Monday, September 29, 2008

Golden Rules Are Made To Be Broken

One of the golden rules of blogging is that you must never do it when you have drink taken. Ganching says so for one. But then she would, for she has a terrible down on alcohol altogether.

So it’s funny that just the other night I sat down and wrote a very irreverent post about a visit to my Daddy’s grave whilst in my cups. And lo and behold as a result of that very post I have got a gay following and a Post of the Week award. I couldn’t be more pleased.

When I first got the comments that pointed to the link to Father Tony’s blog I was a bit shocked. But only because the local parish priest in Antrim is called Father Tony. Or so Matty says. I wouldn’t know. I checked it out with her and she was horrified that the priest was reading my blog. I wondered how it could have come about. Does Father Tony Devlin trawl the net for mentions? I wouldn’t be a bit surprised. Did my Cousin the Headmaster tell him about it? Everyone knows that Catholic schoolteachers and priests work closely together. Was it something to do with Ed? He’s very well-connected to the clergy and is currently, I understand, roadying for Northern Ireland Cardinals, somewhere in Europe?

I haven’t told Matty yet that Father Devlin is probably not reading this blog. She’ll be very relieved. And Father Devlin, if you are, don’t let on. Don’t be saying to Matty after Mass,

How’s Nelly keeping then? Tell her I was asking after her. It’s a quare while since I seen her at confession.

That would nearly be as bad as the time my Cousin the Businessman sidled up to me at a funeral and said, “How’s Nelly?” And it was at yet another funeral (only time I ever see my cousins these days) when The Headmaster outed himself as a blog-reader. Really. You’d wonder where they all get the time.

This post has been written in stone cold sobriety.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Belfast ChilliFest 2008

On Saturday I went to the ChilliFest with Zoe and Dave. I ate Tacos and Chilli and Chilli Chocolate and Chilli Ice Cream (surprisingly good but not as good Zoe says, as her blackberry and apple ice cream). I bought Bert a Chilli Tee Shirt and Hannah some Chilli Sauces. I took photographs of lots of Chilli Afficianados. They were a pretty mixed bunch.

Bert was astonished at what the stallholders were charging for the Chilli Plants. "Six pounds! that's damnable!"

Today I had a fight with Pearlie, visited Lucy, made Meatballs with Chilli Sauce and Blackberry Biscuits (chilli free). I also did some more clearing of Pearlie's old abode. Bert was amazed that she had squirrelled away all the personal letters he got when he was living at home. He spent a happy hour or so reading through them. There was one particularly sweet letter he received from a chap called David Clay that he'd met whilst travelling. He was so struck by it that he read it out to me.

That's a really lovely letter. Did you write back?

I never did.

You didn't! And that letter was from the heart. He really liked you.

I know. I was a bastard.

That's nearly thirty years it's taken Bert to appreciate the friends he met in his twenties.

Pearlie also kept all his school reports. They were all much the same.

A fair term's work. Robert is capable of a far higher standard of work.

As he said himself,

That just about sums up my whole life.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

In Which I Am Found Lying On The Broad Of My Back On My Father's Grave

Old women. They do my head in. Deaf bints. Always going on about being lonely. Mad obsessions.

Recently Matty has been going on about the "State of Your Daddy's Grave" and rambling on about Cemetary Sundays and the importance of 'keeping the grave nice'.

What is this Cemetary Sunday shit? I never heard any mention of it in the long ago days when I was a regular mass attendant.

Bert (Protestant) hit the nail on the head.

"It's just a ruse to get people to keep graveyards tidy."

"Too true," said I. "If there's anything more cunning than a Catholic priest it's a Catholic bishop. No doubt they'll all have been sitting about discussing the problem of neglected graveyards. 'I know,' says one, 'Why don't we invent something like a special Sunday to celebrate cemetaries and shame the gypes into keeping the graves tidy.'

So, while Matty hasn't been having stress-induced angina attacks she has been giving me big earache about the declining plants on Daddy's grave. So when I went out to her this evening to take her Tesco shopping I was not surprised to see a rather hideous floral tribute sitting on the kitchen table.

