Monthly Archives: July 2009

Chatting on-line!

FCB@5 (Friday Consortium Blogging at Five p.m.) is once again the order of the day.

In the past few weeks the topics were chosen by:

  • Conrad – USA             ~~ Creativity
  • Ashok – India             ~~ Stereotyping
  • Ramana – Pune, India  ~~ Ambition

All amazing topics to work on, and approached from very different directions by each one of us, providing interesting reading from the whole group.    Hopefully Marianna is healing well and able to join in the fun very soon  If you are playing catch-up I recommend you grab a coffee, find a comfortable chair and have a read.

Today it is my turn to suggest the topic…    COMMUNICATION

Chatting on-line!

This poor quality oldie dates from 11th August 1964.  How do I know?  The date was written on the back.  The two ladies had the same first name and both surnames began with the same letter.  Both lived in Ireland, one was born in Dublin and the other in Cork.  They lived next door to each other for over 50 years.  Between them they reared eleven children.  They called on each other in times of trouble, yet there was no running in and out of each others house.

Right throughout those years despite knowing each others first names they always referred to each other as Mrs (insert name).  They talked regularly, always through the gap in the hedge.  Hanging clothes on the line drew the little woman on the right out into the garden for a bit of a chat.

Now, many years later, I realise that perhaps she was lonely during the day when her husband was at work and the children at school or at work as they grew older.  Her husband was also from Cork and they had no other relations in Dublin.  They had no telephone or car.

Her house was always spotless with the quietness of a library even when all the family were at home.  The only time you heard any sound was on a summers day like in the photo, when all the windows would be open and she sang as sweet as a bird while she worked around her house.  A very soft spoken woman, but if you listened intently she told you all the news from the neighbourhood.  When her voice became a whisper, the gossip was juicy!

The lady on the left was my mother.  Back in those days about four clothes lines criss-crossed our garden on washing day and they were all well filled with sheets, shirts, tablecloths and all the other garments that were required by a large household.  The lines were removed when the dry clothing was un-pegged and taken indoors for ironing.

I remember a time way back…. when I had to really stretch up to reach the line to either peg on or remove the clothes.  On one such day as I was struggling to remove a sheet larger than myself, I heard the familiar voice from through the hedge call my name.

“Marie, is mammy sick?” our neighbour asked.

“Yes” I replied.  “Mammy has migraine again, she has been in bed for two days”.

“I thought so” said the lady.  “The clothes were hung differently to the way your mammy hangs them” she added.

She quickly followed with “Are you managing?  Is there anything I can do to help”?

Mammy never minded standing chatting in good weather but on a winters day she liked to keep the talking as short as possible.  They never thought to call and visit each other and talk over a pot of tea, it was always through the hedge.  As we grew older, when mammy was going out to the line on a cold day she would say “Don’t leave me out there too long, call me for the phone or the oven”!  If you hover over this photo you will see the title ‘Mammy the phone is ringing’.

We are no different today.





We still chat or talk ‘on-line’ all the time; but our ‘on-line’ is the internet enabling us to chat by using our voice, fingers or webcam, through email, IM, Twitter, Skype, Facebook or Blogging; not alone through the hedge but to folks on the other side of the globe, at any hour of the day or night no matter whether the weather is hot or cold, wet or dry, just as easily as if they were in the garden next door.

Thathaasthu – so be it.  Keep talking and have fun!

Much love
Lán grá
Bahut Pyaar Key Saath
Mit viel Liebe für Sie
Avec beaucoup d’amour pour vous
с большой любовью к вам
với nhiều tình yêu cho bạn


PS. I wonder if these two ladies have found a gap in a hedge in the afterlife?

What is it?

I passed this shrub yesterday and once again I wondered what it was called.

The leaves are shaped like holly, yet in high summer it produces a mass of colour with trumpet shaped flowers.  It is the only bush like it that I have ever seen and the householder was unable to give me a name for it.

Magpie!  Are you familiar with it?

UPDATE: Through the wonderful world of blogging friends we didn’t have to wait long!  Desfontainea spinosa is your answer.  Thank you Nelly and please pass on a great big hug to Bert the sleepy clarinet playing horticulturist for his wisdom!  Now give that man another slice of cake!


Now don’t forget to come back at 5p.m. for a spot of loose blogging…. It was my turn to pick the topic this week!

Thursday Special ~ Pants and Panties

This one has had more stops than a Pipe Organ on the way to my Inbox.


