Friday, December 31, 2010

The Best Bits

Of course 2010 wasn't all doom and gloom. There were some happy times. Katy and Mark's wedding in June was one such occasion. Matty's absence made for some bitter-sweet moments but despite this it was a lovely break from every day life. It just wasn't long enough.


2010 was certainly the year of the wedding. Other marriages we celebrated were Les and Dawn, Billy and Rachel and Declan and Laura. Those last two got busy pretty quickly and are expecting their first baby this coming February. Something else to look forward to.

At last! I got my kune kune piglets. Please to meet (again) Sperrin Awakino I and Sperrin Tutaki II, otherwise known as Lily and Rusty. We had a bad scare in August when Rusty contracted pneumonia but with the help of the Clough vets he recovered and, fingers crossed, hasn't looked back.
Then Bert bought this really crap van. It went through many mechanics before he returned it to the vendor and said, "Money back please!" It was a stressful time but one of the mechanics had this litter of collie-labrador pups and before we knew it we had ourselves a Pooper Pup. She's nearly trained now and has been a great source of comfort, amusement, joy and torture ever since.

Then there was Miss Martha who was always a delight, always a joy. I went part-time a few months ago to help her Mummy and Daddy get their work done. I haven't regretted it. Money is nothing compared to a grandchild.

And there was my family, my darling girls, Bertie Boy, my siblings and my friends. I don't know how I'd get on without them.

Although 2010 wasn't all despondency and gloom it did manage to give the family one almighty kick in the teeth soon after I wrote last night's post. My mother's youngest sister, only in her early seventies and stressed beyond imagination over all that has happened to her family since January, suffered a coronary. As I write this she's making some progress and I wish her a speedy recovery. Bring on 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I Hold Things Back

I was going to write a post about how 2010 has been a really shit year and how I'll be glad to see the back of it. My reasons for thinking this? Well – for a start there has been too much death and illness in my family. And I have been under a great lot of stress which has impacted on my work life and consequently I am no longer happy in my job. Added to this I have lost my health and fitness mojo, haven't been doing as much walking as I'd like to and have been comfort eating which has resulted in a weight gain of 14 lbs and the relegation of lots of my clothes to the back of the wardrobe.

But then I had to reconsider – was I being unfair to 2010? For it did have its good times and Miss Martha has been a constant source of joy throughout the entire year.

So how did the year pan out? What were its ups and downs?

The downs are easy to remember.

In January Matty's only brother Dessie died the day before his 80th birthday. Matty was, at that time, complaining of stomach pain but wasn't keen on seeing her doctor. Looking back, we can see that for Matty this was odd behaviour. She finally allowed herself to be talked into it. I was sure it would be nothing.

In Spring Daddy's sister Mary went into hospital. She had cancer. Somehow I convinced myself that if Mary had cancer Matty couldn't possibly have it too. But I was wrong. Mary died in May and I was privileged to be one of three nieces at her side. Her passing was peaceful but previously her suffering had been immense.

It was after Aunt Mary's funeral that my three youngest siblings went to receive the news that there would be no treatment for Matty's illness.

Then in November Aunt Josephine died. She had been ill with dementia for a long time. Matty was in hospital when Josephine died, she was recovering from the after effects of a pulmonary embolism. We brought her home on the evening of the funeral and she now requires a serious amount of care, help and looking-after. After seven months of round the clock care from ourselves we, as a family, worry how long we can carry on with it.

I'm not great with stress. It must have been June when things started going wrong at work. I couldn't concentrate and, at the back of my mind, I couldn't convince myself that work concerns were actually important. Of course this is wrong thinking because one's employers don't approve of their workers taking this view. And I knew it was wrong thinking but I couldn't shake it off. Then the stress, the lack of sleep started to impact on my actual performance and it all turned into a vicious circle. Still spinning around in it to this day although it has got slightly better. I still feel as if I stand at the edge of a whirlpool of negativity and disaster. Expect I'm depressed.

It doesn't help that I often feel I'm waiting (impatiently) for all to be over. And not just Matty, Pearlie too and that makes me feel like a really bad person. I wait for my old people to die and then I'm old people and there are people waiting for me to die. Yep. I'm depressed.

Tomorrow I'll write about the best bits of 2010. They deserve a post of their own and pictures, lots of jolly pictures.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

St Stephen's Day

Miss Katy and Miss Martha

For a while now I've been waking up at 3 or 4am and have not been able to get back to sleep. Some worry or other will come into my mind, usually something to do with work such as, will the Whoevers get the dents in their fridge freezer sorted out or will the Somebodys get their central heating fixed? And what about that franking machine - will we get it up and running? Will we ever find the black biros again?

Being on holiday I worry about other things. Is the turkey overcooked? Will there be enough room in the oven to cook the Yorkshire Puddings? Does Bert really, truly love me?

After the usual four hours tossing and turning I got up this morning at 8am and made a plan of work. I cooked beef and ham and brussels sprouts with bacon and almonds. I cooked carsnips and mushy peas. Bert and I had previously prepared a Norfolk Bronze turkey with stuffing, a tiramisu and a London cheesecake. Swisser made mustard mash and beetroot. Interesting. Zoe brought chocolate orange cake and home made ice cream.

All my daughters were there with their boys, their dogs and Miss Martha. We had Ploppy and Jenny and the aforementioned Swisser. We missed Mel very much.

Miss Martha had baby-sized Man Flu but bore it stoically. We had a lovely evening.

And now I believe we are going to play Texas Hold-Em.

Just in case you were wondering there wasn't enough room in the oven for the Yorkshire Puddings.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas

I was going to say tomorrow it will be Christmas Day but it's today. Happy Christmas everyone. I've spent all evening making alcoholic desserts and I licked the bowl. Cheers!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dead Computers and Rancid Cars

This post is not about Christmas. No sir!

My PC died a death on Tuesday evening. Dave may bring her back to life again with transplant surgery but there are files I may never see again. Oh well. Hardware isn't what it used to be. I remember in the olden days of Spectrums and Commodores you could have beaten someone to death with your machine and it still would have worked perfectly.

