Thursday, October 28, 2004

Counting my Blessings

I note that many of my fellow bloggers use their blogs to have a good old moan. Boys, boys, we pass this way but once (I think) so enjoy yourselves. That glass is not half empty, it’s half full.

Moaning is OK now and again. What else are friends and fellow bloggers for? Look at me. I'm fat, frizzy and fifty plus, I've a chin full of spots and dodgy knees. Two of them. But do you hear me complaining? No sirree. Instead I count my blessings.

Three wonderful daughters, all with lovely guys and all left home. (Yippee)

Two of the best dogs in the world. I have a bastard of a cat but so what? Me complain? Not on your Nelly.

A room with a view.

Part-time work that pays OK dosh.

Some excellent friends.


Also – I live in the free world. It might not be perfection but it’s not Chad, Iraq or North Korea.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

John Peel

All (yesterday) afternoon I’ve been listening to the radio as people talk about the late John Peel. And it seems there is nothing else to say. I never met him, I never spotted him at a festival but I feel I’ve known him all my life. And he has been part of my life since 1968 when I used to listen to a programme called Top Gear. John Peel is the broadcaster who opened my ears to the music outside the charts. He led me to some of the best music ever – excepting Tiny Tim’s Tiptoe Through The Tulips. After several hours exposure to Peely Herman’s Hermits and Gerry and the Pacemakers were all forgotten and I found myself listening to Jefferson Airplane, Captain Beefheart and Country Joe and the Fish. You see I met him in his West Coast underground period.

The first person I wanted to speak to when I heard the news was my ex-hubby Mick who is the only guy I know who kept the faith in new music like John Peel did. I didn’t get to speak to Mick but I know he’ll read this, and get in touch with his thoughts.

Miss you, John. Sixty-five was way too young to say goodbye.

I wrote the above yesterday but couldn't post due to technical difficulties. Today I was in Help The Aged with Mum and Peely was being talked about on Talkback. The elderly lady who works there commented "he appealed to all age groups." Maybe she listened to Top Gear too when she was a young 'un.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Acupuncture, Cupping and Birthdays in Berlin

The picture shows the Wee Manny. He has been consulting a highly qualified Chinese Medical Practitioner about his malaise. He has embarked on a course of acupuncture and cupping to relieve this malaise. We'll keep you posted on his progress.

On a different note I wish a Very Happy Birthday to Sister One currently celebrating her birthday in Berlin with her very own Solicitor Guy. Many happy returns JGB.

Alternative Ulsterman Posted by Hello

Happy Birthday Sis Posted by Hello

Friday, October 22, 2004

Best Brownies Ever

Last night I made the best brownies ever and the recipe came out of my head. This is what to do.

Take a Mars Bar and break it into thumb-sized pieces. Eat a piece and put the rest in a bowl with half the green butter in the fridge. Melt butter and bar over a pan of boiling water. Add a tablespoon of cocoa powder and a cup of Demerara sugar. Take off heat. Add two beaten eggs and a packet of chopped walnuts then fold in a cup of self-raising flour. Beat well.

Put the mixture in a baking tray and bake at a medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until cooked in the middle. Whilst cooking lick the bowl and give Rosie dog a bowl to lick as well.

Whilst doing dishes I note that I’m stoned already. And so is Rosie. When they are cooked I eat three brownies that I serve with a chilled Merlot Rose and get off my face.

Today, to make up for the brownie overdose, I took two walks. The first one was with Paddy and Kerry dogs on Lord O’Neill’s side of the moss, The second one was with Paddy and Rosie dogs along the riverside path. And I feel great and so does Rosie dog. Peace & Love 2 y’all.

Resting Up a Spell Posted by Hello

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Blogger at Prayer

That is another two shifts at the coalface redd up and it wasn’t too bad.

I dreaded going in on Tuesday evening and could feel a stress-related illness coming on. But I didn’t want to do THAT so I prayed instead. You might be wondering to yourself – I didn’t know Nelly was into that sort of thing – and up to a point, you’d be right. Are you even more perturbed to hear that the prayer I said was one I learned from my infant school Mrs Magee who was the nearest to a saint that I’ve ever known? And human too which is always nice.

So the prayer I said is called “The Memorarae” and it goes like this –

Remember oh most gracious Virgin Mary…

(Virginity oooh-er, not very realistic but hey it’s her title and I’m a Virgo myself and I used to be a virgin so it resonates for me.)

..that never was it known that anyone who plead thy help or sought thy intercession was left unaided.

