Monthly Archives: January 2008

Thursday Special ~ Estate Planning

Dan discovered he was going to inherit a fortune when his terminally ill father died, so he decided he needed a woman to enjoy it with.

One evening he went to a singles bar where he spotted the woman of his dreams. Her natural beauty took his breath away.

“I may look like just an ordinary man,” he said as he walked up to her, “but in just a few years, my father will die, and I’ll inherit €20 million.”

Impressed, the woman went home with him that evening.

Three days later, she became his stepmother.

Women are so much better at Estate Planning than men.

Today I was touched

Today I was touched! Touched and touched!

That may sound peculiar to you, but it is the truth.

First off I had lunch with some of my ex work colleagues. Unusual for me I was 10 minutes late. They waited patiently and we soon made up for lost time with plenty of chat. We shared our news and caught up on various happenings in our families over the past few months. I brought Elly & George’s wedding book and K had photos of her first grandchild born in November. In all I met and spoke to ten people.

The craic was good and we laughed plenty.

Before I left, one of my friends touched me!

She hugged me as she said goodbye. ‘So what is wrong with that’ I hear you ask. Absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. It was in fact the first time I touched another living soul this year. The last time I had someone cross my threshold or physically touch me was on Christmas Eve morning. Yes, Elly & George hugged me several times before they left to travel to Abbeyleix for Christmas day.

Tonight I am touched in a very different way.

Elly phoned me…. Irish Blog Awards nomination lists are filtering through. Apparently my name appears for Best Personal Blog 2008 with 71 talented contenders. If that is not enough Grannymar appears amongst the 136 listed for Best Blog I do not expect to get any further. I am deeply honoured to reach this point and wish all the best to all those mentioned, and commiserations to anyone that feels disappointment.

Virtual hugs to one and all!



I know I have some weird neighbours, but then maybe they see me as someone with two heads. Who knows! And would you blame them? That second head is hard to camouflage and my eyes are very far apart! 😉

I have lived here in my little palace since I married 30 years ago. It is in a small estate of 20 similar style bungalows. The buildings may have looked similar but the gardens were all different. The fact that the ground was on a slope and every two bungalows were on a different level helped to change the look.

In the past ten years several changes have taken place. A sun room here, a conservatory there and the odd roof space conversion to add to the mix. The latest is that two Houses sprouted in one garden. Well that should be in half a garden as the original bungalow is still there with lawns to the front and rear.

The neighbours, like the houses have changed as well. Some of us have stayed put, but aged. While others have moved to be closer to family; yet more have flown to pastures new, and a few have gone to the great big garden of eternity.

We now have a mix of age groups, from over ninety down to late twenties. For the most part you could call them ‘street friends’, you know the type, address you by first name and shout a friendly ‘hello’ or ‘that’s a lovely day’ if you were in the garden or if you meet them down the town. Yet they would never think to knock on the door to check if you were al-right. There was one gentleman who would blatantly ask how much you paid for a new car or the latest fill of heating oil! Mind you, if HE got a bargain he became very tight lipped!

At least you saw the neighbours coming and going, cleaning the windows, cutting the grass or washing their cars. Naturally in winter time we all rushed indoor to the warmth and comfort of our firesides. Living in a Cul-de-Sac I quickly learned to tell without looking, the time of day by the sound of the motor cars. Each one had its own distinctive engine noise.

There are a few children about again, and I look forward to the stretch in the evenings so that I will hear and see them on their bicycles, go-carts or roller boots, endlessly plodding their way up the hill and racing back down again.

I was reading a post at The Other Side of Sixty the other day. Wisewebwoman is in the city of Toronto house-sitting, far away from her little village in Newfoundland. This temporary home has a fairytale look to it. I thought what a wonderful idea, live a different life, in a different place and indeed almost become another person for the duration. Now that should provide a wealth of blogging ideas!

Then she posted Transition a totally different angle on the area of her house-sit. She wrote:

My family came for dinner tonight.
They drove up to this suburban haven of large houses, double garages, and vast swathes of lawns from the city.
They remarked on the silence – quiet wealth makes no sound.
The trees are carefully landscaped and calibrated to enhance the neighbourhood. White birch, low slung colourful shrubbery and precise flowerbeds carved out of eye-hurting emerald green lawns.
There are no sidewalks.
Every house has got security and has picturesque ye olde outdoor lighting.
The front windows are all in darkness.
There is never any life on this street.
I assume any life takes place in the back of the house….
The photo she posted brought to mind my idea of a post- nuclear attack.

How can anyone live, never mind exist, in such soulless isolation? Maybe their lives are spent blogging!

So what is your neighbourhood like?