Then there was the stink about the car. I first noticed the niff about ten days ago. I thought I might have spilled milk whilst transporting groceries. Today I bit the bullet and gave that car a good cleaning out and it was there, under the baby blankets, gilets, cowboy boots and assorted unnecessary paperwork that I found it - a tupperware container of rancid beef stew wearing a long blue beard. It was only the icy conditions that prevented it from taking legs and walking. At least it wasn't milk. I'd never have got rid of that smell.

It all brought back a feeling of deja vu.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A List

So. I did this application thingy on Facebook which computed the words I used most frequently in my 2010 status updates.

It was interesting.

  1. Bert. Which is just as it should be. Blood ties mean a lot, an awful lot. But one’s life partner is the most significant tie of all, most especially if it’s somebody like Bert.
  2. Martha. Back to blood ties. One’s children are delightful but there is a freedom and a delight about grandchildren that is different. Miss Martha – the most adorable, delightful person that I have met this century.
  3. Bees – they are sleeping now.
  4. Sleep. Something I don’t think I get enough of. Apparently people who sleep a decent amount are generally not as fat as those who don’t. Yet again that could be the junk food. I’m sure that eating properly would help me to sleep better. Hopefully will do better in 2011.
  5. Honey. I do like honey but after two years of beekeeping still haven’t got any.
  6. Forward. Only way to go really. In 2011 I am all for moving forward. This will mean leaving some folks behind. Somehow I think they will manage without me.
  7. Pigs. What can I say? They taste good, they are good. To Zoe, Katy and Hannah my apologies for casting Swine before Pearls.
  8. Love. I do. Love you. I do.
  9. Hannah. And no mention of the other two despite Katy giving me a son-in-law in 2010 and Zoe a grandchild in 2009. See 8. Hannah was here. She got mentioned.
  10. Evening. I’m normally a morning person but mornings were generally taken up with certain folks who paid me to give them up. Hence evenings were better, Roll on a time when Mornings are Mine!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Brushed My Teeth

There are people who do not approve of 'social networking'. At our work dinner last Monday, my manager indicated his disapproval of Facebook and Twitter by suggesting that a typical update would be, "I brushed my teeth." I mean - who'd be interested in that?

Today I brushed my teeth, both the ones that God provided for me and the plastic ones I gave good money for in Magherafelt.

I also spent the day with Miss Martha who gave me as much pleasure as she usually does. She is currently developing her vocabulary and it would be no lie to declare that I hang on her every word.

We visited Matty who has taken another rally. There she was sitting with her legs crossed handing out the advice like the sage she is. Zoe's godfather was also visiting and he was telling me about his recent operation. It was a nose job. He said the surgeon was a 'great girl'. Said he had women all round him on the day and they were all great, but the head girl, the surgeon, she was the greatest. Wouldn't it be a rare thing if she should read this?

I'm back on the audio books. There was a while there when I was giving them a miss because I needed no distractions when driving because of the snow and ice and, for that same reason and others, I've been doing very little walking and listening. I'm currently listening to A Room With A View which is rather funny.

At home I'm working my way through Season 4 of King of the Hill and am a big Bobby fan. He reminds me of our godchild Ben, although Ben is much more handsome. But then he would be with a dad like Banjo Man.

Christmas? The Hell with it! It'll happen. Somehow.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chillage Village

I was a long way from Chillage Village on Thursday evening. With the help of a sweet young woman I found my way back.

Today I nearly completed my Christmas shopping. Antrim. Junction One. I waited in many queues and chilled. I did not panic. I did not get cross. I was sweet to the people who served me.

Tomorrow we move office. We go go-kart racing. We go to dinner. God help and protect me. It will be fine. I live in Chillage Village.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

My Busy Day (by Martha H.)

When my Mummy went back to work I realised that I too would have to get a job. The trouble was that I didn't have a lot of experience in the working world so I had to play to my strengths. There was one area where I knew I excelled and that was making old people happy and luckily, I know quite a few elderly folk so it made perfect sense to go out a couple of days a week and entertain the oldies. Thursday is Nellybert day. Nellybert to you that is. To me they are Granny Mary and Granda Bert. Today was hectic for I had an extra oldie to contend with as Auntie Hannah was there too. First thing on the agenda was to get all happed up and check on the outside world.
Those pigs are doing well. To tell you the truth I'm a wee bit apprehensive around them for they are rough. They always assume you've food on you and would walk through you to get at it. Still as long as they don't think I'm the food I'll be doing all right.

I've my wellies on and my snowsuit and the garden looks lovely and all but if Aunt Hannah thinks I'm tramping through it she can think again. Snow's nearly up to the top of my boots. It's like walking on the moon. Think I'll just sit here on this log.


Yes. I like this log.

I found this brush in the kitchen drawer. Just the job for grooming Fred.

I like Fred better than Holly. So I'll cuddle him.

Lunch time. I feed myself mostly but it pleases the old people to let them help. That is Aunt Hannah steadying my bowl of Popeye Pasta. Yum. My mummy is a wonderful cook.

Those bears never get a walk unless I take them. I expect Granny thinks she's got better things to do. But I care, even if she doesn't.

I like hats. If it pleases Granny to take pictures of me trying on new hats that's OK with me.

Then I have to feed Judy. It's pretend food but she likes it.

Granny looked a bit flat towards the end of the day. Thought a bit of art would liven us both up. She's got a lot to learn and I'm going to teach her.

Happy Birthday Katy


Katy through the years.
Happy Birthday darling.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Foddering

Bert puts in a time of it looking after the 'bastes'. He has all Clint's to do these evenings for Clint is out driving milk tankers 'til all hours.

He has to fodder the kune kunes and the hens and then there are the three dogs and two cats to feed too.

