Monthly Archives: February 2015

Two hours before sunrise

I was in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil. It was 05:19 and was thirsty. The idea was to fill a thermos jug and bring it back to my scratcher with me in order to be well hydrated when the sun was due to awaken at 07:19 in my part of the world today.

A glance at my cooker top, drew a “Tut, tut!” from my lips, so I had a go at cleaning it. Job number one done for the day! So here I am feeling good and sitting sipping my boiled water.

Yesterday began with a gap in the gloom, so I headed out for some retail therapy. It was certainly not weather for me to go hill climbing, scrambling over rocks or on long walks. The air was damp and the frequent showers kept the it that way.

20150226_132215 What happened the Cavehill?

What happened the Cavehill?

That is not fog, it is rain.

Twenty minutes later it had improved…

20150226_133804 Cavehill appears

Cavehill appears

20150226_133902 More rain

More rain

Yes a minute later the rain was on again.

Right now the outdoor temperature is 1°C with Humidity of 94% and the high for today should be 5°C. That dampness goes for old bones, makes them stiff and noisy.

Hell, I am alive. I can move about and I have a roof over my head, food in my fridge and heat indoors. I am blessed indeed!


Respect and Good Manners


Have you ever missed an appointment?

I did last September.

Well, a double medical appointment was made and a letter posted to me with the time and dates, one week apart. The letter was dated one week before the first appointment. I was in Dublin when the envelope popped through my door. I knew nothing about it. The weather was beautiful, we were having fun and my family and friends encouraged me to stay longer. I did.

By the time I returned home the date of the second appointment had passed.

The space allotted for fasting blood tests was not alone wasted, but someone else was deprived of using that time. A week later, I did not turn up for a cardiology review – only because I was not aware the appointments had been made for me.

I felt guilty, even though it was not entirely my fault.

I immediately phoned to apologise and ask if the appointments could be rescheduled. They were, a good month later. This time, not alone was I there, I was punctual.

I was reminded of that situation today……

I went to have my thatch chopped hair cut. Looking down at the floor, when Dorothy had completed her handiwork, anyone would think that I had been to the groomer’s with Alanah! I was surrounded by a circle in fifty shades of grey!

Fifty shades of Grey

Fifty shades of Grey

As we chatted and caught up on our news, my eye was drawn to a notice on the mirror:

Lost earnings

Lost earnings

I was shocked.

A total loss of £1690.50 STG in five months – that is enough to send a small business into the ground these days.

Once the doors are open, there are overheads.

A single backwash unit can cost anything from £400.00 ex vat upwards, before anyone sits in the chair. Most salons have more than one.
Client styling chairs and mirrors.
Business Rates,
Heating and lighting,
Washing – towels & gowns & cleaning products to keep the salon as customers would like to find it.
Equiptment: Scissors & Razors, Clippers & Trimmers, Dryers, Styling Tools, combs & brushes,
Hair products: Shampoos, conditioners, perm and colouring products.
Staff wages and National Insurance stamp for employees.
Building, Contents and third party Insurance.
Phone rental.

I am sure I have left some items off the list.

With some airlines and holiday companies, ‘no shows’ lose the full cost. Some restaurants who take telephone bookings, ask for phone and credit card numbers and ‘no shows’ are charged a fee.

Why then, do people take a hair stylist for granted? A phone call gives the stylist the opportunity to allow another customer to have that slot and keep food on her table.

In my book it is a matter of common courtesy, good manners and respect.

I am now ready for SPRING…

Ready for Spring

Ready for Spring

Will I do?

16:30 hrs

Two weeks ago today I had a phone call from my sister at this time. It was the second call of the afternoon.

The earlier call, which lasted about an hour, was to tell me one of her four legged companions for the past fifteen years and fifty days, had been put to sleep two days earlier. Cariosa, a Golden Sheltie, had led a very comfortable life and returned the love by being a faithful friend. Over the past eighteen months, her health had slowly deteriorated.

At Christmas, I drove my sister and Cariosa to the vet. We were sure she would not be coming home. The vet suggested some medication, that worked for some, but not every patient. My sister was prepared to try and over the next few days she seemed to rally, find her appetite and show interest in gentle play.

In the early hours of the previous Friday morning, things went downhill. Fast! It was obvious that this time it would be a one way visit to the vet. That extra month was a bonus.

Cariosa and Alanah

Cariosa and Alanah

Cariosa& Alanah

The second call was so very different. It put life in perspective for both of us.

It was news of the tragic death of the son of one of my childhood friends. The young man would have been a few years older than Elly and a similar age to one of my nephews. A quiet fellow who I did meet a couple of years ago. He had been brutally attacked in his own home. Murdered.

As in all such occasions, the work of the Coroner, Forensics team and the law seem to go into slow motion while family and friends are left in limbo with no answers and not allowed to take the first steps through the grieving process with a funeral. The slow process of thorough examination of the body, the surroundings and checking of all movements take time. Journalists were the only people in overdrive, clutching at straws and a few snippets of news, enlarging them or indeed making things up as they went along.

Late on Thursday the body was released and permission given to go ahead with a funeral on Saturday 14th February. Extended family and friends from all corners of Ireland joined the bereaved to pay respects and bid farewell to the young man. I and most of my siblings were able to be among them.

We expect to outlive our parents, there is a chance we might outlive our spouse, but to lose a child is not something any of us are prepared for. My heart goes out to this family.

Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to hug my Elly before she flew out to Israel on Friday morning for a work visit. We are in contact via social media on a daily basis, but I long to see her and wrap my arms around her. Stay safe and hurry home my darling!

My sister does have another four legged companion: Alanah. She too was feeling the loss of her golden haired pal, She had become very quiet and lost all interest in food.

My visit seemed to help her turn the corner. She followed me everywhere. We played with a ball, went for walks and she kept my knees warm! I think my sister was worried I might be bringing home a furry friend today…

Fifty shades of Grey

Click to enlarge

Fifty shades of Grey

Twinkling Eyes

As I was listening to the weather warnings a couple of weeks ago, and looking for distraction from thoughts of hibernating, I found the quote below. It was not my father who came to mind but my late husband Jack.

I was glad my father was an eye-smiler. It meant he never gave me a fake smile because it’s impossible to make your eyes twinkle if you aren’t feeling twinkly yourself. A mouth-smile is different. You can fake a mouth-smile any time you want, simply by moving your lips. I’ve also learned that a real mouth-smile always has an eye-smile to go with it. So watch out, I say, when someone smiles at you but his eyes stay the same. It’s sure to be a phony.  ~ Roald Dahl 

Jack’s eyes twinkled from the moment he woke in the morning, until his head hit the pillow at night. It was impossible to be cross or sad when he was around. It did not matter what I did, be it break a favourite  possession or lose the dining table under a mountain of sewing/craft work, he was patient. If the meal I  made was a disaster, he never complained. His constant mantra at times like these was always accompanied by a twinkling eye smile:

“It is not as bad as a bad marriage!” 

Today would have been his birthday, and as always, I will raise a glass in memory of those twinkling eyes that captured and warmed my heart.