I'm not going through a sensible shoe phase at the moment. God knows at 55 and in the throes of the menopause, I do find myself slipping on the heels of a morning thinking, why not put on your comfy flats, and thinking again - damn you woman, enough's enough - do not succumb! Put on those fucking heels. This is a bloody recession we're in! Get a sharp haircut, wear lipstick!

Which is why I was wearing my high heeled boots with my comfy M&S skirt. I may not have mentioned before that Daddy's grave, at the back of the chapel, is on a pretty steep slope. Man's practically standing upright that gradient is so extreme. But I never gave it a thought as I clambered on to place Matty's artificial flowers. Took me by surprise when my kinky boots went from under me and I landed on the broad of my back. Naturally I roared, "Jeeeesus bloody Chriiist!" Naturally Matty implored, "SSSSSHHHH!" before saying, "Are ye alright, are ye hurt?"

Obviously she was dead scared Father Devlin had heard me taking the name of the lord my god in vain. If he did, he didn't come tearing out to see what was going on. Anyway I'm lying there feeling foolish and winded when out of the corner of my eye I see that gype Matty climbing up towards me. I lean up on my grazed elbow and say, "Get down. Get down this minute. Don't you come near me you eedjit!"

It's one thing a fresh young thing of 55 going down on top of her da's grave, quite another an oul wife of 82 falling in a heap on her late husband's resting place. I just don't need the drama.

Matty got down. I got up. I finished watering the real plants on my father's grave. I told my mother I was sorry I shouted at her, I suggested we said a prayer.

I don't know if she did but I didn't. I've never felt so much before that my father's last resting place had anything less to do with who he was, what he was. It's just a hole in the ground. Daddy's not there.

Afterwards Matty said, "Don't tell anybody about that."

I said, "Tell anybody? I'll be putting it on the bloody internet."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Who Knew?

I knew that dogs mustn't be given chocolate as it is toxic to them but I didn't know about onions. I came across this while researching Bonnie's recent illness. It is important that we're very careful about feeding our pets. Just because they will eat something doesn't mean they should have it.

As far as I know Bonnie didn't eat onions before she became ill but before reading this I wouldn't have considered it harmful to give her, or any of the dogs, leftover stew or other onion-laced meaty dish. I know better now.

Onions and garlic are other dangerous food ingredients that cause sickness in dogs, cats and also livestock. Onions and garlic contain the toxic ingredient thiosulphate. Onions are more of a danger.

Pets affected by onion toxicity will develop
haemolytic anaemia, where the pet’s red blood cells burst while circulating in its body. (This is what Bonnie was treated for)

At first, pets affected by onion poisoning show gastroenteritis with vomiting and diarrhoea. They will show no interest in food and will be dull and weak. The red pigment from the burst blood cells appears in an affected animal’s urine and it becomes breathless. The breathlessness occurs because the red blood cells that carry oxygen through the body are reduced in number.

The poisoning occurs a few days after the pet has eaten the onion. All forms of onion can be a problem including dehydrated onions, raw onions, cooked onions and table scraps containing cooked onions and/or garlic. Left over pizza, Chinese dishes and commercial baby food containing onion, sometimes fed as a supplement to young pets, can cause illness.

Onion poisoning can occur with a single ingestion of large quantities or with repeated meals containing small amounts of onion. A single meal of 600 to 800 grams of raw onion can be dangerous whereas a ten-kilogram dog, fed 150 grams of onion for several days, is also likely to develop anaemia. The condition improves once the dog is prevented from eating any further onion

While garlic also contains the toxic ingredient thiosulphate, it seems that garlic is less toxic and large amounts would need to be eaten to cause illness.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Home Again

Bonnie got discharged from the vet today. Her appetite is back, she had a little chase of Holly de Cat and she said 'hi' to the pigs.

She is on medication and her energy levels are still a bit low. I guess it will take a bit of time for her red cells to get back to normal.

It's good to have her home but she smells a bit funny. She smells like the vet's surgery.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Teeshirt Guy

Hello. Nelly speaking.

It's Mammy here. I want a wee hand with my crossword.