Mike was going to be married to Karen so his Father sat him down for a little chat.

He said, ‘Mike, let me tell you something. On my wedding night in our honeymoon suite, I took off my pants, handed them to your Mother, and said, ‘Here, try these on.”

She did and said, ‘These are too big. I can’t wear them.’

I replied, ‘Exactly. I wear the pants in this family and I always will.’ Ever since that night, we have never had any problems.

‘Hmmm,’ said Mike. He thought that might be a good thing to try.

On his honeymoon, Mike took off his pants and said to Karen, ‘Here, try these on…’

She tried them on and said, ‘These are too large. They don’t fit me.’

Mike said, ‘Exactly. I wear the pants in this family and I always will. I don’t want you to ever forget that.’

Then Karen took off her panties and handed them to Mike. She said, ‘Here, you try on mine.’

Mike did and said, ‘I can’t get into your panties.’

Karen said, ‘Exactly. And if you don’t change your smart-ass attitude, you never will.’

Black & White

Bikehikebabe  has become a very regular visitor to the party here.  I love her effervescent sense of fun.  I am sure she has a devilish twinkle in her eyes.  She makes me smile with every visit and I am envious of her lovely skin.

She has no blog of her own, which is rather a shame, but then if she had a blog, all the good gems would not be shared among us.  Now, bhb is a paid up member of the ‘Hippy Club’, about 1 month post Op for hip replacement.  I will be anxious for her tips to help me when my turn comes.

Jean Cheerful Monk has given bikehikebabe a page all to herself on which she tells us that she is an:

Everyday housewife, 4 adult kids (2 male, 2 female), physicist husband, likes to hike, backpack, bike, dance (any kind), ski, snowshoe, ice skate (Don’t do kayaking anymore.). Has problem living with smart husband / feeling stupid, but living life as I intended. (Age 75)

What a wonderful spirit!

On the post Out to Lunch last saturday bhb asked if Magpie11 was an 11yearold bird!

Magpie 11 provided the answer with a link to his blog – must send the bill for a the advertising 🙄

Once again bhb was back with the following comment:

Thanks for the link that explains Magpie11.

When I was in Ireland many years ago, I noticed that the bird (Magpie) was black & white. (I was told that D.D.T. killed all the smaller birds.) So were all the cats & dogs, black & white. This was in the farmland area. Also the cows were all black & white. They give richer milk. I don’t ever remember seeing a black & white cow in the U.S.

I asked what’s the name of the white weed that was so prolific. (Queen Anne’s Lace—I forgot). The farmer said it’s called “White Weed”.

Are all the animals Black & White?  I know we have black or white sheep in this part of the country.

Now I have decided to throw open these serious questions for all of you out there in this fair green Isle to cast an eye over and share your vast knowledge right here on my blog.

Handy Hints for Wednesday ~ 38

Summer is the season of grass stains.  To remove grass stains from clothing, brush some white non gel toothpaste into the stain with an old soft toothbrush, then rinse and launder in the usual way.

With holiday time here once more, trips to the beach or the mountains for a picnic or hiking may be on the cards.  Pack a couple of bandannas.  They carry no weight but could prove very useful as facecloths, napkins, bandages or even as a sling for an injured arm.  Worn foreign-legion style under a baseball cap will save the back of the neck from sunburn.

If you intend going hiking, tell someone where you are going and ETR (estimated time of return).  Make sure your mobile/cell phone is charged, but allow for the loss of signal and bring a good whistle.  A brightly coloured t-shirt will make you easier to find in the case of emergency.

Timely reminder of ICE Numbers… You have forgotten the Podcast I made back in September ’06.  It is worth a listen it only takes two minutes and it might save your life!

How do you choose a lemon?  Feel the weight of it.  If it is heavy then there will be plenty of juice.  If your lemon is light and seems dry, then boil it for a few minutes and you will get more juice from it.

Right, I mentioned ice and lemon, I am off now to add them to my gin!  Cheers!


You have all been very patient and at this stage I have caressed and played with Roger, discovering every hidden crevice.  I need to set him down to cool off for a little while.

I even used the camera to photograph him from every angle! 😉

You, remember I found him in Carrickfergus the other week.  As we ambled along I found this tree in Shaftsbury Park.

And so to Roger.

Small and unassuming, he holds many secrets!

