Tag Archives: Family

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

A new leaf

I was so pleased to turn over a new leaf on Thursday and step up to the plate of 2015. I feel like I have been in a trance for most of December.

  1. The blog was hacked.
  2. An eye infection took hold and prevented me from reading for more than a few minutes at a time.
  3. My washing machine ran out of spin on Christmas eve morning.

I was encouraged to go south and spend the few festive days with my sister. The final decision was not made until late on the evening of 23rd, when there was an improvement with my eye. Driving with blurred vision on a day that forgot to dawn or as it turned out: blindingly strong low sunshine took extra concentration.

I spend several days in the kitchen making meals to bring and share..

  • Pork Portofino
  • Venison pie
  • Roasted Chestnut soup
  • Onion marmalade
  • Cranberry, apricot, pecan & apple cake. A new one to me, but I loved it and so did my sister and her friends who tried it. .

All but the onion marmalade were new to my sister. She was cooking a turkey breast with a piece of smoked ham and all the trimmings for the big day.

Good job I brought so much food, instead of three days I ended up staying a week. I had a ‘pain’ day and my sister refused to let me drive home the next day, then the weather turned the temperatures down to icy and I was not allowed to travel for another few days. All the while my washer was sitting with a drum full of drained but soggy clothes. Never before in my life have I turned my back and walked away leaving a problem behind me.

Yesterday I sourced, found and paid for a new washing machine, had it delivered and a young neighbour installed it for me. I now have the new one in place and ready to go with the old one in the middle of the floor waiting to be collected.

Apart from putting the washer through its paces a couple of times tomorrow, I’ll be lying low. Today was another pain filled day.

Monday I see my optician to have my eyes checked.

After that? Who knows what direction my life will take… but it has to be better than last year.

At least I can drive my car!

Time

I no longer bother with decorating the house at Christmas, there is nobody only me to see it. Sometimes I am here and then other years I am away. There is nothing as bad as coming home to an empty dark house, that has been abandoned for several days, to an unlit tree and other trinkets needing to be packed away in boxes for another twelve months.

 
My Elly, George & Buffy were here for the weekend and that is our celebration over and done with. Sometimes she feels bad about not spending Christmas with me, but it is after all only one day and a short one at that. I cannot see the point in rushing around on the roads in bad weather and poor light. Roads filled with stressed drivers or others who are once a year drivers unsure of where thy are going, or those with drink taken.

 

We can have a fun day together at our leisure, in the summer when the weather is better, the days longer and the world calmer – Double the value, in my book.

I heard of one young lady, Molly, who was asked, at the nudging from aunts and uncles what she wanted for Christmas.

Her answer: A token of time! I love this child.

If each one devoted a few hours or a day, spread out over the year, It would be fabulous.

A TOKEN OF TIME AND A FEW HUGS…. Heaven at any age!

Busy, busy, busy, me.

One week in Dublin, and I am only half way through my promised curtain making project for my sister. Six finished and another six to make. It is not all work, we intersperse the work with food from the garden, knitting, crochet, incoming visitors, lunches out with friends and girlie shopping trips!

There are plenty of:-

“Do you remember when…….?”
“Did I ever tell you about…….?”
“What ever happened to………?”
“What was it mammy said about……?”

Not to mention her new baby or the skeleton in the cupboard!

But you will have to wait until I have more time.. I want to sort out another window before we go out for lunch with a friend today.

Blog visiting and commenting has been light, please forgive me. As I often say: I may have two hands, but alas only one head!

Catch up with you soon.

Mind that skeleton!

Monday. It feels like Sunday.

Today is a normal working day in Northern Ireland, yet in my head it feels like Sunday. If I lived one hundred miles down the road, it would be a holiday. August bank holiday weekend.

I had visitors for lunch. We had a wonderful, happy and cheerful lunch.

Buffy brought Elly, George and the wonderful Peter Donegan to share lunch with me. George did the driving and Buffy made sure he was on the right road.

It was all over too quickly and they are heading back south as I type. The house is very quiet now. I am sitting with my feet up and reliving the few very pleasant hours.

Happy hugs do my heart good! Thank you, Elly, George, Peter & Buffy.

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.

A busy week

It has been a long week. So long, it had two Saturdays, two Sundays and two Mondays. Alas, to day it comes to an end and I head for home.

Saturday: We made Christmas puddings – You already know about that.

