Monday, March 31, 2008

Up The Airy Mountain, Down The Rushy Glen

Saturday night Bert told me he’d got a great circular walk planned for the next day.


Other side of Clough.

How long?

Couple of hours.

Great. Shall we go early – say eleven?


Sunday morning I say,

You getting up?

What time is it?

Half ten. Time to get ready for our walk.


Yes. Remember we talked about it last night?

I don’t mind if you and Hannah want to take a walk without me. Really – you go on.


Thirty minutes later he’s making a big fuss about not being able to find a woolly hat. He only has about six of them.

You needn’t think I’m tramping about the top of a mountain with no pixie!

What’s wrong with the one you were wearing yesterday?

It’s too loose. My ears would be freezing. I’m not tramping about the top of a mountain with a wind gowling and my ears gowping!

Forty minutes later we’re driving on the other side of Loughguile. Bert is in possession of two good-fitting woollen hats and a bad attitude. I say,

So where’s this walk starting?

How should I know!

You’re the one had it all planned out.

You get us a walk then!

That would only confuse the issue. And stop bloody reading maps while you’re driving!

Fifteen minutes later Bert pulls up, gets out of the van and starts marching up an asphalt road. Paddy scampers happily at his heels. We’re on the side of a small mountain. Bert’s pixie is pulled firmly over his ears. The sun is splitting the stones. Bonnie and I vainly try to keep up with him. Actually Bonnie would have had no trouble keeping up but she’s loyal. Bert does not speak. His back looks very angry.

Half a mile later I say,

So when does the proper walk start?

He snarls,

How should I know?

I break,

Well fuck you anyway! I’m fed up with you! You can go on your own walk! I’m going back!

I turn on my heel and march back the way we came. Bonnie turns too. It’s my impression that Bert and Paddy march on. I do not turn to look. Bonnie and I climb up the airy mountain. Bert and Paddy stomp down the rushy glen.

I recover my temper at the top of Slieveanorra.

And by the time I meet Bert again he has recovered his.

On the way home a fellow white van man (talking on his mobile and driving one-handed on a narrow winding road) clips Bert’s wing mirror and smashes it. I am sympathetic. Privately I believe it is karma.

Later we realise that Bert had embarked on this walk without coffee or a smoke and as Hannah put it,

He wouldn’t even have been actually a human, would he?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

So Many Good Things

Today started well.

I woke up at quarter past seven and immediately thought, bloody hell - got to get up in twenty minutes for work. My delight when I remembered it was Saturday was huge. Funnily enough I still got up in twenty minutes. But I didn't have to and that was wonderful.

Milk was scarce but cream was plentiful so the morning porridge was not too disastrous. It cooked just right and the saucepan washed like a dream.

It was teeming with rain but not too cold so we decided to go to the multicultural festival of music, story-telling, scoffing and Willie Drennan anyway. Skies looked brighter in the Antrim direction so we felt it was worth taking a chance.

Probably unfortunate that I lunched too well before I went, even though it was only a few oatcakes, cheese and an avocado, for the food at Clotworthy House was very tempting. But what is temptation if not to be surrendered to and very yummy the Indian and Caribbean food was too.

We were maybe a tiny bit unimpressed with the Scottish pipe band as this is one strand of multiculturalism that we're not terribly deprived of in County Antrim. However most of everything else was very enjoyable. Specially nice too was linking up with Jazzer, her sister and the two younger Banjos.

No multicultural event, or any event really, is complete without Willie Drennan and it was with great joy that we saw him reconciled with Gracie after their years long feud. Imbued with the spirit of peace and reconciliation Willie stooped to pat her silky head and she, bless her, didn't bite the hand of him. We still think that if he'd been on his bicycle she would not have been so affable. Time will tell.

Zoe and I enjoyed a lovely hike while Hannah explored the delights of Antrim town. While Zoe and myself, not to mention Gracie, were pleased with our walk, I'm sad to say that Hannah was unimpressed with Antrim's shopping experience.

Bonne Marche and Dunnes! Antrim's only for scabs that don't want to spend money on clothes!
Which is a strange comment to come out with as she herself shops mainly in Primark.

Bert's Aunt Lizzie is down for the weekend, and as she'd taken no time in reminding me that I'd promised to make her a bread and butter pudding the next time she was here, a visit to Sainsburys was called for -for cream and bread and cut-price Easter Eggs. The bargains! For a start a huge pot of cream was ten pence. And the eggs! The Easter Egg aisle was CHOC-a-bloc with ladies with glazed eyes filling their baskets and trollies with chocolate goodies that ten days ago would have cost them seven million pounds and today was knocked down to around 70-80 pence for a good-sized Lindt rabbit or Fair Trade egg. Yum! Hannah and I went suitably mad and suffice to say tonight I am not on a diet. Unless chocolate and gin is a diet. I also took the precaution of buying a luxury bread and butter pudding in case a chocolate and gin hangover prevents me from making one from scratch.

