Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Kerry Man

The fellows who have been spending their Christmas holidays stripping the old house down to the bare walls have been surprised by the number of Bert’s friends who call to the site to see what’s going on.

But only one has stayed to do a bit of work. The Kerry man’s visit coincided with the first day Bert hired the mini digger. It’s a bit smaller than what the Kerry man’s used to but once he gave it a try that was him for the day.

At dark I made Bert and him a big feed of cabbage and sausages and gave him my car to get back to Tannaghmore. He was planning to be here today at about half eight. He turned up in a fluster just before ten. There had been a flat tyre and a missing wrench and a general siege. He’d sorted it but had no time for coffee. “I’d better get up there. I wouldn’t want those Protestants thinking a Kerry man would be lying in his bed to this time.”

And you know he wasn’t hard to pay for his work – he got a beech hedge for his bother and he dug it out himself.

Kerry Man At His Tay Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Back To Real Life Again

So that was Christmas. I spent most of it working but the bit at home with my loved ones was so good. And now it is back to reality. Most on my mind over the past few days is the Indian Ocean earthquake and its aftermath. What terrible horror. Does it seem more dreadful because it was Christmas? They are saying that it is the worst natural disaster ever. When I wrote my last post I was aware of it but not ready to talk about it. This happened at Christmas when we are on holiday and have had the time to take it in. We've been buying and receiving presents and spending like mad and then we're faced with people who had so very little and now have nothing. We've been spending time with our families and they have had their families ripped apart. So many are reported as saying that they wished they hadn't survived because of the family members they have lost.

The tourists too, have brought it home to us because it would be so easy to imagine ourselves there. So many of those unfortunate people depended on tourism and if what I read in the papers is true many of them did everything they possibly could to help the foreign travellers even when they themselves had lost so much.

What can we do? Please send money to the charity of your choice and don't be put off travelling to these holiday destinations next year and the years after.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Boxing Day

Although I started off the Christmas season in Scrooge-like mood l finished it having had a lovely one. So much so that I am already looking forward to next Christmas when, God willing, we will be in our new home and our new neighbours the Kenny’s’ will be living in this house. Almost not having Hannah, my very own Christmas Elf, home this year made me realise that what was important was having my family and friends around.

Unfortunately this year Catkin was not with us and spent Chrissie in darkest Norfolk with fewer presents than she deserved. The camel train did not make it as far as Norfolk this year. But never mind Kate, your presents are all under the tree and we’ll get them to you as soon as we can. Next year we hope to have Mark and yourself here in County Antrim. Maybe the Christmas tree lights will not be the only sparkle on show.

This Christmas Bert played a blinder. He cooked a small Christmas lunch on the 25th for his Mum and Hannah. I had to go to work which was pretty much OK and he delivered my dinner to me that evening. Boxing Day was our proper Christmas lunch. We had Bert’s mum, the Elf, Z & D and Swisser. It was excellent. Once again Bert did the cooking but all the credit for the pudding goes to Zoë, who brought her delicious Guinness cake. Later Santa called, as did Mel, Mr Carletoni, Jenny Wren and Young Lothario.

Young Lothario didn’t stay for long. I am sorry to report that his eyes were out on stalks and he ganched for Ulster. I believe it may have been the first time that anyone spoke openly of their drug consumption and sexual activities in front of Bert’s mum. There is always one. And it the Sabbath. Note to self. Serious talk with YL in the New Year about catching himself on.

Funnily enough, Bert’s mum, who left early as is customary, thought the Elf was the one on drugs because she is so slender and pale. Then she wondered if she was anorexic. Bert explained to his mother that the reason she is pale is because she has spent the last two months in a Santa’s grotto. He never mentioned her grass habit.

