Sunday, September 30, 2007

First Impressions

We've known Banjo Man for a long time now. But when we first knew him I thought he was a quiet, shy and serious lad. Something like how he appears in this picture taken (by Zoe) more than a dozen years ago.

But that was then. And this is....

A Sage Speaks

One of Bert's friends said that he never has sex. The reason he never has sex is because,

Nine out of ten men over sixty die during sex

The thing is, Bert's friend is still only fifty-six. He must be weaning himself off.

Daniel O'Lovely

In her most recent post Hails waxes lyrical about the great Daniel O’Donnell. She makes the true observation that Daniel is very much beloved by elderly ladies. This worries me. At what point of the slide into old age does Love of Daniel begin? Does the Queen adore O’Donnell? Is Vivienne Westwood a fan? Are Patti Smith and Deborah Harry planning future musical collaborations with the Donegal man?

But I think Daniel Adoration is associated not just with age but also with simple-mindedness. Because it’s not just certain elderly ladies that make up Daniel’s fan base, it’s…. now how do I put this?

Q. What is the current P.C. term?

A. Developmental Disability.

Or as legend has it, in Ulster Scots parlance, The Wee Dafties.

I worked for years with the developmentally disabled and one thing that I noticed was that, whenever they could choose for themselves, their general taste in music was crap not pleasing to my ears.

Usually they’d favour the worst sort of country and western music (think George Jones), the most anodyne so-called pop music, really dreadful heavy metal or Daniel O’Donnell and some other similar sad sap whose name escapes me.

Occasionally you’d get a classical music fan but he or she would be incapable of verbalising musical choices and I often thought that these choices were imposed upon them by parents or staff who just wanted a bit of chill-out time. For the music chosen would be soothing rather than challenging.

But to return to the fascinating subject of Daniel - at one of the places I worked staff organised a holiday for a group of residents in Donegal. They hired a minibus and spent their days searching for Daniel O’Donnell taking in the beautiful Donegal scenery. Eventually they tracked down the O’Donnell residence but, sadly, Daniel was not at home. They did meet his mother and his aunt and were invited in for tea and scones. It was the highlight of the holiday. For the staff that is. The residents did not have much to say about it. Except for the one who always vomited when she got excited. Or thought no one was paying any attention to her. She said, ‘Daniel’s Mammy was great Nelly. She gave us photos and scones. I boked mine up and Agnes ripped her photo!”

I wonder if those ladies were really Daniel’s relatives. Perhaps he keeps lots of stunt Mammys and Aunts on the payroll to enhance his image and keep stalkers at bay. Or maybe the Mammys and Aunts are just stalkers/mentalists basking in the Daniel glow. Who knows! There has to be a PhD thesis on the O’Donnell phenomenon in there somewhere.

P.S. Interestingly, to me anyway, Daniel's beard wife is called Majella. That's my middle name. Nelly Majella Moser.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

It's All About The Ears

Danny (pictured right) and Paddy (below) looked very similar. The main difference was the ears. Danny's stuck up and Paddy's flopped.

We only had Paddy for a few months when Danny died. For a good while afterwards I'd look at Paddy and think to myself that his ears looked really stupid.

Then the other evening I came across a picture of dear old Dan and I found myself saying to Bert,

Didn't Danny's ears look really stupid?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

About Time Too!

When someone recommends a blog to you and you read all six and a half years of it's archives in three days and it inspires you to carry on with something that you should have done ages ago then you really should add it to your blog roll. Like, immediately. Afraid it's taken me the best part of three months to get round to it but it's done now. So welcome Shauna, in your Dietgirl incarnation, to the garden.

Shauna's got her Dietgirl book coming out in January 2008 and I'll be buying it for sure.

But that's not the only thing I've been putting off for ages. Here's something for the laddies. I know there's nothing you'd like to see more than a bunch of (allegedly) heterosexual men dressing up in women's clothing. So here's some pics from New Year's Eve, 1999.