Sunday: We had a visitor for morning coffee. After lunch the landlady walked the legs off me. We dandered to the Basin.

Blessington St Park

Blessington St Park

We watched a mammy duck teach her three tiny balls of fluff, no bigger than cotton balls, to swim.

Learning to swim

Learning to swim

Their tiny legs were going a mile a minute under the surface of the water, until….. a large bird swooped down…. Then there were only two balls of fluff for the mammy duck to quack instructions at, to swim faster than time to the protection of their hidden nest on the island in the middle of the lake.

The island

The island

When we left the basin, we passed the Black Church  where legend has it that if you run around the church clockwise three times, then enter the church and stand by the altar, you will see the devil.

The black church

The black church

I never quite had the courage to test that theory when I was young. The building was deconsecrated in 1962, and is now occupied as offices.

The Black Church is mentioned briefly in the novel Ulysses by Irish author James Joyce, in the chapter entitled ‘Oxen of the Sun’, as the location of one of Bello’s many sins: He went through a form of clandestine marriage with at least one woman in the shadow of the Black Church. Joyce lived for a few months only yards from the Church in Broadstone, at 44 Fontenoy Street, one of the Joyce family’s many temporary homes around Dublin. He stayed there with his son Giorgio from July to September 1909 and again alone from October 1909 to June 1910 while trying to set up the first cinema in Dublin.

Monday: Did I mention James Joyce earlier? Well, on Wednesday I met him! Honest. Here is a pixture to prove it:

He called me Nora

He called me Nora

He even called me Nora!

It was Bloomsday.  In Dublin, Joyceans in full Edwardian costume mark June 16th 1904 literary events of ‘Ulysses’ We met them on the Dart,  on the Streets and in the shops. Eileen and I went to Dún Laoghaire. They were there ahead of us.

Joyceans on way to Sandymount

Joyceans on way to Sandymount

I have to tell you what happened on the Dart. You will never believe it. Eileen, nudged me with her elbow and said “That guy over there winked at me!” I looked at the Toyboy and said, pointing at my sister “Did you wink at her?” He nodded. I looked questioningly and asked “Where’s my wink?” Grinning, he winked at me. Holding up my mobile phone, I asked if he wanted my number. He burst out laughing. With that, the engines started and we were moving…. Our Dart moved south, and his on the other track moved north!

No visit to Dún Laoghaire is complete without a visit to Teddy’s for a 99 – a whipped ice cream cone with added flake chocolate.

The evidence

The evidence

Eileen with ice cream cones.

The view while we eat 99sThe view as we sat and enjoyed our treat.

Tuesday: I spent the morning in the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin, with my eldest brother. We saw a Viking House

Viking House

I suggest scrolling to the bottom of the link above and working upward to follow the work in progress. I found it fascinating. I am trying to image life in Dublin 1,000 plus years ago.

'Gro' the Viking Boat

‘Gro’ the Viking Boat

I also saw a replica Viking boat ‘Gro’ on display. It was constructed from Irish oak in 2006 at the Irish National Heritage Park by Danish boatwrights using techniques employed in Dublin 1,000 years ago, the boat is on loan from the Ferrycarrig Heritage Park.

I drove my sister to Howth for an early dinner, which was delicious, and we were home in time to see one of the Football matches.

Looking down on Howth from the Churchyard

Looking down on Howth from the Churchyard

Wednesday: We were entertained to lunch by Brian, who sent us each a text as we were leaving home to say, he had just realised it was forty years since we first met, so a good job we looked like we did all those years ago! Is it really forty years since I was given the handle Grannymar? Yes, it is.

Thursday: I visited Drimnagh Castle, but that adventure is worth a special post. I hope to have it ready for Tuesday.

Drimnagh Castle

Drimnagh Castle

Friday: was a rest day, playing with Buffy and finishing a project that I was working on. I forgot to take a photo of the finished item, so when I get that photo, I’ll write about it.

Saturday: Was the longest day, so where better to be than on the Hill of Tara,  Home to the High Kings of Ireland. The panoramic view in my Header is from the hill at Tara. We were there to celebrate the life of Emma Sharma Hayes. It was a beautiful day, the sun shone and nature’s choir of bird song & gentle breezes sang around us for most of the day. We picnicked outdoors

Lunching Ladies with Vijay Sharma

Lunching Ladies with Vijay Sharma

and I found a very comfortable seat to rest my legs before we climbed the hill.