Then he goes down to Clint's and feeds and puts in 16 geese and 30 turkeys. Clint's dog Lucy helps him to get the fowl in. She is very good at it. He then has to feed Lucy, two goats and four young cattle.

After all that he has to go back home and feed Pearlie and then he feeds us. Tonight we had carry out from the new and rather excellent Indian takeaway in Cullybackey.

Last night at Clint's he was missing one of the Hereford heifers. After a long tramp he found her in a faraway field keeping company with a young bull. She refused to leave her new lover. The bovine equivalent of the morning after pill will be needed.

Bert said to me,

How long do you think I'd have to stand in the middle of a snowy field before some young thing would crash through six fences to get at me?


A long time Bert. A very long time.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Disruption

Travelled home tonight at 30mph on the A26, 10mph in town and village and 15mph on the road to Cullybackey. Before that I got layered in the snow at Matty's and had to be helped out by Cousin John and Brother Joe. London Sister can't get back to London and Kerry Sister wrecked her car trying to get to Matty's.

Ain't snow pretty?

Meanwhile Matty is quite poorly with a kidney infection and cannot get out of bed. And she only got one visit from the carers today instead of the four she's supposed to get. Pearlie just got one visit too.

Ain't snow pretty?

Sunday, December 05, 2010

All The Fun Of The Snow


All last week I was late for work. No matter what time I left I was still late. I could have left at a time, say 7am-7:30am, that would have got me in on time but then I'd have been really early and that would have been even more time to freeze my ass off in our not fit for purpose office. We're moving to a new one soon but it'll be a week or so yet. So I was late Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. No one said anything. I spent a lot of time at Matty's too and each evening I was getting home late. I'm behind with everything at home.

On Thursday morning it took me 40 minutes to drive from home to Zoe's to pick up Miss Martha. It usually takes around 15 minutes. We spent the morning at home and the afternoon at Matty's. I left Miss Martha and Miss Hannah home, spent a couple of hours at home then drove out to Matty's on Thursday evening. I was there until 7pm last night.

Then I had a pleasant evening at home with Bert. We tried the new Indian takeaway in Cullybackey which I'd recommend. That and a couple of bottles of wine put the evening in nicely. This morning I had a long lie in, then got up, had breakfast, updated my Wordscraper and Lexulous games, did some washing and took the pigs for a walk up the back lane.

I'm waiting now for the call back to Matty's. Kerry Sister set off from West of Dingle this morning, hit black ice three miles from home and put her car off the road. It's unlikely she'll make it to Matty's today. Must go now and have a shower and see if I can find some clean clothes to wear.

It's been quite a week. A fine week to find out on Monday that some dirty, rotten bastard used my debit card to treat themselves to 490 quid's worth of goods at Asda Direct. I wonder what they bought?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

A Reply From Wendy Scudamore

Remember the man from Fermanagh who wanted to buy my Lily as a Christmas present for his son, the man who said Wendy Scudamore 'let him down.' Well it seems it was the other way around. This is what Wendy has to say.

(Man from Fermanagh) rang me weeks ago and wanted two piglets. the second piglet will not be weaned until early January so when he said he wanted them for Christmas I told him it wasn't possible to get them to him in time. He then wanted me to forget the second piglet and bring just the one but I told him I couldn't possibly travel the one piglet all that way on its own - too stressful and it would have no company when it got there.

I am pretty angry actually as I have another customer in N Ireland waiting for her pigs in Jan and I was splitting the travel cost between them . i cannot at this late stage let the lady down so I will probably have to shoulder half the cost of the journey myself - more than the profit from the pigs.

If you know anyone else in N Ireland who wants any, the journey cost is £300 and I have some super little breeding piglets for sale,

Best Wishes
Wendy

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Return of the Scunging Devil Dogs

Paddy and Judy disappeared today. The call of the snowy wood proved too hard to ignore. Dogs love snow because it intensifies smells and smell is how dogs experience the world.

They were only gone ten minutes but that was long enough to worry Bert. And it worried me too. I don't think I could bear another pair of scunging devil dogs.

We said to Paddy,

Paddy. How could you do this? At your time of life?


He looked at us sadly from his favourite spot on the leather sofa. We said,

Paddy. How can you do this to us? At our time of life?


He sighed, tucked his head between his paws and paid us not a bit of mind. I hope it was a one-off.

"scunge"

Ulster-Scots

Meaning:

to explore; wander about in the countryside

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Snow Pigs


Uncle John asked me about the kune kunes the other day. I replied,


I hardly ever see them. Only at weekends.

Bert sorts them out in the morning and usually I'm home late after being at Matty's and they're all tucked up when I get home. It made me think. I need to see more of the critters because they make me happy.

On Thursday a man from Fermanagh phoned me up. He seemed to know all about my pigs. He knew how old they were, who I'd bought them from, and their breeding line. He said he'd promised his little boy a pig for Christmas and that he'd been 'let down' by Wendy Scudamore. He said his little boy had his heart set on a Christmas pig and he hated to disappoint him. He said he'd been researching kune kunes on the internet. He asked if my gilt had piri piri. I thought he knew an awful lot about kune kune pigs and it surprised me that he only wanted one when everyone who knows advise that pigs need company.

He asked me if I'd sell him my gilt. I said I wouldn't sell her for a thousand pounds and I guess he knew then that there would be no talking to me. Sell Lily? I'd as soon sell Bonnie.

These past few days it has been too cold and snowy to let the pigs out so we've been taking them for walks. We're lucky that we've got the back lane and the wood for, believe it or not, we wouldn't be allowed to take the pigs off the property without a government permit.

It's advised that during exceptionally cold weather pigs need extra calories. So they've been getting more tucker. So with walks in the wood and extra rations they are very happy snow pigs.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What Was That All About?

I stayed at Matty's last night supposedly 'on call' but had a relatively undisturbed night. Undisturbed, that is, apart from dreams. I awoke abruptly at ten past four, went to check on Matty who was snoring softly. As I returned to bed I remembered the dream from which I had woken. We, the immediate family - Matty, my siblings and I had committed a murder and were making plans to flee the country. I wanted no part of it, was certain we'd be caught and wanted to distance myself from the rest of the family. Who did we murder? Some old guy. Why? I have no idea. Maybe it was an accident, maybe a mercy killing. I tell you - I was almost frightened to fall asleep again.