Grandad asked a question on Saturday.

The conditions of his release from a short spell in captivity include lying low and not interfering with his neighbours property or staff building workers, shooting Tourists, or ranting and raving about the dedicated and hardworking personnel who so unselfishly and wholeheartedly give of themselves for the good of Ireland by serving in Government. This leaves little for him to do so in his boredom he committed a few short words to the laptop and asked a question.

Now this was either a ploy to check up on the loyalty of his followers, or to get them to do all the work and fill Cyberspace with their answers and keep his stats up. There is also the possibility that the answers would provide meat fodder topics for further blog posts.

The question he posed was ‘Why do I(you) Blog?’

I quickly sent my first thoughts winging over the Interweb:

    • Elly walked me into it.
    • The novelty.
    • Now to keep in contact with all the virtual friends I have made.

Happy enough with that I went about my daily chores. Alas there was no peace, the question haunted me at every twist and turn.

Laptop dancing

So, Why do I blog?

Yes, the answers above were all correct. Elly did walk or push me into it. I was her guinea pig for Bar Camp South East way back in September ’06. I did say “what would I want to do that for? and many other unprintable things as well. But we I got there and my first post was two sentences!!!! Yes two.

Elly was more concerned with me learning about Podcasting. I did my best, and my first effort The Favour was all of two or three minutes. Way to long for anyone to suffer listening to such a dreadful voice!

With time I became more comfortable and adventurous, the blog posts grew longer as did the Podcasts. I learned to insert graphics and photos and last week I managed to add a mini video clip.

Slowly, very slowly over time the comments started to arrive. There are some folk who visit and tip-toe away saying nothing, and that is their right, but there are other stalwarts who visit everyday adding their wisdom, another point of view or sense of fun. At this stage I feel they are my friends and I cherish them. Not being able to ‘Run the Roads’, as they say here in Norn Iron, as much as I would like, I appreciate my blogging friends all the more.

Thank you, Elly for the push! Thank you George for your help also (now where are my flags?). I have learned so much since I started, I discovered there is so much more to learn and most important of all plenty more fun to be had.

So in short I blog, and read blogs because:

  • I learn from others.
  • Ranting or readings rants, raises my blood pressure.
  • The laughter is like jogging on the inside.
  • The smile some posts put on my face requires the use of more muscles than a frown, and it also keeps the laughter lines curved upwards giving my face a softer look!
  • Then there is the ‘T’ word…..

So please visit more, you are good for my health! 😉

Food Monday ~ Lemon Drizzle Cake

I am a mammy cook. I have no professional training and my collection of recipes has grown with each year I have lived. In my young life we used pounds, shillings and pence for money and pounds (lbs) and ounces (ozs) for cooking. I was never quite happy with the move over to grams! My weighing scales has a clock type face with both sets of measurements. So when a recipe appealed I copied it as it was given. So long as I kept to one or other measurement not mixing grams with ounces I was fine.

Weights and Measures

So some of the older items will have Lbs and ozs, while the others will have grams. I am not into translations and conversions.

I located the following weights and measures conversion table. It was in Prima magazine about 15 years ago. I hope it is helpful.

Weights & Measures

Click to enlarge

Under the title of each recipe will be the oven temperature is set for ºC which I use in my fan oven. The number of servings will appear at the base of the recipe. I will use only the recipes that have made a regular appearance at my table.

Steph from The biopsy report is a steadfast and witty commenter here on my blog. I am not sure that she has forgiven me yet for scaring her cat the other day. In the hope of making amends I will officially unveil my Food Mondays with the lemon drizzle cake she asked about.

Lemon Drizzle Cake
Preheat the oven to180°C

4ozs soft Butter
6ozs Caster Sugar
6ozs Self Raising Flour
4 tablespoons Milk
Grated zest of 1 Lemon
2 large Eggs
Pinch of Salt

For the lemon Syrup:
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon (Juice 1½ large Lemons)
3ozs Icing Sugar

Butter a 2lb loaf tin and line with baking parchment. Place all the cake ingredients in a bowl or mixer and beat for 3 minutes, until well blended. Pour into cake tin, smooth top and bake for 45 minutes. Remove and leave to cool in the tin on a cooling rack. Gently warm the lemon juice and icing sugar in a pan until sugar dissolves. Prick cake all over with a fork and spoon the warmed lemon syrup over the top. Leave until cake is cold before turning out. Serve sprinkled with icing sugar.


