Thursday, June 29, 2006
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Sometimes I'm too busy to blog much. There are things to be done in the garden. Bert does them and I take the photographs. This evening we are going to cut down over grown shrubs.
I like watching men work. Especially when they are doing skilled and macho activities like operating chainsaws. I tell Bert that it turns me on to watch him chopping and wrenching and doing manly things. This encourages him.
Another one bites the dust.
Bert is very pleased that he has killed that tree.
The buddleja davidii might prove to be a tough customer. Time to wheel out the antique tractor.
Bye-bye buddleja davidii. Can that be butterflies I hear? Weeping?
Then off for an evening stroll up the back lane followed by....
Monday, June 26, 2006
The hens of Springhill talk to our reporter about their life in Cullybackey.
Reporter: So how long have you been living here ladies?
Attracta: Well Patsy and I have been here for yonks. Maybe three months now. Dympna came later and wee Bernie has been here a lifetime.
Reporter: And are you happy here at Springhill?
Dympna: Happy? Happy is not the word for it. Living with Nellybert here in Springhill is sheer, utter ecstasy. I was down with Clint for a while but to tell you the truth that crowd of fowl that he has there are a complete shower. They would have ate the arse of you as soon as look at you. And I mean ate the arse of you literally. I hadn't a tail feather to my name when I came here. But Attracta and the girls are lovely and made me very welcome. Plus the grub's better here.
Reporter: If you don't mind me saying you have a lovely set of tail feathers on you now.
Dympna: I have, haven't I? I'll admit I'm rather proud of my booty. Nelly calls me Dympna Fluffybum.
Reporter: Bernie you were here all along. What do you think of your new companions?
Bernie: Oh they're not bad. I'd been lonely for a long time ever since my sister Bianca died. Mind you they've short memories because when they first came I totally took them under my wing. They looked up to me. They had to because I was the only one able to roost in the rafters. But now they're more settled they forget that I'm the senior hen around here. But still what can you expect of hens brought up in a battery cage. No real refinement.
Reporter: So what is your typical day like?
Attracta: Nelly lets us out of the house in the morning.
Dympna: And feeds us. Yummy corn and stuff.
Patsy: Then we head off to the lawn.
Bernie: They call it a lawn. It's more like a rough field.
Dympna: But we like rough fields. We potter around the compost heap as well. We like our five portions of fruit & veg too y'know.
Attracta: Dympna or Patsy might lay an egg. I'm not laying at the moment. Bernie might lay one as well but she's very sleekit and you'd never find it.
Bernie: It's no business of yours whether I lay an egg or not!
Attracta: Well all I'm saying is it's not very loyal to Nellybert after all they do for us.
Bernie: Shut your beak!
Nelly's reward - a new laid egg
Reporter: Girls, girls! Calm down. Now Patsy you're very quiet. How have you found living with Nelly and Bert?
Patsy: I adore Nelly.
Dympna: She's Nelly's wee pet.
Reporter: Are you Patsy?
Patsy: I don't know. She is always picking me up and stroking me.
Attracta: That's because she can catch you easiest what with your gammy leg and all.
Patsy: Nelly was very kind to me at the start. When my leg was really bad just after I came out of the cages she'd hand feed me when youse ones wouldn't let me near the food.
Dympna: You soon learned to hold your own in that department you gorb!
Patsy: I need to keep my strength up.
Attracta: Then there's you sitting like a lady in the crook of Nelly's arm while she goes about the place lifting pots and stones to find you slugs to eat.
Patsy: Mmmmmm... slugs. So yummy.
Reporter: It sounds like you're all pretty spoiled here.
Patsy: Mmmm. Maybe. I heard Nellybert's friend Swisser saying that Nelly won't be happy until we're all roosting at the end of her bed. I'd like that.
Dympna: There's one thing I'd like.
Reporter: What's that?
Dympna: A Cock.
Attracta: Honestly Dympna!
Dympna: Pity to waste the best bit of booty in Cullybackey.
Reporter: Ahem! Well we'll finish here I think. Thank you ladies. I've enjoyed talking to you and I'm sure the readers will too.
Paddy supervises the chicken's breakfast
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Saturday, June 24, 2006
They were both about seventeen. He was tall, gangly and wearing a beige woolly hat pulled low on his head like a condom. She was slim and bespectacled, slightly stooping with arms folded over as if she wanted to hide her breasts. They both looked awkward and shy of each other. Maybe it was their first date?