In my second dream I had discovered the knack of making babies without the necessity of sexual congress. I had a selection of the little blighters in swaddling wraps lined up on the office counter. They were pretty babies, created with purloined genetic material from my work colleagues. I was hoping to find them good homes but had some little frisson of guilt for having got carried away with the project with no thought for eventual outcomes.

So in my dreams I take away life and then I create it. And all done in worry and guilt. What is it they say? Freud would have a field day. I bet he wouldn't. I bet he'd yawn politely and say,

How very humdrum.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

An Odd Thing

It's an odd thing that you can go to a funeral which is supposed to be a sad and solemn occasion and come away from that feeling elevated and then, on the same day, your sick mother gets discharged from hospital and everybody, including her, is really glad she is home and you come away from that feeling worried and unsettled and very, very scared.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Big Congrats!

Congratulations to our Dede who graduated today with some class of a First. Well done sis. We were thinking about you.

Book List

Have you read more than 6 of these books? Supposedly, the BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here. Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicise the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt.

I've come across and blogged about this list before but since then I've read, re-read and listened to a lot more books. Of this list I've read 53 and it was mostly reading the old-fashioned way with your eyes and turning pages and everything.

It was Ronni brought it back to my attention. Was it Ed who commented that it was a very girly list?


1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (I will finish this some day soon)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (I read three of these, then I got BORED)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller (too young when I first tried to read this)
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk (Bert keeps telling me to read this)
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy (As I am currently on Anna Karenina I can’t wait to return to this)
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy (CURRENT AUDIO BOOK)

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving (I’ll be getting back to this one)
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Continent Pup


pup goes visiting, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

And the good news is Judy Pup doesn't go poop and piss in the house any more. Well, not for a few days now anyway. We are very pleased with her.

The bad news (there's always bad news) is that the fool Clint ran over her sweet little paw with his nasty forklift. No real harm done. It was her back springing paw so she needs a little help on to the bed.

I don't know what Clint needs a forklift for anyway. Bert manages perfectly well without one.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ups And Downs

The young ones at work will say to me. "Enjoy your weekend!" which is very sweet of them but I find myself thinking, how could that be?

On Friday evening I got home late, Bert was out and I got Pearlie her supper. I drank half a bottle of wine and got very bored with television, went to bed early and did not hear Bert get in.

On Saturday I visited Matty, picked up Jazzer and Ben, went to Asda, bought a ridiculous amount of comfort food and wine then got home and started packing it in. Swisser came round and talked all through the X-Factor which I believe she felt sure was doing me a service. I did not agree. OK. It's shite but it's my escapist shite. She said she'd been invited to speak on a television programme and I told her she'd need a facelift and then felt like a very nasty person indeed. I got a scary phone call about Matty and did not absorb it. Went to bed wondering what is the point of comfort eating if it leaves a body feeling very uncomfortable indeed. I did not sleep well.

Today I forgot to watch the Remembrance Sunday programme, visited Matty, who seemed much better, forgot to buy milk. went for a walk with Bonnie and Judy, lost Judy, cried a lot and prayed I'd find her, found her, thanked God, bought milk, prayed for Matty and watched Remembrance Sunday programme, cried again, then watched X-Factor results. Did not cry. Read paper during dreary boy bands which are sad and vile. Phoned Kerry Sister who said that Matty is still in good form.

Hoping she'll get home this week.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Strange Days

Life goes all weird and strange when a beloved elder is seriously ill. I still go to work every day, but nowadays most of the office mail gets posted in the postbox outside Antrim Area Hospital. It's not easy reaching the box as I have to push past hordes of smoking patients in fluffy dressing gowns and teddy bear pyjamas. It's an odd sight to see a young, heavily pregnant woman attached to a drip stand, standing out the front of the hossie with a fag in her gob.

Yesterday Matty took a great rally after receiving the news that her cancer hadn't attached itself to her spine. Today she is tired and weary again. Before this, I used to get irritated when I heard people speak of 'fighting' or 'battling' cancer. I could not get my head around that at all. It's a disease, it runs a course. But now I have actually seen and experienced my mother fighting hard not to let the illness beat her down. And mostly she has been succeeding. I understand better now. Except, just now, she seems a little battle-weary. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Break Out


breakfast time, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

Rusty and Lily were given a change of paddock as the one they were in needed a bit of recuperation time. At first Bert gave them the whole of a field to gambol in. It worked well for a couple of days. The grass was lush and the pigs were happy. Until the day the children came. There were lots of excited squealings in the polytunnel as the little ones foraged for the last of the alpine strawberries. And there were lots of enraged squealings from the field as Rusty and Lily realised they were missing something. Suddenly two pigs came charging through the polytunnel doors. They ate a whole row of Lollo Rosso lettuce before we got them out. There is no turning a determined pig. The only thing that works is offering them even more delicious food.

So Bert closed an area off with the the electric fencer. All went well. They had plenty of grass, a good dry area under the Scots Pines and we always brought them in if it rained. Then yesterday I went down with a little dish of fruit and vegetables. Rusty looked up and high-stepped it over the fencer. Lily, seeing him go, just charged through it disregarding any shock in her rush to get her share of the goodies.

We'll have to stop keeping the pignuts in the polytunnel. The guy we got the pigs from said he used to keep his feed in his polytunnel until one day a young gilt called Custard punched her way through the side of the tunnel and, as her owner said, "Of course the troops all followed." This foraging party would have included a much younger Lily and Rusty. It's very hard to keep a kune kune and her food apart.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Dogs Are People Too

One of the neighbours called yesterday morning as I was getting ready to go pick up Miss Martha.