Obviously I told Bert I was posting this. I do have to live with him after all. He said,

I don't look bad at all do I?

I said,

You think?

He said,

Better than those other two gypes anyway.

Judge for yourselves.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Clarkson, Paddington & the Teletubbies

Zoe, Ganching and I went to the Saturday market in Ballymena yesterday morning. As always I was on the lookout for a bit of pruck. Specifically I was looking for an enamel bucket, preferably with lid, to store pig scraps in. I did not find one. What I did find was a spongeware mug with pig design. Not big enough for swill but cute enough to spend a fiver on.

Since the great Paddington hunt I've also been keeping an eye out for a naked and neglected Gabrielle bear to dress up. After all I do have the pattern sourced at great expense from Texas.
But no luck there either. I did find a couple of nice bits of SylVac for Matty (she collects) which I'll keep for her Christmas present.

I was checking my spongeware mug on Ebay this afternoon to see if I'd been done up like a kipper. It seems I paid a fair enough price for it after all. While I was on I had a look to see if there were any bare Paddington Bears going for a song. There wasn't. But I did learn something new.

I never knew that Jeremy Clarkson started his working life as a travelling salesman for Paddington Bears!*

Seems the very first Paddington Bear was created by Gabrielle Designs in 1972, a small business run by Jeremy's parents Shirley and Eddie Clarkson, with the prototype made as Christmas presents for the Clarkson kids. Although the original Paddington Bear didn't wear boots, Shirley Clarkson dressed her bear in Wellington boots to help him stand upright. The earliest bears wore Dunlop wellies until the Dunlop company could not keep up with production. Gabrielle Designs then produced their own boots with paw prints molded into the soles. Gabrielle Designs eventually went into liquidation, although by this time the Clarksons had sold the company. This means that the original Gabrielle Paddingtons have become quite desirable.

One of the reasons cited for Gabrielle Designs' downfall was the huge popularity of the Teletubbies toys. Paddington just couldn't compete with that craze. Of course it's a while ago now but I remember feeling very baffled to hear grown men and women talk about their quest to buy a Teletubbies toy for their children. The queues for Teletubbies even made the evening news.

I've yet to see the Gabrielle Paddington at the market or in the charity shops but I often see those grubby Teletubbies. I wonder what they're going for on Ebay?

Just checked. Around 99 pence.

*As I read this on Wikipedia it may be lies. I once read on Wikipedia that Jermaine Jackson's son went to Hogwarts and injured Harry Potter during the course of a Quidditch match.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Shoes & Pigs

I went straight from work this evening to Junction One to buy shoes. I'm at that awkward stage around clothes. I really don't have a notion what size I am any more and keep buying clothes that are too big for me far too soon. But shoes are good. Size 6. No change there.

When I got home the Pig Cartel were standing around watching the herd eat. Pigs love eating. Two of them needed injections but wouldn't stay still to take them. So I jumped in and caught the first pig while Joe jagged him. The second one was harder to work with. He took two of us to hold him still. Joe jagged him and he a pig.

Bert was terribly proud of me.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Putting In An Evening

Bert cut his finger on a saw the other day and couldn't play the clarinet. It was very pleasant. The finger must be healing now because he's scraking away on his claro at this very moment.

I've spent the evening uploading photographs to PhotoBox, cleaning my bookshelves and playing with the book application on Facebook. I had a long phone conversation with Ganching in which we talked mostly about blogging.

I said to her,

So what are you doing tomorrow?

I'm taking Matty to the doctor.

What's wrong with her?

She has a watery eye.

Her hole! I mean.. that's good she's going to the doctor. That watery eye has definitely been annoying her.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

On Ballycastle Beach

That photograph was taken a few years ago. Shirley was relatively happy that day. She came through a lot that summer.

A year today since she was murdered and no one brought to justice yet.

