Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Bert thought that a taste of Nigella's Orange-Chocolate Cake mixture would cheer her up. After all, Nigella's always licking the spoon and she always looks happy.
I think Bert's ploy worked. Martha identified the chocolate but did not pick out the orange (marmalade) flavour.
I'm away out now to dung out those calves.And you're not expecting any help?Not a-tall.That'll do then.
Friday, December 23, 2011
After shopping we went to visit one of Matty's old friends. The minute I drove on to her road I felt myself well up. It was just as well Martha was there to help me keep it together. At Mum's friend's house she was a little delight. She chatted away, displayed her lovely manners and made her Granny very proud of her. We drove past Matty's house on the way home. I did not look.
Back home Martha and I decorated the Christmas tree but I sensed Martha was not impressed with it. I'm sure I heard her say it was too small.
I was back in Tannaghmore today visiting my cousin. He has not been well but his form was good and I'm sure I was there at least two hours. The craic was, as they say, mighty. I went home the long way as I couldn't bear to pass Matty's road again. She is very much on my mind at the moment - first Christmas without her and all that. But I am intending to enjoy Christmas anyway. It's the only way to go.
Tomorrow will be my baking and cooking day. I forgot to buy bread for making stuffing so fingers crossed will get that tomorrow. Bert will be sent out on that mission. The lovely Mel is coming to visit and I'm sure she'll be keen to get her hands covered in flour, chocolate and lemon zest.
And speaking of messes - I was multi-tasking earlier on. I was making mince pies at the same time as cleaning a (dogshit) soiled carpet in the wet room.
Horrors! You say. How unhygienic is that? But do not worry. I was very careful to wash my hands thoroughly as I moved from one task to the other. After all, the last thing I'd want is to get sweet mincemeat and flour on my Ikea carpet.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
I'm making a list of the desserts I might make for our Christmas dinners. I have chosen a tree which Bert will dig it up tomorrow. I have bought Steiff teddy bears for my lovely girls, Miss Martha and Miss Evie. I have a date with Miss Martha for Christmas shopping on Thursday.
Christmas is underway.
I left my job at the start of the year. It had become a burden to me, I had better things to do and I was not sorry to part from it. I released some savings and lived on those until last month. I also received carers allowance for a few months then, after Mum died, I got income support which lasted for six months. When that finished I noticed my savings start to dwindle dramatically. Finally I was down to my last couple of hundred and I decided to leave that in the bank to cover small necessities such as insurance policies and internet. I started to worry. Then I decided not to bother worrying. I envisaged enough money rolling towards me and that comforted me.
A few days ago I was in town on banking business and as I walked the streets I watched all the people scurrying around laden down with parcels and plastic bags. I had about thirty pounds in my purse so I could have bought some unnecessary tat if I'd wanted. I noticed that Captain Cooks was having a closing down sale and decided to take a look. Normally I am a sucker for cookware shops. I have many an unnecessary gadget in my home including a silicon rolly thing for peeling garlic and a silicon ring for making perfect fried eggs and two silicon puches for making perfect poached eggs. You notice a theme? I'm a sucker for silicon. The feel, the heat resistance, the primary colours – I just can't get enough of it. So I looked all over the shop and although everything was reduced it was still too bloody expensive. I left empty-handed. To tell the truth I don't think there is a silicon cooking aid that I don't already have.
Back on the street I realised I felt free. It was Christmas. That time of the year when the very air urges you to spend, spend, spend! And I just didn't have the spare cash. It felt great! I knew there would be money for meat and cakes and ale and that I might be able to squeeze in a few crackers and that I'd already bought most of my presents and had enough money to give presents to those that deserved them. But I had no spare cash and I could not buy crap! It was bliss.
Then I got some money...
So now I can afford things. I'm going to town soon to buy presents for my granddaughters. I have a rough idea what I'm getting them but there will be no silicon.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Friday, December 09, 2011
Monday, December 05, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I'm home alone. Pearlie has gone to one of her regular respite placements so that means two whole weeks without a batallion of carers tramping in and out. And it is also two weeks without her constant griping and complaining. It is a chance for Bert and I to have a taste of what it must be like to live as a couple in privacy and peace. Eight whole weeks a year we get of this and I know that makes us very fortunate people.
