Saturday, 15 December 2012

A Home for Hubert the Hippo

Do yous remember my Hubert the Hippo?

Well he obviously made an impression on my friend's brothers who helped me move the heavy stuff into the wee hoosie, as last night I received a text from same boyos, 'We can bring over the hippo Thursday!'

I'm telling ya, there's nothing like the ambassadorial attributes of a Hippo!!!!

SO! Another friend's husband's uncle has an empty flat in town and as of yesterday morning I am its new tenant! It's beside the river, between two pubs, over an accountant's office and about 30 seconds walk from the studio...God moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform!

Youngest loves the flat, to me its ok; affordable and available.
Monday I've to pay the deposit, sign the dotted line, etc and on Thursday will move. In between, the place needs scrubbing to within an inch of its life and the wee hoosie packing up. Youngest is rounding up all her friends to help load and unload the boyos' van, with the promise of dinner at 'The Swagman' as payment...might as well turn it into a party while we're at it...sure isn't it the week before Christmas?

Saturday I've to turn in the keys of the hoosie and collect my deposit.

Miracles happen, I'm so lucky!

So is Hubert the Hippo!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Heckeva Week...

You know the sort of week when you wonder what else could go wrong?

Present concatenation of disaster:

parking fine
house sold, discovered by accident, can't get answer as to when I have to leave but soon
car broke down...twice, rent money used for repairs
subzero temperatures again and house heating not yet repaired, landlord not accepting my calls
front door slammed locking me out
flat stony broke
got mad with my Principal and resigned....
....he shredded my letter, isn't it SO ANNOYING when your friends know you better than you know yourself?

Then this afternoon a friend rang me up and said 'Come around right now for tea.' I was so thankful and grateful to her. Her husband cooked supper too before I had to return to school to do some work with the book-keeper on the accounts, soooo nice.

And THEN, listen to this, a lady in the queue behind me at the supermarket passed me a €10 off voucher which she said she didn't want when I was checking out! I'm telling you I nearly cried from gratitude...wasn't that just the kindest thing?

Sunday, 2 December 2012

La Belle Maison d'Eckety!!

Ok, not so bella bella, but...well, see for yourself!

Before I show you some photos I just would like to set one record straight: when I was telling yous about my mad boomerang shaped house I certainly wasn't crying 'poor me'! I like it, and it likes me. I am very far from the poverty line here and although modern places would be more into the 21C convenience-wise, thousands of people in Ireland live in old-fashioned hoosie-homes like this, both in rural areas and in older sections of any settlement/ village/town/city. We rented a similar place in the country for seven years while we were getting our own place- even the carpet here is the same as it except brown instead of blue, the girls were highly entertained!

Bah! I can't get these into the correct order...
Kitchen, nice size, bright, NO HEAT!

Sunset over the yard- there's an old orchard beyond the shed,
 no access but lovely to look out on trees in the middle of town.
Sitting room, less than 9foot wide so this photo is deceptive.
Note the fab 1970s carpet and fireplace?!
My Christmas cacti survived the move and are perfectly happy!
Much MUCH more virulent shade of turquoise in reality!
Raggedy Ann hides a huge carpet hote I kept tripping on...

Upstairs landing- stairs not steep at all, but all very narrow.
And there you have it- the wee boomerang hoosie!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Bless You!!

I am so blessed in my cyber-buddies, so very blessed. You are all so good to write and send me your thoughts and also that some of you too have passed through this valley on your journey. I am humbled and begin to think that I may survive too. You are so encouraging.

Friends at school and around have been kind too, some really making the effort to remind me that they care. That too is encouraging.

I have hidden for the last month, afraid to be seen for fear of verbal abuse. Its been difficult and not just due to the demons in my head. Whatever other people are thinking, I think I am judging myself the most harshly of all since it does seem to me a wicked thing to have walked away from my marriage. And although the girls are free to visit me whenever they please, they continue to live with their father. From full time Mom to a few hours a week with each girl, if I'm lucky, is an overwhelming loss...of companionship and identity. I tell myself that it is early onset 'empty nest' syndrome!!!

I will take photos of my funny little house to show you.

Its over one hundred years old, with an outside loo and, in the back shed, the old yard fireplace for cooking! Its very narrow, maybe 8' wide, and shaped like a boomerang with hardly a square corner in the place. The fire heats the radiators and the hot water- no fire, no heat. There are three plug sockets upstairs, two in the sitting room and I thought there were three in the kitchen but then I found two more in a if I want to plug in something extra I have to use it in the cupboard and sit on the floor...

Eccentric in the extreme!!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Decision Made

Decision made
Marriage over
Moved out
Very sober.

Tiny house
Very old
No garden
Rather cold.

In town
Very handy
For the shops.

Lie ahead
Some weeping
Much dread.

Girls fine
I'll start again
Best wishes,

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Closed for...

You know the way you'd see signs on buildings, 'Closed for Renovations. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.' ?

Wouldn't it be nice to put a sign on one's Life, 'Closed for Renovations. If you're inconvenienced- tough.' ?

Admit it, there've been times you woulda if ya coulda!?

Monday, 15 October 2012

Christmas Cake Recipe


You'll need the following:

1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
4 large brown eggs
2 cups of dried fruit
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of brown sugar
Lemon juice
1 bottle of whiskey

Sample the whiskey to check for quality.
Take a large bowl. Check the whiskey again.
To be sure it's the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink. Repeat.
Turn on the electric mixerer, beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar and beat again. Make sure the whiskey is still OK.

Cry another tup. Tune up the mixer. Break two leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
Mix on the turner. If the fired druit gets stuck in the beaterers, pry it goose with a drewscriver.
Sample the whiskey to check for tonsisticity.

Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Who cares?
Check the whiskey. Now sift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
Add one table.
Spoon the sugar or something. Whatever you can find.
Grease the oven. Turn the cake tin to 350 degrees.
Don't forget to beat off the turner.
Throw the bowl out of the window.

Check the whiskey again and go to bed.

(A friend found this online and passed it around the Staffroom today. Seems as good a recipe as any really?)

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Thass Life Mom...

What IS it with teenagers?

