Monday, February 28, 2011

Yummy Grummy

I Love Granny, originally uploaded by hootchinhannah.

I have been looking for a new profile picture for a while, one in which I did not look too horribly fat. Uncle John called me 'a Tank' last week. Most wounding but I have been scoffing the pies recently.

Anyway - this photo pleases me. I wish I could wear Martha all the time. She takes kilos off me!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Cleansing Pow'r

I decided to have a lovely relaxing bath this afternoon. Lots of hot water, lots of bubbles, a towel to keep my hair out of the bubbles and something intellectual to peruse. Heaven. It's wonderful to live in the quiet of the country.

Hark! There's Plum crowing. Never mind. A rooster crowing is part of the country atmosphere. Outside Bert opens up the chainsaw. Never mind. The noise of wood clearance is all part of living on a farm. The back door opens. It's one of Pearlie's carers. It's the singing one. She is singing, at the very top of her voice, “Washed In The Blood Of The Lamb”. She puts the kettle on. Singing away, thumping time on the counter tops as she waits for it to boil.

I lie in my suds. I usually seethe at the Singing Carer but who gives a hoot? I'm home for a little while. Let her sing her hymns. The mad old bat.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Stringing It

New pictures in the corner. Hannah is responsible for the action pic of Dan & Rosie. She took the shot, framed the picture, sang the theme tune.

Last week I left a couple of items into Framework in Ballymena. They were an enlarged photograph of Lily and Rusty (a wee freebie from Photobox) and a poster I picked up in Burnham Market during Katy and Mark's wedding celebrations. I collected them today and was delighted with the results.

Rusty and Lily looking inquisitive

Only thing was I needed string for the hanging. Do you know how hard it is to buy string in Ballymena? Very difficult indeed. I tried Poundland and BM Bargains. No string. Lots and lots of customers there. All sorts of people too. Sign of the times. I bought interesting soup, envelopes and cheap drugs (cold remedies not crystal meth). But still there was no string.

Onwards to Sainsburys – I needed anchovies and a blouse and string. You know – your typical shopping list. Blouse easy to find, 25% off, very nice. Anchovies – wearisome and tedious trek around the entire store to find them. They were eventually located above frozen food cabinets. What is the logic? Beats me for sure. I bought four tins for God knows where they'll be next time I want them. String is not something that Sainsbury's customers have any call for. I left stringless.

Last port of call was my local garage in Cullybackey. I walked in, picked up some milk and called, “Darwin d'ye have any string?” Immediately a staff member darts to the back of the shop and comes back with the desired article. “Is that what you're after?”

At home, for the surprise of the thing, I got Bert in to open the carefully wrapped pictures of Desperate Dan, Rusty and Lily and there was the picture string already supplied. My searching had all been in vain.

My recommendations this week are for Framework, Hill Street Ballymena for a wonderful framing job and string and Hayes Garage, Dreen Road, Cullybackey for the usual great service and string.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Drumkeeran's Finest

Drumkeeran's Finest, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

Shilvodan - Smells Like Shit. Finest Kind Shit. Can I be an Estate Agent now?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Miss Martha Calls

another new coat, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

A visit from Miss Martha cheers granny and great-granny up.

Today she was wearing the vintage coat that Cousin Sadie (aka the Surly Niece) brought her from Peru or Chile or Somewhere South American.

We're all rather pleased with it, especially Miss Martha who is keen on her vintage.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Big Mother

Day 2 in the Matty house.

You'd be sitting there and suddenly a Marie Curie nurse would come bouncing in and say,

I'm here from half three to half five if you want to go out.

And what else can you do but go out. Thing is you haven't planned anything. Quick! Rack brains. Matty requested ham and there was none. Go to Asda, buy ham. Then go for walk in the Castle Grounds. Could have went to visit Wee Laura K and Baby Caitlin but no present organised. A walk in Castle Grounds and listen to audio-book. Damn. Forgot earphones. The Castle Grounds is having some work done. The paths are pure glaar. My trainers are bogging and yet I have left Hunters in the car. How disorganised is that?

I meet Eugene walking a Parson Russell terrier. He's somebody I know from decades ago and I hadn't seen him for decades until a month ago when I met him and his wife in Lidls. We chatted dogs for a while. I walked away thinking about the olden days when Antrim people didn't speak with a Belfast twang and we were all full of beans and the bull.

On the way back I avoided the soggy, disgustingly wet Castle Grounds and walked past the chapel where I looked in on Daddy's grave. It has been well over a year since I visited. His grave is just next to the plot where the babies are buried and there was a new headstone. It was very small, said BABY and had the child's name. On it was inscribed,

I will never forget you
I held you in the palm of my hand

Who wouldn't weep?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Being Here

I'm on my own in Tannaghmore with Matty. It's been a while. She is in bed and settled for the night. I'm sitting here with a small glass of wine writing this and listening to the incessant roar of traffic on the Lisnevenagh Road. In the next room Dancing on Ice plays softly. I wonder if Kerry Katona is going out? Matty gives an occasional rattly cough resulting from her latest infection.

