Monthly Archives: November 2013

When I was young

When I was a very young child in holy catholic Ireland, parents had dreams for their children. Some families had more children than the beads on their rosary. Mind you it was back in the days before television for distraction and the only central heating was between the sheets!

With each new child the parents found another opportunity to fulfil an unlived dream.

The sons they saw as a priest, a doctor, a lawyer and a policeman. If there was a farm, well that went to number one son – whether he wanted it or not. If he chose a wife she was expected to come in and play second fiddle in the kitchen. Is it any wonder the phrase ‘God between us and small farms!’ became so popular!

For the girls it was a nunnery, a nurse or a teacher. For those considered less academically inclined, Pittman’s shorthand and typing was the route to a permanent and pensionable job. The youngest daughter might be encouraged not to run the roads, but stay home to take care of the parents in their old age.

In secondary school, my class mates spend may hours dreaming about a certain Dr. James Kildare (Richard Chamberlain), a young intern at Blair General hospital, in a 1960s television series. Many of my pals were prepared to run under a bus if Dr Kildare was around to sort out their scrapes and sooth their fluttering hearts. We didn’t have a television back then, but I had plenty of babysitting opportunities that gave me the chance to catch up.

Alas, I was not impressed. Dear Dr Kildare was a wimp to me. I knew plenty about tall dark and handsome men. Our house was always full of them. With each one came half a dozen shirts that needed washing, starching and ironing, apart from the smelly socks and sweaty underwear. Romance how are you!!!

Singer Lena Zavaroni was born just over a year before I left school. A tiny girl with an enormous voice, at the age of 10, she appeared on Hughie Green’s Opportunity Knocks and went on to win the show five times in a row. At 16, with a trail of appearances in variety, summer shows and pantomimes behind her, she was rushed to hospital in Glasgow with anorexia. An illness from which she was to suffer for the rest of her short life.

Lena and I had something in common. Our skeletal frames. I was that thin! A layer of fine pale almost white skin blotched with large dark freckles covered my bones. I was taller, although I had not reached my full height of 5 ft 7 inches.

Lena had a Big voice.

I had BIG hair.

I awoke each day looking like a dishevelled upside down floor mop. Tangles were my morning agony, I sang as the unruly tresses were unlocked and combed into control. My song was “Ouch! That hurt me, you are pulling too hard!” I was never going to reach number one in any chart with that, was I? Even I was not fond of the music!

When schooling was over, homework complete and the chores done, we were free to run down the garden and over the wall to play. On a good evening the group might reach twenty with some of the fathers, uncles & cousins and occasionally aunts, swelling the numbers further.

There was banter, teasing and the odd battle of wills or punch-up. These battles never lasted long…. Any older person present would step up to the plate and restore order. If someone was not happy to drop the argument and play on, then they were sent home for the remainder of the evening’s play.

Any parent or older member of the neighbourhood gang was able to correct us for bad behaviour, pick us up when we fell, carry us home if a fall needed further treatment, and we never had reason to question them. All our parents were grateful for the care given.

  • We had freedom.
  • We had fresh air.
  • We had the opportunity to use our imaginations.
  • We had plenty of exercise.
  • We had the freedom to grow, to learn to play, be part of a team and to interact with people of all ages, sexes and several religions.

Children of today, in many parts of the world have freedoms we never knew of or heard about. They have cell phones, computers, Xboxes, and many another electronic contraption with the only barriers being a poor internet connection or lack of battery power.

Then there is the invisible fence around them. Some of these gadgets and games are for use and playing with IN THE HOME.

Nowadays children must be accompanied everywhere they go. For some children that means being driven right to the school gate – and to hell with any other traffic needing to get in the space while ‘Jayden or Kaylee” are set down on their tender little feet with only a yard or two to walk to the school door. Pity the school was not more thoughtful with a ‘drive through’ method of entry!

What brought this on? Well I read a blog post in September and it almost made me cry.

K8 the GR8, is about Elly’s age, a young mother of three children, I know her, met her and her parents, and she has been an award willing blogger. K8 tells it how it is.
Freedom how are you.

I suggest you go read it.

Confession time. I wrote this post early one morning in September, while sitting up in bed in Buffyland. Suddenly realising that it fitted with an LBC topic, I went to check my list. Sure enough When I was young had been suggested by me, so I scheduled this in back then. It is allowed. The Loose Blogging Consortium have no rules other than we all blog about the same topic on the same day. It does not have to be written while the morning coffee is percolating. Now that my coffee is ready and poured, why not join me on my rounds to see what gems all the other active members have produced this week.

Thursday Special ~ Be careful what you wish for!

A man looks at his wife of 25 years and says,

“Honey, 25 years ago we had a cheap apartment, a cheap car, slept on a sofa bed and watched a 10-inch black and white TV; but I got to sleep with a hot 25 year-old blonde every night. Now we have a $300,000.00 house, a $50,000.00 car, a nice big bed and plasma screen TV; but I am sleeping with a 50 year-old woman. It seems to me that you are not holding up your side of things.”

