Thursday, September 29, 2005

Hey Ho! Off You Go

Well as I expected it took me a leetle while to really appreciate it but I am now liking very much Moon Pix by Cat Power. Thank you Mikey for introducing me to an artiste about whom I knew nothing. You young'uns (and that includes you as well Marc) are my only hope of hearing about interesting stuff. There's very little of that ilk on Radio 4 and I'm far too busy doing Su Doku to read music reviews.

Meanwhile I've been waiting (rather impatiently) for my birthday gift from Katkin. Well it arrived today. R.L Burnside. What a rude, loud boy he is. Cleared the kitchen of Ploppy Pants and Clint very satisfactorily.

And speaking of clearing kitchens - I plan to keep the Ramones handy for when Pearlie's been hanging round my shanty all day long.

The Talk of the Country

Bert is a bit affronted to hear that he is the Talk of the Country. Ploppy Pants had all the gen about the siege outside the Dromona Creamery and of course as usual he refused to say where he had heard it.

He says to me, "Did you tell Ploppy Pants about Sunday evening?"

I reply, "No, but I put it on the internet."

Clint tells it like this,

“I thought nothing atall about seeing Nelly out tramping the roads. Says I to myself ‘wud ye luk at the goes o’ her,’ and then when I got to the creamery all I could see was this crowd o’ ones standing outside the gates and I thought the Dromona boys were out on strike. Then next thing I see Bert stuck in the middle of it and I wonder what the hell he’s doing there. Have they been out for a run and fell out and she’s off stomping home in a rip?”

Of course that’s why I volunteered to walk home ‘for the van’. It was really because I didn’t want the whole of Dromona seeing me, standing there like a complete idiot, locked out of my own car.

Tales from the Coalface

Wakened at 4.45am. Think (hope) I am dreaming. Door bangs, buzzer buzzes. I go down. Look out window and see police car.

I am a picture. Birds nest hair, red pyjama trousers, pulled on cardi, bare feet, bleary eyed. I open the door. Young PSNI officer stands there. About 14. A cigarette glows in the back of the police car.

"Will you take TC?"

"TC doesn't need to come through here. She's got her
own front door. Own key"

"Oh sorry. She does have keys too. Sorry."

"You got your keys TC?"

The cigarette glows, speaks, "Yeah."

Policechild says, "Sorry. Really sorry."

I don't say, "That's OK. Don't worry about it."

I go back to bed. But not to sleep. Damn.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Bert's Misery

He's going through two boiler suits a day!

When he came down for his lunch today I asked him how the sewer work was going. He said,

"I'm standing in a hole with the rain lashing down on me and
muck slabbered everywhere! It's pure hell upon earth."

Think of him then as you sit at your cosy desks as far from a shovel as you can get.

7 Things

I was tagged to do this by Ganching

7 Things I Want To Do Before I Die

1. Celebrate my 100th birthday in excellent health
2. Visit Africa again
3. Become a grandmother
4. Get a donkey
5. Make a beautiful garden…
6. …. a comfortable home
7. Achieve modest fame & fortune

7 Things That I Cannot Do

1. Tell a lie
2. Suppress farts
3. Suffer fools
4. Shut up
5. Cartwheels
6. Stick Tony Blair
7. One thing at a time

7 Things That Attract Me To The Opposite Sex

1. Wit & intelligence
2. Kindness
3. Well shaped hands
4. Excellent driving skills, preferably with HGV licence
5. Skilled at wielding chainsaw
6. Smiles
7. See through plastic trousers (Iggy only)

7 Things That I Say Most Often

1. Thank you
3. I don’t agree
4. N – O spells I definitely don’t think so.
5. Are those bloody dogs off scunging again?
6. Mummy hears you
7. Who had you here last night?

7 Celebrity Crushes

1. Johnny Depp
2. Peter Kay
3. Robert Carlyle
4. Iggy Pop
5. Rufus Wainwright
6. Naveen Andrews
7. Nelly

I ain’t tagging anyone. But feel free to tag yourself if you feel like it. Ed?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Bert to the Rescue

I’m not the only one who has been working flat out recently. For Bert attending ‘Gorgeous’ Gage is a full-time job (and then some). After all a man who can get stressed out by a few clematis growing too fast or a touch of red spider mite is a man who will be stressed to the max by shovel work and the necessity of keeping Gorgeous supplied with specialised plant from the ‘Hire It’ shop. The poor soul has been coming home completely exhausted. Last night was no exception. So it was only to be expected that he failed to do an accurate head count of the livestock at bedtime. He just assumed Paddy would be cosily curled up in my bed, as that is where Paddy usually is after 9pm. This morning whilst at work I received this phone call.
So that’s where you’re at. Where else would I be? Do you know where Paddy is? What! How should I know where Paddy is? Isn’t he with you? What’s wrong? He’s not in the house or the yard or anywhere. I’ve looked everywhere. He’s not lying dead anywhere. What! Dead! Find him! I can’t! I’ve got the digger man here in 10 minutes. What’s more important? The dog or the digger man? Find Paddy!
Distraught I slam down the phone. Fifteen minutes later Bert phoned back.
Well it’s all right. I’ve found him. Where was he? He was in the field in front of the house. He was just sitting there with his head stuck in a yellow bucket. He didn’t know where he was. I think he’d been sitting there all night. He couldn’t find his way home. Oh God! The poor thing. Is he OK? He’s a bit quiet on it. Give him a big kiss and hug from me. I can’t. He boked in the bucket. He’s stinking of vomit. Oh wash it off and kiss him anyway. Yeah. Sure.
Poor Paddy. He has been very stressed all day. But he cheered up to no end when HANNAH CAME HOME!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Hannah's Coming Home

But she'll not be driving my car.

Not until she gets a licence anyway.