(That’s faith, that is. Always an important element of self-help)

Inspired with this confidence I fly unto thee oh Virgin of Virgins my Mother….

(At this bit I really do feel calmness and confidence flow through me. It’s a mantra)

…. to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful…

(I am not worthy so I repent and become worthy. Very papist)

Oh Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petition but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen

(That’s the goddess bit. I’m not really a catholic; I’m a pagan praying to the Goddess.)

And truly, truly it always works for me. However I have to have an outcome in mind. There is no way of knowing that prayers are answered unless there is an outcome and this is always mine.

To have the strength to bear whatever happens.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Bud courtesy of Taylor Clarke Posted by Hello


Scary Tam and the Boy Taylor called with us this evening and donated some fine pics to Nelly’s blog. Ploppy-Pants came around too but not to take umbrage at me for miscalling him earlier. He denies everything and blames the Wee Manny and Ian for annoying Swisser. But then as the woman said – he would say that, wouldn’t he?

Ploppy Pants Posted by Hello

Swisser Posted by Hello

A Good Egg

On my little strolls outside I have been finding hard-boiled eggs lying around. This puzzled me. Bert likes an egg so why would he throw them outside? Were hard-boiled eggs served at Laura’s party, and did the guests place them under hedges for some kind of amusement? Maybe the same person who put vol-au-vents in my dryer did it? There are some very strange people around. None of these explanations made any sense.

Now I admit I did not smell these eggs nor did I nibble at them but I have come up with a theory. Our friend Ian occasionally gives us food parcels. When he gets concerned about his nutritional intake he redds the cupboards of food he considers unhealthy. Once we got a big bag of pot noodles. I took them straight into work where the hungry clients fell upon them like a pack of ravening wolves. The last time he gave us a food parcel it contained a jar of pickled eggs. Pickled eggs? As if I would. But Bert would and he must have given the dogs a share. And they not being overly keen on pickled eggs must have left them past for a time of famine. So problem solved. I’ll check with Bert when he gets home.

Now if Swisser were an egg she wouldn’t be hard-boiled and she certainly wouldn’t be pickled or fried. She’d be a good egg, maybe slightly scrambled but that’s no bad thing. That’s why we love her. She may not be a Professor yet but she’s certainly nutty. Yesterday she showed me where the beavers build their structures on the River Bush. I had to tell her there were no beavers in Ireland which is much better than laughing at her behind her back. She’s got a good sense of humour. She loves dogs. She is extremely kind and a fond mother and friend. Let’s laugh with her to her face from now on.

And down with Ploppy-Pants.

Church at Billy near Bushmills Posted by Hello

Telling Tales

The keener eyed among you will notice that I’m up rather early today. Well you know the saying – early to bed, early to rise. I’m expecting health, wealth and wisdom aplenty today.

Yesterday apart from an early night I chalked up nearly 18000 steps on the old pedometer. This was because we went to Portballintrae to visit Swisser, Tess and the boys, and Swisser and I and all four dogs went for a long walk. Afterwards Swisser, Bert and I went for a “big feed” in Bushmills. And not a drop of whiskey did we drink. Plenty of wine though.

On the way to Portballintrae we stopped at a church in Billy to look at some restoration work that had been carried out on its stonework. This was on the recommendation of a builder friend who said he expected that is how Bert’s project will turn out when the stonework is sandblasted and repointed.

Swisser incandescent (ripping mad) about the people, who do not believe she has a house in Portrush, is buying one in Donegal, that she is having a mid-life crisis and is losing the plot. Also miffed that I am supposed to have said that I was cross because she keeps sneaking up to visit Bert when I’m on overnights at work. Thanks Ploppy-Pants for sharing all that with her, you big hairy mouthpiece. Anyway folks I’ve seen the paperwork. Not that I wanted to – it was thrust in front of my nose, and as for Bert I’ve promised her he can go to India with her next March. Now who’s losing the plot?

There will be more of this later.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Kerry and Paddy Posted by Hello

Return to the Bog

Yesterday I visited Dad and did some pruning for Mum. Afterwards I took all the dogs for a walk in the moss down Ma’s road. All the dogs included her new pup. The way she went on about it you’d have thought I was taking a newborn child out. Fuss, fuss, fuss. Are you taking her lead? She might fall into a moss hole. What if your dogs chase her and she gets lost? So I took the lead with no intention of using it. And I took a camera to see if I could get a decent photo of the wee dog.