I'm here for four sleeps and then Ganching comes. After that I'm here again for I don't know how many sleeps.

I dislike being away from home. I enjoy being around my own people, my animals and my own things. I've a huge bag of my own things with me. There are eight or more books. Bert said,

You must be going to do a lot of reading.

I say,

I want to be able to choose from a roughnance of my own books. Matty's books do not appeal to me.

I've three books on vegetable growing to peruse. I have two cameras. I have a Clothkits pinafore to sew. I have my iPod with an audiobook to finish and another freshly loaded. I have some mixed herbs. I have this laptop.

I find this a very boring house. I always have. When Matty was well there was at least the craic with her. There is not much of that now; only a bit of desultory chat for she is too tired for conversation now. When visitors call she generally nods off. The day is punctuated with care visits which start at 7:30am and finish around 9pm. In between there is medication, toileting, small meals to prepare, small amounts of cleaning to be carried out and many telephone calls to take.

That is what it is like now. Perhaps sometime in the future I will yearn for this boredom.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Judy's First Trip To The Seaside

Dee Mac said the other day, "You should take that pup to the beach. I think she'd enjoy it."

I think Dee Mac was right about that.

We went to Whitepark Bay.

Our last three dogs before Judy have not enjoyed swimming.

There's not been a swim-hound around Nellybert's since old Danny died. Until now.

Good call Dee Mac.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Work Experience

It was my Miss Martha day today. We began with a visit to Matty. Then it was off to Montgomerys in Ballymena for coffee with Dede. Martha loves Montgomerys because of the children's play area. She was plied with pickled onion crisps by a young admirer called Charlie. Crisps aren't a normal part of Martha's diet but her Mummy does not have too many objections if they are offerings from other children. Why be churlish?

After a little sleep (Martha not Granny) and lunch we went out to the tunnels to help Bert and Dee Mac tidy. Miss Martha proved to be very useful indeed.

This was a great help. I'm short of arm so with Martha holding the shovel I was able to make great progress with the sweeping. Martha was keen to operate the brush but it was too big for her. We will have to get her a more manageable one. And a boiler suit. She'll be needing one of those for her farming and horticultural pursuits.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Babes in the Wood.

Babes in the Wood., originally uploaded by triciamorimori.

My girl and her girl.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Every Picture Tells A Story

pigwranglin, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

One day when Judy was a very small pup and Lily and Rusty were quite a bit smaller than they are now, she tripped up to them all trusting and puppish and Rusty nipped her and tossed her in the air. I happened to catch it in a little movie but never showed it as it was sort of harrowing.

There was no real physical damage done to the dog but ever since she has HATED pigs. They don't hate her. They treat her as if she is a particularly annoying buzzing fly. As you would too if you were built like a mini Sherman tank made out of bacon.

I wonder what Miss Martha makes of it all?

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

What I Did On My Holidays

I completed my last day of paid employment a fortnight ago. The idea was that I'd be getting straight stuck into a stint of looking after Matty. But the way it turned out was Matty got offered two weeks respite in the Braid Valley Hospital, so I've been on holiday for the past two weeks and it has been rather wonderful.

I hit the ground running in the first week. Bert's affairs needed a great deal of sorting out. I spent that week ordering clematis liners and sorting out his paperwork. I also got working on another plan. This year we intend to make more use of the land and, to that end, have taken on board another couple of people to work on our co-operative allotments. Our aim is as much self-sufficiency as we can achieve.

But before that there was some overdue cleaning to be tackled.

I started to clean underneath the furniture instead of flaffing around it and I was just in time. The pup-chewed wood, the milk bottle cap and the shred of Christmas paper could have stayed under the sofa for ever but I reckon that dead mouse would have made its presence felt before long. The sun-room, with its wood-burning stove, can get rather warm.

And talking of more useful dead animals - our friend Peter presented us with three fine, plump rabbits.

I had a great idea. Bert said it was his but as he didn't say it out loud that means it was mine. We were having the co-operative around for a brain-storming luncheon party last Sunday and I though it might be a useful and bonding experience if Bert took them for a master-class in bunny butchering.

So, after a delicious lunch of roast pork, home-grown vegetables and blackberry and apple crumble Bert took a party of three out to the back shed, showed them the bunnies and gave them a knife and went off to do something more interesting instead. Luckily Rachael had a book.

I still haven't heard what their rabbit pies and stews were like but I'm sure they were yummy. Freddie de Cat certainly enjoyed his bunny hind leg, made a nice change from mouse. I told Bert he should have hung those bunnies out of reach.

