Friday, 30 July 2010

Of Bookmark, Potatoes and Tea Pot!

This came to light when I was emptying a cupboard yesterday: Middlest must have made it when she was about six or seven.
Just a bookmark, but you'd think it was the Crown Jewels!
One forgets how they were when they were younger, its nice to be reminded sometimes, and it certainly gave us all a laugh!

Last night for supper I thought we'd have baked potatoes with all the trimmings...all the trimmings of the salad patch, I mean!!

Just before going into town to get Eldest and friend I pulled out the potato basket and lo! nary a spud in the house! Some supper!

Its all very well having children old enough to scavenge, I mean fend, for themselves, but when they leave my cupboards in a similar state to Mrs Hubbard's, then I have a problem. Luckily I was able to get potatoes at the petrol station on the way home.

We had a near miss one morning last week with Youngest; she arrived into our room just after the Hub had brought tea and flung herself down on the bed in drama queen mode. For the first time in years the Hub had made a pot of tea (instead of mugs) and her head narrowly missed hitting the pot.

I was horrified and exclaimed that I didn't want to spend the rest of the month in the hospital with her scalded, and what would the doctors think? Youngest's answer went something along the lines of:

'Well if I can sprain my ankle jumping out of a tree and crack my wrist dancing on a see-saw, I don't think they'll be too surprised if I scald myself by head-butting the tea pot!'

As you can tell, she's a regular visitor in Out-Patients!!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Thankful...oh! Its Friday!

Has it been Thursday all day? Sorry! I was busy and I seem to have missed it....whoops!

1) Thankful for busy days of achievements- even long awaited chores need doing at some point!! I think...

2) Thankful for friends who come and stay, especially easy-going people who take us as they find us!

3) Thankful for a house with elastic walls and carpeted floors! Even when we run out of bed-space, there's always the floor!

4) Thankful for a Hub who is such a handyman, and willing to deal with his wife's stupidity...(see previous post!!)

5) Thankful for my mad, bad, crazy dogs who are company, entertainment and a daily lesson in living every day to the full: they are never tired, or bored, or fed up: every day is a joyous new beginning, outside the front door is a wonderful new fresh world, each walk is full of new smells to investigate, running with the wind in their ears is always wonderful, and they are always always ALWAYS delighted to see us.

Is there any better way to live?

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Of Shelf, Friend and Dog!

About those shelves...

The first one came down no problem, if you discount the sore wrists: the second one, however, was another story...

Apparently the Hub took the radiator off to put the brackets into the wall because when I thought the shelf would come away it didn't! There were three screws down behind the radiator! Aaargh!

So it had to hang off the wall for the rest of the day waiting for the Hub to return, close valves, drain the radiator, disconnect it, unhook it from the wall, unscrew the shelf, replace the radiator, yadda yadda yadda....was I popular? Was I heck!!

So I spent the rest of the day with the piano in the middle of the hall whilst I did as much else as I could- only problem being that Youngest and I had to use the back door as the piano and sundry other objects were blocking the front door!!

Anyhow, today I've re-housed most things and the place is more or less (possibly less, rather than more?) back to as normal as it gets.

One entertaining thing did happen though while I had the dining chairs stacked with the contents of two cupboards I was moving. Hoover-dog was indulging in a spot of his usual summer sport, Fly Chasing, skidded under the table in hot pursuit...only to find he was stuck! Normally he would knock the chairs out of his way, but because they were heavy with 'stuff' he couldn't! It was a few minutes before I realised that the frantically waving black tail was signalling for help and shifted the chairs to get him out- it was awfully funny!

Which reminds me: last week Hoover-dog was hopefully following a piece of cake around as the Hub was eating it, so when Hub sat down in his chair on the front porch, Hoover-dog sat too... without checking his position...he missed the porch and rolled down the steps onto the driveway!! It was only hilarious!
But I tell you, his beady eyes never left that piece of cake!! He must have a rotating head!

Tonight Eldest is bringing a College friend home for a few days. She is an Overseas student, from Finland, and Eldest thinks she ought to see more of Ireland than just Dublin! I hope she survives us...

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Hazel's Book Club! and Shelving Shelves!

