Monthly Archives: August 2013

Thursday Special ~ The Crofter

The crofter’s wife went into labour in the middle of the night, and the doctor was called out to assist in the delivery.

To keep the father-to-be busy, the doctor handed him a lantern and said: “Here, you hold this high so I can see what I’m doing.”

Soon, a lusty baby boy was brought into the world.

“Och!” said the doctor. “Don’t be in a rush to put the lantern by…I think there’s yet another wee bairn to come.”

Sure enough, within minutes he had delivered a bonnie lass.

“Na, dinna be in a great hurry to be putting down that lantern, lad…It seems there’s yet another one besides!” cried the doctor.

The crofter scratched his head in bewilderment, and asked the doctor:

“Well, now, mon, Do ye suppose the light’s attracting them?”


With thanks to ‘Colin in a kilt’ for this one!

Tips and hints for crochet

Last week I promised to return today with a couple of tips I learned in recent weeks while doing crochet work. They are two simple tips, but once learned and used, I may never go back to the old ways.

Many years ago I was shown how to crochet. I struggled for some time but the yarn was always slipping from my hands. Perhaps having crooked or bent fingers was to blame. Holding the needle in my right hand and the thread in the left one, became an impossible task, so I almost gave up.

Stubborn Annie – read me – took off to a quiet corner with my yarn and a crochet needle, determined to find a way round my problem. I did!

By holding the yarn as I did for knitting, I managed to produce a granny square. Bingo! I went out and bought a packet of wool. I think it had about ten balls of yarn in it. I was off and determined to make a dress. In those days shift dresses were all the rage and I had the figure of a matchstick, so that meant two long rectangles joined at the shoulders and down the side seams. Within the week I had a dress completed. It sat one inch above my knees.  I was thrilled and wore it to a dance. By the end of the evening, I had either danced a few inches off my legs or my dress had grown. It had. My dress had stretched about three inches while I danced! 🙁

Stop laughing and concentrate. So to my tips.

All down the years I began a crochet project with a row of chain stitches and worked back along that line to begin my pattern. The base line was not always even, but I did my best. Now I have found a new way to do the base row.

This base row is a slight variation of treble crochet or for my Americans readers, it is a double crochet.

You begin with three chain.

With the yarn over the hook (YOH), go into the very first chain, YOH again and draw it through (three loops on the needle). This is where you make the variation: YOH and through that first chain only (three loops on the needle), YOH and pull through two loops, YOH and pull through two loops, which leaves one stitch on the needle.

That little variation gives you a a neat heart shaped loop at the top of your work. For the second stitch: YOH, and pick up both sides of that heart shaped stitch and work as before.

Repeat until the last stitch. For the last stitch  YOH, put needle through heart shape and YOH,and pull through, YOH and pull through that stitch again then YOH pull through two loops, YOH and pull through two loops. That gives the row a neat square corner.

This video should give you a better idea. I made it very late last night, so excuse the quality.

I also promised to show you how to join yarn with a fine knot and no tails to be woven into the completed item.

Again I made a video and it is self explanatory.

Any problems, please let me know in the comments.

Food Monday ~ Preparing for Winter

I woke this morning to the first real sign of the change in the seasons: A line of condensation on the inside of my bedroom window.

Time to prepare for the winter ahead.

Sore throat remedy.

  • Turmeric
  • Honey
  • Ground basil
  • Hot water or milk

Make a paste of about a tablespoon in total – equal portions of each turmeric, honey and ground basil then dilute to about half a glass in hot water or more usually milk.

Gargle well and swallow. Repeat gargling to use all of the mixture.
Try it before going to bed and Bingo! – Next morning your throat should no longer feel like sandpaper!

# ~ # ~ #

Cold Cure

  • 1 large mug
  • 3 spoons of honey
  • 3 thin slices of root ginger
  • 2 lemon slices
  • 1 hefty shot of whiskey
  • 12 cloves
  • Pinch of Cinnamon

Stud the lemon slices with cloves put in mug with the remaining ingredients. Pour boiling water over the lot – drink – enjoy – Sleep like a baby

I suggest you print these out and stick them inside the door of your medicine cupboard. Well, it is the first place you go to seek out relief for all ailments.

