Sunday, October 30, 2005
SCENE: A workplace
PRESENT: Nelly- a cupboard scrubber, Aggie –an observer, Maggie - another observer
Aggie: I don’t know what you’d want to be scrubbing cupboards for on the Sabbath day.
Nelly: I can hardly say to the boss, ‘Sure it was the Sabbath so I left those cupboards for Maisie to do.’
Aggie: But ye shouldn’t be scrubbing cupboards on the Sabbath. Sure that’s not necessary work.
Nelly: Aye but I’m at work. I’m getting paid. It’s a quiet day. I might as well scrub cupboards. What do you think Maggie?
Maggie: Well I’m going to work later.
Nelly: There you are! Maggie’s going to work. She’s going to be selling blouses in the Tower Centre. Is that allowed?
Aggie: Sure that’s OK. Maggie has to work on a Sunday. That’s her job. You shouldn’t be scrubbing cupboards. Ye had six other days to scrub cupboards.
Nelly: But Sunday is a quiet day. Perfect for cupboard scrubbing.
Aggie. Humph! Ye have six other days to scrub cupboards an’ the morrow ye’ll likely be sitting knitting!
Scene: Nelly’s home
PRESENT: Pearlie – Bert’s mother, Hannah – Nelly’s daughter, Nelly (Bert is cleaning windows in the background)
Nelly: God Hannah I never saw Bert cleaning windows before in my life!
Hannah: Aye. He’s keen when he starts.
Nelly: I may enjoy it. He’ll hardly clean any again ‘til 2010 at least.
Pearlie: He probably saw that no one else was going to rise and do it – the cratur.
Nelly: Aye you’re right Pearlie. Everybody else was lying about with their feet on the coffee table doing Soduku and crosswords. Is there any food in this house Hannah?
Hannah: Um. Not really. There’s no cheese or bread, nothing for dinner and the coffee’s nearly done.
Nelly: S’pose we may go to the Mace then.
Pearlie: The Mace?
Nelly: Aye. Do you want anything?
Pearlie (affronted): No indeed I do not. The Mace? On a Sunday? Sure ye have six other days to go shopping in. Why do it on a Sunday?
Hannah: Because we’ll starve if we don’t.
Pearlie was at Church this morning. She goes rarely these days but it was a special Service today to do with the Boy’s and Girl’s Brigades.
Pearlie: Ach it was lovely. There was men there and everything in BB uniforms. If ye’d a went to the Boy’s Brigade instead of them oul Scouts ye might have still been in it and ye might have been a Leader by now.
Bert: I would like to think I’d be a Leader by now if I was in the Boy’s Brigade. I’d look well to still be in the rank and file at 46!
Saturday, October 29, 2005
But what to do if your hair is balding, ginger or just too damn sissy looking?
Here's your answer. Get yourself a Number 1.
And if those three were dogs I'd call them Bouncer, Basher and Dogger. Can you guess which one is my sweet little baby brother?
One of the first steps to achieving 'cool' is to choose a cool hairstyle. Here are some examples. I'll talk you through them so you know what to avoid.
All on the top row are good choices. I'd particularly recommend the 'Ed' (on the left.)
On the second row the 'Reuben' (on the left) would be an acceptable choice. The other two will make you look like a dork.
Third row I'm plumping for the left again. The 'Jack' also known as the 'Matthew Fox'. Mmmmm. Matthew Fox. Double mmmm! Matthew Fox bearing doughnuts.
Fourth row all bad. Be sure to avoid the style on the right, the 'Marc' (surferdude period.)
Bottom row. Only the 'Altar Boy' on the left is acceptable and then only if you are under the age of twelve. The other two? Vile beyond belief. Not even Johnny Depp....
Hope this helps.
Friday, October 28, 2005
That wise old bird Ganching has some useful things to say about the various types of flus going around and I urge you to read her piece. It could save your sanity if not your life.
