Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Good Breakfast

Whilst driving into Cully this morning I pondered on what Bert should wear to today's funeral. I also decided that he should buy a himself new suit for he's getting to an age now where he will be attending more funerals. Then I got to thinking that Bert will need a good suit for his own funeral and the thought of that made me feel very serious and sad. I determined that I was going to be much nicer to him from now on, and appreciate him while I still have him, for he is a very decent sort of man.

I resolved that when I got home I would make him a healthy cooked breakfast and that's what I did. I made him scrambled eggs on toasted wheaten bread. While he was eating it I told him that cooking for him made me feel like Carmela Soprano. And I said,

And with that good breakfast in you, you can go out and strangle somebody with your bare hands and then you can phone up The Bun to come and help you sterilise the crime scene and dispose of the corpse.

He laughed. That's another thing that's great about Bert. He enjoys my sense of humour.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Moon, The Dogs, The Pixies and Me

Warning! This post contains Sopranos spoilers!

My plans for tonight included chores, wine-drinking, catching the sky at 9pm (when Mars would be closest to the moon) and watching The Sopranos.

The chores got done, the sky clouded over at 9pm exactly and we watched The Sopranos. That has been harrowing viewing these past two nights what with the pathetic deaths of Pie-O-My (a horse) and Cosette (a dog). Compared to those tragedies the demise of Ralph (a human, sort of) was much easier to bear despite the graphic depiction of his scalping, beheading and dismemberment.

Show over and with the full moon, it was nearly bright as day outside. There was a light skiff of snow on the ground. I decided to go for a walk up the back lane and maybe venture a way into the snowy wood. So on with two coats, thermal hat, leather gloves, the Hunters and the iPod. Bert says,

But you’re wearing your pyjamas!

I say,

It’s OK. I’m not going to Tescos.

We set off – the dogs and me. Bert wouldn’t come. Said it was too cold. The moon was high and bright, Mars beside it, Venus somewhere else. The air was crisp, the dogs were delighted, Cecilia Ann playing on the iPod. I couldn’t have been happier.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Swisser's Vole

Bert comes into the kitchen and tells me,


Swisser’s been showing me pictures of her vole.


Her hole?


No her vole.


Vole. What’s she on about?


Says there’s a vole in her back yard,


Her hole!


Says it’s been there for a week.


It’s probably a rat.


Says it sits on the windowsill and looks in at her. Says it twitches its whiskers. Says it’s a cute wee thing.


It doesn’t sit on her windowsill and look in at her!


Come and see the wee film she took.


I go into the other room and Swisser reaches me her phone. I watch a little film of a large brown rodent sniffling and zigzagging about in her herbaceous border, its big scaly tail snaking behind it. Sadly she has no footage of the charming creature sitting sweetly on her sill looking in at her.


Well! What do you think? It’s a vole, isn’t it?


It’s a rat.







Friday, January 22, 2010

And They Said Bert Was Unemployable

Holiday Inn Adds Human "Bed-Warmers"


The Holiday Inn in the UK has announced it has introduced a human bed-warmer service, which was described as being "a bit like having a giant hot water bottle in your bed."

If requested, one of the staff of three different Holiday Inn locations will don an all-in-one fleece suit and slip between the sheets, ensuring that the bed is approximately 20-24 Celsius before slipping out of it again.

The Holiday Inn is launching some 3,200 new locations across the globe, and this quirky method of warming a bed is coinciding with that event.

I had to check the date when I read that and no, it's not April First. It would be a good job for Bert. He does have the experience. the only problem is he might fall asleep on the job. 

Monday, January 18, 2010

An Irishwoman In New York

We left Hannah Banana to the airport on Saturday morning and, much to my astonishment, they actually let her on the flight. Then, even more surprisingly, the U.S. authorities appear to have let her off it. And, apparently, she is now in New York. Imagine! I won’t actually believe it until I see photographic evidence.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Last Of The Line

On Tuesday my mother’s only brother passed in his sleep. He lived by himself but he was not alone as his nephew lived next door, his younger sister and her husband in the next house along and another nephew two doors down. So while he had his own home he also had plenty of company when he wanted it. He was a man of regular habits and it was his habit to go to his sister’s house every morning where family and neighbours would have a cup, discuss the events of the day and generally enjoy a bit of craic. On Tuesday he didn’t turn up and his sister knew something was amiss.

