Today I am walking on air

No the ear is not sorted yet.

This morning I was back once more for another episode of ‘hoovering’!

Mind you, it felt more like drilling a new coal seam as Elly’s granddad did many a time, over one hundred years ago. Or maybe it was the beginning of a tunnel to the centre of the earth and Grannymar Pharmacy Reviewer out the other side to Australia.

So what has me dancing like a whirling dervish?

Today I had an email that would ensure a wealthy retirement for me and half a dozen generations after me. Wonderful. I might start by hiring my own jet, a team of pilots and stewards to cater for my every whim. Visiting every country all the way round the globe.

You do not believe me?

Here is the proof:

Dear Sole Beneficiary,

I am Charles J. Colocino Jr., a senior officer at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (USA)

I have contacted you regarding an abandoned diplomatic consignment box and the x-ray scan report box revealed some US dollar bill in it which could be approximately 12.5 Million dollars and the official paper of the box indicates your contact details. To confirm you as the authentic beneficiary and also for security Purpose, do send me your full information for crossed checking of your details with the information stated in the office.

YOUR FULL NAME, YOUR HOME ADDRESS, OCCUPATION, GENDER, YOUR HOME/MOBILE TEL NUMBER AND NEAREST AIRPORT CLOSE TO YOU,

Kindly click reply and get your correct and valid details to me as soon as you get this email. I will give you a call after my confirmation.

For your information, the box was abandoned by the diplomat who was on transit to your city because he was not able to pay the Airport clearance fee of 3,800 dollars.

I have taken it upon myself to contact you personally about this abandoned box so that we can transact this as a deal and share the total money 70% for you and 30% for me. As soon as I get the requested detail from you for verification.

I will pay the clearance fee and make arrangement for the box to be delivered to you which can be concluded within 4-6 hours after confirmation is made and upon your acceptance and willingness to co-operate. All communication must be held extremely confidential to ensure a successful delivery.

Sincerely 

Wait now… let me think this through…

  1. My name is not Sole Beneficiary.
  2. I had only one relation who went to Chicago but his name was not O’Hare nor was he part of any Diplomatic corps.
  3. Mammy always said “There was no such thing as a free lunch.

Oh well, time to pick up the knitting and stop the dreaming.

Thank you

 

Yes. Thank you to everyone who sent good wishes, love and concern for me yesterday, as I fought another day in what I referred to as my ‘ ear war’ or in the long lonely months since July, struggling to swallow, clear my air passages, or hear and indeed to be heard. I am sure all the staff at my local health centre might have referred to me as their local ‘headcase’ when they saw me coming or heard my voice on the phone.

I must pay special tribute to my new neighbours, who, when I went to ask them to keep a watchful eye on my house, if I was admitted to the hospital ward, insisted on driving me over to the hospital. Robert even wanted to carry my overnight bag and sit and wait with me until I was seen.  Sandra came to collect me when I was finished for the day and released. She told me that Robert had tears in his eyes when he came home, having left me all alone at the door of the hospital, to fend for myself.

Your love and concern helped me as I played the waiting game between doctors and Consultants yesterday. The online bantering certainly helped.

Arvind, all the way over in Bengaluru/Bangalore, India, told me to “Cheer up. Relax. Uncross all the fingers, toes and whatever…”. They were just the words I needed to put my problem into perspective.

My loss of perspective came to a head last week, the antibiotics were increased to the highest level that could be safely given as an outpatient. My ‘Urgent’ ENT appointment had a SIX Month waiting list… For five days I was unable to get out of my pjs, except to wash down as far as possible, up as far as possible and… not forget ‘possible’!

My hobby of crochet & knitting evaporated, there were days when I awoke in the chair with the needles still in my hand, and nothing to show for it. I was sleeping for 80% of my days. Over four of those days I did not hear a living voice, I had no desire to hear a voice or need to make a reply. Over the past months those who did phone, were concerned about me, The questions were all the same, I was sounding like a broken record repeating and repeating the same words, hearing no news from outside my four walls. My problems grew to fill my space. Boring bigtime.

Back to yesterday,

On my way home from my GP to pick up my overnight bag, which is always packed, I met a friend on the street. We greeted each other with the usual genuine warm smiles, this time we were both wearing our ‘street faces’. She asked how I was, my reply was “Don’t ask! I have been with my GP and am now on my way to A&E, so hopefully next I see you, I will have some news”. I followed up with “No need to worry, I am not pregnant!”.