Young Rooney was most disappointed with us that we didn't keep the skins. Said they make a great rug when cured and stitched together. Rachael will need to be got on to that one. I fancy some rabbit skin slippers myself.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Winter's Bone

Bert and I watched this film together. He had already watched it on his own but chose to watch it for a second time with me. It was superb and I'd recommend it to anyone. It is not sunshiney but it is life-affirming. Jennifer Lawrence playing the young heroine is fabulous in the part and the child actors were astonishingly good.

There is one harrowing scene featuring the actress Dale Dickey playing Merab. Merab is one of three practical, hard-nosed sisters who don't fear violence, the dark or power tools. I'll not go into details but afterwards I said to Bert,

Can you imagine me, London Sister and Ganching at that carry-on?

And he said,

Youse would be complete wimps. Youse would be, "Oh I'm scared!" or, "It's so dark!" or, "Is that a cow? It's looking at me!" Maybe Kerry or Leitrim Sisters could handle it but not you three!

Well. I don't know about Ganching and London Sister but I couldn't use a chainsaw in a canoe. I can't even swim!

Anyway - if you get a chance to catch the film watch it. It really is good. Look out for the Deadwood actors, especially Sol Starr (John Hawkes) playing Teardrop.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

New Blue Car

There was great excitement at Nellybert's today when Miss Martha took delivery of a new blue car. Well - new to her anyway. The vehicle had one previous owner, a Master Rainey, and apart from a bit of dog chew damage at the back bumper it was a great wee runaround. Now Miss Martha can be just like Granny and drive around in a bright blue, rather dirty car.

But there was one problem. The congestion in Nellybert's yard was damnable. She could hardly move the wee motor an inch!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Best Best Man Ever

Some things ought to be recorded.

Mrs Anna was visiting Matty the other day and the subject of the Leitrim Sister came up it being her birthday and all.

The subject of the Leitrim Sister's birthday came up and that led to the Leitrim Sister's wedding to yer man from Glasgay that looks well in a kilt. Mrs Anna said in a tone that broached no argument that yer man from Glasgay that married the Leitrim Sister had the best Best Man ever and that there would be no argument about this because he was the best Best Man ever, so I'm just recording this because I think Mrs Anna was right and it needs to be recorded.

Happy Birthday Leitrim Sister

Leitrim Sister's birthday today. Luckily she is not camera-shy so I had tons of pictures to choose from. There she was looking like a Celtic Princess on her wedding day, a Blue Stocking on her graduation day, a Wee Angel on her First Communion day and so on and so on....

So naturally I chose this one of her posing cross-eyed in a Christmas jumper.

Happy Birthday Dede.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

A Bit Of A Lout

The Kerry Sister was telling me that the other day the Neesh and herself were amusing themselves with an Ulster-Scots Dictionary. Now the Neesh comes from Antrim and it's a well-known fact that Antrim people are practically McCooeys and know no Ulster-Scots at all so she was amazed at the richness of the 'hamely tongue'.

"Mind you," says the Kerry Sister, "We couldn't help but notice that most of the best words had the same meaning."

"Is that so?" says I. "And what would that have been then?"

"Oh," says she. "Most of them had a definition of 'A foolish, awkward fellow. A bit of a lout."

Well, it's said that the Inuit people have many, many words for 'snow', and Ulster-Scots appear to have many, many words for 'fool'. I wonder if this has any significance?

I thought I'd do a little research during the ad breaks of 'Big Fat Gypsy Weddings' and, advised by Bert, started with 'G'. It proved a rich seam.

My reference was 'A Concise Ulster Dictionary' a Christmas gift from Ganching 14 years ago.

Gaum - a fool, a simpleton
Gomach - a dupe, a gullible person
Gowk - stupid person, idiotic
Gornical - odd looking, dim-witted person
Gype - a clumsy awkward person
Galumpus - a stupid person
Gazeby - queer looking, a tall awkward person
Gaberloon - a stupid awkward fellow
Gah - a silly person
Gumph - a stupid person
Gulpin - thick-witted stubborn person
Glipe - an uncouth fellow
Gloit - a blockhead, an awkward fellow, a boor
Gludgeon - a clumsy awkward person
Glunter - a big awkward person
Gorgie - a foolish person, a clumsy silly person
Gowtril - good for nothing, a lout
Gunshion - thick-witted person
Gorkin - a big stupid person

My father would have regularly used 'gornical', 'gype' and 'gulpin'. 'Gornical' and 'gulpin' were terms of derision but I'm sure I remember him using 'gype' as an expression of endearment. Maybe I misunderstood him. I've heard Bert use 'gaum', 'gowk' and 'glunter'. He would usually be speaking of Clint.