Category Archives: Family

Did you have a Dowry?

“A dowry was the wealth brought into a new marriage by the bride. This could either be in the form of cash, goods or property and was usually provided by the bride’s father. Negotiations over the exact level of dowry for a particular marriage could be complex, there was no standard sum.

I did have a dowry.

A silver sixpence.

If you believed my father, it was payment for Jack to take me off his hands!

When we were well and truly married, daddy asked Jack if he could have the sixpence back… because he had another unmarried daughter on his hands.

The sixpence went back, and when daddy died, it was found in the pocket of a suit jacket, by my eldest brother. On one of our visits to Dublin, my brother handed the coin to Jack with the words “I think this belongs to you”!

I still have it today.

I am a lady in waiting…

 

No. I am not pregnant, or sitting at the window waiting for my ‘Date’ to arrive. I am actually keeping myself busy preparing for vitrectomy eye surgery at the end of the month.

Once I make a decision to go ahead with a particular surgery, I then work out what I need to make the recovery period as easy as possible. Six years ago, I was booked in for hip surgery (can you believe it was that long ago?) and prepared myself for every eventuality. It was worth it. I was totally on my own pins and independent after six weeks. All due thanks to Elly, George and a few friends.

Nurse Hitler Elly will don her matron’s cap once more and move back in with me to nag me back to normality care and help me through the awkward few days while posturing – head down for 55 minutes in every hour. Hopefully the posturing will not last more than a week, but I accept it might be longer. I have been told that “The vitrectomy patient’s daily routine will be much more manageable with the help of friends and family members”. Do I need to hide my camera?

Bathing should be fun. Would I find it easier to take a bath rather than a shower while keeping my head down? Next week, I’ll move the soap, shampoo and any other bathroom necessities to a low spot where they will be easily reachable. How soon can I wash my hair? I hate unwashed hair, but they (whoever ‘They’ are) say that if you leave hair long enough unwashed, the natural oils do the cleaning for you. I am not anxious to try that one for size!

My usual trousers with buttons and zips are not recommended or any clothing that needs to be pulled over my head. The jumpers and tops can all be washed and put away for the duration.

I have been shopping. I now possess a couple of pairs of trousers with elasticated waist bands and a couple of button through cardigans. I already had two button up shirts and I purchased a couple of night shirts, if I am cold, then my pyjama bottoms will pull on easily. Hell, I’ll have a great excuse for hanging about in a bath robe OR to join the world of the ONSIES!

All day facing floorward, might not help my back, I wonder if I pretend to be Buffy and go around on all fours, will it help or just confuse Elly? I have no wish to be fed dry doggie food or to lick my fluids out of a bowl. Woof! Woof!

I am told that swallowing will be easier if bending more from the waist than from the neck. All drinking should be done through a straw. Do they make straws suitable for hot drinks? If so, I have not found them yet…. I need to do some more research. If I drink more than two sips of cold water, my body goes cold from the inside and I stop. Give me boiled water and I will drink it by the bucket full. What a picture: me drinking with a bendy straw from a bucket!

The sleeping schedule has been tried. Sleeping face down will take a little getting used to. I have a V shaped pillow and I already made a start to get my body used to that idea. I managed one hours sleep face down on Wednesday. I hoped to increase by an hour each night and maybe by the time I go to surgery, my body will be comfortable with sleeping face down. Thursday night I managed to remain face downward all night but my back played merry hell most of Friday. Friday night was a total wash-out and I never slept at all. As Fagin sang: I think I need to think it out again! Mind you Elly tells me she has gone ahead and rented a Face Down Sleep Support. It is due to arrive a couple of days before I go to the hospital, so I’ll have a chance to practise with it.

I have a long low coffee table that will be useful for setting my food tray, drinks, tissues et cetera on. The leaflet given to me suggests ‘The patient may prefer softer foods which are easier to swallow’. That reminds me of a guy who had his jaw wired following an accident. He was a fan of McDonald’s – I am not. He bought his Big Mac and a Coke and brought them home, put everything in the blender and had his meal through a straw!