The Three Fates

The Three Fates St. Stephens Green, Dublin

The Three Fates
St. Stephens Green, Dublin

The Three Fates ~ Bronze
Sculptor ~ Professor Josef Wackerle

The fountain is situated near the Leeson Street entrance to St. Stephens Green, Dublin, Ireland. It consists of a group of three bronze figures – representing the Three Fates, who weave and measure the thread of man’s destiny.

The Three Fates  St. Stephens Green, Dublin

The Three Fates
St. Stephens Green, Dublin

The statue was a gift offered by Roman Herzog, President of the Federal Republic of Germany at the time.

The Three Fates (3) St. Stephens Green, Dublin

The Three Fates (3)
St. Stephens Green, Dublin

The engraving on the plaque is in German, Irish and English:

German: In Dankbarkeit für die Hilfe, die das irische Volk deutschen Kindern nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg gewährte

Irish: Le buíochas as an gcabhair a thug muintir na hÉireann do pháistí Gearmánacha tar éis an Dara Cogadh Domhanda

English: With gratitude for the help given to German children by the Irish people after World War II.

Photographing the Alphabet ~ V

V ~ Viaduct

I have a couple of photos that I may well have shared in the past, but the viaduct the other day was far to close to the busy road I was travelling on. I didn’t want to risk my life or be a hazard to others, in the  heavy traffic so kept on driving.

Viaduct carrying the train line from Belfast to Dublin

Viaduct carrying the train line from Belfast to Dublin

This photo was was taken in May 2010 through the car window as I was stopped in road works traffic. The work was nearing completion on the last stretch of motorway from Belfast to Dublin and cutting out the last of the bottlenecks on the journey.

Another stretch of the same railway line at the end of March 2013

Another stretch of the same railway line at the end of March 2013

Photo taken at the end of March 2013. This time it was mid morning and the traffic was light so I pulled over to the hard shoulder to take this shot. You can just about see Newry through the arches.

Newry is a city in Northern Ireland that straddles the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  It is 34 miles from Belfast and 67 miles from Dublin.

Moving on to Randalstown….

A 19th century viaduct built to extend the railway system in County Antrim.

A 19th century viaduct built to extend the railway system in County Antrim.

This Charles Lanyon designed viaduct was built in 1856 to extend the railway from Randalstown to Cookstown. There are two levels the upper one was the train line and the lower the road from Randalstown to Antrim Town.

Approaching from the Main Street.

Approaching from the Main Street.

In 1830 Randalstown was described as ” chiefly one street extending for half a mile along the road from Toomebridge to Belfast..”

I once heard that the area was also called: a “potwalloping borough”, this meant that anyone who boiled a pot of yarn was entitled to vote…. I think they really earned that voting right!

Disused railway bridge leading to the Viaduct

Disused railway bridge, now a pathway leading to the Viaduct with the entrance to Shane’s Castle on the right.

In the late 1990’s the top of the viaduct and part of the railway track were converted into a walkway and cycle path leading from Station Road to New Street. This development provides views of Randalstown, the River Maine and the adjoining parkland of Shane’s Castle.

Entrance to Shane's Castle, Randalstown

Entrance to Shane’s Castle, Randalstown

The entrance to the Shane’s castle Estate

Looking across the town from the Viaduct pathway

By the end of the 19th century the town depended on an iron works and the Old Bleach Linen Company which was established here in 1864. All that remains now is the chimney of the mill which you can see in the photo above. At its peak in the 1930’s, the Old Bleach company employed over 1000 people. Its doors finally closed in 1980 and demolition began in 1994.

Damask table linen made in Ireland graced tables all over the world in a bygone era of elegance and leisure. I wonder how many of you across the globe have a family heirloom lurking in a drawer?

Modern addictions

“Addiction can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, race or religion, and intervention should be considered for any person suffering from addiction to restore his or her emotional and physical health.”

So said Dr Christian Jessen in an article in the London Evening Standard  which went on to produce a list of the Top 10 addictions of modern lifestyles.

The List:

Very much encouraged in the modern commercial world, where every minute spent working can mean increased earnings. But all work and no play can lead to total burnout, and workaholics usually don’t realise there’s a problem until things go badly wrong.