But there they were. Both fairly attractive, both lithe, healthy, smooth skinned and young! And you could tell they didn't give a fig for it.
They were cut from a different cloth than Jaunter and his moll but were no more appreciative of their youth and vitality than that sorry pair.
Friday, June 23, 2006
I totally hate people who mess with my things. I thoroughly despise people who, in the guise of ‘helping’, put my kitchen stuff in illogical places. Today I was going to make Bert some delicious soda bread to eat with the delectable chicken* broth we created yesterday and I go to my trusty Magimix and find that some bloody tosser has lost/mislaid the blade. It can only be one of two people.
First in the frame is Jazzer. Yes you, you scatty bitch. I know your sluttish ways. You just push everything into cupboards, under carpets and below cushions; God knows where it will turn up if it was you put it away. I sincerely hope not under a cushion or some poor cratur could end up with a lacerated arse.
Second in the frame is Swisser. She is an academic and therefore without a shred of common sense. The blade could be anywhere. Or – in a fit of jealous fury at my superior baking skills and refusal to give her recipes – honestly Swisser I just throw things together, I never use recipes – she has either binned it or hid it in some crazy place.
So now that I’ve got that off my chest I present a list of possible blog topics I’ve been mulling over.
- The joy of chicken keeping
- Breasts (not chicken-related)
- The role of Chep pallets in the Ulster loyalist tradition
- What shall we do about Harry de Cat?
*Not from a chicken we knew
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Here are some of the things I was called at work last night. They are in the form of anagrams so as not to offend the more sensitive among you.
Aft, zirfzy, fcuker, salg, sult and whero.
These epithets were hurled at me during an invasion of feral children. They were not part of our client group.
At least one of the children was drunk. He might have been fourteen. The youngest child was around four or five and he was the most foul-mouthed. It was only a small comfort to me that he probably did not know what he was saying. But I know he knew it to be foul. This is the future.
Monday, June 19, 2006
It's amazing how many people have had shingles and how many stories there are about the condition. I've heard that it can last from one month to five years to forever. It's said to be the worst pain ever. Ben McKillop took to his bed with the shingles and hasn't rose since. But then again Ben is 86.
But there are many with the cure for shingles. Dympna down the road knew somebody who worked in a pub in Ahoghill who had the cure passed to her from an old man who used to drink there. This woman passed the cure on to Matty via a telephone call. It's amazing what can flow down the telephone lines in the 21st century.
Anyway it seems that Matty thought the cure was truly shiteous and is going to have to rely on the miracles of modern medicine. God love her.
Wishing her all the best for a speedy recovery.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
But looking on the bright side Bert did pay me a lovely compliment and, as I may have mentioned before, Bert's compliments are as rare as hen's teeth.
He said, "I really admired you last night. You're brilliant at drinking gin!"
Friday, June 16, 2006
|He's Never Gonna Pop the Question|
At least not to you, in this lifetime
You're guy's not serious about marrying you
Sorry to break the bad news... but it's time to move on
Good news? There are plenty of marriage ready guys out there...
But you've got to be single to meet them!
Not very promising is it?
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Oh that’s because you’re Irish!
Oooh- er! His neighbour turns out to be ‘Not Irish’. What Jamie doesn’t realise, being from England, that there are parts of Ballymena, most of Ballymoney and many other places in Norn Iron where ‘Not Irishness’ abounds.
Now as most people know I don’t really go in for politics on this blog. Politics makes me dizzy and if I get dizzy I might fall off the fence. I’m OK with people being ‘Not Irish’ but the situation that Jamie found himself in bothers me a lot. What’s the problem? Don’t be Irish if you don’t want to be. But why jump down someone’s throat or take offence if someone thinks that just because you live in Northern Ireland that you might be Irish God Forbid!
Whilst in England in the 1970s I was frequently ‘accused’ of coming from Scotland. I explained that I was actually from Northern Ireland and I did not take offence at the assumption. I do realise that cultural identity is important to many people living in this place but there is no need to get surly just because someone doesn’t get the Ulster, Northern Ireland, and British thing. Being a bit more easy going about it might help to allay that other cultural stereotype which is - Ulster Protestant = dour and humourless.