She said there was some dead animal lying at the entrance to one of our fields off the road. She said she wasn't sure what it was maybe a dog, maybe a fox but probably too big to be a cat. But I said, Fred is a pretty big cat and we hadn't seen him since the previous evening. Bert went to check it out. I was anxious, went to the bottom of the lane to wait for him. He came walking away from the slap in question. He looked distressed. I was sure it was Fred. He shook his head but still looked upset. It was a small terrier he said, terribly mangled.

I said, don't annoy yourself. There is nothing you can do for it now. He said, I can do this. I can bury it.

I went to pick up Miss Martha. Slightly late, told Miss Martha's dad about the annoyance of the dog. He said, maybe it's owners would want to see it, identify it. I said, no. They wouldn't want to see it.

Bert buried the dog just inside the entrance to the field. He was a sandy haired terrier, no collar, an intact male. Later Bert said, it makes you think - if it had been a person, so badly damaged. What would that be like? And I said, yes people get hurt to death like that and other people see them and it's horrible.

We live on a B road. Between Pearlie and ourselves we've lost one cat and three dogs on that road. People drive on the road at unsafe speeds just because they can. If it were up to us the council wouldn't mend the potholes. You speedsters, you don't need to drive down our road at 60 mph or more. Think of the animals.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Mother Courage

Matty was admitted to hospital last Thursday evening. She had a pain in her back which turned out to be a pulmonary embolism. It was Vancouver Brother who was with her when it happened and he and she spent seven hours in A&E before she found a bed. He had to catch his flight out the next morning which was hard on him. But he had a good two weeks with Mum right up until that happened.

The treatment for the pulmonary embolism is tough and Matty isn’t as strong as she was. We are hoping that she will get home soon although the big worry is that her mobility will not be as good.

Matty constantly amazes me these days. Before this double whammy of an illness she used to moan about every little thing. That’s not to say that she didn’t have her troubles but I used to think she was doing pretty well for a woman in her eighties. But since this, the Big Bad Yin, she has been full of courage and spirit. Even yesterday, after a pretty bad day, she was fit to get out of bed in the evening and have a damn good laugh with her visitors. She claimed that the Honorary Granddaughter’s Halloween cupcakes were the reason she was in hospital. Then she cackled like only Matty can.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What I've Been Missing

So I says to Bert,

Y'know how long it's been since I walked the path to Gillies?


No. How long's it been?

I've not been on that walk since the 9th January, 2010!


Why'd you leave it so long?

Last time I was on that walk some boy yapped at me for not having Bonnie on a lead.

What did you say to him?

I said nothing to him.

Coofy!

No. I never said a word. I just punched him to the ground, kicked him in the balls and rolled him into the river.

Was he an oul' fellow?

Nah. He was some young buck. But that's why I wanted to avoid that particular walk for a while.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Kelly Quagmire

Wee Kelly Osbourne has been on a diet (so she says) and has lost a lot of tonnage. This makes her happy and instead of scowling on the red carpet she now grins a lot. Only thing is, even without the face padding, her admirers have discovered that her jaw really is that broad. This is who she reminds me of now.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Long Noses Come Home

I happened to mention to the brother, the out-of-town one, the Vancouver one – that we’d got our pork coming and he said, for he’s a bit of a wind-up merchant,

I don’t know how you can do that.

Do what?

Eat pork.

What d’ye mean?

Well – eat pigs and there you are keeping pet pigs. I mean, could you imagine eating Lily and Rusty?

So I said to him,

Well. It’s like this. Imagine it. It’s like you keep chickens. You keep them for eggs and meat. Every now and again you pull a few necks, do a bit of plucking, get them in the freezer,

He says,

And your point is?

And I say,

And in the house you’ve got this awesome talking parrot…

So tonight we’re divvying out the pig. Dave and Zoe have got half of Pig No 1, shared with us. He was rather a big lad. Many the time we marvelled at the size of his balls. Marty got half of Pig No. 4, a much smaller pig, although Marty thought it was more pork than he’d seen in a while. That shelf of the freezer Mrs Marty had cleared out was not going to do the job at all.

When all the divvying was done Bert and I sat looking at the boxes that were marked Pig No 1 and Pig No 4. I said,

Can you imagine if we’d named them and those boxes had on them instead of numbers a name like Flossie or Boris or somesuch. Can you imagine how we’d feel about that?

We called those pigs the Long Noses. We were good to them but we did not get friendly with them.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Highly Recommended

I have stumbled upon this wonderful, intelligent and darkly funny blog. It is called Hyperbole and a Half.

The blog's creator Allie Brosh has an amazing artistic talent and twisted, honest way of looking at the world. This is one of my favourite posts. I LOVE those dog pictures. Hell I love that dog. Even though she is retarded.

I'd show you one of those doggy pictures but I'm too afraid. Allie keeps a Copyright Monster and it has slavering jaws and big sharp teeth.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Possible Career Change...

...for me as a surrogate Mum for passing rock bands. No rough types need apply and they must love animals. Whether that be for eating or petting. Matching socks are optional

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Then and Now

2010 - Children found working in Worcestershire field. Picking spring onions. Police called. Children taken into police protection.

1970 - Children found working in County Antrim field. Picking spuds. Nobody cares. Uncle Kevin totally gets away with it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy Birthday JGB


Happy Birthday to Sister J, Cousin J and Best English Teacher Ever - BD.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

More Tales From The Negative Scanner

Hannah and Katy should both sack the stylist! Mmmm. That would have been me.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Love Me, Love My Pigs

Rusty and Lily were close companions right from the start.

Matty said to me this evening,

Is it true there's a picture of you on the internet lying with those pigs in a pigsty?

Um. I wasn't actually lying, just sort of, y'know, reclining and it wasn't in a dirty part or anything....

Humph. That's a nice thing to have the world to see. Our Eamon told me.


Thanks bruv.

Honestly! Life was far simpler before they told Matty about the internet.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Dog

Bert asking directions to our holiday house.

