Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wobbly Wiggler

Yesterday one of the younger members of our gardening cooperative was over. She was telling me that she has several very wobbly teeth. I told her that, I too, had a wobbly one. It was an excellent chance for me, as a boring adult, to give the little'un one of my earnest homilies. I grabbed the opportunity and lectured Sylvie on how important it is to brush and take care of teeth when you are young because gnashers have to last you a long time and mine aren't going to. And there was lots of wobbling and clacking to prove my point.

Later on I was wobbling and wiggling my little front tooth that has been giving me so much annoyance. And as I wobbled it back and forth and wiggled it up and down I noticed that it wasn't even the least bit uncomfortable. Next thing it was out without even a twinge. At first I was elated - then I quickly deflated. I wish someone had given me an earnest homily when I was young and impressionable.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bert and the Baby

Bert was extremely miffed when he heard that Miss Martha was going to the zoo.

But we were for taking her to the zoo!

And we will still be taking her.

But she'll already have seen everything. It won't be as exciting for her.

It will still be exciting for her. She's only eighteen months old. She doesn't get jaded as easily as we do.

Bert doesn't really understand babies yet. Take the other day.

We were all sitting in a row eating bowls of yummy porridge. Well. Bert and I were. Martha was just looking at hers. I wasn't too worried as she'd already had her breakfast. When Bert had his all scoffed he said,

Martha's not going to eat that. I may as well have it.

So he removed her bowl from her and started to eat it. She stared at him. She was astonished. Her expression seemed to say - I cannot believe you just did that. She turned to me and the expression on her face said - Can you believe he just did that? Then she turned to look at the empty place where her little bowl had been and she gave a long, sad sigh. Bert was mortified. He gave the child her porridge back. She picked up her little pink spoon and she slowly, methodically worked her way through it. When she was almost done she picked up the bowl and drank it's contents until the bowl shone as if it had been licked by a diligent dog. Bert's new name? Goldilocks. I think he'll be leaving the Baby Bear's porridge alone from now on.

Friday, March 25, 2011

When I'm 64

That is the age at which I will now receive a state pension.

Oh well. I think I shall have to become a bank robber.

Don't tell anyone I said that.

Joking aside - it was terribly unjust that women were entitled to a pension five years before men. What was that all about? And it's not as if 60 is even old these days. Or so I like to kid myself.

It's the kids I feel sorry for. There they'll be trying to get a foot on the career ladder starting with something humble and character-forming like working the aisles in B&Q or Tescos and there will be all the old codgers like me taking their jobs. And I will too - if the bank robbing thing doesn't work out.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Boiler Suit Days

Martha models her new boiler suit (Blue Castle same as Bert wears) while Rusty and Lily look on. Rusty is the sneering pig in the middle of the picture. He looks like he might be saying something hateful. Look at his twisted mouth. And Lily looks as if she's hearing some nasty comment. What do you think he might be saying?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Clearing My Head

The right side of the attic

I'm not very 'feng shui' in the attic department. Apparently it's supposed to be hard to look forward to the future when there's so much clutter "hanging over your head." I don't want my children to have to go up there and deal with all that shite when I'm not able to. My father had the right idea. He did not allow anything to be stored in the roof space. But then he did have lots of big sheds. We have sheds too but they are Bert's and they aren't as dry as Daddy's were.

I always wanted an attic and was determined we'd have an accessible one when this house was being renovated. In the story books I read as a child they were always exciting places full of treasure. You'd open a trunk and it would be full of the most wonderful things from the olden days. There would be ivory fans, embroidered shawls and silken dresses your Granny used to wear. There would be hand written journals and carvings and mysterious old photographs. There would be beads and toys and ancient maps.

Not so in my childhood home. Granny's old dresses ended up as cleaning rags and the only thing in our attic was spiders and flittery things like bats and trapped birds.

The left side of the attic

There is no Victorian or Edwardian treasure in my attic. For sure there are old things up there - the detritus of generations. Bert's old pram is there. Pearlie's amazing collection of unused souvenir tea towels is there. And all those ornamental cats from when I had a cat collection. The attic is also full of rucksacks. Whoever uses rucksacks now?

The Protestant side of the attic

The really old stuff comes from Bert's side of the family. There are bits and pieces of Orange and Black regalia from when his father and uncles were in those orders. I really don't know what to do with those.