And if anyone wants to know I consider myself to be from County Antrim and I’m Irish, Northern Irish and British. If I have to pick one, say for administrative purposes, I’ll say British. That is until some government, somewhere, someday decides that I’m not.
Where We Stayed
Muswell Hill is a good place to stay. It’s very good for cab-riding pensioners who have no intention of getting on a tube. Which was just as well as the nearest tube station is a smart ten minutes walk away from where we stayed. On the other hand the hotel was a five-minute stroll from a fine shopping area full of excellent shops and restaurants. To Matty’s delight there were even three charity shops. To Aunt’s delight there were lots of much more expensive shops. Uncle was stoic about it all as he can’t be bothered with any kind of shops at all.
As you’d expect it’s rather steep up around Muswell Hill and Highgate. It means that you can look down on the Thames valley and the City. I got my first glimpse of the Gherkin from Muswell Hill Broadway.
The hotel wasn’t far from Highgate Wood. On the hottest June day in about a hundred years I took a relatively cool walk through the woods. But even the squirrels in there were lolling around fanning themselves.
Of course the area is steeped in history. Muswell Hill was once part of the Forest of Middlesex and the present day wood is a remnant of that ancient forest. Its views over the Thames and Lee valleys have made it a very pleasant place to live over the centuries, providing a rural, wooded retreat for those who could afford it. It escaped urbanisation until the very end of the nineteenth century.
But the Muswell Hill area has had some recent unpleasant history too. Just around the corner from the hotel is Cranley Gardens, where Dennis Nilsen’s career as a serial killer came to an end.
The hotel is circled red. The wood begins on in the SW corner of the map. Cranley Gardens is just across the road. I didn't go there.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
All I can add is that we had a fabulous day. My sister was lovelier than the day and her husband was rightly proud of his bride.
We're glad to have him in the family. Everyone needs a little legal advice from time to time and a country song to help them through the hard times. And the good times.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Thursday, June 08, 2006
When I got back Bert said,
You never went down to the garage like that did you?
I looked down and saw that a couple of shirt buttons were open and that I’d been displaying a good portion of my generous bosom clad in one of my fine new brassieres. I said,
I was wondering about all those oul boys smiling at me.
Och it was likely you being covered in flour that pleased them. Those oul boys like a bit of home baking too.
The scunging devil dogs are sooo excited as Bert is no good at minding them so they'll be looking forward to a mad weekend hunting rabbits on the Loan Hill.
They escaped today even though Rosie was tied. I was expecting the postman y'see. She took off with her new red lead trailing behind her. Pearlie thinks Paddy untied her.
No news on the chewed postman. Apparently nobody back at the sorting office cares about him. When he said to the rest of the fellows that he got bit on the Dreen Road they all knew straight away who was the bad bitch did the deed.
So Rosie got ye then?
According to what I'm told they've got a photograph up of Rosie in our section of the sorting office with a notice saying 'Beware of Rosie.'
Then she started making a chookling noise. “There’s no point letting her clock on sterile eggs!” Aunt Lizzie declared. “Ye must whammle her.” I was intrigued. What was whammling?
Whammling involves putting the clocking hen in a dark enclosed place and leaving her there until she stops clocking. So we put Bernie under a clematis crate. She was outraged. I didn’t like doing it for it seemed cruel. But then she escaped. She had stopped making the chookling noise so I thought she was ‘off the clock’ but Lizzie said, “She’s only trying to trick you. Clocking hens are very crafty.” The next thing was she disappeared completely. We searched and searched but there was no sign of Bernie. We assumed she had decided to make a new nest outside and fully expected to see her in the morning. That’s if the fox didn’t see her first.
We didn’t see her on Saturday morning. Or Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. Oh well. Foxy must have taken her. On Wednesday I followed his pad fully expecting to see a trail of black feathers but there was nothing. Then on Wednesday evening Bert heard a faint chook, chook coming from the wee cupboard the central heating boiler is in. He opened the door and out staggered Bernie. She had a drooth on her that took 15 minutes to sate. Then she ate two helpings of corn and a slice of wheaten bread. Then she drank lots more water. Then she went scraping with the other hens. Scrape, scrape, scrape with the feet. Step back to see what you’ve got. Then more scrape, scrape, scraping.
