Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Zoe!

D'ye know if you upload a photograph to Flickr and tag it 'pregnant' loads more people look at it than if you didn't? What's the big deal? That is what I ask myself. There are a million-zillion people on this planet and each and every one of them represents a pregnancy and a birth. It's not as if it is a 'miracle' or anything. Pregnant-schmegnant! Big whoop!

Except - unless it's me or mine. I got pregnant when I was 20 and about 10 days before I was 21 I had a daughter. That was Zoe and it's her thirty somethingth birthday today. Big whoop!

And even better! She's pregnant! Another big whoop!

Happy birthday Zoe! Love you and love your bump and all belonging to it.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Happy Birthday

This blog is seven years old today! Yay! Yay! Yay! Yay! Yay! Yay! Yay!

In Which I Am Rather Peeved

Above - an item from the country's most expensive lending library courtesy of the British Heart Foundation. Charge £2.50 for a crappy book then ask you to bring it back! This irritates me. But then I am rather easily irritated.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Posterise Martha

Posterise - a fun application on Gimp.

The Women In White

Earlier today a few of us were discussing the apparent lack of innocence in today's children. I opined that there seem to be very few young girls around between the ages of 11 and 15 - not because they have all been imprisoned in nunneries but rather because they have taken on the appearance of girls of sixteen and older. Young boys don't seem to be able to pull this trick as easily.

Children really do seem to grow up fast these days. It has been reported that more than 40% of young internet users over 10 have been exposed to pornography and you can be sure that it is a lot more extreme pornography than the likes of my generation ever caught sight of.

I remember listening uncle telling my father a joke when I was about eight years old. I was smart enough to pick up that the punchline of the joke involved a word that ended in 'uck' but was not the word you'd expect it to be. I vividly remember walking through Paddy's Field on the way to my Granny's shop and reciting this list of words to see if I could identify what this word could be, buck, cuck, duck, fuck, guck, huck, juck etc. etc. Nothing seemed to fit the bill.

It was three or four more years before I heard the F-word courtesy of a fellow pupil in St Louis Convent Grammar School. The same girl brought tampons into class for our edification and education. I was most bemused. So that's what Tampax were for!

I'd spent my entire childhood pondering the magazine advertisements, looking at those pretty and lively women in pristine white clothes and wondering what Tampax could be. I searched for clues in the text and being a real innocent had no idea as to what 'internally' or 'applicator' might signify. I made up my mind. It was obvious really. All the ladies in white were healthy, active and sporty so Tampax must be some kind of aid to sportiness and vigour.

Oh innocent days. I was over sixteen before I sampled the product myself, only got it halfway in and waddled about in some discomfort through two periods of Anatomy and Physiology at Antrim Technical College. Ironic or what?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Little Children

Nellybert has been getting out and about recently, taking advantage of the esteemable Pearl-Ri being in The Home For Crabbit Oul Dragons for a fortnight. Of course, anyone else would have taken a holiday but, what with the Martha sitting, the signing on the dole and the hospital appointments, we hadn't a minute.

So we took a 24 hour break to the Inishowen Peninsula at the end of last week and today we went to Derry City on the train.

Let the train take the strain. Hardly! For some reason the world and his wife was out today with all their whinging, squalling bratlings in tow. A young one screeched its head off from Ballymoney to Derry on the way down. I was harbouring nasty thoughts. Then when we got off I saw its wee face and it looked so miserable that I felt bad for wanting it and its Ma thrown off the train. But here's a thing - during the entire journey, during its intermittent yelling and screechings the mother never once spoke to the child or tried to comfort it. Expect if I'd been it I might have hollered my head off too.

There were more monsters on the way home. A wee lad, probably about 4 or 5 wailed himself into sobs and hiccups for twenty minutes steady. I think he wanted something he didn't get. Once again there was no interaction from the parents. The child was completely ignored.

I'm sure it's not universal but I do notice that lots of parents do not give their children any time or attention when they are out in public. Even the seemingly good kids get ignored. There were three generations sitting opposite us - a little girl of about eight, her mum and the granny. Mum and Granny had a continuous and very repetitive and dreary conversation for nearly an hour. The child was hardly spoken too. When she got excited about something she spotted from the train window she was roundly ignored. Wise up adults! Children, if you give them a chance, can be interesting too.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I Miss My Baby Owls

baby owl springhill 2009, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

For the second year running there has been no long eared owl babies at Springhill. I miss them very much.

We think that buzzards took over their nesting site. Last year there were at least three young buzzards reared on our land. Buzzards are OK but I'd much rather have owls.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Brass Bed

window, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.
I've had that old bed for nearly thirty years and I paid thirty pounds for it. The woman I bought it from was moving to Kuala Lumpur. There is an interesting story around her move that involves art thieves, drug dealers and dodgy barristers but it is not mine to tell. She was a generous woman that had the brass bed before me, for, with my thirty pounds in her pocket, she took me out to the Golf Club where we drank gin and bitter lemon. That was as far as it went for it turned out I wasn't her type. Not butch enough.

Bert and I dismantled the bed today. I'm turning the spare room into a little office/workroom. It will be good to gather all my paperwork and hobby kit into one part of the house.