But if all that occupies your mind is ‘which hairstyle’ then watch this space.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
But it didn’t stop me wondering - what is this indefinable cool? I was not convinced that Ed had the answer. So I turned to the Internet and found my answer. So if you are a young man or woman wondering how to achieve coolness you will find the answer in How To Be Cool: An Essay By Logan Whitehurst
And Ed, you will know what to avoid so that you can remain completely individual and untouched by coolness.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Horse stood on my toe? Oh what a bore. I suppose I'll have to go to A&E now. Is it sore you say? Oh hardly at all. Just when it catches on things.
Although I didn't know it at the time it seems that Bert, Hannah and I were engaged in a drinking competition with the Wee Mannys on Saturday night. Bert informed me that they won by an easy bottle even though their team was a man short. I downloaded the photos today and I couldn't even remember taking the ones of the Wee with his shirt off. But then he's always doing that. After The Toe Pictures I must be mindful of my more delicate reader's sensibilities. But if I ever do put the Wee 'shirt off' pictures on Flickr I shall have to tag them 'notgay' or, quoting the Toaster, I could tag them 'ohnomyclothesfelloff!' But that's enough of that. I must remember that children may be reading this and that some of those children may be mine.
Diana, Mrs The Wee Manny gave me her permission to publish The Toe Pictures. She is very pleased with the progress she has made and has nothing but praise for her surgeon. This despite the fact that he did nothing except decide not to amputate and advise her to eat lots of fruit especially pineapples. So I asked her,
"Did you eat lots of fruit like the doctor said?"
"Oh yes. I drank lots of pressed grape juice in the form of white wine."
Little wonder they won that drinking competition.
But it turns out that the wet room is totally amazing. I’ve never experienced a better shower anywhere. Not even in America. Bert was so right to insist upon it.
And now we have found another use for it. That bloody Harry de Cat has gone back to his bad old ways. The brute has pissed on Hannah’s bed. The wet room has turned out to be the perfect place to launder duvets. We have lashings of hot water and splashes don’t matter. Bert enjoyed it so much he said that he might start taking in washing.
And if Harry de Cat keeps up this pissing lark we might start bringing him in with us to share a shower. He’d like that.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
I love my new house but it made me sick and I'm only just recovering from that. That and the perfidy of British Telecom is my excuse for recent patchy blogging. Although I can't blame BT for not sending my London sis a birthday card.
After tomorrow I've got four days off and I plan to get back to some regular posting. This may well include a brief account of the Drinking Competition between the Mosers and the Wee Mannys.
It may also include an illustrated account of the Siege of Mrs Diana Wee-Manny's chopped off toe. I am going to warn youse in advance that I have obtained some graphic, nay, gross photographs of her toe/toelessness and if anybody would be repulsed/ thrilled to see these please let me know.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Phoned BT this morning and they said the 'engineer' would call between 1pm and 6pm. They lied.
But at least I can now blog from the comfort of the utility room which is the only room at present with a telephone connection.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
It might be a day or two before I get back here. We don't even have a phone connection in our old abode any more.
Now Jude is not from County Antrim. Definitely not. Maybe it’s Armagh, maybe Down but it’s definitely not Antrim. Oh no. So if I should mention in passing a certain Hunt he belongs to it’s definitely not Antrim. OK?
Anyways the normal rules of polite society don’t apply to Jude. He’s a rebel, he’s a renegade and he’s the talk of the country. His parties are legendary. And it says a lot when I tell you that I have never attended one. Bert would not allow it. I have met Jude at parties in other people’s houses and he’s been here a couple of times but going to a party at Jude’s place would be what we Catholics call ‘an occasion of sin.’
Jude’s got a big black stallion he hunts with. I wouldn’t even go in a field with that horse. On hunt mornings Jude says to him, “Well fella, is this the day you’re going to break ol’ Jude’s neck?”
He had the Hunt round for a party one evening. They’re mostly a hard drinking crowd so he thought he’d challenge them a bit. This he did by putting a hefty amount of amphetamine sulphate into the chilli-con-carne. He decided that he’d best not mention it to them. Several members told him afterwards that it was the best party they’d ever been at and that the crack was amazing.