Asking how she was, I learned that she was just home from England and a visit to her mother. Her brother died… it came slowly… He was missing for three days before his body was found. I asked no questions, I still have all my siblings, so had no idea of how she was feeling inside, but I could empathise with her.

Suddenly…

My problems were minuscule!

PS: This is not a pity me post. It is yet another example of perspective. Stay at home and the problem grows to fill your space. Go outside and you soon learn that others carry a far heavier burden.

Do you like Hallowe’en?

Yes I do, but not for the overblown festival it has become today.

I do have a very special reason…

I have told this story before, but it was in the early days of my blogging life. Just as with life’s seasons, readers/followers  can be blown away by the winds of work, play or new interests. In recent years those empty places have been filled with new and interesting people.

So for you, I will repeat the story of a Halloween forty years ago:

Back in 1976 I was happily working away in Dublin for a computer company known to most of you by its initials.  The days were busy but the toy boys were fun to work with.  The summer holiday season came and went and I worked on.  Since I managed to suffer sun-stroke at least three times in Ireland, the thoughts of heading to warmer climes for annual leave during high season were not my priority.  In late September I began to think of taking a holiday, but a situation at work had all of us in our department under pressure so the holiday was put on the long finger.  

While crunching through the autumn leaves along the Grand Canal during a late October Friday lunchtime, a sudden gust of cool air woke me from my day-dreaming.  Immediately I longed for some warm sunshine on my back.  ‘Warm Sunshine’!  What was I thinking about, we were at the end of October and I had not taken my summer holidays!  If I didn’t get my act together quickly, I would lose the holiday entitlement at the close of the year.

I quickened my step and headed back towards Baggot St.  On the way I passed a Travel Agent.  I went inside to make a few enquiries.

“Do you have anything going out tomorrow” I asked?

“For how many people” enquired the young sales lady?

“Just me” I replied cheerfully.

Fifteen minutes later I left the building holding my tickets for a two week holiday in Sunny Spain leaving the next day, Saturday 30th October.  I had visited most of Mainland Europe over the years, but this was to be a first visit to Spain.  Back then we did not have Credit Cards so my next stop was the bank to purchase some travellers Cheques and some pesetas.  With the business done I skipped my way back to the office, mentally packing a case.  

Oops!  

Back at the office I had to announce my plans.  Fortunately nobody else in the department was booked for leave and there were several people available to provide cover for me.  Next I phoned my mother to tell her.

“Do you need clothes washed” she asked?  

“I have no idea what I want, so wait until I get home and I‘ll sort it out.” I said.  

The first step was to check that my Passport was in order (I knew it would be) and the evening passed selecting and sorting my clothes.  The only thing missing was a swimsuit!  Never mind I could always pick one up in Spain.   

It was to be my first holiday alone so I packed three books and some writing materials to keep me amused.  I also had a pack of cards so I could play patience.  It would be a very quiet holiday with plenty of walking, resting and reading!

I arrived at my hotel in the early hours of 31st and decided to head straight to bed, catch a few hours sleep and set out to explore my surroundings after an early breakfast.

The sun was shining when I awoke around 7am and I quickly showered and dressed not wanting to waste any time indoors.  I headed out and walked the length of the prom to a small harbour at the next village.  I sat and watched the birds calling to each other.  Being a Sunday morning there were very few people about.  My return journey was along the beach and I enjoyed listening to the lapping of the water as I paddled at the water’s edge, arriving back in time for breakfast.

After breakfast armed with a sunhat and scarf for my shoulders, sun cream and a book I headed out once more taking the other direction this time.  The outside world had come to life and there were plenty of people about walking in groups of twos and threes.  Most of them were travelling in the direction that I had taken and I soon became aware of a church bell ringing.  On impulse I followed the sound of the bell and joined the congregation in a very small church for the celebration of Mass.  We were mainly holidaymakers and at a guess English speakers.  The priest was assisted by a lady in her mid to late fifties.  When the time came she passed a silver collection plate around the congregation.

Unlike a Mr Paisley collection ( It was said that he provided metal buckets for the collection, I wonder if it was to discourage coinage in favour of notes?), it was rather noisy mainly consisting of coinage.   The Lady assistant carried the plate from the back of the congregation to the Chancel while the celebrant continued with the service.  As she climbed the first step she tripped and the coins rolled loudly across the terrazzo floor before spinning for what seemed like an eternity.  Alas the solemnity of the mass was lost in the almost suppressed titters around the church.