Hurray! Hurray! We're on our way!
Our online Book Club starts today!

(to misquote the Berenstein Bears...mis-spent motherhood!!)

If you want to visit, or join in, head on over to Hazel's place?

Have you ever un-screwed shelves off a wall?

Its blinkin' hard work! Especially when they've been put up with power tools- I try to avoid machinery (except the washing machine and hoover, of course...actually, come to think of it, I try to avoid them too but for a different reason!) as I'm convinced most machines are out to get me! Like doors and walls are out to get Eldest!!!

The Hub was called into work early and I don't like waiting for things to happen so I'm removing the shelves, prior to moving the piano, and then the cupboard, and then...its has become necessary to re-instate a bed in the spare room so the sewing has to be removed, and the table, cupboard etc which accompanies it.

Hence the furniture moving in the hall.

Not that its a problem, its just tougher than I thought it would be!

Also the dogs are afraid that it means we are moving house so I have to discuss everything with them, and Hoover-dog insists upon supervising the work!

If I have any fingers left tomorrow I'll let you know...!!!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Time Out!

Helloooooo! Did ya miss me?? Was it all very quiet on the western front? Did you think I'd gone with the wind?
Well fear no more as I'm back! Not that I actually went anywhere but the Hub was on leave for two weeks and since it was two years since he'd spent leave with us I didn't want to miss time with him.
Bit pathetic after 22 years of marriage but there it is.

The girls have been around a lot, which is lovely, so there has been much racket and feasting- I'd forgotten the continual snacking when there's a houseful! Constant trails of breadcrumbs- I tell you, Hansel and Gretel had nothing on my crew!
Also Youngest has taken a vow of non-cleanliness and declared every day National Pyjama Day so the creative insults have been fairly flying...

I've done loads of work in the garden too, and the Hub has cleared more of the jungle. Even Youngest spent an afternoon building a stone wall across a new flowerbed. I've planted tree seedlings and basically the place is starting to look like someone lives here, rather than a neglected dump-site!!

So nothing exciting, apart from a brief excursion to Boyle for lawn-mower parts, just time out. Much needed time out though!!

I hope yous are all well, and I'll get caught up on your newses over the week!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday strikes again! Please visit Greg's to read his Thankfuls as they are always worth reading!
I think today's Thankfuls are a bit of a mixed bag...
1. Thankful that I've had some or all of my girls at home recently, on and off, now and then, occasionally- you get the gist! They ebb and flow like the tide but its just so good to have them around.
2. Thankful for my garden even if it remains mostly uncharted know on Medieval maps when they wrote over the unexplored territory 'Here Be Dragons!'? Well they may have been referring to my garden you know! Its hard work but really good for the soul.
3. Thankful that the Hub has two week's leave at present and I get to spend all of every day with him. He's catching up on his weariness and also doing heavy work in the garden, and its just really good to have him at home.
4. Thankful for the rain this last fortnight, even if we seem to have moved rather abruptly from 'Summer' to 'Monsoon season' you didn't know there was a monsoon season in the west of Ireland!! Ha! Ha! There isn't normally!! But the rain is good, very good.
5. Thankful for ripe raspberries! Straight from the bush...odd how seldom there are enough for everyone to have a good serving! Only a gardener knows the real delight of grazing the veg patch on a summer's day- ask Greg! He frequently says the very same thing!!
6. This is an extra, and a bit of an odd one perhaps:
Yesterday afternoon the Hub was working in the Cathedral so I went along and did some clearing in the Graveyard. Our Church is right in the middle of town but it was really peaceful working there despite cars and people on the other side of the wall.
As I weeded my way round slabs and headstones and crypts and doors I was thinking of the history of the place and all the people who have gone before us; the folks who have worshipped in the Church, who have mown the grass, who have carved the headstones, who have wept, laughed, feared, prayed, trusted; who have entered that place since 1245 to speak to God and been heard.
The first Rector was appointed after the Reformation in 1625, prior to that its possible the Church was served by the Friars from the Abbey, records are a bit sparse. Consider 1625 to 2010 as a modern Parish Church? That's a lot of people- that's some tradition we follow folks.
So then, I'm thankful for the past Parishioners of our Church who kept it in good repair and have preserved it so that each Sunday we can follow their footsteps and worship there.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


This morning when Eldest wandered into the kitchen I asked, as usual, whether she’d slept well?