A Tourist Attraction

You'd think they'd never seen pigs before. The amount of visitors we've had since the porkers came has increased dramatically. And Clint is practically living with us.

Those of you who know him will remember how he used to talk incessantly about potatoes. He knew every variety of spud grown in Europe. He was a blight expert, ploughing was his passion and soil an obsession.

Then there was eggs. He started of by hauling them around the country. Who knew the hazards attached to egg transportation? Then he got some, and so did we, but Clint wasn't content with a few ex-battery hens about the place. His craving for fowl grew...and grew. Turkeys were next, then geese. The local foxes were in fowl heaven.

Of course if you've got a lot of poultry you need a lot of sheds. It started with one. But one wasn't enough. Soon Clint's yard was thronged with sheds. You could hardly get through it.

Now it's pigs. Clint has no room for them at his own place just yet. Too many sheds in the way. So they're here in the meantime. Two for Clint, two for his mate and two for us. Where will it end?

Back in the Good Old UK

...and I can discard the burqa.

It was as Mr Bolan said, (he is a genius, I swoon at his feet) a blip, not hackery.

I flicked a tiny smidgen of breakfast TV this morning. On channels 1 and 3 the talking heads were discussing 'problem gambling' on the internet. Each sofa consisted of a breakfast TV couple, an 'expert' and a female 'problem gambler'. The channel 3 specimen was middle-aged and respectable. She hid her gambling from her family and friends. Apparently, like 'problem drinking', if it takes place at home, it can appear quite genteel. At first. Until the bailiffs come.

The channel 1 bint was cut from a different cloth. She was brazen. Got herself into tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt then started stealing from work to fund her gambling addiction. She was quite blase about it all.

The presenter said,
But you robbed a bank of twenty-five thousand pounds!
The hussy replied,
That was my gambling addiction that lead me to do it.
Like that made it OK. I couldn't understand why she was sitting there. Shouldn't she have been in jail? Then I got bored and flicked to Dora the Explorer.

They were still on about internet gambling on Radio 4 while I was driving home from work. Apparently there are 250'000 'problem gamblers' in the UK. Some government type announced,
250'000 problem gamblers is an unacceptable number!
And I thought to myself,
I wonder what number of problem gamblers would be acceptable?
Let's face it - if everyone was as keen on gambling as Nellybert the bookmakers, internet casinos, lotteries et al would soon go bust. We don't even do the lottery. I've bought one scratch card in my whole life and have bet on the Grand National maybe twice.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Me. Sitting in the antenatal clinic. With a lethal weapon.

As anyone knows there is nothing more mind-numbingly boring than waiting in a queue at the local outpatients. Thankfully this is not something I have to do on a regular basis, but in the days when I was incubating bambinos I spent manys a dreary hour at the (block booked) antenatal clinic. There were too many squealing toddlers around to concentrate on reading, so I used to bring my knitting. Many the baleful look I received from the other pregnant mothers which I interpreted as distaste for the multi-coloured stripey jumpers I was knitting on circular needles. I now know their antipathy was for my reckless disregard for their health and safety. Perhaps they might accidentally trip and fall upon my needles, causing them to spontaneously abort. Maybe I'd take a pre-eclamptic fit and put somebody's eye out in a frenzy. Or I could have ripped the stripey woolly off the needles and used them to garrotte some obnoxious child.

It's no wonder Congleton War Memorial Hospital in Cheshire has, on health and safety grounds, banned knitting needles from its waiting rooms and wards.

Monday, September 17, 2007


My Photo
Name: Nelly
Location: Cullybackey, County Antrim, Afghanistan

Daughters - 3, Parents -1 surviving, Siblings - 6, Significant Other - 1, Dogs - 3, Cats - 1, Chickens - 7, Weight lost since 02/07/07 - 26 lbs

OK. So who could have added that little extra to my profile?