Some days I feel as though I am the only person in this household actually walking on the ground; everyone else  appears to be travelling alongside on a trampoline on wheels! Up one minute, down the next, laughing turning to bickering in a flash. One moment I am having a conversation with a (reasonably) civilised human and the next I'm fending off a termagant whom I have just mortally insulted...and as for the poor Noddy car- well I'm surprised the passenger doors are still attached with all the slams they've received lately!

If Life is a washing machine I've been stuck in the 'spin and drain' cycle for some years now!

I really do feel that in the Instruction Manual for Life with which we are all (not) issued in the Maternity Ward, there ought to be instructions on activating a personal 'seatbelt sign' like they have on aeroplanes, just so I get a split second warning to duck before any particular daughter goes stratospheric....y'know?

Nuclear fallout is dangerous when taken regularly in large doses and close proximity.

So much for the teenage years, with us they appear to be lasting well into the twenties!

I thought that when the girls were little they were lovable and I couldn't possibly be happier with their company. Then when they were toddlers and the whole house was in constant turmoil with their antics, I thought that was the best time. Each began school and I thought that watching them learn was the most interesting and revelatory (?) experience, despite very rocky patches through the secondary years.

When Eldest went to College it was scary and hilarious but she came home with laundry and stories and disappeared again with half the pantry and that was great, whereas Middlest seems to bring most of the Drama Department home on a regular basis so that I have had to learn all about Ravening Hordes and The Warfare of Genghis Khan...which training has stood me in good stead for Youngest and her school friends.

I have recently entered the peculiar phase of getting to know boyfriends, which, let me tell you, is a whole new minefield of guesswork and twisted ankles (metaphorically speaking- big word!!) and brilliant fun in a 'how much can I get away with?' way.

At each stage, despite tantrums and stern talks and occasional despair, I thought THIS is the best time! But finally I am coming to realise that every time can be the best time, even the evenings I want to knock their heads together or when Middlest comes home with yet another tattoo...

If I take nothing away from the last twenty four years except the experience of Motherhood, that's ok, it still makes me one of the lucky ones.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Of Decisions and Chocolate...

Have you ever had to make alone a momentous decision which will have repercussions for everyone who is important to you? Trying to see the issues from every angle, considering all the main people it will affect, staying true to your-own-self and at the same time knowing that which ever way you turn things won't be the same again.

I think there are certain events or acts in one's life which yank skewif the whole fabric of one's habits, belief, faith, outlook etc. Sometimes it can be an inadvertent yank such as an accident, sometimes it is anticipated but not to the extent it side-swipes you, like one's first child, and sometimes it is something you never ever thought would zoom over the horizon to thwack you.

This decision or choice comes under the last category...and its not 'luck' or 'patience' or 'thought' which is needed, its a blinkin' crystal ball!!!!

I have always though that as long as one lives mindfully, making careful decisions and choices, then whatever happens (be it good or bad) one can at least believe that at any given point in one's life one made the best decisions given the information or circumstances of that particular time. But what if, years down the line, all those tiny or middling sized choices turn out to have lead up to a massive horrible choice? Can I still say that I did my best even if my best has led to the present situation?

I don't believe in pointless recrimination, never have. I don't look back with regret, largely because I forget stuff! For better or worse, I am a 'present moment' person, which drives my family and friends (and Principal) demented much of the time: I really have tried to change, but it hasn't stuck...which brings me back to this present present...

Just to put events back into their true perspective...a girl needs chocolate, right? Well when I went to get the newspapers after Church I saw Tesco had a special on Thornton's:
Ahhhh! Thornton's chocolates....delish-ness extraordinaire!
I could have resisted, of course, but it woulda been rude to do so at the price that was in it!!!!

So I didn't!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Sez It All...

Overheard in the Kitchen (2)

I was questioning Youngest on something a friend had told me last night to see what she knew, and did my usual opening of: 'I heard on the grapevine...'

She gave me one of those looks she does, combination of sceptical, curious, cagey and amused all in one, and remarked:

'Mom, at this stage I'm surprised you haven't got a whole Vinyard to yourself!'

We all burst out laughing- the mental image that conjures up is just too hilarious!

Put nosey Heckety in her place!!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Beatrix Potter I Ain't!

I know very well that being a compost addict brings with it the possibility of vermin. Of course I do!

But when I lift the lid of the compost bin and have a large, audacious rat shake his fist and rattle his sabre at me I think I'm entitled one loud 'eek!' ?

Cheeky so-n-so, better remember to kick the bin before opening it next time as I do really detest rats.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Overheard in the Kitchen

Youngest was cleaning up after a baking session whilst Eldest sat at the kitchen table texting and playing with an iPod...

Youngest: 'Would ya remove the technology, please? I'm trying to wipe the table here...'


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Of Time Lost

Golly to Goodness but where does Time go? Blink and you miss a week...or two...or three! I know I've been busy but didn't realise I was THAT busy!

School's back and and after a crazy-mad few weeks, everything is beginning to settle into its usual hoppity skippity progress, as in one day you think you've almost got a grip on work and the next two you wonder if you ever will...

Since Middlest moved home at the start of the month I feel as though I'm running a student hostel which leads to some interesting scenarios- I thought I was waking up Middlest the other morning and another girl's head popped out from the duvet!! Poor thing, she didn't want to be woken up at all!

Middlest's man, Car-boy, for future reference, is also around a lot, which is fun as he is a gas character, also he is quite happy to hang out with Youngest, and not every boyfriend would be as easy- going.

Youngest has begun her final year of school, kinda scary, you never think your youngest will actually grow up, do you? Ok, you might, but I didn't! She's had two friends here for the weekend and they have baked, cooked, watched films, gone jogging and talked the hind leg off every donkey in Connaught!

So it goes. The greenhouse progresses not at all, the weather has been unseasonably (and unreasonably) cold, the charity shops have nothing in my (ginormous) size, and four horses broke into the garden a fortnight back and ate all my trees down to the ground.

Things gotta be lookin' up soon....

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

A Greenhouse?

Yup! A greenhouse!

The Hub has agreed to build me a lean-to greenhouse against his beloved shed:

Site of future greenhouse!

Materials (you may need a magnifying glass!) timber, plastic from skip, perspex.

