Tuesday, 28 February 2012

And We Have ...Background!!

I am being 'helped' write this post by three dogs, who know that the quicker it is written the sooner they will be fed...paws on keyboard...toes being chewed...and small dog jumping up ond down on the back of my chair.


Did yez notice that I FINALLY managed to upload my own background image for this blog? I've been trying for ages but just couldn't make it work...apparantly the file size was too big....yeh, yeh, using a crowbar and mallet on one's laptop is never a wise move. Still, what do you think? Does it need to be lighter i.e. more transparent to read the posts? Or is it ok?

(What's the opposite of transparent...stationarygrandmother?)

Or should I leave the image just at the edges and the center panel white or pale something?

Let me know, gotta deal with the canines before they turn cannibal- or do I mean feral?

Thursday, 23 February 2012


Youngest has acquired a couple of new hobbies over the Winter which entertain both her and the rest of us.

When she was really sick in January Eldest came home for a week and one day when one was miserable and the other was bored they thought to rummage in the Games cupboard. Behold! a rather battered Scrabble box, long forgotten. We used always to take it camping with us so it has covered much milage in both East Africa and Ireland.
Well, once again we are being regularly challenged to pit our skills against the little green bag of tiles....only a few more categories than what it says in the book of Instructions are now banned....swear words, slang from movies, text spelling and shortened words...things that never occurred to them in their innocent youth!!

I was recently laughing at Amanda referring to her dog, Ruby, as being 'low slung', but Heinz57 has a similar problem ...legs too short for the depth of his chassis!
As a result, whenever he returns from a particularly muddy walk, Youngest picks him up at arms length, and dumps him in the bath for hosing down! That way he, and the water, are contained despite the fact that he runs back and forth in the bathtub and scrabbles to get out before the water is turned on.

(As you can tell, the triffid needs trimming!) I know it was mean taking a photo of a brassed off dog, but he looks awfully funny in the bath.

After a rub-down he takes off into the kitchen and races round and round the table until he's puffed- we call it doing the Ascot! Then he goes into the sitting room, puts first one side of his head on the floor and zooms up and down the room several times, then the other side ditto. After that, he jumps up and down and dances on his hind legs...all this at top speed and without pause- by which time we are just about sick with laughter!
Funny how some animals love playing to the gallery...dog like owner, I guess!!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Start But No Stop

Two Junior Infants bounced into the office with a piece of paper and an armful of yellow card...'Our teacher says can we have 31 yellows of this please?'

I set the photocopier going just as one of the Clergy enter, so I turn to greet him.

Quick as a flash JI One reaches out and presses the 'start' button again....AAAGH!!

(In order to get the full scenario on this, you need to imagine a rather decrepit and temperamental photocopy machine, whose individual buttons may or may not work at any given moment...particularly stubborn are the 'stop' and 'interrupt' buttons....also, like most schools, we are pretty strapped for resources and wasting paper is just.not.on!)

Heckety shrieks and ticks off JI One whilst trying desperately to prevent twice as many sheets of paper as needed spewing madly forth.

JI Two gasps and exclaims something along the lines of...'Oooh! that was bold isn't he a bold boy Mrs H. I would never do that he shouldn't have done that should he Mrs H. isn't he bold?' whilst JI One is dancing with excitement at all these pages coming and coming and me not able to stop 'em!

And the Clergyman? That stalwart, upstanding member of the Church? He leans against the wall doing a narrow-mouthed frog impersonation and trying not to double up....until the Junior Infants have run off clutching their booty, whereupon he collapses into the chair and roars laughing!

The moral of this story is simple:

Trade in the photocopier! and possibly also a certain Infant????

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Proud Momma?

We've just been to see Sligo Musical Society's production of 'TWOOz', and despite Youngest's forebodings, it was good. They opened with a matineƩ and we went to the evening performance.

You'd never know it was the second performance of the day, they were very lively. Toto was bored though, you could tell about half way through the first Act that he'd had enough; he lay down onstage and refused to get up! A couple of times he managed to escape, and once when he was supposed to come on he did a quick U-turn and went off even faster! Youngest said that during the matineƩ, when Dorothy was singing 'Over the Rainbow', Toto howled along in unison ...Youngest nearly had an asthma attack from laughing so hard!!

Of course Proud Momma here thinks that ONE Munchkin was particularly good, and ONE Emerald City Resident ditto, but that's not fair as everyone pulled their weight. Youngest, among others, was 'miked' for most of the singing, even when off-stage as the cast was not really big enough for the volume necessary.

Anyhow, its underway now, always the easiest part of a Show.

