Thursday, September 30, 2004

Back Seat!

There has been quite a lot of sibling activity around the old homestead in the past week or so. Trish has been around and Anne was here over the weekend. So today was the first day in ages that I experienced mother alone. She wasn’t totally on her own as Kerry is now on the scene.

And what a welcome she (the pup) gave me! The tail was nearly wagged off her. Today Kerry was to be taught the concept of “Back Seat!” which is what we say to dogs who try to hog the front seats of vehicles or who try to sit on an unwilling passenger’s knee. Kerry is a very quick learner and had grasped the concept before we reached Antrim.

After Antrim we went to visit Dad. Nurse told us that he had more tests carried out on the circulation to his feet and that the results showed some improvement. He had just had his lunch but still managed a portion of Maud’s raspberry ripple. Kerry came in after he had finished this and caused quite a stir. Lots of the residents wanted to hold and cuddle her. She nearly licked the face of Flo. Patsy insists that we take her to the vet to have her tail docked. He thinks her long tail is an abomination.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Future Plans

Did I mention that I am on holiday again? Yes, I know it’s only been two weeks since I was last on holiday but all I wanted was the weekend off for Laura’s 18th birthday party. She (who must be obeyed) said I am to take it as annual leave so here I am loafing again.

I really ought to be painting the kitchen ceiling but cannot convince myself that it’s urgent. Instead I have been clearing out my study hoping that I will find an important account book that Bert has lost, or as he would put it, I have lost. It’s coming along well as there is now space in here to walk about. But I still haven’t found Bert’s account book.

A few posts ago I showed a picture of our house from the vantage point of the field in front of it. That makes it look quite isolated although it certainly isn’t. We’ve lived here for around ten years. However our current plan is to sell this house and renovate Bert’s home place, which is about a quarter of a mile away.

The old house is very charming but is in a state of disrepair. It needs to be re-wired, re-plastered and re-roofed and there is a bad extension, which will need to be demolished. It would probably be cheaper to raze and rebuild but I don’t think the ghosts would like that. Plus it has always been Bert’s dream to return to live there.

I was resistant to the idea for a long while but over the past few years I have started to feel differently about it. It is as if the house is calling to me. Or maybe it is the garden.

There will be great scope for a garden. Mature trees, mostly beech, surround the house. There is a monkey-puzzle tree and a mature Crinodendron hookerianum among other gems. Incidentally they are also known respectively as the Chilean Pine and the Chilean Lantern Tree There is an orchard but it would have to be replanted as the fruit trees have outgrown their usefulness. There are even roses around the door but they have got mildew and are going to be ripped up when the doors are replaced.

The downside is that this house is a lot closer to the road than the one we’re in now and that poses a greater risk to the dogs. Rosie will have to stop chasing postie, as she’ll just be getting started when she’s on to a busy B road.

So these are our future plans. I think it is good to have a bit of a change in life now and again. Oh and another bonus – we shall have free-range hens.

Crinodendron hookerianum Posted by Hello

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Earl Scruggs

Last weekend Bert and some of his mates went to the Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival in Longford. It was on for a few days but their main reason for going was to see the legendary Earl Scruggs. This was the first time Scruggs had played in Ireland. In fact he’s never even played in the UK so it was quite a coup for the Longford festival. Afterwards I was asking Bert how the trip had gone.
He said “It was bloody good and it wasn’t as bluegrassy as I was afeard o’”
“So what was Earl Scruggs like then?”
“He was an ould boy about 80.”
“Was he good?”
“Aye, he was brilliant.”
“What did he look like? Was he wee and thin?”
“Was he big and fat?”
“Was he tall and rangey?”
“Aye. He was like Paisley.”
“What do you mean, like Paisley? Had he big hanging jowls?
“Had he mad staring eyes?”
“Were his lips like two slugs?”

So I had to check it out for myself. Bert says this picture on the website shows him looking a lot fresher than he did last weekend.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Dating for Dogs

Our dogs have lots of canine chums including Herman, Penny and Frank that they see regularly. Then there are Tracey and Tess from Portballintrae, Milly, Billy and Pickle from Leitrim and Macy and Scruff from Kerry who are family friends. So they will have little interest in the article I read in yesterday's paper about a woman,Lee Polledri, who has set up a dating agency for dogs. It's not that crazy an idea if you think about it as not all dogs have as many pals as ours do
" a dog dating website, "Cold nose... Warm heart", which began two weeks ago. And the venture seems to be spawning friendships between owners as well. " Lee Glendinning, Saturday September 25, 2004 The Guardian
Unfortunately they didn't give the address but if anybody's interested it's out there somewhere.

