Monthly Archives: June 2007

My Speech

While concentrating on my many sewing tasks over the past few months, Podcasting was relegated to the back burner. The longer the gap the harder it is to begin again. So where will I start?

At the wedding on Saturday several people suggested that my speech might work well as a Podcast. There are friends and relations who follow my blog, but were unable to attend so for you I will re-do the speech. You will have to imagine the heckling and the rotten tomatoes flying through the air!


My adventure is over, theirs is only beginning…

Today I am home from Elly & George’s wedding and am feeling a little fragile:

So where do I start?

Thursday dawned and I woke early, the car was packed and ready to go. I spoke to Elly and she was in very good form (for a bride) and seemed quite relaxed! I had a good breakfast and set off on the road of a wonderful adventure.

Where have the 29 years gone, it seems at times as if while I blinked she changed from a tiny baby to the beautiful, capable, organised and independent young lady I now see. Her Dad would have been proud!

The journey was uneventful with some heavy rain as I crossed the border from Northern Ireland to the south. I called with Elly and we had some quality time before going to check into the hotel. Elly still had some things to sort out so she left me to get my bearings in the hotel and have an early quiet night.

Friday was a rest day for me with my only task being to press the famous outfit. This I did in stages and rested until after lunch.

Reception informed me when guests checked in so I was able to meet and greet them. My cousin and her husband from California who I met and stayed with a few years ago were the first to arrive. As we caught up with family news and looked at photos, my cousin from New Zealand and her son whom I last saw in the late 60’s were next to join us. These cousins were aware of each other but never met so it was good to make the introductions. We spent several hours catching up and filling gaps in family history.

Elly and the bridesmaids checked in and joined us for dinner. We were nine in total at this stage and the banter and craic was wonderful. A good omen for the day to follow!

Saturday dawned with sunshine and no rain. I went to breakfast at 8.30 and was joined by the Bride-to-Be and her attendants before they headed to keep hairdresser appointments. The remainder of the morning passed quickly with guests arriving from all arts and parts. It was becoming a very international affair. We had representatives from north, south, east and west of Ireland, London, Paris and Troyes in France, Romania, California, New Zealand and the high point for Elly was to have an Uncle from Australia who was bringing his 18 year old daughter to Ireland for the wedding and to meet his (our) family for the very first time.

Elly announced that she did not want to miss the fun so we all changed into our finery and rejoined the guests for the pre-wedding reception. It is the only wedding I ever attended where the Bride and Groom mingled with the guests before the ceremony.

At 3p.m. I had the honour of walking Elly in and handing her over to George. Music was provided by a sister of the Groom, while another sister, a friend of the couple and an aunt of the Bride took care of the three readings.

An Uncle of George’s officiated and the couple had written the service and vows themselves. It was very moving, and the place resounded with everyone singing ‘When I’m Sixty-Four by the Beatles as the couple walked, or should I say danced out.

At this point I have no pictures but if you check Elly’s blog, not alone will find a picture but can read her vows.

"I Gave My Wedding Dress Away,"

Eileen Reid sang with a group called the Melody Makers in Dublin during the early sixties before joining the Cadets with whom she made the above hit record. She has continued to act, in films as well as on-stage. I last saw her portraying Imelda’s mother in Alan Parker’s The Commitments.

The song “I Gave My Wedding Dress Away” is very much in my head at the moment. You know how it is – you think of a line and you find you are singing it all day long!

Well now I will be able to say “I Gave My Wedding Dress Away” and mean it. For the past eighteen months I have worked on (When health allowed) a very special wedding dress. In fact I have always referred to it as ‘Elly’s Wedding Outfit’. That is because it was not really a dress at all. For most of her life my daughter REFUSED point blank to wear a dress! Jeans are her usual choice of apparel.

No way would I let her wear jeans walking up an aisle, no matter what building she chose for the wedding.

We did go out one day a lifetime ago or so it seems, so Elly could look at and try on dresses, even though she had already asked me to make her special outfit. I wanted her to be sure and not commit until she had tried several different styles.

There were one-pieces, two-pieces, meringues all frills and flounces, slinky little numbers and the more traditional with big skirts. She tried while I looked. My face sometimes told more than the mirror even if I was slow to comment. One she liked had a rather full skirt with mountains of underskirts to support it. I reminded her of how she disliked being restricted and she agreed that yes it would slow her down far too much. “Anyway Mum, your arms would not hack all that weight of material” she said. I think I was secretly relieved.

Since Elly’s Graduation outfit (which I made over ten years ago) really pleased her she hankered after a similar one for her wedding. I hunted out ideas and we settled on a boned bodice, trousers and a train. Detachable sleeves were also an option. We ditched the sleeves last month and the train unhooks for Dancing.

I set to work on the train as it would not be affected by a change in Elly’s weight. Next I did the sleeves and then the trousers. I left the waistband and hems semi-finished for the second fitting. The bodice was the last piece to be tackled as it was boned and the most difficult to alter.

