Monthly Archives: July 2014

Thursday Special ~ Washing the Dog

A young boy, around ten years old, walks into his local grocer’s store and picks up a large box of Persil soap powder. When placing it on the counter the grocer asks if he’s doing the laundry for his mother.

“No”, says the boy “My dog needs cleaning!”

“Ah!” said the grocer “in that case you shouldn’t use soap powder – it could make the dog ill or even kill it!”

The boy ignores the advice and buys the powder.

A few days later the boy returns to the store to buy some candy.

The grocer asked how his dog was and the boy replied, “Oh, he died!”

The grocer said, “I’m sorry to hear that but I did TRY telling you not to use soap powder on him!”

The boy replies, “It wasn’t the soap powder that killed him – it was the spin cycle on the washing machine!”



Thanks Dave, I hope this not the way Buffy is washed!

Seriously. What can I do?

We are drowning in news reports that remind me of the words of Robert Burns:

Man’s inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!

Every time you open a newspaper, listen to the radio, (watch television – if you have one) or read articles online, there are tales of bombings & massacres, in Gaza, or the plight of refugees in Syria….. I could go on and on.

Living in Northern Ireland, we are governed by The Northern Ireland Assembly but we still have a Cabinet member of the Westminster Government to keep an eye on us. This means that we have voting rites for both the local and Westminster elections.

In my thirty seven years living here, nobody I ever voted for in local elections, made it to Stormont and in Westminster elections we vote for Northern Ireland representatives and not the main parties, so again my vote does not count for much.

The Government responsible for my taxes, reductions in pension, rising food and fuel prices, the very folk preaching at me to ‘reduce, reduce, reduce’ and ‘save, save, save’, are people I did not vote for and are responsible for selling armaments to many of the countries using them to massacre men , women and children.

The Ebola virus, which has killed more than 670 people in West Africa, is now a “threat” to the UK, according to Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

We are constantly preached at about our carbon footprint, we are to reduce it to halt global warming, the cause of land slides, ice melts at the north and south poles, and world wide unpredictable changing weather patterns.

So what can I, as a widow living alone, do to save the world?


  • I prepare and cook all my own food. The only fast food for me comes in the form of an apple or a banana.
  • Electricity provides light, is used for cooking, using the microwave, fridge/freezer and the washing machine. It also activated the oil heating boiler, the water for my shower, my phone and internet connection.
  • Central heating comes from oil, and an open fire gives comfort and a feeling of not being alone on long dreary dark winter evenings. The fuel for the fire comes from woodchip blocks.
  • I do have a car – fourteen years old now – with a laughable mileage of sixty seven thousand, seven hundred and odd miles on the clock! It is my life saver, a necessity rather than a luxury. Regular three hour journeys to Dublin, are not alone a bonus for my health & heart, but good for the engine of the car.

I do not have

  • air conditioning.
  • possess, a dishwasher, tumble dryer or television.
  • I switch off lights when leaving a room.

So I will ask again…… What can I do?

Does laughing cause global warming? Do you think I should give it up?

Patience is a virtue

In April 2012, I shared a piece of sculpture that I found in Dublin. I called it a mystery hand. At the time I was unable to discover any information about the work or of the sculptor.

The sculpture stands in the grounds of the Department of Education, in front of Tyrone House in Marlborough Street, Dublin.
Last week I discovered the correct title and the name of the sculptor.

The Wishing Hand

The Wishing Hand

The Wishing Hand ~ Bronze
Sculptor ~ Linda Brunker.

Linda Brunker was born in Dublin, Ireland.
She studied at the National College of Art & Design in Dublin and received a degree in Fine Art, Sculpture – 1988 & a Diploma in fine art, Sculpture – 1987.

The Bronze Wishing Hand is solid and impressive at 63 x 110 x 55 inches. Almost inviting the viewer to climb up and curl into the open palm.

Almost an invitation

Almost an invitation


In some of her sculptures she resists the solidity of bronze, creating spaces which open up the pieces, letting air and light flow through them. The female form is delicately conjured out of leaves that appeared to be blown into shape by the wind. They have the feeling of being accidental, transitory or momentary. This sense of lightness is enhanced by their overall compositional structure, where the entire piece is often balanced on a single point. There is a sense of nature in the way they have been composed into flowing shapes which echo the rhythms of wind, fire and water.

Linda says:

“My work comes from a place where art, science, nature and the human spirit meet…..”

Her bronze sculptures have been exhibited in Ireland and abroad and are present in several private and corporate collections. She has received several awards. You can check out her other works in the link above.

What a Surprise

On my way to Dublin I regularly stop to stretch my legs at The Outlet Village, Banbridge.  Crescent shaped in two rows, it allows patrons to walk a wide open air pathway between the stores. Like all cities, towns and shopping malls, there are the marks of recession with shops closing. This particular outlet, dressed the windows of these empty units, taking away that depressing look.

Several units were used for other purposes to draw in the crowds.

On 10 July, I stopped for my usual walk, a coffee and a freshen up.

It was with fascination and delight that I discovered The Big Brick Exhibition in Unit 27.

Every item on display was pieced together at the hands of one young man: 25 year old Michael Finan of Banbridge, Northern Ireland.

A Collection of Lego Models, which he began at 5 years of age.

Ole Kirk's House 910 pieces

Ole Kirk’s House 910 pieces

Old Kirk’s House, was not normally on sale to the public. It was a gift for employees at Lego, but Michael was fortunate to purchase it on eBay.

I attempted to make a spur of the moment video on my phone. Alas I used portrait instead of landscape mode and it picked up all the background noise, which I am not clever enough to filter. A gallery of photos will have to suffice.