Suddenly feeling hungry I headed back to the hotel restaurant for lunch.  After a short wait to be seated, I was guided to a table with three other young ladies.  We introduced ourselves and I discovered that they were all from Belfast.  Like me they arrived the previous night.  Their journey had the added hassle of a delay before take-off.  Our chatter covered the journey, our resort and expectations for the holiday ahead.  Their holiday was for one week, while mine was for two.

The meal was simple, tasty and satisfying but we succumbed to, and lingered over dessert.  Two gentlemen from a nearby table stopped on their way out from lunch.  They were known to the girls as they had all travelled out to Spain on the same aircraft.  One of the men stood behind my chair.  I was introduced and immediately he said he had noticed me in the church.  The men entertained the girls with the story of the collection plate.

At one point the man behind me called Jack, wanted to tell me something so he placed his hands on my shoulders to tilt me in his direction.  I do not remember the story he told but I do remember his laughter, the twinkle in his eyes and the touch of his hands.  Later that night he danced with me and for the remainder of the week he sought me out when planning his activities for the day.  

I discovered that Jack, like me, had reason to make changes with holiday plans.  He wanted to have a week away earlier in October, but there were no places available.   The only week free was leaving Belfast on 30th October.

As the week went on we spent more time discovering shared interests, our likes and dislikes of food and music, the type of work we each did and the stories of our lives so far.  All too soon the first week was over and Jack returned to Co Antrim and a town I had never heard of before in my life.  The second week seemed dull without him and I spent my days travelling about the countryside and reading.

For some reason on Hallowe’en morning when I first felt those hands on my shoulders I knew they belonged there and without looking I had found the final piece of my life’s jigsaw that I never realised was missing.  We made contact with each other by phone when I returned and met again at Christmastime.  From then we travelled up and down the road every couple of weeks.  We became

Engaged in February and married in July.

For many years Jack dined out on the fact that we met at Hallowe’en.  He told everyone that he thought I was wearing a mask, but by the time he discovered it didn’t come off, I had my hooks in him!  This was all said as he winked at me and gave me a gentle squeeze.

I have often said to young folk who are on their own that you can’t go looking for love, and you certainly can’t buy it.  Love bites, when you are least expecting it and even sometimes when you don’t want it.  If you are lucky enough to find love, CHERISH it.  

“Mum do you think…?”

Mum thinks. 

She thinks plenty.

In fact when mum hears the question “Mum do you think…?” forming, she is thinking a mile a minute and wondering what is coming next!

I am getting cute in my old age… almost two years ago The question was completed and I agreed to have a go and see what I could do.

John Button pink t-shirt

John Button pink t-shirt

Now a little explanation might help:

The pink shirt was a tribute shirt for John Button, Jenson Button’s father. Jenson races in F1. John always wore pink shirts to his son’s races, and they were usually open at the collar and showing some of his chest.

John died unexpectedly in Jan 2014. As a tribute to him, and to raise money for charity, pink t-shirts were made in his honour and sold at the British Grand Prix in Silverstone in July.

Elly and George were watching the Grand Prix, saw the shirts and immediately George knew she wanted one. It had nothing to do with her jumping up and down in front of the TV singing “I want, I want, I want!”

Time passed.

George was invited to the Goodwood Festival of Speed that year by his brother and father. The shirts were on sale and my darling son in love knew he had to buy one for Elly. Then came the difficult part: Guess the size, and we all know that is not an easy task for any man.

Typically, it was a man’s t-shirt, so while it fitted Elly around the bust, it was huge below that. I had shortened tops for Elly in the past to make them suit better on her frame, so that was why the question was asked to do it again.

When I saw the shape of the shirt with the close high neck, I knew it was not Elly. She NEVER wanted anything tight around her neck. I also wanted to be a little more daring, and follow  along the line of the open neck. So the shirt came home with me to be worked on at my leisure.

More time passed.

I was thinking and planning…

If I was to follow the line of the open shirt design, I would need to find a lining fabric. Lo and behold I was out one day, not quite where the tulips grow, but in a shop with t/shirts on display and for sale in exactly the colour tone I needed. It was also a lighter fabric so ideal for use as lining. The plain back of the t-shirt was sufficient for my needs.