The actual operation will take place in day surgery under a local anaesthetic. Just like my previous cataract surgery on both my eyes, I will be wheeled into theatre in day clothes and the whole procedure will last about an hour while I am awake. It is most lightly that I will stay over-night in the hospital. I suppose that will depend on how things go on the day.

Now what more do I need… Plenty of tissues, straws and more meals for the freezer and a few wee treats for matron.

Nearly ready.

Good and Not so good

The past few months have been busy, but not that you would notice. I have been staying off line for many and varied reasons.

When the weather was favourable I spent time outdoors. Sharing coffee outings and walks with a lady senior in age to me but with a bright mind to compensate for her physical frailty. The challenge was to find somewhere new for our coffee each week and now our list is growing.  Only a few disappointments. One place was no longer trading, another had changed hands and was closed for refurbishment. There are a few earmarked for return visits.

On my travels I discovered a wool/yarn shop that hosts a morning of crafting where we bring the piece of knitting or crochet that we are working on and work away while nattering and sipping coffee. I had not realised how much I missed the camaraderie of kindred spirits and the inspiration we seem to feed each other. **

Last week was a difficult one. I travelled to Dublin at short notice for the funeral of a life long friend. She had lived a few houses away from my parental home for all of her life. The two families have kept close contact since them. This meant I met the grieving family, most of my siblings and several of the ‘old guard’ neighbours, a few of whom I have not met for about forty years! They needed no introduction the greeting was always the same: You look so like your mother! Thankfully they remembered mammy in her younger days, so I took it as a compliment! 😉 That part of the few days was good for my soul!

I stayed with my sister for a few extra days. She had been very involved in the care of our friend for the past four years of illness and would miss her daily visits. The end came suddenly and was a shock to everyone.  May my friend Rest in Peace.

I almost had a passenger stowed away in my car. She somehow dicovered how to self pack, I found her in a bag one morning!

Allanah in a bag

Allanah in a bag

Allanah whimpered all the time I was packing my car. Playing with a ball will have to wait until my next visit.

I moved to Elly’s for a couple of days and Buffy had great fun smelling the messages on my trousers and shoes. We played ball and tug the rope at every chance she got and the head went down when I was leaving.

** On my visits to Parlour Yarns I learned about Marinke Slump from A creative being, known to all as Wink.  A young creative and inspirational force who used blogging in her attempts to fight depression through crochet. She was so talented sharing patterns and publishing a book of her ideas and patterns. Alas the final post on her blog was not from Wink but from her sister… the depression had won.

Design Wars has asked that people pay their respects by sharing a mandala with the hashtag ‪#‎mandalasforwink. Parlour Yarns in Carrickfergus are taking up the challenge with a display of mandalas in the Courtyard on15th of August. Below are my contributions.

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We all know people suffering the agonies of depression, it would be difficult to find a family untouched by this dreadful affliction.

Unfortunately, many people fail to understand the deeply imbedded negative thought patterns that depression has for the individual struggling with it. Fighting the demons of depression when their voices are louder than any of those around, is not easy. Medications don’t help with that aspect of depression; the negative thoughts have to be fought with positive thoughts which have to be internalized to be effective because when one is in the darkness, other peoples voices are not heard over the din inside the head.

It’s hard for those who don’t go through the struggle to understand. It’s like having your wires crossed and certain signals not allowed through. The dark place is real and no one likes being in the dark. The mental pain and anguish is as real as the physical and all they want is to find a way out. Something’s wrong  and the patient can’t understand why.

If you are a sufferer please try to talk about it; don’t keep your feelings bottled up. If people don’t want to listen…find someone who will.

May we together hold hands and circle those who suffer, with our love!

A day to remember

A day of bright sunshine
Glinting on my Autumn Glory
And the Love of my life, my anam cara by my side.

1977-07-09 Marie & Jack

1977-07-09 Marie & Jack

Was it really thirty eight years ago?
We were given twenty years,
But looking at that photo, I am back on that day
And still thirty in my head!

There might be wine tonight!

Whoopie!

We are all go for another year!

I drove on the all new bright and shiny A8 to Larne, this lovely sunny morning. There were stretches where I was all alone with green fields and cows chewing away, far too busy to notice me tootling along.

