Monthly Archives: February 2008

Forgotten your Skills?

Will sent me a link about Obsolete Skills I was fascinated. I deleted about half of them, mainly the tekkie ones. AND the one about Cave Wall Painting. Huh! I certainly don’t go that far back! 😡

I hope I cut all the repeats, but I have done all of these 109 things at least once!!

Now if my list is not enough you can always go back to the Blog Post.

Adjusting rabbit ears on top of a TV

Adjusting a television’s horizontal and vertical holds

Adjusting a television’s color and hue adjustments

Adjusting a clock’s pendulum

Analogue radio listening and tuning in

Calculating a square root using pencil and paper

Calculating sales tax?


Cash Register used manually entering the prices

Changing the ball or ribbon on your Selectric Typewriter

Cleaning the balls inside a computer mouse for better traction

Clicking on the up and down arrows of a vertical scrollbar

Counting back change

Operate a credit card imprinter (click-clack)

Cursive handwriting

Darning a sock

Faxing a document

Focusing a camera


Getting off the couch to change channels on your TV set?

Getting to know your neighbors?

Going outside? (instead of editing pointless Wikis) 😆

Hand crank a car to start it

Hand lettering large signs


Having Cash

Having your gas pumped for you and your oil checked at a full-service gas station

Knowing what part of town someone lives in by their phone exchange

Licking stamps or envelopes?

Lighting a kerosene lamp

Loading a reel to reel tape drive

Long-Distance Phone Calling

Long division

Look for a job in the classifieds

Looking up a business on the yellow pages

Making an operator assisted phone call

Making change in shillings and pence

Manually loading ink on a fountain pen from an bottle

Map Reading


Memorizing Multiplication Tables

Mailing in the order form of a catalog?

Operating an agitator washing machine and clothes ringer

Operating an Overhead Projector

Paying with cash?

Peeling the developer layer off a Polaroid?

Peeling back a lid from an sardine can with a key?

Percolating coffee

Playing marbles?

Polaroid photography

Putting a needle on a vinyl record

Quill Sharpening

Reading a dictionary or encyclopedia

Reading a paper map

Reading a Sundial?

Reckoning arithmetic without aid?

Remembering passwords

Remembering telephone numbers

Repairing small appliances? (replaced element in the Iron)

Replacing Shoe Sole and Heels

Rewinding an audio cassette using a Bic pen*

Ripping the little holes off the sides of the computer paper

Rolling down the car window

Selling something in the Classified Ads?

Sending a letter

Sending a telegram?

Sharpening a pencil

Starching a removable collar?


Starting a car that has a manual choke

Thinking for oneself

Ticket Conductors on Buses?

Operating a Treadle Sewing Machine

Trim the wick on an oil lamp?

Tuning a radio

Typing and sending a telex?

Untangling the cord of a telephone?

Using a beer can opener

Using a bit and brace?

Using a bottle opener?

Using an ink blotter

Using an abacus

Using a compass

Using a fax machine

Using a flash bulb?

Using a fountain pen

Using a light pen

Using a Logarithm Table?

Using a manual choke in cold weather

Using a party-line telephone

Using a pay telephone

Using a pay toilet

Using a scythe

Using a slide rule

Using a Typewriter?

Using carbon paper to make copies

Using correction fluid

Using a mangle to dry clothes?

Walking long distances

Washing clothes with a washboard?

Watching a slide show with a slide projector

Wearing a girdle

Wearing a hat

Whipping cream with a whisk

Winding a watch or clock

Winding up loose cassette tape with a pencil eraser before putting the cassette in the deck

Worrying about important things?

Writing email whilst offline and going online to send

Writing using a dip pen and powder to dry up the ink?

Thursday Special ~ A half or a Whole

A man walked into the produce section of a Dublin Supermarket and asked to buy a half head of lettuce.

The boy working in that department told him they only sold whole heads of lettuce. The man was insistent that the boy ask his manager about the matter.

Walking into the back storeroom the boy said to the manager, “Some butt hole out there wants to buy a half head of lettuce.” As he finished his sentence, he turned to find the man standing right behind him, so he added,” And this gentleman kindly offered to buy the other half.”

The manager approved of the deal and the man went on his way. Later the manager said to the boy,” I was impressed with the way you got yourself out of that situation. We like people who think on their feet here. Where are you from, son?”

“I’m from Cork, Sir.”

“Well, why did you leave Cork?” the manager asked.

The boy said,” There’s nothing but prostitutes and football players down there, sir.”

“Really, says the manager,” My wife is from Cork.”

“No foolin'” replied the boy.” Who’d she play for?”

They have put me on the list

They have put me on the list when I thought I would be missed – with apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan.


I am suffering from a touch of ‘déja vu’ right now. I want to say ‘You Could Knock Me Down With a Feather’, but I said that last year at this time for a very different reason!