Thank you everyone for my presents. They were too many to mention. Three new cats (ornamental) joined the family. Zoë’s gifts were handmade as was Kerry niece’s present and they were fabulous. And I now have an enamel container to keep my Daz in. How cool is that? A beautiful Cath Kidston mug from Mel and Mikey, gloves, an amazing gadget for my bike from Catkin and her beloved, a beautiful brooch from JB. Just got the two candles from a fellow blogger. DH and Kerry sister’s gave me presents that were garden themed as is appropriate and I got Spanish socks and a Czechoslovakian nail file. DH gave me a present that will ensure I don’t forget his birthday. Matty gave me Boots tokens so that is my next three months supply of hair dye taken care of and Bert’s mum gave me a Christmas tea towel. Dee Mac gave us malt and chocs and didn’t forget the dogs or Harry de Kat. Note to Dee Mac and the Kerryman – choose a tree or two. Note to Newly Weds – you have trees to be delivered as well. What’s the nearest B&B near you guys? It has to be somewhere that will take dogs.

This message is for the wonderful father of our three not-too-bad daughters. Both Mum and I were very touched to hear that you regularly ask after Daddy. Wishing both Linda and yourself the happiest of New Years.

Mrs Santa Posted by Hello

Real Santa Posted by Hello

Pretend Santa  Posted by Hello

Saturday, December 25, 2004

It's A White Christmas

My baby made it home for Christmas. It has snowed during the night and everything is beautiful. Happy Christmas to all my family, friends and fellow bloggers.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Where's My Elf?

My youngest sister got married last summer which was an occasion of great joy and a big family get-together. Unfortunately daughter 3's journey home was far from uneventful. She was so ill at John Lennon airport that instead of getting on her plane she was whisked off to hospital in an ambulance suffering from a severe kidney infection. Probably just as well really as Easyjet (bastards) had no intention of letting her on the plane anyway, as in her confusion and illness she had neglected to pack her passport. All's well that end well and we got her over the next day after swelling Easyjet (bastards) coffers by another £60 or so of my hard earned dosh.

Tonight I'm on eggs as she is supposed to be getting the last plane home after a hard day of Christmas Elfing. British Rail (bastards) were unable to convey her further than Crewe. There was probably some birdshit on the line so she is being bussed to Liverpool and has been delayed. Easyjet (bastards) have been contacted and informed of the situation but will only say that if she is one minute late she ain't travelling. So hoping and praying that she makes it. To think that earlier on in the day I was sort of dreading the airport trip. Now I wouldn't care if I had to drive to Dublin. I want my Elf.

Monday, December 20, 2004

That Was The Weekend And This Was Today

As usual most of my weekend was spent at work dealing with troubled teens and being annoyed by policemen who were trying to offload more of them unto me at ungodly hours of the night.

I cannot think of more irritating company than a bunch of girls who think they are so damn smart and aren’t that smart at all because they’ve all been sniffing deodorant all afternoon.

The first police officer phoned at 12:30am. At least he had the manners to apologise for it. I couldn’t take his little waif because we’d excluded her a couple of weeks before for threatening violence to staff. We hate that. She is a total brat who should have YEAH WHATEVER tattooed on her forehead. And she is with bratling but unfortunately no room at the inn tonight

Then I was wakened at 4:30am by a loud hammering at the door. At first I thought it was yobs, but no, it was a big tough polis with a poor little battered stray in the back of his car. Turns out she was excluded too for having an extremely violent boyfriend who she’d sneaked in on many occasions. Policeman wasn’t pleased when I informed him I wasn’t taking her off his hands and said, “So where does the buck stop then?” ‘Not with me matey’ is what I thought. Taking the psychotic boyfriend into the equation it seems to me that she and me would be a lot safer if she spent the night at the police station surrounded by big tough peelers and that is what I told him.

So after a totally inadequate night’s sleep I woke to a new day, which progressed reasonably well until around 11. I’d discovered first thing that several of them had left the premises after the second police call. It turned out that they’d headed to an all night party in a nearby village armed with the communal drug money. Unfortunately they’d left Looby Lou (not her real name or even her real nickname) asleep in bed and it was her turn to sub the drugs. She went mental when she discovered that they’d gone without her and taken all the money and cigarettes. So when they got back it was non-stop aggro for about three hours. I think I prevented them from actually getting physical and I also prevented Looby Lou from throwing a television set down the stairs. But it was an exhausting experience. When things happen at work it takes longer to do the paperwork and I did not get out of the building until nearly 5pm. Thank God I’m a part-timer. I’d be crazy now if I was still full-time.