Then there was the barbecue he had one summer. Jude had been having a lot of trouble with a neighbouring farmer who’d let his young ram stray into Jude’s garden on too many occasions. Jude had a word with the farmer but the ram kept straying and Jude was getting really fed up with it. One evening while Jude was entertaining the farmer came round enquiring about the ram as he hadn’t seen it for a couple of days. Jude hadn’t seen it either. Before he left the farmer commented on the delicious smell of roasting meat coming from the barbecue. Jude did not give him an invitation to stay for the barbecued ram.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Today I've liberated my bicycle and chosen a kitchen press and salvaged some ancient coat hooks so that Bert can make us somewhere to hang coats and boiler suits. I've also been hoking through Pearlie's old blanket chest which was packed to capacity. I found a tartan rug, a patchwork quilt and a faux fur rug which I will be able to use. The rest was nasty acrylic blankets and fibreglass curtains in garish stripes. Will they ever come back into fashion?
Sunday, October 16, 2005
We had a great night. I don't know how Zoë managed to avoid getting her photograph taken but she did. She was looking very well too. So that's the dress rehearsal over. Proper housewarming should take place towards the end of this month. Clear your diaries!
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Bert's not one for early rising and neither is Pearlie so I thought I was being very kind letting Bernie and Bianca Bantam out at least two hours before their customary mid-morning release time.
The first indication that this was not entirely to Pearlie's pleasing was when she informed me that I was not opening the door properly. So I learned how to do that and continued to release the banties before 9am.
Then today I was nollered and very nicely told
I'd rather ye didn't let my banties out in the morning.
I'd rather just let them out at their usual time of eleven or
I'd be afraid that the fox would get them if they're out too
I must confess I was a little miffed at this. But then I thought Pearlie has her familiar routines. She doesn't want me to be interfering with them too much. That's fair enough. So sorry Bernie and Bianca. It's back to the long lie-ins.
Friday, October 14, 2005
- In an ideal position (true)
- An heirloom
- A strong grower
- Perfect for training (ahem!)
- One of the earliest and followed by numerous rather loud things (my favourite)
- One of the most popular types
That’s what I get for calling myself after a very popular clematis. Then I tried it with the name my parents gave me. To my dismay the first one that came up was this. So when using my ‘maiden’ name I am
- Sometimes said to be “the most famous man in Ireland.” (Surely some mistake)
- Excited about my Spring recruiting class
- Identifying and exploring the changes inmaternal-infant attachment and infant/toddler development
- Asleep against the ditch (another favourite)*
- A midfielder/defender who lettered for four years at Collins HillHigh School in Lawrenceville
- A recipient of the Hennessy Literary Award 1986 and Bourse LawrenceDurrell de la Ville d'Antibes 1995
*From The Tinker's Wedding
by J. M. Synge
Now I didn't post this to start a row mind. Just a little bit of cynical commentary.
'getting boys off.' Now it seems that their fame has reached the Middle East as Saddam Hussein has hired a Derry Man to defend him..
Something tells me that this will be quite a challenge for Des Doherty. I don't know what the outcome will be for Saddam but surely (more) fame and fortune beckon for Mr Doherty. I wonder that if Bin Laden should ever be nollered if he too will be looking to this wee place for his brief.
I still have the office side of things to dismantle which will be a big job. I'm going to have to do a lot of overdue filing. I think I'll file lots of it in the fireplace and light a match under it.
Last night I gathered up about the last of our household goods and chattels. You know the sort of stuff that ends up in the cupboard under the sink?
[Just been interrupted by a young bloke in a BMW who called to find if the house was still for sale.]
Anyways back to the cupboard under the sinks. I've gathered up the last of gardening gloves, the paint tins and the strange bits of metal that we never did find out what they belonged to. Now it's just the office, the phone and a few items of superfluous furniture to go.