This was her answer:

‘Actually, no! So I texted Middl’st and she texted back ‘Go away! I’m sleeping!’ so I texted Youngest and she texted back ‘Go away! I’m sleeping!’ so I texted my friend and he texted back that he was just out of a five hour meeting and looking at the moon so I texted him ‘Did the cow jump over it?’ and he texted back ‘I’m going home to sleep!’ so I was really bored and I got talking to God about stuff- at least He was awake!’

…all in one sentence and without drawing breath…

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Oops! and Oops Again!

So there I am with the cloth, carefully cleaning the kitchen table so that I can fold and sort all the clean laundry without getting grubby marks on anything...

...and then I think 'Oh I'll finish gathering the amaryllis seeds first!'...

....and in the course of detaching seeds from seed heads what do I do?

First of all I knock over the pot of carefully collected seeds, which are very fly-away and spray across the table...

...and then I knock over the amaryllis plant, which sends compost all over the table, chair and floor....

Back to square one- ho! hum!

On Saturday this lily came into flower- isn't it amazing? I think I must have let the pot dry out at the crucial time because of all the other flowers the petals have been holey; so you can imagine my delight! That night we had a ferocious storm and on Sunday morning my lily was destroyed...such a shame.

I'm sure there must be a lesson in that somewhere?

Yesterday we worked in the garden all day and boy! did I ache by the evening! Since I'm still at the stage of opening beds, digging, and doing mostly ground work it was pretty heavy going. I'm thinking of entering Mrs Universe Body-Building Competitions with all the muscles I must be acquiring- whacha think???

Today its bright and dry and windy so I began building a low dry-stone wall but now I'm huffing a break!

So, another wildly productive day at the coal face!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Slithers of Gold

On Saturday I was reminded of this hymn; the words are just beautiful!
Its title in the Hymnal is 'Slithers of Gold'- very evocative, don't you think?

Today I awake and God is before me.
At night, as I dreamt, He summoned the day;
for God never sleeps, but patterns the morning
with slithers of gold or glory in grey.

Today I arise and Christ is beside me.
He walked through the dark to scatter new light.
Yes, Christ is alive, and beckons His people
to hope and to heal, resist and invite.

Today I affirm the Spirit within me
at worship and work, in struggle and rest.
The Spirit inspires all life which is changing
from fearing to faith, from broken to blessed.

Today I enjoy the Trinity round me,
above and beneath, before and behind;
the Maker, the Son, the Spirit together-
they called me to life and call me their friend.

(by John L. Bell and Graham Maule)

It seems to me that this was written srarting from the words of St. Patrick's Breastplate, which is very well-known to the Irish in general.

See what you think of this post too, if you have time?

Friday, 9 July 2010


Mist and Drizzle today, look here if you've forgotten what rain looks like!!

Last Sunday it was ten years to the day that we arrived to live in Ireland. Its odd how the mind seems to fracture into sections of time. The others have been talking about the last ten years and the changes it has brought for them, but my mind seems to have turned back to East Africa and I've been wandering through memories of that time.

There are many things about living there which I don't miss- drought, food shortages, the poor roads and worse driving, lack of phones, electricity and water rationing, lousy security, the uncertainty of day to day living, two hours driving and more to get to a supermarket or School or friends or Church, riots, living in fear...and being homesick.

But although those are some of the reasons we decided to leave, there were many many delights to living there:
Once you get to know them the people are lovely; resilient, amusing, easily amused, forthright, chancers, generous and kind. Like the Widow at Zarephath many people would share their last meal and smile while they did it.
Of those who are Christians their faith in God's provision and goodness is absolute.
I miss being around African people.

The countryside is incredible; everyone who visits will tell you so, and its true. The variety from tropical greenery and endless coconut palms along the Coast, to the red dust and rocks further up-country, to smooth green tea and coffee plantations, the little cultivated plots of vegetables and bananas dotted everywhere and the huge swathes of blueish pineapple plantations.
For a while I worked in a Del Monte Plantation school and besides money, my salary included two pineapples a week and a tee-shirt at the end of the year!