All in all a damn good day. I'm sitting here eating chocolate and drinking gin and I've walked for one hour and 42 minutes. I'm also basking in the non-electric glow of having taken part in earth hour and I have to say that sitting in front of the wood burning stove with every light in the house off, no music and no telly, just chatting with Bert and Hannah was very pleasant indeed.

I've had a good day.

Friday, March 28, 2008

An Eccentric Crone's Guide to Weekend Activities

I've just checked my most recent Google referrals to Nelly's Garden.

They are -

1. Eccentric Crones: How appropriate
2. Extrapolate: Mystery to me
3. Pissing in Garden: I'd never do that. Paddy wrote that post
4. Tattooed Granny: Innocent on both counts
Role Models: No better woman
6. Things To Do On The Weekend: Mainly housework followed by gin

Thursday, March 27, 2008

There's Life In That Old Goat Yet

These pictures taken during the Sarkozy state visit to Britain made me smile. Old Philip, in his 87th year, is still as much of an oul rake as ever he was. And what of Sarkozy's sleekit sideways glance? He fully approves of his missus flirting with the Prince, doesn't he?

And then there's Her Maj - she just keeps on doing that stoic Queen thing. Bless her.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Not For The Chicken-Hearted

We have four roosters. Their names are Little Plum, Mervyn, The One That Everybody Hates and The Other One. For a while we could hardly tell the difference between The One That Everybody Hates and The Other One. Then when Mervyn started attacking The One That Everybody Hates he got a few injuries that made him distinguishable from The Other One. For a long time T.O.T.E.H. mooched around on his own but in the last few days he's started hanging out with the rest of the gang. Then he started fighting with T.O.O. and now they're both bloody, bruised, tattered and torn. Now Mervyn has started picking on Plum. It's time for a regime change.

Bert has taken the best part of a year to complete the chicken run and Plum and his (soon to be expanded) harem will be moving in. If the game cocks aren't (A) taken by the fox or (B) don't kill each other and (C) survive to invade Plum's run they will (D) have their necks pulled and (E) get made into broth.

Bert said those game chicks would tear each other apart when they grew. I said,

But they're so pretty!

Chicken keeping is not for the faint hearted.

Monday, March 24, 2008

You Might Have Missed...

Chickens - 6, Weight lost since 02/07/07 - 44 lbs

I'm sure that most of you read blogs via Google reader or somesuch application and, consequently, don't get to see the sidebar at Nelly's. Truth be told it's been pretty static for ages but there have been a couple of changes in recent weeks.

1. After an entire winter free from the fox the last of the wee game hens is no longer to be seen and we can only assume the worst. She is no more. She is extinct. Funny how you can get six game chicks, three of which turn out to be hens and three roosters and the fox only bloody eats the hens. Maybe they're easier to catch. Who knows. Anyway Bert has finally built an escape proof run (we'll see) and Plum has only got two hens to bring in with him -the last of the broilers and the Scots Dumpy. The three Game Roosters aren't getting in - unless they fly in - which they might.

2. After an entire two months with damn all weight loss I've managed to knock off another couple of pounds. Still not starving myself - just decided to stop 'nipping and ayting' after my dinner. I still haven't got under the eleven stone mark but I'm very close. The novelty of putting on skirts which slide off my hips has abated - now instead of delight I feel slightly annoyed and think to myself 'I liked that skirt'. Clothes sizing is so erratic - you just cannot go by the size label, you have to try it on. I was looking for a Spring jacket on Saturday and was shopping in one of my favourite stores, the Oxfam Shop, and the assistant said to me, 'What size are you?' and I replied, 'I'm a size 14 in the back and a size 16 at the front,' and it's true. I wonder if my back is getting smaller because of weight loss or is it because I'm developing a dowager hump?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Matty Reads The Irish News

But she didn't get it yesterday morning. And there were none left in Antrim Tesco when we were doing the Thursday night shop.

Was it the crossword you wanted?

Och. Not really. There was a picture of the weans from Tannaghmore in it because of the amount they gathered up for Trocaire over Lent. I'd like to have seen that. Some of that money was from me y'know!

Matty loves the Irish News crossword. She especially loves the Saturday prize crossword and sends it off every week. She's been a prize winner a few times too.

On the way home I picked her up a copy of the Irish News. At home Hannah tried to pinch it for the crossword but I fended her off.

This evening I said to Matty,

Had to beat Hannah off your crossword. I told her it was your favourite thing in the paper.