Naturally I was early for my appointment. I was asked to arrive at the vehicle testing Centre ten minutes before the appointed time.  I was due to arrive at 10:40hrs, for a test at 10:50hrs.  At the appointed time, you draw the vehicle up to the line and wait until you are beckoned to move forward.

Being a little earlier than required, I reversed into a parking space with full view of all that was going on. Driving school cars with would-be drivers nervously arriving to take their driving test. then I noticed some unusual activity from the MOT hanger …

The car in waiting at Lane one, began to reverse away from the building. It was closely followed by another car and a white van.  Then ever so slowly I saw something bright yellow inching the way out of the hanger. I got out of my car with my cell phone a photoo opportunity if ever there was one…

Wait for me!

Wait for me!

One of the testers was at the wheel, he reversed in a circle before roaring off to circuit the building.  I was ready when he came round to the front again,  I hit the button not quite sure if I had the object of my interest lined up properly … he was moving fast, but with caution.  Another half circuit and the sound of the engine died, so I expect the car belonged to the driver and he needed to return to duty.

I joined Lane 2 as arranged and in no time at all I was waved forward.

Nose into the hanger so the exhaust immision was tested. I was then invited to move forward to the next position and was asked to switch off the enging and open the bonnet/hood. Happy with that it was closed again and I had the fun of trying to remember the things I do automatically every time I drive:- indicators, lights on all three levels, fog light and the horn. That was my job complete and I was asked once more to switch off. vacate the car and move to the seating area along the side of the wall. With doors open at both ends it can feel rather cold, well it does for me.

The tester took over for the next stages, the car is driven forward the front wheels are placed on a metal pad and the guts are shaken out of the front axel/wheels, they are then dropped down in to a vice like well where they are pushed and pulled with gusto. This process is repeated for the back axel. When all four wheels are back on the ground level, I sigh with relief, only one more stage to go.

On to a ramp and up she goes!

My little Beauty

My little Beauty

Not bad for a car manufactured at the start of the century. Yes, the year was 2000 and the milage on the clock this morning? 70,474 miles.

I was talking to Elly when I came home she will be spending the wekend at the Sea of Galilee. When I told her the milage on my car, she replied “I will propable cover more than that on my working trips to Israel, by the end of the year”!

Elly has promised …I did hear her … not to try walking on water! Knowing her, she will probably dip her toes!

Stay safe my my love!

 

Sex Education

Over at The Other Side of Sixty  Wisewebwoman has an interesting piece about Sex and Irish Girls.

“Girl people in my time were sent out into the world with absolutely no knowledge of sex. None.”

We are the same generation, but I grew up in Dublin, the capital city of Ireland. WWW, was reared in rural Cork, down on the south coast of Ireland. My experience was slightly different to hers.

In fifth year (16-17 years of age), we had a new teacher for RE & Irish, she was a nun. A total contrast to all the other nuns. She forgot all about:

Miracles, parables and prophets.
Daily prayers for purity.
‘Impure’ thoughts.
Keeping our knees covered. 😆 a couple of years before The mid-1960s – when Mary Quant created the micro-mini.
The occasions of sin – There were more of them than beads on a rosary!
Being able to slide a sheet of paper between our dancing partner and ourselves.
Not leading young men on!!!! Holy Mother of Merciful Maisie. I grew up in a houseful of men and the only thing you could lead any of them on with, was a table full of hot food!

I could go on…… and on…….!

Our 30 minute RE class for five mornings a week and the Irish classes for the week, became sex education classes. She had a BOOK.

One copy of a so called sex education book, covered in a double layer of heavy brown paper and each student in turn, was given THE BOOK to take home for a few days to read. I do not recall the title, a double layer of heavy brown paper made more of an impression on me!

Yes. There were diagrams, but so do books on car maintenance. It could have been our ‘All in the Cooking’ with lists of ingredients, or Home Economics Hygiene book (which had a chapter with pixtures that the Home Economics teacher (another nun) blushed at and skipped over every time!).

When my turn came, I brought the book home and handed it to mammy. What did she say?

“You read it first, love, then give it to me to read.”

I did.