So. That was my long-awaited break, just a little old weekend in Malin Head, Donegal. It started off well. We had a nice drive down; it wasn’t that hard to find the house where we were staying, we had a meal in the village of Malin, and then a good brisk walk on Five Fingers Strand. We went back to the house which was very comfortable and enjoyed a few glasses of wine.

I wasn’t feeling that great when I laid my head down to sleep but I put that down to the salad in Malin. Given a choice of more than one place to eat Bert will always pick the one that looks a bit cheap. It’s not that he cannot afford the nicer places, just that he thinks he has to be ironed, shaved and brylcreemed to enter a better establishment. This of course is nonsense. Now that the Celtic Tiger has breathed his last and is mouldering in the grave, any dining place is pleased to welcome a man with a pocket full of Euros and no mind will be paid to his unpolished Converse or to the straw and sawdust sticking to his pixie. But I was too hungry to argue. We entered the café which was staffed with young women with red hair and I’m not talking ginger, I’m talking cerise and they had facial piercings. Sorry. Call me a square, or whatever the young and hip call squares these days, but I hate facial piercings nearly as much as I hate tattoos. We chose our main courses. I decided I didn’t want a whole portion of chips and Bert agreed we should share. I ordered a salad. When will I ever learn? For there are still huge swathes of Ireland that do not understand the concept of salad.

When I think of salad I think of green leafy vegetables, a slice or two of tomato, maybe some scallion or sliced onion. I think of a smear of dressing, vinegary and oily. When cerise-headed, facially pierced girls think of salad, as did their mothers and grandmothers before them, they think of chunks of iceberg lettuce (yuck), hags of tomatoes, lumps of scallion, great shreds of red and green peppers, boiled rice (why?) and a great big fucking boiled egg. The only thing that might come close to a dressing would be the disgusting, glutinous mess they call coleslaw. Needless to say it was stinking but because I’ve been taught that leaving one’s vegetables is a sin I ate as much as I could which amounted to about a third of it. I never lipped the rice or coleslaw and I only had half a boiled egg. I hate myself for it now. How I wished Lily and Rusty were there for they would have eaten all that vegetable rubbish and declared it awesome tucker.

The fact is you’ll never hate a foodstuff as much as when you’re reintroduced to it at a later point. I’ve said I felt queasy and sick when I was going to sleep. Ha! Sleep! Precious little of that I got. Up and down all night saying ‘Hi Ya!’ to every morsel of food I ate that day. I’m never drinking red wine again either. It’s Gordon’s Gin all the way for me now.

The next day I was still feeling crook but I trailed myself out and we went to the actual Malin Head which is supposed to be the most northerly point in Ireland. It’s also happens to be in the South of Ireland but that’s a slightly complicated tale for those who are not overly familiar with early 20th century Irish history. On the way there Bert said,

Do you remember the last time we were here?

Were we? Can’t say I do. When was this?

Not that long ago.

Are you sure? Nothing looks familiar.

I’m sure.

I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever been here in my life.

You were.

Bert went for an hour’s walk when we were there. I’m afraid I just dozed in the car. And when he came back I asked to go back to the house. I was sick for the whole of the day which I spent in bed. Bert had to go to Carndonagh to get me Imodium for I was that bad. I’ve never taken that drug in my life before but I knew people are advised to pack it when going abroad. I never thought I’d need it in Donegal. But – it worked.

We discussed going home but I wasn’t fit for the journey. Instead I said to Bert to get out and about and make the most of it and he did.

I got up at around seven that evening and ate a plain yogurt. We watched some TV. We had just two channels to choose from which was strangely relaxing. We watched the GAA awards, a documentary about the Irish Republican Brotherhood and The Clancy Brothers in Concert. It was like heading back 50 years in time.

Bert went to the pub and had a brilliant night. He said lots of the good old boys in there were coming down with the vomiting and the diarrhoea but were still knocking back the porter and whiskey. He said it was the sort of place where you might buy a wee heifer of a boy before the night was out. He said he was that drunk he fell into the hedge on his way home. He said the stars were wonderful. I shuffled out to look at them and they were. I thought there wasn’t that much light pollution here but it’s nothing on Malin Head.

Do you mind earlier on when I said we’d been to Malin Head before?

Aye.

It wasn’t you. It was Paddy.

We left this morning about eleven o’clock. It was all so beautiful. I had a little cry for what I had missed. Ten miles on Bert said,

Did you clear out the fridge?

Oh no! I meant to but I forgot.

And so it was we left the house for the second time that day. This time I didn’t cry.

While Bert was out and about getting to know the locals, this fellow here was the one and only creature I passed the time of day with.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Camera


rusty & lily, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

I had to get a new camera because my Canon PhotoSmart G90 stopped working. Seems they sometimes do that.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

On Growing Old

As you'll know elders are a big feature in my life right now. Both my mother and my mother-in-law are in poor shape at this time. Both find life difficult, both get very tired of living. But somehow they fight on to see another day. Bert and I were talking about this, wondering how we'll be when we're old, infirm and ill. Bert reckoned he'd be bitter. I hoped I wouldn't. But hey! Think on this. To get to be old - is that so bad?

There is somebody young right now, somebody related to me, although I do not know her, somebody who is very seriously ill. I hope and pray she gets to be old.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Come On Nelly!

It's just like the olden days - company expected and I have spent the day cleaning the house from top to bottom. And - I'm enjoying it. And - I'm doing it without cocaine. And - I'm awesome.

So who is this company you might ask? I'll give you a clue. They're playing in Lavery's tonight and staying here afterwards. Never mind Come On Gang! for it's Come On Nelly! tonight

Friday, October 08, 2010

A Dish Cloth


I spent today with Matty. She was tired, but apart from that not in bad form. Still knitting away. She's working on a bigger project now and it's tiring her out handling it. It's quite the knitting circle going on in Tannaghmore. Kerry Sister is making something big and purple. She says it is a cushion cover. Matty is making a body warmer and I'm knitting cotton dish cloths. Yes. Cotton dish cloths. I found some dish cloth cotton when we were doing the final clear out of the moby. Cotton dish cloths used to be Pearlie's passion. She made dish cloths for everyone she knew. Except me of course. She even made Matty one, which Matty has elevated to a washcloth. It was my plan to make the most wonderful dish cloth ever and give it to Matty, who would love it far more than the one Pearlie made. And this dish cloth would be a work of art for obviously I am a far better knitter and can produce much better anything than any of Pearlie's shoddy efforts.