The Catholic side of the attic

And then there is this Sacred Heart picture that Matty gave me when I first got my own house. I haven't had it on the wall for decades but I still don't want to throw it out. A lot of ancestor issues there. So - if anyone wants me I'll be in the attic going through all the Christmas cards Bert ever received from 1959 to 1972. Or I might be perusing Pearlie's school books from the 1930s.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Catching Up

Thursday was a busy, busy day getting everything at Matty's 'redd up' for Kerry Sister coming. And looking after Miss Martha with Hannah's help. I made a lot of soup and went to Randalstown Play Park which is one of Martha's favourite places. While we were there she mastered the low, low swing.

Swing low sweet Miss Martha

On Friday we went out for dinner at a friend's house. Happy days for us that Wee Les and his lady are foodies. Please forgive Nellybert anyone else who has ever cooked for us, but that was the most delicious meal that anyone has ever given us. And there were four desserts!

Earlier on Saturday we got new baby calves. They will be called Poppy and Zillah. They're awfully small and keep stepping delicately out between the bars of the stall.

Poppy makes a break for freedom

Saturday was spent decluttering, tackling hotspots, swishing & swiping and shining my sink. Guess who's been on the FlyLady site? After all that I got good and drunk.

Today more swishing and swiping and a big huff at Bert for not bringing down his dirty laundry the second I asked him. I really must get a life. And I must stop eating so many desserts so that I won't have any more distressing conversations with the Honest Man from Portglenone. But that's another blog post for another day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Down On One Knee. Not!

According to the Daily Mail, one in four brides are not happy with the way their partners proposed. Humph! Silly tarts methinks. Shouldn't they just be glad that they got proposed to at all?

Anyways this young friend of mine got proposed to in Paris. Which is pretty romantic by most people's standards. It was a surprise (she says and I believe her) but this is what happened. She and her beloved landed at their hotel and he suggested a walk. Little did she know he was looking for a properly romantic place to drop to one knee. They walked and they walked. Her feet were killing her. She has a propensity for sexy footwear. Nelly would have been wearing hiking boots. Eventually her beau found a place that he deemed suitable for the occasion. They sat down (she very gratefully) on a bench. He popped the question, there was a rat looking at them (she said yes) it was dirty ol' Paris after all. These two are going to be very happy - I feel that in my water.

The Nellybert proposal? It was the 29th February 2008. Drink had been taken. The time was probably around a quarter to twelve. I looked into his eyes, and said, "Will you marry me?" He gazed at me all google-eyed said, "Yes." Next day I told everyone we were engaged. Think it was the following August we got married. That's what I call timing. We didn't bother with an engagement ring. Or a rat.


Tomorrow is the last day of my current stint in the Matty House. It's been the best part of three weeks with a couple of very short breaks home. And tomorrow will be a good day. I will have the company of Miss Martha from 9am and Miss Hannah is coming at midday to help me out as she has done for three Thursdays in a row. All being well we are going to Randalstown play park when J. from Marie Curie comes to sit with Matty for a while.

The amazing Matty keeps in good spirits although she does seem to get more tired and weary with every passing day. We've been up and down more often than her ripple bed. With hindsight this has been a good time even though I'm exhausted too. I still believe it was worth leaving work for.

Not to say that there haven't been downsides. I just don't want to think about them right now for tomorrow night I'm going home to Bert, the dogs, the pigs and the cats in exactly that order.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mum's Field.

Mum's Field., originally uploaded by triciamorimori.

This is something like the view I would have from the kitchen window, where I currently sit, if that window wasn't all steamed up from the vegetable broth I have on the hob. The extractor fan is far too noisy and would disturb my present tranquillity. Matty is napping and the only sounds I can hear are the pipple of the broth, the churn of the washing machine and a constant hum of traffic from the Lisnevenagh Road.

The light in Tricia's photograph is so beautiful and begs to be shared.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cheeky Bitch

Old girls and their matching trews

Matty was poorly yesterday with lots of cramping in her stomach. We brought out the heavy duty painkillers which made her quite woozy. Last night, after I'd gone to bed, she was really sick. I heard the noises and thought at first that it was burglars. Hell no! Nothing as uncomplicated as that - just Matty throwing up. I got it sorted. This morning she was a bit confused, thought it was seven in the evening instead of the morning.

The doctor called and told us that it might just have been a stomach bug. She's not in bad form at all. She lay and dozed all through 'Coronation Street' and had to be woken up to go to bed. I teased her about how she instructed the carer and myself as to how she'd get to her feet from a lying position. I said,

You're good at this. You must have been listening to the physio. You could train physios yourself.

She liked this.