Now in 2008, I am once more on the list of finalists’ for the Irish Blog Awards in the categories of Best Personal Blog and Best Blog. How did that happen? What did I do to deserve it? I just come out to play each day fluttering about like a butterfly, pausing for the moment with whatever takes my fancy. It might be serious or it might be fun. Blogging has taken me through some very dark and frustrating days. When I am unable to get out among real people, the blogs bring them IN to me. You are my teachers; I read your blogs and learn from your writing. You comment on what I have to say, correct me when I am wrong, support me if you think I am right and thank me endlessly if I share some little known fact with you.

In short you are MY FRIENDS!

Elly, you are my flesh and blood and I am very proud of you. Being related to me means you suffer a little of my madness. I really believed you were certifiable on the September day in 2006 when you first suggested that I should learn to Blog and Podcast. If I have not told you already, I am telling you now, it was the best suggestion you ever had for me! Thank you for the introduction to the sport and for opening the gates to a whole new world.

I wish to pay tribute to Damien Mulley, who with such enthusiasm and energy, working endlessly in the background over several months, has organised this event for the second year running.

To those unknown generous people who thought enough to nominate me in the first place, and to the team of judges who willingly gave of their time to read, mark and inwardly digest all the 788 nominations, trimming them down to 281 blogs or posts for the short-lists and again wading through them to produce the list of finalists that we have today. The competition is still very stiff. May the best people win!

Finally, I wish to thank all the Sponsors for their generous support, without you, Damien’s vision would fall on stony ground and the event not happen. Your sponsorship gives encouragement to a great variety of talented people from many walks and ages of life.

Flower Power

Eamonn at Flowers Made Easy is holding a Mothers Day Blogging Competition with a prize for the best blog post about your Mum.

So if you have a happy, sad or fun story about your mum or about Mothers Day simply blog about it and add a link to into it the post and you will be included into the competition automatically based on your link back. You can add a “no follow” into the link if you like. We just think that it will be the easiest way to see who has entered the comp.

The winner will get a bouquet delivered to their mum on Mothers Day. The winner will be announced on Saturday, March 1st, 2008

I have written and made Podcasts about my mother several times over the lifetime of my blog and sending her flowers would be difficult since she died in 1996. Thankfully I will be away from home as the month turns to March and not quite sure when I will return. Flowers do not like living out of a suitcase any more than I do! Nevertheless I have a little story to add to the collection. The story is a true one and names have been changed.

Charlotte's Picture

Painted by Charlotte aged 8

As Marcia approached her 40th birthday she decided that it was time to make some changes. After all ‘Life begins at 40’ or so the saying went. Since her mother died she had lived alone in the family home. Her siblings were all married and she had plenty of young nieces and nephews to visit and play with whenever she felt like it. Offers to ‘baby-sit’ were gratefully accepted.

Having finished her chores for the day, she poured a drink and pulled the armchair a little closer to the fire. As she mused over the possible changes she might make, the phone rang. It was Lucy. Marcia and Lucy had travelled through most of their lives together since that first day at school where they were put sitting side by side. They first shared pencils then books & games, later it was sleepovers during holidays, chatting for hours about their hopes and dreams.

Marcia watched as Lucy met her sweetheart and fell in love. Mark was a fine tall handsome young man and soon he and Lucy had set the date for their wedding. Marcia never hesitated when she was asked to be bridesmaid and was helpful and efficient in everything she did. That was twelve years earlier and somehow love with that special person had eluded her.

Lucy sounded rather excited on the phone. They talked for ten minutes and then hung up. Marcia pondered over the conversation. Lucy had called to say that one of the girls in the office was leaving and that her boss was looking for someone to take over the position at short notice. Lucy had recommended Marcia and promised to call her. Now she was setting up an interview.

The interview went well and Marcia decided to make this the first step on the road to change. She was working directly with John and they made a good team, after a couple of weeks she realised that she looked forward to going to the office. John showed appreciation for all her endeavours. He invited her for dinner and she accepted. The talked easily together and she learned that John was a widower with 5 children. His wife had died with the birth of the last child. He was bringing them up with the help of family.

Time passed and the working relationship turned first to friendship and then to love. Marcia met the children and slowly they began to welcome her. John asked the all important question and Marcia said yes! The children were involved in all the preparations and looked forward to the wedding. Marcia & John were married with family and friends gathered to celebrate. The children stayed with grandparents while John took his new wife on honeymoon.

That night Marcia’s dreams were shattered. John had a heart attack at the dinner table and died. Marcia so soon a widow had to break the news to the children and all the family. The children were bewildered and blamed her for the death of their father. They gave her a very hard time over the next few years. Many times she felt like walking away, at one point she even packed her bags, but she didn’t leave. She stuck it out, slowly the grief eased and one by one the children grew closer to her. As they grew older they realised the sacrifice she had made for them, a sacrifice borne from true love.

