Monthly Archives: September 2009

Farewell Dear Hilda

Hilda has been around for all the 62 years of my life. We travelled the rough and the smooth side by side. At every step she was there pushing me on to the next stage or to reach greater heights. She was with me as I ran to catch the bus on the way to and from school, as I climbed a tree with my young brothers, as I walked into a room to face my first job interview and as I stood to make my marriage vows. She was with me in the delivery room, moving gently to the side allowing for the safe and easy birth of my daughter Elly.

She made sure I stood straight to do justice to; and carry off the clothes I wore. and if Hilda did not agree with my footwear fetish she made her feeling known in a short sharp yet quiet way.

There were times when I treated her roughly. The times when we lugged heavy furniture across the floor, I expected her to do the work of two strong men. Times when we carried heavy loads unevenly balanced, making her do more work than was necessary. She grumbled but not for long.

On one clear crisp and cold winters day we climbed the Cave Hill in Belfast. On the downward journey almost at the bottom I tripped crashing to the ground bringing us down with a wallop.

The pathway was hard.  Cold.  Solid winter-hard ground.

My full weight on top of her, we lay for a few minutes making sure nothing was broken before slowly standing and then continuing on our way. Hilda was not a happy bunny that day and let me know about it for a week or two.

Our growing incompatibility in recent months has called for a parting of the ways. Hilda is tired, overworked and needs to retire. Today we bid each other farewell.

I cannot let the day pass without saying thank you to Hilda for helping to carry my load in all the years that have passed.

I need a replacement for Hilda… Now I wonder if my replacement will be a Toyboy?

What shall I call him? Hector… Horace…. Humphrey…

I will be missing for a few days while my hip is replaced this morning. In fact as this is published I will be in a taxi, on my way to the hospital for admission.  No doubt Elly will give you a progress report when she returns from Italy on Tuesday evening or on Wednesday when she sees me.  I will not have my laptop or mobile phone, so please be patient.  I am only one patient in a very busy hospital so no calls asking for details,  I will be requesting that no information is given over the phone.  I expect it to be a short stay of two to three days.  I am not ill, just having a new shock absorber fitted, so no flowers please.  I associate them with illness and death, and there is plenty of life in this ould bird yet.

P.S. I did offer to live blog the event… alas, I think the surgeon was blog shy! 🙄

My temporary home for a few days

Whoever named this place had a sense of humour!

Books & memes

I have been tagged by Darlene of Darlene’s Hodgepodge to do a Meme.  Darlene began blogging at the very young age of 82!

YES! I did say 82.

Since then despite a fall and hip surgery she has returned to living alone and blogging. A very wise and humorous lady, I could learn plenty just sitting at Darlene’s feet.

The rules are to pick the book nearest to you, turn to page 161 and copy the fifth sentence. I know I have done this sort of thing before, but I do manage to read and complete at least one book a year! 🙄 You don’t believe me?

Well here are just a few:


Seriously now the book to hand is ‘From here, you can’t see Paris’ by Michael Sanders

So to page 161, sentence five

Yes, I am of the generation when agriculture passes from the Middle Ages to what we see now.’

I am to tag five more people to play this game so the five I have chosen are:

They make me struggle and suffer while chewing my pen each week, so now it is my turn to torment them! 👿

Have fun.

Rev. Jack

Rev. Jack was well loved by his entire congregation. I met him one bright and sunny September morning as he walked from the vicarage to his church for the morning service. He stopped to chat for a few moments and I welcomed him home from his month long summer holiday. He looked refreshed and relaxed and his face bore the glow of sunshine from days outdoors on his well deserved break.

As we chatted, a parishioner on her way to church stopped with words of welcome. “Morning Reverend! She said, adding “I am glad to see you back. That fellow we had while you were away waffled on forever; the dinner was burned every week. At least now we will have short sermons”. With that she went on her way into the churchyard.

“Not a very diplomatic lady”. I said

Smiling, Rev Jack looked at me and said “If I cannot say what I want, in 10 minutes; I am wasting my time, the congregation loses concentration and begins to shuffle about after that!”

I have often thought of those words when listening to speakers, be they clergymen, businessmen or politicians. Rev Jack is a very wise old man indeed!

While reading an epistle of a blog post the other day, I found myself struggling to keep up. I had the impression that the author was trying to use every word in the dictionary in his post. At least four times I had to go back and start over to make some sense of the piece on the screen. It made me think of Rev Jack’s words.

If that same author was restricted to a Post-it note, how would he deliver his message?

Are we writing for ourselves, or do we really have a message we want to share…..

Places Please…

Our assembled Choir of Conrad, Ashok, Magpie 11, Marianna and Ramana are all tuned up and ready to present another concert in the form of Loose Blogging.

