So how did I do?

‘To Do’ list for 2013!

Try something new

I needed to find a new hairstylist. It took two efforts. The first girl I tried, asked what I wanted, then went and did her own thing, she was a FRINGE person. A no eyebrows fringe person. That should have been a clue, so I changed again in August and so far so good.

Take an unplanned, spur-of-the-moment trip.

I combined this with: ‘Document “A Day In My Life” in photos’, see below.

Visit a cultural icon.

I did visit Elly several times this year, does she count? ;) Back in April, while staying with Elly & George, I found The Wonderful Barn, a corkscrew-shaped barn built in 1743 on the edge of Castletown House Estate, which borders Leixlip and Celbridge, Ireland. The stairs ascends around the exterior of the building and it is flanked by two smaller dovecote towers.

Wonder if I can count the Shandon Bells here?

Give a sincere compliment every day for a month.

It was November before I got round to this one. Although I was not outdoors every day I managed to compliment at least one person everyday. If it was not face to face, then it happened by phone, Skype, Facebook or, twitter.

Clear out 12 cupboards of clothes and household items that I am un-lightly to use again – one a month.

I did manage a good clear out this year, passing many items to charity. I may begin again come the new year and reduce things a little more – sure it will make Elly’s job easier when I cock my toes! ;)

Make three renovations.

On target, two outdoors and one inside completed.

Try to arrange for a coffee shop to begin ‘A Coffee for the Wall’ idea. 

This was a failure, but you cannot win every time.

See a play in a theatre every other month.

I only managed a few – ‘ground kissing’ kinda got in the way! Mind you, one was part of the Dublin Fringe, in which I had some input.

Attending Classical concerts.

Only three at the Ulster Hall, blame the ground kissing again. :sad:

Visit at least 3 museums or stately homes that I haven’t been to before.

Two museums visited, one in Dublin and the other in Cork.

Pamper myself with a manicure.

In my clear out I discovered a battery operated manicure/pedicure set. All it took was a newly recharged couple of batteries and it made easy work of achieving this aim. Atrixo hand cream (green tub) worn over night under cotton gloves, has really helped to improve my hands! It works wonders on cleanly lifting any dry scabs from cuts or scrapes. Make sure the wound is not open.

Take a picture for each letter of the alphabet.

I managed to complete this task and blog about each photo.

Get up and go for a walk as the sun rises.

My aim was to go for a walk and catch the scene as the sun rose. I didn’t manage this one. We had a very cloudy year in my neck of the woods alas the bright mornings were when I was off my feet following falls.

Take a moonlit walk on a beach.

This sounded like a good idea way back last January, but I never managed to be near a beach in the moonlight.

Write a letter to someone I admire.

I finally managed to complete this on yesterday!

Enter a writing contest. Anyone know of a contest that calls for no more than 100 wurds?

I found one calling for one hundred words, and entered! :D

Kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve – Come on, I might as well dream…. that there is still some life in the old girl yet!

I still have time ….. a chance ….. a very slim outside chance…..

Document “A Day In My Life” in photos.

In July while staying with Elly, I decided to let the train take the strain and went to Cork via Portlaoise. Again I photographed my day and posted about it here.

Pamper myself with a foot massage. 

I do this myself and now make a regular habit of it. When finished, I feel like I could dance all night. :D Again, I use the Atrixo hand cream liberally on my feet after my daily shower and just before I put my socks on. Wonderful!

Be a movie extra.

Planet Korda Pictures in association with RTÉ made a documentary film, about all aspects of the cinema-going experience from people of all ages within the island of Ireland. I could not resist adding my tuppenceworth to the stories already gathered. I made the final cut, but you would need to be quick to catch me! The programme was aired on RTÉ on 1st April 2013. I was invited to join the director, producer and other contributors for the showing.

Talk to a stranger everyday. 