Tidied up compost heap, courtesy of the Hub- he can't bear a mess not of his creating, and the compost heap is MY mess...

A jungle tamed!!

A nicely weeded and mulched bed- with SUCH a straight edge!
I've started off so many vegetable seeds and they have begun sprouting now so I hope he really does built the greenhouse as promised. I'm going to be the most organised vegetable grower in Ireland come Spring!!

Funny thing a friend said last week about when I told him about the proposed greenhouse: 'The Irish do love their lean-to's, they even build lean-to's onto lean-to's!' And when I thought about it, its true!!

On another note, back to work/school yesterday, although the children don't return until next Monday. I thought it would be a nice gentle ease-in but no such luck- parents wanting second-hand uniforms, phone hopping, returning messages, booking services for office machines, staff trying to get organised, builders problems, Principal catching up on paperwork...and just what does all this have to do with me I ask?

Dunno, but it sure keeps Muggins busy!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Gardening-Oh My!!

What IS it with gardening?

What person in their right mind voluntarily goes out for hours on end in order to get dirty, hot, sweaty, burned (wind, me dears, NOT sun), scratched, bitten, stung, blistered (fingers) and end up aching all over?

And yet here we are in love with and possibly addicted to our gardens...out of all proportion to their beauty or usefulness!

Is there any other sport, hobby or activity which causes such bodily discomfort and damage for so little material gain????

Flowering montbretia on the driveway.

Boring old day lily, but so beautiful while they last.

This has a lovely yellow flower, but I can't remember what it is called, apparently I've been calling it the wrong name for years so of course I cannot get the correct name into my head now!
I've just spent hours on a stint of very satisfying destructive gardening, and the cherry on the cake was discovering a rose I thought was well deaded alive and flowering merrily under all the weeds!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

I WorkWorkWorkWork... the whole day long...

Isn't that the dwarfs song from Sleeping Beauty?

Well believe it or not, there have actually been enough dry spells in the last ten days for me to get some work done in the garden! A few drenchings too when I had my head down amongst the weeds and didn't notice the growing blackness of the sky, but maybe if I stand in the rain often enough I'll grow.....? Faint chance at this stage!

Firstly I weeded all along the montbretias, front and back, and was a bit disappointed when I realised how much of the growth was weed, not flower! Oooops! However in the last five days they have come along beautifully and are now just about flowering.
The grass and weeds along our verge were almost waist height as the strimmer is banjaxed. I took out the good old 'slasher' and hacked them down to a reasonable size. Its still all weeds, but its tidy weeds- a step in the right direction!!
 The blackberries are flowering ever so late; if we don't have an Indian summer nothing will ripen, but if we do we'll be inundated. Last year's crop was very patchy so we could do with plenty for jam!
 And I detest pulling up thistles even worse than nettles as they always seem to get me. Mind you, I was plenty stung too- anyone would think I was growing a nettle farm here. I lined the thistles up to put on the fire in the hopes of killing off any potential seeds, so alas alack but this fella is no more!
It doesn't look much does it, but the growth this summer has been something else with the wet and warm temperatures. I've done a fair bit of work around the patio and the beds along the walls but you can't really tell.

Oh well, I know everything is a bit tidier!!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Blue'n'Yalla Quilt

Finally, after much grumbling and grouching, the Blue'n'Yellow Baby Quilt is done!

The piecing went fine, and the stripes were an experiment with which I was reasonably satisfied, but I think next time I'll have them fanning out in all four directions. But the machine quilting was no joke- it took forever and I kept getting boggles. I just never seem to get the quilting quite the way I want it to look. I know my machine is nigh on twenty five years old, but that shouldn't be a fact I'm pretty darn sure the problem is Oul' Heckety here! grumble grumble...

I used a kanga cloth for the backing, pure cotton and attractive in itself. The yellows are mostly tie-dyed fabric from awhile back and quicte a lot brighter but I haven't got the knack of my Dad's new camera yet either...basically this post is a compilation of bishes!!

Ah well, c'est la vie en pays, as they do say!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

A Puckish Puzzlement

Last week I took a notion to make a Puck doll. I was thinking of imps, sprites, woods and people of the land, but I didn't want a pretty pink thing with wings. I was trying for something more androgynous and foresty, Midsummer Night's Dream wasn't very successful though, sigh...
First of all the fabric looked too pale for an outdoor person so I blobbed more tea on it and made it so wet it spent the rest of the day propped on the kettle to dry:
While the dismembered limbs were drying I embroidered the face, but it was really difficult trying to get it looking neither male nor female- I failed utterly:
For the clothes I tried to go for 'motley' in the Elizabethan sense,  but eldest said 'she' now looked more like a 'crazy geisha'...Great!
Off came the coat and I made a tunic. I tied the middle with string with an idea of attaching little felt leaves and flowers to it, like a garland you know?

So there you have it/ him/ her.
Not very Puck-like.
I don't know whether to remove clothing and just turn him/ her/ it into a fairy or try to rescue it further. I have to say its frustrating having what I think is a great idea and then the reality coming nowhere near the image.

Any Bailout Recommendations?

Monday, 23 July 2012

Movements v. Morals?

At the risk of sounding like Aesop of the Fables, or worse still, my Great Granny (very VERY opinionated, clever woman and not backward about coming forward either!) I just have to respond to Ann's comment last weekend because a) it triggered such a 'yesssss totally!' response in yours truly and b) she made a pertinent comment on the subject of movements...or Movements?!

Anyone with a 'war baby' for a parent has likely been brought up with a very strong thrify habit. Add to that living through the austerity of '40s and '50s Ireland, and you could add 'stingy' to the general lifestyle as well!! At the time it was born of necessity since there was nothing to spare and every single item had to be used, reused and then, if possible, remade for further use. I'm not knocking it at all, even with such ingrained habits we have had it so much easier that it is difficult for my generation to imagine how difficult it truly was.

It stood me in good stead when I moved to East Africa at 21 and had to get to grips with another lifestyle wherein there was little to spare and nothing could go to waste. In 15 years there I went from a reasonably affluent life to one on the brink of white poverty, and then to drought and flood on a fairly remote coffee farm where the chasm between 'haves' and 'have nots' was vast. One stored, hoarded, eked out, grew and shared everything with whoever needed what you had, and learned to gracefully accept gifts in every guise. There, a neighbour was such in the Biblical sense, ANYone in need.