You know that boy used to be on all the tee shirts?

Che Guevara?


Che Guevara.

Was his name not Castro or something?

Fidel Castro?

Aye. How d'ye spell that?



No! F-I-D-E...


No! F for fucking fox, I-D-E...

Fidel. That's it. Thanks! Talk to you soon.

Friday, September 19, 2008


There's a part of me that thinks it is wrong to pray for animals. It's a part I don't agree with. We're all animals when it comes right down to it. It's just that we humans are particularly arrogant, selfish animals that believe, rightly or wrongly, that we're more important than the rest.

Nevertheless I prayed for Lucy and I prayed for Bonnie. Whilst doing so I had the sneaky suspicion that somebody, something would die in their stead. I'm a superstitious fool. I admit it.

Today I accidentally drowned a spider. And on the Dreen Road, Big Ernie, the angriest turkey in County Antrim, died with his head stuck in the feeding trough. Heart attack? Who knows. Clint weighed him prior to burial. He weighed exactly 60 lbs, including feathers and guts. He was a big boy. Clint is sad. But Lucy is grand and Bonnie is on the mend.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Dog Pain, originally uploaded by ZMB.

Lucy! Clint is calling his pup Lucy. She's not a poor nameless pup any more. She's jumping around and playing. She's a real sparky little thing.

The vets in Clough are great. Here's hoping they'll do as awesome a job in treating Bonnie as they've done with Lucy.

Fingers and paws crossed.


We have reason to be hopeful. The vet has received most of the test results and believes that Bonnie has immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia. While (against advice) researching doggy blood transfusions on the net yesterday I came across that condition for the first time. All her symptoms fitted. It's a nasty illness which creeps up until it becomes life-threatening but it is treatable.

I think my big girl is going to get better.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Good News, Bad News

up the back lane, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

The good news is that Matty gets out of hospital this afternoon.

Things are not looking so good for Bonnie. She was very weak this morning and could barely walk. At the vet they said she had a very low blood count. They queried poisoning or that disease dogs get from rats. She is having a blood transfusion this afternoon but despite this the vet is not giving her much hope.

I can hardly bear it.


Blood is still running through and the vet says that Bonnie is lifting her head, holding her own.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Funny Old Day

Father & Mother

Today is the anniversary of Seamus' birthday. Were he still alive he would be 89. I don't think he would have cared to be 89.

Matty has spent the day in hospital. I managed to talk (argue) her into making an appointment with her doctor yesterday. She had been complaining of frequent chest discomfort for the past two weeks. When she did call for an appointment the GP insisted she go straight to hospital. So it was that we spent many, many hours in A&E. Eventually she was admitted for observation and tests.

Meanwhile back at the ranch Bonnie is poorly. Luckily she is not as stubborn as Matty and has agreed to a vet's appointment tomorrow morning.

That's all my life's about these days - old girls and poorly pets.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Poor Nameless Pup

Clint took a very long time getting round to replacing his last dog Tanya. Eventually he decided to take this wee collie pup. He waited until she was three months before bringing her home so she would have a good long time with her mother. He only had her a few days when she got under the wheel of his trailer, broke her pelvis and dislocated her hip.

She was at the vet for over a week and seemed to be making fair progress. But when the vet got her back for a checkup on Friday past she said the pup was not doing as well as she'd hoped. Her pelvis isn't knitting and she has a post-operative infection. They are giving her another week to see how she does.

She is a lovely little thing, bright, affectionate and friendly. It would break your heart to see how she longs to play and fun but she isn't able to. Clint can't bear to name her just yet.

Pearlie wouldn't approve - she said she should have been put down straight away - but I'm praying for the pup every time I think of it. Still they're only Catholic prayers so as far as Pearlie is concerned they won't count anyway.

I really do hope I get to write a post soon telling you what Clint has decided to name his pup.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Did Ye Not Hear Me Yelling?

I went out to Matty’s last night to take her on her Thursday night run to the supermarket. Says she,

You might have been coming to my wake this evening!

What do you mean?

Well…. I was at the doctor’s this morning….