As I said I'm home alone. Bert has gone off to Malin Head with a couple of friends. I hope they get reasonable weather and aren't blown off the Head. I've been left with the chickens, the dogs, the pigs and the cats - not too burdensome. Clint has been left with the cattle. I'm supposed to be watching and listening for one of the heifers 'looking away' but we're not holding out much hope. The beast has had numerous goes with A.I. and a good run with the bull and she just can't catch. Clint came in to talk about it. He knows Pearlie isn't here so I've got nobody to moan at me.
Huh! The only place that one will be looking away at is the abattoir. She's far too big a baste to be keeping as a pet.
I interpret this as a dig at the kune kunes but I do not react. He goes on.
Aye! It's the freezer for her, no question about it.
I'm sure he'd like me to get sentimental about her so he can come over all manly and practical and farmerish but I do not give him a chance. He goes on,
Did Bert ever get the bags sorted out for the butcher?
I concur that if he did, I have not been informed of it.
Huh! He's an easy-going boy waltzing off to Donegal in this weather and no worries about the butcher! And in November! Sure it's wild up there! He has little or no sense. I don't know what would take him up to Malin Head at this time of the year!
I remark that I thought the break would do him good and mention that we've got a piano.
Aye! I saw that. I don't know what you thought you needed that for. Huh! What with that oul squeaky clarinet and dinnilin' away on an oul out of tune piano that'll hardly do him much good. It would answer him a lot better to finish that ranch fencing he started.
I have to agree that Bert has a rather dilatory attitude to general chores.
Well! I'm away down to get my own livestock foddered and in before it's too dark to see.
I bid him goodnight.
When he is gone I say to the dogs for there is no one else to say it to,
Y'know – there are a lot of things that Bert is good at, that Clint is not.
And I smile a little smile to myself.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Is life less interesting than it was now that I don't work any more?
This I know - I don't seem to have the urge to blog as much as I used to.
I met two former work colleagues for lunch yesterday and a very pleasant two hours it was. It was really good to catch up with them but nothing I heard about the world of work made me regret leaving.
Afterwards I went to 'sign on'. My six months is up and I no longer get the 'dole'. I'm doing it for N.I. contributions now. Even so they put the pressure on as to why I am not in employment. I got ticked off for going to England. Apparently 'claimants' have to inform them if we go on holiday. And, I was told, if we go over the border we have to sign off and sign on when we return.
Don't believe that people on the dole are living in luxury. All I see when I go there are sad-faced and despondent people of all ages. Their clothes aren't great either.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
- My grandchildren.
- My dogs.
- My garden.
- The interesting party I went to on the 11/11/11.
- Why Hank Hill is a better man than Fred Flintstone, Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin.
- The time I got raided by the Drug Squad.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Today Nellybert girded their respective loins and headed for the big smoke. Our destination was Nature's Way on the Upper Newtownards Road. I told my wine making chum Bilrus that we were heading in that direction and asked him if he needed anything. He did not. Afterwards he called round and was most impressed with my tableful of gleaming brand new demi johns, bubblers, corks and sterilising powders. He said.
Great shop - but they're a bit snobby.Snobby? You think so?Yeah. Good looking dark bird was it?Yes. I thought she was lovely. Not one bit snobby.I thought she was a bit 'Bang-or.'Not-a-tall. It was just that you are such a big gorgeous lump of a man. Reeking of pheromones. She was just trying to control herself. That's what came across as snobby. Me? I'm just a little old lady. She had no problem with me. Lovely girl. Not a snobby bone in her body. Mind you - I'm in there in a flash, spent a hundred quid, straight out again. Sure what's not to like about such a customer as myself?
Sunday, November 06, 2011
These pictures were taken five years ago soon after Bonnie came to live with us. It was probably the first time she ever engaged in play because, as I remember, she didn't really have a clue what was going on.
All those dogs, apart from Rosie the collie, are still alive but they are all quite elderly now.
Last week Bonnie had an operation to remove a growth from her leg. She seems to be doing well. Our biggest problem is getting her to rest. Given half a chance she's out in the yard or on the lawn playing and mucking about with the other dogs.
The dogs' playground is where our poly tunnel stands now. No boisterous ball fun allowed in there these days!