Clint to the Rescue

Two of my esteemed colleagues are currently on sick leave and consequently I have been working full-time rather than part-time. God that is a tiring state of affairs. I don’t know how you full-time workers do it.

Of course the nature of my work does not lead to any kind of mental ease. My shifts usually consist of starting at 3pm, working until 11pm, a sleep period, and then working from 7.30am to 15.30pm. During this 24.5-hour period we don’t get a sniff of fresh air, as breaks must be taken on the premises. Added to that it is usually lone working.

Now the sleep period. Sleeping there is never as easeful as sleeping at home in my own big bed surrounded by furry four-legged creatures. For a start we’re ‘on call’. This means that the Social Services, the Police or the Customers can call on us. On Saturday night the Duty Social Worker called me at 1.30am.

“Would you take….?”
“Aye. We would….”
“Get back to you on that.”

One hour later.

“They’ve decided. Took some persuading. They’ll come.”
“OK. Estimated time of arrival?”
“Half three. Or thereabouts.”

Snap out of dozy mode and spring to full alertness. On duty from 2.30am. Lots to do.

One hour later. Nada. Yet another hour. More nada. It’s now 4.30am. At quarter to five I contact DSW. At five to five he phones back.

“Just heard this myself ten minutes ago that they've decided to go somewhere else.”

Back to bed for continuation of night’s sleep. All two hours of it.

I was grand until about an hour before knocking off time when the energy drained out of me. My last words to my colleague as I departed,

“Don’t think I’ll be walking too far this evening.”

When I got home I found that Bert had filled the fridge full of pink nursery desserts. Mmmm. Sweet. Creamy. Soothing. This leads to a great improvement in my mood, which meant that when he went on to propose a walk I immediately agreed.

So we drove for a bit. But Bert couldn’t decide where we should go so I suggested I’d drive and he pulled in so we could swap. As we both got out Rosie jumped into the front seat and somehow must have activated the central locking system. So there we were outside Dromona Creamery with the dogs locked inside the car and the engine running. And where was the spare key? On my key ring beside the main key stuck in the ignition. And where was my phone? At home. And where was Bert’s Swiss Army Knife? At home. And where were we? Standing like two lemons outside a locked, dog filled, switched on car outside the Dromona Creamery. If this had happened in Harryville we would immediately have been surrounded by hordes of 14 year olds who would have got us into that car in a moment.

I decided to walk home, collect the van and some handy tools for breaking into the car. It was a pretty hazardous walk, as every minute a huge milk-tanker would come hurtling around one of those hairpin bends causing me to leap for the ditch. Then one rather well driven milk-tanker hurtled towards me. I was treated to a huge blast of the horn and a bank of lights flashed at me. Yes dear reader it was Clint. I knew then that our troubles were over. He, of course, thought I was out on one of my walks. But I knew he would happen upon Bert and sort him out. So I kept walking towards home. It’s a jolly nice walk once you get past the hairpin bends bit.

Clint got into the car with the aid of a screwdriver and a long piece of wire. And I thought that he was such a nicely brought up Academy boy.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Tyrone (16)

Originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

Snot Fair

Poor Bert. He never gets a chance. While I get to choose all the good stuff like floor coverings, paint colours, kitchens and so on, he gets to choose the sewer pipes and fittings. And nobody is ever going to see them and say,
Well done Bert. You have such impeccable taste in sewage disposal fittings.
Maybe Sammy 'Gorgeous' Gage will say,
Wow Bert. You picked good ones. Those sewer pipes are awesome.
No. I don't think Sammy'll say anything. He'll just bury them with his big backhoe. Poor Bert. Snot fair.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Whiskey & Coke

Today was spent cleaning the floors of the upstairs rooms to prepare them for Vinyl Man. Yes I know I said it would be Lino Man but he proved to be a very elusive fellow and I tired of searching for him. Cleaning a new house is a very dirty job. You wouldn’t get half as clarried cleaning a filthy old house. The dust doesn’t raise so much in an old house for it has all the existing dirt and grease to stick to. In new houses all the surfaces are clean and dry and this fine white powder gets everywhere.

And speaking of fine white powders it’s reported that Kate Moss has a £200 a day coke habit. Only £200? Sure that’s not so much. Especially when you’re sharing your stash with Pete and all the other guys. And I was a little disappointed to read that she was only using a fiver to snort it. A shabby old fiver? When would Kate Moss even see a fiver a woman with her sort of money? Unless it was one of those Norn Iron plastic fivers she keeps especially for the job.

My own drug and alcohol-free lifestyle is starting to feel rather drear. I’ve been off alcohol for nearly seven weeks now and in the past few days I’ve found myself yearning for a nice glass of wine, or a gin or a wee nip of Laphroaig. I’m seriously considering having a drink come the 1st of October. Eight weeks will be quite long enough.

What’s yours Nelly?

Oh I’ll just have whatever Kate Moss is having.

Farewell to Summer...

Meconopsis Cambrica
Originally uploaded by NellyMoser.
..and farewell to this garden. Next year it may be Clint's Garden and be under concrete and be a parking space for lorries, tractors and forklifts. Sigh. Bet he'll still be tortured with meconopsis cambrica though {evil laugh}

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Gasman Cometh

Now all we need is the diggerman Sammy 'Gorgeous' Gage to finish off the sewer and Eric the Plumber to connect us to it and our house is totally ready to live in.
Heat, light, water, working toilets and cooking facilities will all be in place.

I'm so excited!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

She Bonkers, He Inconsiderate Bastard

When you've been having the same row for over 19 years perhaps it's time to ask yourself this. Why? Because it is so tedious, so dreary and so very weary-making.

During the row's most recent manifestation Bert accused,
"You're the one whose supposed to have all the emotional intelligence."