It was Kerry’s first walk in the moss and it didn’t turn a hair on her. She leapt over drains like she’d been born in the bog. I did get a couple of pictures but because Kerry is always on the move she looks a bit rare in them. In one she was bouncing about so much that she looked as if she’d been electrocuted. I like the one I’m posting. There is Paddy the plodder with his big arse marked out ready for “a good fecking kick up it” and there is Kerry with her ears flying in the wind of her own velocity looking like she is about to soar over his back. While I was taking that picture I was standing on top of an area of quaking bog. I got quite engrossed and when I looked down my wellingtons had sunk about six inches into the bog. I got them sucked out but it was a close call.

Drumkeeran Posted by Hello

Friday, October 15, 2004

Big Banana Boots Posted by Hello

Santa's Little Helper

Congratulations to my lovely Hannah (daughter 3) who has landed a job working in Toys’R’Us. She will be working nights to ensure that all the little Staffordshire kids get their Christmas presents. Good on you Hannah. See you in the New Year.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Squirrel Invasion

Rosie and Paddy got very excited on their return from their walk. A squirrel was in their yard. Rosie set off with Paddy galumphing behind her. She chased it round the house. Next thing the squirrel ran up the wall of the house and clung on in a spread-eagled manner using its tail as a balance. Then it was off again and in to the beech trees. Rosie got so excited that I thought she was going to run up the trunk of the tree after it. Grey squirrels are just like rats except for the big tail.

Last night I went into see ZaD. D fixed up the links for me. I can do more but have not got round to it yet as I like to put my homework off until the last minute. D advised me to download Firefox so I have.

Yesterday the postman gave me a load of Thompson & Morgan seeds. Today he brought me k.d. Lang’s hymns of the 49th parallel and Ben Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama – there will be a light. The k.d. lang was recommended to me by a shopkeeper in Magherafelt. It is mostly covers and is very, very good. The Ben Harper is awesomely good.

Bert went to the swimming pool this evening but it was closed. So that's another bathing opportunity missed for the soap-dodger. Bring on Aggie and Kim!

Monday, October 11, 2004

For Mel and Mikey

Is this a sin?

Is she real?

She reminds me of one of the Ballymena bikers. Who does she remind you off?

Saturday, Sunday and Monday

That wasn’t a bad weekend even though I did a double shift at work. I had lots to do so wasn’t bored and there were no incidents. I finished my Al Franken book and feel I better understand the nuances of US politics.

So nothing to tell there.

I didn’t achieve much in the way of exercise on Saturday. I did get a short bike ride but decided not to go for a walk on my evening break, as there were too many yobsters about. Instead I called on Zoë and D and was the first blogger to see Zoë’s new rosebud cardi.

Sunday was a very quiet morning and as before I kept busy and the clients kept out of my hair. But the bit about yesterday that I liked was that I did my cycling and my walking. I felt great afterwards. So this morning I hopefully hopped on the scales and found I have not lost an ounce. Yet I still feel better.

Today I took the dogs on the river walk and ran into Dee Mac and Herman. Spent the rest of the day painting the kitchen ceiling and made lasagne for dinner. It was delectable.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

My Bicycle Posted by Hello

The Toome Incident

Yesterday I was driving through Toome village at between 15-18mph. I was intending to turn left into a supermarket car park. Ahead I spotted three young boys aged about six to seven looking as if they might run out in front of the car. My mother cried, “watch!” just as I started to brake and two of them darted out. Then the third that had hesitated took off. My feet went to the floor and I actually closed my eyes (a first while driving), as I did not want to see his little body hit by the car. He made it and Mother who had kept her eyes open said the car stopped with an inch to spare.

Then I was angry. I wanted to turn the car and give chase to the little bastards and have a word with them. Sensibly Mum advised me against this. We stopped in the car park outside the supermarket where I started to shake and cry. If I had been going just the smallest bit faster I would have hit that child.

So if, in the future, anyone spots a white Astra travelling through Toome like a snail, it will probably be Nelly.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Exercise and Fireworks

I haven't said much about this in case it turned out to be a flash in the pan but I think I've got the bug - the exercise bug. Regular readers will have gathered that since stopping smoking seven months ago I have become a bit of a roundie. So as a last ditch attempt to get fitter and hopefully, leaner I have started taking daily exercise. I cycle and I walk.

I bought the bke nearly three years ago and rode it home. That was it for several years but for nearly two weeks now I have been out cycling. The only day I missed was the day after Laura's party as I was so tired. I haven't missed my daily walk. The picture below shows the scenery on one of my walks from Cully to Galgorm Manor.

