Wednesday, May 31, 2023

More Cake


There was more birthday cake yesterday when the girls were here for supper. Rhubarb and Almond cake, a new one for me. I thought it was a bit stodgy but that didn't stop me from eating it. 

There are a whole series of pictures of Bert and those two with birthday cakes. This one is from ten years ago.

Today I went to lunch with Jazzer. There is no photographic record of this event. We did a little light shopping afterwards in Antrim town where she acquired some pre-loved garments and I bought a copy of The Dud Avocado which was on my reading wish list. I had a good opportunity to read the first chapter in the Asda car park while Jazzer went in for a 'couple of things'. As always she was about half an hour. Bert has remarked before that when she goes into a shop she generally picks up a shift stacking shelves. I didn't really mind as the book was good. Turned out she got into a really slow queue and then, on leaving, the alarm went off and she had to have her receipt checked. Somebody forgot to take the tag off her new summer shorts. I'd have been raging if that had happened to me.

Back home to find Bert had eaten nearly all the pizza from Bamber Pizzeria. Fair play to him as no one had taken him out for lunch. He left me just enough to know it was yummy.

Afterwards, we had the sad task of taking an expired chicken out to the woods for the foxes to feast upon. But who could be sad in the woods on such a beautiful evening? Not us, certainly not Cleo.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

When He's Sixty-Four

On awakening this morning I thought it was Monday and started wondering what needed doing. While pondering this, it dawned on me that it was Sunday and there was nothing I needed to do. It was a lovely feeling - like I'd been given an extra day of life.

So - what did I do with my extra day?

I finished reading the book that the postman delivered yesterday.

It's not the first time I've read a book in such a short time but it's been a while. It was easy, too easy. Back to the reading pile where I'm still plodding through Sam McBride's Burned and Sheri Fink's Five Days At Memorial, starting to really enjoy Edith Wharton's House of Mirth which came as an indirect recommendation from Ganching and the discovery of two copies on my bookshelves. I finished F For Ferg a few days ago, a loan from Hannah.

I'd always wanted to read Ian Cochrane but the novels were out of print for years. He's a Northern Irish writer and F For Ferg appears to be set in Cullybackey.

So what else did I do with this additional day of life?

I made Bert breakfast and played him a particular Beatles track that alluded to a special day. 

Yes indeed - I still need him and I still feed him. I even baked him a birthday cake, his favourite - Victoria Sponge with cream and raspberry jam. And guess what? We only had marmalade, so you know what I did? I found a bag of frozen raspberries in the freezer and made raspberry jam. 

Happy Birthday Bert. You're the best and you're worth it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

River Deep - Mountain High

I don't usually have much to say about famous people dying because if I did I'd be blogging about nothing else for sure don't they die every week.

But then there is Tina Turner and I wasn't even that much of a fan. Except for River Deep - Mountain High which I must have heard first in my early teens and was blown away by it. Her voice, the lyrics, the production. It is because of Tina Turner that I've never cared for insipid music. I want the power and the passion. 

I checked Wikipedia for when it was first released. I'd have been thirteen. It did well in Europe, but didn't take off in the USA. Then, after Eric Burdon and the Animals did a cover version (I've only just heard it!) it was re-released in 1969. That's when it got me.

After listening to the Animal's version of River Deep on YouTube, it went straight to King Crimson playing Starless from all of eight years ago. I wasn't a King Crimson fan back in my teens but YouTube obviously knows that I'm all grown-up now.  

Wikipedia also informed me that Deep Purple also did a cover of River Deep - Mountain High but I'll listen to that later. I'm enjoying King Crimson too much.

Anyway, thanks, Tina. You were great. 

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Oh The Excitement


Cleo will be going to Portglenone tomorrow to receive her next inoculation, get chipped and consult the vet about a rather embarrassing problem. We don't like to talk about it but she did have her first bath this evening using 'special' shampoo and we have changed her name to Fleo.

I have spent the last couple of days watching the results of the local elections come in and got very excited by it all. Only two of my preferences were elected, numbers 1 and 4. Our area, Bannside had the highest turnout in the area. It's a pity they mostly voted for the Dinosaur Parties.

When I was a kid I thought that the wearing of spectacles signified a high intelligence. If so, Evie (above) must be very clever as she is wearing six pairs at once. She did hear this weekend that she has been accepted to her first choice of grammar school. Well done Evie.

The excitement continues. Tomorrow I will be purchasing a new phone. Miss Sara will be coming with me to ensure I do nothing foolish.

P.S. I'm sure that's not a strong drink in Bert's right hand. It's probably indigestion medicine.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Evie's Concert And Other Matters

 Yesterday evening Bert and I went to see Evie and around 70 other young musicians give an open-air concert in Antrim Castle Grounds and it was wonderful. 