I roared back,
"D'ye think if I had any emotional intelligence I'd be acting like this?"
Here's what happens. I go to work. I do extra hours. I get tired and I become emotionally drained. I come home. I try to be nice. But I bring an electrically charged aura of tension with me. This unsettles Bert. He becomes defensive. He knows what's coming. We both prickle. We have a row. We shout (mostly me), I cry. He retreats to the male cave place. I feel very sorry for myself. Later I attempt reconciliation. But I really want to winkle him out of the male cave place to row more. He knows this. Stays there. I feel very, very sorry for myself.

The next day dawns. I feel silly. At some point we have a genuine reconciliation.

This is my aim. It's not to never ever have the She Bonkers, He Inconsiderate Bastard row ever again. It's to have longer and longer gaps in between. And if that's the standard then we are making progress.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Buying A Goat: All You Need To Know

It’s that time of the year again. Time to be thinking about our autumn/winter wardrobes. Actually the title says it all for me. Of course it was ‘coat’ not ‘goat’ but when I thought it was ‘goat’ it was the only article that really interested me in this Sunday’s Style supplement.

Balenciaga? I can hardly afford Primark.

How to look like a lady? Advice from Tara Palmer-Tomkinson? That skinny tart! I think not.

Hot nights in heels? Hardly.

This is what I shall be wearing this autumn/winter season.

  • Tee shirts

  • Red pyjama trousers

  • Cosy gilets

  • Jumpers mostly red

  • Big shirts

  • Bert’s new waterproof jacket

  • Black opaque tights

  • Denim skirts (not short)

  • A selection of black skirts

  • A selection of black trousers

  • Wellington boots

  • Ankle boots from 2003

  • Ankle boots from 2004

  • A selection of comfy flat shoes in blue, red and black

  • Training shoes (for walking only)

Now that’s what I call proper dressing.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Long Drop

A number of years ago the Wee Manny family took a scunner of living in Norn Iron and bought themselves a South African village. It was a bit run down so they got it for a good price - about the price of a three-bed roomed house in Galgorm actually. The village was in the Eastern Cape and was called Old Thomas River. It was a little township that had been built around a railway station. It comprised a hotel, a post-office, a school and a station house. The Wee family lived in the hotel and used the post office for parties and guests. Their farm worker (South Africa remember) lived in the schoolhouse. The other buildings were pretty dilapidated. Let me explain the farm worker. Kabula came with the place and would have been devastated if his employment hadn’t continued. He definitely found the Wee and Diana very benevolent employers and said he had learned more English from the Wee than from any other boss. South African employers typically speak to their black employees in Afrikaans or Xhosa. We visited them for three weeks one January. While we were there we took several trips around the country. One of these trips took as to a tourist resort called Hogsback, which is part of the Amatola mountain range. On the way back the Wee decided we should visit an old friend of his in a town called Keiskamahoek*. Mrs The Wee Manny (Diana) is South African. She’d met the Wee in London Town and after they got married they went to live and work in Keiskamahoek where they worked in a lumber factory The Wee as a boss (remember he’s white) and Diana in the office. The Wee befriended Harry who was the factory foremen. No doubt Harry kept the young, inexperienced boss on the right track. It was a Sunday and although Harry was not expecting us he made us very welcome. His wife was not there. He told us that she was at Church and he chuckled that she spent all Sunday in Church but that it was not for him. Rum was produced. Within an hour Harry’s porch was full. There was the five of us and as many and more again of Harry’s friends and neighbours. There were no women for they were all at Church. The men were all Xhosa except for one Zulu man. They all spoke good English. It was decided that more drink was needed so a trip to the bottle store was proposed. Everyone piled into the vehicles, our car and their pick up truck. As we drove through the town lots of women and children and a few men were coming out of various churches. Harry’s party blared horns and yelled and waved to attract attention to them and us. I remember feeling a bit affronted at the disapproving looks of the good God-fearing, Church attending people. When we got back to Harry’s place his wife and a couple of her friends/sisters had returned from Church. Mrs Harry was part of her Church Choir and she and her friends wore an elaborate, beautifully tailored costume with matching headdresses. It was in emerald green with a dazzling white ruffled, starched collar. I’d noticed on our trip through town that different churches had different choral costumes and that they were all equally elaborate. The ladies were quite shy and not half as raucous as their men folk. But then they’d been imbibing the word of the Lord, not big feeds of rum. We were given a meal of stewed meat and vegetables with delicious flat bread. Diana, Laura and myself were served first, then the Wee and Bert, then Harry, then his older friends, then the younger men. After a few hours and a few glasses of gin I needed to visit the toilet. I whispered to Diana, “Will there be a toilet?” She said, “Ask Harry’s wife.” so I did ask her and off she went coming back moments later with a beautiful, rose-patterned china pot with a lacy towel folded over the top. I just couldn’t! I just couldn’t do my thing in her beautiful china pot and then what? So I shook my head and thanked her and said no. But I still needed to go. The Wee said, “Why don’t you go to the long drop?” I had it pointed out to me and set off. The long drop was a little tin construction sitting on top of a mound. I dandered over. Even at a distance the smell was very bad. I ventured in. I held my breath. I did my thing. It wasn’t the first time I’d used a dry toilet. But it was the first time in a hot climate. And at about 12 foot it was a long drop too. The Wees sold Old Thomas River several years later and came back home. He missed the Ould Sod too much. The village is a backpacking hostel now. I wonder if Kabula still works there? And does he still speak English with a Ballymena twang? *Keiskamahoek is situated in the poverty-stricken but beautiful Transkei region. In 1959, the National Party government introduced legislation to create eight ethnically and linguistically divided homelands for black South Africans. The Transkei was designated the homeland for Xhosa speakers. The Transkei homeland became independent state in 1976, although it was only recognised by a few countries internationally. With the victory of the ANC in the 1994 elections it was reincorporated into South Africa, despite opposition from many of its citizens. (Wikipedia)

The Polish Student

It’s not often that I’m alone in this house but tonight is one of those nights. Bert is away on one of his camping trips with a bunch of social worker types from West Belfast. They drink whiskey, smoke grass, make camp fires, howl at the moon then sleep under the stars. Social work can send a man a bit crazy.

