Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Last Of Christmas

Christmas Meme

El Capitan tagged me with this. It’s still Christmas so...

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper. This year I didn’t have to buy any as I’d loads left over from last year and I remembered where I’d left it. And I bought hardly any presents.

2. Real tree or artificial?
Real. We have thousands of the buggers growing in the fields. They are starting to get rather big.

3. When do you put up the tree?
Awfully close to Christmas unless some darling person, like Hannah, does it for me.

4. When do you take the tree down?
Holly de Cat is already working on the dismantling. I’ll finish the job next weekend. This weekend I’ve got the young Banjos coming to stay.

5. Do you like eggnog?
It’s vile beyond belief.

6. Favourite gift you received as a child?
My first tricycle.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
No. I’m going to ask Zoë to knit me one for next year.


8. Hardest person to buy for?
Katy. Amazon won’t let me send her present.


9. Easiest person to buy for?
Bert. He’s happy with anything.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
I haven’t sent Christmas cards for more than ten years.


11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
This is a public blog. I loved all my gifts.

12. Favourite Christmas movie?
Don’t have one.


13. When do you start shopping?
In a bad year the week before Christmas

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Yes.

15. Favourite thing to eat at Christmas?
Turkey, stuffing, Brussels sprouts, pudding, trifle, chocolate, mince pies, cake….


16. Clear lights or coloured on the tree?
Coloured


17. Favourite Christmas song?
Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt


18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Home.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s Reindeers?
Not without googling.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
The kitten chewed the angel so it was a star.

21. Open the presents on Christmas Eve or morning?
Christmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
The commercial aspect of Christmas. People buying cruddy crap that nobody sane should want. Shopping frenzies.


23. Do you have Jesus in your heart this Christmas?
No. Too many people have preached at me this year and I’m feeling peeved with God-botherers.


24. What would you like for Christmas?
Exactly the same as
El Capitan. A ball of money to pay off debts. Then I’d live within my means for ever. Swear I would.

I shan’t tag anyone. Only if you feel like it.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Every Picture Tells A Story

Well I think our Christmas blogmeet went well. Zoe's got some pictures for anyone interested in that sort of thing. Although the Beach Octopus*, a lovely girl, seems to have cleverly avoided appearing in any of them.

We fought our way through thick fog and high mountains to get there, some of us travelled from the far Northern regions (of America, London and Manchesterland), some of us got up at 4am that morning and worked the Nixt! Sale and still managed to attend. Some of us even had to bate our way past worried priests and anxious Mammys to make it to Johnny Joe's on time.

To those of you who couldn't make it - of course we talked about you. But it was all good.

*You really had to be there. Unless Katkins is reading?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

St Stephen's Day

We're having Boxing Day dinner at 4pm. And I'm back to work tomorrow so there will be no blogging until Thursday - after the Blogmeet.

So that's McCollam's (Johnny Joe's), Cushion Doll (Cushendall) tomorrow at around 8pm.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

So Me

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Milady the Most Honourable Nelly the Loquacious of Deep Throcking
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title



Found at Lord Edward's manor

Oh! Christmas Tree

Christmas preparations are under way.

Bert was dispatched to the Christmas Tree Fields this morning and returned with a passable specimen. Apparently he was nearly crying when he cut it down. He'd have been crying even harder if he'd had to fork out 20 quid for a shop bought one.

I've just finished decorating it with some hindrance from Holly de Cat. I'm not one of those sophisticates who themes and colour coordinates the tree. Instead I hoke out the thirty years accumulation of decos and smother it so that the finished effect looks like I stood on a tall stepladder and poured tinsel and shiny things out of a bucket.

Meanwhile out at the old homestead Vancouver Brother is busy looking after Ganching and Matty who are both a bit poorly. Ganching has pleurisy and Matty has inflammation of the eye. Get well soon people.

Ganching should be recovered enough to make the Cushion Doll blogmeet but I doubt she'll be dancing on the tables.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Too Good For Cats

This basket looks awesome. It's far too good to waste on that stinking kitten.

If I can just get myself positioned right it will fit me to a tee!

What do you mean it's too small?