Today has been a lot better. I set the alarm for 8 and got up at 10. I find it hard to get up because I hate to disturb the dogs that always look so peaceful. At breakfast I taunted Bert that the dogs prefer me and he said that the reason they like me best is because I smell of poo. My sense of humour is just as puerile as his so naturally I found this hilarious. I must point out though that I do not smell of poo. I smell of dog.

Then I went Christmas shopping. After the first hour all I had bought was some pumpkin seeds and coconut macaroons for my own self. But I did rather well in the second hour and left loaded with bags. I intend to do the rest of my present buying in the off-licence so that’s it pretty much sorted bar the wrapping.

I met Jazzer for a late lunch and we went to Subway. As we wiped the sweet onion sauce that dribbled down our chins we thought it was just as well that we don’t wear make up or we’d have looked a bit rare with it half rubbed off. I told Jazzer she didn’t need make up as she was completely gorgeous without it. She just kept eating her oatmeal and raisin cookie and said nuthin’. Oh well.

It was Matty after that. I sorted out her bird feeders and took her to visit Daddy. He ate Pooh Bear ice cream and was in excellent form.

I think I might be starting to look forward to Christmas. Hannah will be home on the 24th and on the day itself I have arranged to visit Dad and give him his presents and Christmas lunch. I'll be working Christmas from 3 but it should be quiet as most of the terrible teens will be with their families. What I am really looking forward to is Boxing Day evening which will be my Christmas celebration. We hope to see Z & D, Mel, Swisser and anybody else who happens to drop by. Ploppy Pants and his Jenny Wren are also welcome especially if he gets my car through its MOT this Wednesday.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

A Life Worth Living?

And to think some of us lot used to complain about the 'Brit occupation'. How'd you like to live under these conditions?.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Whatever Happened To Jim Bob and Fruit Bat?

Can there be a more plaintive sound than that of a tin whistle being played in an unheated polytunnel by a man banished from his cosy home on a cold winter’s day.

This man woke up crabbit. He doesn’t like cold winter days. And when I suggested that our to be refurbished home should contain a soundproofed room he replied, “Maybe instead I should get myself a woman who appreciates good music.”

So to cheer him up I made him brunch. Then to wind him up I accused him of dressing in boiler suit, body warmer and woolly hat to deceive callers that he had been up from 7am grafting away among his trees and bushes. Today I noticed that Bert’s woolly hat is inscribed with the words

The Unstoppable Sex Machine

This pixie was left behind by ZB who was, at one time, a diehard fan of Carter USM. To wind him up even more I suggested that Unstoppable should be replaced by Unstartable. So we had a conversation about whatever happened to Carter. Bert said, “Are they dead?” I said I didn’t think so. We reminisced about the tee shirts, which the girls wore. Z had one with a penis on it, which she wore to her granny’s and embarrassed me hugely. Bert said Carter were crap because the songs aren’t played any more.

Discuss – Carter. Were the tee shirts better than the music?
Therapy? Were the tee shirts better than Carter’s? Better than the music?

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Young Girl Posted by Hello

Busy Like A Bee

Sometimes life gets in the way of blogs and mine has recently been like that. There was the MOT to prepare for, so many days passed in a flurry of carwashing, up, under and over. It was a major task dehairing it and as for replacing lights - I never even knew there was one at the rear number plate until last Friday. And still it failed. Oh well. Mr Ploppy Pants Carletoni said it will be a doddle to get it through next week. So much so he'll fix it up the day before.

Then there was work. I did two extra shifts due to staff illness so I've been a full-timer this week. Actually I enjoyed it because not only am I seriously back in my manager's good books but I will have extra dosh for Christmas and Ploppy Pant's exorbitant bill for the car.

Then there was the visit of the two Js from London Town and the musical evening they hosted at Matty's. Very enjoyable. My camera batteries ran out so I only managed to get pics of Zoe. Sorry Jonny, Ian and Bert.

Then I took Matty to the hospital on Monday for tests on her gullet. That went well too. She was a good soldier and did not boke on them. No frogs were found.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Where's My Tooth?