When she gave it back to me, mammy asked if I had any questions. I didn’t.

Books like the one covered in a double layer of heavy brown paper, and ‘All in the Cooking’, talk the mechanics of the topic, not a mention of touch, feel, smell, taste or emotion. I learned all that at my mother’s side about cooking AND relationships. I learned from my four brothers: I saw them go through puberty,  from pimply chins and knobbly knees to hogging the bathroom even longer than I did! I learned what they thought about girls: the traits they liked, respected, and the dreaded ‘man eaters’ who would do anything for a free meal. I saw women like them in my working years too. At one stage I thought I understood more about how male minds worked, than my female ‘sisters’ of the world.

My brothers and their friends showed great respect for me. Yes, they teased me endlessly, but they never over stepped the mark or put me in danger. When we were out, if any of them saw me in danger or if a stranger was misbehaving towards me, they would step in and get them to back off. I treated them all like brothers and that is how I treated all the men I met and worked with, over the years.

It was a very good day!

At 06:30 I was making a cake, well actually two cakes.

While they baked, I showered and made myself beautiful prepared for the day.  As I finished breakfast, the phone calls began… at one stage there were toyboys on the landline, the mobile and on Skype all vying for my attention. Don’t tell them. I didn’t.  You know they all think they hold the number one spot!

My date for morning coffee had to be posponed until today (Wednesday), so one of the cakes will be grand to bring with me and extend the party.

The skies cleared and the sun danced in my honour. The Postie serenaded me on the doorstep and the window cleaner brightened my world even more. A day not to be wasted, so I headed out in search of fun,

Carrickfergus Harbour

Carrickfergus Harbour

Look how smooth the water was.

I found a Toyboy

I found a Toyboy

I found a Toyboy

Brendan was on holiday from the US with his mum and aunt. I met them at the Castle taking photos… you know the routine

“I’ll take one of you two, then you can take one of us and….!”

I approached and asked “Would you like one of…..

A chorus of “Oh yes please!”, came back before I finished the sentence, and I was handed an iPad.

I took several at different angles to make sure they had a worthwhile selection.

Job done, I asked for payment…

Well it was my birthday and a photo with a Toyboy was not much to ask, was it? I handed over my smart phone and Brendan’s mum took the photos, then followed hugs and another rendition of Happy Birthday. They were next headed for Ballycastle and invited me to join them. I had to decline the invitation, so we said farewell and I headed off for my walk along the promenade.

I had not gone too far when there was loud tooting of a car horn. Turning round I saw my new found friends driving along Marine Highway with arms outstreched from every window  of their car, singing Happy Birthday to me!

The remainder of the day can be found in the slide show.

 

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Barbara, I was just about to light the candle on my cake when the phone rang, it was your dad. Growing up we always shared our birthdays, his being two days before mine, so he sang Happy Birthday as I blew out the candle!

For all my knitting friends, I found the extreme knitting at Parlour Yarns, Carrickfergus,they do have a Facebook Page. The piece was sitting in a basket with an invitation to knit a few stitches, a row or half the rug! It was very heavy, the yarn was carpet wool in four colours with two strands of each colour. You would need a tub of good hand cream to sooth the fingers after working on it for any length of time. I once used carpet thrums to make a 10 ft X 6 ft Mister Men rug for my kitchen floor. It was back in the day when I had a little doll to play with – then she grew up and ran away for her own adventure!!!!! I do love you Elly, REALLY!

In all I had a very good day.  Thank you to all who played any part in my celebration, with calls, texts, postings, cards and song singing.

You all rock.

 

UPDATE: What a difference a day makes:

The Sky has a hangover today

The Sky has a hangover today

We are back to whistling winds and driving rain. Did yesterday really happen? Was I dreaming?

Cards

I came across this card in a box when visiting my sister last year.

Baby card

Baby card

There was another one of exactly the same shape and design in Blue.

They differed on the inside with the motifs of this one suited for a girl and the blue for a boy.

Inside the card

Inside the card

The style of the card, the handwriting and the greeting, tells me the card arrived following the announcment of my birth, which was sixty eight years ago today,

I hope I am in as good condition as the card ❗

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