Thursday, November 30, 2006
I showed Bert some of the ruder pictures of Ms Spears that had emerged on the internet and he was utterly appalled.
"What is the world coming to," he fumed, "When women belittle themselves so by displaying their all and what they had for breakfast to any passing paparazzi? Where will it end? Truly these are the Last Days."
He was equally outraged when I showed him similarly immodest pictures of Ms Lindsay Lohan, Ms Paris Hilton and Mrs Katie Andre.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
But... I need to brush up on the lingo. What is the correct term these days? Learning disabled? Mentally challenged? Not the full shilling? Ooops! Forget I said that last one.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Bonnie likes butter and she likes butter substitutes. I'm learning not to leave any on the kitchen surfaces. Learning the hard way that is. I forgot to put it all away this morning before I went to work and Bert was wakened once again by the sound of breaking glass and delpht. She ate half a pound of unsalted butter, a quarter tub of Golden Cow spread and half a cottage pie. She smashed a Pyrex dish, my cereal bowl (a particularly nice one) and a lovely old Devonware butter dish. All in all about 16 quids worth of crockery and foodstuffs.
Did I mention that we've decided to keep her? But you knew that was going to happen, didn't you?
Sunday, November 26, 2006
We went to visit the Wee Mannies last night. It’s been ages since I’d been there. Not since the Night of the Green Butter.
I always thought that I’d be mixing with sensible people by the time I was 50.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Thank goodness for Wikipedia.
After my short break.
Wowzie zowzie! I’m feeling at least 10% cooler than I did yesterday. Now that I’ve heard both Richard Hawley and Gogol Bordello.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Recently the Swearing Lady said she was experiencing a crisis of cool. So when I accidentally stumbled upon the NME Cool List 2006 I couldn’t resist giving myself a little test. Out of 50 icons of cool, as decided by NME readers, I found that I only recognised 14 names. And one of those was Keith Richard. Even then there was a few of those whose faces I couldn’t bring to mind. For instance if I were to come home some day and there was Bobby Gillespie sitting on the sofa I wouldn’t know him from Adam. But if we were introduced I’d be able to say, “Oh yes. I know you. You shifted Kate Moss and you’re in some band aren’t you? Name escapes me right now.”
And if I were to come home and there was Liam Gallagher sitting there chatting away to Bert I’d know who he was alright. Only thing is I’d probably get mixed up and call him Noel and then he’d throw a strop and break something.
Then if I were to return home and found Devendra Banhart was sitting cross legged on the coffee table, reeking of patchouli, I’d have to call Bert out into the kitchen and ask, “What’s with Mr Hairy Hippie then?” and he’d go, “That’s Devendra Banhart,” and I’d go “Oh yeah! We saw him on Jools didn’t we?”
But...it feels right. The work is rewarding and the colleagues seem to be a friendly bunch. I met several old friends within minutes of being there. Maybe this is the one I've been waiting for...?
I got a call from the agency while I was there. Would I like to work the weekend in the local psychiatric hospital? Mmmm..let me think about that. Naw.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
D'ye watch that oul thing?
I don't make a point of it. If it's on I'll look at it.
It's no good. But I like to see them doing the trials. D'ye know if they don't pass the trials they get no meat?
Is that right?
Aye. D'ye see that oul fellow there? He's starvin' for the want o' meat. If he doesn't ate something soon I think he'll die. I don't know what took him on it anyway - at his age! The money I suppose.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Today I'm going for an interview in a quarry! Let's hope I'm rugged enough.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
It’s that time of the year again – the mad, fun-packed few weeks when everyone gets in the party spirit. Are you ready?
Not really. I suppose I may make a list.
- The party. I am invited to Tinkerton’s office do which is nice as I don’t think agency workers have a do. Thankfully I will be getting my new teeth just in time for the festivities. Obviously this means I will not be able to afford a new frock.
- The outfit. See above. I shall be sporting some fash gnashers instead.
- The food. Clint has free range turkeys and as he is still squatting in our old house it will be the least he can do. I try not to visit too often in case I find myself making friends with Christmas lunch. And we’ve our own home grown
sprouts and carrots. As for the rest of the food – I don’t get this supermarket shopping frenzy the world goes on. After all, how much food can a person eat in the one day that the shops are closed? Brussels
- Alcohol. Again, how much gin can a person drink in the one day that the offies are closed?
- The presents. I’m really starting to like Zoë’s idea of goats and plastic buckets etc. No wrapping, no clutter, one-stop shopping. Ideal.