I got home from work at four and took the dogs out for a brisk two-mile walk. The dogs always did brisk but it’s a new development for me. Then I shopped (mostly fruit and vegetables) and came back here and made myself a proper meal. Yay for me. Since then I’ve been moseying around sorting out, throwing out and packing for the big move. I like being on my own.

Then just after eight the door knocked. I was upstairs sorting stuff and stomped down feeling a bit pissed that my peace was to be interrupted. There on the doorstep stood a perfect stranger with a rucksack on his back. He appeared to be on foot as there was no vehicle in sight. He was a young man in his early to mid twenties. He greeted me in stilted English and handed me a little homemade card. The card stated that he was a Polish student; here to learn English and he needed money to help him pursue his studies. Straightaway I said sorry, I couldn’t help him and he said something polite that ended in Madam and turned and walked away. He looked very dignified.

Why didn’t I help him? Maybe give him just a few quid? I was worried that he was a con artist. I was very worried because I was on my own and there are no houses nearby and because it was dark. My only consolation was that the dogs danced around him barking their heads off. I did not discourage them from doing so though he seemed unafraid of them. Did I distrust him because he was foreign, didn’t speak English? I don’t know. I’m worried now that he was in some kind of difficulty and I didn’t help. I feel a bit sorry for him. Not that my sympathy will do him much good if he was genuine.

I still don’t think it’s my job to give him money to pursue his education. Maybe if he’d come to the door and said he was starving I would have helped. What was he doing up our lane in the middle of the country anyway? I wish Bert were here.

Ian's Tip of the Week

Ian's Tip of the Day
Originally uploaded by NellyMoser.
If you don't want your mugshot on the internet keep your birthdate a secret from Mrs Moser.


Friday, September 16, 2005

North Antrim Hills

Distant Windmills
Originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

A Birthday

When I was a child I thought I was special because my father's birthday and mine were so close. Mine was on the 9th September, his on the 16th. I used to think that I, the firstborn, was his early birthday present. And to continue the tradition my firstborn Zoe was born just 10 days before my birthday. She was my special 21st birthday present. Daddy was 34 years older than me and would have been 86 today.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Ed the Duck
Originally uploaded by hootchinhannah.
Bert and I went shopping today for a present for Rod & T's new baby. I haven't seen said baby yet nor have I been speaking to either of the proud parents but Bert has.

So I asked him,

What weight was the baby?

Weight? I don't know.

Rod must have said. People always say the weight.

3 pounds?

I don't think so. That would be really small. She wouldn't even be allowed out of the hospital at that weight.

12 pounds?

I doubt it. I think Rod might have had something to say about that. T certainly would.

Still at least he knows the new baby is a girl. He's been known to tell me about someone having had a baby and when I ask what it was he'll say,

A boy. No. A girl. They never said.

They must have said. People usually do.

Och. I forget.

The big baby in the picture is our Hannah. Bert never knew her at that age. She was nearer four before he turned up. So he hasn't had much experience of babies. He cringes when he's asked to hold one. I think he'd rather be given a hand grenade - with the pin out.

Nelly the Zealophant

Bert and I went out for breakfast this morning. We went to one of those cafes that specialise in cheap Ulster fries and traybakes. It’s a popular spot that is always doing a roaring trade. As I’d already had my healthy fruit and muesli breakfast I ‘contented’ myself with a cup of coffee. He was ages in the queue so I entertained myself by people watching.

There was a 60+ couple in front of him. I noticed that the man, otherwise just stocky, had one of those enormous bulging bellies. His wife was pretty chunky too. Both of them collected huge platefuls of food. I watched the man as he sat down. He looked almost dewy-eyed as he started to tuck in. Bert came down with a small fry-up, small enough to see lots white plate through.

I’ll have to be honest here and admit that not so long ago I’d have had some food too, even though I wasn’t hungry, just because it was there and everyone else was eating. And maybe that was why I was so interested in what all the other people were eating and why I was being hypercritical about their diets and their BMIs. As Ed said of me as recently as today, ‘there's no zealot like a convert’. He was talking about my anti-smoking stance.

But anyways back to the big-bellied man. He was still chomping away after Bert had finished the mini-fry. Only by now he was looking a bit bored with it and his jaws seemed weary as he chowed down. His hunger was satisfied but he carried on eating. And that’s how you get a great big belly.

Just another observation – I reckon that the proportion of obese people inside the café was far greater that the proportion out on the street.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


A year now I’ve been doing this blogging thing. During this twelve-month period I have endeavoured to present myself to the world as wise, wonderful and occasionally wacky. A year of carefully selecting pictures that show me and mine at our very best. Even that time I posted the picture of myself drunk I chose the one where I looked thinnest. If I posted a picture of the dogs on the sofa I cropped it so that any signs of squalor or slumminess were removed. A year of carefully building up my image has been destroyed in a week.

For along came the third daughter to blow my carefully constructed image out of the water. In a few short days of Hannah blogging and photo sharing I have been exposed as,

A cruel mother
With horrid glasses
Who dyes her hair
Keeps a throughother house
And whose paramour is a gargoyle

And she says she loves me. Just as well really. God knows what she’d post if she didn’t.

Nelly? A Pool Table? You Choose

Marty M, Bert and I are looking over the new house. We park ourselves in the sunroom while Marty and Bert have a smoke. The sunroom is the bit that wasn’t there before. It’s leads off the kitchen and is a big airy bright room that I’m going to fill with comfortable sofas. We plan to entertain in it, relax in it and it’s going to be the sole smoking area. But Marty M has a different notion.