I knit my perfect square in bright, white cotton and I worked it in basket stitch and I cast it off and I held it up and admired it. And then I took it to Matty's bathroom and compared it to the one that Pearlie made and looked at them both very hard and then had to own that Pearlie's was just as good as mine if not better. Ah well. At least mine is bigger.

In other news, Matty who declared several months ago that her scone making days were over has, this very morning, made scones. And they were delicious even if the making of them left her very tired.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

A Journey Worth Reading About

Hails on horseback in Outer Mongolia

Coffee Helps is one of the best blogs that I've ever had the pleasure of reading and it's author Hails is one of the most genuine, decent and sweetest bloggers that I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. And I've met some!

Hails is also a modest soul and I know her well enough to be certain that she'll be 'SCARLEH' reading this.

Why do I appreciate her writing so much? It's this. I first found her blog by simply googling for Cullybackey. I was struck by this young girl who made an excellent story out of scraping her car on a gatepost, as she drove out of her little rented house in Pottinger Street, while on her way to a job that was not fulfilling her in the slightest amount. I identified with Hails. I lived in Cullybackey, I scraped cars and I knew only too well the boredom of an unsatisfactory job.

Hails moved on, she went travelling, she fell in love, got her heart broke, picked herself up, went travelling again. She carved out a whole new life, learned to love pickled cabbage and found herself a brilliant career. All the while she kept on sharing, writing, inspiring and entertaining.

Imagine it. Finding a blog that starts in Pottinger Street and ends up in Outer Mongolia! And she's not done yet. Hails - you're my hero.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Bye Bye Moby

Today was a momentous day. We finally disposed of the mobile home that has been a feature of this yard for more than seven years. It was bought for Pearlie to live in while this house was being renovated. Since she moved in with us it has been completely surplus to requirements. There were a few people had a notion of moving into it but it never happened. They would have been far too close to us and it probably would have turned out unfortunate.

Then the Land & Property people laid a huge rates bill on it and it took us more than a year to convince them that no one lived there. Rules are about to change and it seems that in 2011 empty buildings will no longer be exempt from rates. I said to Bert, "Get rid of it or I'll hire a digger and bury it rather than give those bastards one brown penny." He got rid of it.

Funny thing is the moby has gone to live on the very road on which I lived as an infant. It will only be there for a while for it is to have a complete makeover and then who knows where it will end up?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Dog Whisperer




Curtis again - telling Bonnie secrets.

Barbed Wire Throat

I was laid low these past few days with a throat that felt like it was full of broken glass or barbed wire. And all I wanted to do was eat fruit and sleep.

The throat was picked up from Miss Martha who wasn't too well on Thursday when I looked after her and all she wanted to do was watch videos of her Mummy, eat fruit and sleep. Poor little lamb. If I'd known how grotty she was feeling I'd have been even nicer to her. (If such a thing were possible.)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Long Tom Hat


This is Curtis, into off-the-wall headgear and one of an exclusive list of children who have been awarded the Nellybert Seal of Approval.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Greatest Story Ever Told

Hey Bert! Guess what movie we're getting from Lovefilm?

What?

Guess! It rhymes with guess.

Kes?

No! Tess!

Tess! Again? We've seen it twice already.

Yes but that was Gemma Arterton and Justine Waddell. This is the Polanski one. Natassja Kinski.

But sure we know what happens.

Who cares. It's the greatest story ever told.

Huh!

In Which Bert Goes All Unity Mitford

Bert asked this question,

If you could spend a day with anyone living or dead, who would you choose?


I thought for a moment, then answered,

Proust.

Would you?

What about you? who would you choose?

I knew what he'd say.

Hitler.

Why so?

I'm not saying I like him. It's just that he wasn't in it for the power. The rest of them were in it for the power but Hitler - he really believed in it. I'd just like to get an idea of what he was about.


So there would be Bert hanging out in a brown sitting room with Hitler, trying to pretend he wasn't giving Eva the eye and listening to Wagner and there would be me sitting in Paris in a cork lined and gloomy bedroom talking to the wee man in the bed about life, the universe and everything. Sheesh. We need to get a life!

Friday Again

Since I went on this three day week I have discovered that Monday still feels like Monday - a bit urrrgh. You'll know what I mean.

But Tuesday now feels like Wednesday with less of a long haul feel about it.

Wednesday is my new Friday but with one disadvantage. Previously on Fridays, if some task did not get completed I did not worry overmuch as I knew no one would mind until Monday came around. But now I feel that I have to complete as much as I can on Wednesdays because people will expect things to move on even if I am away from the office playing with Miss Martha and Rolling With The Pigs. So Wednesday afternoons are slightly more stressful than Friday afternoons. Still - it's a small price to pay.

Cheers!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rolling With The Pigs


Swear to God! That Miss Silly! All I said was - come on out with me, let's say goodnight to the pigs. You can take a picture of me, if it's good I might use it as my new profile pic. So we did and she did.

Then in the office this morning I hear this report.

That Nelly. You should have seen her. Rolling about the floor with those pigs in their shit and everything.


Now Miss Silly let me tell you this. Pigs are clean. We were in their sleeping area. No shit. Lily and Rusty are probably cleaner than we are.

Don't know about the profile pic though. They say people get to look like their pets and it seems I'm definitely developing a bit of a kune kune double chin. At least I don't have piri piri. Not yet anyway.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I Feel Alright

This morning, while waiting for Matty's discharge from Antrim Area Hospital, I 'fell till' the floors. Every single room in the house tidied, hoovered and mopped for the first time since the pup came. You'd want to be chasing that wee brute around with a mop and a bucket of Jeyes Fluid and up until today it has been maintenance only. Today all floors pristine and gleaming at the same time for at least half an hour.