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Saturday, October 29, 2011
There has been great controversy in this house about the naming of the stray collie I found last weekend. I was against naming him to start with because that was the first step to wanting to keep him but Loveheart convinced me that he needed a name because, "What if he's off the lead and you want him to come to you what are you going to call?" So we decided on Charlie. I think Hannah chose it. I know another dog called Charlie but as we don't move in the same circles these days that hardly matters.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Meanwhile, in the background, Nellybert know that an old family friend is grievously ill and on life support.
Bert's friend comes round, He is a social worker and Raich used to be a social worker. They get talking about a scheme to introduce adolescents with serious mental health issues to the great outdoors (where Raich now works for a nationally known organisation). They swap email addresses and agree to fix up a meeting. This all takes place in my kitchen while I look on with some pleasure.
Bert receives a message to inform him that, at hospital, the life support for our friend is to be switched off.
Hannah and Jakers arrive to work on a ratty project to make the living quarters more fun-filled for their happy rodents and the social worker joins in. Hannah, Martha and I rack wine, clean up and wash dishes. Hannah and Martha see this as fun. I find that Martha thoroughly enjoys washing demi johns with bottle brushes.
The girls who never take their coats off
Then word comes through that S has died at approximately midday.
So, on this Sunday at Nellybert's, toddlers and children had fun. Social workers made plans to help the unfortunate, wine making and cooking ensued, potatoes were dug and vegetables harvested, friends conversed. People made things with wood in Bert’s workshop while Bert wandered around looking very sad, Pearlie wept, watched Noel Edmonds and did puzzles, I went to town and bought mushrooms, chocolate and wine and pondered very hard on what a complicated and poignant thing that life can be.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
With all these new houses going up about the village you're bound to be able to get a turn at it. And at the price I'm giving it to you for, you'll get a good turn too.
Huh. Ye can take it away out of here. If the Ahoghill folk won't even clean their arses they're hardly likely going to be brushing their teeth!
Friday, October 07, 2011
"Hollister is the fantasy of Southern California. It is the feeling of chilling on the beach with your friends. Young, spirited with a sense of humour, Hollister never takes itself too seriously. The laidback lifestyle and wholesome image combine to give Hollister an energy that is effortlessly cool."
None of this is true. This place is truely awful with a real sense of entitlement. Its dark, false and the clothes and entire atmosphere of the place reek of trying far, far too hard.
So sayeth Robbie B. on a discussion board.
I was talking to a young cousin of mine today. She was telling me that she had arranged an interview for the post of sales assistant at the Hollister outlet in Belfast. Obviously I had never heard of the place which is, as I'm sure Hollister would agree, the proper order. Folks in the autumn of their years knowing about such a place would never do.
Anyway - at a little before the appointed time – the Young Cousin entered the dimly lit store and approached two young fellows that seemed to be staff members,
“May I speak to the manager,” says she.
Both young men stared at her. They looked her over from head to toe. They did not speak. She started again. “Might...”
One of the young men showed her the palm of his hand. They sauntered off. My cousin did not know whether to consider herself rebuffed or to laugh. She laughed. Undaunted she approached another sales assistant and repeated her request to speak to the manager. With poor grace the young woman went off to see if the manager 'was able to speak to her.' Moments later The Manager, he of the upraised silencing palm, hove into view. He gave my Young Cousin a rictus grin which, she said, seemed to cause him pain. She said, “I'm here for the interview.” He said, “Oh yes! Friday! Interview Day.” He would interview her as soon as he could find a moment and indicated the interview area which was right in the middle of the shop! The Young Cousin decided there and then that the job would not suit her and walked out.
As she emerged, blinking, into the light she was approached by another young man who, ironically, asked her if she would be interested in working for Hollisters. She replied, “I'd rather die.”
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Ride a cockhorse to Banbury CrossTo see a fine lady on a white horseRings on her fingersAnd bells on her toesShe shall have music wherever she goes
Monday, October 03, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
I thought I was running out of energy a while back. And I thought it was going to be forever, but I was wrong.
I have just spent time with Miss Martha for four days in a row. The night she stayed over was tiring but it did not take me long to get over it.