Marty: Do you know what this room is crying out for?
Nelly: A bar?
Marty: A pool table. What do you think Bert? Wouldn’t a pool table be great in here?
Bert: I suppose you could fit one in no problem.
Nelly: I don’t think so. There’d be no room for my comfy sofas.
Marty: Bert. She’s got to go. Send her packing. Get a pool table.

Sometimes I think I’m far too tolerant for my own good.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Devil Dogs

Originally uploaded by hootchinhannah.
Found this picture over on HB's Flickr. Now do you see why I call them Devil Dogs?

My Tuppenceworth

Clint was here yesterday and we got to talking about the recent upsurge of violence in Loyalist areas. I remarked that judging by pictures of shaven-headed Orangemen, their faces contorted in rage as they confronted the security forces that the Orange Order was a very different organisation than in decades past. Clint disagreed.

That’s Belfast for you. They’re hard men in Belfast, different than us. If you were to go to M******t Orange Lodge and see those boys you know, people like Hugh, and David and Herbie, they’re the way Orangemen always were. Countrymen. Can you imagine wee Hugh with his face contorted in rage squaring up to the police?

I talk to everybody about current events. Well maybe not everybody for there are those whose eyes narrow and faces close when certain subjects are mentioned. But I do talk to Unionists, Orangemen, Nationalists and the non-aligned about what goes on in this small place. And do you know something? I find that educated middle-class people from a Protestant background are the hardest of all on the current crop of agitators. Have a look at this. It sums up a lot of my feelings about the situation.

But I still wouldn’t want any of my daughters to marry one of the wee skitters. No edukashun.

Monday, September 12, 2005

May Offend

So there I was innocently checking the childer’s blogs when I stumbled upon this nightmare posting. I declare to God I nearly choked on my Nescafe. If I’d spotted that one on Flickr I’d have to mark it as ‘may offend.’

A Fut In Juggins

Rosie: That’d be a great day for a spot of rabbit chasing.
Paddy: Indeed it would. I notice himself is paying no attention to us. Shall we head?
Rosie: You bet chummy. Last one out of the yard is a big jinny.

At midday a man from the Water Services called. He said, “D’ye know yer water meter is birling round like stoor?” While Bert and the Water Man went off to look at this birling meter the scunging devil dogs took the opportunity to take off. We’ve managed to keep them under control for the most of a week but they were just waiting their chance for an escape. And when their chance came they grabbed it. Both have sporting injuries incurred on previous scunging expeditions. Rosie had a swollen paw. The vet put £17 worth of medication into her for that one. Paddy has a bite (spider) on his paw and it was starting to heal up nicely but when they returned five hours later Rosie was limping and carrying her paw and, as for Paddy, as I said to Bert, “His wee sore fut’s in juggins.”  

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Big Move

Spring Hill April
Originally uploaded by NellyMoser.
That is a picture taken in April. The scaffolding is down and the windows are in. The chimneys are dashed (scritch-scratchy Ballintoy dash) and the extension is complete. We're starting the move this week. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

The Natives Are....

....restless and so am I. Why is it that sometimes stuff happens and you chew it up and spit it out then other times every little thing that screws up seems pretty hard to deal with? Why is it when one thing goes wrong with the PC a load more goes wrong around the same time?

Z & D came out to visit on Friday (toffy wit birthday) and while they were there D fixed the stuck drawer of my CDRW. He also showed me how to fix the problem if it happened again. I think he sorted it by giving it a very stern look because their car was actually still in sight heading off the yard when the drawer stuck again! I tried the stuff he showed me and it didn't work. Mind you I've still got the pointy bit of wire trick up my sleeve so I'll try that tomorrow. And now there's no power getting to the printer and my internet connection is buggered. It's enough to make me dash out and buy a laptop except of course I cannot afford a laptop. You got that Revenue Man?

But at least the walks are going well. Rosie and I drove to the Drumack Road for yesterday's outing. I started by standing ankle deep in a moss hole. I walked the walk anyway. Nelly laughs at soggy feet. It's not as if I'm made of sugar. Then there was the little problem of going out with one dog and returning with two. That big brown collarless dog followed us for miles. I couldn't deter it at all and I drew the line at physical violence. So as I hadn't the heart to leave it in the middle of a bog I took it home with me. This morning I drove around the area we'd been walking in and managed to reunite (Sam) with his very careless owners.

Swisser was sad about that for she had met Sam yesterday evening and took rather a fancy to him. She told Bert she had hoped for a pup out of him. Strikes me that would have been problematical as all our bitches are spayed. He did have a spectacular set of balls on him so I reckon he'd have been well able for pup-making. Paddy (the eunuch) hated him for that. So did Bert.

So here I am in a noisy place. The natives were very restless last night and I hear they are planning more mayhem tonight. But perhaps that is just wishful thinking on the part of my bored little charges.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

What Pearlie Likes

She likes a day out with Nelly and Matty. I've been told she thought her trip to Magherafelt and Dawson City was "a great wee outing."

She also likes Zoe's Chocolate Guinness cake. Yum!

Friday, September 09, 2005

More Things Pearlie Doesn't Like

The Kitchen Tiles

In the New House

Pearlie: I dinny like those tiles. I’d sooner have the red tiles.

Nelly: Do you not like them? Funny’s enough I love them. They’re my favourite tiles in the whole house. I waited weeks to get those tiles I love them so much.

Pearlie: Well I dinny like them.


Cullybackey Road Roundabout

Nelly: Would you come on to hell out of that? Sitting there like an eedjit!

Pearlie: (slapping Nelly’s arm) Stop that oul sweering.

Nelly: Sure I only said hell.

Pearlie: Saying hell is a terrible thing.

