. I want a simple coffin. No walnut veneers or brass handles thank you very much. I wa
nt an ecopod and, if it can be arranged, a woodland burial. If I must end up in a municipal graveyard then so be it but I'd prefer the corner of a field. Speak to the forestry people and see if the grant Bert gets for the native tree plantation would be affected by placing Nelly, in her deadness, among them. But bear this in mind future heirs - a grave on the plot has to, by law, be brought to the attention of future buyers.

If you can plant a tree on my grave I want it to be a mountain ash. I want none of your fancy Sorbus 'Joseph Rock' or 'vilmornii'. A plain rowan dug out of Drumkeeran moss will do me fine.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Royal Wedding

There's nothing like a royal wedding to add interest to a Saturday morning's mopping and scrubbing. And it was nice to see them all looking so well. Camilla's outfit was beautiful and cunningly disguised her slight dowager hump. It was nice to see that Prince Harry got the dress code right for once but I suspect William must have wound him up about his flies being undone because when the poor lad got off that coach he appeared to be grabbing at his crotch Michael Jackson style.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Snot Fair


The Wean
Originally uploaded by NellyMoser.
...I never get a chance! This was one of Hannah's favourite moans when she was little. Now she is big it seems that she cannot find those guitar chords she wants. Over to you Hannah -

I have trawled the internet for guitar chords for loudon wainwright's father/daughter dialogue. it sounds quite easy to play but i cant figure out what chords they are cos im rubbish. does anyone know how to play it?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Talking Shit

When Bert first started thinking about fixing up the old house he contacted the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to see if a grant might be feasible. In the event he decided not to apply for it as the Executive were in favour of knocking the old place down and building some soulless little box in its place. Eventually he received a letter from them and when I enquired of its contents he said "Basically they're telling me - either shit or get off the pot. " He got off the pot.

Now we need to sell the house we're living in. We thought we had a buyer but he seems reluctant to commit . The other day Bert said to him.

"Either produce a jobbie or climb off the commode."

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Agnes Jane Declines Dessert

I'm from what you'd call a 'big connection'. At the last count I had 51 first cousins. Those cousins have, at the very least, 115 offspring which means my daughters have 115 second cousins.

I heard this recently about a 'big connection' from around Portglenone.

Those McGonigalls are a big connection. Sure you could take a day's shooting at them and there'd still be plenty of them left.

Bert hasn't a big connection. There are only about a half dozen cousins on his father's side and none at all on his mother's side. As a consequence his family kept in touch with their far-out friends. Agnes Jane would have been a far-out friend which means she was probably a third cousin several times removed.

She was a woman who'd never married and had spent all her life on the family farm. To tell the truth she'd never been out much at all. A few church excursions when she was a girl would have been about the height of her jaunting.

When Agnes Jane had to go to hospital it was the first time she'd had any sort of an outing for years. She didn't really mind the hospital as it was sort of interesting and she had all the friends and neighbours coming to see her. One thing she didn't like was the food for she was getting all sorts of things in there that she wasn't used to. One evening Bert's mother and father called to visit her.

"How are ye gettin' on, Agnes Jane?"
"Och not too bad atall. I think I'll be gettin' oot soon and dae ye ken I'll be glad o' it fur ye cudn't ate what they'd gie ye in here."
"Och that's a peety."
"Aye 'tis. They came roon' tae me last nicht and asked me did I want a moose tae ate efter my salad. I says tae them I certainly did not! I says tae them we niver ate meece in Ballymarley yit and I wisnae goin' tae start noo!"


She went on to say, "I seen it too. A wee pink skinned thing on a plate."

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

A Poem by Walt Whitman

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I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contained,

I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condtion,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.


'Song of Myself' (written 1855) pt. 40


Monday, April 04, 2005

Life Goes On

So far I haven't spoken of the death of Pope John Paul II and I won't because what Ed had to say could not be bettered.

But last night Bert commented "I should move a lot of those John Paul clematis this summer."

Protestants!

The aforementioned clematis should be available at the Landscape Centre in Donegore, The Mid-Ulster Garden Centre in Maghera, The Old Mill Garden Centre in Kells and other selected garden centres.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

How Angry Am I?


Grrrr Nelly
Originally uploaded by NellyMoser.
Apparently not very angry at all as the following result indicates.

You Scored a 60 , ranking you as a 5

These people are where most of us are at, the more balanced of us. They may be ambitious and have strong aspirations to be successful in their endeavors in order to satisfy their expectancies as well as provide better for their families, but they are not abusive in the process. They won't walk over family, friends, and co-workers to get ahead or achieve their goals. They might be disappointed in achieving less than a high leadership rank, but they accept it and get on with their lives. As supervisors they would tend to promote harmony. They are prone to normal levels of jealousy and envy when others they know gain status over them in terms of career promotions or having a better car or backyard deck. Some at this level may look down on others, measuring their status against them, but it is usually not overt. Among the fives (perhaps also the fours and even the threes) would be those humans we consider the salt of the earth. These are the Washingtons and Lincolns and the characters frequently played in the classical western motion pictures, as previously described, who take the mantle of leadership and handle it gracefully when it comes their way, but then reject enduring dominance and authority when offered to them, preferring to ride off in the sunset.

And this is the quiz.



Saturday, April 02, 2005

A Pet Day

It was like a summer's day when I awoke this morning. The dogs and I went for a walk by the river and I took lots of photographs of the spring flowers. The bluebells have started to bloom which seems unusual right at the start of April. I have to take Rosie on the lead for part of the walk as she is likely to bolt off after squirrels or rabbits and not return for ages. I stopped to photograph a patch of wood anemones and when I had finished I turned around to see her collar lying on the path and herself scunged away off. She did come back fairly quickly and there were no more escapes.

Bert's got this new ruse to get them back from their hunting adventures. I don't get his logic although he claims it works. What he does is get the shotgun out and fire it. He reckons this frightens them and encourages them to return to safety. Safety? What's safe about Bert with a shotgun?

But to get back to the riverside walk. Of course there were lots of other people out too and the nice weather made them all extra friendly. Everyone was commenting on the beauty of the day and one man said -

"It won't last. I think it's one of those pet days."
A pet day is one beautiful day in a spell of nasty weather.

Beware of the Banties

Bert phoned me at work yesterday morning. He was despondent.

Nelly: "What's up Bert?"
Bert: "Jay was round last night. He says I've got to get those tracks cut before the plasterers come."
Nelly: "Poor you. It's so unfair you having to do that. I bet when Prince Charles was fixing up Clarence House he didn't have to cut tracks."


City Boy came visiting to the site and cheered Bert up a bit. City Boy had never seen Bernie and Bianca before or any bantam for that matter. When they flew up on the sill beside him his eyes popped.

City Boy: "Wow! Are those chickens?"
Bert: "Aye."
City Boy: "Wow! They're so cool. I wish I had chickens. Can I touch them?"
Bert: "God no, they'd ate the face off you."
City Boy: "They bite. That's so cool."


When Bert had finished for the day he was white with brick dust. I needed to borrow his van so grabbed the keys and jumped into it. When I sat down a cloud of dust rose round me. I was wearing a black linen skirt so I jumped back out and said to Bert,

Nelly: "What's my arse look like?"
Bert: "Big."

Friday, April 01, 2005

See! I Told You I Was Normal

You Are 40% Normal
(Somewhat Normal)


While some of your behaviour is quite normal...
Other things you do are downright strange
You've got a little of your freak going on
But you mostly keep your weirdness to yourself



Are You As Normal As Nelly? Try The Quiz