It was definitely a joyous and inspiring way to spend an hour or so although I did feel a bit emotional at times. Firstly when a Year 12 String Quartet played a piece from Palladio which was so heartfelt and beautiful that I welled up. And again, when the orchestra played A Million Dreams and I thought of Ava who would have been twelve this summer. 

But that's music. It makes us feel. As it should.

We had Evie all day today as her school is a polling station and today was the local council elections. I voted early. Nine candidates were on the ballot sheet of which five were DUP and TUV which meant I could only give preferences to the other four. I suspect I might be the only person on this road who put the man from Portglenone first.

Later on, I collected Martha from school and on the drive home I discovered that she has well-thought-out political opinions. This pleases me very much. They're her own too. I think that the voting age should be lowered to at least sixteen. After all, if doddery old farts can vote why not the mid-teens?

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Granny Buns

Granny Buns

That picture is supposed to be me! I got it as a free add-on from a genealogy site. Upload 20 or so photographs and receive images depicting Nelly through the ages. The one above is a 1950s-style illustration.

The reason I like the image (despite it looking nothing like me) is that cosy, smiling, maternal woman is how I sometimes like to see myself. The sort of woman who makes her own jam and would knock up a batch of delicious scones at the drop of a hat. The kindly person who would never let anyone leave her house hungry. The sort of kitchen goddess who is never happier when cooking delicious food for people she cares about. One of the younger family members used to call my mother Granny Buns because every time she came to visit Matty baked fairy cakes. Perhaps that Granny Buns above is my alter ego.

Instead, I am a woman who has up and down moods. Sometimes I’m lovely and sometimes I’m not. I blame my parents who, when I was a curly-haired moppet would recite this poem,

There was a little girl,

            Who had a little curl,

Right in the middle of her forehead.

            When she was good,

            She was very good indeed,

But when she was bad she was horrid.

So when I’m feeling frazzled, down in the dumps or ‘horrid’ it affects my cooking. That is what happened last week when I had Zoe and family around. I was out of sorts. The dessert, a simple steamed pudding, turned out well but my potato dish and the broccoli were close to indigestible. Was it me and my glum mood? Or was it the weather in Spain? Maybe it was Brexit. Whatever the reason we all put on a brave face and were consoled by pudding.

So what upset my stomach? Was it the undercooked broccoli, the second helping of pudding or old age? Whatever it was I had a tummy ache, trapped wind and threw up before bedtime. Five days later I still don’t feel right. I may phone the doctor for some magic pills to make it all go away.

Here's hoping that I can get my act together by Tuesday when they're all back for supper. I'm already consulting Feast supplement in the Guardian. There will be no shop-bought broccoli. Go Granny Buns!

Monday, May 08, 2023

Coronation Weekend

They were my second favourite socks. They were comfortable and just putting them on cheered me up. Cleo chewed the toe out of one and they are now in the bin.

This log basket was a 31st birthday present from Kerry Sister. It's been around a long time. Up until a few days ago it was in tip-top condition. Then Cleo fell to it with her wee needly teeth.

Well might she look hang-dog. She just got a telling-off for bullying Pippin who is far too soft with the pup. She should take lessons from Fred who will take no nonsense from Cleo.


Then we had the pleasure of Martha's company for three nights. Her fracture prevented her from going on a planned camping trip with her family so she spent it with us. I took her for lunch at Creative Gardens which was delightfully empty thanks to the CrownFest in London. Who'd have guessed that the folk who frequent upmarket garden centres would be the sort of people glued to their screens when there's a bit of monarchy-related pageantry going on.

Then, taking advantage of the quiet highways, we motored to Antrim so Martha could meet Marty and Jazzer's new pup. His name is Arlo, he is two weeks older than Cleo and quite a lot bigger. We expect to see a great deal of him in future months.

Whilst at the Banjos, we called into Marty's music room. Although it has the look of a pub about it no strong drink was served.

I really like what Marty has done with the mirrors from Pearlie's old dresser.

I had mentioned to Martha that Antrim had a really good sweet shop, well worth a visit so that's where we went next. The customer service was first class despite Martha taking ages to decide what she wanted. 

Saturday night was pizza and wine/fruit juice and The Big Lebowski. 

Sunday was a quiet day for us as Martha went on a jaunt to Montalto with Auntie Hannah and her friends. Martha didn't do too badly for outings for a girl on crutches. 

And what of the Coronation? Didn't see a bit of it. That's two in a row I've missed now. Though I did see some photographs. Their crowns did not become them.