Your National Anthem

– were the very words suggested by Marianna for our topic this week.

Come on; was she trying to test my stress levels or start a war?


I live on the island of Ireland for God’s sake! Six of the thirty two counties on that small island are in another country. Six of the nine counties in the Provence of Ulster are part of the UK, and that is where I have had my home for 32 years. Thirty two years with murder and bloodshed around any corner at any time.

I have watched families ruptured and torn apart all because of a flag, an accent or a national anthem. The very words National Anthem are as controversial as FLAGS! We don’t have flags in the corner of classrooms or in every office round the Country. Flags are such a thorny subject that in Northern Ireland Flags are banned from the work place. The quiet whistling of a National Anthem in a work place is enough to raise hackles and cause a strike. Mind you it doesn’t prevent the painting of Lampposts and kerbstones in some housing estates with the colours of the flag, to show which side has the control in the area. Flags are added to these same light posts, in the month of June each year and left until they rot or are torn by the wind. That is no way to show respect for a flag or country.

A short YouTube video giving a bird’s eye view from all sides, of a past we don’t want to return to:

There was widespread condemnation after 2 soldiers were shot dead outside an Army barracks in Northern Ireland in March of this year. Four other people were injured – two of them civilians. The shooting happened at Massereene Barracks, which is around 18 miles north of Belfast, and only next door to the grounds of Clotworthy House, a peaceful place I featured last Friday morning, on Sunday and again today.

As I mentioned in my post Last Friday, Reconciliation is a work in progress… very slow progress and we hope and pray that good will win through.

If there was one thing I learned from those awful dark days; it was to make sure that Jack and Elly never left the house on a short or sharp word, and that I told them how much I loved them, as there was no guarantee we would be a complete family unit at the end of any given day.

Rant over, time to come back off that tangent and focus on National Anthems – and there are many!

There is the one I heard as a child growing up in the south of Ireland, it was in the Irish language and the words were mumbled so I never in fact learned them properly. I never ever heard it sung with the English translation.

“Amhrán na bhFiann” (pron: ow-rawn nuh vee-yunn) or in English, “A Soldier’s Song”, is the national anthem of the Republic of Ireland. The lyrics were first composed in 1907 by Peadar Kearney, he was working backstage at the Abbey Theatre when he penned the lyrics of Amhrán na bhFiann/ The Soldier’s Song and, together with Patrick Heeney, set it to music. The song was first published in 1912 and quickly became the most popular of the Irish Volunteer’s marching songs.

The first draft, handwritten on copybook paper, sold at auction in Dublin in 2006 for €760,000.

The song has three verses, but the national anthem consists of the chorus only. The Presidential Salute, played when the President of Ireland arrives at an official engagement, consists of the first four bars of the national anthem immediately followed by the last five. The anthem is recommended, but not required, to be taught as part of the civics syllabus in national schools.

In 1920 Kearney was interned for a year in Ballykinlar Internment Camp, County Down. In 1926 Amhrán na bhFiann/ The Soldier’s Song was adopted as the National Anthem of Ireland, replacing the unofficial “God Save Ireland“. 

Kearney’s The Soldier’s Song and Other Poems was published in 1928. Peadar Kearney was the maternal uncle of author Brendan Behan.


The Irish National Anthem

Amhrán na bhFiann

A Soldier’s Song

Sinne Fianna Fáil,

Soldiers are we,

Atá fá gheall ag Éirinn,

whose lives are pledged to Ireland

Buidhean dár sluagh tar rúinn do ráinig

Some have come from a land beyond the wave,


Sworn to be free,

Fámho’dh bhe’rh saor,

no more our ancient sireland

Sean-t’r ár sinnsear feasta

Shall shelter the despot or the slave;

N’ fágfar fá’n t’orán ná fa’n tráil;

tonight we man the Bearna Baoghal

Anocht a theigeamh sa bhearna baoghail,

In Erin’s cause.

Le gean ar Gaedh’ chun báis nó saoghail,

come woe or weal;

Le gunna sgréach: Fá lamhach na piléar.

‘Mid cannon’s roar and rifle’s peal

Seo Libh canaidh amhrán na bhFiann.

We’ll chant a soldier’s song.

Seo dhibh a cháirde duan oglaidh

We’ll sing a song, a soldier’s song

Caithréimeach, br’oghmhar, ceolmhar.

With cheering, rousing chorus

ár dteinte cnámh go buacach táid,

As round our blazing fires we throng,

`S an spéir go min réaltógach.

