Monthly Archives: January 2011

Thursday Special ~ Taxing

A man owned a small farm in Ireland.

The Irish Internal Revenue determined he was not paying proper wages to his staff and sent an investigator out to interview him.

“I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them!” demanded the investigator.

“Well,” replied the farmer, “there’s my farm hand who’s been with me for three years.  I pay him 200 a week plus free room and board.

“The cook has been here for 18 months, and I pay her 150 per week plus free room and board.

“Then there’s the halfwit.  He works about 18 hours every day and does about 90% of all the work around here.  He makes about 10 a week.  He pays his own room and board, and I buy him a bottle of whiskey every Saturday night.  He also sleeps with my wife occasionally.”

“That’s the guy I want to talk to…the halfwit!” said the agent.

“That would be me,” replied the farmer




With thanks to Hywel for this one.


I hate diets!

I hate listening to people talking about ‘Going on a Diet‘!  Every day since Christmas I have heard someone mention the excesses of eating over the holidays and the need to diet.  If it was not on the radio, in a newspaper it was on the blogs.

Well, by now you all know I do not and never did carry excess weight.  I do have very long arms.  They were well honed from years of SOS – Stretch or Starve!  With eight of us round the table when we were small in number, you had to learn quickly to stop talking and eat up.  Hungry brothers don’t like to sit on ceremony and wait for two hundred mastications per bite!

We were all long and lean in our household, so it never seemed other than normal to us. In fact for many years I was underweight.  Nobody understood why, since I always had a good appetite and enjoyed my food (so long as there was no dairy products in it).

It is not all fun being THIN.

  • In school the Headmistress, a nun, called me over and asked what I had for my breakfast!  She was serious!  She seemed to think I was starved and should be sitting down to a full Irish every day.  I saw red – I often did with the nuns. I told her that we didn’t have servants or a string of nuns in the kitchen to cook it for all eight of us like they (the nuns) did in the convent!
  • People think you are anorexic or bulimic and starve yourself on purpose to get that look.
  • Women, particularly those who have a thick layer of natural insulation see no wrong in pointing out how ‘THIN’ I am. One such lady poked me in the ribs – in company – to emphasise the fact!  I wonder if I had poked her in her layers of fat and said “Look how fat you are!”, how she would have liked it?  I didn’t. Mammy taught me it was rude to point and being pass-remarkable was very bad manners.
  • You feel the cold. Big time!
  • Clothes don’t have a shape to drape over. At one stage Elly said to me, “If you get any thinner you will have to go to New York or Paris to buy your clothes!”  Size 6Uk was seldom available at that time.
  • Age shows all the quicker on a thin face and neck.

Variety is the spice of life. Indeed it would be boring if we were all the same – just like a bunch of Lego people.  Television and Sales marketing have a lot to answer for.  The models we see on TV and in Magazines are all airbrushed.  Why do you think the rat pack photographers who chase the Celebs make so much money?  It is for the photos of personalities sans make-up or dressed down and off duty?  Do you put on full face paint and Sunday best to slip to the corner shop or supermarket?

Nowadays people are willing to hand out enormous fees to health farms and fitness clubs.  How many actually get their moneys worth.  How many religiously attend once or twice a week as they hoped to do at the beginning.  Like Coleman’s Mustard, the fortune is made from what is not used!

So what would I suggest?

  • Ditch the scales and turn the mirror to the wall.
  • Eat three regular meals EVERYDAY – at the dining table and not at the computer, If you are surfing the net or watching TV, you shovel in the food long after you need it and also condition the body to ‘watching means or needs eating’.
  • Cut out the snacks in-between meals.
  • Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Would you drive a car with no fuel in it?  No?  Then why do that to your body? It has to last waaaay longer than any car.
  • A poached egg on a couple of potato cakes is way more satisfying than on toast.  With that for breakfast you won’t need the mid morning snack.
  • A banana is a great source of natural energy.  A ripe banana will give you a quick boost but it will not last long.  A more firm banana gives a longer slow release of energy.  Why not try it sliced over a bowl of cereal or add one to a Smoothie for breakfast.
  • An apple in the mid afternoon is actually more reviving than a cup of tea or coffee, with or without the choccie treat.
  • Try not to eat late in the evening.  Going to bed on a full stomach is not good for your body or your partner, if you have one. 😉
  • Go for a walk at lunchtime if you can and at least around the block before bedtime.  It moves the food on its way, is good exercise, is relaxing and gives you time to clear your mind of the stresses of the day.  This is all an aid to good restful sleep.
  • When you were a child, did you spend a fortune on a gym and fancy gym-wear? No. You ran about and played with a skipping rope, a hoola hoop or a ball.  All these are still available and very cheap.  You have to use them to get any benefit, they do not work in a cupboard.
  • If you really want to lift weights try two large tins of fruit.  When no longer needed use the fruit in a pie or crumble for all the family.
  • Eat normally but smaller portions.  Put them on a smaller plate and it looks like you have a large helping.
  • Find determination and stick to your goal.