And speaking of Galgorm Manor we have just watched an amazing firework display from there. We see these quite often but tonight's was one of the best. There must have been thousands of pounds worth of fireworks used. Bert said it would have fed thousands in Africa but I said that if the persons concerned hadn't spent the money on fireworks they'd probably have spent it on a sofa or a plasma screen TV and at least lots of other people get some fleeting pleasure from the pyrotechnics.

River Maine Posted by Hello

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Ganching and her Prize

People you have a chance to win a lovely prize if you check in with Ganching.

No, I don't know what the prize is. A decorative candle perhaps. Maybe a signed photograph of herself. Who knows? Neither can I help you with the answer as that is against the rools and I'm only 50% sure myself.

Telling It

I get jealous that Ganching is able to put stuff like what she’s reading on the side of her blog so:-

Currently reading > Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken

Currently listening to > The Rough Guide to Delta Blues (compilation), Blue Horse – Be Good Tanyas (again)

Currently drinking > coffee

Currently wearing > pink jumper, red pyjama trousers, pedometer (10247 steps)

Currently following > the run up to the American election

Currently researching > the murder of Emmett Till in Money, Mississippi

Last film I really enjoyed > American History X (on TV)

Last TV programme that impressed me > The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off (missed it the first time round)

Last dog that licked my face > Kerry

PS > Yer man in the picture is the infamous Wee Manny.

Oldest Swinger in Town Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

New Arrival

See who has got their own blog.

Handy Andy Posted by Hello

A Woman's Lot

This picture shows Bert DIYing. What started as a simple job involving scraping off tile cement seems to have progressed to dismantling the house to its structural timbers. No wonder he has such a manic grin. I have every faith in him and to prove it I shall leave him to it while I go to visit the parents and pick new tiles. A woman’s lot is often a happy one.

Evil Bitch

I am really enjoying the post over at Zoë’s. Even though she did call me an Evil Bitch. If you want to see the depths of slyness that the peelers can sink to take a look at this lot in Engerland.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Your Arse In Parsley

Rats! I go back to work today after spending almost all of September on holiday. The thought has disturbed my sleep. Last night I dreamed that we added a new criteria to our client group. They had to be murderers. Does this mean I hate my job?

On a lighter note I have a query for those of you interested in the Norn Iron turn of phrase, as I found myself saying this about the Wee Manny the other day. It was in relation to some nonsensical statement he had come out with.

His arse in parsley!

Familiar to anyone? I'm going to start abusing the client group with it. If they complain I'll swear I said "eyes" not "arse".

Monday, October 04, 2004

Laura & Guest 2 Posted by Hello

Laura & Guest 1 Posted by Hello

The Breakfast Party

I had a very comfortable and peaceful few hours sleep until the garage door being shoved open wakened me. I peered out from under the duvet to see Laura and the girls coming in armed with dustpans and brushes. “What’s going on?” I enquired. “We’re here to clean up.” Laura answered. The Academy crowd never did that so one up for the House.

In the kitchen Mrs Wee was busily cleaning too. The Wee Manny was still shouting away but by now was as hoarse as a drake. Several dazed youths were sitting around wrapped in blankets. Next thing the Wee has them all ordered out to the garage to help the girls clean up.

After coffee I announced I was off to the shops for the Sunday papers and Bert’s customary chocolate milk. The Wee gave me £20 and ordered me to bring the ingredients for a fry. On the way to the car I stopped to see how the big clean up was going on. The dazed youths were all lying about relaxing while the girls worked. One dazed youth was wandering around aimlessly looking for his ukulele.

At the bottom of the lane I noticed that the big bunch of balloons we’d tied to the sycamore was gone. So was the branch they were tied to. If you spotted a lad or group of lads walking down our road carrying a huge bunch of balloons and playing a ukulele please let us know. Usual contact address is C/o Bert, Cullybackey.

When I returned everyone was shouting for birthday cake but the Wee Manny said no one was having cake until they’d eaten a proper breakfast. All I can say about the fry is that I wish Jazzer had cooked it but the cake was delicious.

I told Laura that I’d post pictures but I’m afraid that if I do that it might bring to an abrupt end some very promising academic careers. So best not. No names, no pack drill.

Later on that evening Laura phoned us and thanked us very nicely for the party. The Academy ones never did that. So here’s to Year 13, Cambridge House – Nelly loves ya!