Since the beginning of August I have started blackcurrant, rhubarb, damson, parsnip and more rhubarb wine. All of these have been made from home-grown fruit and vegetables. It was not always me that grew them but that is no matter. I still have in my freezer enough peaches and damsons to make another four gallons of wine. Today Miss Martha and I gathered blackberries. They are not that plentiful this year but I'll get enough to make another gallon of wine. Miss Martha ate more than she picked and she asked to be carried which rather stayed my foraging frenzy. Still I carried her and it wasn't too hard – more proof that my energy is returning.
I have started to cook proper meals again.
And Bert and I have resumed watching The Sopranos. When Matty got ill we stopped watching at the end of Season 4. Said we'd start again when all was over. I only felt like again it a few weeks back and asked my darling Katy to gift Season 5 for my birthday. Just three more episodes left now. Bert is waiting impatiently for our evening's so I must go.
Not before I tell how I've resumed my audio books. Two Austens redd up and a Hardy on the go. I'm also proper reading Wuthering Heights and realise it's for the first time! I thought I'd read it but it turned out I'd just heard a song.
Still I'm overweight and haven't properly got back to walking, I have a sore shoulder and hives all over. So what! I'm on the right track.
I thought of Matty today and felt very sad that she was not here. I still miss her so much and my eyes well up as I write this. She would have loved this beautiful day, wouldn't have approved of my manic wine-making, “Why not make jam?” she'd have said. She'd have been excited about her new great grandchild Miss Ava and would have been looking forward to the new one due in a few weeks time (Miss Martha's brother or sister) Miss you very much Mammy but for now I am, and we all are, moving on. I even got my hair cut.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Is Elton John American?
Wee Manny got that tattooed on his arm.What! Steppenwolf?No. Born To Be Wild.Ha ha! Born To Have An Early Night you mean!No! He was wild in his time.Wild! Your arse. what way was he wild?Well - he would have went anywhere, done anything, ceilidhed with any mob, anywhere, took any drug you would have offered him.Huh! That's not being wild, that's just being sociable.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
According to FlyLady CHAOS stands for Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome because the damn house is such a mess.
Well - my problem is slightly different . My house is chaotic because I can't keep people from coming over and cannot get round them to clean.
But at least the attic is much more orderly since Miss Hannah and I had the massive clear out on Tuesday. We carried two car loads to the charity shops and Bert carried a van load to the recycling centre at the council yard.
Some people have said I could have made money out of that stuff and I daresay they are right but that would have been more procrastination. If I hadn't got round to selling any of it in 30 years, I doubt the next 30 years would be any different. Anyway, if I ever get the selling urge, hasn't Bert a tunnelful of clematee?
The picture above shows that I am not the only one living in clutter. Big Blessed Virgin Mary and Little Blessed Virgin Mary keep a very throughother shrine but it hasn't stopped Saint Bernadette Soubirous from calling over.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
My 25th year found me living alone in Drumtara, pregnant, poor and lonely. I was also very bored so, to pass the time, I kept a journal. It ran to two volumes and I have to admit it was one of the most tedious, self-obsessed and whiney journals ever written. It didn't contain an ounce of humour or interest and every time I've looked at those two notebooks since I have cringed.
So why did it take me more than three decades to rid myself of these woeful books ?
Today, during an epic attic clearance, I decided the time had come to burn the dreary things and the only place in the house with a burning fire is in Pearlie's room.
What's that ye have there?
Just some old diaries.
What! Reach them to me!
They're not yours Pearlie. They're mine. Just some old diaries I kept when I was in my 20s.
Setting them carefully on the fire.
I'd love to read those!
You would not.
Piling the coal around them.
I'd have been very interested in those.
I bet you would.
I felt a tiny bit guilty depriving Pearlie of the pleasure of finding out what a shallow twat I was when I was 24 but very, very happy to be rid of the reminder. Thanks be for the cleansing power of flames.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
A few days ago I had a call from a fellow blogger. He and his lady were shooting a video in the vicinity and did I know of any young couples. preferably late teens, boy being dark and girl being fair? I said that I did not but I knew a suitable couple who, despite being well into their twenties, were still able to get half-fare on public transport if they so desired, although being good honest people always told the fare collector that they were liable for the full whack. They also wanted someone dark and mid-thirties for an older version of the boy. I knew of a fairly fresh young fellow with the mature, dark looks that they were looking for.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
I had a similar issue with my hair but, unlike Miss Martha, I lack the necessary cuteness factor to carry off the hair fountain look. I had to rely on pinning the offending hank back with clips and grips. But it would come down and tickle me horribly. Most annoying.
