Monthly Archives: June 2009

Flight of the Bumble Bee

The discussion had gone on for an hour, quietly, with both of us putting forward the reasons why the other should not be the one to do the job in hand.  The sun was shining and the day calm.  It wasn’t an argument – we didn’t argue, we discussed.

The lid was removed and paint stirred, the brushes ready and the ladder extended, I stood with my hand out for the splash cloth.  Slowly, very slowly Jack moved to relinquish it to me.  The handing over of that cloth to me was the acceptance that his days of climbing ladders were over.  Up until that point we shared in the decorating chores of the house, both inside and out.  Jack did the climbing and I looked after anything from waist to floor level.  We were a good partnership working in contented silence.  I was never afraid of hard work or climbing ladders.

Despite being a Burma vetern from WW11, Jack never let his injuries prevent him from trying anything.  He had re-learned to walk, drive, dance and climb ladders before I was born.  He took pride in everything he did and painting was no different.  In recent months I noticed that he was not lifting the injured leg without his foot catching and I didn’t want him falling from the ladder.

The task for the day was to paint under the eaves of the bungalow.  The front of the house was easy and possible to complete from a stepladder.  The back was a horse of a different colour.  The eaves were as high as a house and the gable end on one side was next door to heaven.  Up I went with all my gear.  I am fortunate in that I have long arms and can paint with either hand, with a wide span it made for fewer journeys up and down.

Jack pottered about the garden pretending to weed but ready to come to my aid if needed.  He insisted on helping to adjust the ladder with each change of level and making it secure before I began another upward journey.  By the time I was halfway through the task he began to relax.

Deep in concentration I suddenly noticed it had darkened.  I looked skyward expecting to see a cloud hiding the sun.  Aghhhhh!  There was no cloud to obscure the sunshine, I was looking at a massive swarm of bees!  They were hovering right above my head.  I froze!

Calling quietly to Jack I sent him to close every window in the house.  I decided to stay where I was and not move, afraid that if I did move the swarm would follow and land on me.  I have no idea how long I stood there, it seemed like hours but I am sure it was minutes.  The swarm lifted and moved nearer the apex, I was about to climb down but the bees quickly moved back down to their original position just above my head.  Again I froze.

Eventually they moved upward and over the chimney to the front of the house and off at an angle of 45°.

Returning to ground level with a great sigh of relief I went round to the front and saw the swarm land like a great big circular stain on the roof of one of the other bungalows.  I was fascinated as the stain became smaller as if drawn into the roof by suction.  The couple who owned the house were at work.  I kept a regular watch at intervals throughout the day and when the couple arrived home I went to tell them.

Later that night we were entertained as a gentleman in Apiarist protective clothing worked slowly and carefully to firstly smoke and then lift roof tiles to reach the swarm and remove them to a mobile hive.  They were not your commoner garden bees, but a particular type and he even knew where they had come from – Kells in Co Antrim.

If you are interested in the process of collecting a swarm have a look at this article

Rimsky Korsakov – The Flight of the Bumble Bee Played by James Galway on the flute Pianist-Phillip Moll James Galway’s recital in Belfast, Waterfront Hall

Food Monday ~ To quench a thirst

With all the good weather about it is time for outdoor living and BBQs.  There is nothing like a good punch to to get the party going.

Gin Punch

3 Bottles of medium sweet white Wine
1 Bottle Gin
2 Bottles orange (dilute able)

Mix wine and gin with one bottle of orange. Add extra orange to taste.Serve in a large bowl decorated with sugar and orange slices.
(75 glasses approx)


Punch with Champagne and Cointreau

1 bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine
2 bottles white wine
½ bottle Cointreau
1 punnet of fresh strawberries, washed & halved.

Mix champagne, wine & Cointreau add halved strawberries just before serving.


And if you want something for the drivers why not try this one:

Sea Breeze 

1litre Cranberry juice
450ml fresh Orange Juice
A few ice cubes
1 lime

Combine the chilled cranberry and orange juice with the juice from half the lime.Add the ice cubes and serve with slices of lime.

If there are no drivers try adding an extra kick with a good splash of chilled Vodka.

No Nancy, that was Vodka and not Vinegar! 🙄

I am playing catch up.

Thankfully I woke in my own bed on Friday morning! It was a lovely feeling to know there was somebody else in the house and a morning hug was waiting for me.  Elly, who had brought me home from the hospital on Thursday, was staying to keep an eye on me and watch for the hazards that might disrupt progress and also to make sure I behaved myself!

A good internet signal meant that she was able to work for a couple of hours while I pottered about at my leisure.  At one stage I heard her talking to somebody and thinking we had a guest I went to investigate.  It was a delivery of parcel post.  One package for her and one for me.  I had ordered nothing so I was like a child at Christmas all fingers and thumbs while I undid the tape and wrapping.  It was a wonderful unexpected surprise.  Thank you Fran!

Elly cleared her virtual desk and said she would take me out for a couple of hours.  I did want to call to Tools for Living in Ballymena, to see their sock and stocking aids.  I want to see which one is best and start practising now so that when I have the hip replaced I will be able to put my own socks on.  Alas the place closed early on a Friday so we picked up Hails from Coffee Helps and went for a girly giggle and cup of coffee at Junction One.

Ordering coffee

Thats not me in the middle!