All this was going on some 125 miles apart from each other. Each time we met her weight seemed static and her shape & measurements remained the same. I took a chance on it and went ahead with the boned bodice.

In February work decided to interfere with the calm steady arrangements. Work trips around the globe were suddenly arranged and Elly took off on her travels. Mammy sat calmly (on the outside) sewing away wondering when we were ever to have a fitting. I kept a stock of safety pins at the ready, after all Liz Hurley got away with it at the Oscars!

I travelled to Dublin for the Irish Blog Awards in March armed with Wedding outfit, sewing box, sheets to spread on the floor for the fitting etc.

Ha, ha, ha! Serves you right mother! Elly lost a little weight. Where? Up top of course, so the alterations started. I still had time… 23rd June was a couple of months away.

Elly arranged to come up on 10th June for the final fitting but the car objected and gave up on her north of Drogheda. The car was sorted and she finally managed to take time away from work on Friday 15th June. We had a good six or seven hour’s together but:

Whaaaa! More alterations were needed. Beading had to be removed to do them properly. I managed to do the crucial ones while Elly was with me and that left four days to get it all finished.

All that work just to ‘Gift Wrap’ the most precious treasure I have before willingly and lovingly entrusting her to George.

George all I ask is that you mind her, love her and may you both live long and happy lives together.

Changing a Name

In the next week or so you will notice a change on my Blog Roll. I will be ditching Sin-in-Law.

Now calm down, I am not eliminating him altogether just changing his name on the list. After Saturday he will hopefully be still living with my daughter. They have known each other for the past five years and there are no signs of any cracks, so it looks like they are together for the duration. 😉

So how will I introduce him to any of my friends? I could ask for your help with suggestions, but no, I have made up my own mind on this one.

Son-in-Law is so ordinary and used by so many already. I have decided to call George my:


“Why Sun and not Son” I hear you ask.

The reason for my choice is the transformation in Elly when he walks into a room. It is exactly like the sun suddenly appearing from behind a cloud. The room is brighter for his presence and filled with a warm loving glow.

I wish them both, every happiness on their shared journey through married life.

Almost ready for the Big Event

The sewing is completed for the wedding, the boxes, bags and clothes hangers are all sorted and ready to load into the car. So what have I left to do?

!. Prepare a short Mother of the Bride speech of welcome and share a few of Elly’s escapades from her young life. She has not yet realised that my dementia is selective….

2, Decide on my party-piece for the evening. Now I wonder …

‘My Favourite Things’ is a harmless little ditty.

Now let me see if I remember the lyrics:-

Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,

Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,

Bundles of magazines tied up in string,

These are a few of my favourite things.

Cadillac’s and cataracts and hearing aids and glasses,

Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,

Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,

We remember our favourite things.

When the pipes leak,
when the bones creak,
when the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favourite things,

And then I don’t feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,

No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,

Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,

These are a few of my favourite things.

Back pains, confused brains, and no fear of sinning’,

Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinning’,

And we won’t mention our short shrunken frames,

Then we remember our favourite things.

When the joints ache,
when the hips break,
when the eyes grow dim,
then I remember the great life I’ve had,

And then I don’t feel so bad.

These lyrics are courtesy of Julie Andrews she chose them for a performance at Manhattan’s Radio City Music Hall

I wonder where I might find a singing teacher…

The very thing the yellow Pages!

The Letter Box Clattered…

You all know how I love the sound of my letterbox clattering and the other day was no different.

My singular item that day was a card from Anne, a friend I worked with in Dublin before I was married. We have remained in touch by letter, phone calls and the occasional visit. Anne married a couple of years before me and had a daughter Rebecca by the time I walked down the aisle. She later has a son a little younger than Elly.

The card from Anne was to wish me well during this special month of June. She was encouraging me to savour every day and particularly Elly’s Wedding Day. She enclosed a copy of a letter that she had come across on a recent spring-clean and enjoyed re-reading.As I read the letter tears rolled silently down my face!I think I might like to share it:

Waveney Hospital
Tuesday 9th May

Dear Anne & Tony,

Greetings from the Grannymar Family!

Yes Elly arrived on Saturday at 4.25p.m.She is just gorgeous. At 6lbs 12ozs she was much bigger than I had expected. The Consultant had told me the baby would be small and I had expected a wrinkled little prune! Well there wasn’t a wrinkle in sight.

The Consultant took me into hospital on the Wednesday as my sugar levels were very high.They ran tests and X-rays all day Thursday to make sure the baby was big enough to bring on.The results were through on Friday and they started the ball rolling at 10.30a.m. on Saturday. I must say it was all very easy and couldn’t understand why they kept asking to give me an injection for pain!

Poor Jack had the longest day of his life, waiting and wondering. He was up and finished breakfast before 6a.m. and wandered around in circles all day. By 4p.m. when there was still no news he decided to come on over and wait at the hospital, but by the time he arrived, all was over and he was taken straight to see his little daughter.

I will never forget the look on his face when he came across to my bedside.The tears just ran down his cheeks with joy!