Tractoring Grannymar

Tractoring Grannymar

I nearly got a job too! One old guy asked if I would plough his back field? I told him I was busy and it would have to be next week!

Sunday: I went to work! Really. You have heard of ‘Bring your daughter to work days. Well this was a bring your family to work day, at Intel. Do you like my outfit?

Intel Open Day

Intel Open Day

Grannymar in a Bunny suit! These are actual uniforms worn by those who work in the clean-rooms. Buses took us on a tour of the site and we had a window tour of a clean-room. Elly showed the corridor she walks everyday, at least twice. It is a mile in each direction. We were introduced to the gym, where I could not miss an opportunity to sit on the equipment. I tested a massage chair, it felt like Ramana Rajgopaul’s masseuse was dancing on my back.

The staff looked after us royally and had fun & games for all ages. Thank you everyone for making us so welcome. Now the holiday has come to an end and I am homeward bound once more. I am covered in a healthy outdoor glow and my legs must be at least six inches shorter from all the walking. It was a wonderful week.

I’m very busy.

I think I told you that I might be busy this week. Well, that is a bit of an understatement. My little car and I had a long drive on Saturday, only arriving at my first lodgings in the early afternoon. The landlady was at the door to meet me with a very welcoming smile. Out she comes to the car, taking a wee nosey into the back seat, and asks: “Do you want to unpack now, or lock up and have a cup of coffee first?”

 

I had two bags on the back seat of the car, so I said I would bring them in with me and leave the rest for later, safely locked in my boot/trunk. One of the bags on the back seat had been driving me crazy for the past couple of hours of my journey, so much so, that I nearly pulled off the road to devour a fresh loaf of Veda bread, a malted bread sold in Northern Ireland. In another cake box was a still warm experiment (cake)* that I had made that morning. I needed to open the box and allow it to cool properly for an hour.

 

So, I was welcomed indoors. Before I had reached the kitchen with the goodies, yer wan, the landlady, says to me: “I have a job for you”.

 

“I HAVE A JOB FOR YOU!” ????

 

There was I thinking I was on my holidays. I’m telling you, I nearly took my three loves of Veda bread and one hot cake back to the car to find another guest house for the duration. But the other residents pleaded with me to stay. They danced rings round me and told me not to go. So I took pity on them and stayed. Over the very welcome cup of coffee, which came with Danish pastries, I was told about the job in store for me.

 

On one side of the kitchen was the greatest collection of saucepans/pots lined up in a row. On the opposite side were eight bowls standing like soldiers on parade, lined up from the largest to smallest. It almost looked like a factory production line. The largest bowl was covered and I realised it had a wooden spoon under that cover, my beady eye saw the handle sticking out. I also noted the new box of greaseproof paper, a scissors and a large ball of string and a bottle of Guinness! Now, being the month of June and not yet the longest day of the year, I was a little confused. Had my long drive brought me forward in time as well as miles? It could not be October already – The sun was shining! A mighty army of pots, boiling kettles, bowls and the other paraphernalia could mean one thing: Puddings. Christmas puddings.

 

Yes! I got it in one. My landlady, I discover, had never actually made Christmas puddings from scratch before in her life. Why would she, since she was the baby in the family and she had a mother & big sister who chopped the peel and grated the breadcrumbs and half their knuckles with it, every winter in order to feed the hoards on the big day, New year’s day and don’t forget the pudding for St Patrick’s day as well. So here was my landlady, read sister, attempting the puddings for the very first time. She had mammy’s no suet pudding recipe, and had it almost ready.,

 

“The whiskey is in.” says she, “But I was not sure about the Guinness, I have no idea what consistency the mixture should be.”

 

I gave the mix a stir and said: A pudding mixture should be much softer than a cake, so pour in about a third of that bottle of Guinness and we will see how it feels. Remember, any remaining stout is for the cook! She poured and I mixed, I let her have a go so she would get the feel of it. We added a little more, not as much as last time and it was right for our quantities. Eileen was using double the ingredients of mine in the link above.

 

We filled the seven greased bowls (she worked, I supervised) leaving space for expansion. I showed her how to prepare the greaseproof covers with pleats in, and how to tie them well before adding a handle. Fair dues to the sister, making puddings on a warm sunny day was not so daft after all. The windows and doors were all open and the extractor fan did the rest. It was possible to put them on to boil, set a timer and go off to enjoy the garden. By dinnertime, four of the pots were ready to come off.

puddings boiling

puddings boiling

The baby one, read tester, was ready to eat for dessert – part of mammy’s tradition.