The starry heavens o’er us;

Is fionmhar faobhrach sinn chun gleo

Impatient for the coming fight,

‘S go tiúnmhar glé roimh tigheacht do’n ló,

And as we wait the mornings light

Fa ciúnas chaoimh na h-oidhche ar seol,

here in the silence of the night

Seo libh, cana’dh amhrán na bhFiann.

We’ll chant a soldier’s song.

Cois banta réidhe, ar árdaibh sléibhe.

In valley green or towering crag

Ba bhuadhach ár rinnsear romhainn,

Our fathers fought before us,

Ag lámhach go tréan fá’n sár- bhrat séin

And conquered ‘neath the same old flag

Tá thuas sa ghaoith go seolta;

That’s floating o’er us,

Ba dhúthchas riamh d’ár gcine cháidh

We’re children of a fighting race

Gan iompáil riar ó imirt áir,

That never yet has known disgrace,

‘Siubhal mar iad i gcoinnibh rámhaid

And as we march the foe to face,

Seo libh, canaidh amhrán na bhFiann.

We’ll chant a soldier’s song.

A buidhean nach fann d’fuil Ghaoidheal is Gall

Sons of the Gael! Men of the Pale!

Sinn breacadh lae na saoirse,

The Long watched day is breaking;

Tá sgéimhle ‘s sgannradh ’ gcroidhthibh namhad,

The serried ranks of Innisfail

Roimh ranngaibh laochra ár dt’re;

Shall set the tyrant quaking.

ár dteinte is tréith gan spréach anois,

Our camp fires now are burning low;

Sin luinne ghlé san spéir anoir,

See in the east a silvery glow,

‘S an b’odhbha i raon na bpiléar agaibh:

Out yonder waits the saxon foe,

Seo libh, canaidh amhrán na bhFiann.

So chant a soldier’s song.

Irish National Anthem


Ireland’s Call

With the Ireland rugby team representing both the Republic and Northern Ireland, “Ireland’s Call” was scripted by Phil Coulter to help cross sectarian and national divides and adopted as the rugby anthem in 1995. However, at home matches in Dublin the Irish national anthem, the Soldier’s Song, is also sung.

Come the day and come the hour
Come the power and the glory
We have come to answer
Our Country’s call
From the four proud provinces of Ireland

Ireland, Ireland
Together standing tall
Shoulder to shoulder
We’ll answer Ireland’s call

From the mighty Glens of Antrim
From the rugged hills of Galway
From the walls of Limerick
And Dublin Bay
From the four proud provinces of Ireland

Ireland, Ireland
Together standing tall
Shoulder to shoulder
We’ll answer Ireland’s call

Hearts of steel
And heads unbowing
Vowing never to be broken
We will fight, until
We can fight no more
From the four proud provinces of Ireland

Ireland, Ireland
Together standing tall
Shoulder to shoulder
We’ll answer Ireland’s call


Danny Boy

Frederick Edward Weatherly (1848-1929) was an English lawyer, author, songwriter and radio entertainer.  He wrote the lyrics of the well-known ballad Danny Boy in 1910, which is set to the tune A Londonderry Air.   Weatherly wrote over 3,000 popular songs, including the hymn “The Holy City” and the wartime ballad “Roses of Picardy”. Weatherly’s sister modified the lyrics to fit “Londonderry Air” in 1913 when Weatherly sent her a copy. Ernestine Schumann-Heink made the first recording in 1915. The tune is played as the Northern Ireland anthem at the Commonwealth Games.   

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer’s gone, and all the flowers are dying
‘Tis you, ’tis you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow
Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow
‘Tis I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.
And if you come, when all the flowers are dying
And I am dead, as dead I well may be
You’ll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an Ave there for me.
And I shall hear, tho’ soft you tread above me
And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be
If you’ll not fail to tell me that you love me
I’ll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.
I’ll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.


Now to the National Anthem in Northern Ireland

God Save the Queen

God Save the King / Queen”  has been the national anthem of Great Britain & Ireland since the beginning of the 19th century. It was thought to be composed by Thomas Augustine Arne (1710-1778) as a patriotic song, and was first publicly performed in London in 1745 after the defeat of “Bonnie Prince Charles”, the Jacobite claimant to the throne, by King George II.

God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and Glorious,
Long to reign over us;
God save the Queen!

O Lord our God arise,
Scatter her enemies
And make them fall;
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix,
Oh, save us all!

Thy choicest gifts in store
On her be pleased to pour;
Long may she reign;
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice,
God save the Queen!

Not in this land alone,
But be God’s mercies known,
From shore to shore!
Lord make the nations see,
That men should brothers be,
And form one family,
The wide world over

From every latent foe,
From the assassins blow,
God save the Queen!
O’er her thine arm extend,
For Britain’s sake defend,
Our mother, prince, and friend,
God save the Queen!

