Saturday, December 29, 2007

Oh Poo!

I've got these scales that measure your weight in quarter pounds. For the past few days I've been too scared to use them.

This morning I plucked up my courage, stepped on and found that I'd gained 5 lbs. Oh well. Almost immediately I felt the urge to do poo. Afterwards, for it was a goody, I stepped back on to the scales hopeful of a small weight loss. And found that I'd gained three-quarters of a pound!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

There's Always Somebody Worse Off

Early morning Boxing Day I'm lying in bed listening to four bloody cocks trying to out-crow each other and I'm thinking,

Could anyone be having a harder time trying to have a lie-in than me?

So I got up. A short time afterwards I heard a whooshing, crashing sound and then Katy started to roar and shout...

I shout up the stairs.

What's happened? Are you alright?

Katy answers,

Bloody ceiling's fell on top of me. Top of my head. And I was just having a lovely lie-in. First in months.

Oh my God.

I race up the stairs.

Bert, Bert! Did you hear that? Ceiling's fell on top of Katy and Mark.

Aye. I heared.
Teddy was rather shaken by the incident but, thankfully, unhurt.

Nor was there was damage done to the antique lamp shade, to the ancient beams or to Katy's big curly noggin..

Seven Puddings


The Aftermath, originally uploaded by ZMB.

For dinner we had beef, turkey, lamb and ham. The seven puddings were -

1. Tirimasu (Italian Cookshelf, Penny Stephens) Very popular. None left. Nick said it was pisano because it was a bit rough looking. Made by me. Used madeira cake instead of sponge fingers.

2. Sicilian Orange & Almond Cake (Italian Cookshelf, Penny Stephens) Also made by me. Very yummy. Would recommend the recipe as it was very easy to make.

3. Chocolate and Chestnut Truffle Cake. A River Cottage recipe which was made by Katy. Very rich and very delicious.

4. Mulled Wine Jelly. Made by me. Terribly alcoholic. Needs some work as it didn't set as well as I'd hoped. Recipe from Sunday Times magazine.

5. Apple Tart. Source unknown. Brought by Ploppypants.

6. Christmas Pudding. Shop bought. Brought by Jenny.

7. Pear Sponge. Thrown together by me on Christmas Eve after Bert's Aunt Lizzie requested it for Christmas Day lunch. At centre of culinary disaster when it 'sliped' out off dish on to oven door during cooking. Was sliped back in and served up anyway.

There would have been eight puddings had I remembered to make the 'Special' Brownies. Perhaps the forgetting was God's way of telling me that excess should have some limits.



Tiramisu recipe (Serves 6 incredibly greedy people OR around a dozen folk with six other puddings to fall back on)

Ingredients:
300 g (10 1/2 oz) dark chocolate
400 g (14 oz) mascarpone cheese
150 ml/5 fl oz (2/3 cup) double (heavy) cream, whipped until it just holds its shape
400 ml/14 fl oz black coffee with 50 g (1 3/4 oz) caster (superfine) sugar, cooled
6 tbsp dark rum or brandy
36 sponge fingers (lady-fingers)
about 400 g (14 oz) cocoa powder, to dust

1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Leave the chocolate to cool slightly, then stir it into the mascarpone and cream.

2. Mix the coffee and rum together in a bowl. Dip the sponge fingers (lady-fingers) into the mixture briefly so that they absorb the liquid but do not become soggy.

3. Place 3 sponge fingers on 3 (4?) serving plates.

4. Spoon a layer of the mascarpone and chocolate mixture over the sponge fingers.

5. Place 3 more sponge fingers on top of the mascarpone layer. Spread another layer of mascarpone and chocolate mixture and place 3 more sponge fingers on top.

6. Leave the tiramisu to chill in the refridgerator for at least 1 hour. Dust with a little cocoa powder just before serving.

Cook's Tip: Tiramisu can also be served semi-frozen, like ice cream. Freeze the tiramisu for 2 hours and serve immediately as it defrosts very quickly.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Lunch Conversations

Before we had lunch I spoke to Katy and Hannah about the importance of including Pearlie in the conversation.

She can't hear general conversation any more and she can feel very left out, so speak loudly and clearly and directly towards her when you can. Talk about things she'd be interested in too.

Yeah Ma. We know.


Katy can always be relied upon to keep the craic going. We were all sitting there scoffing away, listening to nice baroque music while Katy is regaling us with stories of summer festivals.

Yeah! They wouldn't let us bring alcohol into the park and we were going to see the Happy Mondays! You can't be sober when it's the Happy Mondays. So Mark and I drank a litre of vodka before we went in. We were completely wankered!


I break in and speak to Bert's Aunt Lizzie,

You do know what 'wankered' means Lizzie?

Oh yes dear. I heard them talking about it on Big Brother.


Sometimes Pearlie's deafness is a blessing.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun

It's just after five am - I awake from some sort of a horrible dream to the noise of the alarm. WTF? Oh yes. Christmas Day. Got to put the turkey on.


It's enough to turn you vegetarian.

To absent friends & family, to all fellow bloggers, to everybody. Have a good one.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Mmmm....

I appear to have gained two pounds and it's not even Christmas yet. I blame Katy. She moved my scales. They are a very delicate instrument y'know.

Despite this setback I still intend to offer six different desserts over the Christmas holidays.

Blogmeet

On Saturday, Hannah and I took the train to Belfast to meet some fellow bloggers. The meeting was so top secret that even Han and I didn’t know who we’d be meeting or where the meeting was. But fate smiled on us and we literally ‘bumped into’ our fellow conspiratorial whisperers at 1pm in S………

After an hour or so one of our number proposed that we regroup in a hostelry near Randalstown! Some might argue (and did) that this inn wasn’t a beagle’s gowl off Tannaghmore and it wasn’t that far away from two of County Antrim’s leading mental hospitals either. There were more than a few of the patients in the R..... I.. enjoying a lovely meal and Christmas day out with their parents/carers.

Owing to the secrecy surrounding this event there are no photographs. Instead here are a couple of snaps of some of the other diners we came across.



Three patients from the Idiot Savant ward at H....... Hospital enjoying a day out. God love them.

Nursing staff from the Idiot Savant ward at H....... Hospital pretending to enjoy themselves whilst out with their charges. It's not an easy job they do. Money wouldn't pay you.

Presents


When I worked in homeless care I was lucky to get a handful of Quality Street at Christmas. Working for CD I got lots of lovely gifts from bosses, colleagues and customers. And a bonus. And lunch with fifty brawny builders.

So that's Christmas started.