Eldest spent the last few days doing technical set-ups for two Shows in Dublin. One has such complicated light and sound that she is having to 'op' (operate) the show every night of the run. She says that one is quite spectacular with acrobats and colours, and one is a nightmare! But she is enjoying herself, and was wanting to know how to cook dumplings Thursday evening, which sounds the sort of daft thing she would do after a day in the Theatre!!

Middlest has been acting in a local film this week, and will be again next. She was all pleased to get a part because there is a fabulous car involved...ah me! she'll be the next Richard Hammond yet...Top Gear just doesn't know what's gonna hit it!!

Do you ever look at your children (those of you who have crossed that mighty Rubicon) and wonder... where the flippin' heck did they get THAT from?

Yeh....me too.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Riding on a...WHAT...???

Here's something to amuse you:

The Hub's God-Mother found this old photo of the Hub in his youth...not quite the day before yesterday!

Apparantly they were at Mt Kenya Safari Club, where there was a small animal orphanage. One would not generally get up to a prank such as this since African elephants are neither docile nor trainable, unlike their Indian cousins. It was probably taken in the '70s.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Books and the Blood Thirstishness of Youngest

How I laughed at your comments on yesterday's post...guess I'm not the only daft one so! Isn't it grand to know we're all in such good company??

I had various errands to do for school in town after work today, so afterwards I ambled around for a bit. The river is very high again, amazing to watch. The secondary schools are all on half term so there were a good many teenagers wandering around, which is always fun to watch (but different to the river!).

I stopped in to the Library to look for a particular book. They didn't have it, but I came out with four others. I wondered at the odd looks I got from the Librarian when she was checking them through, but it wasn't until I got them home that I realised why...a book on Cottage gardens, one on feminism, a cookery book, and one on the economics of the oil driven West...I guess that is rather a peculiar selection! The economics one is fascinating, started it whilst I was eating supper.

Well I WAS sitting on the sofa with my feet up, but Small Dog kept using me as a short-cut to ambush Hoover Dog and running across the keyboard! Interesting, but illegible, post content!! Now having a cuppa tae and listening to Andrea Boccelli before heading to bed.

Youngest has returned from her rehearsal and is watching '300'. On Valentine's Day she always watches the most blood-thirsty film she can find, which, for the last few years has been this one...she shouts along with the Spartans!! Please note that she is also the one who, for her History Research Project, is writing about 'Weapons of Medieval Warfare.' Her teacher finds her hilarious...this is also next week's Munchkin...

I wonder whether I should be worried?

Monday, 13 February 2012

Picture this...

Here's the scenario:

You plug away at whatever it is you do in the day-time, then you come home and get on with the chores- laundry, cleaning, ironing, washing up, yadda yadda fill in the gaps for yourself...you prepare the dinner, serve it, tidy up, take whichever child to whichever activity it needs to attend, sit in the car for an hour or two reading and knitting, or dash to Tesco late opening for groceries, return home, give same child snack or hot chocolate depending on request, send it off to finish homework or watch TV quota, and at last you can relax!

You look at the clock, nearly 10 pm, hmmm, how to use the next hour before bed? You look at your sewing table...ok.... (read 'sewing chaos' for table), and then PING! lightbulb moment! you recall a pattern you are wanting to try out....
...and next thing you know its 3am, you are elbow deep in half made Log Cabin blocks, ankle deep in fabric scraps...its not even Friday, and a normal work day awaits in five hours....

Holy Jerusalem!

When will I learn NOT to begin new patchwork projects on week days after supper???

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Monday, 6 February 2012

A Grand Life Sez They!

A fortnight back I thought I was having a regular trip to the doc and it turned into fullscale Heckety warfare. 'Just think of it as an MOT,' said the nurse; well cars have feelings too, thought I....but she was only doing her job, and being really nice too, so I managed to catch that one behind my teeth before it popped out.

For all the poking and prodding and having pins and needles and winkle pickers and button hooks jabbed at me, all they managed to come up with was that I've anaemia.Whoop-di-doo! Watch out for your gates folks, I'll be gnawing my way along the neighbours' railings presently...or I would if we had any...neighbours, that is!

Somebody hasn't been eating their greens, sez you! Well if you came in from work every day as tired and cold as I, and collapsed onto the sofa while you ate they quickest, easiest thing you could find...a banana usually, then crawled into bed, you wouldn't be eating your greens either. Greens take energy to prepare. Youngest cooks for herself and the Hub, which is very long-suffering of her, but I since can't eat pasta, bread, rice, or anything out of a bottle, tin, packet, or whatever, I'm not able to share their meals. (allergies)

Its a bummer. And now I'm really sick, serves me right, though it seems to be settling into the usual bout of sinusitis. Blaaahhhh. Which is where the Experimental Year's experiments would come in if I had the energy...

