Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Keeping Busy

I found this research on how a sedentary lifestyle speeds up the ageing process very interesting. As Nellybert's respective mothers Matty and Pearlie enter their 82nd year it's remarkable how differently they are managing their very old age. Pearlie is failing and unable to get about much while Matty is doing comparatively well for her age. True Matty has angina, a touch of arthritis and never stops complaining but Pearlie is literally 'done' and can do hardly anything for herself. Matty keeps her independence. Pearlie depends on a shift of eight carers a day and lots of help from her family. Matty may look like an old lady but Pearlie, only a few months older, looks ten years older again.

Matty has always been a very busy woman. Rearing seven children kept her on her toes. She went out full-time working in her forties and on retirement continued to keep very active. Up until the angina took hold she gardened, she sewed, she painted, she wrote, she decorated, she walked and she cycled. She stills keeps herself occupied and is the most fidgety person I know. The thing she resents most about old age is the way it has curtailed her physical activity. On the other hand Pearlie was very inactive all her life. She would spend endless hours in front of the fire. Where Matty would be haring around like a blue-assed fly, Pearlie would be shuffling about hardly bothering to lift her feet as she went. Pearlie never had a job in her life and spent her later years doing damn all. OK. She'd knit dishcloths and patch her aprons and knickers but that was about it. Maybe she'd occasionally go out looking for hen's nests but she never baked or gardened or danced or took a brisk walk to herself. And there is a reason Bert's an only child.

There was one physical activity that Pearlie enjoyed and it used to baffle me. She loved a day out in the moss gathering and bagging turf. Bert and I hated the moss and I could never understand why Pearlie relished it when she was usually so idle. But maybe she was thinking that 5 or 6 days spent toiling in the moss was a small price to pay for 360 indolent evenings sitting mazling her shins at the Rayburn.

Monday, January 28, 2008

More Diet Tips

1. Go easy on the Chardonnay

2. Fall 'til the gin

3. Drink even more gin

4. And don't forget the radishes

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Secret of my Success

There hasn't been much progress recently on the weight loss project. Naturally Christmas had its effect. Over the holiday period I gained 5 lbs. Was I dismayed? Not an iota. A small and quick weight gain comes off pretty easily when sensible eating is resumed. So when less ale and fewer cakes were consumed it started to come off again. I have now lost exactly three stone since the project began in July.

So, you'll be mad to know, what is the secret of my success? It's simple. Radishes. The more you eat the slimmer you get. So spread the word. We'll be putting in acres of them this coming year. For your supply just contact -


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Drowning of the Causeway

I wonder if it is because I am now (probably) in the second half of my time on earth that I find myself increasingly unbothered by reports such as this.

So the Giant's Causeway goes underwater. Is this so terrible? After all it will still be there. It's just that only divers and fish and seals will get to see it. I don't think they'll need to be bothering themselves about that Visitor's Centre after all.Photo courtesy of randubnick

Monday, January 21, 2008

Oh The Excitement Of It!

I must be really, really bored for I have decided to put all my books into alphabetical order. It’s all to do with my visit Pearlie yesterday and finding her watching Sense and Sensibility on TV. It was the bit where Marianne gets caught mid-rapture in a shower and, as you’d expect, takes not one bit well. Many’s a drenching I’ve had in my time and never once needed a devilish handsome man in tight breeches to carry me home and put me to bed. But then I tend not to wear light muslin frocks when I go hill-walking in thunderstorms.

Pearlie thought this all thrilling stuff and asked if I’d a copy of the book in the house. Well – maybe I have. But I couldn’t put my hand on it. So hence the long overdue organisation of books. I wonder if alphabetical order is the answer. I’ve got Austen rubbing shoulders with Bagshawe and Dickens beside de Bernieres. Should de Bernieres be among the ‘Bs’ and how will I organise the non-fiction and reference? Shall I mix up the children’s books with the adult fiction? Bert suggests using the Dewey Decimal System.