Christmas Blogging

There seems to be very little coming through on Google Reader these days so I can only assume that most bloggers are too busy in the run up to Christmas to put pen to paper fingers to keyboards.

I’m as busy as the next blogger but I’ll try to find a little bit of time to blog Christmas on the trot. Or maybe trotters, as the Season is already sapping my dietary will power.

It all started on Friday lunchtime when work came to an end…

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Air Miles

Whilst driving from work the other night I listened to a report stating the pros and cons of eating unseasonal fruit and veg. The programme featured the import of cherries from Chile. It was argued that it was unethical to buy imported cherries in mid-December because of the cost to the environment. The counter argument was that the production of Chilean cherries created much needed employment in Chile. The discussion was ongoing as I pulled into Lidl's carpark. And right enough, there in the fruit and veg department were those very cherries from Chile. They looked nice. I hesitated. Should I buy them? I decided against.

Instead I bought blueberries. From Argentina.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Week Before Christmas

Three years ago:

I was working in Spide City, trying to prevent psychotic pregnant teenagers from killing each other.

She went mental when she discovered that they’d gone without her and taken all the money and cigarettes. So when they got back it was non-stop aggro for about three hours. I think I prevented them from actually getting physical and I also prevented Looby Lou from throwing a television set down the stairs. But it was an exhausting experience. When things happen at work it takes longer to do the paperwork and I did not get out of the building until nearly 5pm.

Two years ago:

Bert decided that dismantling the turf shed was the 'numero uno' thing to do for Christmas 2005.

The house is upside down, it’s Christmas in five minutes and we’ve got lots of people coming. When I was writing my Christmas list of things to do I had ‘dismantle roof of turf shed’ right at the top just before ‘order turkey’ and ‘buy presents’.

Needless to say he never finished the job after the fun part was over. The fun part being when he pulled the shed roof down with the tractor.

One year ago:

I completed my first teaching practice session. Now I'm fully qualified and still working as PA, desk-jockey and Jill-of-all-trades for CD. I hear today he's planning to computerise the site foremen. And who better to train them than Her Nellyness? They can't wait and neither can I.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Orange or Green?

Bert spent today plucking poultry. Clint has been rearing free range turkeys for Christmas and today was their last day on earth. Well they're still here but they're not gobbling any more. He came in this evening and divested himself of his boiler suit. Feathers flew everywhere. I asked him,

Was it awful?

Aye. It was a bit. But I thought...if I'm going to be eating some of those turkeys then I should, at least, give a hand in the killing and getting them ready for the table.


That Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall way of thinking is definitely getting through to somebody.

Did you do any of the killing?

No. I just plucked.

How many were there?

Thirteen turkeys and four roosters.

Roosters. We should have got at least one of ours ready for the pot.

Which one? Mervyn?

No! Not Mervyn. He's too handsome. One of those two that look the same.

Which one? Orange Legs or Green Legs?

Green Legs.

No. Not Green Legs. I like Green Legs.


Seems like we'll not be eating broth for a day or two yet.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I Blame Flann O'Brien

Where have I been? How could I have missed this?
Seems that if it's not on Radio 4 between the hours of 8:30-9am I just don't get to hear about it.
It was Facebook (bless it) that alerted me to this story which I find interesting on several levels.

The first is that it occurred in a hostel and that the cleaners who discovered this man engaged in an act of fornication with his bicycle were "extremely shocked". Psshah! They must have been working in hostels for about five minutes if that shocked them.

Secondly - the hostel manager called the police. Why? What harm was the man doing? Did the bicycle care? I'd say the manager didn't like the cut of the bike-shagger's jib and just wanted him out. You have to wonder, what if Mr Bikeman had been engaged in an act of passion with a blowup doll or a hollowed out pumpkin or Liver a la Portnoy? Would that have been more acceptable? I knew a bloke once who claimed to have shagged a hole in a tree. I wonder where you are now Mr Tony Murray from Antrim town. Last I heard working at the counter in the dole office. Made a change from standing on the other side of it anyway.

Anyways - back to the cycle-rider. It made me think, as I often do,  of the human-bicycle interchange theory expounded in 'The Third Policeman' . Perhaps yerman wanted to speed that process up a bit.

I Had A Dream (I Woke Up Screaming)

Can you guess which fellow blogger I dreamed about last night? Semi-nudity (theirs) was involved.

Clue: I have actually met this blogger.

News (To Me) From The Island Of Ireland

Listening to the radio on the way to work and I hear about the opening of the new Ikea store.
Apparently this is a first for 'The Island of Ireland' as Ikea likes to put it. The police have put special arrangements in place for fear of a repeat of the carnage that took place in Edmonton in February 2005. 

For it seems that vast hordes of Islanders will be streaming towards Ikea today. It is said that the entire Island is abuzz with excitement about the opening of this store.

So why am I only hearing about it today? I missed that Clockwork Orange opening too.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My Eggs

I just got an email from the Egg Banking plc. My immediate thought was,


I'm way too old to be banking my eggs!


On closer inspection it turned out to be one of those banking scams.

So that's OK then.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hannah's Home

The Scene: A living room in Cullybackey. Three dogs and a man are lounging on sofas. The man is playing the clarinet (badly), the dogs are dozing.

Rosie: Sheesh! If he doesn't quit that oul caterwauling soon my ears are going to start bleeding.

Paddy: I like it. Spanish Eyes is a big favourite of mine. Which do you think's the best? The Al Martino version or the Elvis version?

Rosie: Anything other than the Bert version!

Bonnie: I wish Nelly would come home.

Rosie: Give over! You've got Nelly on the brain!

Paddy: Aye! You've got Nellyitis! Anyway if Nelly thought as much of you as you think of her she'd have taken you with her!

Rosie: I heared she was taking Gracie with her.

Bonnie: Shut up.

Paddy: Wheesht! I hear something. It's Nelly's car!

Rosie: Look at that big Bonnie slabber gazing lovingly out the window waiting for Nelly to come in and say, 'How's my big darling girl?'

Bonnie: Shut up.

Paddy: Shit! Rosie, look! It's...is it...It is! Hannah!!!

Rosie: Oh fuck! Shit! Ohmigod! It is. Hannah! I'm going to go mental. I'm going to run round in crazy circles jumping from one sofa to the next! Look at me! I'm doing it!

Paddy: She's baaaacck! It's Hannah! I'm so fucking excited. Woof! Woof!!! WOOOOFFF!

Bonnie: Who's Hannah?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Cock-A-Bloody-Doodle-Doo!


It's not easy getting up on these dark winter mornings. These chaps are a great help in bringing forth Nellybert from the Land of Nod. They start around six am. Anyone got a good chicken broth recipe?

