Tuesday, June 30, 2009


The bold Hannah has booked herself a ticket to Mexico via New York. Inspired by her derring-do I decided to book a couple of nights in a Scottish B&B. I'm just thinking of a wee quick jaunt to the west coast, take in some of those beautiful gardens, hang out in the bookshops of Wigtown. Then I tried to book the car on the ferry. Dear God! I know it's high season but we could go for a week to the Algarve for the price of that ferry. Thinks I, a body could buy a half-decent bicycle for the price of that.

So I had a chat with Bert and we have decided that we're buying him a bike! Rhinns of Galloway here we come.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Suppose I'm Happy

My husband has left me, but only for a short vacation to Spain, Murcia to be exact. And he has left me the pigs, the chickens and thousands of plants to look after. Thankfully he has not left me his mother. She is on holiday too, but she only got as far as the Doagh Road. She was not impressed when she heard that her only beloved child was heading to Spain, said, "I dinnae know what's taking him over there. Would somewhere nearer home not hae done him!" I expect she meant Portrush.

While the pigs and the chickens are easy, the potted trees, shrubs and climbers are a nightmare. I was hours watering this evening and Don Quixote was annoying me. Well not the Don exactly but some bloody Librivox reader. She kept swallowing her words and was giving me the impression she hadn't a notion of the meaning of the text. Then the hose exploded and I drenched myself. Undaunted I fixed it and carried on. Must have a word with Bert about the ridiculous amount of trees hanging about this shanty. I shall insist that he must either sell them, plant them or throw them over a hedge.

So watering all done now, I'm wearing clean, dry pyjamas, blogging, listening to Pink Floyd, downloading Tess of the d'Urbervilles (with proper actor-type reader) and drinking gin. I suppose I'm happy.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Francis Joseph Banjo Gets His Horn On

Bert: So what would you call a cross then? Would it be 'dig' or 'pog'?

Nelly: Pog sounds good to me.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Nelly: What do you know about Don Quixote?
Bert: Not one thing.

Nelly: Don Quixote! You know nothing about Don Quixote!
Bert: Och! Don Quixote - sure I thought you said John Coyote. Don Quixote... good old guy, full of crazy ideas. great notion of himself, there was something about windmills...

Bert and I have just spent a pleasant, companionable Sunday.

We hung his grandfather just outside Pearlie's room. We washed out the sewers. I found that to be very interesting. DynoRod will be getting no business around our way as Nellyberts are doing it for themselves.

Then Bert proposed going out for a meal. I screwed up my face. I thought of the delights of housework and loading Bert's iPod. I pondered, then disdained the idea of getting dressed up to sit among strangers and then having to wait at least forty minutes for food to be placed in front of me. I suggested that we go for a walk instead and pick up a takeaway on the way home.

So we gathered up Bonnie, Paddy and Francis Joseph Banjo (we're looking after him this weekend) and went hiking in Tardree Forest for an hour and a half. "Dogging," says I. "We'll show them how to bloody dog."

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Temptation of Nelly

I have heard that practitioners of Feng Shui would have it that the attic area of our homes represents our hopes and dreams for the future, and that an attic bunged solid with the usual detritus and junk blocks those hopes and dreams. With this in mind I plugged myself into the translater’s notes for Don Quixote and headed for the poor man’s Aladdin’s Cave that is our roofspace. Oh the stuff! And we’ve only been here a few years. After twenty minutes I had managed to throw out three things, had rearranged several more and decided to allow Bert’s grandfather back down the stairs. His reappearance will annoy Pearlie as she didn’t get on with him. Now the only thing to decide is whether to hang him in her room or just outside it. Just outside it would probably be best as I make a point without being too cruel.


I was just wondering what to do with Bert’s old pram when that very face appeared at the top of the staircase.


“Do you feel like being naughty?” he enquired.


Naturally my first instinct was to kick him back down the stairs. However I refrained, pointed to my headphones and roared, “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!


He said, “No! Not that kind of naughty.” and produced ice cream. What could I do? I ate it. I’m finding it so very hard to resist temptation these days.


Then there was the other day. Hannah made one of her yummy curries and I had a good helping with rice and naan bread. That should have been enough for me. But no – next thing Jakers produces a gigantic slab of caramel shortcake and waves it under my nose. I say, “Oh no. I shouldn’t.” He says, “It’s OK. It’s not cake or anything,” I had to agree. It may have been a concoction of sugar, fat, flour, condensed milk and chocolate but it wasn’t actually CAKE. So I ate it.


Then there’s all the sweets and biscuits that Bert and Hannah bring into the house. I tell them to hide it from me so that I won’t be tempted. And they do. They hide it in the second drawer down in the wee red IKEA cabinet in the TV room. And sometimes they even leave the drawer open so that I can see that they've hidden it. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Going In The Right Direction

I parked the car at Steen's Corner and walked half a mile in the direction of Ballymena, before turning right onto the Whappstown Road. For the part of the walk I listened to the last ten minutes of Three Men in a Boat. I found it just a tad flat compared to the previous  chapters but then, after the best part of a fortnight on the river, the three heroes and the dog were feeling a bit flat too. The weather didn't help them as the poor souls were caught in an interminable summer deluge and they just wanted to be home and dry and clean and to be eating a fine  dinner. You know how it is. So my pace was only at a moderately brisk dander, as I concentrated on the book's ending, and was only enlivened by a quick dash into a field for a pee.