The doctor was called and pronounced that he had died sometime during the night and that his passing had been easy. Had he lived another day he would have been 79 years old. He was a man of strong faith and I’m told that he prayed for us all every day of his life. I don’t know what we are going to do when all the old ones are gone and we have no one to pray for us. I found myself thinking about that during Dessie’s funeral Mass and thinking too, that maybe I’ll have to take up the praying myself.

When they carried his coffin out of the house I told Bert that there would be no need for him to feel obliged to give it a lift as Dessie had enough nephews and nieces to carry him to Cork. Funerals are an occasion to see how all the cousins are getting on and I’m sorry to say that there are none of us getting any younger although most of us are wearing well. There was even, on Matty’s account, a creditable show of cousins from the other side of the family and it was good to see them there. Even the one who came up behind me outside the chapel and remarked,

Did ye sleep with the dog last night?

I can only assume she meant I was covered with dog hairs and I anxiously checked the matter with the Kerry Sister. She said that I was not and that she had given me the onceover herself before we’d left Matty’s house.

I never really answered the cousin as I was a bit surprised that she’d made the remark. It came across as unkind. I suppose if I was honest I could have said,

I did sleep with the dog as it happens but I wasn’t wearing my coat at the time.

Ah well. She showed the want of a kind old uncle to pray for her. I may have to add her to my list when I take it up myself.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Arse Over Tit

I was very pleased with myself that I'd managed to get through three weeks of ice and snow without slipping and falling. Even a bout of calf-wrangling didn't topple me. So this morning with a good thaw set in I strode confidently out in my cleated hiking boots, stepped in what looked like a puddle but was actually water running over a sheet of ice and fell slam-bang on the broad of my back. Many were the 'fucks' that were exclaimed. I took the brunt of the fall on my coccyx. Like a good citizen I went back to the house and informed Bert that he would need to 'watch himself out there' and then got in the car and drove to work.

About two hours later the pain set in, and weakness and nausea. I never eased or warmed the entire day. At lunch time I took my usual walk. The first ten minutes were a bit grim but then I seemed to loosen up. Tonight - bacon and cabbage for dinner, two glasses of wine, no housework. Sure I'll be all right tomorrow. I hope. Right now I'm a bit stiff in the back but no pain. Alcohol is wonderful medicine!

Be careful out there!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Of Little Calves And Sausage Rolls And Snowy Woods

All that worry. And at the heel of the hunt it was all pretty much unnecessary. That situation that has caused me so many restless days and nights is close to being satisfactorily resolved.

This weekend has been good despite not going anywhere except to Cully and getting a hand taken out of me by the butcher.

I want some sausage meat.

Certainly. How much would you like?

About enough to make a dozen sausage rolls

I thought he was giving me rather a lot but I didn’t like to say. And you know – he was right. It was enough to make a dozen sausage rolls – if each sausage roll was a foot long! Still Pearlie can eat the surplus. She likes a sausage but always complains that we don’t skin them for her. And what is sausage meat but unskinned sausages?

Then we’ve all been agog with Northern Ireland’s latest political scandal.

Iris Robinson should take a leaf out of my book when it comes to the younger man. Instead of seducing her young man and setting him up in a cafe she should simply bake him a nice plate of scones and bask in the glow when he says,

Honestly Nelly I’m not just saying this but those were the nicest scones I have ever tasted – in my whole life!

Maybe not as exciting as an illicit affair but I bet I’m feeling a whole lot better today than Mrs Robinson is.

That sweet compliment wasn’t the only lovely thing to happen this weekend.

Bert and I took a walk this evening. If there is one thing I like about this snow stuff that is its effect on our 12 acre wood. Ah sure it’s only a baby wood but right now it looks like Narnia. Going for a tramp through it just before it gets dark is a delight. The snow is more than a foot deep in places. Foxy’s tracks were clearly visible and we kept rising woodcock. The long-eared owls live in the Scots Pines at the edge of the wood but sadly not a glimpse this evening.