- Decorations. Some of these days I’ll stroll out to the plantation and tie a yellow ribbon round an old fir tree. Then I’ll send Bert and his trusty axe out to drag it home for me. Out come the shoeboxes from the attic and on go the ancient decorations from way back when. What could be simpler?
- Christmas cards. I’ll be sending one virtual Chrissie card via the blog. I have to make up for sacrificing that fir tree after all.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Throughout my working career I have often found myself in situations and places where I would never, of my own free will, have chosen to be.
There could be no cheerier way to spend an evening than reminding the elderly that their time is rapidly running out.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Yesterday I was working in the Near At Hand Home for People Filled with Brotherly Love. It is a lovely looking place although rather regimented. I’m there today and tomorrow as well. Is this why I woke up this morning feeling horribly depressed?
The care is good enough, the surroundings are beautiful but I get a sense that the people who work there are just ‘doing a job’. As is normal in these places there is a lot of bitching and cliquery. The usual form of bitching is that other workers don’t pull their weight. One thing about this particular home is that it is certainly rambly enough for people to hide in. And from what I’ve seen so far I think some of them do.
Urrgh! I hate the thought of going in there this evening.
Then there is the clientele. The people that still have their wits about them are mostly lovely and really interesting to talk to, that is, if you get the chance. But the others, the ones in bed who barely know who or where they are, they depress me so. What is the point of that? The hardest thing is to look at the photographs on display taken maybe just a few years before when they were alert, up and about, and alive. Now they’re lying rigid, skeletal, paper-thin, hovering between half-life and the end. These are people who had lives, loves, jobs, hobbies and families they knew.
So – no matter the fineness of the furnishings or the splendour of the surroundings these are such sad places. The up-and-about ones, if they still have their minds, must know that it is only a matter of time before they too are lingering under full-time nursing care. Unless they are lucky enough to, one day, just drop suddenly dead. The ironic thing is that the quality of care and attention to nutrition etc. keeps most living long beyond their natural span.
There is much to be said to be said for the experience of benign neglect in a home of one’s own.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
So how was your class?
Not bad. Tonight was the first night of our peer to peer teaching practice.
What was the class?
Basic Concepts of Information Technology.
Dear God! Sounds damnable. Who took it?
This guy. Know what he did? Only built a computer right in front of us. And made it look easy and fun. How am I going to compete with that when I take my class in word processing?
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Bert asked me today if Swisser had been impressed by his shelf-building skills.
“Which one is Sandra?”, he enquired. “Is she the dissident republican?”
"A plastic surgeon? Really? Is she a nice looking girl herself?”.
“Not really. They come from the same town, that’s all.”
“And she’s going to be a plastic surgeon?”
"Well, if you make a good job of the shelves - she might."
Saturday, November 11, 2006
I wouldn’t say that life with Bonnie is perfect. Take this morning, for instance – I left the house at 9am. I’d let Bonnie out to pee and made sure she had water. Meanwhile the other two dogs were still lazing in bed with Bertie boy.
Bert told me later that he thought the banging and crashing noises was just me doing the housework. For some reason Bert thinks I’m very loud as I go about my housewifely duties. Maybe I am. It’s bad enough having to do 85% of the cleaning, (Bert thinks it’s 50% but he’s wrong, wrong, wrong) without having to tippytoe around like a little creepy mouse.
But when the noise got really extreme he thought he really must look into it immediately. So half an hour later he dragged himself from his hairy bed and went downstairs. What a sight! All over the floor were smashed plates, shattered glasses, Oatabix (yuk!), full tins of dog food with teeth marks in them and pretty much everything else that Slutty Moser hadn’t cleared up from the previous night. That’ll learn me.
We don’t know whether Bonnie actually jumped on top of the worktop and pranced around or if she just stood on her hind legs and swept it all, Skippy-style, on to the floor with her paws. But it seems she’s not one for bland flavours as she never lipped the Oatabix (yuk!) but had a good chew at the cayenne pepper.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Bonnie has been with us for 21 days now. It looks like Toast might have been right after all.
I did contact the Council dog warden but she had not been reported missing. I put up posters in the village; it was over a week before there was any calls. The response did not come from her previous owners but from concerned neighbours. Names were neither requested or given.
This is what I learned. Bonnie had spent her whole life chained in a shed. When her owner went into hospital his wife let Bonnie loose and whether this was by accident or deliberately I don’t know. The neighbours took her in and bathed and fed her for she was filthy and starving. She stayed with them for about a week getting on well with everyone including heir own dog. But then the two dogs got away and ended up scunging on our road.