Dessert

Minding dessert

The other three would be cooked early the next morning. And all would be given another boiling closer to the day they were needed.

 

* The cake experiment was a variation on my Lemon drizzle cake.  You can find that recipe under cakes in the Recipe page up in the Header Bar. This time, I made the mix as normal and when putting it into the baking tin, I dotted small spoonfuls of lemon curd randomly between the cake mixture.

Planning & Scheming

 

Has wheels will travel:

 

Betty Rubble

Betty Rubble

Betty Rubble image credit to: images.cryhavok.org

One event booked I know the ‘when and where’.

A ‘Phone me when you are free, and we will meet for coffee’, I know the where. Last time we met at 11:30 and several coffees later we parted at 16:30…. not quite hoarse!

Lunch engagement – know the ‘who & where’ but not yet the ‘when’.

It all depends on the main reason for my visit…

A total new experience, but I have yet to find out the ‘where and when’.

Blogging might be light next week, so please forgive me.

Eileen, Mother & Nana

It was a Monday morning, just six days before Easter Sunday, that Eileen arrived. The path was prepared and pattern set by her almost four year old brother and sister aged two. By the time she was twelve, the family had reached the full compliment of seven children and her mother and father. They lived over the corner shop, owned and run by her mother. Her father was a Cooper at a local brewery.

Eileen’s father was a quiet serious man not known for a sense of humour, yet Eileen was the only one to get away with devilment. As a young girl she was diagnosed with an acute appendicitis and her father walked with her from the South Circular Road, in Dublin, to the Meath Hospital, for admission and surgery. Once over that hurdle, she never looked back.

She had the quick wit of her mother and a head for figures, a gift her mother put to good use in the shop. Back in those days customers often paid for the groceries at the end of each week, so records were hand written into a large book. Eileen quickly mastered the cross and long tots, which eased the load for her mother. At sixteen she left school and went to work at Cassidy’s Ladies Fashions in George’s Street in Dublin. She never complained, but she knew she was going to work so that her brothers could be educated.

1931. Eileen Moloney

1931. Eileen Moloney

Photo of Eileen at 17

She had a good eye for fashion and particularly hats so was moved to the Millinery department which she loved. In those days, unlike today, ladies hats came in different sizes. The were stored in large deep drawers or glass cabinets.

Cassidy's Millenry Dept

Cassidy’s Millenry Dept

Eileen at work in Cassidy’s.

She was light on her feet and loved to dance and was never short of a partner. Lilly, one of her aunts, was a wonderful seamstress and took great pleasure in creating dance dresses for Eileen. She often told of a green fabric she saw in Denis Guiney’s window, on her way to the Custom House, On the way back she went to purchase enough for a floor length dress. The grumpy salesman told her that since it was in the window she would have to come back the next week when the displays were changed, he could not remove it before that.

1940 That Dress again 1

Another dance dress.

Years later he said he remembered that day and thought the colour would look well on her! That grump became her husband and my father!

 Eileen & Dan's Wedding Day

Eileen Moloney & Dan Molony

Mammy & Daddy on her wedding day.

With time they had a family, but it was not all an easy journey. Of her nine pregnancies, her first and penultimate babies were still born and the third survived for five hours. The remaining six are still going our various ways, having nurtured our own families and for some there is another new generation following on.

1955-08-07 Ello's Christening

Nana & Dan with their six children in 1955

Two years after the birth of my sister, the baby in the photo above, mammy had a serious heart attack. To her horror she was not allowed to eat butter, fat or cream, she was to cut out using the stairs e.g. come down in the morning and not go back up until bedtime! The loo was upstairs, What was she supposed to do…. Tie her legs in a knot? 😡 She was not to stand if she could sit and not to sit is she could lie down! How those ideas have changed! It is just as well, since mammy had little chance of sticking to them.

One year later Daddy was ill and in and out of hospital for a year. Mammy’s health issues were put on the back burner while looking after him. They both kept going, with health lifting and dropping like a temperature gauge.

Despite all the hurdles, mammy never lost her sense of fun, She became a great cook, a wonderful mother and great friend.

So to day on her Hundredth birthday, may we all drink a toast to her memory (tea would be appropriate, it was her favourite tipple), share the happy memories and listen carefully for her laughter!

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Eileen Molony nee Moloney 1914 – 1996