Love Addiction
Not the same as sex addiction; the love addict can never let an infatuation go, meaning it can affect his or her health and future relationships. Research suggests feelings of love are caused by a rise in phenylethylamine, a neurological chemical that can be addictive. It has also been found that people who are infatuated share similar symptoms with cocaine abusers.

Television Addiction
We watch an average of four hours of TV a day. This means that by the age of 65 we may well have spent about nine years glued to the box. TV addicts share many clinical abuse symptoms such as helplessness in putting an end to the addiction, using their “drug of choice” to soothe their nerves, and irritability when forced to kick the habit.

Teeth-whitening Addiction
Colloquially known as “bleaching junkies”, these addicts have made teeth-whitening the top requested cosmetic dental procedure, increasing by 300 per cent over the past few years. It may seem harmless but the consequences can be as horrible as in other addictions. Excessive teeth sensitivity, bleeding gums and transparent teeth are common.

Exercise Addiction
Possibly something I should recognise in myself. Exercise addiction statistics are hard to find because it usually co-exists with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa. Treadmill abusers may sacrifice their health and social life for their addiction. A study published by Behavioural Neuroscience in August 2009 found similarities between excessive running and drug-abuse behaviour.

Otherwise known as shopping addiction, it’s not just celebrities who are afflicted. There are oniomaniacs or compulsive shoppers in almost every neighbourhood and family. Studies suggest that compulsive buying affects more than one in 20 adults. The mania has been linked to depression and has brought many shopaholics to the brink of bankruptcy.

A silly word adopted by the press, it refers to tanning addiction. Doctors are concerned about tanning and advise against the use of tanning beds, as they have been proven to be carcinogenic — but tanorexia continues to be a problem, especially among young women. A 2006 study found that the UV rays of tanning beds produce feel-good endorphins, falling levels of which, post-tanning, can trigger withdrawal symptoms similar to those caused by alcohol and drug withdrawal.

Sex Addiction
The craving for sexual gratification is as old as human history. But modern dysfunctional families are often blamed for turning a human urge into sexually compulsive behaviour and some feel that easy access to internet porn has only reinforced it. Not all psychiatrists recognise this addiction, but growing numbers of self-help groups and sex recovery centres have been set up to help treat what they see as a real problem.

Internet Addiction
Constant, unstoppable, obsessive internet browsing that becomes a daily routine, and where any interruption causes irritability, may well indicate the presence of an Internet Addiction Disorder. Psychiatrists are now acknowledging the mood-altering effects of online pornography, gambling, gaming, networking and blogging — in some countries, internet addiction has become such a serious social problem that recovery programmes have been put in place.

Plastic Surgery Addiction
Negative body image is driving hordes of people under the surgeon’s knife. In 2006, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons warned its members about patients with a body dysmorphic disorder or “imagined ugly syndrome” for whom cosmetic surgery is an unending journey due to these addicts’ dissatisfaction with the results. The organisation reported an alarming study that found 40 per cent of Botox users admitting to being lured to it by the attraction of continued treatment.

Do you see yourself in any of the descriptions? You may not even be aware of it, but an addiction might well be lurking under the surface…..

Some folk might think that I am afflicted with a few addictions…..

Am I addicted?

Am I addicted?

No. No way, you got it wrong!

I am not surgically attached to my laptop & cell phone and you know I only see Buffy in short bursts, every few months.

I was writing an LBC Post. Honest! The phone in my hand was to try and capture a photo of the young madam on my knee, before George obliged.

The topic Modern addictions was chosen for us this week by Ramana and I can tell you he is totally addicted to his new daughter in law, Manjiree, you can tell – it is written in his eyes!

Thursday Special ~ Aging

An older gentleman was on the operating table awaiting surgery and he insisted that his son, a renowned surgeon, perform the operation.

As he was about to get the anesthesia, he asked to speak to his son.

“Yes, Dad, what is it?”

“Don’t be nervous, son; do your best, and just remember, if it doesn’t go well, if something happens to me, your mother is going to come and live with you and your wife….”


For all the money in the world, I cannot remember which old man sent this one to me! 😉