Not Suitable For Vegetarians

Ahem! Nellybert, Clint and The Pigman have gone into the bacon rearing business. Two each. Ours are the spotty ones. I must try very hard not to get too fond of them.

The Last Request

daddy, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

On his 84th birthday my father said,

I want you to do something for me.

So what d'ye want me to do?

I want you to take me to Leitrim to see Deirdre.

Aye. I will. Some day soon.

It never happened. He took a stroke just a couple of weeks later. This weekend was the first time I went back to Leitrim. It was his birthday weekend.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I May Be Some Time

Obviously I don't get out enough.

I'm going to visit Leitrim Sister this weekend. It's a three hour trip yet I feel as if I'm embarking on a Polar Expedition.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

An Urban Myth

Bert's cousin visited Pearlie yesterday and told her this tale.

There's this woman works with our Ruth told me that she knows of this man who fixes bicycles who spilled a tin of WD-40 on his hand. Now this old boy had bad arthritis in both of his hands..
And I'm thinking, that must have been a bit of a handicap to him and him working at bicycles.

Anyway the next day the oul boy notices his hand is as supple as anything and there's nothing like the pain so he wonders...

Oh dear God - what's she going to tell her now?

Maybe it was the WD-40. So he sprays it on his other hand and the very next day he could move his hands anyway he wanted and he hadn't ache nor pain!
And Pearlie says,

Bertie! Away out to the back shed and get me some of that oul WD-40 stuff.

And Bertie does.

And lo and behold - within the hour Pearlie's wrist has loosened up and she has hardly ache nor pain.

And I say,

That stuff'll likely give her cancer!

And Bert says,

Sure what odds at her age if it gives her some relief?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Illegal Dog Alert

I was perturbed to receive a letter from Ballymena Borough Council on Friday informing me that my dog wasn't licenced, despite my having been notified that the licence was due, and that I had better produce this dog licence by 19th September, 2007 - or else.

Bert thought it was funny but I was raging. Actually he thought it was funny because I was raging. Because I hadn't received a reminder letter and anyway, which bloody dog was it? The letter didn't say. I knew it wasn't Bonnie for we've not had her for a year yet. Paddy? His licence was due in March. Surely it hadn't been overlooked for nearly six months. Mind you the tone of the letter was rather haranguing - so maybe Paddy was the illegal.

I looked up the dog licence file. It was Rosie. She'd been unlicenced since 30th August, 2007. Seven whole days. The shame of it. Never mind. She's legal now. I paid the fiver.

Monday, September 10, 2007

How Social Workers Relax

Bert and I were horrified when these two pyromaniacs set our bonfire compost heap alight.

What Bert Calls Work And I Call Playing

That big old evergreen was doing nothing to enhance the garden so we decided it had to go. Bert just pulled it out with the tractor. And trailed it to the bonfire site. Or what would be the bonfire site if bonfires weren't illegal. So we don't have them. No sirree!

When the tree came out we found dozens of rotten eggs. Dympna had been laying there for ages and we hadn't realised. I tried to think of a use for them but couldn't think of anyone I wanted to pelt.

Never Again!

Thank you for all my birthday greetings. I must draw a veil over last night's excesses - i.e. a week's recommended units of alcohol in one evening.

Had to phone in stupid this morning.

And felt under par the entire day.

CD was very understanding. When I asked for a day's annual leave and explained why I wanted it at such short notice he just laughed and said that was fine.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Tractor Tales

Bert and a few of his friends went to that Gig on the Bann in Portglenone last night. They said it was good, but not as good as last year. I picked them up outside the Wild Duck sometime after midnight. We did not see any tractors in Portglenone itself, just the one young reveller in Ahoghill returning from a night out.

When Bert was sixteen he used to take this girl out for a spin on his dad's wee Fergie. It was a pity he cowped it, cutting capers to impress his lady friend. Thankfully Bert and his date were unhurt but the tractor was wrecked. It would have been worth a fortune today. But that's young boys for you. They're at everything.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Bert's Top Birds

We know he fancies Nigella, Isabella and Nicole.