Thrift? Common sense? Recycle? Necessity, me dears, not a lifestyle choice! And even now, after the Celtic Tiger and the years of prosperity which many MANY of us have experienced should thriftiness not still be a way of life? Waste not want not, frugal and considerate use of resources, conservation of our non-renewable planet, thoughtful preparation againt the future.

Despite my favourite sci-fi adventures, in reality, NASA doen't seem to have a bunch of inter-stellar Space Ships ready to beam us all off to a brand new planet so I guess we'd better seriously look at reversing some of the thoughtless damage we have perpetrated on this planet, as well as preventing future damage.

And so to the comment Ann made about Movements...These days it seems as though unless it is a 'movement' its not worth doing and unless it is a Propaganda Bandwagon there is no intrinsic merit in adopting the attitude. In my (loud!) opinion, if it is ethically and morally right then we ought to be doing it (whatever 'it' is at the time) regardless of mainstream or indie culture...or Bandwagon...or Movement..or anything else with a funny name.

One last (I think!) thought: I have a serious problem with the 'look at me' attitude which somehow seems to have become the norm, when people want to be congratulated for doing what in previous generations would have been called duty or community spirit. Whether or not anyone is looking, or anyone notices, and even if NO ONE notices, doing what is right should be our priority at all times. Easier said than done, for sure, but so be it: nothing worthwhile was ever easy.

Sure culture plays a part in our ethics, morals, choices and actions but a bit of good ould fashioned common sense never went amiss! Long live the silent, unobtrusive people who quietly, thoughtfully live right by their own lights.

PS just think, modren young 'uns don't know the joy of skip hunting and foraging and junk trawling just for the pure something-for-nothing un-political non-movement fun of it!!! what are they MISSING babe????

In the immortal words of Winnie-the-Pooh, 'That's what I think. But I don't suppose I'm right.'
(The House at Pooh Corner)

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Slow Clothing....Huh?

I've heard of Ethical Fashion and Up-cycled garments, customising and altering, donating unwanted clothes to charities or what's that swapping clothes movement know what I mean...but Slow Clothing??? Really??Makes it sound like if I move too fast for my clothes I'll leave them behind...d'you think I should start keeping on my pyjamas underneath my clothes in future? For the sake of the unsuspecting public, you know?

But wait! You haven't heard the exact definition of Slow Clothing yet, as per the dubious Wikipedia (I like Wikipedia, just heard others slagging it):

The term "Slow Fashion" was coined by Kate Fletcher in 2007...based on the same principals of the Slow Food Movement, as the alternative to mass produced clothing.

Some examples of slow fashion practices include:
  • Opposing and boycotting mass produced fashion.
  • Choosing artisan products to support smaller businesses, fair trade and locally-made clothes.
  • Buying secondhand or vintage clothing and donating unwanted garments.
  • Choosing clothing made with sustainable, ethically-made or recycled fabrics.
  • Choosing quality garments that will last longer, transcend trends (a "classic" style), and be repairable.
  • Doing it yourself - making, mending, customising, altering, and up-cycling your own clothing.
  • Slowing the rate of fashion consumption: buying fewer clothes less often.
The Slow Fashion movement is a unified representation of all the "sustainable", "eco", "green", and "ethical" fashion movements...A key phrase repeatedly heard in reference to Slow Fashion is "quality over quantity"...slowing down the rate of clothing consumption by choosing garments that last longer.

Bet ya didn't know that then?!! Or, like me, yous all did, but thought it was called 'thrift' or (shock! horror!) COMMON SENSE!!!!

So now, all of us stingy dressers who buy our clothes in Boutique de Charity and re-wear our garments until we are simply stitching the mended parts together, can refer to ourselves as being part of the ultra-trendy ethical Slow Fashion Movement!

Oh my family are soooo gonna expire laughing over this notion!!!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Hello Dolly!

I've spent the whole of the last two days in The Bolt Hole and has it been bliss? or has it been BLISS! I worked on one of the quilts all yesterday despite having an almost overwhelming doll urge, so today I just gave in and dolled...dollied...played dolls...??

In the courtyard outside the studio there is a section of wall with ivy and tangled in amongst it are a couple of iron rings. Maybe they were meant for pots or something, not sure, but Blue Peggy was very happy to perch on one in the sunshine!

Now I need to upload her to the shop...and also work out how to get some more being so not my strength!!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Bolt Hole- photos

You wanted to see the Bolt Hole?

In its untidy present state...

...with Eldest (as usual) holed up in a corner with a book! (She thinks the yellow tape on the floor makes it look like a badminton court!)

The blue unit in the lowest photo is an old shop counter they said I could use- kinda cool I think, and of course the perfect height for working! There is still a load of stuff belonging to the workshop which is due to be removed at some stage, but we pushed it all against one wall so its out of the way. When it is removed I'll set up the full length of the quilt frame along there.

I got two bookshelves from Homebase for storing boxes and books (leaning against the wall by Eldest), but was bored with all the palaver of moving and decided to sew instead! Anyhow I received a commission for two baby quilts yesterday so...well, it pays to sew!!

Anyhoo I spent a lovely day there today, sewing, nipping up to the Shop and Office to talk to people, going out for a coffee with Eldest after she'd been out taking photos, friend stopping step out the gate and you're in the center of town.

All very exciting, huh?!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

...And How's YOUR Ark?

Thank you all sooo much for your lovely comments! Very kind and encouraging too when the doubts set in at 4am!!

But d'yez want a laugh? A real cackle, now?

Last week I signed the lease and met several of the people who work in the same building (who are lovely, but then aren't most craftspeople?) and there I am all excited, just waiting on my very own set of keys...

So today when I leave school I head into town to see whether the keys are cut and I'm met by one mortified owner...yesterday afternoon there was an absolute deluge in town and...the studio flooded!! A drain at the lower end of the yard blocked up and the water rose until it was over the lintel of the studio door and In.It.Went!