J'adore t-shirt

J’adore t-shirt

Over time I plotted and schemed my way. The sleeves were way too wide, so I would have to take them in and adjust the side seams to suit Elly and finally take a chunk off the bottom. So we had a live modelling session with the shirt inside out. I pinned and marked and Elly managed to struggle out of the garment with any stabbing by pins.

More time passed.

I like good natural light for working in, but the weather gods, took a very long time to open the heavy grey curtains and allow that yellow ball in the sky to shine through.

All the while I was thinking and planning. Then the stars sun was in my favour and I let loose with the scissors. There was no turning back. 

Work in progress

Work in progress

 

I worked so far but needed a second ‘inside out’ fitting to make sure the new front lining was sitting comfortably and smoothly before I continued with the final hand sewing. So the project was set aside until I went to Dublin in July this year. 

The fitting took place and while Elly was busy earning an honest crust, I set to hand sewing and finishing the task in hand. Not quite in hand… I needed the fabric stretched, and since the live model was not available, I used a pillow!

20160619_173348

By the time Elly came home, the work was done and she donned the finished garment and smiled happily.

Happy Elly

Happy Elly

Time to resume my blogging

It seems like years since I was blogging on a regular basis. It has been months since my last confession blog post (8th July 2016).

In the interim… life has been busy, fun, and family filled.

I/we are fortunate that our sibling circle is still intact.

We may be hovering on the upper shelf, but we are blessed that our families are now increased by two generations! For my part, I have one daughter, a son-in-love, seven nieces, three nephews with a younger generation of nine and counting! We are indeed blessed.

The highlight of our month of sharing in July was a gathering in the house where we were born and the garden where we were reared, still the home of our youngest sibling: my sister. Special thanks must go to her for allowing an invasion of over thirty wonderful, talented & colourful characters. We each contributed by providing the food, booze and soft drinks for the day, from the oldest to the youngest grand niece, who stirred and tasted the chocolate for the making of Krispie buns! The boys were not left out: Sean’s guacamole was a great hit with everyone and now world famous!

The little people were a happy bunch, playing and chatting while showing their talents using coloured chalks on the pathways. It allowed the grown-ups to natter and banter at will. Plenty of space to wander and catch up with folk we have not connected with for a few years and too meet some new additions to the circle.

The gathering in our old family home and garden was so much better and more relaxed than if it were held in an hotel. We ‘six’ were back in our childhood…days when the sun was always shining! We did have a day of glorious sunshine despite a spell of much cooler and wet weather in the weeks leading up to the special day.

The singing from all six of us in a group or as individuals provided great amusement for the younger generations, some of the ‘littl’uns’ stood open mouthed as they saw their elders in a totally new light. Each song had a story, or a memory of a previous generation now long gone, who on dark winter evenings (pre-television or central heating), found entertainment sitting around a turf fire and raising the rafters with song, laughter and cups of tea! Days when we sang our way through the thirty two counties of Ireland and each song had a verse for every county. These were intermingled with songs from Musical shows… we grew up knowing them all.

A time of memory making that will stay with us all our days.

)*()*()*(

By contrast, for me the last month and a half was dull, frustrating and painful. Things are improving. My taste, interest and appetite for food  and cooking have returned, though the painful problem has not yet been resolved. I no longer feel the need to sleep the days away, though a good uninterrupted night’s sleep would be welcome!

With no energy for gallivanting, visitors, house chores or blogging, I distracted myself with some sewing and crochet.

Over the next few weeks I hope to share some of the projects I completed and of course I have not yet shared properly my wonderful week in London and the bloggers I finally met in person even though we have been friends for years in Blogland.

I did find a little energy along the way for a spell of one-to-one crochet tutoring with a very attentive student!!

Buffy learing to crochet

Buffy learing to crochet

 

 

Oh the excitement…

We are all on our way !

We are all on our way !

On our way to the airport on Wednesday night. Not a very clear shot from a shaky hand, in the passenger seat of a fast moving car. At dusk. The tiny white light above the sign board with the yellow signage is the plane we were planning to meet almost ready to touchdown on the runway.

We made it in plenty of time, to meet & chat with a few more of my siblings while our precious but exhausted visitors were transferred to baggage reclaim to collect their bags.

I had a message at 20:50 on Tuesday that they were on board the plane, and two flights plus twenty fours later they landed in Dublin.