But since we've been gone the foxes have taken over. Alber' said he saw a pair of them down by the polytunnels the other morning and last night, as I was driving up the lane, I saw a large dog fox. I slowed down and he stared at me for a moment before turning and disappearing nonchalantly through the hedge and into a field.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
We had our first row last night. It involved Bert pointing out a serious flaw in my character. I had to admit (to myself) that he was not wrong but I quibbled at a couple of his examples. Anyways being proper grown ups we resolved it and made up but later still I found myself wishing thatI was back in the old house again and even contemplated taking a sleeping bag down and spending one more night here. For it is in the old house that I sit writing (typing) this now.
This morning I realised that I had lived in the old house longer than I lived anywhere else in my life. My wish now is that I will live in the new house for longer again.
And now I must go and take Matty to the hospital to visit her sick sister.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
So that has been my kitchen and scullery out of action for the past three days and one more to go. If it weren’t that Eric was such a pleasant sort of fellow my head would have exploded by now. Mess with my kitchen and you mess with my very soul. And being an honest sort of person I thought I’d share this with Eric.
Y’know Eric I’ll be glad to see the back end of you so I can call my kitchen my own again.
Is that right? Most people whose houses I work in say they get to feeling that I’m one of the family and they say they’re sorry to see me finish the job. They even send me Christmas cards afterwards.
Really? You’ll be getting no Christmas card from us. You can be sure of that.
Aye. Some of them send me Christmas cards for years. I wouldn’t mind if it was only the first year after the job but when they keep on sending them it obliges you to send one back.
I’d not bother myself with that if I were you.
There was this policeman’s house I worked in one year they sent me a card and I was writing them one back and as I’m no good at the writing I had their card sitting beside me to help me with the spelling of their names and then a week later I’m in the Spar and I ran into the policeman and he says, ‘Times must be hard Eric,” and I says, “What d’ye mean?” and he says, “We sent you a card and you sent it straight back to us.” And sure enough when I got home there was the card I wrote for them sitting on my mantelpiece!
I’ll miss Eric’s stories, so many of them unfit to print, but I’m not going to miss my messed up work site kitchen. Roll on Friday.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
But seriously folks sometimes I, like the rest of youse, feel a bit iffy blogging about minor illnesses and falling into holes when there are major disasters occurring elsewhere. But that's what human beings do - get on with the silly business of living no matter what else is going on in the world.
But I admired very much what Nick Park had to say on the loss of all those precious models and artefacts when the Aardman storage warehouse burned down.
Mr Park, who won Oscars for animations such as The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave, said: "Even though it's precious stuff and nostalgic - and it's dreadful news for the company, in the light of other tragedies it's not a big deal."Very nice sense of proportion. Well said.
Firstly – I am still ill. I have given in and ordered antibiotics from the doctor. These I get for the sum of one vial of peewee and around £7 of my hard earned. At 5pm. Oh joy. Cullybackey rush hour – you have no idea how bad that is.
Secondly – I have been trying to pretend that I am not ill and have been working really hard to sort out and completely move out of the old abode. Which is where I am now as we still do not have the phone installed in the new place.
Thirdly – I fell in a hole and was thoroughly discomfited by this event.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
“I’m that vexed at Bertie.”
“Why? What’s he done?”