Having grown up by the sea in the West of Ireland, whenever we had the opportunity we headed either to the Coast (eight hours driving to Mombasa, another couple to Malindi or Diani), Lake Baringo (five hours driving, very arid) or Lake Naivasha (three hours, highly populated, very lush). With those distances we didn't get too many safaris but still over fifteen years of living there I reckon I saw parts of just about the whole country.

I was lucky though because when I arrived the country was only beginning to change and it was still very safe for a single girl in a beat up car to belt about on her own- the only risk really was getting stuck somewhere and not being able to dig myself out by myself! That was the only problem I ever had and it happened just the once when I was trying to get away rather fast from some annoyed elephant, came round a corner too fast and misjudged the ruts. I bottomed the Datsun and was on my hands and knees under the car digging when a taxi load of Russian tourists came along and their driver stopped to give the Datsun a push. It then took off so suddenly I had to tear after it to grab the handbrake before it hit the taxi- still full of Russians sitting watching out their rear window!! It was terribly funny- the driver and I stood and roared laughing, we couldn't help ourselves!

At the Coast it was a humid heat but once you are up 1000ft or so it is drier and very pleasant, in the Highlands and around the Aberdares and Mt Kenya it gets frosty at night. Since the only heating is by a fire, and usually the only hot water too, in many places to sit around a fire every night is quite normal, having had to stay in from the heat through the middle of the day.

I've heard it said that East Africa is a place of contrasts, and I suppose that is true in many ways, but when you are there you don't notice, its just the way it is. It is still a rather slower and more old-fashioned way of living, certainly in the rural areas, and you soon learn to be very self-sufficient but inter-dependant too. You would never pass someone who needed help, you'd offer lifts to people until your car could hold no more (thereby turning many journeys into a party!), you talk to everyone language barrier or not because that might be the only person you see all day, and as I said above, you learn to be generous with everything you have because you never know when you'll be on the receiving end.

This isn't meant to be a summary of fifteen years, its rather a collage of present thoughts. I love living back here, and will stay as long as the Hub can get work, but East Africa had its moments too!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Book Club Excitement!

Ok, I readily admit that I nicked this picture from Hazel's Place- but there's a reason!
Hazel's Book Club is on the 27th July, and my copy of 'Shiver' leaped through the letterbox yesterday absolutely howling to be read! And its GOOD! I started it last night!

Please visit Hazel's place if you'd like to join in- this is the first time I've taken part in an online Book Club, so I'm looking forward to regular visitors here will know, I LOVE books!

(The link will take you to the page where Hazel has written about 'Shiver' so you can see what sort of book it is.)

Today I'm gardening between squalls of rain, more more normal Irish Summer than the heat and sunshine we've had the last two months! Mind you, when one's digging out a new flowerbed, and de-stoning the earth and heaving out ####### great rocks, wind and rain is good weather!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Cleaning?? Oh! Cleaning!

You know its long gone time to clean when:

The dust Bunnies are having grandchildren

Spiders on the window ledges don’t just roll over and play dead; they turn their back on you and keep spinning

The house plants have cobwebs

There’s mould growing on the shoe pile at the bottom of the stairs

Even the cobwebs are dusty

The yoghurt pot of nettle tips you picked and brought in a few weeks ago to keep the flies away have grown to nearly 8” tall- on the dregs of the rinsed out yoghurt?

The dogs have run off with the floor rugs so many times that even they have forgotten where they are

The potted ivy has grown over and completely obscured the vacuum cleaner- ah shame!

You’ve lost the best tablecloth and it isn’t until you clear the dining table of accumulated leftover homework and end of term school projects that you discover the table cloth has been there all the time

You can’t remember the colour of the bedroom carpet

You have to lift the lid of the goldfish tank to check whether the fish are still inside because you can’t see through the glass for green algae- scrap this, the goldfish have cleaned up the glass themselves…its amazing what can be achieved with a bit of windolene and a chamois cloth, even when you’re a fish

The utility room is unusable due to the amount of re-cycling waiting to be taken to the quays

you could have sworn there were five humans and two dogs living in the house with you but you haven’t seen a soul for weeks now…

You decide to go stay with your sister for a week to get away from it all…and you can’t find the front door to leave...