The wife, being a reasonable woman, said, “Go out and find a hot 25 year-old blonde…and I will make sure that you, once again, will be living in a cheap apartment, driving a cheap car, sleeping on a sofa bed and watching a 10-inch black and white TV.”

Short and sweet, I stole this one from Tilly Bud

Sauntering

through the past few days:

I hope you enjoyed walking along with me. You can click to enlarge any of the photos

Hello! Hello!

Yesterday we had 3 degrees. Brrrr! Today we are down to 2°C!

I have been awake since 05:30, but stayed under the covers for another five hours and sure who would blame me? I have no work to go to and not a child in the house to wash.

While Nurse Hitler was here with me earlier in the week, I used her expertise to guide me in the purchase of a new mobile phone. She is not a fan of ‘i’s. An android was her suggestion, so I now possess a Samsung galaxy S3 mini. I still keep the same number – that makes life so easy.

Samsung Galaxy S3-mini

Samsung Galaxy S3-mini

Having Elly here certainly helped me to discover the wonders of my new toy. Together we culled my contact list, there is no point in adding the numbers of people who seem to think I am dead, or those who no longer bother to call me.

So the updated list of contacts has been transferred, I have access to my browser for email, blog, maps and search engines. A few apps have been added such as Skype, Facebook and Whatsapp.

To date I made one phone call, sent a text, posted on my Facebook timeline, from a coffee shop and used the camera and posted a couple of photos straight to Facebook including this photo of a roaring fire, in my fireplace!

My cosy log fire

My cosy log fire

My cosy and warm real log fire yesterday, just before I closed up the curtains for the evening and switched on the lights. It really brings the room to life!

I tried Whatsapp out with Barbara, my niece, and it worked well.

This morning Skype buzzed at me, it was my brother in Australia. On went the video and we chatted away from the palm of my hand, for 45 minutes. It felt like he was sitting on the end of my bed, chatting comfortably as we would have done when we all lived at home.

I think, I will enjoy my new phone, without becoming a slave to it!

I wonder…. if Singing Sam* can make a cup of coffee and a sandwich?

* All my gadgets have toy boy names, you know that already!

Road Rage

Ella was vocal. Very vocal!

She ranted at a long line of slow heavy rush hour traffic.

Cyclists and motorbike riders were not spared the rough edge of her tongue either.

Cars changing lanes without indicating, or any drivers who dared to cut into the small space in front of her windscreen were treated to a long stream from her litany of language more suitable to the gutter, than the front seat of an upmarket Mercedes-Benz A-Class with a twin-turbo V8 engine.

Perhaps if she had been ready to leave at the pre arranged time, things might have been better.

Ella WAS NEVER ON TIME. You might say she liked to make an entrance. Arriving at a theatre or concert hall with everyone milling around, would mean she would go un-noticed. Arrive late and the whole place was aware of her entry and walk right through the auditorium to take her seat in the middle of the second row!

This behaviour went on for years.

Holey Buckets! She ranted with more passion and conviction than Kate, singing I Hate Men from Kiss Me, Kate

Her husband Ralf, was by comparison, a dormouse.

His great passion in life was his car. This time, the A-Class Merc. Ralf washed and lovingly caressed it with a chamois until dry, each evening before driving it into the spacious garage to rest overnight. Some friends teased that it was clean enough to sit in the middle of the living room floor!

Ralf loved his Ella. He must have. Listening to her broken record on repeat ranting, on a daily basis for thirty five years, warranted more than sainthood.

He was dressed and ready, in fact Ralf had been ready for the previous two hours.

A leisurely breakfast was enjoyed, the daily newspaper read and the crossword completed. The beloved car stood to attention in the driveway. The windows and lights all gleamed like crystal, even under the bonnet had a little run over with a duster.

Now as he finished another cup of coffee he heard the size two footfall on the stairs. Involuntarily he tensed. The ranting (at him) began before the door to the room opened. He half wished he had given in to the sudden childish whim to hide behind the window drapes. He didn’t.

They were ready for off.

“I wonder if Ella remembered the marathon was on today?” thought Ralf. He was sure she had forgotten that half the roads in the centre of the city would be closed for the duration. They were not going into the city as such, but needed to drive through it in order to reach their final destination. Never worry, he had a plan.

Traffic was heavy on the motor way and always slowed down as it approached the city. He had planned to take a circular route and avoid the closed off area. Of course, this was all planned a few hours earlier as he read the newspaper and saw the route the marathon would take. Ella was busy upstairs with girly stuff – hair, make-up, and which of her fifty pairs of shoes to wear. They had not spoken since Ralf had taken the breakfast tray up to her a few hours earlier. Ella liked breakfast in bed. Ralf liked that too. It meant a calm quiet start to his day as he sat to eat alone at the kitchen table.

“You are in the wrong lane!” bellowed Ella. “You should be over there, in that one.” The ranting had begun, and it continued. The higher the rant the slower the traffic moved, until it finally slid to a halt. Nowhere to go.