I am a part-time worker (since February) and I work shifts. A typical shift starts at three, ends at eleven, has an eight hour sleepover, then starts at half seven and finishes at half three. Mostly I work alone. Mostly I work weekends. The hostel is situated right on a very busy main road. The trick is, if working weekends, to get to sleep before the pubs get out. Last night I didn't manage to do this.

I tossed and I turned. My feet itched and my duvet felt as if it was full of bricks. Outside revellers screamed, shouted and fought. The clock inched nearer and nearer to getting up time. By 4.30am I was so scunnered I just got up.

The thing is I get agitated in the wee small hours. My itchy feet were the first symptom of a pernicious disease of the blood. It's true! I read it in Take A Break, after I read the article entitled 'Oh Look! Grandad has Chopped Granny Up In The Garden Shed' and before the one called 'My Evil Boyfriend Ate My Twin!'

Amazingly I got on rather well. Gave my organisation hours of free Nellyness. But there was one snag. I lost my tooth. Being so tired I couldn't even remember removing it. The obvious place would have been the bathroom but it wasn't there. I searched everywhere, and as Saturday morning is cleaning the staff quarters day, I was terribly afraid I'd hoovered it or otherwise disposed of it. Nasty piece of pink and whitish plastic that it is, it would still cost a hundred to replace, not to mention going about for days looking like Johnny Rotten. Not a good look for Nelly atall.

Thank you God & St Anthony and St Jude. I found it. In the bathroom bin. A close thing.

Now it is evening and me, my tooth, Bert and Zoe are going to the ol' homestead to visit Jean, Jonny and Matty and partake in an evening of music & song.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Whistle Up Uranus

I feel crabby as I’ve just worked for three days in a row. My nerves are in shreds and I’ve been told I’m working from 3pm Christmas Day to 3:30pm Boxing Day. So....

Aaaarrrgh! I cannot stand Bert’s tin whistle a moment longer. The shrillness of it is going through my brain. What to do? Offer a jump? Put on Nick Cave? Loud? Very loud? Or as Eurydice said to Orpheus, shall I ram the whistle up his orifice?

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Ian's Red Van At The Mull of Kintyre (it will be warmer in Calcutta) Posted by Hello

Friday, December 03, 2004

The Story So Far

The Wee Manny is on his holidays from 'That Place', and he is spending them with us. Yesterday whilst hugging Bert, he cracked B's old sports injury*. Tonight, after a long, hard day, he went to bed at 9pm .

Meanwhile I went to the cinema with Jazzer, the two younguns and Naoise. We saw The Incredibles which was very enjoyable.

*Bert's old sports injury is a cracked rib which he sustained many years ago going down a water slide whilst drunk. Be warned!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

The Neighbours

The people in the next door cave were complete bastards. Osama, in particular, was such a humourless grump and gave my girls the evil eye when they went out in their short skirts with uncovered heads. Many's the time he shouted 'infidels' or 'harlots' after us.

We were glad to get out of Tora Bora I can tell you! Cullybackey is a much better spot.

We Used To Be So Poor That We Lived In A Cave Posted by Hello

Nelly Now Posted by Hello

Hannah Now Posted by Hello

Then I Got Bored

.... with the short white hair and reached for the Nice & Easy.

Nelly & Hannah then Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

December Already

First day of December. Christmas will soon be over. Yippee!

It is also the first Friday of the month, which in Dad’s nursing home is Mass day. When Matty and I got there today all the Catholics were patiently awaiting the arrival of Father Boyle. Most of them were sleeping. I woke Dad up and gave him ice cream which he enjoyed. He wasn’t very responsive today but I find that when he’s been woken from a nap. With the ice cream he probably thinks he’s in heaven and gets a bit bemused.

Matty informed me that the ‘other sort’ get a service on Sundays. She does my head in talking about ‘our sort’ and the ‘other sort’ but I let it go.

We escaped before the priest arrived. I told the staff that I wouldn’t stay for the service as I’d caught a mass in July.


Relentless pressure to spend
The town is full of arseholes
Ditto the roads.
Christmas cards, decorations and Christmas songs.
Cotton wool Santa beards and false bonhomie.
Overcrowded off-licences
Mince pies
Christmas TV


Hannah will be home
Dinner with Z & D Boxing Day
Tis better to give than to receive
Mel will be home