Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy 50th Birthday Vancouver Bro


eamon2, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

Here is the younger brother sporting the high-waisted look. I was personally responsible for viciously yanking those trousers up which is probably why he is looking so woeful. He speaks in high-pitched tones to this very day!

Have a great birthday Eamon. Hope to see you soon.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"emotionally I don't always feel like an apple"

So says this young woman who lost 16 stone, bringing her weight down to around 22 stone. Sadly this great weight loss led to her Disability Living Allowance being withdrawn and now she has to manage on basic Income Support with added Incapacity Benefit (for her depression). That's £600 per month. She can't afford Weight Watchers grub any more and snacks on 4 packets of crisps at a time. She says it snot fair and she's already put on three stone since receiving the NHS operation that helped her to lose weight.

The original source for this story is the ghastly Daily Mail but still...

Laura Ripley has to snack on cheap choccy bars and Space Invaders crisps now that the expensive Weight Watchers cereal bars and fat reduced crisps are unaffordable. She knows apples are cheaper but still...

Just another hundred quid a month would put her life to rights, she says. She'd be able to stick to her diet and be eligible for the loose skin trim op that she'd get on the NHS. Then she'll be able to get a job and begin contributing to society.

Cheers anyway Missus for one of the best lines I've ever heard. I have every sympathy. Emotionally, I don't always feel like an apple either.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Matty's 83rd


'Twas Matty's eighty-third birthday today. I called on her after work. You couldn't see the ornaments on the mantelpiece a-tall for all the cards. She'd had company all day. The phone hadn't stopped ringing. The bould Hannah got there before me and she was in fine Granny-lovin' form. She didn't stop at Matty either as she made a very fine impression on the visitors and carried on the Old-Girl Charming on Pearlie when we got home.

I'm told that Hannah makes awesome panada. I'll not be trying it. Not for a while anyway.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rare Books, Even Rarer Prices

Matty and I went to Randalstown's very fine charity shop today. I have to say it is one of my 'finest kind' charity shops, it being independent and unthemed. You just wouldn't know what you might find there. The last time we went I bought Matty a piece of SylVac pottery. It was far from being a bargain but Matty liked it, so what the hell. It's all for a good cause, the education of under privileged children somewhere in Africa, I'm told.

Since my last visit they have expanded the book section and I made straight for the shelves containing old hardback books. You never know what gems you'll turn up among old or out of print books. But did I get a shock. Someone seems to think that just because a book is over thirty years old it must be very valuable. The first book I opened was by Philippa Carr, who was a popular historical novelist from way back when. I have read her for I once had a great liking for historical romance. I was very young at the time so you will have to forgive me. The price that they were asking for that book was an unbelievable seventeen quid! For a Philippa Carr, published 1n 1980, a BCA edition, no dust jacket - an author who sold in her many incarnations (Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt et al) 100 million books during her lifetime. I picked up another - Arthur Grimble's A Pattern of Islands. It was another book club edition although rather nice, you'll know the one I mean, published in the fifties. Twenty-four pounds! That book is very far from being rare. There was a book on Winston Churchill, published maybe 20 years ago, rather scruffy dust jacket, ex-library edition for which they were asking twelve pounds. You know I could nearly see them getting that if some mad Churchill fan came in and didn't have any access to eBay.

I can't wait to go back to see how the books are selling.

So what did I buy? The Big Book of Animal Fables, Margaret Green, illustrated by Janusz Grabianski for one fine pound. Bargain. I intend to read it to my grandchild in a couple of years or so.

Harebell and Smoke

We survived! Our short break in Scotland was most enjoyable. We cycled, we walked, we stared at trees, then we ate and we drank. Our legs ached and so did our bums! But how best to describe an activity break? I think this little video clip says a lot.


video

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Negativity

I've always found Ariel Leve’s writing a tad joyless and after reading The Positive Side Of Being Pessimistic I felt so downhearted that I ate three chocolate biscuits. Then I felt even more hopeless so decided to have a good chat with myself.


Do you not hate yourself for eating three chocolate biscuits?


I do so. I’m a disgusting greedy slob.


Do you feel lower than a snake’s belly?


Indeed I do. I feel so disgusting that I should be scraping myself off my shoe.


According to the gist of Ms Leve’s argument, are you feeling better or worse for applying a bit of negative thinking and giving yourself a hard time by imagining that you are going to turn into an enormous blimp?


You know, I actually feel better because I am facing up to facts and not wearing myself out pretending that I hold myself in the highest regard at all times and on every occasion.


So I went for my lunchtime walk resolving that I would walk even faster than usual to work off the three biscuits. Sheesh! This positive thinking thing is hard to keep at bay.


The brisk walking was giving me a funny feeling in my chest and I wondered if I was mad setting off on a bicycle for the Rhinns of Galloway if I couldn’t even walk briskly for five minutes without getting a tight feeling in my chest. Then I wondered if it was the start of Swine Flu or congestive heart failure. Oh well. At least I had Tess of the d’Urbervilles to take my mind off my worries.


It was a beautiful sunny day. The sky was bright, the verges thick with beautiful scented meadowsweet and the air buzzed with happy insects. The road I’d chosen was near the forest, the fields were full of lambs and ewes, there was the cutest picture book donkey in a field, there were even goats and a pretty little silver unicorn tied to a gate. Okay, okay – the unicorn had no horn, it might have been just an ordinary grey pony but it did remind me so strongly of Maria Merryweather’s Little White Horse.