A day to catch up on sleep, a day of gentle relaxed fun today, so on Saturday…

Let the partying begin!

Where to begin…

Two weeks home from a wonderful week in London and I have not written one word about it.

Why?

Was it a failure?

NO WAY was it a failure!

It was so fantastic that I am struggling to come back down to earth once more. The days, the people, the places and the fun & laughter and of course Toyboys… they still swirl around in my head.

 

With Barbara my niece

With Barbara my niece, photo taken by my grand niece Rebekah

I had/have several crochet projects going on that had time limits, so my fingers were kept busy during the swirling, twirling kaleidoscopic aftermath of my adventures.

There were also other reasons .

  • I am playing my part in the preparations for a family gathering. For me that task is baking.
  • Over the past few months I noticed that I was finding it more difficult to spend time reading or working at my computer. I was blaming my eyes, they would become tired quickly and the screen, the print or photographs seemed dull. An added difficulty was having a ‘Shiny’ screen that acted like a mirror in bright light ( no. I did not appreciate seeing my ould ragged face every time I opened my laptop). Poor Tobias Laptop has been limping for a long time, but on Thursday just as I found some time and inspiration to post on my blog, he gave up the ghost. Died. Dead as a door nail.

I do have so much to share, the holiday and the craft work of the past months. I also have wonderful photos on a USB key, and only managed to add one for the moment.

It might be next week, but I promise details.. some of them anyway… a girl needs her secrets! 😉

What were you doing on Friday?

I went for a drive, in a freshly washed, hoovered and dusted car.

We are old friends now, the car and I. Sixteen years we have spent together, tootling over hill and dale.

I spoke gently to her on the way.

Be a good girl and do all the things the nice man asks you to do.

She did and here is the evidence:

My car sitting aloft

My car sitting aloft

Twenty five minutes later we back on the road smiling like two Cheshire cats! Adventure here we come!!

What will I wear today?

I have spent a good half hour trying to decide what to wear today. Nothing fancy as the day will be spent cooking, preparing food for a party, ironing, cleaning windows and dancing with the vacuum & duster. All these activities will be interspersed with resting periods of crochet.

So I am looking for something suitable to don and flounce about in while I work. You know, work clothes. Fresh & clean, not worried about little spillages, yet smart enough if an unexpected Toyboy should land on my doorstep! No way do I want to spoil my image!!

I have so little to choose from these days and it is all my own fault:

Hanger sculpture

Hanger sculpture

This hanger sculpture is actual evidence of a recent brutal clear out of my wardrobes. All sorted, cleaned and gone to charity or for recycling. The only problem is that I forgot to keep an outfit or two for mucky housework!

I suppose if I am stuck, I could always wear my pyjamas turned inside out!!

 

Can you hand me a towel, please.

How many times have you asked that question?

You know, your hands are wet and the towel is not on the hook where it normally resides.

‘SOMEBODY’ moved it. Grrrr!

Often the answer absently wings its way back to you: Which one?

Let it be beige, blue, pink or yellow but never bring a white one with the yellow stripe.

A pair of white towels with a deep egg yolk yellow stripe loving lives in the airing cupboard and are only for looking at. They are delicate and have a long story. History.

Towels from Cawnpore, India

Towels from Cawnpore, India

Now, to you they might look like old rags. No. They are ‘Anti –queues’ and not faded!

Really.

As I said in a previous post about shapely legs… ‘They were purchased as a gift before I was even a gleam in my father’s eye. A gift for a woman. A woman I never had the opportunity to meet. The fact that she loved, used and cared for them, was enough for me. They may be my treasure at the moment, but I am really a temporary guardian until the day when I pass them on to the next generation.’

The next generation in this case is my Elly.

I have used them many years ago.

After Elly’s first dip in the baby bath, I loving wrapped her in one of these towels and handed her to her dad. It was long before the days of instant cameras & mobile phones with the option of delivering photos round the world as soon as you click. Never mind, I have the memory stored in my head… just as well, my Elly is way to big for wrapping in one of those towels these days. 😉

Muir Mills Logo

Muir Mills Logo

Jack bought the towels in India, when he was serving there in World War 2 and posted them home to his mother. It was before being moved on to Burma and the injury that ended his war.

Right, it is your turn now. What everyday object or item in your house has a long history or story behind it?