I wonder how long it will take me. I’m only up to the ‘Ds’ so far and I still haven’t found Sense and Sensibility.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Taken On Trust

Well! For feck's sake! How very, very dare you!

You're having a quiet afternoon. On a whim you decide to go internet shopping. You buy a delish cashmere jumper in the John Lewis sale. (Hasn't arrived yet but you know it will be good. After all it is John Lewis. Qualitee. No postal charges.)

Maybe a scarf to go with it. Let's try Ebay. Rainbow coloured alpaca scarf. Lovely picture. Buy it now!What I thought I was buying

Scarf arrives. Eagerly tear from packaging. Hold up. Something terribly wrong. Is half a scarf. Vendor has cut scarf in half and posted it out. Not even long enough to go round elf's neck. Only has fringing on one side. What a bloody libertee! Go on to Ebay. Compose stern message. Send. Check vendor's page. discover selling other half of scarf for even more than Nelly paid! what a fecking libertee!

And this is what I got

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Trials of Nelly

When the pigs were alive I refused to name them in case I got too attached. For the same reason I preferred not to know which two were Nellybert's. But now they're in the freezer I've got names for them. They're called Pinky & Perky.

I'm feeling very cranky these days. It has just dawned on me that the price of food has sky-rocketed. Consequently I'm getting very pissed off when food is wasted. It wasn't so bad when Pinky, Perky and the others took care of the odd leftover but there's only so much the chickens can eat. And they're a shower of bastards anyway for they always find some new sneaky place to hide their eggs. I'll put that nonsense out of them this year when I get them into a run.

Last year's attempts at controlling the chickens was a total disaster. I don't know what possessed Bert to believe that a four foot fence would keep them in. Sure the feckers roost six to eight foot off the ground.

And speaking of total disasters.... I despair of Bert. He is the numero uno candidate at wasting food. He always prepares too many spuds. I don't know why. He said it's a family thing. Maybe they were always expecting a passing tramp to call in for a feast of cold potatoes. These extras rarely get used and are thrown to the useless hens. Which was all very well in the olden days when his father grew potatoes every year but not so good when I'm carting them out of the town at great labour and expense.

And another thing. Milk. Bert never buys it. He forgets we don't have a cow. Yet he drinks a load of it. At dinner he always drinks a glass of milk. Then he always leaves at least a third of it. I suppose I could use it again but somehow I don't fancy it after he's been slabbering through it.

So what set me off this evening? Well ... I came home starving as usual and there were Bert and Hannah poring through a pile of cookery books. What were they up to? Looking for a recipe for chili-con-carne. Bert starts assembling the ingredients. Everything is there. We even have fresh chillies. (Thanks Zoe) I go to see Pearlie. I get back half an hour later to find Hannah ripping the cardboard of a Tesco quiche and Bert defrosting tuna steaks. What happened to the chili-con-carne? The mince was in the freezer. Huh!

So I had grilled tuna, plain boiled potatoes and for veg - a cold tomato. Bert cannot be arsed with vegetables y'see. Too much trouble and aren't potatoes a vegetable anyway? It was a dreary dinner. Afterwards I found three small, expensive and organic boiled potatoes sitting in a (thankfully clean) ashtray on the kitchen sill. I made potato pancakes. Then Bert said he wasn't hungry so I hid his (rotten shop-bought) currant squares. He is under instructions to eat those potato pancakes tomorrow fried with a slice of Pinky or Perky. He'd better.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Poor Bonz

Bonnie got spayed today. She is (literally) very hangdoggish or, as Bert would say, the anaesthetic has knocked the shite clean out of her.

Poor thing got no breakfast this morning which she found very strange and then, on her return from the vet, had no appetite at all so has been fasting all day. But don't worry Bonz - we've got lots of yummy roasted pig bones for you when your appetite does come back.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Twin Obsessions

These days, whenever Bert isn't doing this....