The carer told me later that Matty said I was a 'cheeky bitch' and went off to her bed laughing about training physios. That's my Matty. Still got the spirit.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bachelor Boy

I had a brief visit home last night and part of today. Bert had not used the washing machine even though I had left him detailed instructions. My home is reverting to the look and feel of a bachelor pad. There were dirty dishes in the sink, a slight smell of socks and shop-bought meat pies in the fridge. The vegetables were mouldering uneaten and we were perilously low on toilet paper. There was no milk.

I said to him,

Do you miss my cooking?

He said,

Sure you haven't cooked anything for ages.

Duh! In the past three weeks I've spent sixteen days at Matty's. When I do get home I'm not going to start cooking for him after all the invalid meals I'm preparing at the Ponderosa. I had a major huff.

How soon he forgets. Mind you, I had forgotten the delicious pea and ham soup he had made when I'd got away for an hour on Wednesday not to mention the raspberry muffins for afters. I was still huffing when Mr & Mrs Wee Les came in. It was a relief to have an excuse to stop.

Afterwards we watched ancient footage of The Blues both the authentic and the somewhat less so. It was wonderful going to bed knowing that I would not have to bounce out of it at 7:15 sharp. All I did this morning was read an Anita Shreve, take a long, deep bath and go for a walk in the fields. It was noisy out there with the rat-a-tat-tat coming from the shooting range at the Loan Hill and the sound of the hunting horn and the hounds on the Granagh Road. But it was far, far better than the ceaseless drone of traffic on the Lisnevenagh Road and waiting for the wee voice that goes, “Meer-eeee.”

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fair Exchange Is No Robbery

Miss Martha has inherited the family gene for taking great pleasure in hoking about thrift and charity shops. Today we checked out the charity shop at Junction One which is particularly good for toys and children's books. However Martha was not that interested in toys or books. Instead she made a beeline for a box of knitted hats. She was keen on the lemon one and wanted Granny to have the baby pink one. Her own pixie, skilfully knitted by Zoe, was tossed among the other hats. We managed to dissuade her from the lemon and baby pink and got her back in her stripey bonnet. I don't think Mama would have pleased with the lemon number. It wasn't really Martha's colour.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Over The Moon

Please God don't ever let me say this. Don't ever let me say, if I'm pleased about something, no matter how pleased I am, don't ever let me say that I'm 'over the moon'. Just kill me if I ever say that.

It's not that I dislike all cliches. I'm partial to 'Mmmm doughnuts,' and 'Sweet' a la Simpson and Griffin and I quite like 'Way!' as a shorthand for 'Way to go.' A North American friend once told me that's what all the American wallies say to one of their number if he does something they approve of.

And how I hate the expression 'killer' when it is used to describe heels or curves. So Rihanna's got killer curves. No she hasn't. She's got an attractive, shapely figure. Who's she going to kill with it? Then killer heels. Spare me. Obviously heels could, at a pinch, be used to kill someone but I'm not really seeing it. And 'working it' is another over used phrase from the cheap fashion pages that I loathe.

Then 'journey'. So you're a 'celebrity' on a reality show. Maybe it's 'Dancing on Ice' and you've just been told to go home and you'll be gasping out about what an incredible 'journey' you've been on. Very good. You learned a new skill. You skated your heart out. You're going home. That wasn't a journey. It was just another job.

I've saved my most hated expression to last. Can you guess what it is? I have a grand daughter. She is amazing. I love her. She is gorgeous and probably the most intelligent person born in 2009. But if I ever hear anyone calling her a 'Princess' I will kill them (with my killer curves). Some little girls might want to buy into that princess shit but my Miss Martha is better than that. Princess my arse! And if you are one of those parents or grandparents who refer to your female child as a 'princess' you are a wee bit sick. Who the fuck would want to be a princess? Kate - it's not too late. I know the tea towels have been printed but you can still get out.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Shrove Tuesday

Matty and I had a good day yesterday. She was in good form, we took a drive out and she had a wee walk around the garden.

Today wasn't as good. I woke up feeling that, at sometime during the night, someone had trailed me out of bed and given me a sound kicking. No doubt the result of my tumble in the birch wood yesterday.

After breakfast I had a little chat with Matty about my hopes for getting a bit of home leave this weekend. She took a sour view of it. And got in a bit of a mood. When a body is spending the best part of fourteen hours a day with another body things can get intense. I kept my head but it made me feel down.

At least we had Zoe and Miss Martha for a couple of hours and we had pancakes. And I got a whole twenty minutes walk over to the Pipe Road. I made Matty promise she wouldn't move an inch from her chair. Despite this precaution I spent the entire twenty minutes fretting that I'd find her in a heap when I returned. It certainly added an inch to my step! She was good, never budged at all.