My unhappy schooldays!

Ian wrote about ‘Unhappy school days. It rather opened an old wound for me. So far I have skirted around those years trying to convince myself that I was over them.

Primary school was normal enough I think, apart from all the days I was kept at home to open the door and allow the doctor in to see my mother, unfortunately her health was not the best at times. Among other problems she had a serious heart attack when I was ten. I was also needed to prepare meals for the family. I remember my first attempts at making dinner involved going upstairs to find out from mammy what to do at every stage. The meals were cooked on the gas stove or in the oven. I avoided the grill as I considered it dangerous. My father and brothers would consume at least five potatoes each without those for my mother, sister and myself. Peeling the potatoes and vegetables took an hour each day. I became quite adept at making stews and casseroles. My eldest brother helped when food was cooked and pans and dishes were hot. No way as a slight small 8-10 year old was I capable of lifting them. Daddy NEVER entered the kitchen and expected his food on the table as usual! Homework! Why would I need to do that, when there were men to be fed!

At secondary level I went to a new school (3 years old) run by the order of Nuns that taught my mother. We had to sit a written examination to gain entrance. Our class of thirty whittled down to 15 after Intermediate Certificate. We were constantly reminded that it was a College (this allowed them charge higher fees) and that they did not teach us – they educated us! Their main priority was to reduce the debt incurred in building the school. We had a wonderful Gym, equipped with bars, ropes, horse, mats etc. It was the envy of many another school and we used it only as a supplementary examination hall! The pupils’ parents were bombarded with books of raffle tickets on a weekly basis, at least 12 books at a time. I refused to take them home – I was the only one with nerve to stand up and say so.

It was the early 60’s and I was one of 6 children, my father had spent almost a year in and out of hospital. Daddy was diagnosed with Addison’s disease, a visit to the library told my eldest brother and I that it was fatal. At that time there was no cure. My reading of the situation at the time was that if my mother handed out money for 12 books of raffle tickets to me each week then she would have to do the same for my 5 siblings. At that point there were three of us in Fee paying schools. No way was I going to ask for £12 a week.

No allowance was made for late developers, slow learners or difficult home situations. Pupils were told which subjects they were allocated, there was no such thing as choice. Abuse both physical and mental was employed on a daily basis. If you didn’t keep up you were lost from the radar. Pupils not thought to bring glory were encouraged to leave. I was considered a rebel and not at all bright.

Reading was not a priority in our home. Latin and French were difficult for me, Irish was a torture. The fact that if you failed Irish you failed the whole exam in those days, added to my burden. Back then Irish was not standardised and in one school year alone we had four teachers. They happened to come from the four provinces, Ulster, Leinster, Munster, and Connacht, each with their own dialect. To my ear they were four different languages. I never really recovered.

Maths I managed but science was not offered to me. Art and Domestic Science were on my programme and I actually knew more about cooking and hygiene than the teacher. She knew little about sewing, but a sister of my father’s took me under her wing and nurtured in me the love of the needle.

By now you all know my level of English! Elly constantly corrects my grammar and spelling. The fact that I am borderline dyslexic adds to the problems. Reading justified text, or light print on a dark background is torture. There are many blogs I would love to read, but if I have to struggle to find the content in amongst the flashing lights, bells, whistles and distracting adverts, well I walk away. Am I the only one to do so?

The nuns did try to move me out. Mammy stood her ground; she had to leave school at 16 in favour of her brothers’ education, so she was determined to let me go as far as the boys. I passed my leaving certificate with a couple of honours thrown in, much to everyone’s surprise. I was glad to leave school and never returned for any of the reunions.

My best pal was at school with me. Despite distance, family and other commitments we are still close and in touch on a regular basis. She has been a second mother for Elly, and her sons the brothers Elly never had. As I often say some good came out of those dark years!

Food Monday ~ Grannymar’s Chocolate Cake

This recipe is very quick and easy using the all-in-one method. I have no recollection of where I got it, but it has always disappeared quickly. Requests to bake it for school teachers’ birthdays, youth fellowship, mother’s union and family gatherings were as regular as night following day. I have at times served it for dessert with Maud’s Pooh Bear Ice Cream.

A word of warning: Don’t tell Elly you are baking it or she will appear from nowhere with a hungry look on her face!

Chocolate Cake
Preheat oven to 190ºC

175gr Butter
175gr Dark brown sugar
4 Eggs beaten
100gr Self Raising Flour
1 level tsp baking powder
1 tsp honey
100gr Drinking Chocolate
1 dessertspoon milk
A few drops vanilla Essence

Whisk together and pour into a well greased Ring Tin and bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool for a few minutes in tin. Turn out and when cold decorate with icing.