Those I counted so far: 443. Back in January I kept a rough count after each outing to see how I was doing and kept this going month by month. During a three week stay in Dublin in July, I did some travelling within Ireland and had a great opportunity to meet new people, fellow passengers on buses and trains, I heard so wonderful life stories and this made the journeys shorter and all the more interesting.The breakdown for the first ten and a half months were 47 – 36 – 51 – 53 – 21 – 44 – 123(July) – 32 – 15 – 11 – 10. My outings were curtailed last September after I was told not to drive for the foreseeable future. I may have left out a few in the latter part of the year but I gave up counting in early November. With the colder weather I stayed closer to home, thus having fewer opportunities to meet new people.

Tame my garden.

Partly done, but may need help to subdue the remaining wilderness.

Grow some vegetables. 

Fail. :sad: This one will have to wait until next year!

Live until the end of the year. One breath at a time! 

Nearly there! ;)

♥+♥+♥+♥+♥

PS: I have with the help of a team of my Toyboys, brought my old blog up to date. It now has the Twenty Eleven Theme (same as here), It is all bright and cheerful with a header picture and a different coloured background to this one. Over the next couple of weeks we hope to finish moving the latest posts and comments. When the task is completed, I hope to to move back to https://grannymar.com full time, but don’t worry, I will will give you notice. At this stage there are 2,669 Posts produced over the past seven years.

To all my precious Toyboys who played any part in this mammoth task, I pay special tribute and offer heartfelt thanks and a hand-full of virtual hugs! :D

Interruption

Blog visiting has been light while I am enjoying my holiday.

The torrential rain and electric storms since Wednesday, have as they say in cricket & tennis terms, stopped play. Access to the internet and landline phones at my sister’s house has been interrupted. Thankfully the flooding further down the avenue, has not reached us.

We drove through light floods on our journey home across the city yesterday afternoon, and when we reached the driveway of my sister’s house, the rain pounded while nature’s fireworks entertained us as we sat trapped in the car for at least fifteen minutes!

Simultaneously we both asked: “Are we safe to be let out on a day like this?”  My sister has a metal plate, pins and screws in her foot following a bad ankle injury some years ago, and I have a metal hip.

In the car we were sitting on rubber tyres and not touching the ground, so considered we were quite safe.

A couple of years earlier a young child was playing in a park not many miles as the crow flies from that spot when lightening struck and killed him. Metal pins and screws in his arm were said to be the reason the lightening hit him.

My LBC post is ready – in my head – but will be late appearing on line. I feel bad since the choice of topic was down to me.

Laters folks!

Now I wonder if this will go live on one bar of internet access……

Now do you believe me?

I did meet a Toyboy this afternoon.

Phil @'Camera & Grannymar

Phil O’Camera & Grannymar

Phil O’Camera & Grannymar

There is a place called Howth

Photos of Howth

The weirdness of my phone.

My Contact list is alphabetical

There are five that begin with the letter ‘A’ *. The gremlin chose #4
The seven ‘B’s were skipped.
Of the six ‘C’s, the fifth was selected.
5 ‘D’s & 6 ‘E‘s were passed, but the first of two ‘F‘s was chosen.
The second entry under ‘H‘ and the first under ‘L‘ also got the text.

* I thought that I was being clever. The very first entry in my contacts is Abc without any number. I entered it that way on purpose, to prevent me calling the first person on the list by accident.

Toyboys!

I knew that one day they would get me in trouble!!!!!

I’m hiding.

Nobody will be able to find me ever, Ever, EVER again. E V E R.

Well, not at least until…. Friday. Maybe by then I might be forgiven. It is not really my fault, you know.

I had a date with a Toyboy for one of the clock today, so I bounced out of the bed before 6 am, and into the shower. Then began the polyfilla programme  it is a long slow process, but worth it for the results.

The product promises:

  • Flexible, crack-free filling between two surfaces where movement can occur.
  • Easily controlled application for long linear gaps.
  • For indoor and outdoor use.

All I needed to do was:

Remove cap and carefully cut top from nozzle with a sharp knife to the size of hole I required.
Squeeze the tube to force out the filler and move along the repair wrinkle.
The filler was smoothed with a wet rounded spatula or dowel. I use my finger. Then wipe off excess before it dries. It can be over painted when dry. Read: You can use makeup on top of it!
For best results the area to be filled should be no more than 20mm wide by 12mm deep. I’m well within that limit, my wrinkles are not that deep, I think!

