Friday, May 20, 2022

I Wake Up Stupid

 At first, I did not realise that I'd woken up stupid. The first indication came as I was driving into town to pick up the young lad doing a bit of painting for us. The red light was on, and I'd left my wallet on the kitchen table. There was probably enough diesel in the tank to take me to Ballymena and back but I knew I could not handle the stress of worrying that I'd come to a halt in the middle of town. Better to fill up. So I wheeled around, retrieved my wallet and headed up the Kilrea Line to the petrol station. 

As I drove, keeping an eye on the red light, I wondered where the tank was. This would be my first time buying fuel for this particular vehicle. Turned out to be the passenger side. Got out, keys in hand, ready to unlock the fuel cap. Immediate problem. I didn't know how to open it. I vaguely recalled there being a magic lever somewhere but I could not find it. By this time the proprietor of the petrol station was out on the forecourt advising me as to where to look. This was when I first realised I was displaying signs of stupidity. I decided to phone Bert and found that I could no longer work my phone. My stupidity was increasing by the moment. Eventually, I got through and eventually, Bert answered and talked me through the location of the magic lever. The proprietor was standing by the magic door and boy was she excited when it sprang open. With the tank just over half-full and my wallet sixty quid lighter, I headed to town to pick up my painter.

Seemed no time until I was driving back to town to pick up the schoolies. I went early enough to spend a little time in the shops. It's a pity I only changed my gardening shoes before I left the house as I noticed (far too late) that my yellow jumper had two sinister brown stains on the front. The stains were probably just HP sauce but they looked nasty. I decided to buy a new jumper in the Oxfam Shop. I also bought 3 pairs of sunglasses as I'd sat on mine at the petrol station. More stupidity. And, of course, I bought a book (Ian Rankin). Six pounds well spent and off to the Council Loo to change my top. There is a sort of in and out barrier in there. I got in OK but on the way out I forgot how it worked much to the amusement of the attendant. He talked me through the mechanics of it and I managed to escape.

Schoolies gathered up we drove home slowly and safely on a long and little-travelled road as I did not trust myself to get tangled up in the home-from-school rush. Instead, we dallied along country lanes admiring the sheep. 

There was one final instance of stupidity. After the painter and the schoolies went home we decided to order dinner from the Golden City in Ahoghill. Bert drove there, I was the collector. He parked in the Diamond and I jumped out of the van and barged straight into a beauty salon. It took me a few seconds before I realised I wasn't in a Chinese Takeaway. How Bert laughed.

I hope to be smarter tomorrow.

Monday, May 16, 2022

From One Pedant To Another

Granny! I've been reading your blog and you're wrong about Rusty and Lily's age. You said they were coming 12 this year and they're not! They're the same age as me. Twelve! 

My oldest granddaughter did not use these exact words at the supper table this evening but that is roughly what she said.

I tried to tell her that the pigs were a bit younger than her and that my blog was not always precisely factual. After all, within my posts, I've often given an impression that I love my grandchildren and that I think they're great.


I called her a pedant. We brought down the Oxford Concise and looked it up  - a person who is excessively concerned with minor detail. Oldest grandchild to a tee.

It's not even fair. Sure I barely even know what age I am. Birthdays come round so fast these days. But after they'd gone I went to my Kunekune file to see what I could find out. A whole big book in there regarding the Declaration of Movement of Pigs. Yet they've only moved once in their lives, from Knockloughrim to Cullybackey. Their birth certificates were in there as well. Turns out that Martha was right. They are twelve. Or was she right?

According to their birth certificates Sperrin Awakino I (Rusty) and Sperrin Tutaki II (Lily) were born on the 24th April, 2010.  When I posted (on 15th March) that they would be twelve this year they were still eleven. Who is the pedant now? Granny!

When this photograph was taken Rusty and Lily were eleven months old and Martha was eighteen months.

Monday, May 09, 2022

Sowing Time


What with the preparation for, execution of and recuperation from the recent (and extremely enjoyable) family visits, I found myself a tad behind with the sowing schedule. I was thinking of this a few weeks ago when Jazzer and I were in TKMaxx*. She asked me,

What time is it anyway?

I answered,

Practically the end of April.

Anyway, I managed to get quite a lot started before the beginning of May and this is where we are now.

*I was in need of some really nice socks as Martha and Evie seem to have purloined from my sock drawer all that is bright and beautiful.

Friday, May 06, 2022

Bert's Forecast



And there was me thinking he didn't have any sense of politics.

On the other hand, he did ask me the other morning,

What's Roe vs. Wade about anyway? Is it tennis?

