Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Every Picture: Buzzard's Eye View

Even though I've been living on this road for more than twenty years I don't really know the neighbours that well. Obviously, we know Clint but then we did sell him the property, the first one we had on the road. And then there is the guy that laid the lino. He was actually mid-job when he told us he lived down the road. His daughter turned up at a barbecue once and she was here for a couple of hours before I even realised she was a neighbour. And there's Mr Twinkle, the one with the boating lake but I'm not sure he even lives there anymore. There's Jimmy but sure, everyone knows him. Our nearest neighbours on the road I don't know at all, wouldn't recognise them if I met them in the Spar yet, as of yesterday, there has been social media conversation. That's modern day communication for you, it's like texting someone in the next room or Facebook messaging your daughter from the kitchen to her bedroom.

It happened like this - I was on Twitter looking for information on something that had occurred locally and I came across a snippet of film taken in the Cullybackey area. The camera man (our neighbour) had filmed it using a drone. The special thing about the film was that it was taken on a very foggy morning so was tremendously atmospheric.

I retweeted it and sent this message,


I hope Steven won't mind if I share this screen grab from his film. The foreground shows our own wee hame and the woods behind. I think the mistiness is rather beautiful.



Click to make big

I called this post A Buzzard's Eye View even though I reckon no sensible buzzard would ever venture out on a morning like that.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Every Picture: All Them Weans

This is going to be an easy post. All I had to do was go through my Friends & Family/General Family file to seek out these great pictures of me being a Granny.

Granny and Martha, 2011


This one was taken at the Ulster Museum by Hannah. Martha was aged around 18 months.

Granny and Evie, 2012

Photo credit belongs to Zoe. Miss Evie aged about 6 months. We were visiting Deirdre in Leitrim.


I was in Norfolk visiting my new grandson. James was only a few weeks old. Katy was the photographer.

Grandchildren are wonderful, especially when they are wee for they hide a multitude of sins. Held in front of a chubby middle they produce an immediate slimming effect and nuzzling their downy little heads is a super way to hide a double chin. I wouldn't be without them.

But sometimes things do not go according to plan. This photograph did not turn out as well as I might have hoped.


Martha and James were supposed to hide Granny's fat tum and they succeeded in doing so. James had the added task of helping to camouflage the grandmotherly double chin. But, as you see, he was at that wriggly stage and did not do his duty. Rascal!

P.S. I actually love the picture and James will be back in April so we'll give it another go. Strive for perfection. For me anyway. All them weans are perfect already.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Every Picture: Wish Lists


I would really like to make this sweet rustic flower bed with the logs. I'm thinking trailing fuchsia and lobelia at the front and the Emily McKenzie Crocosmia as the main feature. And how about one with spring bulbs? Miniature narcissi and primroses. Would be divine. That would be on my wish list for sure.


And what about some guinea fowl when this damned avian flu restriction is over? Every time I see this photograph I'm reminded that guineas have been on my wish list for a very long time. They were Johnny's birds and lived here a long time ago. He let them run around and eventually Foxy took them all but I'd take far better care of them. Probably.

Both of these pictures would feature on Bert's wish list too for he yearns for great lumps of wood and logs. He'd have my rustic bed dismantled and on the fire, before you could say 'primula auricula' and as for the guinea fowl, they'd have nowhere to clamber and perch once Bert got the chainsaw out.

I keep reminding him he has a wood but he says it's too far away. It would take him ten minutes to get out there and he'd need a donkey to haul the wood back. I keep reminding him he has a quad bike and a tractor but, come to think of it, I've actually always wanted a donkey.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Every Picture: Camino By Sea



We watched this really interesting programme on TV tonight about these four guys from Kerry who rowed a traditional Irish rowing boat, a naomhóg, from Dublin to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. They were following the ancient route taken by Irish pilgrims on the way of St James, also known as the Camino. I've been following this tale myself for several years as one of the pilgrims is my brother-in-law, Brendan. He's the smiley one with hair. 