Can you believe it?? I'm afraid when she told me I started laughing- it is so absolutely the sort of thing which happens to me! You've heard of Murphy's Law ('If it can go wrong it will go wrong!'), well I really believe there should be the Law of Heckety too, something along the lines of 'If its bizarre, unbelievable, or so ridiculously unlikely that no one would believe you, then it will happen to Heckety.'

Should I have warned my new Landlady that I am a bit of a hazard? Even when I'm not there??

By this morning the water had all been siphoned out, mopped up and the extractor fans were going full blast to get rid of the smell. The owner is in the process of getting the blocked drain dealt with where it extends beyond her property and the door lintel built up higher, but for the moment I guess I'd better hold off moving anything...unless it on stilts or waterproof!!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Time Flies...

That expression always makes me imagine small bugs buzzing around with clocks on their backs! If I could draw I'd make a cartoon...

A lot has happened this last few weeks, some of it in my head and some in 'real' life. But the thing which makes me realise that I'm handling problems better is that I haven't slid down into the black pit. That's an achievemnet for Yours' Truly here!

The outcome of all the mental swings and roundabouts is that I have managed to wangle back enough salary from the Hub to pay the rent on an artisan's studio in town! How amazingly, incredibly awesome is that? I'm already calling it 'The Bolt Hole' in my mind, and today I overheard Youngest refer to it as 'The Escape'!

I've paid four weeks' rent and tomorrow I go to sign the lease after which I can move in; its really exciting as I've never done anything like this before! Imagine having a whole room to sew in? With no one to object to the mess or stuff lying around or the sound of the machine or shout at me? Being in town, Youngest will be able to walk down after school next term and study in the evenings until we're ready to return home.

The studio is located in the yard of a shop which sells all Irish handmade artisan wares. It's a bit difficult to describe as it's not a Craft shop, but its not a high-end designer shop either although the items would be Irish designed and made. The sort of shop you'd visit to sigh and dream over the contents!! In the yard are the jewellry workshops and folk working, so I think it will be a lovely place to work.

Tomorrow after school Youngest and I are going to have a look in the Market Yard Auction rooms to see if we can find some shelves, two tall stools and a chair, and then to Argos to buy an iron...the Hub would take serious umbrage if the house was left ironless and his shirts ceased to be de-creased...Doncha love auction rooms? The ultimate Aladdin's Cave!

So there ya have it! Excitin' stuff hey?!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Staff Night Out Out Out...

Last Friday we decided to have a Staff Night Out. Its a week and a bit until the end of term but it seems that people have plans already for next weekend. There was a scramble to book a table for thirteen (unlucky for nobody this time) and, despite extreme weariness all round, out we went.

One minor problem arose though when I went to get dressed: its so long since I last needed the oul' Glad Rags that they appear to have disappeared...evaporated...rotted away?

Smart jeans? Check (luckily I have the largest arse in the West, so no competition for my jeans).

Black tee-shirt? (after a long search, and discovery of crumpled remains) check.

Good sandals????? Nowhere to be found, so wore school shoes.

Old plum-coloured jacket which I made for a cousin's wedding? Check (home made, no temptation)

Funky necklaces? Gone.

Dangly earrings? One old pair I wore in College discovered, any others....c'est disparu...

Good black handbag? Gone.

Black pashmina? Gone.

Eventually I found an old leather bag, which was actually the treat to myself on receiving my first teacher's paycheck! I scrubbed the mould off on the bedspread!!

I'd be the first to admit that clothes aren't really my thing. If its comfortable, clean and has most of its buttons its just fine. Shoes ditto- coupla €4 footwear from Penny's, one good pair for winter, (communal) gumboots, flip-flops and ye olde sheepskin slippers make me happy. I don't like having loads of stuff, besides which I only ever wear flats.
Jewellery? The good stuff I've inherited, a €1.50 pearl string, some couple of nice earrings I've collected over the years, some lovely malachite from Kenya when it was still affordable...oh and  dozens of jangly cheapo Indian bangles from Nairobi, all please me very much.

Like most mothers I guess I've spent anything extra on the girls and taken my pleasure in having them dressed well. I think they're gorgeous and I love seeing what they make of themselves now, although in years past I used to dress make for them and loved doing that too.

So no sour grapes girls...BUT I REALLY WANT MY THINGS BACK!

Having said all that, I had a great evening...and morning! It was nearly 1am by the time I'd delivered friends home after a lengthy, rowdy and hilarious meal at the French Restaurant in town. (As the non-drinking driver the Noddy car is regularly called into taxi service, the only time anyone is ever polite to him!!!)

Which all goes to prove that...'Its not what you do, its the way that you do it!' which counts....and ...clothes maketh not the woman!!!!

P.S. If my things don't come back soon I jolly well going to go and spend the girls' next months' pocket on myself at Vicki's shop 'Glass River Jewellry' and tough cookies to the lot of 'em!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Practical Perspective

'When I forget Thee
Do not Thou forget me, oh Lord?'

I can't remember where that quote comes from but isn't it just perfect when one is walking through the Valley of the Shadow? Or the Slough of Despond?

I think its time to re-read John Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress'. I know its not the Bible, but I really believe that Truths can be found in the writing of other Godly people too. After all, at the start what was the Bible but a collection of writing by Godly people....ok ok...Godly men....!!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

21st Century Howarya...

Yesterday I learnt something new, and not good 'new' either.

It seems that even in 21st Century Ireland if a wife is in an unhappy marriage her options are very limited. If she stays for the good of her children until they 16 years or older, the husband is only duty bound to support the children until they have finished full-time education, and owes the wife nothing at all financially. If the husband refuses to vacate the family home she must take him to court if she wishes him to leave and she to stay, and that case would likely only be won if there is extreme violence involved and she is in fear of her life.

If she decides to leave the family home the husband cannot dispose of the home without her consent, and vise versa. If it is sold they each get half the proceeds, if, in the current economic climate it could be sold.

There are no state benefits for a woman who leaves, so she'd jolly well better be able to support herself. She may claim 'job seekers allowance' once she has a separate address to the husband, but not before. Catch 22 situation.

The children would remain with the parent with the greater income, usually the father.