After breakfast, I headed for the hairdressers –Looking like an overgrown weed garden was not the look for me. Not when I was meeting a Toyboy!

I was about to climb into my car minding my brand new haircut, when my pocket began to buzz. A text message from the Toyboy…

Could we delay the meet-up, just a little, something had occurred that needed attention.

Now being the obliging sort and the day being my own, it was no problem, so I decided to wait until I was home before replying.

I was negotiating a tricky roundabout/rotary when my pocket began pinging. One message after another, anyone would think the car was on fire.

When I arrived home and looked at the phone, I blushed.

BLUSHED like a prize tomato!

My phone had taken a dizzy fit and decided to issue invitations to all and sundry from here to California (sorry Conrad!) to an address in Howth, Dublin. What I want to know is how it managed to pull phone numbers for names that were not consecutive in my list and send an address from a business card stored in my phone?

There will be no Party in Howth, at least not one I know about.  Especially since I am 125 miles away.

Time to go, I don’t want to be late, I have had enough disasters already today.

Play among yourselves, I’ll catch you later. ;)

Drugs, food and science

Brighid sent me a link to a very interesting post by Anne, last night, I thought many of you might like to read it.

Drugs, food and science.

I suggest you read the article first before  my thoughts below.

I am no scientist, but the part about the medications, particularly statins, I certainly agree with. I was prescribed statins a number of years ago, and ended up almost bedridden, unable to stand upright and in constant pain. I could not remember what I was supposed to be doing half the time, though I put that down to my being in pain.

Statins are cheap and that is why they are so widely prescribed. Two of my brothers, one in Australia and another in Dublin, had the same trouble as I had with meds. Each spoke to me at different times without knowing the other had done so. The common denominator for the three of us was a problem with Statins. I gave them the name of my replacement drug and told them to go back and talk to their doctors. Thankfully they listened and life has improved for all of us.

There are people out there who are on prescribed medications , and without consultation buy over the counter rubbish because Joe Soap swears by it. They forget it can react in a bad way to the prescribed items they are swallowing.

Now, the story about Mr Green Smoothie, pleading for donations to make a video, scares me. We are told he says:

He has everything he needs to make it (except money). He is an experienced film maker, has the necessary equipment, has doctors lined up to do blood work, has amazing athletes to cooperate — presumably to consume green smoothies. All he needs to prove his hypothesis — that green smoothies enhance athletic performance — is money.

If the evidence is so strong, how come some professionals are not ready to back him?

The GMO argument is another mine field and alas, I do not know enough to make any claims one way or the other. I do know that every second person I meet these days seems to suffer from some allergy.

I wonder if it is the age of the internet and the speed of how news, both good and bad travels the globe. You know how it is: A first hand story, becomes unrecognizable by the time it is fourth hand. This article is a case in point:

Could new polypill save thousands of lives?

The National Health Service (NHS) is our UK government provided health care. It shows how stories can spread like wildfire.

In my grandparents day, they did not have modern medications and antibiotics, so depended on the local ‘healer’ for remedies. We had a book at home years ago of these ancient remedies and they would scare the life out of you.

Enough from me, I need to make my breakfast.

Five years

In ways five years is not a long time.

Sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago.

While searching online for something totally different this morning, I somehow came across this:

The people behind the blogs say hello, please.

That one little sentence brought bloggers out of the woods… like a colony of ants on a sunny day. Well over forty of them stood as if at an AA meeting to recite their names and share their blogs.

Looking down that list, they were all familiar names to me, most I had met in real life. A fun bunch of people, quite a few were younger than my daughter. Only one that I know of, has been taken from us and the woes of this world. RIP Debbie. Many have moved on to other more instant distractions like Facebook and twitter, but quite a few continue to blog.

I had met the questioner across a crowded room a few months earlier. Bloggers, meetings, social events, they all went hand in hand. I was often heard to say back then: The wonderful thing about blogging, is that you get to know the person from the inside, without the distraction of the outer wrapping!

Our friendship grew and we have remained friends. I think!!!!!

Why am I mentioning this today, you may well ask. As Ramana would say: Serendipity!