See! Told you!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Peformance Art

How did the teaching practice go?

Teaching practice?

You know - that thing you were doing tonight. Teaching that lot about word processing – that thing you’ve been working at for the last week. Did you make a good job of it? Did it go smoothly? Did you get yourself in a big tizzy?

In a big tizzy? I don’t know where you get the idea that any of that stuff matters one tiny little bit. I wasn’t doing Teaching Practice. I was doing Performance Art if you must know. It’s not about things going smoothly and getting it right or anything like that. It’s Art! And as Art it went very well thanks very much for asking!

Nelly's Recipes: No. 1

CHEESE SCONE RECIPE

You will need

  • Neill’s Soda Bread Flour (200g)
  • Butter (50g)
  • Strong cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Buttermilk
  • Salt & Black Pepper
  • Dried mustard or paprika

Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles very fine breadcrumbs. (Tip: cut butter into small pieces for ease of breadcrumbing)

Add salt (go easy), black pepper (good sprinkle and one teaspoon dried mustard or half teaspoon of paprika.

Add at least 50g of grated cheese. You can add up to 100g but bear in mind that extra cheese will give the scones a heavier texture. They’ll still be yummy.

Mix in the beaten egg and enough buttermilk to make firm dough. Shape the dough on a floured surface into a piece about a finger thick (if, like mine, your fingers are fat). You can cut these into eight squarish scones. Place on a greased baking tray. (Tip: If you add too much liquid and your dough turns out a bit soggy just lash it on to a tray without shaping or cutting and call it bread.)

Cook in a fairly hot oven for 10-12 minutes. Longer if baking bread.

Actually I just fling all the ingredients, except the buttermilk, into a Magimix and let it rip. Then I add the buttermilk in dribs and drabs until I get the consistency I want.

(Tip: Scones or bread are ready to come out of the oven if they make a hollow sound when you tap them.)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Worried

Bert has taken Holly de Cat to the vet after I secured an emergency appointment. We think one of the dogs has hurt her. There is nothing obvious on the outside but she vomited blood.

Update: The vet's opinion is that Holly has not been hurt. She thinks she has a stomach infection. She has received an injection, has been given medication and is to be kept hydrated. If she does not improve in the next 24 hours we are to bring her back.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I Am A Domestic Goddess And I Am Drunk

Swisser called in last night, on her way back from the airport, after collecting her son Conor who was back from his first term at Glasgow University.

She said on the phone,
He's malnourished you know. Living on rice and pasta. I was eating a pear while I was talking to him on the phone and he said, 'What are you eating?' and I said 'A pear,' and he said, 'I haven't had a pear for months!'.
So I decided to give myself a wee break from the studying and lesson preparation and do a bit of baking. There's nothing an ould doll like myself enjoys better than cooking for an appreciative (and hungry) young fellow. I baked an apple tart, a pineapple and coconut sponge, cheese scones and apple and cinnamon scones. I knew that Conor would go mad when his mother suggested calling in with us.
Mother! Nellybert is so boring! I want to get home!

There will be cake. Nelly is baking us cake.

Alright then.
When Swisser saw the spread I'd made she said,
Don't leave it all out at once. He won't be able to control himself.
I said,
Let him eat away. Didn't you say he was starving?
He spilled through the door. He is six foot four. He is a man now although a man newly hatched. He ate and he ate and he ate. I packed more into a box and sent them home with him. For his brother. His brother will be lucky to be left a morsel. When he was leaving he said,
Thanks for the cake.
The cheese scone was awesome so I made it again tonight. And I made curried parsnip soup. Apart from doing that I worked all day long at my studies. Then I decided to fall to the drink. Why not?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas Blogmeet

The Guardian just gave away a big Posy Simmonds illustrated poster of an endangered species, i.e. Guardian Readers. This picture represents that famous Guardian Reader, our own dear Ganching. 'Course it looks nothing like her as she'd not be seen dead in leggings. For they don't make leggings in tweed, do they?

Ganching and Sandra and myself and, possibly, the girleens Zoe and Hannah are planning to get together somewhere on the North Antrim Coast on the 27th December. And you can come too - if you think you're hard enough. Get in touch.