Which is when we came in. The neighbour told us that his dog made it home safely. He was happy to let us take responsibility for Bonnie. He said he’d prefer if she didn’t return to her original owners and that he was too close.
Bonnie was understandably unsettled for the first few days that she was here. She’s more at ease now. She had a bit of an upset stomach for about a week. Maybe she wasn’t used to regular feeding. I took her to my vet for a check up and had her checked for chipping. She’s unregistered. I’ve bought a licence and wormed her. The vet has pronounced her underweight but otherwise healthy.
We’re still looking for a permanent home for Bonnie. Maybe this is it.
Meanwhile Bonnie’s training regime has begun.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
My Short-lived Career in Gambling
We’re back in 1976, back in the Globe Bar, where Nelly is an innocent young barmaid.
Bryan Street was different in those days. Most of one side of the street was taken up with McAllister’s bottling depot. The bookmaker’s on the other side of the street is the only business still there from that time. There was another pub beside the bookie’s and many of the punters would flit between the two bars. It wasn’t long before a few of the bookie’s regulars were persuading me to have a flutter. At first I was very reluctant for I thought gambling was a fool’s game. But Jim and Billy persisted and eventually I allowed myself to be persuaded. Don’t ask me to recall the racecourse for I haven’t a notion. But well I remember the name of the horse. It was called Love Story. That pair blinded me with science as to the odds and all the rest of it but it was the name that pulled me in for I was an eedjit for the romance in those days. I placed a fifty pence bet on the horse. Fifty pence! Let me tell you that fifty pence was the equivalent of a fiver then and was a modest, yet respectable wager. And the damn horse romped home and I won a couple of quid. Easy money – I thought.
Next day Billy and Jim were on at me again. Picked me another sure winner. I placed fifty pence and – lost it! I was raging. Swore I was finished with horse racing. Then the following Monday they tell me that Love Story is running again and I should place a bet. He’s the favourite. I refused. He coudn’t win twice in a matter of days. They cajoled. I dug my heels in. The horse was probably pounded with exhaustion. They gave up on trying to get me to relent. And of course Love Story won the bloody race. When they told me I vowed to myself that I’d never bet on a horse again. And I never have. Not even on the Grand National.
Venue: The Slemish Bar,
In 1976 I was a single mother to Zoe and I was working as a barmaid in the Globe Bar in
He married that blade but it wasn’t a happy pairing. Then he went on to become a social worker and married again. He still lives in Ballymena but I haven’t set eyes on him for nearly 20 years.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
When Bert was painting the new bookshelves he upended a sofa to give himself more room to work. Harry de Cat, with his liking for lofty positions, perched himself on top of it. He cast a sharp shadow on the wall behind and I thought it would make a good picture. I didn’t know that I was taking the last picture of Harry that I’d ever take. And, last night, when Bert fed Harry he didn’t know that would be the last meal he’d ever give him.
*Or the 102nd use 0f a dead cat
Monday, November 06, 2006
Have you ever? My yessirs are in red. This meme found at anyresemblance.
01. Bought everyone in the pub a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you’ and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern/Southern Lights (Northern)
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s nappy
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Got drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Visited all 7 states and territories in
40. Taken care of someone who was drunk
41. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
42. Watched wild whales
43. Stolen a sign
44. Backpacked in
45. Taken a road-trip
46. Gone rock climbing
48. walk on the beach
49. Gone sky diving
50. Taken a train through
51. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
52. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table, and had a meal with them
53. Milked a cow
54. Alphabetized your CDs – did it with books
55. Sung karaoke
56. Lounged around in bed all day
57. Gone scuba diving
58. Kissed in the rain
59. Gone to a drive-in theatre
60. Started a business
61. Taken a martial arts class
62. Been in a movie
63. Crashed a party
64. Gone without food for 5 days
65. Gotten a tattoo
66. Got flowers for no reason
67. Performed on stage
68. Been to
69. Recorded music
70. Eaten shark
71. Buried one or/both of your parents
72. Been on a cruise ship
73. Spoken more than one language fluently
74. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
75. Walked the
76. Had plastic surgery
77. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
78. Wrote articles for a large publication
77. Lost over 50 kilos
79. Piloted an airplane
80. Petted a stingray
81. Broken someone’s heart
82. Broken a bone
83. Eaten sushi
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
86. Skipped all your school reunions
87. Shaved your head
88. Caused a car accident
89. Pretended to be "sick"
90. Surfed in the ocean
91. Saved someone's life
93. Been in the room while someone is giving birth
95. Adopted a child
96. Been caught daydreaming
97. Been to Ayers Rock
98. Called off a wedding engagement
99. Donated your blood
100. Become a follower of Jesus Christ
Sunday, November 05, 2006
He is the kindest person and lives to help people out. It is a form of attention seeking and can be quite exhausting for the person or persons he wants to help. He's repetitive and obsessive and his language is appalling - and he gives it all out in a thick Glasgow accent.