“Well you know that stuff Mrs Robinson sent me? Well I don’t even know the woman, she’s Rodney’s mother ye know and that day he was at the funeral in Portglenone Mrs Robinson sent Bertie up with that stuff ‘for yer mother’ and seein’ as I’ve niver even met the woman it was very nice of her. Anyways he comes in and he says ‘Here’s some stuff Rodney’s mother sent ye,’ and I says to him “What’s Rodney’s mother doing sending stuff up to me, sure I don’t even know the woman? What is it anyway?’ and he says, ‘It’s a ween of sausage rolls and a boiled cake and some caramel squares.’ Well I’m not that fond of boiled cake but I says I would take it anyway to have something in the house And I says to him to take the sausage rolls away for I’d never eat them just leave me one and one for the wee dog but I says tae leave me the caramel squares for I’m quare and fond of them. Later on I heated up the sausage rolls, not in the microwave mind, in the oven and started on one and the next thing he’s in again and he ate the ither one I had for the wee dog! I didnae finish mine for sausage rolls repeat on me terrible and I put it in the dish for the wee dog but she wudn’t luk at it so I put it outside the door for the cat. The nixt day it was gone and I don’t know whether the wee dog got it or the cat or maybe one of your dogs ate it. Anyways it doesn’t matter about the sausage roll for the next evening he’s in and he says tae me ‘D’ye still have that boiled cake?’ and I says, ‘Aye. Sure I toul ye I didn’t care about boiled cake. Why? D’ye want it?’ and he says he did and away he went with it. And sure I wasn’t really caring for I’m not caring about boiled cake anyway for there’s too much fruit in a boiled cake. Anyways he was in again the next day and I had the caramel squares sitting out on a plate and when I turnt round he was away with them! I’m that vexed at him for Mrs Robinson sent them things up for me and sure I got nane of them. Why can’t he go to the shop and get his own sweet things?”
“Aye. I know. He’s desperate doing that on you.”
“Och don’t you say a word about him for he’s still my wee boy!”
Friday, October 07, 2005
Ed recently drew my attention to this amusement and I thought it would be fun to adapt it so:
He enjoys stalking Bernie & Bianca Bantam though we are slightly worried he might actually kill them. B&B are hardly even as big as crows and they're not nearly as nasty.
But Harry does have one big problem and that is Catticus Finch who is Pearlie's neutered tom. Catticus seemed like a pretty laid back fellow until we saw him around Harry. And I thought Harry was rather tough and macho until he met Catticus. Physically they're well matched and as they haven't even one testicle between them neither can act the smart guy over the other one. But what Catticus has got, that soft old Harry has not, is attitude (or should I say cattitude?)
I was very amused this morning to watch Harry being stalked by the Catticus. How Harry hated it. Every now and again Catticus would pounce on him and send him flying off to hide. Then Catticus would lie down and take this long arrogant langurous stretch as if to say "My mom'll have you with her walking stick and then, if I can be arsed, I'll rip your head off. "
Hopefully this one will run and run.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Hannah and I went out for a walk and I was exhausted before I'd gone two miles. Then we went to Cullybackey Spar, which used to be the Best Spar In The World but has recently changed hands and has already gone downhill. There were not enough experienced people on the tills, which was irritating. On a scale of 0-10 my patience levels were at 1.5 while my narkedness levels were 8.5 and rising.Then on the Dreen Road two bastard lorries were blocking the road while one loaded crap on to another one. At 6:05pm! Cullybackey rush hour for fecks sake you morons. They both had banks of hazard lights going. I don't know why. Maybe it makes them feel important. Maybe it's to discourage enraged menopausal women from trying to lep over them Evel Knievel style. Actually I don't think the Fiesta would be up to that.
But three cheers for me I managed not to be horrible to my darling Hannah and sweet Saint Bertram. Because they are stars. Hannah is being extremely helpful with all the work the move involves and Bert is doing all the things I ask him to. Today he sorted the cistern on the downstairs toilet and cut back the hedge at the bottom of the lane. It was OK for him sailing out on to the road in his new (to him) Mercedes Sprinter but I was taking my life in my hands every time I ventured out in my wee low Fiesta. The speed that country boys drive at is beyond scary.
Good news is that I'm on holiday next week. Lots to do. By the way did youse know that the bastard Rates Agency continues to charge rates on an uninhabited house if it has even one stick of furniture in it? So the pressure is on to empty this gaff as quickly as possible. I wonder if the Queen pays rates? Bet she doesn't and bet His Toniness doesn't either. I'm too sick to research it myself. It's the sort of crazy thing His Edness might know.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Jim used to play in the Silver Dollar in Antrim over 30 years ago. He specialised in traditional Irish and Scottish folk but I think even then his true love was the blues. He was a lovely man and a fine musician.
