Friday, 12 September 2014

Ya Couldn't Make It Up!

Earlier this week I was early for an appointment in town so I looked about for somewhere to sit. The early morning sunshine had that lovely autumn tinge and a freshness to the air so I sat me down on the Courthouse steps. I was sitting there singing through a piece of music I'm working on and people walking past on their business when one of the town drunks ambled to a stop in front of me.

(Yes I know some of them, living in the centre of town a while I got to know and enjoy all sorts of  irregular people.)

Anyhow he stops and weaves about trying to focus on me and after a minute asks anxiously, 'Are you alright there?'

'Arrah yes, I'm fine thanks. I'm not waiting to go inside if you're concerned.'

'Well that's grand.' And off he ambles...

Dacency en't entirely lost so it isn't.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Overheard in Conversation

Last Friday a friend and I decided to have a night on the town. Her husband was heading out to a Session with friends and we had worked hard enough for one week. She had decided  we would try out the new(ish) cocktail bar, Lillies, and catch a late night film, the new Helen Mirren one 'The Hundred Foot Journey' that order so I would be sober to drive home...that was the theory!

It was a great evening and a very late one, ending up at her place with her husband entertaining us with his version of Comedy Hour. As he is ill and his good days can be counted on one hand it was an absolute gift of an evening.

Anyhow yesterday after Church I was telling an elderly lady the story and recommending the film and generally having a chit chat. After turning away I overheard her telling another friend in penetrating tones: 'Oh H. is fine, she had a great time at the Bordello on Friday night.'

Sheesh! That's my reputation scuppered!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014


A spot of foraging doesn't half lift the spirits!

Last evening I decided that the brambles along the roadway really needed their loads lightening, so after paying the rent I picked and grazed my way back home. (The rent book was put to excellent use fending off nettles which got in the way).

Then, leaving berries and rent book on the wall I climbed over the gate to see what my cottage looked like from the back, don't you find things are often quite alien if you look at them from a different angle?

Unfortunately (for you) I didn't have my camera with me, fortunately for me as I fell into a bit of a quagmire! I waded and slithered around the back yard and found an old boreen, a lot of fallen sticks and branches and a good bit of mud, also some midges. So this is what I returned with:

 A potential water butt, two (not very old) useful bottles for putting flowers in, a couple of fires' worth of sticks and:
Specially valuable loot old tin pan suitable for use as an ash bucket, as well as the blackberries, of course.

Not bad huh? Saved me the price of an ash bucket, two bags of kindling and fruit for dessert and breakfast...I'll have to see how to rig up the water butt. And what did it cost me? A few hours of enjoyment clambering up and down the ditches, through a bit of a marshy patch in the peace and quiet of a windless evening discovering the lay and remains of the old homestead I'm living on. And some midge bites I suppose.

It can be a good life sometimes.

I must remember that.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Good Day/ Bad Day

Do you ever find that if something really good happens, particularly unexpectedly, then something bad often happens just afterwards, usually the next day?

Sometimes I wonder if its God making sure I don't get cocky, or, when I was younger I used to think I was being punished for having too much fun.... Now I wonder whether it is just about balance or what-goes-up must-come-down-ish-ness.

I'm not talking small good, or a touch of luck, or even small inconveniences, but the bigger ones you are grateful/ungrateful for.

Yesterday I got a bus south and had a really nice day out with an acquaintance, lunch, walk, talk, listening, a laugh, of those days you fix in your memory as a bright marker. The sort of day which comes round once every few months if I'm lucky, though now I think about it I had a similar lovely afternoon with another friend in August so maybe I really was pushing my luck. And then today started middling and disintegrated badly, with 'words'. You know, those kind of 'words'?

A pattern I can identify over and over in my life, so much so that its rarely I look forward to anything or let myself really enjoy myself for fear of the re-payment. Tell me that's daft, I know it.

So now I'm looking at the map of Ireland trying to triangulate the farthest distance between here and Dublin on one line and somewhere I could move to on the far apex...I'm wondering about Dingle or Valentia Island? If one was allowed to reside on the Blasket Islands I would certainly consider them. Somewhere really difficult to get to which preferably has no mobile phone coverage and too stormy to permit telegraph lines...I'll keep looking...

Tuesday, 26 August 2014


The Noddy car has finally driven me to the point of complete exasperation.

Sunday evening on the way home there was a grungy rattley dragging sound from under the car so I pulled onto the side of the road (yes, very lucky it happened where the road was wide enough to do that) and behold! quel horreur! the exhaust was disengaged (two months of regular welding repairs  dust-bitten).


I crawled home (wasn't wearing shoes with laces), got up the laneway (snail's pace, ha ha) and after wrestling with string and the under-junk, have tied the exhaust pipe so it won't drag (think its tied to a bracket holding the fuel line, or something...)

So I'm having to drive slowly (for me) and avoid bumps (really?) in the hopes of keeping the string intact. Easier said than done. It sounds like an outboard motor but without the water-skiers trailing behind, and gobbling fuel, of course. Very environmentally unsound.

Last night I started phoning around the car ads on DoneDeal to everything in this county within my (puny) price range and guess what? The best ones were snapped up the day after they appeared. Has no one any consideration?

So now I'm scavenging around friends and relatives to see whether anyone knows anyone with a grotty car to sell...and wonder of wonders I think I might have actually found one.

So, not all bad, more of a steep learning curve as I haven't dealt with all the car buying paperwork and money and tax and change of insurance since the early days in East Africa, and its possible they  do things differently here in Ireland.


We'll see.

Alas poor Noddy I knew him well, but yes, he was a numbskull like a certain Danish friend we know.

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Discouraging Snails or...

How To Discourage Snails From Hanging Out In One's Kitchen:

Turn the music up loud and play rock- they don't much like rock, too difficult to climb.

Tell them they are not welcome.

Ask them to leave- doesn't generally work, unless your Snailese is better than mine, in which case could you give me a few useful phrases? (Coming soon 'The Berlitz Guide to Snailese'.)

Play Café music, they don't like that either as the coffee grounds scramble their slime paths.

Bring in a rabbit from the field and ask them to race the snails...actually that didn't work so well with the hare and the tortoise, did it?

Tell them to hurry up and get on with whatever they're doing and hope you annoy 'em enough to make 'em leave.

Kidnap them and sell them into slavery to the French Restaurant...guess who's been listening to Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat?

Invite some ducks to tea.

And if all the above fail, evict 'em by throwing them over the wall into the orchard- it discombobulates them, you know?

They even ate the cover of a good novel.

 Any better ideas?

Sunday, 27 July 2014

If Wishes Were Horses...

Last night after the Concert I was attending, I gave a small friend a lift home. After putting stuff into his Mom's car we walked across the park to my car with him all full of chat and bounce.

We arrived at my small, rusty, post-vandalised Noddy car (which he knows, not like it was a surprise!) and he stood for a moment under the street lamp contemplating it before turning to me and in a very long-suffering tone (as only small boys can do..) remarked:

'Oh H. I do wish you drove a Maserati.'

HAH! You 'n' me both, babe!!!!


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