So maybe next time Lizzie says, “Whammle that hen,” we should keep her whammled. It's either that or ask Clint for the lend of the rooster.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Here’s something else they discussed.
Matty: They don’t seem to bother so much with the telling the weans about the Devil in the schools these days.
Kerry Sister: No. They wouldn’t want to be putting the children off with all that scary talk about hell and the devil. That really scared me when I was young. I was terrified of the devil.
Matty: I must have been odd then for I wasn’t scared of the devil.
Kerry Sister: Weren’t you?
Matty: No. I was scared of God.
Kerry Sister: God? Why?
Matty: All those rules.
All this titivating for the sister’s wedding has got me looking about at other women my age to see what the average well-groomed (or not) fifty-something is wearing these days. Here’s what I’ve spotted on the streets of Ballymena in the past two sunny days.
1. The normal look. There are lots of these about. The woman is in fairly good shape. She is clean and tidy. Her hair is short and styled and is either ash blonde or silvery grey depending on her interest in sex. She favours neat clothes in shades of beige and mushroom. Her bra is ill-fitting. I got measured for a bra yesterday and am now an ‘F’ cup. I look down at my chest area and the bolster has gone. Now I’m wearing what looks like two upturned baking bowls underneath my purple three-quarter length sleeved tee-shirt.
2. The ultra-spide look. The hair is dyed in violent black and magenta stripes. It clashes horribly with the lemon puffa jacket and crop trousers ensemble. The complexion is mahogany the make-up clarried and she accessorises with a load of cheap bling and a Mayfair cigarette. I am wearing no make-up apart from some tea-tree lip balm. My purple tee-shirt hardly clashes at all with my flowery cheesecloth freesize skirt. I hang my pedometer at the front of the skirt along with the jingly bells.
3. The hooker look. She’s slender and tall and her long strawy hair is peroxide blonde, worn half up and half down. She’s got far too much make-up on. She is wearing a very short denim skirt, heels and tights. Her legs are shapely so why tights? Varicose veins. She’s a 1661. Looks sixteen from the back and sixty-one from the front. I match back and front. My matronly arse end matches my matronly front end. This only cheers me a little bit.
4. The bohemian feminist look. She’s wearing a tartan shirt and cargo pants, brown sandals and socks. Her face is bare of cosmetics and her hair is undyed. It’s iron grey and hangs over her shoulders in long thin braids. I’m intrigued by this look. She looks intelligent and a bit stern. I’m getting my too long hair cut and coloured tomorrow.
Monday, June 05, 2006
The Kerry Sister and the Leitrim Sister on the hunt for The Rhubarb. The Kerry Sister is kicking spoor for clues. The Leitrim Sister prefers to sniff the air for that elusive Rhubarb scent.
The Rhubarb has been spotted! Leitrim Sister says it is a lot of bollocks and that it is False Rhubarb.
Bert is horticulturally highly qualified and he thinks it is Rhubarb. Looks like, smells like, tastes like, smokes like Rhubarb.
Macy prefers to wallow in a moss hole.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
I am Mrs Nelly Moser an Irishwoman living in Ireland and I have a grat problem I hope you can help me with. I was out walking with my two dogs when the crabbit one of them started barking ferociusly The next thing I knew a man of very short statue jumped out of the hedge and hit her a rattle over the nose with a knobbly stick. He introduced himself as Aloysius O’Malley and said he came from the fairy people. He said that becase I was the ten millioneth person to walk along that path that I would receve a big pot of gold. He too k me to see the gold which was in a big cauldrom and he said it was worth ten million Euros. All this gold is for my own personal use.
My problem is that in this country we have an organisation called the Assets Recovery Agency which is very suspicius of people who get a lot of money with no good explaining of where they got it and are very suspicius think people got their money of selling drugs and thieving of the tax man and so on.
It is my strong belief that the Assets Recovery Agency will not beleve that I got this money fair & square of Mr Aloysius O’Malley and will take the whole caboose of of me which would be really unfair as the money is mine fair square.
I plead with you as a good honourable person fine & upstanding to help me in this matter. If you send me all your bank details telephone number and so on I will give you to keep for ever twenty percent of my fairy gold worth in excess of 2 million Euros and I look forward to hearing from you soonest!