Book over I switched the iPod on to shuffle and soon sharpened my pace.

  • All Your Love, Magic Sam - good brisk pace, I really lengthened those strides.
  • Smells Like...Remix, Fatboy Slim - got the heart going good altho' I thought the track was shite.
  • Bit of Snooks Eaglin - stepping out well.
  • In The Mood, John Lee Hooker - does what it says on the tin. Did he mean aerobic walking?
  • Going in the Right Direction, Robert Randolph & the Family Band - I was practically jogging to this.
  • Wheels, Come On Gang - a spring in my quickstep and a good mood enhancer to boot.
  • Her Mind Is Gone, Professor Longhair - getting close to the car. Winding down the speed.

Best walk I've had in ages. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Dog Fight

Jerome K. Jerome and his dog, surely an inspiration for Montmorency in Three Men in a Boat.

So how come no one has ever told me how delightful this book is?

My favourite passage is as follows:

Fox-terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs are, and it will take years and years of patient effort on the part of us Christians to bring about any appreciable reformation in the rowdiness of the fox-terrier nature.

I remember being in the lobby of the Haymarket Stores one day, and all round about me were dogs, waiting for the return of their owners, who were shopping inside. There were a mastiff, and one or two collies, and a St. Bernard, a few retrievers and Newfoundlands, a boar-hound, a French poodle, with plenty of hair round its head, but mangy about the middle; a bull-dog, a few Lowther Arcade sort of animals, about the size of rats, and a couple of Yorkshire tykes.

There they sat, patient, good, and thoughtful. A solemn peacefulness seemed to reign in that lobby. An air of calmness and resignation - of gentle sadness pervaded the room.

Then a sweet young lady entered, leading a meek-looking little fox-terrier, and left him, chained up there, between the bull-dog and the poodle. He sat and looked about him for a minute. Then he cast up his eyes to the ceiling, and seemed, judging from his expression, to be thinking of his mother. Then he yawned. Then he looked round at the other dogs, all silent, grave, and dignified.

He looked at the bull-dog, sleeping dreamlessly on his right. He looked at the poodle, erect and haughty, on his left. Then, without a word of warning, without the shadow of a provocation, he bit that poodle's near fore-leg, and a yelp of agony rang through the quiet shades of that lobby.

The result of his first experiment seemed highly satisfactory to him, and he determined to go on and make things lively all round. He sprang over the poodle and vigorously attacked a collie, and the collie woke up, and immediately commenced a fierce and noisy contest with the poodle. Then Foxey came back to his own place, and caught the bull-dog by the ear, and tried to throw him away; and the bull-dog, a curiously impartial animal, went for everything he could reach, including the hall-porter, which gave that dear little terrier the opportunity to enjoy an uninterrupted fight of his own with an equally willing Yorkshire tyke.

Anyone who knows canine nature need hardly, be told that, by this time, all the other dogs in the place were fighting as if their hearths and homes depended on the fray. The big dogs fought each other indiscriminately; and the little dogs fought among themselves, and filled up their spare time by biting the legs of the big dogs.

The whole lobby was a perfect pandemonium, and the din was terrific. A crowd assembled outside in the Haymarket, and asked if it was a vestry meeting; or, if not, who was being murdered, and why? Men came with poles and ropes, and tried to separate the dogs, and the police were sent for.

And in the midst of the riot that sweet young lady returned, and snatched up that sweet little dog of hers (he had laid the tyke up for a month, and had on the expression, now, of a new-born lamb) into her arms, and kissed him, and asked him if he was killed, and what those great nasty brutes of dogs had been doing to him; and he nestled up against her, and gazed up into her face with a look that seemed to say: "Oh, I'm so glad you've come to take me away from this disgraceful scene!"

She said that the people at the Stores had no right to allow great savage things like those other dogs to be put with respectable people's dogs, and that she had a great mind to summon somebody.

Such is the nature of fox-terriers;

(Three Men In A Boat, to say nothing of the dog, CHAPTER XIII.)

Monday, June 15, 2009

The New Pigs

three little pigs, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bee Is For Bertram

Bert went on a bee-keeping course recently and then sat a bee-keeping examination. He bought a bee-keepers outfit and built a hive and tonight he brought home his first bees. There are thousands of them and they have to be kept in a travelling box for a few days before being introduced to the hive. The travelling box has to be placed on the exact spot where the hive will sit. Bert was very excited about it all. He shouted to me to come and see. "Listen," says he. "Can you hear them?" I could. They sounded pretty pissed off to me. "Aren't you going to wear your protective gear?" I asked him. "Nah. It'll be OK." He opened them up. They poured out, a buzzing, raging mass. Straightaway Bert was stung on the finger, ankle and throat. Yet God was good for I was unscathed.