So I took him for a walk to the Ecos park. For his pleasure, my own and to give the staff on duty some respite. He had his task which was to manage Bonnie on her lead. We all had a lovely time, took plenty of bread to feed the swans and ducks and of course the SLM had to engage everyone we met in conversation. This chat mostly went the way of him reassuring them that Bonnie 'wouldn't touch them' but if anything I'd say his appearance unnerved our fellow walkers more than the big shaggy dog.
I wish I'd had my camera with me when he was feeding the swans for his grizzled old face was a picture of pleasure and concentration. The swans were hissing and beating their wings warning Bonnie and me not to get too near but they were tolerant enough with the SLM who was dishing out the bread and stale cake.
On our way back to the car he said,
"I enjoyed that - giving bread to the ducks. But they fucking swans are fucking, scary cunts."
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Last night the brother, the sister, the sister’s husband, myself, the oldest and the youngest daughters and their fellows had a bit of a night out in Cushendall.
There was a bit of a traditional session going on and the main players were what Bert described as, ‘good ol’ boys’. They weren’t that sort of up-their-own-arses crowd that wouldn’t welcome a strange face joining in. The brother done a bit of singing and so did the sister. The brother-in-law did a wee number in his native Irish which seemed to please. Bert said later that he might bring his whistle another time. He was particularly pleased that the banjo player had referred to him as ‘a young fellow from Cullybackey.” Those Cushendall folk don’t be long about finding out where you’re from and the rest of your business.
Friday, November 03, 2006
However there is just one person called Nelly Moser - one person and several million clematis.
I was surprised to find that there were only 396 people with my maiden name in the whole of the USA for there must be 1000s of us in Ireland. When I was a young girl that would read anything I was always coming across my namesakes in old & crumbly novels set in Ireland.
We were never the heroine though. We were usually the drunken old cook or some poor old shawlie who lived in a one-room hovel with ten half-naked children and a pig. We were always saying alack & begorrah and throwing our aprons over our heads and wailing. Or we might be found sleeping (it off) in a ditch*.
HowManyOfMe copied shamelessly from Awesome Ed the Unique
* 'The Tinker's Wedding' by J. M. Synge
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
I’m really gutted that no-one has tagged me to do this.
Four things which may or may not be true about me.
a) Four jobs I have had in my life.
· Market Trader
· Clerical Officer
b) Four movies I would watch over and over again
· Flash Dance
c) Four places I have lived.
d) Four TV shows I love to watch
· The Simpsons
· The X-Factor
· Big Brother
e) Four places I have visited
f) Four websites I visit daily
g) Four places I would like to be right now
h) Four of my favourite foods
I) Four bloggers I would like to respond
There is one untruth per section
Those last extractions were heartbreaking for me and it was months before I'd even let Bert see me without the dental plate. I said to my dentist that I'd be prepared to pay more for something decent but he pooh-poohed this idea and informed me that the NHS' finest would be just the ticket. All I can say to that is - his arse in parsley!
Now he's gone over into full time orthodontistry and has left my treatment in the hands of another charlatan. And since then this bloody plate has broken about six times. And I cannot get it replaced until December!
Each time I repair it (with Loctite) it gets ever more ill-fitting. Let me describe my latest torture. The part that breaks off has a little gold hook that is meant to attach to one of my real teeth and hold the contraption in place. But the frequent repairs mean that this hook is now sitting away from that tooth. It's the tiniest bit off but you know how the mouth is like the Tardis and everything in it feels fathoms deep and miles wide. Now this hook sometimes 'cleeks' on the inside of my mouth. It's not a problem if I've got my usual glum expression going but if I smile one of those social, welcoming smiles the next thing I know I've hooked the inside of my cheek. So imagine the scene. There's Mrs Moser in a work stuation say, just for example, in a solicitor's office doing reception. Ding! Ding! In walks a client and I give him a lovely welcoming smile. Next thing the hook has caught the inside of my mouth and my lovely smile has turned into a contemptuous sneer.
I haven't my sorrows to seek, have I?