Friday, November 28, 2008

Chain Gang Chic

I read that folks sentenced to community punishment are soon going to be wearing high-visibility 'shame jackets' emblazoned with the words 'Community Payback' on the back. I can't say I approve. After all, doesn't everyone and his dog wear hi-viz on the streets these days? What's wrong with good, old-fashioned black and white horizontal stripes? I saw, sometime in the late nineties, offenders garbed in this traditional fashion as they cleaned the streets of a small town somewhere in Mississippi, and I have to say that this looked a lot more eye-catching and shameful than a bright orange jacket. 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving USians!

talking turkey 1, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Pig For Life Not Just For Sausages

Alfredo Le Ginger got added to my sidebar today. Happily Holly is slightly less in hate with him than previously. Now she just glares at him disdainfully rather than the full arched back, hair standing on end, snarly thing she had going.

The pigs have been removed from the sidebar as they are currently hanging up by their heels in Stevenson's. Bacon and sausages will be back on the menu soon. Bert loved those pigs but not too much. So we'd like to get a couple of sows and keep them for breeding. It would be good to get to know a pig for a little bit longer than a few months.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Little Bit Distracted

Funny old week I've just had. On the surface it was the usual ho-hum stuff but it's so quiet. Too quiet. Ominously quiet. I keep wondering if I'm still going to have a job come the new year and that's strangely demotivating.

However, as always, the weekend has been busier. I made that Coconut Bread as recommended by Zoe and Bert cooked the very last leg of pork* from last year's pigs. We were having a Russian judge, a postman and Swisser to dinner. What a lovely evening we had. The judge was delightful and not at all what you'd expect. For one thing she was an amazingly smiley person. She does have this judge's face for hearings. With just a little persuasion she showed it to us and it was very stern and solemn.

Today I returned to sorting out the stuff from Pearlie's previous abode. This is turning into one of the labours of Hercules. It is never ending. Today it was her zip collection, her button collection, her handkerchief collection, her marbles, her flint arrow heads, her apron pocket collection, 40 years worth of newspaper clippings, mostly weddings, obituaries and fatal accidents. Oh and anything to do with the Royal Family.

And speaking of which, we were at the table yesterday when Aunt Lizzie's papillon wandered into the kitchen and cocked his leg against the dishwasher. The postman said,

Hey! That dog just pissed up against your dishwasher!

Oh. Sure it was only a wee drop.

Aren't you going to kick it's arse?

Just think of it this way. If the Queen was visiting and she brought the corgis and one of them took a leak against the dishwasher you wouldn't mention it would you? In this house Bert's Aunt Lizzie is just like the Queen. If anybody was to kick Pepe's arse she'd never darken our door again and Pearlie would be devastated.

*Pigs are going tomorrow. Bert is very sad.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Oh How I Wish That Skippy Was Here

The hole what I fell in

I’ve never got into the habit of carrying a phone with me. After yesterday I think perhaps I should. After leaving Hannah in to work I took Paddy and Bonnie for walks in Currell’s Avenue. I was wearing my Hunters so decided to go off piste. We were in this boggy field between the river and the Ballygarvey Road and I went to cross an old wooden bridge over a sheugh. Next thing I’m sitting on my ass on a whole heap of mud and my left leg is stuck in a hole in the bridge, damn and blast it to hell. Of course my first thought was,

Am I going to lose my welly here?

No thought a-tall for my leg, just my welly for a damned expensive welly it was too. Then I thought,

Am I going to get my leg out or am I going to be stuck here for hours?

Then I thought,

Will I have to chew my leg off?

Then I thought,

If I had a big rock I could smash the wood around my leg and get it out.

Then I thought,

If these dogs were any good a-tall like Lassie or Black Bob, or if they were even as smart as Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, then they could go and fetch help but they’re not, they’re crap dogs and they’re not even looking at me, they’re running ahead regardless as if Nelly with her leg stuck in a bridge is a really normal thing to be happening.

Then I thought,

If I imagine my leg is really skinny like Kate Moss’s leg then I could wiggle it out or die trying.