Bert keeps smiling on even though he's having a bad hair fortnight

...he is to be found making stock. He feels he owes it to the pigs not to waste a bit of them. Of course stockmaking means he is to be found consulting the guru....

Clarinet discarded for a wonderful moment or so

Hannah laughed at me this afternoon when I remarked in grumpy tones,

I think Bert should get his own kitchen!

I wonder if Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall cleans up after himself?

By the way, Bert was slightly reluctant posing for these pictures.

Sure look at the cut of my hair!

Hannah cajoled him by telling him that his fans wouldn't care about his hair and that Hugh's hair was a bit of a state too.
Hugh rocking his trademark lank curls look

The stock is delicious. I'll never be able to go back to manufactured cubes after this.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Happy Birthday 2

sadie, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

Happy Birthday 1

emmet, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

Twenty-two years ago yesterday I became an aunt for the very first time. On the tenth of January my nephew Emmet was born and then on the eleventh my niece Sadie.

Happy birthday to both of you!

Two Little Piggies

Our two pigs came home last night...

in six cardboard boxes.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Google Earthing

I discovered Google Earth. I know. Light years after everyone else. Now here's a thing. How come Nellybert's isn't on it yet all the houses west of Dingle are?

You'd think Cully was definitely more important than that. But on second thoughts - maybe it's just as well.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


People take different approaches to organising their stuff. One thing is constant - the more stuff a body owns, the harder that stuff is to organise.

We knew somebody once cleared his house regularly. His credo was - if he hadn't used it in the past year out it went.

Stuff can take you over. The trick is if you bring new stuff in then heave the equivalent amount of stuff out. Easier said than done.

Which brings me back to the Auntie Fungus problem. She is one of those people, as is her partner, to whom stuff flies like iron filings to a magnet. Got some unwanted stuff - Auntie Fungus will have that. The end result is that her house contains so much stuff that there is no room for a normal life to take place. Sit at the table to eat a meal? Impossible. The table is stacked high with stuff. Prepare a meal? Not possible. Food consists of uncooked items; the current favourite being scallion sandwiches. Neighbours do provide plated food but that is mostly fed to the collies.

Auntie Fungus has never thrown out a loaf paper in her life. There are tens of thousands of loaf papers stacked to the ceiling. What Hannah couldn't get over was the wall of cushions. Most people use cushions to add a little comfort to their lives. Auntie Fungus builds walls with cushions. Polystyrene carry out containers? Auntie Fungus never parts with these useful items. She'd use them under plant pots if she had room for plants.

I'd guess Auntie Fungus hasn't a clue what is in the boxes and bags of stuff that she has piled high to the ceiling. Somewhere in there, and it may never be found, is her mother's wedding ring. The same wedding ring that caused a massive fall-out with her sister Pearlie many, many years ago.

Stuff. Wedding rings. Loaf papers. Cushions. Nice wee tins. Buttons. Old magazines. Odds and ends of wool. Bits of scrap metal. Old clothes. Patchwork quilts. Books that we'll never open again. Clutter. Yours is shite. Mine is treasure.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Vinegar and Brown Paper

If blogging has been slow recently it is because I have been doing a lot of thinking.

I have been thinking about Auntie Fungus and her organisation and storage issues.

I have been thinking about Scrabulous.

And I have been thinking about Nellybert's deplorable record of guests sustaining head injuries at house parties.

I mean, when we last partied way back in May 2007, Glen split his head open. And most recently, on NYE, The Wee Manny turned our turn-of-the-year celebration into a blood'n'gore fest. Howard (from Kent, a right Southern Softie) is still traumatised by the experience of that dreadful night. We were actually only getting rid of the last traces of shreds of Wee Manny scalp today.

Of course The Wee Manny himself is quite unperturbed by the incident. He was in jocular mood when he phoned the next day enquiring as to the whereabouts of his boots. For he'd left in his stocking soles the morning after the night before. Such fripperies as boots and bandages mean little to that tough dude. I'm told, remember I retired early that night, that The Wee was having none of any First Aider nonsense and kept ripping his bandages off.