Thoughts for a Winter’s Day

“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.” ~ Victor Hugo

“Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart.” ~ Victor Hugo

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips it’s turn.” ~ Hal Borland

“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.” ~ Anton Chekhov

Milk Teeth

Deciduous teeth, otherwise known as milk teeth, baby teeth, temporary teeth or primary teeth, are the first set of teeth in the growth development of humans and many other mammals. They start to form during the embryonic phase of pregnancy. These teeth will continue to form until they erupt in the mouth at the age of approximately six months and continues until twenty-five to thirty-three months of age. The full set of milk teeth is twenty: five per quadrant and ten per arch.

The deciduous teeth will remain until a child is about six or seven. At that time, the permanent teeth start to appear in the mouth. The erupting permanent teeth push down on the roots of the milk teeth causing the roots to be dissolved and become absorbed by the forming permanent teeth. The process of shedding deciduous teeth and the replacement by permanent teeth may last from age six to age twelve. By age twelve there usually are only permanent teeth remaining.

Deciduous teeth are considered essential in the development of the oral cavity. The permanent teeth replacements develop from the same tooth bud as the deciduous teeth; this provides a guide for permanent teeth eruption. Also the muscles of the jaw and the formation of the jaw bones depend on the primary teeth in order to maintain the proper space for permanent teeth. The roots of deciduous teeth provide an opening for the permanent teeth to erupt. These teeth are also needed in the development of a child’s ability to speak and chew their food correctly.

Various cultures have customs relating to the loss of deciduous teeth;

In the United Kingdom the tooth is put under the pillow of the child who lost the tooth. When the child wakes up, the tooth fairy will have turned it into a coin.

In Mexico the child goes to bed with the baby tooth under their pillow. A mouse, not a fairy, takes it during the night. She leaves some money.

In Austria, you either make the baby tooth into a pendant head, a key ring, or throw the upper tooth under the house and the lower over the roof.

In Korea If it is a lower baby tooth, throw it up onto the roof; and if it is an upper tooth, throw it underneath the house. It is done so that the upper tooth grows healthy downwards, while the lower tooth upwards.

In Mongolia the baby tooth is given to a young dog. In Mongolia, the dog is respected and is considered a guardian angel. The baby tooth is put in the meat fat and it is fed to the young dog. When the guardian angel eats it, it is said, that a strong tooth will grow.

Now I wonder what they ever did with mine?

Coming, going ready or not…

I was listening talking to Elly the other day making arrangements for my next visit. We do this on a regular basis, talk that is. ‘Visit’ arrangements are something else altogether. You see, in my head I want to go here and do this that and the other, while my body says NO WAY!

All my social arrangements both at home and away are prefixed with ‘IF’. I continually have to remind my head that the body is not thirty years of age anymore. Alas, the body rules. There are mornings when the thoughts of how I will feel after a shower, are what gets me out of the bed! There are some days when that is not enough either. Some days I start off well and suddenly I am drained of energy. The best way to describe it is a feeling that someone has pulled the stopper and the energy drains away like water in a sink. My colour goes with it and I need to SIT DOWN right there and then. Elly & George are used to this happening and quietly deal with me. I knew there would be a bonus of having a strong, solid and good looking Son-in-Law to lean on! 😉

I have to keep going, so I make plans with an ‘if’. “I would love to come…if.” “Certainly I will go…if.” You get the picture.


Now I want to travel down for the Irish Blog Awards to rub flesh with my virtual friends and meet more new ones. It is an easy one for me to attend because it is held in a nice room with comfortable seating and space to move around. The seats are not pre-booked so if I need to cancel it is not a problem. If I don’t turn up somebody else will use the seat.

I have not put my name on any list to attend the meet-ups before or after the big night, because I hate to say I will go somewhere that requires having space booked for me, and cause expense only to discover at the last moment that my health won’t let me attend.




So Sabrina, Red Mum and Deborah please excuse me and I hope all the events are a wonderful success.

Thursday Special ~ Toilet Cleaning Instructions

Several posts have had a lavatorial theme of late and since Nancy passed this on to me, I think it is just what I need to clean up my act.


Put both the lid and the seat of the toilet up and add 1/8 cup of pet shampoo to the water in the bowl.

Pick up the cat and soothe him while you carry him towards the bathroom.

In one smooth movement, put the cat in the toilet and close down the lid. You may need to stand on the lid. The cat will self agitate and make ample suds. Never mind the noises that come from the toilet, the cat is actually enjoying this.

Flush the toilet three or four times. This provides a ‘power-wash’ and ‘rinse’.

Have someone open the front door of your home. Be sure that there are no people between the bathroom and the front door.
Stand behind the toilet as far as you can, and quickly lift both the lid and the seat.

The cat will rocket out of the toilet, streak through the bathroom, and run outside where he will dry himself off.
Both the bowl and the cat will be sparkling clean.