Food Monday ~ Sweet Mincemeat Ring

Another quick and easy way to use up left over mincemeat not used for mince pies.

Sweet Mincemeat Ring
Preheat the oven to 175°C

8 ozs Self Raising flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 ozs Butter
4 ozs caster sugar
6 ozs mincemeat
1 large egg beaten
¼ pint milk

Sieve flour and salt, rub in the butter. Add the sugar and mince meat and mix with beaten egg and milk.  Bake for 45 minutes in a greased ring tin.  Turn out onto a wire tray and while still warm cover with the icing.

For the icing:
4 ozs icing sugar
2 dessertspoons of milk
½ teaspoon Vanilla essence
½ oz walnuts chopped
½ oz cherries chopped

Sieve the sugar and add the milk & vanilla essence, then spoon over the warm ring loaf and decorate with cherries and walnuts.

Alive and kicking!

Tobias and I are both returned to health and ready to trip across the ethernet and join you all in play.  My thanks go to Phil* for all his time and effort.

I hope to begin my normal cycle of posting on Monday with a recipe.  Today will be spent catching up with emails and blog reading.  I realise that several deadlines have been missed, but the world has not stopped without me.

So what has been happening while I was in bed with Ted?  What have I missed?

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I’m Late

For the first time since the Loose Blogging Consortium began I have missed a deadline.  It was only my fault in that I was not as organised as usual with posts prepared and scheduled to publish at the required time and date.  The topic for 14th January was chosen by Ramana.

Stimulus and Response

Music is a great form of stimulus for me.  James Last never fails to gain a response from me and set my feet tapping.  I regularly used a couple of his LPs to take me through household chores.  With all the windows opened wide, dusting, polishing or sweeping down the ceilings and walls is not half the task with the beat of non-stop party greats by James Last, his orchestra and singers urging me on my way.  Nowadays I have CDs of all the music I like.

Thinking about it now, I am brought back to a bright spring morning (bring them on!) when Elly was gone to Primary/Junior School.  I was ready to start before she and her dad had turned the corner.  Furniture all pushed to the centre of the living room, I was sweeping the ceiling with good easy strides.

Next thing I knew was a friend Connie called for a visit, having dropped her own son at school. She was in need of a chat, coffee was always available and my baking tins full of tasty treats no matter what time of the day.  She put the coffee on as I finished the last few strips of the ceiling before the volume was turned right down on Belfast, Dancing Queen and Staying Alive etc., for the duration.  Years later she told me that she went out and bought a cassette tape of the music to use while working away at home.

Now Connie is no longer with us, I wonder if they have that music in whatever existence she is in now?

Bugs everywhere…

Hi all, Elly here.

Grannymar had a bit of a bug and was feeling under the weather over the weekend. She was putting together her Sunday Tour of Ireland post, when unfortunately her laptop caught a bug as well! We’ve managed to close all the p0rn pop-ups, but the laptop is going to need some tech help over the next few days, so there may not be any new posts for a day or two. She won’t be available on email either, but you can text or call her if it’s urgent, or get in touch via myself.


How Saturdays have changed.

When I was young, we had to attend school on a Saturday.  Classes ran from 9am. until 12.30pm.   Inter-schools sports games were always in the afternoon.  I was not sporty, so I came home to lunch and an afternoon of household chores and food shopping.

In my first job, I worked alternate weekends, although if we found someone to switch duties with, we were then free at that time.

Now my Saturdays have no set pattern.  I no longer have the routine of going to an office five days a week, so Saturday , Monday or Thursday they are all just the same.  There are times when I need to look at the bottom right hand corner of the screen or at my phone to see what day it is.

Living alone, who knows what I get up to.  If you phoned me I might tell you that I was….

  • In bed with Ted and intended staying there all day.
  • Standing on a ladder painting the ceiling with a brush in each hand.
  • Drinking Champagne with a Handsome Toyboy.
  • Writing my memoirs and did not want to be disturbed.
  • Packing for a world cruise.

How do you spend your Saturdays?