Hanging Out with Herman Posted by Hello

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Be Good Tanyas

I know the dogs in the street have been doing this for years but I have to announce that I have just made my first CD copy (for the car) Thanks to Glen for the software. As I am due to get broadband soon what do people recommend for free or cheap downloads?

A Grey Area

I’ve been at work for the past two days and since I’ve been away some or one of the little darlings, unknown, tried to set the kitchen on fire. Now She (who must be obeyed) has decreed that we may not leave the premises on our breaks. My beef is that if we cannot leave work on breaks we should be paid for our time. I’ve been in touch with Human Resources about this and have been told that it is “a grey area”. Pretty much everything in HR is a grey area. So I have requested a staff meeting and have even volunteered to come in for it on my annual leave. We shall see how it goes.

Good luck to The Banana for her coming job interview. Congratulations to Katkin and Smudge on their house thing and as for Mr Pig and Ms Tiger here's hoping you have a lovely weekend.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Apple Dumpling

Mother and I went to the Hospice shop in Magherafelt yesterday where I picked up a denim skirt and pink stripy cheesecloth blouse both size 20. That shop is damn good as there is little competition in the area and there are lots of rich people (good quality cast offs) about. There are also loads of large well-fed people too as there were plenty of XL sizes. I am building up an extensive wardrobe of size 20 (and above) garments since getting amazingly fat. Sometimes I console myself that I’ve only gone up one dress size and that I was only kidding myself I was size 16 anyway.

Whilst putting on the denim skirt this morning I noticed that my waist appears to have risen. Let me explain. You know ladies that a huge amount of us wear the wrong bra size and that the starting point of measuring up for the proper size is underneath the bosom. Well that is where my waist has crept up to. My under-bust measurement and my waist are the same and in the same place. Nelly is now the shape of an apple with little arms and legs sticking out – and is that a cherry on the top?

A wise woman once told me that I shouldn’t worry about putting on weight as a result of stopping smoking. She said that after about a year the weight would go down again. Oh God I hope she is right.

Then another wise woman told me that a menopausal woman turns into an apple with little arms and legs sticking out, and then she gets diabetes. Thanks for that Swisser.

Blog Star

Now where have we spotted this handsome fellow before. Could it be here? Zoe thinks her picture is best but I prefer mine.

Scruff Posted by Hello

Thursday, September 23, 2004


.... which is a song by Madness. There is a story to be told about this house but not tonight.

Our House is a Very Nice House Posted by Hello

Dave's Picture

Dave took that picture. (picture removed at Zoe's request*) Jazzer, Zoe and Tricia at Dede's wedding belting something out. I complained loudly because Jazzer was out of tune and was ruining the good daughter's performance. Dave laughed at me. Quite rightly.

*Actually it was less of a request, more of an order.


That is a picture of ‘me da’ taken some years ago by Tricia. Seamus was in his late middle age then and was a very hard working man. He was farming and working for the council.

Even after he retired he kept up a bit of farming and he loved working in the moss. His moss was the old style, cut with the spade rather than machine. Many were the happy hours he spent in that moss. Even after he sold the farm to his nephew (a blessing) he’d be hand cutting hedges and taking an interest in what was going on. His nephew (a good man) encouraged his interest and included him in decision making.

It was only in the past couple of years that he totally wound down, spending a lot of his time dozing in his chair. His legs weren’t much use to him then and he could only stay on his feet for short lengths of time.

He is greatly missed at home.

Seamus by Tricia Posted by Hello

Thursday Afternoon

I really like this picture of Hannah. Zoe took it about 8 years ago. The reflection in the glasses is what makes the picture. That is Zoe with short hair and using some kind of pressing device to operate the camera which is on a tripod.