Sunday, October 03, 2004

All Partied Out

Laura was born 18 years ago on the 2nd of October. She was almost three months early and weighed a mere 28 ounces. She has mended up really well and could knock you into the middle of next week if she felt like it. Laura’s dad is called the Wee Manny. He and his wife Mrs Wee are among our oldest friends. So when Laura suggested that she hold her 18th birthday party in the room above our garage we were only too pleased to agree. Last night it came about. I don’t know how many came but I believe the garage was heaving. I went out at one point and there were so many milling around our yard looked like closing time at Tullyglass. All that was missing was the burger van.

Anyway having drank the better part of a bottle of Chardonnay I decided to take a little lie-down around 10pm. I thought that everything would wind down at about 1am and that the parents would all come and collect their little darlings. Well at 2am I woke up convinced the house was under machine gun attack. Coming to I realised it was the sound system. I got up and went downstairs to see what was going on. I discovered that the party was still going strong and that it had relocated to the kitchen. I also found that at least 20 people were staying the night. The very bossy Laura press-ganged me up to the hot press were every available blanket, duvet and quilt was trailed out.

After a while I decided to escape back to bed. But my bedroom is directly above the kitchen and the roars and shouts of them were indescribable. The worst offender was the Wee Manny himself closely followed by a Justin with the whole thing being stirred up by a Nicky. Well the things they talked about. Being a grammar school crowd they discussed racism, masturbation and hunting with dogs which both Laura and Justin have participated in though’ Justin says the Mid-Antrim only catches about three foxes a year. Hate mail may be sent c/o Bert, Cullybackey. At 4am I could bear the din no longer and got up and offered to drive them all home. Everyone declined as they were having too good a time. I then went to the loo to find that someone had smashed one of my plant pots and even worse put the plant in the bin, I had a rant about this and told them that when all the Academy ones came to Hannah’s parties that they were much better behaved and that Cambridge House were a pack of uncouth savages. Some were mildly stung but most took not a blind bit of notice so I grabbed a duvet and went out to sleep on a sofa in the garage.

It was dark and scary out there so I put on some fairy lights and settled down under my duvet to enjoy the blissful quiet. Before I went to sleep I pondered the difference between Hannah’s lovely civilised friends and Laura’s rowdy mates. On the surface they were all quite alike so what was the difference? Hannah’s friends packed the house many a night and all that got broke was the odd tumbler. Then it hit me. Alcohol. We created a teens only scene and allowed them to get pissed. That’s why they were boisterous and loud. Hannah’s friends were mostly stoners.

Postscript: I’ll write about the breakfast party later and will only add that this evening when I went to get my comfy trousers out of the dryer that it was full of vol-au-vents. The Academy ones would never have done that.

Go Home You Noisy Lot

The party is over except we cannot get the guests to go home. There are going to be six girls in two single beds and the boys are fighting over three sofas. What soft creatures the youth of today are. No one wants to sleep in the garage.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Birthday Party

The party starts at 7:30pm. However three guests are here already. What an afternoon I've had. Laura is so bossy. We have put balloons at the end of the lane as this is the signal to the young un's parents as to where the festivities are occurring. The ones up the tree are OK but the ones on the pillar keep bursting, Laura says it is all my fault for not blowing them up properly. I think someone in the Queen's Park is shooting an air rifle at them. Nicky is DJing, the grown ups are all slightly pissed, the night is young. I shall keep you all posted.

Big hi to all the students in Edinburgh. Nelly loves ya! Comments please, especially from those she has not met. Shyness not allowed in Nelly's Garden - you're all welcome in the Dreen anytime.

Happy 18th birthday Laura Posted by Hello

Friday, October 01, 2004

Kerry  Posted by Hello

Nelly's Day

I've had rather a good day today with online banter and an Ulster Fry among my enjoyments. I have cycled and walked which is part of my new get fit regime. Hopefully I'll even get less fat but if Bert keeps placing Ulster Fries in front of me it might be difficult. I even got into the garden and polytunnel where I potted on my fuchsias and tidied up a bit. Holidays are great.

Spotted this while I was surfing. He's a right Culture Vulture or not?

Sitting on top of the World

I first heard this song performed by the Cream. Most recently I heard it being covered by a local bluegrass band and discovered that Bill Monroe had given it a whirl. Harry Belafonte and Frank Sinatra also reworked it. I've researched this myself and come up with conflicting information. Is there anyone out there who knows who wrote this song? Here's a clue the initials of the outfits who are credited with it are MS and HW. This one's for you Jonny boy!