Aye. It is. That and the deaths.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Expert Photoshopper Needed

Matty aged ten, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

If only I knew one.

This is me ma aged ten or so. You wouldn't want to have been picking a fight with her. She was a southpaw and knocked at least one fellow out cold in the schoolyard. There was another incident involving a young flasher and a bunch of nettles. He soon put it back in his flannel shorts. I wonder if he learned his lesson?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

After All I Am Famed For My Farting

You Are 36% Lady

And 64% Pure Savage

You tend to make up your rules of etiquette, throwing all conventions aside.

And while you try to be a lady (sometimes), your behavior is often quite shocking.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy Birthday To Paddy

Hi fans. Paddy here. I disremember the actual day I was pupped but, like Queenie, I have an official birthday and it is this very day - St Patrick's Day. It's four years now since Nelly and DeeMac sprung me from the Crosskennan Animal Shelter - and four happy years they have been for Nellybert et al. For it's damn lucky they were to be blessed with a fine animal like myself.

You know if it hadn't been for DeeMac (so beautiful, so wise) I might not have been living with the Nellyberts at all. Family folklore has it that Nelly was reluctant to pick me on the grounds that I looked too much like Danny. Don't know why that should have been a problem but as those who know her will agree our Nelly's a bit on the mental side.

That's myself and oul Dan above. Which is which you'll be asking? Well I'm the young snake-hipped sexy looking one and Danny's the oul fat-arsed mental looking one.

Of course I wasn't here long before Bert accidentally ran Dan over with the van. Old codger was completely deaf, half-blind and crippled so was happy for him maybe. Even so we were all very sad. Them ones buried him in the garden and I often visit his grave to remember the oul fellow.

That's all for now folks. I'll look out some more of the oul photos and maybe do another post before long. Nighty night.

Me at Danny's grave

To be continued.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Bunch of Flowers

On Friday evening I received a surprise visit (and a bunch of flowers) from a young woman I'd last seen in a courthouse nearly fifteen years ago. I'd known her since her babyhood but we'd fallen out of touch as people often do.

Her story is not mine to tell but this I'll share. She had a very difficult and troubled start in life but she also had spirit, awareness, charm and a great deal of intelligence. All that was evident even when she was a little child.

And I cannot tell you how much pleasure it gave me on Friday to see that all those qualities she had as a child are still with her - and that despite all the hardships she suffered as a little girl she has built on her gifts and grown to be a good woman and a loving mother.

Thanks for the flowers.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I'm Worried About Bert

He's changing. He's not as ruggedly masculine as he used to be. I hope it's not an ageing thing for he's not even 50 yet!

First there was the slug in his cabbage. I remember a time when that wouldn't have fazed him one bit. Slug on your greens! He'd have laughed at me or the girls for making a fuss about a little thing like that.

Then today he was giving off about me running the hot water away. Isn't it a woman's thing to be moaning at men for wasting the good hot water?

But worst of all - I came into the den last night and Friends was on. 'You're not watching that are you?' I remarked as I grabbed the remote control and switched to Top Gear. He was a bit miffed. 'Well it's better than that oul crap,' says he indicating Clarkson and Denise van Outen. We had to go back to Friends. Turns out it's his current favourite programme and Joey and Phoebe are his favourite characters. Dear God! It's only a matter of time before he's out at Daniel O'Donnell concerts.

But one thing gives me hope. He's still pissing on the toilet seat.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


No. Not that TV series most of us have grown very tired of...

The lost item in question is actually my mobile phone. The mobile phone Katy bought me for Christmas. The one I last used on our weekend in Hanna's Close.

I'm not one of those people constantly hanging on a moby. I forget about it for days, even weeks on end and consequently people rarely ring me on it. F'rinstance...I've been working for CD for over a year now and he doesn't even have my number.

It's quite a few days now since I realised I hadn't had my phone since Hanna's Close. It was overdue a charging session so I hunted the house high and low with no luck. Sadly I came to the conclusion I must have left it in County Down. Then at the weekend it occurred to me that I hadn't seen my camera battery charger for ages. Looked about a bit with no success. Realised it hadn't been around since Hanna's Close either. Fired off an email to The Man at Hanna's Close asking him if he'd come across the phone. It took him a few days to get back but today he wrote to say there was no sign of a phone at the cottage. I renewed my efforts starting with my shambles of a bedroom. No phone and no charger. I looked again into all the drawers and cupboards I'd searched before with no success. I delved into every shopper and handbag, every pocket and under every seat in the car. Nothing.