Now to move on with present day activities. While the very hardworking Tricia continued painting the maternal kitchen a fetching shade of pistachio, Nelly and Mom went to visit Dad. As we entered the home one of the carers told us he was in bed and herself went into a mild panic. It turned out that he was having his circulation checked and a sore area on his right foot examined pending being swabbed and dressed. He was snoozing when we entered but I felt justified in waking him up as I had a tub of Maud’s choccy bear ice cream with me. He knocked it into him then scolded me because I wasn’t letting mother near the bed. I left them to be smoochy and went off for an in depth chat with Prekshela one of the loveliest nurses in the world. She gave me a full explanation of what was going on with Dad and said there was nothing to worry about.

The sun is shining this afternoon and it’s about time. I know I lecture other people about the futility of complaining about the weather but the way it’s been recently would give you the jandies*

Ulster-Scots, possibly Belfast, derived from “jaundice” meaning to sicken or “scunder.”

Taken by Zoe  Posted by Hello

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

On the Road Again

.... which is one of my favourite songs from my girlhood. Canned Heat circa late 60s.

It is also my theme tune for today as Tiny Carletoni returned my car with a new timing belt and several new pistons etc. Apparently it is a bad job for timing belts to go when you are bowling down the highway at 80mph listening to Psycho Killer.

So where does a dutiful daughter go on getting her car back? She goes to her Mammy's house where she is fed homemade vegetable soup and arrowroot biscuits. I also went shopping with Tricia and bought three Christmas presents and a purse.

The world is a sad, sad place right now. Nothing to look forward to except four more years for Shitehawk Bush, Christmas and global warming. Big Whoopee! Oh and old age and death of course. On that cheery note I close.

Steeped in Folk Lore

This picture shows Bert dowsing for water, or to be more accurate looking for a leaking pipe. He is using wire dowsers rather than the traditional forked stick. It is wrong to think that special powers are needed for dowsing as anyone can do it with practice. Our friend Dee Mac told us that it is also possible to dowse for bodies. At first we were sceptical about this so we set her the task of finding our old cat’s grave. We gave her a rough idea of its whereabouts and off she set. She located the grave within minutes.

Dowsing Posted by Hello

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Daughter 2 phoned this evening. She informs me that she and her beloved have looked at a house in the village of Syderstone. They are hoping to put in an offer for it at the weekend. I've had a look on the web and it looks a nice place. It's also close to the coast which is always a good thing. The only problem that I can see is that it appears to have a ghostly history. Katy will have to get a house soon as I feel like a trip to Norfolk.

Scour in London Town

See how Ulster Scots is spoken in London. Here

Way To Go

Jazzer starts her new job today. That is what happens when ladies lunch* Application forms are thrust into their hands and new careers in sales at book vending emporiums are begun.

See entry 10/09/04 Wet Wet Wet

Monday, September 20, 2004

Half Full or Half Empty?

I could nearly get depressed about this - my car is very ill indeed and will need a huge cash transplant to survive - so the little Italian mechanic* informs me.

But I won't get depressed because I paid my overdraft off last month. Nobody tell the small Italian as he will add 50% to my bill.

*Meester Ernestino Carletoni aka Tiny

Martina and Jazzer Posted by Hello

Sunday, September 19, 2004


Some of you may have noticed that I have no links here. It's not that I will not just that I cannot. (stupido) DH has promised to help me out with this. When I get sorted I will be linking to Z, G, S-T, N from G and some others.

My Heroes

So there I was bowling down the A26 listening to Psycho Killer and feeling pretty damned happy with my lot. I was returning from Antrim after returning Jazzer and the kids and was thinking that I'd had a very good weekend.

I had spent quality time with my sis.
Got a new pedometer.
Really enjoyed my visitors.
Had seen loads of friends.
Met Mum's new pup.
Got music for my car.
Had been given eight special buns.
Quality time with daughter one.
Received beautiful lace cushion covers from Cyprus
Just been bowling.
Agreed to host an 18th birthday party for Lols.

The car broke down.
a massive stroke of luck, only a hundred yards or so from Scarey Tam's house.

Meanwhile the police were stopping cars on the Ballee roundabout and a herd of cattle were on the road heading towards Antrim.

I was rescued by Tam and Taylor. Thanks fellas. My heroes. And thanks too, to Harry's mum who gave me tea and sympathy.

Ben and Kerry Posted by Hello


On Friday evening YL came round to sort out my car stereo. Joy to have in car music again.

On Saturday morning I met Trish at the market and we had a poke around. She bought two early Clarice Cliff plates and I bought a print and a plant container. There are some rare things at that market. One stall was offering a selection of gynaecological and obstetrical instruments, which included speculums, dilators of various types and other items with a strong “Urrrgh!!” factor.