Nelly: Well you shouldn’t have slapped me. You could have put me off the road.

Pearlie: Sure it was only a wee light tap. Like this. (Slaps Nelly again to prove point)

Nelly: You nearly had me off the road there again. See when we get out to Matty’s you’re going in the back seat. Matty never slaps me for swearing at the other drivers.


The road to Magherafelt

Matty: There’s an awful lot of piebald horses about the country these days.

Nelly: Aye, there is. And I’m noticing a lot of people are back to keeping donkeys too.

Pearlie: Aye, the donkeys were very scarce there a while back.

Matty: They’ve got very dear too. They say you couldn’t get a donkey now for less than £500.

Nelly: I’m going to ask Bert to buy me a donkey for Christmas.

Pearlie. A donkey! What would ye want him to get ye a donkey for?

Nelly: I think they’re lovely.

Pearlie: Ye have no need of a donkey. I think it’s terrible you expecting Bert to spend all that money on ye.

Nelly: OK. I’ll ask him to get me a laptop then.

Pearlie: A laptop! That’s terrible. Sure ye hae a computer. What do ye want another one for……..

The outside bit of a wee cheesecake bun.

In Mrs Ditty’s of Dawson City

Nelly: So that’ll be two cups of coffee and two fruit scones. What about you Pearlie?

Pearlie: I’ll have tea for I dinny like the coffee ye get when ye’re oot for it’s too strong. And I dinny like scones so I’ll have a wee plain bun.

Waitress: A wee cheesecake bun?

Pearlie: Aye that’ll do.

Moments later Pearlie dashes up to confab with waitress. Returns.

Pearlie: I’m no getting a cheesecake bun. I like the inside bit o’ them but I dinny like the outside bit.


On Toome’s new bridge

Nelly: Well that’s us back in the County Antrim now.

Pearlie: Why? Where were we?

Nelly: We were in Derry.

Pearlie: Were we in Derry? Ye mean Londonderry! Ye should call it Londonderry!

Nelly: Sure I can call it whatever I like.

Pearlie: Ye should call it Londonderry for that’s its name. Ye live in this country and that’s what it’s called in this country. Why don’t ye call it Londonderry?

Nelly: Because I’m a Fenian. Fenians don’t say Londonderry. What do you call it Matty?

Matty: I call it Derry City.

Pearlie: Well yez should call it Londonderry!

Aah. The old arguments are always the best.

Banties shiteing on her doorstep.

Back Home

Pearlie: Och. Them wee gets. Messing up my doorstep.

Nelly: You’ll not be bothered with that when I have them in a run with all the other fowl I’m getting.

Pearlie: What! They’ll be in no pen.

Nelly: They will. I’m not having them shiteing all over my house.

Pearlie: They’ll not go near your house.

Nelly: They’ll not for they’ll be in a run with all their new friends.

Pearlie: They’ll be in no pen.

Nelly. They’ll be in a run or they’ll be in a pot. For broth.

Pearlie: Humph!

I'm Toffy Wit Today

And here are the birthday Nellypix I threatened.

Thanks to Beowulf for the title inspiration.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

When Bertie Met Nelly

I went out walking with sister Trish this evening and we discussed many, many things including the state of my hair which, yet again, is hanging round me in tartles. I remarked that I'd need to be getting in touch with cousin Pauline some time soon to arrange a bit of a tidy up.

"The only thing is I don't know what I should get done with it."
"I'd keep a bit of length on it."
"Aye. I might. Bert likes a bit of length to it. I think when he screws his
eyes up really tight and squints at me he can imagine that I'm still like I was when he first met me."

The picture above dates from that time.

"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." Mark Twain

Most of the time I don't mind. Except of course for the teeth.

More Nellypix tomorrow to mark my birthday. I'm going to be 25 but that''ll be a dyslexic 25.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Aaprplenty it deos not mtetar vrey mcuh if wdros are jlumebd ervey wcihh way busaece you ibilcrendy cevelr plopee will slitl be albe to dhipeecr tiher minnaeg.

I wluod ecpxet nhiontg lses tahn one hrndued prenect udsritennadng form Sraty Tesaotr, I Dndit Qtiue Cacth Taht, Ginchang, Boaobn Pearits, The Siartt of Misesa and the Geren Lrazid Knig.

Srory if Nlely lfet you out. Teird.

Etalpanxoin in flul hree


So that’s why he was giving the excited yips.

Out Of Sorts

It’s been a funny old day. Bert’s encounter with the IR cub has left me feeling very rattled. It has obviously sent Bert insane as right now he is watching a football match and judging by his occasional excitable yips he sounds as if he is enjoying it.

There was a major mix-up earlier with the Kerry sister & myself regarding meeting up. While I was in the Boglands (as arranged) she was in Cully. We missed each other by about two minutes. I couldn’t face driving back to the Bog, as another battle through the school traffic would have been a nightmare. So that has put me out of sorts.

Then Jim didn’t put in the kitchen as arranged but apparently it is happening tomorrow so that’s something I can look forward to.

And Hannah is coming home soon. Which is another thing to look forward to.

Then Bert, who doesn’t do birthdays, asked me what I wanted for mine. I said I wanted a new house and I think I might be getting one.

And Lost is on tonight. And I know I shouldn’t grumble because, really, my life is good.

Except I just hate people being mean to Bert. That’s my job.

"I'm not calling you a liar. We're not allowed to do that anymore."

“ The number of tax inspectors has increased twice as fast as the number of new doctors and nurses.” (Lord MacGregor of Pulham Market, Hansard, Jan 2005)

To add to the stew of stress that Bert and I have been experiencing this year Bert has had an impending Inland Revenue investigation hanging over him. The reason being (we think) that the IR cannot understand why Bert bothered in 2001, as he appears to have made no profits. And as far as we can recall he didn’t.