Happy Birthday Katy


Katycurls, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Diet Tips

Today the Yahoo home page features an awesome article on how to drop 10 lbs over Christmas. I read it eagerly hoping to be inspired. But it was crap.

Article gives advice such as don't drink whole milk, cut down on bread, eat undressed salads, drink water or fruit juice instead of soda and eat more slowly.

How are you supposed to lose this awesome 10lbs if you're not taking whole milk, salad dressings, bread or sodas anyway?

Instead I'm going to follow Swisser's advice. After all she is an internationally rated food scientist (for real). Swisser says that conventional calorie reducing diets don't work. She says that you must confuse your body by occasionally having a bit of a splurge to keep the metabolism working speedily. With this excellent and truly inspiring advice in mind I have splurged tonight on a bottle of Pinot Grigio.

Yay! Defying government guide lines and conventional dietary advice in one action. The wine wasn't even red. I'm such a rebel. A drunken rebel.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Smells Like Nellybert

Nowadays it seems that every two-bit celebrity has their own signature scent. Surely, I thought to myself, now that Bert and I are (minor) celebrities in the Norn Iron blogosphere, it is time that we brought out our own perfume. I broached the subject with himself.

D'ye not think it's time we had our own perfume?

Aye. Maybes.

What do you think it should smell of? Does clematis have a smell?

Not really.

It should be a smell associated with us as a couple. What d'ye think?

Definitely should smell of dogs then.

Wet, dirty scunging devil dogs?

Aye.

And wood smoke. Should smell of wood smoke.

And pigs. Definitely pigs.

D'ye think dogs and wood smoke and pig aromas would be good?

Might be a bit minging.

We'd need to liven it up somehow. Something nice and fresh. Zesty.

Ganja?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Chocolate Schmocolate

Weightwise I've reached my main goal. Weightwatchers reckon it should be max 10.5 stone. I reckoned 11.5 would be pretty nifty. So that's where I am. I might go for another 7 lbs but I don't want to get too much lighter as I do have a choice to make between arse and face. And honestly, I think my face has a bit more going for it.

Folks I was 202 lbs when I started this. That was a big weight for a woman standing at 5 foot 2 inches. I was wearing size 20 and edging towards size 22. I was close to 'morbid' obesity. Now I'm just a bit chubby. Yippee! 

Once again I'm going to thank Shauna whose blog and book were a huge inspiration for me. If anybody out there feels the need to get a bit of serious weight off you could do worse than to check her out. But check her out anyway because she is a great blogger and a wonderful human being. 

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Weak End

Excerpt from a spat.

Nelly: You're so weird.

Bert: I know. I must be weird because I'm living with you.


For some reason I am eating chocolate tonight.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Extrapolate

I listen to Radio 4 on my way to work and over the past few weeks there has been a lot of comment about the situation at Northern Rock. This necessitates the bringing on of financial experts to discuss the melt-down/takeover/whatever.

I have noticed that in almost every case the experts use the word 'extrapolate' when explaining what is going on. I have to admit, not being mathematically minded, that the word 'extrapolate' is a new one to me.  But I like the sound of it. I like the way those syllables click off the tongue. I wonder if I can slip it into casual conversation.

But not just yet for I'm not certain what it means. I think, from the context, it must mean something like, 'I haven't actually got the first clue, but going by what I do know, this might be the outcome... or not, as the case may be.'

Dictionary.com* puts it more concisely,

to infer (an unknown) from something that is known; conjecture

But how to work it into casual conversation...?

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*I really must get a dictionary for the office. A proper printed one would be much more authoritative looking that going online. You never know when it might be needed. Only the other week one of the young lads from the building site came in and asked me if I had one. 

No. I'm afraid I don't. Why do you need one?
I need to know the meaning of a word.
Try me. I might know the meaning.
Oestrogen.
Oestrogen? Where'd you get that from?
In a text message. 

So I told him all about it,  explaining its role in female sexual development, menstruation, pregnancy, sex changes and the menopause. There's nobody can say I don't provide a first class support service from this office.
 

Get Gillian Out

I wish I could say that this is unbelievable. But by today's mores it is, unfortunately, all too believable. What ignorant, cruel, Godless people they must be. 

This is a woman who took her talents and her goodwill to a country to help its people and this is her thanks.  

The government must do everything it can to get her out of there as quickly as possible.

Fundamentalism is evil. I believe it is more to be feared in our immediate futures than anything climate change can throw at us.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

One Single Malt To Go

I went to Tescos with Matty last night. I am finding her very hard to control when we're out together. She is very wilful and keeps wandering off. I may have to put her on leading reins.

We were approaching the checkouts in tandem and I positively whizzed my stuff through, all the better to help her with hers. Job done in super quick time, despite the handicap of having a particularly langourous youth at the till, and I looked round for my old mum. She was nowhere to be seen. Now, as you will have noticed, most elderly ladies look the same and at the beginning of my mother's advance into old age I found it difficult to pick her out in a crowd. Over the years I have trained myself to take note of her coat colour, scarf, anything really to help me to pick her out. Last night she was wearing a light grey jacket with a rather nice dusky pink scarf. With that in mind I scanned the aisles once, twice, thrice. Had she slipped past me? Was she buying another scratch card at customer services? No. Scanned the aisles again, not buying a scratch card. I returned to the shop floor. Perhaps she'd collapsed. Any second now I was going to be called over the intercom. Matty would be lying there croaking, 'Get Nelly,' and then the tinny voice would ring out, 'Can Nelly come to Cooked Meats please. Your mother has took not one bit well...'

Twice I did the circuit of that shop going everywhere except the off-licence. On my third go round I decided to look there too in case she'd wandered in there by mistake.

Eventually I found her slipping past the checkout looking furtive. I pretended I wasn't worried at all and it turned out that she'd only returned to the clothing department to buy herself a cardi.

Note to Daughters: That's a good tip about taking note of what the parent is wearing when she becomes indistinguishable from all the other old dears. It's only a matter of time!



All Christmas presents bought except for one bottle of single malt and one bottle of fine wine and as any fule knows - those are the easy ones.

I bought everything online or second hand.

Now does anyone know where I can acquire a second hand upright piano in fair condition?

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Bann Woods

The Good Dog


On Sunday, after the funeral, Bonnie and I went walking through the very lovely Bann Woods. We'd have brought the Dirty Rotten Scunging Devil Dogs with us too, only they'd managed to give Bert the slip. Again. They love it when they see me going out for they know that Bert isn't as vigilant as Nelly. So as they were probably raking through the Loan Hill that left me and the Good Dog to go walking on our own.