He recently admitted to a yen for knee length skirts, twinsets and pearls. (So womanly.)

Then last night, while we were watching Family Guy, he turned to me and said,

"You know, I fancy Lois even more than I fancy Marge Simpson."


Then he said,

"Who do you fancy most? Homer or Peter?"

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Slattern's Tale

Bert is having a couple of his friends to stay on Saturday night. As I was coming downstairs this morning I was thinking how much they needed hoovering and, indeed, how squalorous all my floors were. I wondered if I might get away with just a 'lick and a promise', then it occurred to me - rather than doing a skimmy clean, which is all I'll have time for, why don't I just leave it as it is. If I skim-clean they might think, 'Look at the dust on those banisters, those cobwebs in the corners. That Nelly is a throughother skitter!' But - if I don't clean at all they'll think, 'God! Nelly just doesn't give a damn. This house is spectacularly dirty. She obviously has far better things to do with her time!' Then when they find that their beds are actually quite pleasantly fragrant they'll be delighted.

On the other hand, they'll probably be so drunk they won't notice a thing.

Hurrah! Hurrah! I Bought A Smaller Bra!

I may be a matron but I'm glad to report that my bosom is less matronly than it was. The reappearance of something vaguely resembling a waist means that even though the girls are smaller, they look bigger. Yay! Result.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Dreaming of Old Friends

Did you ever have a dream where you felt that you resolved something? This morning, just before waking, I dreamt that I met an old friend in an antiques market in an unfamiliar city. We encountered each other at a stall selling old fabrics and lace. Her grown up daughter was there too. There had been difficulties between my old friend and me and after some initial awkwardness we both realised that these didn't matter any more. I woke up feeling happy.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Perfect Porridge

Bert said a very dirty thing while we were watching Nigella the other night. It made me laugh an awful lot but it's far too rude to repeat. Nigella was lasciviously scoffing a bread and butter pudding that she'd made with croissants, double cream and bourbon and she commented, "That was everything I'd hoped for and more," and he said, "That's what she'd say after I'd...." I cannot finish what he actually said as some of my more gently reared readers, i.e. Fresh Blade, Hails, Manuel, Beowulf and Ganching would be very shocked because what he actually said was even worse than what might first spring to mind. No doubt more worldly readers such as Ed, Mr Bolan, Cybez and Grannymar will get it immediately. Meanwhile the likes of Bliss and El Capitan will be thinking, "Who da hell's Nigella?"

Nigella's not the only one with awesome recipes and, with Hails in mind, I'm going to give you Majella's* recipe for Perfect Porridge.

Porridge for Two People

Put one cup of porridge, a handful of sunflower seeds,one cup of water and one cup of milk in a saucepan. Bring to boiling and cook for a couple of minutes whilst stirring occasionally.

Serve into two bowls. Add one spoonful of honey per bowl and slice a banana between the two bowls. You can also use another soft fruit such as peaches, strawberries or blueberries. Add milk to taste.

Steep saucepan in cold water making sure to wipe porridge off saucepan rim.

Carry one bowl to bedside of Nigella-fancying lazybones and then eat own portion.

Go to work and hope that aforementioned slugabed will wash saucepan.

So there you go - my recipe for non-exploding porridge and a tip for an easily cleaned pan.

*Majella is my middle name - Nelly Majella Moser

Monday, September 03, 2007

Rolling Back The Years

While cupboard clearing over the weekend I came across a couple of journals that I kept when I was 25/26. I was obviously writing with a view to posterity, little realising that posterity was going to laugh its leg off at Nelly the Pompous Ass. In those days I was preoccupied with my babies, housework, my social life, poverty and drink. I wonder if there was a connection between those last two? Although the eldest of us had left home, me in my council house and London Sister and Ganching at uni, there were still a lot of us hanging about the old homestead. We seemed to do a lot of bickering and fighting in those days. No doubt, we assumed, that our parents found this pleasant and amusing. I note, on one occasion, when Vancouver Brother was seriously winding up (not so) Jolly Joe that Ganching 'was demented at them'. Happy days indeed.