For icing:
4 Mars bars chopped
4 squares Dark Chocolate
1 tablespoons milk

Melt over hot water not boiling, stirring all the time, then spoon over the cake.
No licking the bowl unless you are Five!

Be thankful

For the wife who says “You make the dinner and I’ll iron the shirts tonight”, because she is home with you, and not out with someone else.

For the husband who is on the sofa being a couch potato, because he is home with you, and not out at the pub.

For the teenager who is complaining about doing dishes because it means he/she is at home, not on the streets.

For the mess to clean after a party because it means you have been surrounded by friends.

For the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means you have enough to eat.

For a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing because it means you have a home.

For the parking spot at the far end of the car park because it means you have a car.

For the huge heating bill because it means you are warm.

For the lady behind you in church who sings off key because it means you can hear.

For the pile of laundry and ironing because it means you have clothes to wear.

For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means you are alive.

And finally, for too much e-mail because it means you have friends who are thinking of you.

Good news, good news, bring me good news.

We all need good news these days.

Today I had Mail, snail mail and email. One item each and neither brought a smile!


The snail mail came in a brown envelope, you know the type, A5 size with a window to show my name and address. Turning it over the return address was the one that gives us all the shivers: HM Revenue & Customs.

Worry not it was my annual PAYE Coding Notice. It gave my new tax code payable from 6th April for 2008 -2009. I devoured the printed word on the letter; well you need something to concentrate on while masticating on muesli and it reminded me that there are two tax bands:

  • 20% on £34600
  • 40% on anything over £34600

The first point should read 20% on income up to £34600.

In plain English that means that for my half-crown in taxable income I pay the same rate as Joe Bloggs who earns £34,599.99! Simple yes, but is it fair?

Now for item no 2 my email. This little beauty arrived:

Security Center <>


Date Sat, Feb 23, 2008 at 8:20 AM

Subject Unauthorized Activity

Dear valued PayPal member,
It has come to our attention that your PayPal account information needs to be updated as part of our continuing commitment to protect your account and to reduce the instance of fraud on our website. If you could please take 5-10 minutes out of your online experience and update your personal records you will not run into any future problems with the online service.
However, failure to update your records will result in account suspension. Please update your records on or before February 24, 2008.
Once you have updated your account records, your PayPal session will not be interrupted and will continue as normal.
To update your PayPal records click on the following link:
http://XXXX.XXXX.XXXXXXX/icons/cgi/ (altered by moi!)
Thank You.
PayPal Update Team
Accounts Management As outlined in our User Agreement, PayPal will periodically send you information about site changes and enhancements.

Very kind, I hear you say of PayPal to remind me, but the problem is I DO NOT Have a PayPal account. I never had a PayPal account.

I seldom shop online, call me old fashioned, but I like the feel of the item in my hand before I part with my money.

The last time I purchased anything over the internet was my Moo Cards last September. They had an option to pay by Credit Card or by PayPal. Not having an account I used my Credit Card.

This email was not the first purporting to come from PayPal. I received one back in November.

cute fella sticking out tongue

For those of you who use this method of payment, take note and take care.

Spring Cleaning

I was doing a little bit of spring cleaning yesterday morning. I even made it to the Recycling centre with a boot-load of rubbish. Not sure which skip, bin or wire basket to put all the various bits and pieces in I headed for the staff work hut. Now they do have a proper purpose built red brick building, it has been there for years. Last time I called my old TV still had pride of place and it was working away.

Today there was another temporary metal work hut along side the red brick mansion. I noticed that the door and window of the red brick were no more, the space was bricked up! I hope there was nobody inside. The door to the metal hut was open so I ventured in. Five, yes I did say five, men in visi-vests were sitting around drinking tea and reading page three! I told them my tale of woe and one of them jumped up to help me.

“Oh! I get a Toyboy to help me” I said.

“This sounds like my specialty” says my man grabbing his coat. The chap with page three shouts over “He only gets up to help weemen”.

” I could understand that if it were a young slip of a blonde, but an old biddy like me, well that’s a different matter” says I.

Page three pipes up once more “You call yourself old, sure that has an advantage, there would be no bairns!”

With that I open my hand and drop a dozen or so batteries in to the bin

muttering “I’ll not be needing these!”

On the way home I realised I needed some help to finish all this cleaning quickly. I decided on the latest gadget from Singapore. With this little fellow all will sparkle!

Thursday Special ~ What is a Cat?

1. Cats do what they want.

2. They rarely listen to you.

3. They are totally unpredictable.

4.When you want to play, they want to be alone.

5.When you want to be alone, they want to play.

6. They expect you to cater to their every whim.

7.They’re moody.

8. They leave hair everywhere.


They’re tiny women in little fur coats


Update: Click on the cat picture!