The woods are beautiful at this time of year. And quiet too. We didn't see one other soul in an hour's walk.

At Gortgole Road Entrance

I love Nature's litter. I'm like a big kid crunching through piles of Autumn leaves. Not so fond of human litter though. I couldn't help wondering at the selfishness and arrogance of the dirty clart who thought that the entrance to the woods was the perfect place to dump these mattresses. Just let someone else take responsibility for cleaning up your mess, why don't you? Grrr!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Sunday Funeral

Swisser and I attended a funeral in Tannaghmore chapel this morning. The person being buried was both her work colleague and my long time ago school friend.

During the Mass my mind couldn't help wandering to days long past and to the first time I met Gerry. He would have been around two years old and in a pram. Maybe it's only imagination but I couldn't help remembering that even at that early age he seemed incredibly bright and intelligent. He took everything in, missed nothing.

What impressed me most about Gerry when we were young was his great intelligence and wit. What impresses me most today were qualities he had then, and which were referred to today by Father Devlin and many others who knew him, and that was his kindness, his generosity of spirit and his compassion.

So I'm not sad. Instead, I've been thinking all day of how short our lives really are and how important it is to make the most of them. In every way.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Double Chinniness Not So Much


My previous icon picture featured me holding paw to chin in an effort to disguise multiple chinniness.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Raging

I'm raging. 

Christmas shopping. It's like housework. Never actually done. 

And to think, only the other day, I was smugly announcing that I'd nearly finished. It's this online shopping. There you are sitting googling away - the whole world at your fingertips, the only thing causing you grief the sheer amount of choice out there. Sitting there with your list and your credit cards, clicking away, not a care in the world. Pausing momentarily to remember that woeful Christmas Eve that found you sat down on the floor in Dunnes actually weeping. Yay! Shopping in the real world is for idiots.  

Then - Amazon mails to say that the wonderful gift you'd chosen for someone is out of stock. Annoying. But you get something else from the list.  And then you get an email from WorldPay to say that your money has been refunded except for the £2.50 they're trousering for their bother. Rage! I'm out charges and I get nothing for it.

I email the company concerned www.sweetiebag.com and get no reply. I telephone and get an answering machine. Rage!

It's not just the £2.50. That I can live with. It's the fact I never got an email from SweetieBag. How rude!

Eventually I get through to a human and what a human he turns out to be. Basically it's all my fault for failing to mention that Vancouver is in Canada. In my mind's eye I could see him sitting there, feet on the desk, idly playing with his balls, not giving a flying fuck. He could hardly care less the disaffected, useless wanker! I hope the company goes bust. SweetieBag my arse. Pissrag-douchebag more like. Did I mention I was raging?

Looks like I'm going to have to get that present to Canada the old-fashioned way.  

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Road Kill

I grew up beside that stretch of road between Antrim and Ballymena. It was always a busy road. When we were young the old ones called it ‘the line’ and said things like, “You be careful now crossing that line!” We always were. The traffic was always whizzing along, a constant noise in the background that we never actually noticed.

That road claimed many of the family’s cats and dogs. Aunt Mary lost more than one Jack Russell on the line. The first of our dogs called Danny met his end there and Kerry Sister’s lovely Ellie was knocked down and killed one early morning.

Over the years the traffic has steadily increased and now the road is a dual carriageway. It’s strange to think now of my father’s stories of playing ball in the road outside the pub. He told us that cars hardly ever passed during his childhood.

Old Jeremiah told tales of herding cattle up that road in the 1930s. He’d walk them five miles into Ballymena Market then would walk home again with the beasts all sold. He got five shillings for doing that and considered himself well paid.

Driving home from Matty’s this evening I came upon an accident near to Ross’s Factory. I don’t know exactly what had taken place but there were three big dead bullocks at the side of the road. The line is no place for cattle now.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bacon's Excelsior Map of Ireland

Many years ago when the Fair Hill was an open air market I bought Bacon’s Excelsior Map of Ireland from a stallholder. I paid £10 for it and although more than one person told me I'd been robbed, I've never regretted it.

I'm not sure how old it is but it definitely pre-dates partition. Now at that time the public house my father was born in stood as did this one I'm sitting in now. Daddy's birthplace is still a pub. It sits halfway between Antrim and Ballymena on a busy dual carriageway. When my old map was drawn this was not the case. Byrne's public house sat at the side of a cart track. I wonder if they did as much business then.

As the map shows the main route between Antrim and Ballymena in those days went through Kells. You will also see that the railway went through Kells too. It was a busy little village then with at least three textile factories so it probably needed a good rail link. I wish it still had one so I didn't have to drive to work.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blame It On The Underlings Why Doncha?

Twenty-five bloody million? It's stories like this that makes signing and sending off that cheque to the NO2ID defence fund so easy to do.

Revenue and Customs says it does not think the records - names, addresses, date of birth, national insurance numbers and bank accounts - have fallen into the wrong hands.

Does not think? They're a bunch of incompetent bloody arseholes. 

Still want a biometric, bells & whistles, you'll pay a fucking fortune for ID card? Because you've got nothing to hide, have you? (Except your privacy and your bank details) And it will help to defeat terrorism. And you rather fancy living in police state. And it's brilliant the government having control of every single aspect of your life. Means you don't have to take responsibility for anything.  You don't have to worry about a thing. The nice government will do it all for you.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Things I Do At The Weekend That Keep Me From Blogging

Saturday. Get hair cut. Take it from me that hair is awesomely sexy and gorgeous but no photo could do it justice. Hence no photo.

Go to bank and have heart attack when realise that £300 cash has disappeared from bag. Blame Eastern Europeans met on stairs going into Tower Centre and accept that not only am I phenomenonally careless but am racist to boot.

Return to car and discover big fat hole in handbag lining underneath which lurks £300 and various other items thought were lost. Return to bank and transfer cash to Hannah's account in order that she is equipped to pay fines/bribes on her way home.

Go home. Listen to Bert lament that no one calls, no one phones. Tell Bert this because he now so boring, nothing in his head except clarinet, no wonder no one calls.

Next thing Best Poteen Maker in Antrim phones asks if it is convenient to call and string Bert's guitar. Say certainly come on over. Say to Bert - you taking up guitar then? He replies no just want guitar in good order in case anyone comes over that might want to accompany me on clarinet.

Best Poteen Maker arrives. Slag him about appearing on TV programme with Willie Drennan. Says he wants that kept quiet as disaster far as he is concerned. I go out for three mile walk in pouring rain with Bonnie while Best Poteen Maker and Bert play with guitar. Discover that bargain waterproof trousers bought in Lidls are awesome job.