Scoured cat

Arrow Down

The Dog

Laughing Dog

Where was your Mother


This post was originally in the form of a podcast but alas it has expired.

Thankfully I had kept a copy of the text and reproduce it here.

1963-08 Mammy at Molony Family Gathering


When you think of your mother, how and where do you imagine her? For me it has to be in the kitchen wearing a pinafore with hands covered in flour while baking, or standing at the cooker stirring or checking a saucepan or casserole dish before moving on to the next stage of preparation of a meal.

Yesterday I walked down the hill to post a letter before calling into the bank to say hello to my two penny worth! On the trudge uphill in the driving rain late in the afternoon, I was reminded of all those far off days walking home from school is similar weather. The big difference was that I had to think of and prepare my own dinner when I reached home. In my school days most of the dinner was started and I helped with the vegetables and dessert before laying the table.

We never knew what to expect for dinner until the front door opened and the aroma wafted like the Bisto Kids advert from the kitchen. If you were not hungry before you crossed the threshold, then you certainly were ravenous by the time you closed the door on the inside. It was so inviting, that the taste buds went into overdrive you could eat the table never mind waiting for the food to be served.

Our meal usually had four parts, soup, main course and sweet of hot apple or rhubarb tart with cream or in winter rice, tapioca or bread and butter pudding. The last three I passed on but made up for it with the warm cake straight from the oven to go with a cup of coffee or tea. It is a miracle we were not all obese instead of matchstick figures!

Soda and wheaten bread (known in our house as Daddy’s bread and brown bread respectively), scones, plain, wheaten, or fruit were made every day. In winter we had griddle bread, Daddy complained, didn’t he always! The griddle bread did not taste like the bread his mother made, well why would it, granny made it on a griddle over an open turf fire.

Mammy used a wide heavy cast iron frying pan on the gas stove. One day while stoking the fire she had a brilliant idea! She covered the bread on the pan with an old wide saucepan lid and lifted some smouldering turf from the fire and placed it on the pan lid. The turf helped cook the bread from the top and added the smoky flavour. From then on we had authentic flavoured griddle bread every time! You had to be quick on the draw because that bread disappeared fast. I wonder if this is why we all have long arms.

Shortbread, mince pies, brack, Victoria sponges and fairy cakes (cup cakes) or feckies as we called them were all a regular part of her repertoire.

It is the main meals I remember most. It is hard to credit that mammy was unable to cook anything when she was newly married. In fact she often told us that she had nightmares on honeymoon thinking about having to cook when she moved into her new home.

Yet mammy could do the loaves and fishes with ease. I saw her feed the hoards of relations that descended unannounced on a regular basis. There were roasts, stews, casseroles, bacon & cabbage and on a bitter winter evening nothing better than coddle!

Coddle was a Dublin dish, jokingly referred to as a ‘Whore’s (pronounced Who-are) breakfast!’ It consisted of onions, the fattest streaky bacon and pig’s kidney. Some people added pork sausages we never did. It was put on to boil early in the day and once it reached boiling point the heat was reduced and left to simmer away slowly for several hours. When it was well cooked the juice was thickened and seasoning checked. The nickname came from the joke that the difference between a whore and a prostitute was that a whore gave you breakfast! These generous ladies were thought to put the pan of coddle on to simmer before entertaining their guests for the night and when the gentlemen were preparing to leave a hearty breakfast was served.

In our house coddle was served with an enormous dish of boiled potatoes and there was always a sliced loaf to mop up the gravy when the potatoes were gone. Remember the five men in our house would eat at least five large potatoes each! Then you had mammy, my sister and yours truly as well!

I have decided to have a ‘food-ie’ post once a week. Please don’t ask me to post pictures as that is not my scene. In over 50 years of cooking, yes I started when I was about seven or eight years old, I have collected plenty of recipes and ideas. I have said it before and I will say it again mammy never possessed a weighing scales until I bought one. She happily measured by handful, spoonful or pinch. I remember making an egg sponge cake with 3 eggs, three tablespoons of caster sugar and 3 tablespoons of self raising flour. I beat it with an egg whisk! Somehow it worked.

Mammy cooked by the feel, the look or the taste of a mixture. Only once do I remember a disaster. She produced a wonderful great big apple tart, only to discover that in a distracted moment she had sprinkled bicarbonate of soda on the apples instead of icing sugar before putting the pastry lid on it for cooking. It was the one and only time I remember food being returned to the kitchen uneaten.

I spent many hours in that kitchen with mammy and hopefully some of her good sense rubbed off on me. Somebody once said to me “Well if you can read you can cook!” A cookery book does not teach you about aroma, tasting or producing food, that is an act of love!