I lost patience with it last night, grabbed the nearest pair of blunt scissors and whacked it off. Feels great.
But what does it look like? It looks like this!
Of course I haven't the sideburns.
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Sunday, September 04, 2011
Saturday, September 03, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
D'ye know if you upload a photograph to Flickr and tag it 'pregnant' loads more people look at it than if you didn't? What's the big deal? That is what I ask myself. There are a million-zillion people on this planet and each and every one of them represents a pregnancy and a birth. It's not as if it is a 'miracle' or anything. Pregnant-schmegnant! Big whoop!
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
Earlier today a few of us were discussing the apparent lack of innocence in today's children. I opined that there seem to be very few young girls around between the ages of 11 and 15 - not because they have all been imprisoned in nunneries but rather because they have taken on the appearance of girls of sixteen and older. Young boys don't seem to be able to pull this trick as easily.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
For the second year running there has been no long eared owl babies at Springhill. I miss them very much.
We think that buzzards took over their nesting site. Last year there were at least three young buzzards reared on our land. Buzzards are OK but I'd much rather have owls.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Bert and I dismantled the bed today. I'm turning the spare room into a little office/workroom. It will be good to gather all my paperwork and hobby kit into one part of the house.
What shall we do with the bed? Traditionally, in rural areas, old bedsteads were used to plug gaps in hedges. And we do have a couple of heifers with the wandering inclination.
It would be an ignominious end to a 19th century bed originally hailing from County Donegal. People probably died in that bed, for sure they were conceived and born it. I'm sure more than fifty people slept in it since I've had it. Those notable folk singers Tommy and Colm Sands were among them. And Hannah began in it.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Eight new pigs for fattening up. Lily and Rusty were most unamused. But if they knew what the newcomers' fate was they might think differently.
These ones were sired by Duroc crossed Pietrain. Bert said he was the most aggressive pig he's ever come across. I hope the younguns don't take after Daddy.
Friday, August 12, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Hannah, Martha and I visited two toy shops today. In the first one Hannah fell in raptures at the Sylvanian Animal families. They didn't have meercat families in her day. Martha was very keen on a pink scooter but it was a little bit advanced for her. What we were really looking for was a wheelbarrow. Martha already has a green bucket for egg-collecting and lots of gardening tools but she has no wheelbarrow and she is very fond of toys with wheels.
The wheelbarrow in the meercat and scooter shop was a bit flimsy so we had to go to Camerons. That's where I always bought my girls their Christmas toys. They had some great barrows there. Martha picked a red one and, although I preferred the green, it was her choice. Back home she was aghast when she realised that it was in bits and in her view 'Broke!' but that's whan grandas are for. Bert sat himself down in the polytunnel surrounded by a gaggle of girls, average age 18, to watch him build the barrow. As one of those girls was me and another one Martha you'll know, if you're good at sums, that Sylvie and Maggie are still a fair bit off their teens.
Martha was delighted with Wheelbarrow! And solemnly set off on her maiden voyage. She happily transported an empty eggbox to the henhouse and an eggbox containing one egg from the henhouse to the kitchen. She then carried a load of grapes from the house to the pig pen and watched while Sylvie and Maggie fed them to the kune kunes. On the way back from the pigpen Sylvie's mum threw a weed in her barrow and Martha said nothing. As soon as Sylvie's mum was out of sight she took the weed out and gave it to me. It seems that Wheelbarrow! is far too posh to carry dirty weeds. It was raining and Wheelbarrow! was getting wet so she brought it into the house where she made a thorough inspection of its underside. She was distressed that some German Shepherd fluff was stuck to its wheel and this had to be removed. I did this. Then she anxiously pointed out more hairy mess and I had to clean this too. The barrow then had to be polished with a tea towel. I wonder if Martha really understands the purpose of Wheelbarrow! But it is very red and shiny and new. So who can fault her?