Afterwards we went to the Bluebell café for a few fried items and two cups of excellent coffee each. The bill came to £4.50. Tricia said it would have cost 15 euros in Dingle. Then a visit to the Home Mission Society where Tricia bought a solid oak chest of drawers with dovetailed joints for a reasonable sum. Then I was off home again to prepare for the arrival of Jazzer and the kids.

Almost as soon as they got here Jazzer, Martina and I went shopping. I bought a new pedometer.

Home for coffee and sandwiches then we were off again. This time Erin and Ben accompanied me. We picked up Zoë in Ballymena and headed out to Tannaghmore to view Mum’s new dog.
The new dog is adorable and mother appears to be besotted. Tricia had done a good job of training her.

Co-pilot Erin Posted by Hello

Friday, September 17, 2004

Stormy Evening

I went to the Doc this morning about my spots. It's not funny getting spots when you're 50+. I thought it was acne or ringworm. She said it is cold sores. Cold sores! I thought cold sores were on lips and noses. These are on my actual face. Doc says it is stress. She asks if I'm worrying about anything. I said not at all. I'm very happy except for my dreams. I dream every night about how fat I am and that my clothes don't fit me.. At this stage she bursts out laughing. I explain that since I gave up smoking 6 months ago I have put on weight. She asks me if I miss smoking. Every day I tell her. She says I am getting cold sores because I am so stressed about giving up smoking. I am getting a cold sore on my ear.

My sister tells me her hubby got so many cold sores once that he couldn't shave. She said he looked like a scabby werewolf. The doc gave me ointment.

Despite the things I am going to tell you about giving up smoking I still think it is A Good Thing.

I have put on 20lbs. In part this is due to a slower metabolism. The other part is due to a vastly increased appetite.

I went up two dress sizes.

I lost a tooth. Smoking masks gum desease.

I got spots.

On the other hand daughter one gave up smoking a month before I did. She is still wearing the same size clothes and I have not noticed any spots or toothlessness. The moral is if you are going to give up smoking it is better to do it sooner than later.

PS I don't expect to be fat and spotty forever and as for the tooth- no gain without pain.

Ian Posted by Hello

Another Virgo Birthday

Ian and Bert don't do brothers
If they did, they'd be each others'

Happy Birthday Ian

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Toys for the Boys Posted by Hello

The Big Clear Out

Bert has been clearing out his homeplace for a couple of months now. It had become too difficult for his widowed mother to manage. She is now living in an all mod cons mobile a few yards from the old house.

The clear out has had its moments. His mother was and is a hoarder and there was stuff in there from the beginning of time. For instance she still has his old pram and other baby equipment. Babies were a rarity in her generation. There were four sisters of them and she is the only one to have produced a sprog. Imagine how spoiled he was. He says he wasn’t but then he would say that.

At first she followed him about, terrified that he would dump something precious. At least it got her moving and all her bric a brac is now packed away in the mobile. I was up with her one day and she said “I’m that vexed with Bertie, he never brushed that carpet before he rolled it up,” I said “Why would he brush it? Sure he’s only going to throw it on the ground somewhere to keep weeds down.” “What!” she cried, “He’s going to throw it out! That’s a good carpet.” This carpet was dirty beige with brown swirly bits. It was an excellent carpet in 1970 and will be damn fine for suppressing weeds in this century.

Bert is now sorting out the toys. He had already given loads away to various children. My own had a dig at them when they were the age for toys. The ones he has kept are mostly battery operated. Tonight he thrust a plastic tank in front of me and asked “Have you any batteries lying about would do that?” I said I hadn’t. He was straight into the van and down to the garage for a battery. Now all he needs are the caps.

Birthday Boy

I'm happy to report that Seamus appears to be having a good birthday. He was pleased with all his cards and presents and is enjoying being the centre of attention. He held hands with Mum for ages then took mine and made one of his faces at her. His sense of humour is still there.