So in the end a wife gives herself to bringing up her children and keeping the home, the husband takes all her salary (whenever she is earning) and the wife ends up penniless, and, if the marriage comes adrift, homeless. What's more, the husband retains the moral high ground by not leaving the family home and continuing to support his children.

The moral of this story, dear ladies, is to either live in sin or not to put up with a lousy marriage for the sake of the children, get out early.

I totally agree that it should not be easy to walk away from one's Marriage vows, they were taken in all seriousness and in good faith.  And who on earth ever thinks at the start of a marriage that they'll end up separated or as a negative statistic? But heck- should a woman be punished for having done the right thing by her family but finally refusing to take any more **** ?

Basically, ladies, not only have we no rights, we're scuppered.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

State of the Jungle

Many years ago in my youth (summer 2010) I got really into gardening blogs, looking at the photos, reading them, drawing plot layouts, noting beautiful plants and yadda yadda yadda. Then I grew up (spring 2011) and realised that none of those people lived in the boggy, exposed hills of Leitrim and that there was no way in this life that I would ever transform my weedy stony hillside into a lush paradise. After that I turned old (summer 2012) and decided that if it doesn't grow happily in a movable pot, stuff it, I'm not even going to consider it.
That's the theory, but as you know, hope springs eternal along with the rain and gale force winds so although my head says 'forget it', my heart still says 'maybe if I...'

So I still have two raised veg beds, although one is rampant with triffid raspberries and one very brave rhubarb! The other has self seeded garlic at one end with gone-to-seed-cabbage-that-never-grew and some fabulous specimens of dock leaves at the other.
And then there are the pots...and pots...and more pots...oh and look I do believe that's a thistle come to join the pot party!

So much for the idealistic planning...ah me...sigh...

BTW, the idyll is over, with Youngest and the Hub back home. The Hub didn't seem too happy with his week's work in Holland, but Youngest had an 'amazingly awesome' (quote herself) week with her sister in Dublin. A lot of time was spent working in Theaters alongside Eldest but she also got to do some shopping and walking around Dublin, which is good. It is a lovely place alright.

I didn't get a girl's night in, but my parents had visitors, relations who are great fun, so I had that instead last night. This evening Youngest is taking Middlest's boyfriend to see the play Middlest is working on and the Hub is holed up in the office writing tomorrow's sermon.

Modom, your taxi awaits!!!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

A Fairytale for the Assertive Woman

Today I was clearing out some cupboards which badly needed the attention and found this old chestnut...goodness knows where it came from originally because I have no recollection! I do, however, remember finding it hilariously funny at the time.

Once upon a time, in a land far away, a beautiful, independant, self-assured princess happened upon a frog as she sat, contemplating egological issues on the shores of an unpolluted pond in a verdant meadow near her castle. The frog hopped into the princess' lap and said:

'Elegant Lady, I was once a handsome prince, until an evil witch cast a spell upon me. One kiss from you, however, and I will turn back into the dapper young prince that I am and then, my sweet, we can marry and set up housekeeping in your castle with my mother, where you can prepare my meals, clean my clothes, bear my children and forever feel grateful and happy for doing so.'

That night, as the princess dined sumptiously on an repast of lightly sautéd froglegs seasoned in a white wine and onion cream sauce, she chuckled to herself and thought:

'I don't think so.'

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

So Many Suggestions!!

Wow! You really put your hearts into all these suggestions!
Thank you so much!

I'll tell you what I've done so far:

After school I went into town and bought myself a gardening magazine, a bottle of nail varnish (coral something or other) and a pair of shoes (€4 from Penny's, blown the Housekeeping I have NOT!).

When I got home I cooked myself a pan of black kale and sun dried tomatoes with LOADS of green coriander and green garlic...found it among the weeds in a veg bed! (the garlic and the kale!) Delish! (no one else likes such an excessively green supper).

Then I had about an hour and a half of pure bliss sitting on the kitchen sofa reading my gardening magazine, whilst drinking tea, painting my nails (when was the last time I did THAT??) and listening to the radio (RTÉ Lyric FM) at a volume high enough to actually HEAR (and a programme of world folk music which I love and the rest scorn).

The dogs were beetling round doing their own thing and Small Dog was trying to destroy the inside tube from the greaseproof paper roll, which is quite a lot longer than him and causing problems....every so often he gives up chewing the ends and decides to go for the kill; stalking it, pouncing on it, shaking it and trying to throw it into the air!
He's a right comedian...

And I realised something: I was, just then, totally and utterly content.

Then Middlest texted to say she was bringing one of her Lecturers over so they could work, so I lept up and threw all the stuff on the dining table down behind the sofa, collapsed the clothes rack (clothes and all) so I could toss it into the bath and pull the shower curtain, and was frantically whizzing round the kitchen with the hoover when they arrived...


I really wouldn't say I'm a slovenly housekeeper, a bit here-and-thereish definitely, but anyone who visits must think I'm a regular slattern because NO ONE EVER CALLS WHEN THE HOUSE IS CLEAN!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Me Lonesome Hee Hee!

Yesterday everyone was home at some point, if only to fill the washing machine, use up all the hot water, or top up the fake tan...

This afternoon everyone (husband, children and parents) has left for a variety of destinations- Dublin, Holland, Dublin, Strandhill and Dublin. Guess who gets to mind the dogs, deal with the contents of the washing machine and eat leftovers for a week??

But then again...
a whole week without responsibilities (not including the dogs) or running round after other people (not including the dogs) or being grouched at (certainly not including the dogs since they think I'm wonderful!)...
I could get to like this...
how atrociously can I celebrate and make the most of this first EVER opportunity???

Suggestions please- FAST! They'll start returning on Friday...

Friday, 1 June 2012

Small Dog...

So anyway, there I am lyin' on the sofa happily snoozin' when doesn't the sun go behind an ould cloud...
So up I gets and has a good ould stretch.
Himself there wasn't up to playin' so out I trots for a bit of a sniff...ya never knows what ya'll find...

...and if ya tinks that balancin' on this mossy ould stone while she fiddles wit her new toy was easy, ye can take another thinks because it wasn't!
And then I spies me darlin' sunbathin' herslf on the table so...