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Election Eve

 Bert and I do not always see eye-to-eye regarding local politics. His inclination is to vote for moderate candidates whilst I (in his opinion) vote 'tribally'. I see my position as voting for parties that are more left-leaning. Where we come together is that neither of us will give any preference to the DUP, TUV or Northern Ireland Conservatives. In addition, I will be giving no preference votes to Aontú.

During the run-up to the Brexit referendum, I was keen to encourage people in our friendship circle to vote sensibly. As regards this election I'd just ask that they vote because, I'm glad to say, most of them hold sensible views even if some of their views do not align completely with mine. Sadly, I know a fair few folks who won't vote at all. Some have never voted. I've never not voted except for that time that I was at a country auction for most of the afternoon and was far too tired after standing for hours as farmer's wives got into bidding wars over bundles of moth-eaten cushions, chipped delft and ancient Singer sewing machines. It was only a council election anyway.

One of our callers told me he has never voted. I was shocked. He is almost fifty years old! His reasoning for not voting is that as soon as the election results are called it is likely that one party will refuse to form a government and we will be cast into limbo again. I did not like to say that it is because of people like him that we are in the mess we're in. However, it turns out that his sibling always votes and he favours the centrist Alliance party and that barrister chap, Jim Something. I suggested that if the bro was going to vote for the TUV leader he'd be better staying at home and cracking open a bottle of Sainsbury's finest red instead.

Then this morning there was a moment of joy. Clint called round and after a brief conversation about why local farmers roll their fields (I'm still none the wiser) we moved on to politics. I didn't like to ask Clint what his intentions were. He's normally Unionist but if he'd moved in Jimbo's direction I'd have been depressed.  But no. Clint is disillusioned with politicians. Thinks they are a terrible shower. In fact, the only person he ever struck in temper his entire life was a local DUP councillor. They were both about eleven years old when yer man accosted Clint as he was carrying home a jamjar of tadpoles. The councillor to be thought it funny to grab Clint's tadpoles and empty them on the ground whereupon Clint lost it and knocked him through a hedge. Discretion prevents me from naming this councillor but I'll provide a clue. His initials are the same as the Big Man in the New Testament.

Voting day is always a Thursday and that is the day we have the two oldest grandchildren. Their school is used as a polling station so they'd always have the day off. Traditionally they have accompanied me to our polling station, which is Bert's old primary school and only a five-minute walk from here. Tomorrow it will just be Evie as Martha has moved on to secondary school. Martha will probably not enter a polling station again until she is old enough to vote. And that is only six years away. Who knows who she will vote for? It might be easier to guess who she won't be voting for. The future is coming.

Monday, May 02, 2022

The New Trampoline



When Zoe and I bought the first trampoline Evie could barely stand upright on it. The middle picture in the collage records her first attempt at staying upright. She was so pleased with herself.

Eight years later, it was time for a new one.

For the old one had taken quite a battering.

The brand new and slightly bigger trampoline was delivered a week ago.  Bert, Martha and Evie began the assembly on Saturday. They hit a snag and Hannah had to be called in. The problem was that Bert had left his reading glasses in the house and couldn't make out the instructions. Bert thinks if he squints really, really hard he will eventually decipher the information. In this assumption he is wrong. Luckily Hannah does not need reading glasses and was able to assist.




Sadly, I was too occupied with making a delicious supper to take pictures of the netting and the first turns on the new trampoline. Martha did some very good somersaults and Evie got a bleeding lip from impact from her own knee. I wonder if they'll still be using it in another eight years when they are eighteen and twenty? One thing for sure is - that I won't be on it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022


Driving to Antrim last Saturday I noticed that the dandelions were in their full flush. It brought back memories of those days eleven years ago when Mammy was living out her last days and everyone was at home. I drove out there every day, sometimes just to sit with her, sometimes to take whoever else was minding her out for a bit of respite. We were all ready to say goodbye to her and, at the same time, nowhere near ready to have her leave us.

Eleven years ago we were all there at her side when she died and Martha the first, and at that time the only great-grandchild was there too. 

Martha (her namesake) brought her such great joy in the last year of her life. This picture was taken only a few weeks before Matty died.

It seems we are not one of those spreading out families. Matty's children (seven of us) produced eight living grandchildren. six girls and two boys.

My six siblings and I with our mother. 

Then there were the grandchildren.

Again, just two boys. A third boy, Mark William was stillborn in 1993.

On to the next generation. Matty only got to meet Miss Martha although great-granddaughters Ava and Evie were both on the way when Mammy died.

These are Matty's great-grandchildren, the ones she never met. Including Martha, there were nine of them and just the two boys. Their great-grandmother would have adored each and every one of them.

The last baby, Séanaí, is happed up in a crocheted blanket made by his great-grandmother Martha. she would have been delighted so I shall be delighted in her stead.