Monday, 5 July 2010

Get Ready to Cheer Loudly...

Winners Ahoy!

So....lets pretend that today is Saturday. Ok? Got that?

Now, there were eight entries to the Doggerel Contest and you know how I like to give as many as possible in the audience something to take home? Well my family and other animals came up with three prizes:



and A Grand Draw

The funniest is a joint prize because after much gleeful chortling, no consensus could be arrived at. So the Winners of the Funniest Doggerel Rhymes are......Ta Da!

Gran and Griselda Pugh! (cue Mad Clapping everyone, thank you thank you!!)

Now the Winner of The Best Doggerel Rhyme was unanimous and easy, no fisticuffs involved:

Amanda! (cue Wolf Whistles and More Mad Clapping, thank you thank you!!)

And finally to The Grand Draw, much fun was had with this:

Sorry to say the Hat was too large for this draw, yous all kept getting lost in the dents, so I used a candle holder instead- but removed the candle first (and the paperclips and a cork...).
Then Midd'list stirred yez all together and choos'd one:
Ta Da! LadyDi is the winner of the Grand Draw!!!
(cue Cheers and Even More Mad Clapping, thank you thank you!!)
I'll email the people whose addresses I don't have and by the end of the week there will be THINGS in the post for yez all!!
Well I don't know about you peeps (that's what Eldest calls everyone) but I had SUCH FUN with this contest!
Thank yous all for entering, and if you want to read the winning poems check back to the comments here where they are preserved in aspic for generations to come...well, maybe not...and what's aspic when its at home??

And just in case you are afraid the fun is totally over I've had a GREAT IDEA for the next Contest- but you'll have to wait until some significant number of posts or something to see what it is- but its not Doggerel, for a change!!
Ha! Ha! (did that sound Witchy? or Gleeful? it was meant to be Gleeful.)
(On the other hand, with threats like that overhanging my Friends like a Damocles Sword will there be anyone left to enter the next Contest I wonder to myself????? Mumble mumble...)

Friday, 2 July 2010

Ode to Slurry- King of Smells!!

Monday the grass was cut and baled for silage:
Thursday they began 'mook shpreddin' (muck spreading to non-Irish) and I'm tellin' ya, the smell is enough to make your eyes water!
But as they say, 'its just good clean dirt!'
Anyhow, since I've got yous all writing Doggerel I thought I'd grace you all with my
Ode to Slurry!!
Oh Slurry, Slurry, King of Smells,
Thou black and goopy pong
Spreading wide o'er hills and dells,
Thy Stench remaineth long.
The Farmers love you very much-
They say you smell of Money;
It may be that their Hearts you touch
To us that's very funny!
Oh mucky Slurry, King of Smells
For you I sing this Song:
Please soak in quickly, deep and well,
And do not linger long?

And if that inspires you to doggerish flights of fancy please enter the Doggerel Contest!
Last chance- I'm picking the winners tomorrow, two prizes- one for the best and the other a draw! I've been sewing surprises yesterday!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Tinkful Toisday!

Thank you to Greg for hosting Thankful Thursday! He gets up REALLY early to do it you know!

This week's Thankfuls:

1. Thankful for this amazingly warm weather we are having, and also that it rained over the past few days- good growing conditions. For us, this warmth is wonderful!

2. Thankful for all the flowers, wild and cultivated, which are presently blooming; they do so brighten up the hedges, the countryside, the garden, and my day!

3. Thankful that when the car has been in the Garage recently they have been able to lend us one of their run-around vehicles. Being a rural one-car family has its challenges!

4. Thankful for the Sunday School children in Church and the fun of being with them. Last Sunday was the Sunday School Prize giving and the children did a play and sang- all four of them! It was great! (Our Congregation would consist almost entirely of retired folks, and of those of us with children they are mostly Secondary School and College age.)

5. Thankful that with all the 'away' activities my girls are into, that I can trust God to keep watch over them and to hold onto them. I've said it before but I'm saying it again- how do parents cope with their children's antics without a faith in God's love and providence?

Well, that 's my Thankfuls for this week- if you want to join in do visit Greg? He welcomes everyone at his place!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...