Tomorrow I expect to have lots of respite and I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, March 07, 2011

The Loan Hill

Loan Hill from the Killyless Road

I thought I spotted the Loan Hill from Drumkeeran the other day so I borrowed Matty's birdwatching binoculars to see if I could get a better view. It's only a mere ten miles away with no high ground between.

Loan Hill from the Ballyconnelly Road

We used to enjoy walking up there to admire the view but now there is a firing range beside it and, to tell the truth, I'm heart scared of getting shot. Those dirty devil scunging dogs would often be around it in their dirty devil scunging days but now Rosie, poor thing, is long gone and, these days, Paddy is far too old and lazy to get off the sofa.

Uncle John came from 'Hunshin and he said their dogs often escaped the leash and headed for the Loan Hill for which they had a fondness. It is a very rabbitty place.

One of the views from the Loan Hill

I had no luck with the binoculars today as it was far too hazy. They were heavy old things and I was going a bit further so I stashed them in the hedge for collection on the way back.

I only had thirty minutes as Cousin Pauline was sitting with Matty. I found a bit of the moss I'd never been in before. It was actually a wild birch wood growing on the edge of the moss. I raced about it for a while, managed to trip on a bramble and fall flat on my face. Thankfully peat makes a soft landing so no harm done.

On the way back I walked right past the spyglasses for I was deep in memories from long, long ago. I had to return but damned could I find them. I'd left them behind a mossy stump near some holly and the whole bloody hedge was mossy stumps near some holly for about forty feet. I persevered and found them. I was at least ten minutes late for Pauline although she didn't seem to mind. She's a good girl. There'll be another day to search for a sight of the Loan Hill from Drumkeeran.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Springhill Project

Bert says,

Clint's changed his mind about putting the meadow in potatoes this year. Says he has no time and anyway, what's he going to do with 9 tons of spuds.

Oh. Well we'll just have to plant a garden of potatoes somewhere.

There's nowhere for them.

What do you mean?

I don't know where we'd put them.

Balls! You mean out of fifty acres we can't find some wee place to grow a few drills of potatoes?

Well what do you suggest then?

There's no point in me suggesting anything for as soon as I say what about there, or maybe there, you'll have about a million reasons why we can't because that's what you love. Being negative.

And so we bickered on until Zoe and Martha appeared at the door all wellied up and ready for a day's gardening. I was just a bit mortified. Caught arguing like a pair of weans yet again! Even though we quit it the second she appeared she'd know. So I said,

Great timing Zoe. We were just discussing where we'd plant our spuds in light of Clint reneging on the meadow.

Within thirty minutes we'd all viewed up a couple of places and made our decision. Well Zoe made it. It's such a relief when a responsible adult turns up and puts the sillies on the right track even if she is their daughter.

We ended up having a most productive day. Rachael turned up after lunch and we sowed, and dug and pruned and planned. My primary task was entertaining Miss Martha. I had no complaint about that. And that's why I've had no time to blog this weekend. Taking gardening leave.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Young Dog, Old Dog

wait for me!, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.
I actually don't know how old Bonnie is. She did come to us as a stray. But I'd say she's getting on. She is not as able as she was a few years ago and like many GSDs she seems to have hip problems.

The hip issues won't have been helped by her start in life. God only knows how long she spent tied in that shed with no exercise and inadequate food.

Still - she's happy now even if only a few hours on the beach chasing after that pup leaves her completely tired out the next day.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Judy To The Rescue

And Bert.

I just keep getting the bloody cold. For a couple of years, before Matty got ill, I had neither cough nor sneeze but these past few months I never seem to be without the cold for more than a couple of weeks.

The one I've got now started with a headache. On day two my eyes itched. Day three brought the nose thing, lots of sinus and snotter. Day four was the throat and day five as well. Day six dem thing has settled on my chest. I caved in and phoned the doc for antibiotics. The chest hurts and I get out of puff if I exert myself etc. etc.

Of course tomorrow it might have moved to my diapraghm, day eight my belly, day nine my toot, day ten my knee and day eleven my big toe and then the whole thing would be gone. But I can't risk it!

Many, many thanks to Bert and the Judester who brought the drugs all the way from Cully. Here's hoping they work. Matty thought the Judester was lovely. Bert comments,

See her paws all covered in dried cow dung.

I hiss,

Shut up!

Thankfully Matty didn't see or hear.

I discovered today that I can see the Loan Hill from the Drumkeeran Road. When it all gets too much here I shall walk down the road and look over and cry.