Nellybert sits down to a lunch of Polish Shop Packet Soup and some rather elderly bagels (waste not, want not) and we're listening to music. My choice.

Bert: Who is that oul' cunt anyway?

Nelly: Junior Kimbrough.

Bert: D'ye see if he was in that room in there, playing that, I would go in there and catch him by the scruff of the neck and hoil him out into the yard. And I'd say to him, 'See here Mr Kimball, take yourself and your instruments and the rest of it and clear out!'

Nelly: Kimbrough. And if he was in that room in there playing that you'd be standing in the doorway with your mouth hanging open in amazement at how brilliant he is.

Bert: Dam sure I wouldn't. I actually find that hard to listen to. It hurts my ears.

Nelly: Maybe if you got the wax* cleared out of your ears it would help. The bass notes are probably making it reverberate and that's what is hurting them.


*The wax in Bert's ears is feeling happier as Mozart is playing now.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

There Are Many Ways To Put In An Evening

Bert: You've been out lying with those pigs again, haven't you?

Nelly: So what if I was? How d'ye know anyway?

Bert: You're all covered with straw up your back.

Nelly: So! What if I am?

Bert: Did they like it?

Nelly: No! They were raging at me disturbing their sleep. The tomatoes I brought them hardly made up for it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Dole

Whenever I hear stories of benefit scroungers I am reminded of Nessie's story.

Nessie had a wee hill farm in the arse-end of nowhere. For years she and her long-term companion made a small, self-sufficient living from it. It was fairly hand-to-mouth but they didn't complain for they thought that was just how things were.

As the years passed Nessie. like all of us do, slowed down a bit. The house was basic, far too cold and damp if truth be known and it didn't help her that she had serious health problems caused by two accidents she'd had when she was younger. She was once gored by a cow and on another occasion run over by a trailer. It left her with kidney problems. Life became very hard. A kind neighbour seeing the pair of them struggling to make ends meet told her about income support, got the forms, filled them in for her and lo and behold! - Nessie got the dole.

She was delighted. They both were. And the pair of them lived happily on basic income support for one for many years.

Then her long-term companion hit the age of 65 and found himself entitled to the pension. Money of his own at last! He was delighted. After all these years, he too had a regular income. All was well until some sharp-eyed civil servant noticed that these two were receiving benefits at the same address.

To cut a long story short they prosecuted Nessie. She hadn't the sense to go to court and in her absence her benefits were slashed. Her partner wouldn't help. This was his money and he didn't intend to share it.

Months passed and Nessie became ill. She wasn't eating properly for she didn't have the money. It was at this stage that we found out what was going on. We brought her over here, sorted her out, warmed her, fed her and took her to the doctor. We got her a social worker. The social worker was wonderful. Found all sorts of new benefits for Nessie. She still had to pay back the huge over-payment but the new benefits brought her back to a basic level of income support and she'd proved she could live on that. Nessie never did return all the money she owed the government. She died long before it was paid.

I often think of her when I hear stories of benefit scroungers. I think of two elderly people managing on one benefit for years but because the 'i's weren't dotted and the 't's weren't crossed they were done for it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

How To Tie A Weaver's Knot

Since Matty has been ill I have taken up knitting again. It helps that I have a small person to knit for even if she did have to wait a whole year before receiving a sweater.

Everyone thinks that I still knit like a child and indeed I find myself chanting,

In through the bunny hole
Round the big tree
Under the bridge
And off goes she!


Years and years ago I used to knit stripey sweaters on circular needles. They ranged from husband-sized ones (shades of green, white and blue) to premature baby ones (yellow & turquoise, red & white) for little Laura, now Mrs L with her own baby on the way. I've cast one of those on for Miss Martha even though I've totally forgotten what to do when I reach the raglan stage. I'm sure it will come back to me. If not I can google it, or turn it into a hat.

That is, if the pup doesn't eat it first. Honestly there is no depth to which that dog will not lower itself. She can open the fridge and help herself to dog food. She has set up a shoe chewing factory at the top of the stairs and she is chomping on Hannah's jigsaw pieces. We came in from Miss Martha's birthday tea yesterday to find fourteen foot of purple wool festooned around the place. It all led to my knitting, only lightly chewed, though heavily slabbered upon.

Matty takes a great interest in our knitting projects and said to me on Saturday,

I've just realised you will all need to know about weaver's knots. I have to pass it on.


And she showed me this deft little knot that she used when she worked a loom in the Old Bleach. And she made it look so easy.

I couldn't wait to get back home and show Bert.

Matty showed me how to make a weaver's knot. She says she has to pass it on to all of us before she dies.

She did not! You're making that up.

I am not. She said we all needed to know how to make a weaver's knot and that she had to pass it on. You're jealous, aren't you, that your Ma has nothing good to pass on to you?


Below the belt I know, but true, for Pearlie has no good skill and, if she had, she could not be arsed to pass it on.

So I tried to show Bert but couldn't remember the exact way of it. On to the internet we went and printed out a diagram. We tried and tried but couldn't get it right. On to YouTube we went and watched demos with our pieces of yarn in front of us. Still no good.

Later that evening I lamented to Leitrim Sister that I couldn't get the hang of it. She said,

You'll just have to get Matty to show you again.


So I did. And she did. And, by jove, I got it. I've made several since then. By the way the diagram and the YouTube demo worked for Bert. He got it before me.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Martha Amy


a serious business, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

Of course she wasn't even one when this picture was taken. She is now!

Happy birthday angel.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Feck Off GG

Why do people gush over Proust? I'd rather visit a demented relative


So sayeth Germaine Greer.

Well! Personally my opinion is - demented relatives are Bloody Hard Work. I'd much rather read Proust.