It has come to my notice that Blog Awards Ireland 2013 announced the date for the awards event on 12th October 2013 in the Osprey Hotel in Naas.  Nominations are now open.

Anyone from around the globe, can nominate their favourite Irish blog for one of the thirty one categories.

In previous years all nominated bloggers needed to be resident on the island of Ireland to be eligible. This year there is a new category:

Best Blog From The Irish Diaspora

This category is open to any blogger who has Irish roots and lives overseas. It can be about any topic and must be a good quality blog. Open to those blogging in all countries.

I do notice an extra question for this category: From which county in Ireland does the blogger hail from? An answer is required in order for the Nomination to be accepted. So sorry, being third generation Irish will not help. :sad:

You can add a ‘Nominate Me’ Button to your blog sidebar.

Nomination button for Blog Awards 2013

Nomination button for Blog Awards 2013

Full instructions of how to do so can be found on the link above.

Now before you go rushing off to nominate all your sisters, cousins and aunts, I would advise you read the list of criteria.  Three of the twelve are below:

  • Are blog posts written consistently/updated regularly?
  • Interaction on the blog in the form of responding to comments and engaging in conversations.
  • Attractive design and ease of navigating.

The Blog Awards are a wonderful platform to discover new friends and sure you never know whose bed you might end up in… even if like me, you get to sleep in it alone!

As we say in Ireland: Have a think, then go nominate and don’t forget to book your bed while you are at it!

Musically needling my yarn

On Saturday afternoon I read about WWKIP – World Wide Knit in Public Day. We were encouraged to hold events not alone on the day but throughout the whole week 8th to 16th of June.

I did go out on Saturday, bringing my wool and needles. I had my crochet and not knitting, but that was allowed. I did not plan where I was going. I have no idea what I expected, but my walk provided no inspiration for a location, so I headed home with my needles not seeing the light of day.

Sunday brought blue skies with 20°C sunshine and a determination to try again to air my yarn and needles for real this time. I had visions of sitting in dappled sunshine and working away.

I chose Clotworthy House/Antrim Castle grounds as there were now plenty of options for places to sit.

In the shade of a well dressed tree, perhaps

A Sun dressed tree to feast the eyes

A Sun dressed tree to feast the eyes

As I walked Through the Courtyard I came across this sign.

Music in the Garden with The Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra

Music in the Garden with The Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra

Bingo! I thought.

Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra (UYJO)  would be playing in the parterre from 2pm for one hour.

People were beginning to gather and the seats were set out ready and waiting

People were beginning to gather and the seats were set out ready and waiting

So I had my walk and came back in time to find a seat, and enjoy the music as I tapped my feet and worked the fingers on my crochet.

Making the final checks as we settled down

Making the final checks as we settled down

No need for formal dress and bow-ties, it was a day to soak up some vitamin D.

“You were not knitting!” I hear you shout.

“Oh yes I was! Well, crocheting actually.”

Both crochet or knitting were allowed according to the website. I had a cardigan in progress and there is less chance of losing stitches when crocheting than with knitting while working out of doors. It was also in a striking shade of Raspberry and more lightly to catch attention, which was the whole point in the exercise: To draw attention to and encourage others to take up or return to the hobby.

Sharing my work and yarning!

Sharing my work and yarning!

It was easy to set the work on my knees as I applauded the young talent. Vocal soloist Ayesha Akkari, entertained us with several numbers including Knock on Wood and Everything.

Vocal soloist Ayesha Akkari Knocks on Wood

Vocal soloist Ayesha Akkari Knocks on Wood

As we listened and tapped our toes, I had the bright idea to speak to musical Director Ken Jordan and ask for a photo to prove I was there. So when the programme ended I walked forward and asked to speak for a few moments.

I Thanked them for their wonderful music and singing as well as the exercise for my tapping toes. I explained why I was playing with my needlework as I listened and said I would be going home to write a blog post about my adventure and linking it to WWKIP. I asked if they had a website or Facebook page to which I might add a link.

Then the crunch bit I dared to ask if I could have that photograph with them. I was even brazen enough to suggest a swap…

Musical Director Ken Jordan & Vocalist Ayesha Akkari
with Grannymar on Saxaphone.