I didn’t realise that Elly & Hails were meeting for the first time, they were like kindred spirits and we managed to catch up on all our news as well as all going home with little treats.  We left Hails back to where we found her as she had another appointment and we headed for home.

“Are you hungry Mum?” asked Elly.  “Do you fancy eating out, that way we have no dishes to wash” she added.  We discussed where to go and we decided on a Chinese restaurant.  The food was good and I eat well.  By the time we reached home I was ready for my bed.

That night I would not be lonely…..

My Toyboys come from Hollywood!

That is Made In Hollywood

Home again!

I apologise for my lack of attention to the blog and to those who left comments.

There are two very good reasons.

Firstly on Tuesday about lunchtime my broadband died!  RIP was certainly not the phrase I uttered.  The air was rather blue for a short while but thankfully the air has cleared and this evening the broadband has returned to full working order.

Secondly I was invited at short notice, for a mini break, all expenses paid on Thursday.  It involved an early start and I was told not to drive.  A Taxi arrived promptly at my doorstep at 6.45am. and I was soon whizzing towards Belfast for my 7.30 appointment.  Once installed in my single room with en-suite, I had a string of visitors…  The day included changes of outfit, a ‘Gucci’ gown and a striptease! 🙄

View from my window

I didn’t have much time to explore the view because the Toyboys were waiting.  The cameras were soon in position and the fun began.  About 45 minutes later I was returned to my room where my every whim was catered for.  I may be home with the odd war wound or two, and unable to drive for a couple of days… but the finished result was well worth it!

I now go on the list to have my hip replaced.

As far as I am concerned the NHS rocks!

Thursday Special ~ Togetherness


Judy got married and had 13 children.

Her first husband, Ted, died of cancer.

She married again, and she & Bob had 7 more children.

Bob was killed in a car accident, 12 years later.

Judy *again*, remarried, and this time,

She & John had 5 more children.

Judy finally died, after having 25 children.

Standing before her coffin, the preacher prayed for her.

He thanked the Lord for this very loving woman and said,

“Lord, they are finally together.”

Ethel leaned over and quietly asked her best friend, Margaret:



Do you think he means her first, second, or third husband?”



Margaret replied:….



“I think he means her *legs*, Ethel…”

This is a well travelled tale, it came the long route from Texas.

Handy Hints for Wednesday ~ 33

Week 33.  How I wish I was ‘Turty tree’ again! 🙄

Once again I have five more handy hints for you:

When cooking if you over-salt food, add a spoonful of honey or drop a chopped potato or two into the pot.  As the potato cooks it absorbs the salt.

Over ripe bananas that you don’t want to waste?  Mash and freeze for making cakes and biscuits.

To remove coffee or tea stains from cups, fill with very hot water and a splash of white vinegar. Leave to stand for at least 20 minutes, or overnight.

To lengthen life of wooden clothes pegs. Place them in an old saucepan, cover with water & a spoonful of salt bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain and leave in a single layer on an old towel to dry.

Do you need a neat string dispenser? Nail a funnel to wall and pull string out of bottom of funnel.


Sometimes I write a post and it ends right there!  No comment is added.

Thankfully that is not usually the case.  Most days the comments come rolling in with the conversation continuing throughout the day.  There are times where the banter goes forward and backward over a few days.  There is no telling what subject or topic will grab the attention of those who pause to read the mutterings here.

There are the regulars for whom a visit is as normal as daily breakfast, some catch up at a weekend, and there are the surprises – those who accidentally land here while searching for a topic, phrase or word.  It is something that always fascinates me.

One such post written over a year ago is a case in point.  The Radio was a journey back into my young life and the part the radio played during those far off times.  It stirred many memories and acted as a memory jog to other radio programmes down the years.  The chat lasted three days and then fell silent until a short revival in July, with another burst in October when Declan Hayden asked:

Does anyone know where I might track down the theme tune to Harbour Hotel, a radio programme on RTE Radio 1 in the 1970’s and finished about 1986 I think?

Alas nobody did and I suggested that Declan contact RTE. I have no idea if he did try that suggestion and since he left no URL I am unable to make contact.

Suddenly the post livened up again in December with several comments added to the discussion, again they were not Bloggers and I am not sure if the are lurking about still or have moved on to greener pastures.

Again silence.

Until yesterday!

When a fresh comment arrived..

SK (alas no URL) asked:

Did you manage to get the Harbour Hotel theme?
I have it if you want it

So Declan, if you are lurking please get in touch by leaving a comment either here or on the original post and I will try to pass your details to SK.  I normally only keep these details for a couple of days,

Food Monday ~ Warm Potatoes & Bacon

I know the other week I said that I never quite caught the ‘Potato’ excitement so common in Ireland.  I still eat them when a meal calls for them and the following is one way I like them.

Warm Potatoes & Bacon
This recipe serves 6

1kg small new potatoes, scrubbed
4 rashers smoked streaky bacon
2 tablespoons sesame seeds toasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 spring onions, sliced


2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
125 ml sunflower oil
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Cook the potatoes in a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water until tender.  Meanwhile, grill the bacon until crisp.  Drain the bacon on kitchen paper and chop into small pieces.

To make the dressing, whisk the vinegar, salt, pepper and mustard together in a salad bowl, then gradually whisk in the oil.  Drain the potatoes thoroughly and add to the dressing with the sesame seeds and parsley.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Toss together gently.  Scatter the bacon and spring onions over the salad and serve while still warm.