...up I hops to join her and what does she do?
Start posin' with me, that's what!
Well two can play at that game so along I goes wit it for da sake of peace- now what sort of an ould eejit do I look?
But dere's a whole garden full of wunnerful smells out dere
so tisn't long before I makes me escape...
Huh! Wuja just look at me darlin' now! She tinks I'm never comin' back!
Humans! I ask ya! Who'd have 'em!

Its a dog's life I'm tellin' ya, but hey!
...someone's gotta do it...

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

A Glorious Career!

A friend sent me this story in an email and I thought it was ace- I wish I could think on my feet like this woman!

A woman, renewing her driver's license, was asked by the woman at Registry to state her occupation.

She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.
'What I mean is,' explained the woman at Registry, 'do you have a job or are you just a .....?'

'Of course I have a job,' snapped the woman. 'I'm a Mum.'

'We don't list 'Mum' as an occupation, 'housewife' covers it,' said the recorder emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself In the same situation.
The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised,
Efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title like,
'Official Interrogator' or 'City Registrar.'

'What is your occupation?' she probed.

What made me say it? I do not know.
The words simply popped out.
I'm a Research Associate in the field of
Child Development and Human Relations

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair and
Looked up as though she had not heard right.

I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words.
Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written,
In bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.

'Might I ask,' said the clerk with new interest,
'just what you do in your field?'

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice,
I heard myself reply,
'I have a continuing program of research,
(what mother doesn't)
In the laboratory and in the field,
(normally I would have said indoors and out)
I'm working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family)
And already have four credits (all daughters).
Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities,
(any mother care to disagree?)
And I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it).

But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers
And the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money.'

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she
Completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career,
I was greeted by my lab assistants -- ages 13, 7, and 3.
Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model,
(a 6 month old baby) in the child development program,
Testing out a new vocal pattern.
I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy!
And I had gone on the official records as someone more

Distinguished and indispensable to mankind than 'just another Mum.'

What a glorious career!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Of A Cuckoo

If you think about it the Cuckoo has some unfortunate sayings attached to herself. The two which spring to mind are 'going cuckoo' and 'a cuckoo in the nest'. See? Wouldn't that annoy you if it was yourself??

There have been studies lately about the migratory habits of cuckoos, and we were all brought up on stories of their charming habit of laying eggs in other birds nests and then their hatchling turfing out the legitimate heirs and gobbling all it can get, Goldilocks eat yer heart out...

But DESPITE all that, when the cuckoo arrives on our hilltop and starts calling from the forest it is the most cheerful sound! Its like the first daffodil, I know that the seasons will eventually change and just for a moment my heart flies upwards. She's been with us nearly three weeks now and every morning and evening I listen for her- come rain or shine her 'cuckoo' echoes.

Judging from what I've heard, we're the lucky ones to hear her, some folks haven't heard a cuckoo in years. I do hope she keeps returning.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Epitome of Laziness... managing to darn my cardigan without actually taking it off!!

So what's your definition of laziness? Ah no, let's call it an LSD (Labour Saving Device!)

Come on people! Admit to your most spectacular LSDs.....

Friday, 11 May 2012

Thank You for the Reminder!

I was visiting cyberbuddies earlier and came across Gran's quote by Erma Bombeck. Its about looking back on one's life without regrets- do pop over and read it? Even though you probably know it well, its one of those 'life quotes' it is good to remember.

I came across it years ago when the girls were little, and I decided then and there that as a mother I would be able to look back and have no regrets. Believe it or not (!) I do think its one thing I have achieved. Despite not always being well, or even able to leave the house to go to all their 'doings', I have thoroughly enjoyed and made the most of them...and continue to do so...which is why I love having all their friends around too.

I think I'm lucky that I learned that lesson so early because I have all the memories and experiences that matter....for instance....

At this moment Eldest is doing yoga on the kitchen floor whilst discussing the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 with Youngest...who is trying to do a Vulcan mind-meld with Wily Coyote (Eldest's Boyfriend) who is a History man...Middlest says she is updating her CV but I'm pretty sure she is watching Game of Thrones online. And if the Fluffster doesn't move soon he's going to cut off the electric supply to the laptop! Youngest has decided that Small Smell should learn to read, but even for a dog I think that starting reading with a political document is pushing the boundaries somewhat!

Life as we know it!

Lucky me!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012


By the time you read this (oh! the joys of writing and scheduling posts in advance, makes me feel so in control and organised!!) the Hub will have finished and emailed the final assignments of his Theology Course. He has 'only' been doing it since February 2011, but heck! it feels like its been going on for several years.

I really admire people who go back to College as mature students. I admire people who do 'distance learning' courses and achieve their dreams. I admire people who want to make the most of opportunities, or catch up on chances they missed when they were younger, and all the other reasons which go with further study.

So why is it that when the Hub takes on a course my heart sinks and I just know its going to be hell on wheels for the duration? Its the same when he's in a Show, or Play...and even with his Church commitments. Why can't I think 'Wow! isn't he's great?', as so many people keep telling me. Instead this last course has brought me closer to throwing in the towel than ANY of his previous activities.
I have a friend who once observed that Georghette Heyer's novels did all girls everywhere the greatest disservice by introducing them to such wonderfully romantic heros could possibly live up to! At the time I thought it was quite a funny thing to say, but now I'm a bitchy ould besom I'm beginning to see what she meant!!

OK. End of pity party.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Thunks Thoughted

So there was I reading the latest Permaculture Magazine and just sitting and thunkin' about Life, the Universe and Everything, and I thunkded, so I did, about all those fearfully amazing folk out there who live in them Sustainable Communities and do a great job of living lightly on this ould planet of ours and puttin' the rest of us to ballyshame an' all.

And I sez to me Hub (yon Grouch), sez I, I'm thunken of spending the summer living in a commune.

Commune was the wrong word to use as he immediately answered with, Oooh! running around naked all summer and free love and that?

Blinkin'HECK! Why does he always go straight for the sex and skin? Grrr.

I think maybe community living might have been a better description, or living close to the land maybe? Like Tinker's Bubble, or Findhorn, or some other amazing place.