Nevertheless, it's worrying, this spate of ruptured pates and I said as much to Bert and William and Rebecca this very afternoon.

What can we do about people breaking their crowns at Nellybert's?

Lay on copious amounts of vinegar and brown paper?

No. Be serious.

A padded room for such as the Wee Manny?

Sounds expensive and it wouldn't keep him from wandering off in a state and gouging holes in his head on the nearest spike.

Yay! That's the front of my head done. Now for the back!

Perhaps a strait jacket would prevent him from harming himself?

How would he drink?

An alcohol drip on a wheeled stand?

Cumbersome. What about those helmets self-harmers wear in special needs hospitals?

Just the job. Leaving hands free for raising glasses and preventing those nasty head injuries.

Right! So safety helmets to be mandatory at any Nellybert soiree from now on.

Not for everyone though. Only for our more vulnerable guests.

Now where do we get our hands on half a dozen or so safety helmets and, while we're at it, anyone know where we can source a couple of saddleback gilts and a miniature donkey?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Auntie Fungus Comes To Stay

I may have mentioned Bert's eccentric aunt. She's the one who lives in a semi-derelict house on the side of a hill. She's the one that is sans electricity, water, bathroom, windows, functioning doors, you name it, she probably hasn't got it.

A few years ago she hit a crisis and Bert took her in, I got social services and the housing involved and everyone rallied round to help her. The Executive were going to build her a new house but she turned the offer down, saying it would be 'too much bother.' After getting a few financial matters resolved she returned to her hovel and her lover.

Well - she's hit another crisis. Bert was sent (by me) to get her into hospital and hopefully, from there, to sheltered accommodation. But she wouldn't go to hossie, said she 'wasn't prepared*' and he had no other choice but to land her back here.


*Roughly translates as bogging.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Wee Goes Down

Last night's soiree was a bit hectic. Gatherings usually are when the Wee Manny is involved. He got lost at one point, just as I was thinking of heading to bed. Swisser was making a big fuss about it,

We have to find him! Something must have happened to him! He could have wandered on to the road!

No one, not even the Wee Manny's wife, paid Swisser a bit of mind. She can be a bit of a drama queen at times. But as it happens there was a drama which, fortunately, I missed having decided that bed definitely was the spot for me.

Swisser's insistance on a rescue party being sent to find the Wee eventually wore Ploppy down and he went out for a scout about. He was soon back in, saying calmly,

Might need a bit of asistance out here.

The Wee had fallen and gashed his head and was lying in the yard partially stunned. Help was needed to bring him in. I, of course, knew nothing about this. Swisser did first aid and it was decided that the injury didn't warrant an A&E visit. He wouldn't have been treated anyway - not with the drink on him.

Things could have been much worse though. If a car had driven on to the yard he'd probably have been run over and if the pigs had still been there and he'd fallen among them they'd likely have eaten him.

Drink can be a terrible curse.

Endings and Beginnings

New Year's Eve

Got up at 5.30am.
Took Matty shopping.
Baked three cakes, made one tiramisu and four pizzas
Walked 15480 steps.
Changed clothes twice.
Got pissed.
Felt great.

New Year's Day

Got up around three pm.
Put bin out.
Put some brie on a Ryvita.
Walked 5243 steps.
Wore pyjamas all day.
Stayed sober.
Felt like death.

Pig's Last Supper

Pig's Last Meal, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

Bert was a bit down yesterday. Here he is just after giving the pigs their last supper.

So will they not be getting any breakfast then?

Oh aye. They'll be getting breakfast alright. Just enough to lure them on to the trailer.

I was a coward and took Matty off on a sofa buying trip to Antrim. I didn't want to be around when they left. But poor Bert had to help Clint load them on to the trailer and take them to the bacon factory. The breakfast trick didn't work. They didn't want to get on that trailer. Afterwards, when the job was done, Clint said I must 'be gentle' with Bert as he'd found the experience a bit hard.