Honeymooners Posted by Hello

Happy Birthday Daddy

Last year on his 84th birthday we took Daddy and Mum out for lunch. Zoë joined us. We went to the Carvery, as that was Dad’s favourite. He has unsophisticated tastes. He was quiet enough during the meal; he talked a bit to Bert and as always, ate a hearty meal. We took photos and they show him looking rather distant. Afterwards Bert said, “Seamus looks really fed up.” I asked him to explain and he said that he looked as if he couldn’t be bothered with hassle any more. Daddy was like that – he did like a quiet life but did these things because he thought it would please us. During the meal he asked me if I’d do him a favour. I said I would. He said he wanted me to take him to Leitrim to see Dede. Of course I agreed.

It wasn’t to be. He took a stroke within a couple of days and it hit him hard. He was in hospital for months but there was little could be done. He wouldn’t get better. By Christmas he was in a nursing home.

They’re good to him there and he seems to have settled. He never shows any signs of distress nor of wanting to be home. We visit him often and those of us who don’t live locally come back as often as possible. He cannot walk, hardly talks and cannot feed himself. It is exactly what we wouldn’t have wanted for him.

He was and is a great father, not perfect, but who is? He was always on our side and always ready to help in any way he could. When we were younger we thought he was hard on us. Now we can see that everything he did was done out of love. We have all had the privilege of making our peace and telling him how much we love and appreciate him.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Squirrel Hunters  Posted by Hello


Hannah alerted me that I had yet to post a picture of Mel. Oversight. To make up for it I might post another one in which she is armed . Bert uses that to (try to) shoot little fluffy bunny rabbits that would eat his trees. He is also after the squirrels, which are even more destructive to young trees. The other morning I heard him boasting to Albare that he shot the dead squirrel on our road. The only squirrel (or rabbit) that he’ll be shooting would need to be as big as a bullock before he could hit it.

Which reminds me of a woman I know who went to London when she was a girl and was amazed to see how small the squirrels in Hyde Park were. Because of the Tufty road safety campaign, current at that time, she was convinced that squirrels should be at least three feet tall.

Mel Posted by Hello

Rosie from Cully Posted by Hello

Me Ma Posted by Hello

Waiting for Kerry

She was expecting our Trish and the pup that Trish has been training for her. But Trish was delayed in transit and will not be here until tomorrow So she's waiting for Kerry from Kerry. She had to make do with Rosie from Cully. Looks happy enough though, doesn't she?

Smoking Ban

"The British Medical Association is calling on the government to ban smoking in public places in Northern Ireland.
Leading health professionals will gather in Belfast on Wednesday to put forward their case.
In the Republic of Ireland, the ban on smoking in the workplace came into being in March this year and has already had a significant impact. " (BBC News)

So there you go. It is six months since I gave up smoking. I'm no richer and a stone heavier. I definitely smell nicer. I wonder why it is just NI and not the entire UK, or are they using us as a test ground again. Personally I am in favour but am a bit wary of the knock on effects which will (eventually) include local job losses and a reduction of tax income.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Bert's Aunt

… is a bit of a hermitess. Eccentricity is her middle name. She lives in a house in a holler without amenities (including decent doors, windows or roof) She never throws anything away. A while back she got a mobile phone so that she wouldn’t be so cut off. It was fine when she wanted to use it except she shouted into it so loudly we could hardly hear her for static. The problem arose when anyone wanted to call her. This was because she kept her phone in the original packing. Bert’s Mum tried to call her but couldn’t get a reply. When asked about it she said, “I heard it peeping but by the time I got it out of the wee box it had stopped.”

Just in case anyone is wondering we do know about what the NIHE and other agencies can do for people living in unfit housing. We’ve been down that road with her and she doesn’t want to know. We’ll leave it for now.

Fashion Conscious. Moi?

Just because Nelly's an ould doll doesn't mean that she isn't interested in current fashion trends. In fact I've seen some trends come round for the third time. About 7-8 years ago brown was the new black and collars went all seventies. That took me back. The only thing that changes are the names. Boho chic and vintage - that was part of the hippy thing big in the late sixties and early seventies. These pointed shoes - we called them winklepickers.

But the odd thing comes along that surprises me - this summer it was writing on the arse of your trousers. Some of the wee clients were wearing trackies with 'ANGEL' or 'BABE' emblazoned on the back. I told them that I was getting a pair with 'HIPPOPOTAMUS' on them, then if I lost a bit of tonnage I'd get a pair that said 'ELEPHANT'.