And Mr Bolan - you'll be with us in spirit.

Staying Focused

It is said that men and women have very different approaches to work. Women are adept at multitasking while men focus on the task in hand to the exclusion of all others. Far be it from me to suggest that this rule applies to all women and men but it certainly applies to Nellybert.

I’ve been really busy this week as I have the first of three teaching practice sessions this coming Tuesday. I’ve been working on it for over a week now and even took two days off my paid work to get stuck into it. Of course I ended up spending one of those days sailing Matty round the country visiting poorly sisters and so on. When the pressure is on my patience with Matty wears thin. Everything takes forever when she’s involved. If she sees a queue she gets in it – the longer the better. It must be a consequence of having lived through The War. And she keeps wandering off and when I do find her she’s usually squandering our inheritance doing a scratch card. By the time I got her home it was far too dark for a nice brisk sanity-restoring walk and I was just about ready to kill somebody. Bert?

Meanwhile Bert is totally focused on a manly task. Time hangs heavy on his hands during winter and this month he’d already restored his childhood rocking horse and learnt three new things on the clarinet when Bap called round. And Bap saw the staircase. And Bap was very cross indeed.

Bap is in his mid-fifties and I’ve known him forever. Like many of us he was one cool dude in his younger days but now he’s turned into ‘Yer Da’. It must be a consequence of having two 20 something sons who, despite being real cool dudes themselves, need a lot of fatherly advice about keeping their motors in order and so on. Anyway Bap starts on Bert.

Have you never sorted out those banister rails yet? I don’t know how you can live with yourself! I’d not rest until I’d three coats of varnish on those!

Bert laughed it off to Bap’s face. But it was only a day or two later he got stuck in. And he’s been doing it for ever now. And he’s so smug about it. Thinks he’s a helluva fella. But it is all he does. Cares he not a bit for filthy floors, empty grates, starving kittens, menopausal women or Christmas. He just leaps joyously out of bed every morning at around 10 and sands and varnishes and sands and varnishes. Then he plays the clarinet all evening.

And there’s me trying to learn the lesson content, prepare a lesson plan, do laundry, shop, clean, cook, blog, walk the dogs, go to work, mind my Mammy and all the rest of it. Sometimes I really do wish I was a man. Life would be so much simpler.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Goldminers

During the time I worked in Spide City I got to know a few predatory men who’d hang about the place. They weren’t particularly nice characters although you couldn’t have told the hostel residents that – they thought these kind and generous fellows were just great.

The one I knew best was Jim. He had just one special friend in the hostel. She was eighteen, looked and acted younger, and he was at least thirty years older. He’d first met her when she was in the Children’s Home. He’d run a sweet shop quite close to the Home and he befriended the kids. He’d gone up in the world since then and now he made his living at the milder edge of the skin trade – lap dancers, strippers and so on. Since then I heard he’s making sex videos. He was a smart operator and his special friend was very pretty and mildly learning disabled. She was also severely mentally troubled. He’d take her away for the weekend and keep her drugged up. Who knows what happened? She was an adult. She didn’t complain.

Then there was Neville. He dressed like a tramp but he was a successful businessman with a bookie’s shop and a pub. He drove a Mercedes and kept the glove compartment well stocked with cigarettes, cannabis and sweets. His modus operandi was to make friends with the older women first, win their confidence, and then access their younger friends or their daughters. He was known to the police but nobody had ever complained.

I heard the stories about the parties and the young girls he shared with his sleazy friends but there was nothing I could do.

Those guys were pimps – they kept the really young ones for themselves and sent older girls out on the streets. They told them how much they’d earn out there and sure they were only getting money for what they’d give away for free.

You’re sitting on a goldmine girl!

The saddest thing was that the likes of Neville would often get an older girl to chat the newbies into it. He'd provide the lift. But if there was any trouble he'd just drive off and leave the girl or girls stranded. And if those young women were lucky the police found them and brought them back and when that happened it was me or my colleagues who listened to them as they told us the stories of what had happened, how scared they were and how little, if anything, they got for what they did.