And I stood in my kitchen and surveyed the dish-washer (Hub's must have), the washing machine (my must have), the fridge, kettle, bread machine, toaster, microwave, cassette player, juicer, iron, phone...and I just feel sick inside. Living lightly- my...hat! Recycling, composting, growing some vegetables (mostly rhybarb, garlic and dandelions), being thrifty, mending and making do with my clothes? Whats the good of such small acts in the grand scheme of things?

And this house- one daughter left at home and all the things in it? Books, CDs, videos, TV, clothes, computer, furniture- its all just so full of STUFF. Remember awhile ago I said I was going to reduce the level of unused stuff we have and find homes for things? Well I have been, honest, and still am, but the level doesn't seem to drop much. Added to which, whenever I'm 'down' I splurge in the second hand book shop- oh how they love me!

What is it with us and things? We have a surfeit while others go short and still we think we need more to make our homes just perfect, just one more cushion, candle, pretty plate, mug set, pot plant, yadda yadda.

Gotta break the cycle...perhaps living naked for a summer really would put things in perspective?...hmmmm...nah- not going to that extreme.

So, how about communal living for the summer? Or would I just end up driving everyone as crazy frustrated as I am myself?

Friday, 4 May 2012

What did you say your name was???

I know I've grouched about this before but I'm reiterating it (good word 'reiterating', makes me sound hedumecated huh?!)...I really have a problem with people who, in their blog profiles, describe themselves as something along the lines of :

an ultra-busy stay-at-home mom of seven children under the age of five (one set of triplets and two sets of twins),
wife to a fabulously supportive God-fearing man whose hobby is hoovering and cleaning, when he is not reading to or playing with his children,
daughter-in-law to the most gentle, kind and helpful woman the Good Lord ever made who is helpmeet to a wonder mechanic and handyman always ready to aid and assist his family,
owner of five dogs (two of them Great Danes), two horses, a cocktail of hens and five acres of landscaped gardens which are open to the public twelve months of the year.

She home schools the children, has an immaculate home which is regularly featured in 'Homes & Gardens' (or would that be Hello! magazine?), is renowned for her amazing twelve course meals (is there such a thing?), and all this without any home or garden help at all, except for her superfantabulous husband, of course.

In her spare time she crafts and quilts, and the blog is a diary of her daily creations, (oh did I mention that she was a well-known artist and photographer before her marriage and ascent into domestic blissitude?)
There then follows the most choc-a-bloc cyber gallery of increasingly fabulous and intricate workmanship- origami, Baltimore quilts, candle dipping, enamel work, wood-turning and pottery, (any one of which are good enough to be given to the Queen on her next birthday) which she dabbles at in her spare time...(all professionally photographed by herself in her own home studio).

AAAAARRRRRGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!Sour grapes? Moi?

And I think to myself, 'What a wonderful world!'

I'm going to go change my profile RIGHT NOW! Since I can't truthfully beat 'em or join 'em, I'll just have to be contrary!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


I realise that this may sound really peculiar, especially to any new readers who are not conversant with my unpredictable family, or anyone who is accidentally passing through, but I honestly don't think that all the laundry in the wash actually belongs to the regular inhabitants of this house...

For starters, the amount of laundry I have been working through since late last week is of truly epic proportions, even for the girls, and secondly, I don't recognise some of it at all! We have had a few visitors lately, friends of the girls, and Middlest did bring back a veritable Everest of washing last week from her room at school, but even those points don't explain it.

Do you think its possible for someone to be breaking in whilst I'm at work and dumping their clothes and linen in our laundry basket? I've heard of laundry thieves who rob things off clothes lines, but have you ever come across someone who deposits their laundry in someone else's wash basket? Sort of like a 'laundy cuckoo' I suppose?

Me just who do these jeans and tee-shirts belong to?

Its a mystery! (but a clean one!)

Monday, 30 April 2012


Firstly, least said about the Whole School Evaluation, the better. The Inspectors were really horrid and it was even worse than everyone anticipated.

Secondly, oddly enough, I still have a job...

Thirdly, Youngest turned seventeen on Thursday- how unutterably scary is that??
And to celebrate? She and a bunch of her friends went down to the archery range after school on Friday and had a great time, followed by watching 'The Avengers' in the cinema.
Whatever blows their hair back, I guess!!

Fourthly, I've decided to learn French-style cooking, sorta. It was Mom's birthday on Saturday and Dad took her to dinner at the French Restaurant in town, accompanied by Punch and Judy here, of course.(..who in their right mind turns down French Cuisine?) The food was just so good, and we got up from the table feeling sated not stuffed, PLUS it didn't make me ill, so how great is that?

So, French Cooking....since garlic is the only thing growing successfully in the veg patch!!!!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Saturday, 14 April 2012

INVASION of the Teenage Campers!!

Just when I think I've survived the Easter holidays intact, and all that's left to do is to play the organ on Sunday morning before returning to school and starting a new INVASION arrives...
Nine teenagers, friends of Youngest, all set to camp in the garden...night frost, hailstones, rain and wind notwithstanding!

Mad! I tell you! Mad altogether!

They pitched tents (four in total), collected their own kindling from along the bottom lane, had a chat and fed carrots to Mary Horse, chopped logs, lit the fire AND kept it going despite the wind, cooked out (baked beans and skewers- chicken and vegetable) (having prepared the vegetable skewers first at the kitchen table, and wasn't that a laugh!), went for a torch hike, froze, talked for IrelandEnglandScotlandandWales, did some stargazing (someone brought a telescope), retired inside to watch a video and warm up, retired to their tents, and were up at dawn for another hike before landing in the kitchen like a bunch of zombies to cook a massive breakfast which went on for nearly four hours!

I have to admit I get such a kick out of them all, from their attitudes to tent pitching (lying on the grass watching everyone else and offering advice) to trying to keep the fire alight (have you anything else ready to burn?), as well as the snippets of conversations overheard!
...and another thing? Under the direction of Youngest they left the place as neat as a group of teenagers could! Mattresses and bedding all returned upstars, kitchen and garden clean and tidy. MEGA-impressed!

Gotta love teenagers...sometimes!!

And now we are down to the last day before school and the dreaded WSE. Aaaargh!
Oh well, this too will pass...


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