Well, as Magpie hinted, all my recent gadgets have boys names.  Do you know what it is yet?

Not very big is he?  No he is not a Russian doll.

The first of his secrets.

For an idea of Roger’s age, look how thick the threads are.

And finally…

A tiny sewing kit with needles thread and thimble.

I am a needle woman afterall!

Food Monday ~ Quick Lemon Chicken with Broccoli, Carrots & Spring Onions

I first tasted this recipe at my friend June’s house some years ago, she only used broccoli in it.  In the interim I have tried many variations and this is now how I serve it.

Quick Lemon Chicken with Broccoli, Carrots & Spring Onions
Serves 2

1 tablespoon sunflower oil.
340g chicken breast cut in strips 2 garlic cloves crushed.
100g broccoli florets.
100g carrots cut in batons.
100g chopped spring onions.
1 heaped teaspoon cornflour/starch.
1 tablespoon clear honey or 2 teaspoons golden caster sugar.
grated zest of half lemon plus juice of 1 lemon.
A quick splash from the open bottle of wine (optional).
large handful of roasted cashew nuts.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add chicken and fry 3-4 minutes until golden, do not burn. Remove from the pan and add the garlic, broccoli, carrots and spring onions. Stir fry for a minute or so, then cover and cook 2 minutes more until almost tender Mix the cornflour, honey or sugar with the stock and booze if using, then pour into pan and stir to thicken. Tip the chicken back into the pan and let it heat through, then add the lemon zest and juice and the cashew nuts. Stir and serve straight away with rice or new baby potatoes.

** On one frazzled day I rushed in to make this for a late dinner.  I prepared the rice to cook, prepped the veg,  and put the wok on to heat before returning to the fridge for the chicken.

Major disaster, no chicken!

I had forgotten I eat it the night before.  What did I do?  I went back to my veg box of course.  I added some sliced French beans, mushrooms, frozen peas, canned sweetcorn and red kidney beans.  It made a lovely colourful veggie alternative.

UPDATE: Rhyleysgranny has a a very nice variation of this recipe on her blog, I urge you to take a look

Where to start….?

Carrickfergus Castle

I am not sure if I am ready for this unveiling yet.  I like to take things slowly and savour the moment.  So many situations in life are ruined because they are rushed.  So where should I start?  Looking in or looking out?

Looking out through the archway to Belfast Lough.

Have you ever been to the Courtyard at Scotch Quarter in Carrickfergus?  It is a pleasant setting off Marine highway with about nine individual shops. Some of them have had the same tenants for years while a few deep inside bring new faces and merchandise.  The list includes a china/giftware and kitchen ware shop, and a coffee shop both face the direction you see through the arch above.  Elizabeth Anne fashions had large retirement notices pasted across the windows and little stock left.  It was one of the larger shops and I wonder who will replace them?  There is a tiny Thomas Joseph Gallery, where you can chat to and watch the man himself, as he paints.

This photo I took back in March last year, was right in the central courtyard.  The furniture is made from tree trunks and imported from the far side of the globe so has a very heavy carbon footprint!  The shop selling that furniture is to the right of where the ladies are sitting.  One of the more recent arrivals is a delicatessen/coffee shop with just a few tables inside and out.

The well bleached furniture!  Who said we get no sunshine?

Facing the ladies is my favourite shop, it is The Silver Store, a small jewellery shop full of variety and surprise, a place I love to browse. From the very modern to the very old, and as they say the day you browse is the day you find treasure.  That was the day I found……

Sorry, my wrists are sore and you would hate to have me get RSI, now wouldn’t you?  Maybe by Tuesday I’ll be rested! 🙄

Out to Lunch

I went out to lunch with Chris last week.  It turned out to be a bright dry day and we headed for Carrickfergus.

We were standing in County Antrim, looking across Belfast Lough to Co Down, with the Titanic Quarter over on the right with The cranes Samson & Goliath marking the spot of the old Belfast Shipyard.  Following the path to the right we passed along the recently built apartments.

One floor up would be nice, just high enough to see the view.

We eat at The Windrose Bistro in the centre of the photo below.

The food was good but the service let them down BIG TIME.  We sat outside on the deck enjoying the sights, sounds and fresh air. When our coffee cups were drained we wandered in the direction of the courtyard at Scotch Quarter and that is where I met Roger….

Roger!  Did I not mention Roger?

Well I am tired typing so Roger will have to wait for another day…..