So I did. I imagined my leg was totally skinny and wiggled it out and it hurt like hell and it came out with Hunter still attached.

And I jumped up and walked about and everything still worked so I thought I’d better take myself and my two useless dogs homewards but before I went I took a photo of the hole in the bridge and I wished that I could have had a picture of me with my leg stuck in the bridge and if Skippy the Bush Kangaroo had been there (s)he would definitely have gotten that picture.

What's that Skip? An old lady's got her leg trapped in the old wooden bridge?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Holly Is Not A Happy Cat...

...but Bonnie is pleased with her new kitten.

Sharing the scoff

On Friday I was walking on the Ballymena-Doagh road when I heard a tinkling and a squeaking. I looked around and there was a little ginger kitten following me. The tinkling was coming from a little bell on its collar. There were no houses nearby and I could not undestand why such a young cat was out on the road.

There had been a woman driver behaving oddly about five minutes before I encountered the kitten. She had went to pull in, spotted me and drove on. I looked behind me and she'd pulled to the side again. I thought she might have noticed a flat tire and wondered if I should offer to help but she drove off again.

Did she dump that kitten? I think she did. I couldn't leave it - the road was far too busy and dangerous. Maybe it was someone's lost pet but little cats do not tend to stray far from home and this one was at least a quarter of a mile from the nearest house.

Nevermind. He lives here now and Holly de Cat is not best pleased. But Bonnie is delighted with her new kitten.

Resting up a spell

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yahoo! Ignorant

It’s not just history that matters in Norn Iron. Geography matters too. Depending on your political stance you’ll either be Irish or British. You’ll be going to Londonderry if you’re a Prod, Derry if you’re a Catholic, Stroke City if you think that’s all a bit stupid. Prods reckon Ulster has got six counties, Nationalists know there are nine. And some roads in Norn Iron aren’t just roads – they are Traditional Routes.

Here’s my take. I’m Irish. And I’m British. I live in Northern Ireland, I’m an Ulster woman, I live in the UK. I go to Derry for Londonderry’s such a mouthful.

But stuff like this truly pisses me off. I do this survey and I get to the final hurdle and this is what I’m confronted with. I don’t live in any of these places. Where’s Norn Iron? Is it Lancashire & North West or Scotland?

Which region in the UK do you currently reside?

Please choose ONE answer from the options below

Please select an answer.

Southern Regions

London (Inner and greater London & neighbouring regions)

Wales, West, Westward


Lancashire & North West



Tyne Tees

Anglia Regions

Yahoo! You're ignorant and you suck. Name suits ye.

Suckered Again

Friday afternoon and I'm finding it very difficult to get any work done in the office. It's this bloody cat. You try typing a report with a wee ginger bastard climbing on your head and walking across your keyboard. 

This might turn out to be a great big mistake. Or not. We shall see. And to make matters worse I think it has testicles,

And the kitten said, (I think it means 'feed me you fucker.')

9n          99p[jjjjmgg89g9

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance London, three of the four surviving British World War I veterans attended a ceremony at the Cenotaph.

Henry Allingham, 112, Harry Patch, 110, and Bill Stone, 108, represented the Royal Air Force, Army and Royal Navy respectively.

These last few years Bert and I have taken a note of the number of veterans remaining from the First World War. It won't be long now until there are none left. Amazing as these old guys are they aren't immortal.

We watch the Remembrance Sunday coverage every year and I never fail to find it deeply moving. I've always had a great deal of sympathy for the armed forces - even in the darkest days of the Northern Ireland conflict - even through Bloody Sunday and all the other atrocities committed by the security forces. It wasn't a popular view for a Catholic to hold (and maybe it's part of the reason why some in my own family affectionately referred to me as 'The Unionist') but I could not stop caring for the individual soldier or police in the midst of it all.

So there you go - an opinion - I hate warring and I hate most of the reasons that make wars but I do not hate those who fight in wars.

Monday, November 10, 2008

In My Opinion

I've figured out what's missing from my blog. I don't have enough opinions. Nor am I opinionated. This is something I will have to work on.