Then, just ten minutes ago, I lifted one cushion on the sofa in this very room and found the charger. And just beside it the phone. One cushion. One cushion I could have lifted four days ago.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Yum Yum Pig's Bum

This morning I said to Hannah,

Let’s eat from the freezer tonight.

That means we eat something already cooked that has been put by for lazy nights. I fancied a portion of Hannah’s Thai curry and had been dreaming of it all day.

But when I got home Bert had beaten me to it and was heating up a big plateful of mince and onions, cabbage and spuds. Not really what I wanted but there was too much for one and I decided to go for it.

Note to self – freeze everything in single portions from now on for if Bert fancies something he defrosts it whether it’s enough for one or for twenty-one.

Bert had put it in the oven. He thinks microwaves are evil but it was drying up and I persuaded him to transfer it to the zapping machine.

Eventually we sit down to eat. Bert’s has no care for his arteries and thinks that all food should be liberally salted. See people who smoke? No taste buds. Sadly, in his haste to get the salt out of the cellar, he banged it far too hard and half its contents landed over his food. Naturally this was the fault of the equipment, not the handler and he swore at it horribly. I advised him to scrape it off and carry on eating which he did.

Several mouthfuls later he started cussing at his dinner again.

Damn and bloody blast! Am I not meant to eat this?

What’s wrong now?

There’s a slug in my cabbage. I’m totally scunnered. I can’t finish it after seeing that.

Sure why not? That slug has been boiled, deep-frozen, roasted, microwaved and clarried in salt. It’s as dead as Hector and clean as a whistle. It will do you not one bit of harm.

He still didn’t eat it.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

My Slough of Despond

Slough of Despond - a mental state characterized by a pessimistic sense of inadequacy and a despondent lack of activity

Just right now my life seems more drab than fab. OK - so my Scrabulous game has improved a little but I still failed miserably at the Tourney.

Work holds no challenges other than to get the Dymo Printer running again. I’m bored with snagging lists and filing.

I’m spending too much time on EBay feeling regretful about all the pruck I threw out and gave away – pruck that would now be worth small fortunes of cash.

I still take my daily walk but instead of taking pleasure in hedge birds and spring flowers I angst over dog shite, litter and road kill.

I still read blogs and they still bring me pleasure but, compared to me, other bloggers have passion, opinions, are funny, get nominated for awards, go places, get book deals – while I can barely be bothered to put digit to keyboard.

But there’s one thing I know, because I have experienced it time and time again, and it is this – feelings of despondency pass and are replaced by the return of happiness, contentment and purpose. Here’s hoping.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Cassoulet & Turnip Soup

...and, as always, two kinds of cake.

The cassoulet recipe was adapted (roughly) from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's meat book. It was OK. I thought it was a bit stodgy but it got ate anyway. Swisser had three helpings. She's such a starvo.* The turnip soup was actually quite tasty although Hannah refused to lip it. The cake was scrumptious as always. At Mikey's request I made Nigella's Cloud Cake. It was intensely chocolatey and I think cried out for vanilla ice cream. I'll know for again. Bert asked for the Sicilian Orange and Almond Cake I'd previously made at Christmas and it was delicious too.

Apart from a brief shopping trip to Portglenone and a foray around the Mission (Im)possible charity shop (I got two patchwork quilts for fifty pee each) I spent the entire day cooking and baking. Everyone else went for a walk in the woods, pushed trees over and ruined their good shoes while Bonnie and I slaved over a hot stove.

As usual I nearly cut my finger off on one of Bert's over-sharpened knives.

Bert! Why do you have to make these knives so sharp. They're only for cutting vegetables not for performing open heart surgery.

He says,

All professional chefs say that you'll never cut yourself with a sharp knife only with a blunt one.

I say,

Bollocks. That wasn't a blunt knife I cut myself with. You could shave your legs with that bloody knife.

Mikey says,

Put cayenne pepper on it. That will dry up the bleeding. I used to work in an Indian restaurant and that's what they did there.

Maybe our cayenne has lost its kick because it didn't really work.


* I can call Swisser a starvo because she says she never reads my blog. She says they can't get it in the university.

When I told Ploppy about my earthquake experience he poo-pooed it. But he said that Swisser would have an earthquake story too. Only hers would be more dramatic. Pictures would fall off the walls and her bed would rock. Sure enough she's only in the door and she's telling me about how she never got a wink of sleep the night before.

What do you think caused that then?

The bed was rocking all over the place and the walls were shaking. It must have been the earthquake!

But the earthquake was Wednesday.

I know. It must have been aftershocks.

Hard to believe that this woman is applying for a professorship.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Last Minute Proposal

Well maybe not exactly the last minute but at around ten to midnight last night I asked Bert to marry me and he said yes. I wonder how he'll wriggle out of this one?