I very nearly started to feel cheerful. Even Tess of the d’Urbervilles was lightening my mood. The part were Tess’ parents were drinking in the bedroom of Mrs Rolliver’s Inn was almost droll. Never mind that Mr Durbeyfield had just been told that his heart was failing, or that Mrs Durbeyfield had deserted her children for the evening or that Mr Durbeyfield was so poorly from drink that he couldn’t deliver his wagon load of beehives and Tess and Abraham had to go instead. It was still amusing me. But then! Then poor Prince met with his terrible accident, dying in his harness and leaving poor Tess guilty and distraught. Then there was his pathetic funeral with all the little Durbeyfields in attendance. I knew that Tess was going to be a sad book but no one had told me just how harrowing it was going to be!


I won’t be taking Tess to Scotland with me. It will just be Nellybert and bicycles. This is how I imagine it. Bert and I will be cycling along quiet coastal roads in sunshine. We will explore caves and forests and visit beautiful gardens. We will lie on grass verges eating oranges and chocolate. We will be happy.


This is what I fear. The roads will be crazy with traffic. There will be other cyclists far, far fitter than us and they will sneer. It will rain all the time. There will be no shops. We will fight and bicker. Bert will not be able to find any caves to explore and the beds in our B&B will have nylon counterpanes. One or both of us will die.


If we survive it I’ll be back here on Monday. As Bert says, it’s only Galloway we’re going to, not bloody Mongolia!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Arthur Lee And Love - Alone Again Or

In the olden days when the record charts depended on actual sales from record vending emporiums there was a phenomenon known as the 'chart sleeper'. Perhaps one of the most famous sleepers was Canned Heat's 'On The Road Again'. I'm proud to say that I picked up on Canned Heat months before they hit 'Top of the Pops'.

However on a personal level the greatest 'sleeper' for me has been Love's 'Alone Again Or'. I remember thinking that it was good, really good but not for me. I also remember thinking that Arthur Lee and co. had grabbed the best name for a band that ever could be. After all, weren't the sixties the 'love' decade? I still wasn't their biggest fan. But at last, now that I am fifty-six, now that practically everyone associated with Love are dead - now I get it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Arse!

I had half the Banjo family staying here last weekend and Jazzer was entranced to discover that I had lots of mini videos of her darlings on my hard drive. We spent a happy hour going through them. This one is of Jazzer and her two darling daughters taken six years ago. She just couldn't get over how sweet and demure her little girls were in those far off days.


video

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Product Testing


...the Kingston 16GB Data Traveler is lightweight and small. This is good and bad, good that it’s so small you won’t notice carrying it but it’s easy to lose or send through the washer..


Peeps! Don't worry about sending your Kingston 16GB Data Traveler through a 40 degree jeans wash. I did, and my Kingston 16GB Data Traveler still works perfectly! All my saved audio books are intact! For my Kingston 16GB Data Traveler's next challenge I am planning to bake it in Nigella's Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake, for one hour at gas mark three.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

In Which Bert Is Ordered Out Of Town

All he was doing was driving a few kids into Cullybackey for fish and chips. Ben and Bert sat in the car while Erin and Nichola went into the shop to give their orders. No one back at the house had actually noticed that the girls were wearing GAA tops. But the red faced guy in the bright orange cowboy hat and the Rangers shirt spotted it straight away and called the girls 'Fenian Bastards' . He then went over to his homies sitting in a car and made a point of glaring over at Bert. Bert eyeballed him back. At this point he didn't realise that the man (old enough to have more wit) had subjected two young girls to sectarian abuse. Bloke comes over to Bert, not too close, gives him the finger and tells him to get the fuck out of Cullybackey and not to be coming back. Bert wound down his window and asked him what his problem was. He backed off and dandered away singing "I'm King Billy I am. No surrender!" No doubt the special bus was parked just around the corner.

Bert was most indignant at being ordered out of his own village. Ah well. Strange days, these days.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Are You Ready To Get Your Butt Kicked?

Ms Debbie Rowe, Scourge of the Paparazzi & Heroine of the Hour

Lunchtime Walk: Tuesday 7th July

Route - part Carnearny Lane to Ladyhill Quarry
Pedometer Stats - 4301 steps, 33 mins
Pace - 130 steps per minute
Listened  - Radio 4 programme on grass snakes
Saw - rushy field of skittish horses, forest, Mountains of Mourne, Lough Neagh
Smelt - meadowsweet

Monday, July 06, 2009

Hey You (Sonshine) Get Out Of My Face!

After the bike shopping on Saturday morning Bert and I took a dander up the street. Could we get moving through that town? For we were everywhere impeded and besieged by mobs of green-shirted God-botherers from a local cult church. They were on every street but the bulk of them were congregated around a group of musicians and singers at the bandstand, roaring, singing, lepping up and down like buck eedjits and grinning like loons. I think beaming and grinning must be compulsory in their church. Or maybe they were just really happy because they had found the Lord and he was not a stuffy old Lord like the Presbyterians and the Methodists and the other churches have. Their Lord must be a zany, fun-loving, tone-deaf Lord for, to be honest, the band was pure shite and no amount of maniacal pogo-ing Christians will make me believe otherwise. I was surly when I refused their literature. Bert didn’t see the point of that for, as he pointed out, if you’re clutching one of their handouts they’ll not try to give you another.


I’m considering putting a complaint in to the Council about the hideous din of it. It certainly did not make me want to hang around town and spend money. And I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who felt alienated by the spectacle. Of course there were people who seemed to think it was all very jolly but if we must have Christians monopolizing the bandstand every Saturday morning I’d prefer the dour gang preaching hellfire and damnation. And I’d definitely rather receive tracts from downcast, humble souls who, even if they might think I’m a sinner bound for hell, at least will have the decency not to gloat!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Bert's Got A Brand New Bicycle


What with Bert being an only child and all I thought he'd have had a new bike before this. But no. Yesterday he got his first new bike bought to him by me. I think he likes it.