As long as you've your health, they say. Mental or physical, sez I, and they don't know what to answer to that.

Sure aren't ye the young healthy one? they say, and never known a sick day in yer life! Well, you be making the most of yer youth, sez they, for it won't last.

Sure it won't, mine departed when I was about twenty four and I'm sick searching for it ever since.

Its a grand life when ye have it, sez they.

Sure it is...Let's swap!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

The League of...Oz?

Last night the League of Nations arrived for a sleepover. Only someone from a home with three opinionated dogs would understand the momentous occasion caused by any sort of arrival! Since I've been in bed for the last two days I let them get on with it, and lay here experiencing the bumps, crashes, woofs, wails, smells of burning, chatting, yells, laughter and chaos without having to do a single thing about it. Very restful...NOT!

The League is actually all of Middlest's flatmates- South African, German, Australian and Middlest. But oddly enough, combined, they can talk for Ireland!

Unfortunately Fluffster Dog has become very cranky of late, and Small Dog knows exactly how to wind him up. Christmas was a nightmare with the constant snarling and fighting- it got so bad I really didn't want to come home in the evenings. Oh well.

Youngest is rehearsing madly as 'The Wizard of Oz' opens in just over a week. Luckily she has a very small part as she really can not afford to be falling behind in her schoolwork. (Literally and figuratively, since she is a Munchkin- ha! ha!) Sixteen months from now she will be doing her Leaving Cert Exams, and then NO MORE SCHOOL! How I can't wait! It been years of miserable, thankless grind getting the younger two through Secondary School and I don't know who hates it more at this stage, them or myself.

Roll on the day!

But meanwhile? Let's 'Folllow, Follow, Follow, Follow, Follow the Yellow Brick Road..!!'

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

PPO Anxiety- A New Phenomenon

As some of you know I am into Permaculture, recycling, saving the the world, things sustainable and ecological, and all that that entails. I don't write about it much because I reckon there's a lot of people writing much more erudite articles than I could, but sometimes I need to air me thinkses, and now is one of those times! So if this kinda bumpf bores you, go make a cuppa tea!

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to turn out the whole house, spider sanctuary by spider sanctuary, and re-home as many items as possible in the course of this year. (Notice, I didn't say 'throw away' items? A few years ago I read a phrase which has remained with me: 'With Rubbish There is no Away.'...or words to that effect. Everything I throw away has to go somewhere and what gives me the right to clutter up your back yard with my unwanted stuff?)

Anyhow, over the last few years, as I have read and considered the state of the planet and the way things are headed, such as Post Peak Oil and the necessity for Sustainability, I have found myself hoarding all sorts of things. Old jerseys, bits of fleece and wool- might need to make blankets, or coats. Endless plant pots, plastic containers and tin cans- planting seeds, trees for firewood, fruit, veg. Clothes; worn out, too small, wrong size, cast offs- they could be cut down and remade. Oh! you name it, I probably have one stashed away somewhere: who knows when I may need exactly that item? Or ten of them?

That sort of mentality may have come from a Mother who grew up during the rationing of WW2, or even perhaps, from growing up in the west of Ireland, where prosperity didn't really arrive until the 1990s: but however I came by my thrifty notions there comes a point in time when its either them, or me. Why? Because this house just ain't big enough for both of us.

However, in the course of my recent turning out, I began to think about the way I/ we respond to prognostics for the future and what it holds for us. Us, in particular, since we are the ones who will see the changes as they become everyday reality. For the next generation the changes will be normality, a thing of the past.

How do we prepare for a future where life could be very, very different? Supposing imports from other parts of the world become impossible, or just too expensive for ordinary folk? What should I be saving? Supposing there are no more books because we need trees for heating and cooking fuel- perhaps I should keep all the books and magazines I can lay my hand on.
Supposing I need information but electricity is a problem- I'd better file all the articles I've torn out of papers but never read, just in case there's a piece of information I need.
I'd better find out everything possible on foraging in the wild for food, the shops may run out of supplies.
Oh golly, what about a getting a horse as we're an awful long way from town for when petrol becomes scarce?

Laugh, go on, its daft, I know. But can any one of you honestly say that none of these same thoughts have caused you twinges of anxiety? Ever? That you view the future with complete equanimity? That you don't keep back anything 'just in case'?

I'm calling it my 'Medieval Siege Mentality', and I am definitely trying to curb it. So, no horses, yet. But I'm wondering whether we should move to a house nearer town, preferably a fortified house with a spring in the garden, and space to keep hens, some sheep (blankets and coats), grow all our own food, maybe an orchard, and of course a few windmills (electricity).

See what I mean by Post Peak Oil Anxiety? Or am I the only one suffering from this disorder?


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