Of course it's the current news from Ipswich that has got me thinking about this. Joan Smith of the Guardian has a good perspective on the way the media is dealing with the story.



Stranger Than Fiction


The world's tallest man put his abnormally long arms to use in order to help a pair of dolphins that had swallowed plastic shards. Read the story here.














Bao Xishun, the world's tallest man, pictured above

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Holly

Bert says that if Bonnie doesn't kill Holly they'll end up the bestest of chums.

She is every bit as feisty as I'd hoped. It's fun to watch a tiny little kitten take on a German Shepherd.

They still need supervision though, at least until Holly is a bit bigger and stronger.

That's all for now folks. I have so much work to do right now.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Rooney's Luck

Young Loveheart is always saying that Young Rooney should get out more. The fellow hadn’t been out the door since the night he was mysteriously transported from the Countryman’s Inn, Grove Road, Ballymena to Logan’s Fashion’s near Cloughmills. We thought at the time it might have been an alien abduction. Who knows? What we do know is that Young Rooney lost a couple of hours that night.

And so it came about that Young Loveheart and the rest of the fellows talked Young Rooney into another night out in the Countryman’s. For a while all went well. Then it was time to move on to the next venue. The taxi was but half a mile down the road when Young Loveheart exclaimed, “Where’s Rooney?” Disaster! Rooney had been mislaid. “We can’t leave Rooney in the Countryman’s on his own,” Loveheart protested, “He’ll be killed! Let me out!”

Young Loveheart ran back to the pub and found Young Rooney pleasantly preoccupied in chatting up ‘a bird’ at the bar. In no time at all Young Loveheart was himself chatting up no less than six ‘birds’ and for a while all was well.

But Rooney’s luck did not hold. While Loveheart was otherwise engaged the brother of Rooney’s ‘bird’ took exception to a remark allegedly made by Rooney and commenced to ‘beat him up.’ It’s said (by Young Loveheart) that Rooney then took to his baters and outran his assailant. By the time Loveheart realised what had occurred Rooney was two miles down the road but not quite the length of Logan’s Fashions. Young Loveheart, naturally, had no difficulty in catching up with Rooney him being the tight lad he is.

The rest of the story is shrouded in mystery as the person to whom it was told (Bert) has but a short attention span and does not recall being told how the evening ended. But wouldn’t we all be fortunate to have a friend as mindful (and as fit) as Young Loveheart?

Introducing...


holly 2, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

...Holly de Cat.

Dutch Talk Show Interview (with English Subtitles)

Happy Birthday To My Faraway Girl


Katy & Mary, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

Katy's birthday today.

Hope you're having a good one darling.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Watch Out! There's A Cat-Shaped Space In My Heart That's About To Be Filled

That's it then. Two more of my teeth have been consigned to the rubbish heap. After the extraction (dentist had to kneel on my chest and brace himself to get the blighters out) I went for a brisk walk by the river. And in the dark too - I'm a real hardy hoor. Now I'm suited, booted and teethed to the max for a night out with the Tinkerton crew. If I get round to posting again tonight it will be seriously gin-affected. So I probably won't.

Oh yes - tomorrow we're getting a kitten.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

In Hiding

Do I have all my own teeth? Unfortunately, tragically not. Tonight some of my teeth are still in my mouth but the remainder of them are with the dental technician. Tomorrow I am to lose my rickety bridge and gain four extra teeth on my plate.

I have to keep telling myself that it’s only teeth. Only teeth. And that I still have all my limbs and digits. My facial features are in place and all my other bits and boobs are where they should be. And when the technician (false teeth maker) has done his bit my smile will be intact again.

But I’m really very, very sad about it. Then of course there is having to hide in the house all day. After he nabbed my removable teeth that crazy dentist actually asked me if I’d be going Christmas shopping later.

Crithmath thopping! Are you inthane? With thith witch-hag maw?

I took Paddy for a walk and while I was out I worried about what I’d do if anyone spoke to me. I decided that I’d feign deaf-muteness. Maybe they’d think I was learning disabled? There are plenty of learning disabled people with that are perfectly capable of walking dogs.