Lincoln Star Posted by Hello

Getting Mother Some Wheels

Today, before I went to Mum’s, I went to Pennybridge to look at wheelchairs. I have been thinking that a wheelchair would be a good thing for her when we take her out. She loves to be out and about but tires very quickly. Looked at a shiny purple chrome one and got the fellow to show me how small it could go so that it would fit in the boot of the smallest of cars. I had already discussed this with her, she had discussed it with her sister and it had been given the Aunt Clare* seal of approval. But when I told her where I’d been she was slightly unsure. She said it might be cold. I said knit a snazzy blanket. I think she might be afraid that people will diss her if she is sitting in a wheelchair. I said we’d try it out in towns where nobody knows you. I said we’d need it if we go to Vancouver. She agreed that we would and said she’ll also need it when she goes to France with Dede and Trish.

Dad has been in much brighter form the last couple of times I’ve visited. Today he was wide-awake, responsive and affectionate to Mum. It was a very pleasant visit. He has gone off chocolate a bit and much prefers ice cream. I think he likes strawberry best.

We’re eating the first of the squash tonight. Note for next year. Grow broccoli.

*Not to be included in the Aunts series for fear of a warm ear.

Clematis Florida 'Sieboldii' Posted by Hello

Flipping Clematis

I have been asked for advice about overwintering clematis in pots. Bert the resident expert has been consulted and this is what he suggests. He overwinters clematis both as liners and full-grown plants. They are kept in unheated polytunnels. He advises some frost protection if it is very cold and to plant out in spring. Don’t worry if they die back a bit, as they’ll sprout again in spring. Don’t overwater. Good luck!

Monday, September 13, 2004

Mad Aunts

The Mad Aunts series will continue but first I must contact the legal department (Zoe) to discuss what can and cannot be posted. Bert has a ball of them. The Mad Aunt* pictured below shouldn't mind. She is a professor in Ulster-Scots Dialect at Crouch End University. What! You've never heard of it!! *Gipus Maximus aka The Gancher. PS Prof, it was Eamon called you Gipus Maximus.

Hannah and Naoise's Aunt  Posted by Hello

A Free Society

"Most Northern Ireland households can expect to pay up to £415 per year in water charges, it has been announced.
The average household will pay £115 from April 2006, that will rise to £340 in 2008. "

Won't be long now before we are paying for the air that we breathe. This is one of the joys of living in a capitalist society. Mind you this household has been paying for its water since the house was built so we shan't notice much difference to start with. The last half-year bill was over £500. Clematis* production uses a lot of water. That bill was not usual, its normally much less but we had a leak under the kitchen floor. The cement had corroded the copper piping and we didn't notice until the quarry tiles started floating. When youse wans start paying for your water, you'll need to watch for leaks and so on. The Water Board, or whatever they're going to call themselves, will hold you responsible for your leaks.

*I'm trying to sneak in at least one mention of flipping clematis a day


Bert and I do have the odd disagreement. This morning I was looking through the Sundays and I mentioned the term ‘airbrushing’ in relation to a photograph (of Abi Titmuss if you must know.) Bert uses the bit of brain that I use for cultural stuff on politics, so he asked, “What’s airbrushing?” I started to explain using his Kylie calendar as an example. He was having none of it. I tried to tell him that this was common practice and that all the minor lumps, bumps and spots were removed from these sort of pictures. “Not Kylie’s,” he argued. I retorted that if Miss Minogue were standing in our kitchen right now, in her vest and pants, she’d be looking pretty ropey compared to the airbrushed perfection of her calendar shots. “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” was his witty retort. So I decided to leave him to his fantasies.

Julia's Aunt

I heard about this one when I was a girl. She was a make do and mend sort of person which I suppose she had to be because a lot of people hadn’t the money to spend in those days. Not like you lot who probably buy new cookers to match the kitchen when you redecorate. Anyway she was an aunt of Julia’s who was my sister’s friend at school. I cannot recall her name so shall call her Bridie. Now Bridie had an electric cooker but the rings weren’t working so she asked her husband to look out for one for her. He came up trumps with another cooker but with this one the oven didn’t work. She hadn’t the room in her kitchen for both so she came up with the bright idea of setting one upon the other. This was the perfect solution except of course whilst cooking on the rings she had to stand on a chair. Julia said it was most amusing to see her standing on a chair making the big fry and chatting away as if this was the usual way of doing things.

Nelly Moser Posted by Hello

Sunday, September 12, 2004

What Nelly Doesn't Know

.... about Photoshop is pretty much everything!