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In 1999, a Christmas gift from an aunt & uncle set him on the pathway of Puzz 3D jigsaws. Their gift: a 1438 piece 3D jigsaw of Big Ben. Feeling daunted be began with the smaller Normandy House, a mere 225 pieces. It was enough, Michael was hooked! At this stage, he has built most of the Puzz 3D jigsaws that have been produced to date.

Here is a small selection:

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The exhibition will be open to the public during business hours until 27th August 2014.

 UPDATE: I forgot the most difficult Lego model of all to make…

Voda_R202_Darth MaulDarth Maul was the most difficult to build and Michael told me it fell over at one stage during the building, so he began all over again – all 1,868 pieces. R2D2 had 2,127 pieces, but Yoda (if memory serves me correctly) had a massive 3,075!


Thursday Special ~ Help.

A man is in bed with his wife when they hear a rat-a-tat-tat on the door.

He rolls over and looks at the clock – it’s half past three in the morning. “I’m not getting out of bed at this time”, he thinks, and rolls over.

Then a louder knock follows.

“Aren’t you going to answer that?” asks his wife.

So he drags himself out of bed and goes downstairs. He opens the door to see a man standing there. It doesn’t take him long to realise the man is drunk.

“Hi there”, slurs the stranger. “Can you give me a push?”

“No, get lost. It’s half past three. I was in bed,” says the man and slams the door. He goes back up to bed and tells his wife what happened.

“Dave, that wasn’t very nice of you. Remember that night we broke down in the pouring rain on the way to collect the kids from the babysitter and you had to knock on that man’s door? What would have happened if he’d told us to get lost?”

“But the guy was drunk,” says the husband.

“It doesn’t matter,” says the wife. “Go downstairs and help him.”

So the husband gets dressed and goes down to help him. He opens the door, and not being able to see the stranger anywhere he shouts,
He hears a voice cry out, “Yeah, please.”

Still unable to see the stranger he shouts, “WHERE ARE YOU?” and the stranger replies…..

“Over here on your swing!”



This week I have Liz to thank for this rib tickler!

Missing in action.

Well almost.

I arrived in Dublin on 10 July, for a few days of Buffy sitting. It was more a case of Buffy playing and walking, and me being the ‘fetcher and carrier’ for Elly following her fall. George was away.

She had damaged two ligaments in her foot, earlier in the week and was hobbling about on a crutch. I think she was ‘hobbling more than she should and not spending sufficient time with the leg elevated. Elly is very like her late dad. In his eyes he was never ill, so he kept on his feet and active if at all possible.

She has learned the hard way, to listen to the pain warning, and rest the leg where possible. Thankfully she is able to carry on working from home.

On Saturday Morning we got word of a death in the extended family.

I am not often available to attend family funerals. But this time I joined my eldest brother, who offered to do the driving, (a 300+ mile round trip) and my sister and headed off from Dublin at 7am. on Sunday morning, to bid farewell to one of our cousins, all the way over in County Clare, at the mouth of the Shannon.

Kildysart Graveyard

Kildysart Graveyard

Once the funeral was over, we paid respects at the graves of our paternal grandparents, and three of our aunts.

Family Graves within the walls of the old church in  Kildysart.

Family Graves within the walls of the old church in Kildysart.

Then we joined the living for a meal and a catch up on all our news. We shared anecdotes and stories about the departed and news of other family members scattered across the globe.

I returned to Elly’s for a few more days, and since George would be about, I moved to stay with my sister on Tuesday.

I teased Eileen, that we had visited ‘the dead’ on one side of the family, and perhaps it was time we paid homage the maternal side. The days of deep mourning garb and widow’s weeds, have now thankfully almost disappeared. The old keening wakes with hushed whispers are now a thing of the past These days in death, we celebrate the lives of those who have gone before us with a more cheerful remembrance and plenty of laughter. It is the way it should be.

The suggested visit was really an excuse to visit the revamped Glasnevin Cemetery& Museum. In my young days, Glasnevin or as the Dubs called it ‘The dead centre of Dublin’, was a dark and dreary place. It seemed all overgrown and shrouded in tall trees and would send shivers down my spine. The place we visited on Wednesday seemed a world apart from those memories. Check out the link above. It is well worth a visit.

Glasnevin Cemetery is adjacent to and now accessible from The National Botanic Gardens.  Both have busy coffee shops, though the latter has a wider selection for a more substantial meal.
We had morning coffee in one and lunch at the other. We roamed so long that one of the grounds men that we had met several times on our travels through the graveyard, actually stopped his little van to say “Are you still here”? Later we wondered if he sent out a search party for us before the gates were locked for the night!

I unfortunately somewhere along the line of my travels, contracted a bug, that swept away my energy, leaving my legs like jelly. I have no interest in reading or writing blog posts and each time I opened the laptop it was only for about five minutes.

Thankfully the bug neither affected my tongue (for chatting) or my hands, so I kept myself busy. I finished the mysterious ‘cocktail stick’ project and decorated a hat. I’ll post the photos during the week….. when I have energy to sort them.

Worry not, I am being well looked after and not allowed home until Nurses Hitler -Mark one and Two give me the go ahead!

I am responding to good care and improving with every day.

Thursday Special ~ Oops!


A young executive was leaving the office at 6 pm when he found the CEO standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in hand.

“Listen,” said the CEO, “this is important, and my secretary has left. Can you make this thing work?”

“Certainly,” said the young executive. He turned the machine on, inserted the paper, and pressed the start button.

“Excellent, excellent!” said the CEO as his paper disappeared inside the machine. “I just need one copy.”


Thanks Frank, for the chuckle!