I’m using my time hiding away from the world to start preparing my teaching practice lesson for the week before Christmas. Who knew there were so many things you can do with tables? Earlier this evening Bert was out collecting Jamie from the airport and to be on the safe side I’d locked all the doors and turned out most of the lights. Usually I hear cars coming up the lane but being so engrossed in the Tables and Borders toolbar I must have missed this one. First thing I knew was the back door being banged off its hinges. I leapt out of my chair and raced into the darkened kitchen where I crouched beside the fridge. It was ages before that brute Paddy stopped barking and I felt I could return to my studies.

This hellish toothlessness continues until 3.30 tomorrow. Then I’ll be able to say,

All my own teeth? But of course. All bought and paid for.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Dirrrty!

Oh I've been so busy the last few days wrestling and struggling with Mail Merge. For after all, how can I teach it if I don't understand it myself? But I got there in the end - at least I think I did.

Night class tonight and the discussion turned to methods of teaching and the long term effects a harsh teacher can have on a pupil's self-esteem. For that reason I'll never forget Miss Dwyer. Old school she was, taught mathematics, wore a dusty old gown, green with age and, as far as I can remember, appeared to hate humanity and girls in particular.

Nor will I ever forget that dreadful cold afternoon in first year grammar as I sat shivering in the Assembly Hall while Miss Dwyer droned on about some mathematical concept. My nose itched. There was a ripe old booger up there. I did what I had to do. Suddenly her voice rang out!

Nelly Moser! You dirrrty, dirrty girl. Get your finger out of your nose! Now go and wash your hands you dirrrty, dirrrty girl!

I think it took me the best part of twenty years to get over the humiliation. And the mortal blow to my self-esteem all but eroded my interest in maths. Funnily enough though the shame didn't stop me picking my nose. It just taught me to be more discreet.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Wot?

A prize of a 20 foot Christmas tree (winner must collect) to the first person who identifies this picture.

Talking to the Cops

While Bert was wending his way back from his night's camping out in Murlough Bay I was out taking Bonnie and Paddy for a walk. Coincidentally we both got stopped by the traffic police. Mine was off-duty and taking his German Shepherd for a walk and we had a bit of a chat about Bonnie and how she's getting on.

Bert's encounter was with the on-duty variety and just outside Armoy. Firstly he accused Bert of driving through the village faster than the required 30mph. Knowing Bert, this was unlikely. He was more likely to have been driving under the speed limit as over it. However it was no matter as the officer had no means of judging his speed and Bert was, as is advisable, most affable and polite to the officer.

And where are you coming from sir?

Murlough Bay.

Murlough Bay?

Yes. I was camping there last night.

Camping? Do you expect me to believe that?

Yes. I was camping with a couple of friends.

And who are these friends? And where are they now?

It's Marty M..... and Brian I don't know his second name. They're sitting in Ballycastle now at a big fry and if you wait there they'll be along eventually.

Please step outside the van sir....


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Stormy Weather

I took Matty to Ballymena this afternoon as she wanted to buy some reading glasses. She got her second cataract operation earlier in the week and found that her old reading glasses didn't do the job any more. Of course the first thing she wants to do in Sainsburys is buy a scratch card (she's addicted)but, ever the caring daughter, I pulled her out of the queue on the grounds that it was too long and she would tire herself out. I told her I'd stop at another scratch card vending emporioum on the way home.

So we got our bits and pieces and split up at the checkouts. I'd more stuff than Matty so took a bit longer. When I was through I looked about but couldn't see her anywhere. Then I bumped into George, my old colleague from Tinkerton. We chatted for a few moments and I mentioned I was looking for my mother. He said, "Oh mine follows me around," and I looked behind him to see an elderly gentleman smiling benignly whilst leaning on a trolley. "You're lucky," I said, "Mine wanders off."

I found her eventually. She was furtively scraping at a scratch card. The minute my back was turned...

<><><><><><>

I'm home alone tonight as Bert has gone camping with his West Belfast friends.

Camping? In this weather? They were planning to go to Murlough Bay but they must have forgotten to listen to the weather forecast. It's very wet and VERY windy.

Methinks they'll be camping in the Marine Hotel, Ballycastle.