What shall we do with the bed? Traditionally, in rural areas, old bedsteads were used to plug gaps in hedges. And we do have a couple of heifers with the wandering inclination.

It would be an ignominious end to a 19th century bed originally hailing from County Donegal. People probably died in that bed, for sure they were conceived and born it. I'm sure more than fifty people slept in it since I've had it. Those notable folk singers Tommy and Colm Sands were among them. And Hannah began in it.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Pigs

Duroc Boar (below) Pietrain Boar (right)

new pigs, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

Eight new pigs for fattening up. Lily and Rusty were most unamused. But if they knew what the newcomers' fate was they might think differently.

These ones were sired by Duroc crossed Pietrain. Bert said he was the most aggressive pig he's ever come across. I hope the younguns don't take after Daddy.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Back on the drink again!

28 days off the sauce except for last Thursday which was exceptional circumstances. I still don't know for sure if I'm an alcoholic but rest assured the situation is being closely monitored. At the first suggestion that I am edging towards having 'Bert' and an outlined denim pocket tattooed above my left breast I'm checking straight into rehab.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Hannah, Martha and I visited two toy shops today. In the first one Hannah fell in raptures at the Sylvanian Animal families. They didn't have meercat families in her day. Martha was very keen on a pink scooter but it was a little bit advanced for her. What we were really looking for was a wheelbarrow. Martha already has a green bucket for egg-collecting and lots of gardening tools but she has no wheelbarrow and she is very fond of toys with wheels.

The wheelbarrow in the meercat and scooter shop was a bit flimsy so we had to go to Camerons. That's where I always bought my girls their Christmas toys. They had some great barrows there. Martha picked a red one and, although I preferred the green, it was her choice. Back home she was aghast when she realised that it was in bits and in her view 'Broke!' but that's whan grandas are for. Bert sat himself down in the polytunnel surrounded by a gaggle of girls, average age 18, to watch him build the barrow. As one of those girls was me and another one Martha you'll know, if you're good at sums, that Sylvie and Maggie are still a fair bit off their teens.

Martha was delighted with Wheelbarrow! And solemnly set off on her maiden voyage. She happily transported an empty eggbox to the henhouse and an eggbox containing one egg from the henhouse to the kitchen. She then carried a load of grapes from the house to the pig pen and watched while Sylvie and Maggie fed them to the kune kunes. On the way back from the pigpen Sylvie's mum threw a weed in her barrow and Martha said nothing. As soon as Sylvie's mum was out of sight she took the weed out and gave it to me. It seems that Wheelbarrow! is far too posh to carry dirty weeds. It was raining and Wheelbarrow! was getting wet so she brought it into the house where she made a thorough inspection of its underside. She was distressed that some German Shepherd fluff was stuck to its wheel and this had to be removed. I did this. Then she anxiously pointed out more hairy mess and I had to clean this too. The barrow then had to be polished with a tea towel. I wonder if Martha really understands the purpose of Wheelbarrow! But it is very red and shiny and new. So who can fault her?

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Friday, August 05, 2011

The Empty Chair

After Mammy died we decided that we would not be in too much of a hurry to dispose of her possessions. We all felt that we needed some breathing space.

But eventually, we knew it would have to be done.

In this past week a great deal has been done. A great deal still remains to be done but the task has been started.

Kerry Sister has been here for a week and she has worked hard. She left this morning. This afternoon I was baby sitting and called out 'home' to say some sort of a goodbye and while Miss Martha slept, I wept and wept. A lot of tears have been shed in Matty's house this past week.

My parents built that house nearly forty years ago and they hadn't a whole lot of money to do it with so, when the time came to fit and furnish it, they had to make economies. As the years passed Matty replaced nearly all the original furniture with better pieces. These last few years she had it nearly the way she wanted it. I was with her a few years back when she bought her three piece suite and I remember thinking, 'that's going to outlast her'. We all encouraged her to improve the house because we knew how much pleasure she got out of it. The two youngest sisters were very handy and they built her kitchens and laid wooden floors. Every time they came home there would be a project, either woodwork or decorating or hanging new curtains. The young brother would be getting her to modernise her light fittings and overseeing the general maintenance. The rest of us would help out in other ways – maybe driving her around searching for the perfect thing or helping out with a few extra quid towards a new carpet or curtains. I'd get her plants for the garden and I wasn't the only one either.

She was still at it after the diagnosis of terminal cancer - a new back door in July 2010, the Leitrim sister re-upholstering stools and footstools for her. She was even re-organising the china in her corner cabinet from her bed when she couldn't get up.

So – with such a mother you can imagine how painful it has been to take her house apart. To even think about the removal from her home of all the nice furniture she waited so long for is hard. But it is the small things that scald my heart. Her slippers, her handbag, her toiletries and her address book. Her hand writing in this or that notebook. Her bedroom, with her matching wardrobe and chests of drawers and all the personal touches gone now. There are no clothes, no books, no holy pictures, no rosary beads – all that remains now are her embroidered slippers, her toilet bag and a cupboard full of empty hangers. And soon, very soon that will be gone too and Matty's house, our home place, will just be an empty shell.