At this stage Ralf was behind an articulated lorry, in the rear view mirror he could see a wall of lorries approaching. One stopped behind him, and another two drew up along each side, They were completely surrounded. Ella did not like being closed in, she was claustrophobic at the best of times, the ranting reached a crescendo.

Ralf flipped.

This outing was not his idea of fun, he would have much preferred to potter about at home for the day. He switched off the engine – they were going nowhere. They could not, even if they wanted to.

Slowly, calmly and silently, Ralf opened the driver’s door and got out. He put the keys in his pocket, closed the door and turned without a backward glance and walked away.

He had had enough!

Road Rage was suggested by Padmini, who I am sure is a perfect passenger and would never rant while her husband was driving. She has re appeared from the shadows to rejoin us, despite being busy with family commitments and other pursuits. I look forward to reading what she and all the other active member have to say on the LBC topic, for this week.

Thursday Special ~ The Genie

A husband takes his wife to play her first game of golf. Of course, the wife promptly hacked her first shot right through the window of the biggest house adjacent to the course.
The husband cringed, “I warned you to be careful! Now we’ll have to go up there, find the owner, apologize and see how much your lousy drive is going to cost us.”

So the couple walked up to the house and knocked on the door. A warm voice said, “Come on in.”
When they opened the door they saw the damage that was done: glass was all over the place, and a broken antique bottle was lying on its side near the pieces of window glass.

A man reclining on the couch asked, “Are you the people that broke my window?”

“Uh…yeah, sir. We’re sure sorry about that,” the husband replied.

“Oh, no apology is necessary. Actually I want to thank you… You see, I’m a genie, and I’ve been trapped in that bottle for a thousand years. Now that you’ve released me, I’m allowed to grant three wishes. I’ll give you each one wish, but if you don’t mind, I’ll keep the last one for myself.”

“Wow, that’s great!” the husband said. He pondered a moment and blurted out, “I’d like a million dollars a year for the rest of my life.”

“No problem,” said the genie. “You’ve got it, it’s the least I can do. And I’ll guarantee you a long, healthy life!”

“And now you, young lady, what do you want?” the genie asked.

“I’d like to own a gorgeous home in every country in the world complete with servants,” she said.

“Consider it done,” the genie said. “And your homes will always be safe from fire, burglary and natural disasters!”

“And now,” the couple asked in unison, “what’s your wish, genie?”

“Well, since I’ve been trapped in that bottle, and haven’t been with a woman in more than a thousand years, my wish is to have sex with your wife.”

The husband looked at his wife and said, “Gee, honey, you know we both now have a fortune, and all those houses. What do you think?”

She mulled it over for a few moments and said, “You know, you’re right. Considering our good fortune, I guess I wouldn’t mind, but what about you, honey?”

You know I love you, sweetheart,” said the husband. I’d do the same for you!”

So the genie and the woman went upstairs where they spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying each other. The genie was insatiable. After about three hours of non-stop sex, the genie rolled over and looked directly into her eyes and asked, “How old are you and your husband?”

“Why, we’re both 35,” she responded breathlessly.

“No Kidding,” he said. “Thirty-five years old and you both still believe in genies?”

This weeks offering came from the king of  genies: Ramana!

Food Monday ~ Lemon Spinach with Pancetta & Walnuts

Lemon Spinach with Pancetta & Walnuts

450g spinach
50g butter
2 tablespoons walnut oil
100g pancetta, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
100g walnut halves
Grated rind and juice of 2 lemons

Remove the stalks from the spinach, wash and then dry in a salad spinner.
Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan with the pancetta, garlic and walnuts.
Cook until the pancetta is crisp, garlic golden and the nuts are toasted.
Add the spinach, lemon juice and lemon rind to the pan. Cook the spinach for 2 minutes over high heat , stirring all the time.
Remove from the heat and keep warm until ready to serve.

The doorbell rang

The doorbell rang,
I didn’t hear it
I was not near it,
Last thing on my mind.

In the kitchen,
Music blaring,
Just not caring
food preparing, lunch was on the ring

Sitting eating
Cold weather meating
Extra treating
Enough to warm and make me sing

Through the mail box
Dropped a note,
You missed delivery
Silly goat!

Wrap up warmly
Start your journey
Step out spritely
Don’t forget to bring that note!

Reach post office produce ID
Hocus Pocus, dear girl focus
Collect a parcel,
Addressed to me.

Skipping fast
precious parcel grasp
Under my oxter
A mind full of wonder

Finally home
the tape was cut
box ends open
packing paper removed.

SURPRISE!

Here on the floor
Glories galore
Texture and colourful treasures
A surprise gift for months of pleasure

Glorious yarn gift.

Glorious yarn gift.

A box filled with a selection of yarn, gifted to me all the way from California.

Thank you Brighid, from the bottom of my heart and already twitching fingers!

Now let the crafting party begin!