Return home to find that Best Poteen Maker and Bert have been to music shop in Cully and bought entire stock of tin whistles. Discover that Bert far superior player of tin whistle than Best Poteen Maker despite Best Poteen Maker having appeared on TV with Willie Drennan.

Visited next by Young Rooney who convinces Nelly that purchase of £269 iPhone would be very sensible idea.

Sort out some of the contents of Pearlie's cupboards. Find that she has kept all souvenirs from all weddings ever attended. These include several lots of sugared almonds from Big Days since when Bride & Groom are now divorced, grandparents or both. Find that Rosie, normally indiscriminate feeder, draws line at thirty year old sugared almonds.

Later drink bottle of wine with Bert and watch Kevin And Perry Go Large which find poignant and entertaining. Obviously very good bottle of wine.

Sunday gets off to strange start as Bert, Paddy and Rosie get up before Nelly and Bonnie. Clint astonished to find Bert up, mousetraps emptied and pigs fed. Have discussion with Clint and Bert as to proper DEFRA recommended feeding of pigs which would not include household scraps, thirty year old sugared almonds or dead mice.

Have huge clean up of house during which decide not to yap at Bert because his approach to domestic tasks at variance with own. One hour later, one shining downstairs later, realise damn good decision.

Afternoon go to Wee Mannys for delicious Sunday lunch. Two starters, lamb with all trimmings and something called Malva pudding. Wonderfully good afternoon.

Home to Earl Grey, none of your business and a touch of light blogging. Where do weekends go to?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Welcome To The World



Congratulations are due to my boss CD and to Mrs CD on the birth of their first child born yesterday evening.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tragedy

Who could not be affected by the awful tragedy in Omagh? A whole family has been wiped out in one dreadful act and that the act was apparently carried out by the father of the family only increases the horror of it.

For most of us it is unimaginable. Is that why, all today, I’ve been hearing terrible accusations made against the father? It must be because we cannot possibly conceive of any circumstance in which we would deliberately murder the ones we love most of all?

It seems to me that people have become very quick to judge others who have experienced, or are a part of, the loss of children. Obviously the Madeleine McCann disappearance comes to mind here. The most hateful stories have been circulating about the McCanns even though we, the public, do not have the facts, we were not there and we do not know. I think we make little of ourselves by circulating these salacious stories.

Perhaps it’s the fault of today’s ‘celebrity culture’. When people like Barrymore, Winehouse and Spears, not to mention a legion of reality ‘stars’ make a soap opera of their lives, the rest of us think that’s how it should be for anyone who slips into the public consciousness.

The difference, of course, is that Barrymore et al choose to live their lives in public. Those people hit by loss and tragedies do not. You could argue that the McCanns sought publicity after their daughter disappeared. Maybe they were naïve enough to think it would do some good, would help. We certainly disabused them of that notion.

I’m sure there will be people who disagree with me on this. And maybe you’re right and I’m wrong. Maybe the McCanns are evil hoodwinkers and maybe those stories I heard today about the Omagh family are true. But all I’m saying here is that we don’t know. And that by passing on and repeating the nasty stories we are making ourselves smaller, meaner people.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

You Can't Fatten A Thoroughbred

I've had quite enough of WeightWatchers. £5.50 per week just to get weighed is £5.50 I can spend on clothes or fruit or Christmas. WeightWatchers helped to get me on track and provided good motivation but I don't think I need it any more.

So I purchased some electronic scales and weighed myself tonight. I'm one and three-quarter pounds lighter than I was on Monday. But that's me bare naked so they're about the same as the WeightWatcher's weighbridge. I've got a new target now, which is to be lighter than Bert. We're about 12lbs apart at the moment. I'm not sure whether I should approach it by me losing or him gaining. Probably have to be me losing. There's no way I'll get weight on that skinny rake unless....unless I send him in to lodge with Zoe!

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Choice of Beverage


Put the kettle on will you?

In a minute. I'll fill Pearlie's jar first then I'll make us a drink.

OK.


Ten minutes later...

So what d'ye want? Tay or coffee?

Tea.

Rooibos or Earl Grey?

Earl Grey.


Five minutes later...

Tea's brewing. D'ye want a slug of this while we're waiting?


Bert raises tonic wine to mouth and takes a hearty slug.

It's great. D'ye want some?

Honestly Bert. Buckfast! I'm a lady you know. I don't drink tonic wine from the bottle. Now where's that sherry glass?

What A Load Of Junk

Restrictions on television junk food adverts do not properly protect children, say researchers.

A report by Which? magazine concludes that children are still exposed to adverts that promote foods with high sugar, salt and fat content.

So they are proposing a 9pm watershed.

Like junk-fed brats really do go to bed at 9pm. And don't the parents have any say as to what children eat? Or do they pay Child Benefit directly to the kids these days?

"Parents have a role to play in improving their children's diet, but they need some support in exercising that responsibility, and part of that is not subjecting their kids to wall-to-wall junk food advertising before 9pm."

I'd say that the responsibility lies squarely with the parents. And the only support they should need is that food companies and suppliers offer foodstuffs that are wholesome and healthy. It seems a bit crazy that people are being sold food that is such filthy poison that it can only be promoted after a 9pm watershed. So why is it still legal then?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Day Out In Stroke City


Yesterday Zoe and I went on a trip to Derry. We went on a train that smelled of farts. In Derry we walked the walls, took in some history and visited some shops. There are three shops in Derry that are well worth every penny of the train fare - even if you just go in to look.


I really like a proper old-fashioned book shop and Foyle Books is just that. I complimented the proprietor on the delightfulness of his shop and he said,

That's a nice compliment all the way from Scotland!

It's Ballymena actually but I know what you mean.


He was a Surn Ironer himself so I excused the mistake. Once in London an African stopped to ask me directions. I said I couldn't help him as I was from Ireland myself. He said,

Oh what part of Ireland are you from? Dublin or Glasgow?


Another interesting shop, and forgive me - for in my hurry to get inside and look around I didn't note the name, was devoted to quilts and quilting. In my youth I was keen on patchwork and would have thought I was in heaven if I'd had access to such glories. But a part of me thought it was too easy to have such awesome fabrics to hand. I trawled jumble sales and recycled garments to make my quilts.


But by far the best shop was this one.


And here are some of the the treasures to be found within.

I fear I must have lived among the Protestants too long for I only recognised Mother Teresa. Does anyone recognise any of her heavenly chums?

Friday, November 09, 2007

An Announcement

As Hannah is currently hanging out in the fleshpots of Bangkok and will have no time to update her family and the wider world of Yet Another Change of Plan, it falls to me to announce that She Is Not Coming Home For A While Yet.