So we move on to exteriors. Barge boards and so on. Ollie is our outside painter. I say red, he says no. It’s a period house. Red screams new. Grey fits in. I agree. But who knew there were so many shades of grey. I come home from 25 hours in Mingerton and Ollie is following me around with shade cards – all grey. I like that one. Too dark. I like this one. Too light. You pick. I trust your judgement. Leave me alone! Window frames? Feck off. Whatever you like! I don’t care. Just paint the fucking house and leave me alone!
It has been a crazy evening. Leitrim sister was visiting and the silage cutting gang has been here and not one single hen run over even though half a million quid’s worth of agricultural machinery has been flying through the yard all evening long.
This time next week I shall be in London. It is one year today since my father died.
Friday, June 02, 2006
Thursday, June 01, 2006
This has been a difficult few days of pet-keeping.
The dogs kept getting away. Bernie the bantie is clocking on a hidden clutch of sterile eggs and Harry de Cat pissed on Bert this morning. Now this. I'm really worried. We will be getting a visit from Nigel and we might get taken to court.
Actually if there is a prosecution it will be me as I am the licence holder. But I won't blame postie if he reports it as he is entitled to do his job without being harassed and bitten by dogs.
Why do dogs hate postmen so?
Paddy: Well Rose that’s a powerful nice mornin’. Ye fancy a wee scunge? I smell rabbits.
Rosie: Huh! I don’t see how I’ll get any scunging done today. D’ye not see the cut of me?
Paddy: Aye ye’re down in the mouth all right. What’s annoyin’ ye?
Rosie: God but yer stupid! Did the vit gie ye a lobotomy that time ye were in getting your balls off?
Paddy: No need to be nasty. I see what’s vexin’ ye now. Ye’re tied up aren’t ye?
Rosie: Aye! I am! It’s to do with that carry-on yesterday.
Paddy: Aye yesterday! Yesterday was a good day. Pity Jamie had to come along and spoil it on us.
Rosie: It’s Alber’ I blame. He should just have minded his own business that time he saw us on the Loan Road. Sure we weren’t payin’ any mine to that oul fecker of a farmer who was roarin’ and shoutin’ at us.
Paddy: That fat oul fecker hadn’t a hope of catchin’ us.
Rosie: Aye! Not even if he’d tuk tae the Loan Hill wae his oul Land Cruiser. And he wouldnae hae went there for fear o’ the yappin’ he’d get from the wife for dirtyin’ the motor and her wantin’ to take it into the town tae lift the weans frae school.
Paddy: Then Alber’ appeared.
Rosie: Aye and did ye hear the soft coaxin’ way he was trying to get us into the boot of his motor. He hadn’t a hope.
Paddy: Right! Then we were aff again. Up the Loan Hill.
Rosie: Nixt thing though Alber’ has his phone out.
Paddy: Tellin’ on us.
Rosie: But sure by the time Bert and Nelly arrived we were nearly out of earshot.
Paddy: Didn’t stop them roarin’ and shoutin’ for us though.
Rosie: We heared nothin’.
Paddy: It’s not aisy hearin’ things wae yer head stuck down a rabbit hole.
Rosie: Was it your idea or mine to go down to the low huntin’ grounds?
Paddy: Was you Rose. Ye always have the best ideas.
Rosie: Aye! But it was your fool notion to go down the Dreen Road to get there. Wisht I hadn’t a listened tae ye on that one. Bad luckin’ that two dogs steppin’ down the road on their own an’ one wae his collar left hingin’ in a hawthorn bush. Nigel could lift you for that and then Nellybert would be in bother!
Paddy: ‘Spose then it was a good thing Jamie came on us.
Rosie: Maybe. Ye were quare and soft jumpin’ intae his car so quick.
Paddy: Ye weren’t far behind me! Anyway I couldnae help mysel’. He was that sharp of the tongue. Just like Nelly. Soft words don’t work on me. I hae found in my time that folk that talk all soft and nice tae ye usually give ye a good kick up the arse when they catch a houl of ye. Sharp-tongued folk are just pleased ye done what ye were bid.
Rosie: Nae matter ye’re still a big lick and a suck.
Paddy: At least it’s not me that’s tied to a pruta weighbridge!
Rosie: Away and feck! Ye’ll get yer turn!