And there is one more….

We are part of European Union now (even if we don’t use the €uro) and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – Ode to Joy has become the anthem so to finish I give you a rather unusual version of it.


Thursday Specials ~ Three Scientist

These three scientists decided to go fishing one day. So they packed up all of their gear and headed down to the lake.

They were having terrible luck, they weren’t catching a thing. All of a sudden, one of the scientists feels a pull at his line. He shouts out, “I got something, I got something!”

So he reels his catch in and much to his surprise, it’s a Mermaid. She tells the scientists, “If you let me go, I will grant you each one wish.” Well they think that’s a pretty good deal, so they agree.

The first scientist, the one who caught the Mermaid, tells her, “I want you to double my IQ.” The Mermaid says no problem. Snaps her fingers, and suddenly he’s solving all of these problems they had been working on for months.

So the next scientist thinks that’s pretty neat, so he tells the Mermaid, “I want you to triple my IQ.” So the Mermaid says, “No problem.” snaps her fingers once again, and now this scientist is finding cures for AIDS and Cancer.

So the last scientist is really excited about all of this. He tells the Mermaid, “I want you to quadruple my IQ.”

The Mermaid looks at him and says, “Are you sure about this? I’m not so sure you want to do that.” But the scientist is stubborn and tells her, “You granted the other guys wishes, now grant mine or we’re not letting you go.”

So the Mermaid sighs and says, “Whatever you want.” She snaps her fingers and the scientist turned into a woman.

Senior moment.  I do not remember who sent this one.

Art with my Needle ~ Week 3

Not all projects go the way you want them to.  I suppose you could say it is a little like blog posts.  The same BLOCK hovers over the brain like clouds hiding the sunshine.  That happened  to me before Elly’s wedding.  I suppose I was submerged in her actual outfit and the alterations I needed to make in the last couple of weeks before the big day.

I also made bags for the bridesmaids and the flower girl plus a ring cushion for the ring bearer.  The flower girl’s bag was a miniature version of those for the bridesmaids.

These two youngsters, George’s youngest niece and nephew were only added in to the Bridal party a few weeks before the event and they chose what they wanted to wear to the Big Party.  The tassels at the base of the bags matched one on the end of the Bride’s bouquet.

I wanted to make a little bag to hold the ‘Somethings’.  You know the something old, new , borrowed and blue.  That is where the cloud descended and several attempts failed.  I ended up sitting up in bed at 6am on the morning of the wedding finally pulling something together, beads and all!

The tiny bag was held in place on the outfit by two antique glass buttons that were given to me many years earlier.

Counting the wedding outfit as the ‘New’, I added the following Old, Borrowed and Blue.

Old = A coin.  Borrowed = A silver thimble of mine.  Blue a modern necklace.

The coin is indeed old, a silver threepenny piece dated 1902.

The coin had come from Jack’s Aunt Nell who had looked after him soon after birth because his mother was very ill.   A second long spell staying with Aunt Nell, made the bond stronger and she looked on Jack as the son she never had.  She had three of these threepenny coins and they were earmarked for her two daughters and her special ‘son’ jack!  He never got his coin.  On my second visit to Durham, Aunt Nell gave it to me.  Jack was delighted, it showed that I was really accepted as one of her family.  I was delighted to pass it on to Elly on her special Day.

Food Monday ~ Legless Cooking for 1

Invite a friend and ask them to bring dinner! 🙄

Chinese Take-away:+44 028 XXXX XXXX

Indian Take-away:+44 028 XXXX XXXX

Fish ‘n Chipper:+44 028 XXXX XXXX



Or seriously…

Stuffed Sweet Pepper: Halve, core & de-seed a sweet red pepper lengthwise.Spoon about half a can of mixed bean salad into the pepper halves and cover with foil, bake until tender; then top with grated cheese and grill.  I might manage a sprinkle of grated hard Italian stuff (Ahem Elly! 😉 )and a few crushed crisps for the topping.

Tuna & sweet corn bake: drain can of tuna & a can of sweet corn.Divide between ramekin dishes.Crack eggs on top and sprinkle over cheese.Bake until set.

Gingered Apples: Slice a dessert apple and put into a bowl, sprinkle with lemon juice and stir to preserve the colour.Cut a 4 inch piece of cucumber into short fat strips and add it to the apple with 2 pieces of preserved stem ginger, thinly sliced. Dressing: Mix a dessertspoon of ginger syrup (from the jar of preserved ginger) with ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger and 2 tablespoons of French dressing and pour over the apples and cucumber.Toss well and serve on a bed of watercress.

Do you have any simple ideas for me to try while on crutches, since I am not a fan of take out/home delivery fast food?