I'm only a little bit sad. Much more glad for her that her adventure continues. Probably just as well really as she'd have cost Nellybert a fortune in heating bills, spuds and sodas.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Flickr Groups

I got kicked off a pretentious group on Flickr today. Apparently my photograph did not meet their pernickety standards. Has anyone else had any negative experiences with Flickr groups?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Eels! Eels! We Like Lots Of Eels!


Yesterday evening while excavating the freezer I found a bag of frozen eels. Bert was ecstatic for he'd forgotten we still had them. He has only recently discovered the joy of eels and he cannot believe he lived until the ripe old age of 48 before tasting them. Those of you who know him personally will hardly be surprised he took to the Lough Neagh delicacy, as eels, like most of Bert's favourite foods, fall into the category known as 'close to minging'.

That's not to say I don't enjoy a bit of eel myself but in moderation only. I couldn't gorge myself on them nor eat them on consecutive days.

Bert fried a huge panful of them, ate two helpings and set aside a large portion for today's lunch. I merely nibbled on two small pieces.

When I returned from work this evening I asked him,

Did you have a nice day darling?


He answered,

No. I had a terrible day.

Why? What happened?

Well you know the eels I was keeping for lunch? I refried them and they were just perfect. My mouth was watering for them. I was even singing an eely song while I was buttering my sodas and making my tea.

The one that goes, 'Eels! Eels! we like lots of eels!' sung to the air of the Bavarian Drinking Song?

Aye. That one.


What happened? Did you burn them?


Pearlie rang over wanting me for something.


Oh God! Were you over there for ages and burned your eels useless?

No! They were out on the plate waiting to be eaten.


Oh dear.
Not...?

Yes! I came back over and there was the plate sitting where I'd left it. Not an eel in sight. The plate was spotless!


Bonnie...?
Aye! She's the only one big enough to have reached it. Not one solitary eel left....

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

We All Do It

Bloggers can be divided into two groups - those that write about shit i.e. Dan Tobin, Twenty Major and those that are far too nice and ladylike ever to write about such matters - I'm thinking about bloggers such as Ganching and Mr Bolan here. Of course there are bloggers that simply write shit but we won't go there. There are none on my blogroll - maybe on yours?

So it was today that I was thinking about all the euphemisms that are used to describe the act of evacuating one's bowels -such as doing number two, having a poo or taking a dump.

I like the expression 'coiling one down'. What's your favourite?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Best Diet Book Ever

Aaargh! No weight loss this week either. I've stayed the same and that despite trying really hard. I only drank alcohol once, I had hardly any chocolate and I walked every day. I was complaining to Ganching about it and she said,

Sure didn't Shauna spend eight months losing and gaining the same 4 lbs before she got her weight loss back on track. By the way have you got your copy of her book yet?

Thank God! It was in the post when I got back from the weigh in. Just when I needed a bit of inspiration. I wonder did she spend eight months stuck over the same four pounds?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Phone Calls from Abroad

Firstly and secondly from Hannah who may, or may not, be coming home next weekend. If she does that will be great for me for I will see all my girls for Christmas. If she does not then that will be good too for it will mean she is continuing with her adventures in Thailand.

Thirdly from Glen, who we waved goodbye to a fortnight ago. He and his family are starting a new life in Brisbane and, so far, they're getting on just fine.

It's been a busy weekend. Got the car through the MOT on Saturday, which is always nervewracking. And not just having to drive up the ramps at the PSV carwash. I said to the bloke there,

Does anyone ever actually fall in?


He says,

Oh aye. Young girl last week in a Ford Ka, my boy waves at her to go this way, she goes the other way and drops in on the driver's side. Totally jammed in. She couldn't even get out.

I'm sure she was terribly annoyed about it?

Not one bit. She rolled down her window and says, 'I made a right balls-up of that, didn't I?'


I envy such nonchalance.

After making my ride legal again I visited London Sister at Matty's and we went for a bit of a walk. Bumped into and chatted to everyone who lives on Matty's road which took up a bit of time. Then today we went to Swisser's for a delicious tea. It was four course, organic (so she claims) and totally yummy. So here we are, Sunday evening again. Where the hell do weekends go to?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Endangered Species




Hen Harrier or Harry - which would you save?

Only Doing Her Job

I heard a fierce growling noise in the kitchen this morning and went to investigate. There was Holly de Cat with the sweetest, prettiest baby mouse in her slavering jaws. It was still alive. She glared at me defiantly, as if to say, don't you dare take my prize away from me. I hesitated. Holly let the mouse go and it staggered off a few inches before she snatched it up again. She growled and glared at me again. I thought hard about saving that little mouse's life.

Then I wised up and went to work.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Street Violence


I have never heard tell of the Embassy Club in London but I imagine it to be a venue similar to the Flamingo Ballroom of yesteryear, only smelling less of sheep and silage and maybe not as classy.

For didn't Mick Jagger and Engelbert Humperdinck grace Ballymena's Flamingo? I'm sure they've never darkened the doors of the Embassy Club.

And obviously I thoroughly disapprove of violence. The last time I was in a catfight was nearly 40 years ago when Bernadette from Toomebridge attacked me in Paddy Smyth's Bar in Antrim town. I didn't know her from Eve at the time. Apparently it was something to do with her cousin's boyfriend but, thankfully, the bouncer took my part and carried Bernadette roaring down the stairs.

But to return to the Embassy Club in London, the venue where poor Charley from Big Brother was duffed up by this harridan. You couldn't help but admire the ruffian. Skirt up to her arse, the highest of heels, hair trailed back in a Croydon facelift, as orange as a pumpkin (except for the feet) and she's still able to trail Charley down the street without losing her fag! Awesome!
What could that girl do if she was properly dressed in combat gear and a decent pair of army boots? I'd not cross her.

Incidentally the last I heard of Bernadette she was going to jail for the attempted hijacking of a bus. I'm sure the girl from the Embassy Club could have made a better fist of that too.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ups & Downs

I gained one pound this week. The lady at WeightWatchers (a new one to me) said mournfully,

Whatever happened?

I did not say,

I need a good shite.

Instead I pussyfooted around and muttered something about hitting the gin rather hard over the weekend.

Despite this setback I fit into and look damn good in three different skirts that I haven't been able to get into in over four years.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Airport Activity

Bert had a fair bit of airport activity this evening. First he had to deposit the curly one (above) to catch her flight to Stanstead, then a sojourn at the Wee Mannys for an hour before picking up the smiling one (above) and her beau on their way back from Edinburgh.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Dem end Blest (contd.)