I had a try at breast feeding on Sunday but yesterday I had to stop as my skin is so fair and sensitive. I will try again today but am resigned to the fact that it may not work out. I will at least have tried and what more can I do. Yesterday I had a touch of the ‘Blues’, but am back to myself again today. I was just overtired and slept very little on Saturday and Sunday.

Sister has just made rounds and together we decided to quit the breast feeding. I am much too sore and raw and would run into more trouble. It is better to decide now and not wait until I am home and on my own.

Mammy has phoned to say she will come to see us. Jack persuaded her to wait until next week when I am home and she would have more time with us. I am really looking forward to her visit.

Well now Rebecca, we can take out the little bootees and make good use of them. It seems no time since you were as new as Elly. How time goes by!

Anne I must finish and get some more letters written while Elly sleeps and the mood is on me.

Love to All


We all use emails nowadays for speed and ease.I wonder how they will last as records of events in years ahead.

Don’t give up the Pen and paper!

Be Sure Your Sins Will Find You Out!

At University College Dublin, there were four students taking chemistry and all of them had an “A” so far. These four Guys were so confident, that the weekend before their finals, they decided to visit some friends and have a big party. They had a great time but, after all the hearty partying they slept all day Sunday and didn’t make it back to UCD until early Monday morning.

Rather than taking the final exam then, they decided that after the final, they would explain to their professor why they missed it.

They said that they visited friends but on the way back they had a flat tire. As a result, they missed the final. The professor agreed they could make up the final the next day. The guys were excited and relieved. They studied that night for the exam.

The Professor placed them in separate rooms and gave them a test booklet.

They quickly answered the first problem worth 5 points. Cool, they thought!

Each one in separate rooms, thinking this was going to be easy…. then they turned the page. On the second page was written….

For 95 points: Which tire?

Dario I hope it wasn’t you!

Talents & Gifts

Being human we seldom realise or recognise our own talents. I often look at the work of photographers and marvel at the amazing images they produce. Gingerpixel is one and Richard M, who I mentioned in a previous post, is another. I point a camera and if I am lucky I manage to produce something that is almost recognisable.

Praise was not something my parents served up very often in my young days. It was usually “What are you at now? You know you will never finish it.” I suppose those words made me more determined to complete whatever I was at, usually some sewing, and prove I could do something.

I remember hiding away in my bedroom one afternoon to find some peace and quiet to read a book that a friend had given me. My mother called up to me to know what I was up to. “Nothing, just reading” I said. “Well stop wasting time and come down here and do something useful!” she said. I came down as asked and the useful task assigned to me was to peel ½ stone of potatoes for the dinner. Seven pounds of potatoes were consumed on a daily basis in our household, that was when we were small in number, my parents four brothers my sister and myself. When we had visitors, which was a regular occurrence the mound of potatoes grew even bigger. Of course we had plenty of vegetables to be scrubbed, peeled and chopped to go with the potatoes and they just appeared at my side as I was about to finish the spuds.

There were days when Mammy might exclaim “I have nothing for dessert, would you ever whip up a sponge cake. Now this was before we had an electric mixer or a food processor. My only aid was a hand mixer and it took an eternity to beat up the eggs until they were stiff and left the mark of the beaters in the mixture. All that work to see the cake arrive on the table where it was cut in eight slices and devoured in ten seconds!! What is it with eggs? I made the sponge cakes, pancakes, and scrambled eggs. They were about the only things I was praised for.

Mary my father’s eldest sister is the person who fostered my love of a needle. She taught me to crochet and to read a sewing pattern properly. I had lessons on her old treadle sewing machine and she helped to make my first dress. To this day I still see it in my minds eye. Being the early sixties it was simple sleeveless fully lined and had two fringed patch pockets on the front. Auntie Mary was a teacher and had a love for her craft and passed on her knowledge with love and gentle dedication. I have never forgotten anything that she taught me.

Over this past year while working on Elly’s special outfit I thought of Auntie Mary many times. So when I make a quiet toast to Absent Loved Ones on the big day Auntie Mary will be high up on that list.

Grafton Street’s a Wonderland….

A lady was walking down Grafton Street when she was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless woman who asked her for a couple of Euro for food.

The woman took out her purse, produced €50 and asked, “If I give you this money, will you buy some chocolate with it instead of dinner?”

“No,” I had to stop chocolate years ago, the homeless woman replied.

Will you use it to go shopping instead of buying food?” the woman asked.

“No,” I don’t waste time shopping, the homeless woman said. “I need to spend all my time trying to stay alive.”

“Will you spend this at the Hairdresser’s instead of food?” the woman asked.

“Are you NUTS!” replied the homeless woman. “I haven’t had my hair done in 20 years!”

“Well,” said the woman, “I’m not going to give you the money. Instead, I’m going to take you out for dinner with my hubby and myself tonight.

The homeless Woman was astounded. “Won’t your hubby be furious with you for doing that? I know I’m dirty, and I probably smell pretty well disgusting.”

The woman replied, “That’s okay. It’s important for him to see what a woman looks like after she has given up shopping, hairdresser appointments, and chocolate.