So why did Bert become self-employed? There are two reasons. The first is that he did not want to work for anyone else and the second is that he wanted to do something. And horticulture was what he was good at. He did not become self-employed because he wanted to be rich. Most self-employed people aren’t rich anyway

I was listening to the Today programme as I returned from work this morning and I heard this argument for a flat-rate tax. I also heard the Shadow Chancellor say that the number of people working in tax collection has increased by 64000 since 1999. I thought to myself that this might well be the reason why Bert has been called to account by the Inland Revenue. Too many tax inspectors needing something to do.

The following are some of the questions fired at him by the civil servant.

What are you driving? Why no car?
Where did you get the money to concrete that lane? If you say your elderly mother gave it to you from the box of fivers she keeps under her bed we’ll do her too.
If you cannot explain where you got the money from we’ll assume you’re working in a cash economy and have been doing so all along and will bill you accordingly.
Why have you not taken a holiday for four years?
Are Zoë, Katy and Hannah still living with you? Are they working? Are they students?
Why do you keep your dealings with M******* Garden Centre in a separate book? (1)
How much does Nelly earn?
Who buys the groceries?
How often do you go out for a meal? (2)
Where do you get the cash for birthday presents? (3)
That woodland you own. Do you sell Christmas trees of it? We can come and see for ourselves you know.
I’m not calling you a liar. We’re not allowed to do that any more.

And there was much more of the same. The civil servant cub was obviously one of the 64000 cutting his teeth on a man with a shoestring business and a cheap accountant.

Bert is wondering why he bothers. Why not just wrap it all up and go unemployed. The truth is that if you don’t fit into the Norman Normal box you are a suspect. Naughty Bert. Hardly ever uses a credit card, doesn’t have debt, lives within his means, doesn’t spend, spend, spend. Not a good citizen at all. Not doing his bit to make fat cats even richer. Just quietly growing the best clematis in Norn Iron.

  1. Because they are the only concern where he operates a sale or return policy.

  2. His answer was 6-8 times a year. I suggested he should have said, “Do I look like I go out for meals Fat Boy?”

  3. He actually did growl, “I don’t do birthdays.”

How Many Berts Does It Take To Change A Light Bulb?

This post has been inspired by Ganching’s recent ‘10 things’ series and Bert’s amazing ability to change light bulbs without standing on a chair.

10 things I love about Bert

  1. He is well loved by everyone who knows him.
  2. The man hasn’t an ounce of spite in him.
  3. He is kind, tolerant and open-minded.
  4. He is ‘lethal’ on the tin whistle.
  5. He has a great sense of humour and doesn’t take himself too seriously.
  6. He is an envy-free zone.
  7. He can cook.
  8. He has a sexy bum.
  9. He always pays the vet’s bills.
  10. He is tall enough to change light bulbs without standing on a chair.

Of course I could do another list of ’10 things I hate….’ But I won’t.

At this very moment the poor man is being interviewed by the dreaded TAX MAN and has been shitting bricks all yesterday and this morning. Fingers crossed.

And the answer to the question posed in the title? One long one.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Atkins My Arse

And of course that would be my diminishing arse. It is still a considerable bum of course and there is no danger of overhearing anyone saying anytime soon,

“Nelly’s trousers look as if her arse has fainted.”

Those of you skilled at reading between the lines may have noticed that I am doing the healthy eating and walking thing. And three cheers for me that I have not been using my blog as a platform from which to bore you all rigid with the day-to-day details of this.

But I do feel it is time for a bit of a progress report. You’ll be wanting to know what weight I am now. Won’t you? No? Oh go on, you do so.


I now weigh – now where did I put those scales. Oh yes. I remember now. I threw them away 6 months ago. I don’t know what I weigh. I probably weigh more than Bert, definitely less than Ploppy Pants.


I Can Make You Thin by Paul McKenna.

He probably could too if he locked you in a shed and fed you bread and water for six months.

But even though he, like the rest of them, is a lying toad, his book does contain some kernels of truth.

  • Eat

  • Don’t overeat

  • Move about a bit more

  • And don’t expect instant results.


All these different diets are a complete load of bollix. You know that. One says eat 15 times a day, another says eat once a day. One says eat no fat, another eat no lean. All bollix. All you have to do is stop eating stuff you don’t need and move about a bit more.


Gillian McKeith! Put that turd down right now. I have only one piece of advice to give you about keek and it involves pumpkin seeds. Chew them thoroughly. You have been warned. They’re not like sweetcorn. They’re hard.


People - there is no end result. Eating properly and taking a bit of exercise is forever.

I’m still a bit of a pudding but I’m getting to be a healthier one. The walking has increased my suppleness. I can climb gates with ease now. I’ve got a belly but it’s a singular belly and wonderfully my feet have got thinner. Most mornings I lie in bed for a while admiring my slender feet and I’ve even started painting my toenails. Many shirts and blouses have been brought from the back of the wardrobe to be worn again and all my waistbands have got roomier. Some have gotten fall down roomy and might have to be recycled but that’s no bad thing.

So if you’re ever passing through Cully I’m the one with the skinny feet, pulling up the baggy trousers and with a knife between my teeth.

The Wild Man of the Mournes

Please treat this post as a warning and be extremely careful if you are walking/camping in the Mournes. There is a crazed, wild man stalking/prowling there. Unfortunately I do not have a recent picture but I do have a picture of his familiar. (above)

If you see this man, or his familiar, do not approach. He/it may be dangerous.

Monday, September 05, 2005

To Drink Or Not To Drink..

So remind me – how long is it now since I had an alcoholic drink? It’s my birthday in a few days time and I’m wondering if I should indulge myself. But….

  • I think I may get a Chocolate Guinness* Cake (please, please God) and if I do and I drink I might then go crazy and eat savage amounts of it. You think smoking dope gives you the munchies? It’s drinking white wine that gives you the appetite of a hungry bear emerging from hibernation.  