Adding to my difficulties is that right now Clint’s house still contains the TV, the computer, the washing machine, dishwasher and the phone. I had a very unproductive phone call with BT this morning that ended with me threatening to switch to Toucan! And I think I’ve done myself an injury moving wardrobes.
I still haven’t moved our clothes and I’ve lost my toothbrush and now I’ve got to go to work. So snot fair.
Bert had a wonderful night’s sleep unmolested by Uncle Andy’s ghost, Hannah dreamed she was going out with Jack from ‘Lost’ and I woke up at 3am with Harry de Cat on my face and with a strong urge to get in my car and drive down to my real home.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
It wasn’t as grand a place when Bert’s father’s family bought the house and the land sometime in the 1940s. By the time Bert’s mother married his father and came to live there the family consisted of Bert’s grandfather, his father, and his father’s two brothers Bobby and Andy. It was certainly ‘some handlin’’ for Pearlie taking on the job of looking after four grown men and as she said herself, “Sure nobody would do it nowadays.”
There was no talk of getting your own place then. People only left home to get married or, if times were hard, to find work abroad either in England or America. Eventually Bobby found a woman to take him but Andy did not marry and it was only natural that he should stay at home to help with the farm work. At that time people’s living expenses were not so great and it would have been much more economical to have family members work for their keep than to hire outside labour. Uncle Andy would not have needed much to keep him happy. A shilling or two would have taken him out, bought clothes could be mended, jumpers and socks knitted, darned and worn for years. As long as there was a decent suit for Church and the Lodge nothing more was needed. As for food a bit of extra flour, a few more laying hens and another drill or two of potatoes planted was all that was needed there.
By all accounts Uncle Andy was a crabbit, short-tempered man and he and Bert were often at odds with each other. As Bert grew up he took delight in torturing the poor man. He says he remembers Andy going for him with a pitchfork and his father having to intervene. But Bert’s best ruse ever was to rig Andy’s iron bedstead to the electric fencing unit. Imagine the excited anticipation of Bert as he waited for his uncle to retire for the night knowing that as soon as Andy touched the bed that the volts would go coursing through him. Not enough to harm him but enough to discomfit and annoy him and to bring joy to Bert’s black heart.
Now all those men are gone and only Pearlie and Bert are left.
So when I mentioned to Bert, that until our new beds are delivered, he’d be sleeping in the big brass bed in Uncle Andy’s room he said,
“I can’t sleep in Uncle Andy’s room. That’s the haunted room!”Little wonder Bert’s worried. His conscience may be bothering him. Andy died from heart trouble. Who knows if the stress Bert caused him didn’t hasten his end.
Monday, October 03, 2005
I guess this is it.
We also moved houseplants, nearly all the books and almost all the kitchen stuff.
Still to go - Harry de Cat. And the PC. And our clothes and shoes. Oh yes, and toilet roll. Mustn't forget toilet roll.
Sunday, October 02, 2005
And I’m not the only one who has been making an effort to reduce the tonnage. Dan Tobin (or his clothing) over at Surgical Strikes puts it rather well.
No longer a fatty-fatty-fat-fat, … still a fatty-fat-fat.
And so it is with myself. I’m a fatty-fat-fat moving towards being merely fatty-fat. It’s small steps people, small steps. But they’re rather brisk small steps and lots of them. That’s the way to do it.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Today is the 1st of October and I am officially off my self-imposed alcohol ban. I must confess that I jumped the gun last night. I was what silly girls call 'naughty'. I drank wine, smoked grass, ate a packet of biscuits and threw up. It's a long time since I did any of those things and then I go and do them all at once. How do I feel? Purged. Will I be doing it again any time soon? Biscuits, grass and puking. Definitely not. Wine. Aye.
You know I can't wait to get moved in properly. The new house feels great. It loves us.