Katy said, that during the conference speeches, Bert was doing 'lion yawns'. I don't doubt her for I was nearly nodding off myself. The only thing that kept me awake was my amusement at Violet sitting next to me. She was convinced her mortar board was going to fall off as she walked to the stage. I tried to jolly her along.

And if it does, would that really be so dreadful? You just pick it up, put it back on again and keep going.

But knowing my luck I'll trip and fall on my face when I'm picking it up!

You won't. It's not going to happen.


Little did I know of the potential pratfall that lurked underneath my own Jeff Banks wrap dress!

You see while getting dressed I had pulled a pair of tights from the drawer and I'd noted that they were a bit roomy. But never fear for I'm wearing a long dress and high boots. A slight Nora Battyness around the ankles will never be seen. And then I forgot all about it.

Forgot all about it until I was descending the steps of the stage and embarking on the long walk back to my seat. That's when I felt the whisper of descending nylon at the top of my legs. Grab them and haul them up? Not an option. Instead I grinned even harder, figuring that the intensity of my joyful smile would detract from the appearance of polka dot tights appearing under the hem of my dress and draping inelegantly over the top of my boots.

Thankfully it did not happen, although the tights were mid thigh by the time I took my seat. If you happened to be at that ceremony and you noticed one of the graduates clutching at her dress during the procession - that was me. And the reason I raced to the ladies was not because of the usual reasons - it was to tie a big knot in the waistband of my tights.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dem end Blest


graduation 008, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

I was really looking forward to meeting my old classmates at today's graduation ceremony. After all, the last time I saw them I was thirty five pounds heavier. I was looking forward to their gasps of astonishment at the sight of the new and more streamlined Nelly.

Imagine my horror when I found that I was expected to wear this shapeless yoke. And as if that wasn't bad enough....

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Nosy Neighbours

This evening as we were preparing dinner the phone rang. It always does. It was the farmer up the road. He told Bert he’d seen a van heading into the abandoned house next door and that it was sitting there with the lights off.

I was immediately suspicious. Bert and I had recently chased thieves of the property on two consecutive days. The first time I was out and Bert had heard banging noises. He went down to investigate and found a couple of young fellows in the act of taking lead of the roof. They did a runner when they saw Bert but managed to get a fair bit of the lead. The very next day we were both at home and heard banging again. I went down to see what was going on and there was a middle-aged, fair haired chap on the roof prising the remaining lead off with a crowbar. I asked him,

Does C… know you’re doing that?

Ah. Sure he does now. We’re after doing a job for him.

I don’t think so. C… would have told us if there was someone coming to do work for him.

Well he has us doing this for him. Y’can ask him and he’ll tell you. But anyway we’ll go now. Start the car now Pat!

The other fellow was a small weasel-faced man and he was in a great hurry to get off. The other man came off the roof and was affability itself despite his unnerving grasp on a great big crowbar.

Sure ‘tis a fine day altogether. D’ye have a job yourself?

I never answered him, instead saying,

There were boys here yesterday stealing lead off that roof. And that’s what you’re at too! Now clear away off before I call the police!

Stealing? Not a-tall. Sure I wouldn’t steal a thing. Tell me now d’ye have any oul bits of vans for sale a-tall?

But Pat was revving the motor and keen to be off. And between your man’s crowbar and the chance that Pat would run over me I was starting to feel a bit nervous and wondering where Bert had got himself to.

So being the good citizen I phoned the PSNI, gave the car number and as good a description of the two skitters as I could. Not that it would have done one bit of good for they’ll never be done for it. The police officer didn’t exactly say I was mental tackling them but he did advise against any further behaviour of that sort.

Afterwards Bert and I agreed that it would only be a matter of time before someone came back for the lead they’d left behind.

I noticed yesterday that the roof lead was gone. That’s about ten days it lasted. There is a bit over a front window left. There’s been a dig at it but it’s right at the front of the house and would need to be an evening job.

And wasn’t tonight a great night for the job. Dry and moonlit. Perfect.

Are we going down there to see what’s going on?

Wise up. I’m cooking mince.

But I headed off anyway and he after me, soon ahead of me on those big long legs. First thing I checked was the remaining lead. Still there. Bert’s in the gate and round the back of the house all light-footed in his deck shoes. He’s soon back.

There’s something going down. A van and a car. Some sort of confab going on.

Better leave it alone then. Maybe it’s a drug deal or something.

It’s some sort of a deal.

I was very curious. Lead stealing is one thing but some sort of major crime thing going on next door is far too scary. I approached the boundaries of next door from another angle, hid behind a pine tree and pricked up my ears. Heard absolutely nothing apart from twigs snapping. Took fear and returned to the house and the preparation of meatballs.

So what do you think is going on Bert?

Dunno. Maybe it’s just a couple in for a ride.

You think?

But why two vehicles?

Because that’s what people do when they’re having a sneaky affair. Meet up in separate cars. It’s what they do up in Tobernaveen Forest. Hey Bert! D’ye think next door has become some sort of dogging venue?

Maybe I should just go down there and check it out again.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

This Is The World's Most Flawed Study

Standing in the queue for the weigh-in at Weightwatchers is extremely boring. I have considered bringing a book or a paper but cowardice prevents me. My fellow flab fighters would, I’m sure, take a dim view of that sort of thing. So I fall back on the old favourite – people watching. And to make it more interesting I conducted a quick little observation survey. As I’ve said before a good few of the women who attend Weightwatchers aren’t particularly chunky. I wanted to prove that to myself. My sample consisted of the twenty women who were in the queue in front of me. I excluded the two men as I find it hard to gauge the fatness of men. This was my method: I rated women on a scale of 1-5 thus -

  1. Slim
  2. Curvy
  3. Chubby
  4. Overweight
  5. Fat

The total score was 55 making a mean of 2.75.

I didn’t work out their BMIs because I can’t even figure out my own and I certainly didn’t consider their waist to hip measurement. But even so, I drew the conclusion that people who attend Weightwatchers regularly certainly aren’t that fat. Which must mean it works.

This week I lost 6 lbs. That’s what laying off the booze and the heavy winter trousers does for you! Afterwards I raced off to Lidls as did the fierce looking woman with the pony tail. Since last week she had dyed her hair and dipped herself in Sadolin. She never cracked a smile and I avoided making eye contact.

This post has ben inspired by His Handsomeness.

Happy Birthday London Sister


Happy Birthday our London Sister.