  • And it is only since I quit drinking that people have started to remark that my rotundity is lessening – which is encouraging.  

  • My sobriety is also especially nice for nephews when they surprise us by turning up unexpectedly in Belfast to have a kindly Aunt who can pick them up and carefully drive them to their granny’s house.

But then again…

But then again, again – Oh sod it. I’ll stay sober until October. Then we’ll see.

*Unlike Markham I’m not going purist and will allow myself the occasional brandy ball or wine gum.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

I'm Chuffed... see that this guy has recently added me to his blogroll. I've been looking in on him for quite a while now and only put him on my own list a little time ago. I reckon everyone needs at least one gun-lovin' Texan on the roll.

Like Baboon Pirates I could do with updating the roll as I'm not featuring everyone I read.

There are also a couple on the roll that seem to have dropped out so I'm going to have to change that too. No offence but if nothing's happening you'll have to go!

A Crabbit Star

This is what actually happened. Mandolin Man arrived back at 11.30pm – Banjo Man had stopped in Portglenone, as he was aghast to hear that his wife, the blonde, was out revelling with two of the handsomest men in Portglenone. The charges, Mandolin Man and myself all retired early. At 3.30am the Portglenone Four – and Ploppy Pants returning from their night out rudely awakened us. Poor Mandolin Man was sleeping on the kitchen sofa so he bore the brunt. You know those deep voices that boom and reverberate throughout a building? Well Ploppy Pants has got one of those. I lay in bed and fantasised about shooting him out of a cannon. Over a cliff. Then there was the tippety-tap of Jazzer’s kitten heels up and down, up and down the kitchen floor. For feck’s sake woman would you ever sit on your arse? I fantasised about going downstairs and hammering out a tune on her head with those kitten heels. What did I actually do? I summoned Bert and peevishly asked him to tell that lot to keep the noise down, that I’d been up half the night in work the previous night and I wanted a decent night’s sleep tonight. Bless him for he managed to keep them quiet after that. This is one star who doesn’t like her sleep being disturbed.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Pass Me My Trumpet

It occurs to me this evening that I'm a bit of a star. Despite my moaning earlier this week here I am in the midst of the Antrim Invasion and coping admirably.

Not many friends would lend you their man while yours was busy playing the banjo at the Omagh Bluegrass Festival. And for the whole day too. And then when you, your children and your friend's man got back from the Bluegrass Festival would then permit, nay encourage, you to go to the Portglenone Fleadh as well, with a handsome Vancouver nephew thrown in for good measure. And then your friend drives you there and goes on to babysit your kids and your neighbour's kid. You're a lucky woman Gnasher, I mean Jazzer.

There cannot be very many women who would let their man spend the whole day with a bosomy blonde, then on his return with said blonde would allow, nay insist, that he squires her to the Portglenone Fleadh with only one Vancouver nephew to chaperone. You're a lucky, lucky man Bert Clematis-Grower.

And not many friends would leave their door unlocked for you when you stagger in, in the early hours, exhausted, possibly rat-arsed, from a long day's bluegrassing in the park in Omagh. Not many friends would laugh lightly as the dogs go completely mental barking fit to raise the roof and waking up the whole house. You're a pair of very fortunate musicians Banjo Man and Mandolin Man.

And me? I'm definitely a star.

Pictured above. The Charges

Friday, September 02, 2005

Another Virgo

Delighted congratulations to Terry and Rod on the birth of their little daughter born on the first of September. Yay! Another Virgo. They're great, we are.

Rod we tried to phone but we think you may be at the hospital gazing adoringly at your girls.

New Orleans

This is what I’ve been reading for the past couple of days.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Hen's Arse

Matty gets her hair done every Friday morning. She claims she only does this to please the hairdresser (her niece Pauline) as her hair ‘will not sit’ and on Saturday morning it is sticking out at the sides and has gone all flat at the top.

She told my sister that her hair looked like ‘a hen’s arse’. She also told my sister that if she told me that she’d said this then I would put it on my ‘block’.

And now I have.

I Know You

I was walking through the council yard the other evening when I spotted a group of young fellows wearing baseball caps and looking a bit scary. I was carrying a bag containing a purse containing money and credit cards, a mobile phone and a digital camera, which would have been a decent haul for muggers. These lads were shouting and generally ‘getting on’ in what I thought was an intimidating manner. Paddy dog was not looking anything like as savage and dangerous as I might have wished for. As I got nearer the group they fell silent and stared at me balefully. I decided to have a damn good look at them too so that I could give a good description to the police after they’d mugged me. First impression was they were aged from 16-19 and there was a big one a medium one and two smallish ones. I checked the big one first. He had on a navy baseball cap with a red logo, navy trackie type jacket with a red and white trim, denim jeans and big caterpillar boots (all the better for giving you a good kicking) Right that’s him done. Next please. Oh I know you, you maggot. You’re Mark Glenn. I knew Mark from about 14 and now he must be nearly 18. He used to like me and chat to me quite a bit. Then he got in with a lot of hoods, their first rule being ‘We Hate Taigs’. He stopped answering if I spoke to him on the street so now we blank each other. Good-oh. No need for bothersome memorising of features or clothing. Lay one hand on me now spidey-boys and I have a name.

Mutual glaring over I continued on my way. I think I definitely prefer country walking. The country boys are far less intimidating even when they’re roaring down the back roads on giant tractors pulling slurry spreaders or silage trailers. It’s the country housewife you need to watch out for as she speeds down the farm lane at 50mph and pulls out on to the road, never thinking for one second that hidden by the hedge is a wee woman and a dog coming trotting along. It’s only a matter of time before one of them cowps me into the ditch. But at least I’ll not be robbed.