Saturday, October 29, 2016


You know something? I'm completely scundered right now, which is usually the case when I spend the entire day in the house, cleaning and stuff. Thing is I listen to the radio when I'm in the house and today - that was truly a miserable experience.

Today I hate,

Arlene Foster. Truly, madly deeply.

The USA elections. Donald Trump in particular. People who support Trump.

Sorry about this one for some of you are great folk - people who identify as christian. You are NOT being persecuted, you are just being challenged. Yours is not the only way to be.

This fucking province. Petitions of concern. Politicians.

Tomorrow the house can go fuck itself. I'm going for a walk then sorting the garden. I may collect leaves and I may just stop and appreciate this beautiful autumn.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sleepy Boy Bert

The Chronicles of Bert: Part 1- Bert Van Winkle

Those who know Bert well also know that he is very fond of sleeping.

This is Bert enjoying 40 winks in County Sligo. We were on holiday with the Banjos and Bert took full advantage of all the extra sleeping opportunities that vacationing affords.

Bert often enjoys a power nap during the working day. He has no difficulty sleeping under a dog. In fact the dog serves a very useful purpose in that it will alert Bert to the arrival of a vehicle in the yard. This saves Bert from the embarrassment of being caught napping.

It is a pity there was no Scruff around that time the two elderly ladies discovered him curled up asleep in his poly tunnel cosily wrapped in a length of horticultural fleece. He says he never heard them come in and the first he knew of their presence was a gentle poke with a sensible shoe and hearing one matron say to the other,
D'ye think he's dead, Aggie?

Bert's notorious love of shut-eye has been celebrated in this painting by Zoe. Most people who see this picture marvel at the likeness. Except Pearlie who thought it was 'damnable', looked nothing like her darling son and said Zoe could 'paint noan'.

The Chronicles of Bert: Part 2 - What Happens When You Stay In Bed Too Long

Then there was the time Bert slept for so long that he woke up with a beard.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Chilli Jam

Matty was not a maker of jam but as children we never wanted for home made preserves as the other mothers were forever producing vast quantities of jams made from blackcurrants, gooseberries, plums and, my favourite - rhubarb and ginger. Jam would be made from the most commonplace fruit, the fruit that grew in almost everyone's garden in great quantities. Rarely did we have raspberry and strawberry jam for these fruits were grown less and were more prized. Actually I cannot think of anything more horrible to do to delicious raspberries or succulent strawberries than to turn them into a dreary jam.

Like my mother I've not been keen on jam making. Like her I prefer to use fruit to make pies, puddings and crumbles. And when I'm not making sweet desserts I will be making wine. But then there are fruits and that do not lend themselves to wine at all. Fruits like chillis. Our friend Les has been giving us little pots of delicious chilli jam for some years now. Then last autumn he gave me a well-grown chilli plant which I planted it in the poly tunnel and hoped it would not die. It survived and, this year, produced a good crop of waxy red fruit so, obviously, I had to make my own chilli jam.

I've been putting the dread moment off for over a week now but had to do it tonight before Now I'm sitting here with hot, chilli-burnt fingers waiting for the jam to cool for it was runny when I put it into the jars – so hope it sets, hope it's not too hot.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

On Being Informed

Sometimes I really, really love the internet. Almost all solutions to life's little problems are to be found therein. For example, my printer wouldn't print and I knew it had enough ink. So I input Google with the printer's name and model number and the error message and lo and behold - there is a step by step You Tube video that only a cretin could fail to understand and within moments the printer is printing. Did I mention that sometimes I really, really love the internet?

The first time I realised how awesome it was in helping out with technical stuff was when I wanted to check the oil and water in my car. This was many years ago and I wished to prove to Bert that this was something I could handle on my own. But I couldn't figure out how to open the bonnet! Off to the internet I went and Googled something like this,

How to open the boot of a Peugeot Whatever.

I don't remember what sort of Peugeot it was except it was dark green but I knew then and the internet informed me that there was a little lever in a compartment under the steering wheel. How weird was that?

The only thing is, what will happen to the parts of our brains that held practical information when we always turn to the world wide web? The only thing I personally seem to have held on to are the recipes for shortcrust pastry and Victoria sponge and who played in every band that I liked when I was 15-18. Everything else I have to Google.

A band I liked when I was 15-18

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Looking Back: This Day Ten Years Ago

The Role of Strong Drink in Alien Abductions

Young Loveheart called round tonight. He told us a very strange tale about a recent lad’s night out when his good friend, Young Rooney, was abducted and taken to Logan’s Fashions near Cloughmills. Young Rooney believes that at least one of the 20 plus measures of Smirnoff & Red Bull that he had consumed was spiked. I asked Young Loveheart why he hadn’t looked after his mate a little better and he explained that he was drunk himself and too busy ‘getting off’ with women. The fact remains that Young Rooney went missing for several hours and was eventually found wandering aimlessly along the Woodtown Road.

Young Rooney has no idea how he got from the Countryman’s Inn to Logan’s and back again to the Woodtown Road. I think he must have been abducted by aliens and that the aliens must have administered a hangover cure because he had no suffering the following day. Despite this stroke of fortune he is badly rattled by his experience and says he will never drink or go out ever again.

I had a similar experience myself many decades ago. Vodka was not involved. In my case it was gin. I have only the haziest recollection but I do remember I was rescued by a lovely couple in a Volkswagen Beetle.