Fair swap – My needlework for a Saxaphone! Do you think I will be allowed to join?

I love to see young talent encouraged and acknowledged. They are a fine group of young people, I wish them well with a life filled with music. May they continue to bring joy, by sharing their talents with the world around them for many a long year!

As they plan their futures I will enjoy listening to the CD they presented me with.

Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra Twenty Twelve CD

Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra
Twenty Twelve CD

Perhaps some of these young people will read this post, so may I ask my readers to do me a small favour as a sign of encouragement for them. I know where most of you hail from on this globe of ours, but the youngsters will have no idea. At the end of your comment can you please say where you are writing from. e.g: Pune, India or St Johns, Newfoundland, ( I know those two will appear).

Just as I reached the car park, I was stopped by a lovely couple. She wished to ask me about my ‘knitting’. “So that is what you were looking at all the time!” Her husband said.

She had been a knitter, very fond of traditional Aran patterns, in the past and I discovered she also dabbled in cross stitch and other aspects of Needlecraft too. Seeing me working away gave her the urge to begin all over again. She does have a gilet in mind to knit – a great idea if you dislike doing sleeves!

We spoke about wool and I was telling her about a little coffee chop with a section for wool and needles. Several small finished items along with the patterns are on display to encourage people to have a go. It turns out she knew the family that own the shop – the world gets smaller every day! I gave her my card and hope she picks up that phone some day soon. I would love to meet and natter about our ventures with Needlecrafts.

A bull whip Part two

Right class; who remembers A bull whip?

1bullWhip

bull whip from Wikipedia

Ach, come on now, sure it was only five days ago. There might be some excuse for me right now, sure aren’t I getting on a bit….. and drugged to the gills, so you can expect me to get a fact or three wrong. Right?

No way. Not with a legal eagle for a toyboy. He keeps me on my toes.

He swears on all dem big hard bukes. You know the ones….. Every TV drama about the law from Perry Mason, to Rumpole of the Bailey, The Good Wife or Kavanagh Q.C. have a wall of leather bound legal books behind a ginormous desk!

I bet my toyboy eats them for breakfast.

So where did I go wrong?

First off:

Brian reminds me that he joined the musical society after he left school, through a couple of lads who were already members at the time. He began by making some posters for a Talent Competition to raise funds… then he was asked to man the sweet shop at the intervals and slowly he became more involved. he remembers coming to see me at home, prior to Viva Mexico which was a production before Kiss Me Kate.

Secondly:

I did go to Callaghans for the whip, but they were not theatrical outfitters as I stated in my earlier post. They were saddle harness and horse-clothing makers, at 13 to 16 Dame Street, Dublin. That was why asking for and having the whip free of charge for the duration, made such an impression on Brian. I know I should have given the memory corner of my brain a big stir before submitting my homework to print, so with knuckles well rapped, ;) I did a little research and found this humorous poster:

Callaghan & Co

Callaghans Poster from Wikipedia

P.J. Bourke, were theatrical costumiers, in Dame Street, Dublin, (1906-1994). They were in-laws of Eamonn Andrews – Presenter of This is your life (Uk Version). He married Grace Bourke, who lived with her family on the same Avenue where I grew up.

While looking for a photo of Bourkes, I found this interesting article from May 1993.

Gings, another theatrical costumier, was to be found on the other side of the street and I found a picture of Gings in Dame Street Click on the link to see it.

So I got there eventually, sorry it took so long.

A bull whip

Tilly, The Laughing Housewife teased us with a pun the other day:

I’ve planted a riding whip.
I’m hoping for a nice crop.

It was the second mention of a whip in recent days, so I decided it was a sign.

A sign to tell you a little story…..

Meet Brian

Meet Brian

I tease Brian that I knew him since he was wearing short trousers & knee socks. Not quite, but he was in his final year at school when we met at a newly formed Musical & Dramatic Society. We encouraged young school leavers to join, it gave them an interest, a way to mix and interact with adults of a wide variety of ages, to discover new talents and most important – kept them off the streets.

You may not have met Brian before, but you have certainly heard of him. He was the young man who conferred the title Grannymar on me way back in my late twenties. It was a joke to begin with, but everyone in the society latched on to using it, so it stuck. With time it became very much part of me.