She still has that sweet smile. Better haircut though.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Connections

As others have commented, it is indeed, a small world. This past weekend Bert and I had two ‘dos’ to attend. The first was one of Glen and Mary’s leaving parties. They are going to Brisbane to live and are leaving tomorrow morning. The second do was for Laura who recently turned 21. Her mum, Mrs The Wee Manny, decided to throw a party for all the oldies who’ve watched Laura grow up. Or, to be more accurate, the party was for all the oldies that got totally wasted with Laura’s parents as she was growing up.

So I was socialising with a mixture of current friends (a few), old acquaintances (a few) and people I either hardly know or didn’t know at all. But, this being Norn Iron, there were a few connections.

There was the girl whose company I was in for the first time ever. She is the wife of a guy whose mother stole a lovely boy of me more than thirty years ago. She is also the daughter of a work colleague of the Mary who is emigrating to Australia. As well as all that she is the sister of the famous Dirt Bird who is one of my darling Hannah’s best friends.

The lovely boy who dumped me thirty years ago for Dirt Bird’s sister’s mother-in-law is the father of another lovely boy who is friends with Laura the Wee Manny’s daughter. Laura The Wee Manny’s daughter is going steady with an even lovelier boy in whose grandparent’s pub my aunt lived during the war.

In yet another connection Laura’s very lovely boy is the son of a man with whom my ex-husband worked with and was very friendly with when he lived in Norn Iron.

At one do there was a bloke whose older brother is the secret father of a fellow whose company we were in at the other do.

And then there was this Charlie bloke at Glen’s do whose father owns the pub where, twenty four years ago, the Wee Manny first introduced me to Bert and Mrs The Wee Manny. Incidentally this fellow was in the same class at primary school as Zoe and in the same class as Fresh Blade at grammar school.

And that was just the connections I either knew about or discovered. I wouldn’t doubt that if I’d had time to properly investigate the matter that I or somebody belonging to me was connected to every single person I met on those two evenings.

Seven Dog Years Later


I'm Gorgeous Me, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

Bonnie has been living with us for one year now.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pleasing Pearlie. Not.

Friday

Nelly: What's your ma want for her tea?

Bert: Two boiled eggs.

Nelly: Do you want me to do them?

Bert: No. They have to be perfect.

Saturday

Bert: So she said she wanted a fried egg and a bit of bacon. I cooked it for her perfectly. Just the way she likes it. Crispy bacon, runny yolk. Made her toast, cut the crusts off for her. Brought it over to her, set it own in front of her and said I was going to make us both a cup of tea. Told her I'd sit with her while she was eating.

Nelly: Fair play to you there.

Bert: So I made the tea and brought it into her. She's sitting there glaring at her supper like it was rank poison. I says to her, "Are ye not going to eat that?" She says, "Ye put it on an oul coul plate! Ye might have heated the plate!"

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Well I Have Had Most Of Them (Hypochondriac? Moi?)

NameThatDisease.com
NameThatDisease.com - Test your disease knowledge

Much better than Ed's score.
Moral victory my (glaucomic) eye!
On a level with my fellow disease expert Mudflapgypsy. Perhaps we should open a clinic?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bonnie on Slemish

On the first Sunday of my holiday I suggested to Bert that we take the dogs up Slemish. It was about time I tackled it for I hadn't been up there for nearly twenty years. I was sure it would be a piece of pie now that I'm so fit and everything.

Well. Not really. It was tough enough. I had plenty of puff but it was hard on the legs. At least I wasn't scared of falling off like poor old Bonnie. She was not terribly confident on the steep, clambery bits. I guess she's never been on a mountain before. By the time we got about two-thirds up she was starting to find her feet. We decided it was time for a brief rest and a look at the view. And a photograph.

It was at this point that Paddy and Rosie a.k.a. The Dirty Rotten Scunging Devil Dogs decided it was time to give Nellybert the slip. One minute they were there - the next they were gone. But we thought we'd fall in with them at the top. We didn't.

Slemish might not be hugely high but it's fairly long. Bert went one way, Bonnie and I went another. No rotten dogs.

Well - cut a long story short, we spent hours looking for them. Bert spent most of it walking down the mountain, round the back of it and up the other side. Eventually he located them. But could only grab Paddy. He unceremoniously leashed him up and dragged him down the mountain. I spotted the capture from the foothills. We both hoped Rosie would follow but she didn't.

With Paddy safely jailed in the van and Bert resting up, I took my turn at trying to find Rosie. I was helped by a young man who, was out with his four-year old son. Together we tracked up the far side of Slemish. After about half an hour's walking the child spotted Rosie. She was just sitting there waiting to be rescued. I told the little boy that he was my hero and it was high fives all round.

So that's why only Bonnie got her picture taken on Slemish unless this counts...

Rosie seconds before giving us the slip.

So that's it then. We're never taking those two out together again. Unless they're leashed. But it wasn't all bad. At least little Taylor got to be a hero. And after twenty years I get to go up Slemish twice in one afternoon.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I Blame The Government

Bert was appalled when he heard what I spend on going to Weightwatchers just to get weighed.

£5.50 per week just to stand on a weighbridge! Give me £5.50 a week and I’ll buy scales and weigh you!

But it’s not the same. Knowing I’m going in there motivates me.

And do you know that if you miss a week they make you pay extra. And if you miss a whole bunch of weeks you have to pay the joining fee all over again. That’s about £14.

It takes ages too. You wouldn’t believe the amount of people go to those classes. And some of them even stay for the lecture/talk/whatever. Instead I go to Lidls and stock up on fruit and cottage cheese.

While I’m standing in the queue waiting to pay and waiting to be weighed I watch my fellow Weightwatchers. There is one young woman who has been there since I started. She’s really big and, so far, I haven’t noticed her reducing in size. But she probably has. Three months isn’t very long when your target weight is probably half your starting weight.

There are other people who attend regularly and who aren’t even slightly fat. One woman, who I know slightly, is actually quite thin but for some reason she thinks she needs to be thinner.

There is another woman, not particularly big, who has got big bald patches behind her ears from trailing her hair back into one of those severe facelift pony-tails. Like me she gets weighed and goes to Lidls where I examine her trolley and notice that it’s full of fizzy drinks and crisps. They’re probably not for her. After all the chocolate biscuits in mine are not for me. They are for Bert. I don’t smile at her as she is too scary looking. I think she might have been the sort of girl who used to get into cat-fights at the Flamingo.

Some of the women in the Weightwatchers queue discuss what Weightwatcher biscuits they’ll be buying. I think they’re mental. You wouldn’t catch me eating their overpriced junk. Back in July I ate some of their low fat yogurt and felt quite ill.

This week for the first time ever I actually put on a pound. I was not disheartened. I blamed society and my heavy winter trousers.