My mind started racing ahead of me. She was at the doctor. Did she take a heart attack in the doctor’s surgery? Surely not. She’d hardly be getting her coat on ready for Tescos if she’d had a heart attack…..


A good long while ago Bert was out with his ma a run. She wanted something from the Spar in the village but couldn’t be bothered going in for it herself so sent the big son in instead. Bert left her sitting in the car at the front of the shop and went in and gathered up her few bits and pieces.

When he came out he couldn’t see the car. He shook his head in puzzlement. Surely it hadn’t been stolen. Not with an oul doll sitting in it?

He turned his head to the left and there it was. The bonnet was all buckled out of shape and there was a bent lamp post leaning into it. And there sitting stoically in the passenger seat was Pearlie.

What happened?

Did ye not hear me yelling?

Hear you yelling? I was in the bloody shop!

The car moved off by itself. I thought it was going to run out into the road. I started shouting on ye but ye never came.

Could you not have pulled on the handbrake?

Could ye not have pulled it on yersel before ye got oot of the car?


Yesterday history repeated itself. If you were driving along the A26 towards Ballymena about lunchtime and saw a driverless car reversing slowly on to the dual carriageway, with a little old lady sitting in the passenger seat, a look of mild panic on her face, then that was nothing to do with me. I was at work at the time. The driver of the car, a very kindly person, was in the filling station picking up an Irish News so that her passenger could check up on the deaths.

If it hadn’t been for the quick witted chap who saw what was happening, jumped from his car, stopped the traffic and drove the little old lady to a safer spot, she too might have featured in the following day’s Irish News.

Obviously I have this on hearsay and know none of the people involved. Still I thought it might be a good idea to show Matty the workings of the handbrake just in case she ever finds herself in such a situation.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Happy Birthday Leo Tolstoy...

...and happy birthday me!

I also share my birthday with -

  • Captain William Bligh
  • Cardinal Richelieu
  • Sylvia Miles
  • Otis Redding
  • Inez Foxx
  • Hugh Grant
  • Julia Sawalha
  • Adam Sandler
  • Michael Keaton
  • John Curry
  • Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder
  • Colonel Sanders
  • Billy Preston
  • Dave Stewart
  • Macy Gray

and Miss Denorah Rios of Mexico City. We met in Bayswater, 1976 and shared a lot besides our birthdays.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

On Naming Children

Perhaps after this November we'll be able to forget who Sarah Palin is. Perhaps not.

I'm afraid, from what I've heard so far, that I don't care for her much.

What puts me off?

Many things - perhaps the least being what she called her bloody kids. Those aren't people names. Those are dog names, or cat names or pig names.

  • Track - a good name for a bloodhound or a retriever.
  • Bristol - I'd maybe give that name to a carthorse.
  • Willow - a pedigree cat or a pretty white rat.
  • Piper - a small spaniel or a Jack Russell Terrier.
  • Trig - would suit a collie or a mongrel.

What was she thinking?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Looking Back

On this day 69 years ago Matty, who had just turned thirteen, and her sisters were on their way home from Cargin Chapel after attending Sunday Mass.

As they walked along a terrible thunderstorm erupted. The din and ferocity of it was so overwhelming that they thought the end of the world had come. It's no wonder they were so frightened by the storm because they were living through the darkest days they'd ever known. 

In the middle of the driving rain two elderly sisters came down their lane to see if anyone was on the road for they had momentous news to deliver. The only people they could see were Matty and her sisters running through the rain. They called out to them,

Girls! Did ye hear? T'was on the wireless. We are at war with Germany again.

Then they stood  in the road, getting soaked to their skin, those old spinsters and the young girls, and all prayed together for a while.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

That Was The Wettest August In Over Fifty Years

What are Weather Men and Women for?

I realised this evening that I despise them all. Obviously it all started with the loathsome Michael Fish. That hairstyle, the vile moustache, those horrible ties - what wasn't to dislike?

I hate their uncalled for bounciness and I resent them having opinions about weather. It is just weather for fuck's sake! It happens. We would like to have some idea what to expect but - Weather Person - your opinions and your sympathy are entirely unwelcome. Fuck off!