I said some things to Bert that are better not repeated in full. Words and phrases like 'bloody idiot', 'emergency tracheotomy' and 'dickhead' might have been uttered.

He went out again to see to them and this time he wore all the gear. When he came in he unzipped himself out of it and the next thing there's an angry bee buzzing around the kitchen. I beat a hasty retreat and ordered him to get it out of the house.

I think I'd far rather have the pigs.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Joy of Lists

For once I've got lots of things to write about and they are all so very interesting that I don't know where to begin. Oh! I do know where to begin - where I always begin. A List.

  1. Just Because It's A Heatwave Doesn't Mean You're Allowed To Wear Your Bra As A Top!
  2. The Joy of Watering. 
  3. Chasing the Piglet.
The first topic is actually Hannah's and refers to a lady d'un certain age and voluptuous proportions who thought that an ill-fitting bikini top was an appropriate garment to go shopping in.  May I hastily point out that it certainly wasn't me, as I am a desprit hoor for modesty and wouldn't be seen dead in a bikini of any colour or shape. Quite frankly I'd rather go naked.

And Hannah said, that to make matters worse, the bikini top was a horrible brown colour. And that the unfortunate creature was eating a sausage roll. Bert said she'd probably chosen brown so that the HP sauce stains wouldn't show. 

Anyways I think I might have found Mrs Brown Bikini's discarded shopping list when I was In Tescos with Matty. Did I ever tell youse that I love noseying at other people's shopping lists? Handwritten ones are the best.

  • LARD
  • LOAF

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mouse Loaf

Somehow I think malt loaf is going to be off-menu in at least one County Antrim home.

But it could be argued that this particular loaf contains added protein and minerals. And fur. And whiskers.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Wisdom of Satan and other Stories

Since I acquired my new fangled listening device I have had those kind LibriVox people read me the following books,

  • Middlemarch by George Eliot
  • Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  • The Mysterious Stranger and Other Tales by Mark Twain (Paine version)

And I am currently listening to The Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame. That is a re-read but it's always enjoyable. I was reminded of a thought that I had when I read it first, and it was this - how come Ratty and Toad and Badger and the rest of them get to eat interesting food, go on caravan holidays and have houses and cars and furniture and stuff while other animals, such as the old grey horse has to drag Toad's canary-coloured cart, only gets to eat grass and lives in a paddock? Maybe that's where Orwell got his idea for 'All animals are equal...' Or maybe not.

I finished 'The Mysterious Stranger' yesterday. I was hanging out the washing when Satan was opining thus,

In five or six thousand years five or six high civilizations have risen, flourished, commanded the wonder of the world, then faded out and disappeared; and not one of them except the latest ever invented any sweeping and adequate way to kill people.

Satan was speaking in the late 16th century, Twain writing at the turn of the twentieth. How we have moved on since then.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Anniversary Photo

daddy, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

It is past midnight now so it was yesterday was the fourth anniversary of Daddy's death. If he was still around he'd be in his 90th year.

Matty arranged an anniversary Mass in Tannaghmore chapel and Zoe, Hannah and myself were there. Before we left we had tea and scones at Matty's. Naturally the subject of babies and pregnancies were never far from our lips. Matty told this story which I'd forgotten. She said that when I was going into hospital to have Hannah I was quite blase and insisted on taking the town service bus. Once on the bus I asked the driver if he was going past the hospital. He took a scared look at me, for I must have been nine and a half months pregnant, and said, "No. This bus isn't. But if you give me a minute I'll take you to the bus station and I'll change buses and take you there myself." Which he did. Right to the very door. No doubt very relieved that he wasn't called upon to deliver Hannah himself.

Matty told another story and this one was about Daddy. A woman who lived in their parish would phone his house when she knew her baby was coming and ask for a lift to the hospital. Somehow Daddy always got the job of taking her. He was going out with Matty at the time and when she heard about this she asked him what he'd do if Mrs George started to give birth in the car. "What would I do?" says he. "I tell you what I'd do. I'd stop the car and get out and I'd take to the fields!"

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Ooh Matron!

Matronly Woman's Hour presenter Jenni Murray, 59, informs an audience at the Hay Festival that she lost her virginity as a teenager with a 'half English, half Turkish' boyfriend to the sound of Jose Feliciano's Sixties hit Light My Fire. Far too much information! 

So writes Ephraim Hardcastle in the Daily Mail. I wonder what part of Ms Murray's disclosure exceeded the Hardcastle information threshold? Was it the ethnicity of Jenni's lover? Or was it that unfortunate soundtrack to their coupling? Or were his sensibilities offended at the very idea of a middle-aged woman having a sex life, or even the remembrance of a sex life? 

But you know what the truly shocking thing is? What the hell is Nelly doing reading the Daily Mail?