A quarter of a century passes and I'm back keeping a journal, only this time it's online and, hopefully, not taking itself just as seriously. So what was going on in Nelly's Garden three years ago? I was wishing Hannah good luck in an interview but for what? I cannot remember. I wonder if she can. My hair, courtesy of Nice'n'Easy, was a youthful shade of brown and I was working in Spide City. I had recently given up smoking and was stacking on the weight.

Still in Spide City two years ago and getting ready to make the move up the road to the new house. We were all still grieving for Daddy. Other than that, nothing out of the ordinary going on. Oh yes. I was on a diet but it didn't last and it obviously didn't work.

This time last year I'd moved to Tinkerton, was hating it, and making an escape plan. We were in our new house nearly a year. Hannah was planning to come home, meeting Bonnie was still in the future and Shirley Finlay was in the last days of her sad, short life.

In the past year I have found myself a new job, a new qualification and a new dog. This is going to be my fifty-fifth year. I wonder what it will bring?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Shades of Blue

Bert went to the Bluegrass Festival in Omagh yesterday. I’m not a fan so I stayed at home. Anyway somebody has to take care of the livestock, i.e. dogs, cats, chickens and Pearlie. I took a bit of time off to visit the Slemish Market Garden in Ballymena’s Ecos Park. Plenty of plants, fresh fruit and vegetables, a bit of craic with Frank and Linda McCooke and, best of all, no bluegrass!

I gathered up some beautiful (mostly blue) perennials and some freshly dug Sarpo Mira potatoes. That’s another thing about the Slemish Market Garden that I love – they are always trying out interesting vegetable varieties. And to add to the abundance I was given a free sample of fresh chillies for Zoe. Frank remembered that she likes them.

So that was my weekend – mother minding, pet tending and gardening with a dash of cupboard clearing thrown in for extra excitement value. I’ll have to remember to give Zoe those chillies. She’ll like them. Frank said “they would burn the bake of ye!”

A selection of perennials from the Slemish Market Garden now in my garden

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Twinset Twins

So the twins didn't win Big Brother. Bert was rooting for them. Ever since he saw them in the twinsets and pearls he has been in love with both of them. Not in a lustful way, you understand, just heartfelt admiration.

Those wee lassies look far better in those cardigans and skirts than they do in their normal clothes. They look that womanly.

Should I start dressing in twinset and pearls?


So it was a bit of a gunk when Swisser landed up just as Nellybert was settling down to watch the Big Brother final.

Oh do you watch this? I haven't seen one second of it.

Bert says,

I don't watch it. Nelly does.

Look at those pair! Two wee slappers. I couldn't bear to watch them for two minutes. They'd give me a headache!

Bert (defensively)

Those are two of the nicest wee lassies that have ever been on Big Brother. There's not a bad bone in their bodies.


Well. I don't actually watch it but I know everybody that's in it and what's going on.

Who's that sleaze with his arms round those two slags?

Nelly says,

That's Brian. He's a favourite to win it.

Ugh! He's so sleazy pawing round those two.

He's only nineteen!

Nineteen! Who told you that? He's 40 if he's a day!

He's only nineteen! Actually he's 20. He had his birthday while he was in the house.

Good God! Look at them all getting off with each other! This is so contrived. They can't possibly be in genuine relationships. They're just doing it for the extra publicity.

Well maybe so but they're young, cooped up together, they're bound to fancy each other.

Huh! I cannot imagine fancying anyone at work!

Speak for yourself.

What do you mean?

Well you work along with a lot of dried up old academics. I work at a building site.