And it might seem strange to have taken pleasure in this, but yesterday one of our two new calves gave Bert the slip and took to his little clackety heels. He needed to be caught before he made for the road so Bert gave me a shout. There was no way the little devil was coming quietly so we got him haltered and he bucked and leaped while I held him (Bert had him by the tail) and at one point I nearly went down but we got him back in and I was ever so pleased with myself because a few years ago I wouldn’t have been fit enough to manage it.

So what shall I worry about now? Oh yes. There’s that matter of Hannah heading to the Americas next weekend. Weather permitting.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

What Bowers Are For

But on a lighter note...

The current audiobook I'm plugged into as I go about my household tasks or taking my wintry walks is The Pickwick Papers and I'm finding it very amusing. In fact I often laugh aloud which must seem odd if I'm out in public. I liked this part where the amorous Mr Tupman and the Spinster Aunt were heading in the direction of that most romantic and delightful of garden features, the bower, which Dickens describes thus,

There was a bower at the farther end, with honeysuckle, jessamine, and creeping plants--one of those sweet retreats which humane men erect for the accommodation of spiders.

A droll description!


I am consumed with anxiety. And I cannot say why. The reason is that it is not just friends who read this blog. I fear there are enemies who look at it too. That being so I cannot tell my friends what worries me for fear my enemies make capital from it.

Paranoid? Moi? Oui.

So if you read my blog and you do not care for Nellybert shall I offer you my New Year Wishes?

Go and fuck yourself. Because you're a pseudo-christian, jealous bastard.

Friends - ignore this rant. It is specifically directed at a lurker.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Mrs Pancake Woman

Bert asks,

Can you talk me through pancakes?

Sure. Just let me clean up the kitchen first.

A few minutes later he says,

It’s going to be a pancake competition. Jakers and Jazzer say they make the best pancakes.

Nooooo! I’ve just cleaned the kitchen. You saw how much rice she cooked for the chili. It got everywhere and the hens will be eating it for weeks. There’ll be pancakes falling off the ceiling if those two get involved. Hurry up. I’ll talk you through it, we’ll get it underway before anyone catches on. Crepes or drop scones?

So he gets out the ingredients and then has a big problem about whether he should use the mixer or just a bowl. I advise a bowl. Not worth getting the mixer out for a few pancakes. He can’t find the weighing scales, I get cross because no one ever puts things away where they belong and Jazzer hears and realizes that pancakes are in progress and comes out and Gets Involved. I am not pleased.

Immediately she decides that the mixture is far too runny and goes about thickening it up. There is a dispute about sugar. I say no, she says yes. Things are getting heated. Jakers comes in to discuss his recipe. He sees how things are going and wisely withdraws. I withdraw too. Let them get on with it.

Jazzer starts to cook the pancakes. There is a dispute between her and Bert and Ben about adding oil to the pan. Jazzer says no, Ben and Bert say yes. Jazzer wins. I have a moan because she’s using a metal spatula on my best pan. She gets tense. The first pancake is wonderful and Ben gets it. The second one burns. The third one refuses to leave the pan. They are panicking. I have to get involved.

The pancake has stuck to the pan and has to be scrubbed off. And there is batter on every surface and running down the cupboard doors. I clean up, I oil the pan and cook a pancake. It looks perfect.

Jazzer says I am a mean cow and I say when do I ever come to your house and start acting like I am Mrs Pancake Woman? Jakers bursts into hysterical laughter. Jazzer says I am a control freak. Bert wisely stays quiet. Banjo Man feigns sleep. Ben, rather charmingly, takes my side. He knows on which side his pancakes are buttered. Bert finishes cooking the pancakes because he is a first-class tosser and everybody eats pancakes with maple syrup and whipped cream. I eat some too and privately think that my pancake recipe is far better than Jazzer’s.

Jazzer gives me a hug and we decide that the whole darn thing was our husbands' fault.

When Banjo Man Lost His Banjo And Found His Mojo