The Lovely Katkin  Posted by Hello

The Cull

When it came to the bit we culled damn all. Got rid of that Incan crap thing we foolishly bought in Lisbon. You know the sort of thing. South Americans playing geetars and pan pipes in major tourist cities all over Europe. And you're in the holiday mood (i.e. would buy any old crap) It even affects Bert and he's a typical Cully skinflint. So it is that, John Cale, Joe Ely and some other dancey shite will be donated to the charity shop. Now if there are any Cale or Ely fans out there the charity shop is in Larne somewhere. Bert's Aunt Lizzie* collects for it. Bert separated all his country and bluegrass stuff out so that he and Ian will find it accessible on Friday nights. But I couldn't help noticing that he has decided that all the Johnny Cash are his. I'm sure I've still got the receipt from Amazon somewhere. Sadly missing, cases only - Urban Hymns and Car Wheels On A Gravel Drive. Copies anyone? Make a nice cheap Chrissie present for Mrs Moser**.

* Coming soon - Mad Aunts
** In-joke for clematis lovers

Living Dangerously

At work we don’t get as many harassment cases as we used to. The loyalist feud in Belfast has calmed down. At its height families were being hunted from their homes in droves and quite a few of them landed in Ballymena. We still get the odd one. These are people who get in trouble with their neighbours for one thing or another and sometimes their neighbours have certain connections. They come to us and they are absolute angels with wings. We wonder how anybody could be so vicious, so evil as to drive this sweet person from her home.

Now if you were such a person would you get a skinful down you at the top of the town, then call in to one of the most loyalist bars in the town, where noticing that the majority of punters were rigged out in Rangers or England clothing, you would then have a bit of a banter with two of the larger lumpens about how you were a Celtic supporter and sure we’re all the same. She lived.

I know. I know it is savage but it is how things are, not how we would want them to be. And despite everything I know she was lucky. If they’d set the women on her God knows where it would have ended.

The thing that puzzles me is, where is the sense of self-preservation?

Man at Work Posted by Hello

It's a Dirty Ould Job

... but somebody's got to do it I came home from work this afternoon to find Bert in the process of sorting out the CD collection. And what is even better is that I know that he will finish what he started. It will be wonderful as all sorts of missing gems will turn up. We are also going to have a major cull of music. That task has been on my "to do" list for more than two years!

Saturday, September 11, 2004


Today is a very important anniversary. Let us remember all those who suffered and/or died in Iraq, Palestine, Chechnya, Darfur, Bali, Nairobi, Karachi, Afghanistan, South Africa, Madrid, Beslan, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington. And there are many, many more including our own country. (Think of Northern Ireland as the centre of a Venn diagram.) Let us also hope that George W. Bush will get his just desserts in November and be consigned to the history dump with all the other war criminals.

How to Brighten Up Your White Goods

.... stick pictures of friends and family to the fridge door. Can you spot yourself? It makes quite a talking point too because not everyone knows each other so you can have conversations starting like this... She done a Zoe Ball on him with him so he thumped him (Young Lothario) which wasn't very Norman Cook of him was it?

A Rogue's Gallery Posted by Hello

Back to Work

Aaargh! Back to work this afternoon after five days off. The less I work the less I want to work. Last shift was wall-to-wall PSNI because of two runaway teenagers. I wonder if they found them? The police are funny buggers these days. Some of them have this couldn’t give a damn attitude. Like the two who called round and were more interested in the serial numbers of an ex-resident’s electrical goods that were awaiting collection. Yer man the David Irvine look-a-like said, “Are you worried about these girls?” I answered frankly, because I reckoned they’re holed up in Dunclug, that I wasn’t that worried. “That makes three of us,” says he.

Then there was the serious one who wanted photos and a detailed description. We ask residents a lot of questions but not what height they are or what colour their eyes are. Probably we should plus take mug shots. What were they wearing? I don’t know, I didn’t see them leave. They were wearing spide clothes. We had two goths once who went missing and that was great. Spotted within moments. It was the fluorescent pink hair and black lipstick and one of them being pregnant that did the trick. Then there was the sergeant who must have got the stripes pretty recently because he was very thorough. Missed absolutely nothing as we inspected their rooms. After he left my colleague said, “Do you know you’ve got your top on inside out?”