Was he being disrespectful? Not a bit. With four brothers & a younger sister, I was well used to the nicknames they had for me!

Brian, now a retired Legal Eagle, spends his time between his homes in Dublin and Spain. All down the years he kept in touch, even if it was a post card from some exotic far flung shore.

One particular post card stands out. A very young Elly (just learning to read), ran to discover what caused the letterbox to rattle. She lived in hope that it might be another letter from her Nana, or a surprise from one of her relations far away.

On this particular occasion it was a Post Card addressed to Grannymar, at my address.

“It’s from Brian!” I was informed.

“It says: I am now an im pe cu nious Barrister. What is im•pe•cu•nious?” asked Elly.

“It means he has no money!” I said.

“Huh! Impecunious…. on Holiday in Ibiza?” Threw back miss Elly. *

Anyways…… the card was placed on the counter and off she went to play.

Right. Where was I? Oh yes, back to the Whip!.

I had a call from Brian the other morning while I was pottering around the house. He was walking back to his Dublin home after leaving his car in for a service. You see the world around you from a different perspective when on two feet, instead of behind the wheel.

Although it was a road he knew well and travelled almost daily when at home, he noticed something outside a house that made him think of me, So he phoned. I’ll keep you guessing for the moment, as it might provide an opportunity for a blog post at a future date.

I did ask if he had taken a photo, but no, he was more interested in sharing what he found, than taking pixtures!

“Anyway, I wouldn’t really like to without permission.” Says he.

“Then you should do what I do, and knock on the door and ask permission. You never know you might be invited in for tea and curranty cake. It might even lead to inspiration for your next novel.” I suggested.

“Did I ever tell you I did that at Bram Stoker’s house?”

Apparently not, so I emailed a link to the piece I wrote about Bram Stoker’s house.

Later that day he replied to my mail:

Excellent… but one could expect no more. Russian jewels bit amazing… imagine us giving a loan to Russia at that time… when some people did not have their breakfast.. should we not remind them of that now?!

He continued:

I remember when we needed the bull whip for Kiss Me Kate – you told us you walked into Callaghan’s, then in Dame St and said to the men there:

I have a problem and wonder if any of you gentlemen could help me?

I need a whip!

The rest is history – we got the whip – beautiful worked in plaited leather and it was there for all the rehearsals and the show – essential for rehearsal to get familiarity with its use.

You have not lost your touch.

Plaited bull whip (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plaited bull whip (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So there you go. I was a brazen hussy back then.

Callaghan’s, then in Dame St in Dublin were Theatrical Outfitters. I managed to talk my way out of the shop, with as we say in Dublin: the lend of a loan of a bull whip, for the duration of rehearsals and the Show run, without having to pay a rental fee!

Do you think I have changed?

The moral of the story is: if you want something, just ask. The worst that anyone can say is NO!  It does help if you ask nicely!

I spent quite some time trying to find a video clip of the Finale Act 1 of Kiss me Kate, to let you see the bull whip in action, but alas, I could not find a descent version.

* In our house the ‘no biscuits rule’ was set in place as soon as we thought of booking a holiday. Well, we all need to save our pocket money for our holidays. Right? ‘No biscuits’ actually applied to bought biscuits/cookies and sweets. I still filled the tins with home made cake and cookies.

I actually got away with that one…. For YEARS!

The deed is done! I have a NEW HOME

I have cogitated for a year or so, about updating my blog face. A couple of pals set about the task, but work got in the way so I was sitting all forlorn and aging on the byways of life.

Formatting on my old outdated blog, in the last few days was driving me to distraction, plugins were no longer compatible, so after a chat with Elly. I took the bull by the horns and moved house.

This is where you can find the all new bright and shiny Grannymar. So go on and bookmark it.

Well almost!  So far I only have blog posts from way back in the last century moved and it will take time to deal with the others.

The old blog will stand for the moment until I decide which of the 2,400+ posts, in 33 different categories to pull over to my new home. Please be patient with me.

In the meantime, Let the party begin……

Remember http://grannymar.wordpress.com.