Meanwhile here is a picture from my archives featuring Bert and two cute little kittens.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Dark Side

A local man from the Kells area said that as far back as he can remember the Tardree forest area always had a scary reputation. That's where the bogie man hung out - whoever or whatever the bogie man of the day should be. And maybe those tales were told in his grandfather's time and all the grandfathers that ever went before, right back to the time of the faeries.

So is Tardree a place where mountain bikers cycle and horse riders amble and families picnic and dog walkers exercise? Or is it a place of shady assignations, drug deals and illegal raves? Are there caches of terrorist guns buried there and men with machetes chasing innocents all the way to Ballymena? Are there malevolent faeries watching over it all?

All of the above I should think.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Just Going Out For A Ride Dear - Back Later

I decided to take my lunchtime walk in the forest today. Tardree Forest has a reputation for being a dodgy place, reputed to be full of doggers, cottagers and the like. But I thought to myself, "Sod it. I don't care. I want to walk among the trees." And I did. And for most of the time I was there I saw not one soul.

The thing is that when a place gets a rep you get to thinking that anyone you see there is up to something. And, of course, you expect them to think that you're at some sort of rascality too.

But I saw no one. Until I was walking back to my car -and there was a cyclist, maybe fortyish, wearing the full gear, lycra and helmet and he's walking along with his bike, which I thought odd.
Then I thought, "Shame on you Nelly. Maybe his bike is broke." So I said, "Your bike OK?" and he says, "Yes. It's fine." And I say, "Just odd to see a cyclist walking y'know?" And he says, "I'm getting picked up."

Coming behind me are two women on horseback and when they see the cyclist they stop and wait a bit.

I get into the car thinking that he probably thought I was trying to pick him up. I wonder did he have an assignation with those horsewomen? Rare place Tardree.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Fifties Baby

In the 1950s expectant mothers knit bootees, bonnets, cardigans, matinee jackets and leggings for their babies. The favoured colours were white, lemon and pale green. Blues and pinks were for when after baby was born. It was held that anything brighter than pastels would hurt baby’s eyes. There were no scans in those days so the only way you’d ever know the sex of an unborn child would be by swinging a gold ring on a thread over the bump. If the ring went clockwise it was going to be a boy and anti-clockwise indicated that a girl was expected. But it was still best not to get the pink or blue wool out yet as this test often proved unreliable.

As well as his wardrobe of hand-knitted garments baby would also need lots of little woolly vests, at least three flannel nightgowns with embroidered ducklings marching across the bodice and two dozen terry towelling napkins. Baby wore plastic pants over a big napkin and this made his bottom look very large indeed. Baby also needed a soft white shawl for swaddling for there was no central heating in those days. Summer wear would have been romper suits for boys and smocked dresses for girls.

Prams were gigantic, pushchairs were merely large and car seats were non-existent. Baby travelled on mother’s lap, who sat on the front seat beside father, who always drove. Mother and father might both be smoking but mother would be very careful not to drop her ash on baby’s head.

Fresh air was considered essential for baby’s wellbeing and he’d be well happed up, settled down in his gigantic pram and left in the garden for at least three quarters of an hour be it snow, hail, rain or shine. If baby cried it was considered to be good for him as it strengthened the lungs. The only thing that mother worried about while baby was in the garden was that a crow might come down and peck at his nose or that a cat might climb into his pram, curl up on his little face and smother him. Mother’s vigilance was constant.

Baby did not have the toys that the modern child depends on. A rattle was considered sufficient amusement. Those were simpler days and who is to say that they were not better times. Is today’s child any happier with his primary colours, his designer wardrobe, his Cat boots, his baseball cap, his baby-walker and his pram that cost twice as much as Nelly’s current car? Will he grow up more contented than his grandfather who was taken for walks in a rattly old pushchair or left in a freezing garden determinedly waving his rattle in the air to keep the crows and cat at bay? I think not.

Maybe there is just one area where the modern infant is more fortunate – none of those rotten, scratchy, itchy, woollen vests.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Tardree, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.