All these fellows live by the sea and are keen boatmen. 

I've heard a lot about the trip but it was sobering to see them in their tiny craft in those big waters. Thankfully, they were accompanied on the first leg of the journey by a support craft, a yacht, and it was just as well as the sea became very rough on the crossing to Brittany and they needed its help.

All the men said that they learned a lot about themselves on the journey. I may have learned something myself. When life doesn't go to plan just keep moving forward and things will probably work out just fine.

Second part tomorrow.

From the Irish Times

And a snippet from the film


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Every Picture: Hideaway


It was around half-three this afternoon that I pulled into a little supermarket on the Cushendall Road that I realised I had been up for over ten hours. I'd just got back from Cushendall where I'd dropped Hannah, Ziggy, guitar, walking shoes and assorted reading material to the house pictured above where they planned to spend two days reading, making music, walking and general chilling. I, on the other hand, was having to do stinking grocery shopping as Bert had requested 'nice soda bread' to eat with his haggis.  Ah well, when I'd got that done I could go home, spend a while setting the house to rights after the five girls dressing up and messing about session the previous evening. Then I would chill, enjoy some peace and quiet, just the two extra dogs to look after. Sure, five dogs aren't that many.

So I went into the shop and was immediately angered by its air of crappy hopelessness. And the only soda bread on offer was Ormo which does not meet Nellybert's standards and the milk was over-priced. I was so annoyed that I refused to do any shopping there and walked out past the surly check out lad in glowering, stompy silence. At least I would soon be home. A quick stop at the garage for the necessities of life and where I got teased for my R.J. Kerr soda farl addiction then home where I was enraged to find that the gates were shut. Had to stomp out to open them, drove into the yard, saw two cars where no cars should be and saw and heard at least two small boys roaring through the garden. There were even smaller children in the sun room so I went in the back door, sneaked up the stairs and began gently banging my head on my bedroom window. I stood like that for about five minutes, decided I wasn't going back downstairs to fail miserably at pretending to be pleased to see people. So I got into bed with the Guardian and waited for them all to fuck off. There were door slammings and the sound of small children being toileted and all sorts of disturbing noises which stressed me out but still I stayed in bed. And eventually, maybe an hour later, the house cleared.

I got up and enquired of Bert who the second car had belonged to and it turned out that it was another young couple with two children (there had been six children down there!) and this young couple I'd asked around (anytime) the last time I'd seen the Daddy in his shop. Oh well.

It's been a stressful few days. So, if you're reading this, and you know me and you were thinking of dropping over tomorrow. Don't!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Every Picture: Not On Call


I had this little lot for a play date this afternoon and the two to the left of the picture (darling and well-beloved grandchildren) I had for a sleepover. Did I say sleep? There was precious little of that to be had. Thanks to some bad management by the older folks in the house on the previous night, the wee folk went to bed in a state of over-excitement.  Consequently, the one with all the hair crept into my bed 'for a cuddle', waking me up at around one a.m. while the one in the braids wanted to go downstairs to watch television at two a.m. Both girls thought they'd been in bed for hours and it was morning already. I've been tired ALL DAY.

It's an all too common mistake that grandparents make for we should aim to be as boring as wise parents are after the hour of six o'clock.

I often think as I go to my own warm and peaceful bed of the many nights I used to spend doing sleepovers in the hostel in Spide City. Back then I'd long for the evening to end, so I could climb the stairs to the staff sleepover room and wind down from a very long day. Each night on going to that little single bed I'd hope (even pray) that the night would be uneventful but there was that phone next to the bed that the police could ring, that social services could ring, that another damn hostel could ring and I'd pray every night that no-one would ring. And then there was that intercom outside the bedroom that residents could call if any concerning issue should arise. Oh Lord! I prayed too that it would not buzz. And since then, almost every night that I go to my own dear bed in my own wee house I feel a deep delight that I an not on call. I'll appreciate it tonight that I can sleep all night, not on call until 5:20a.m. when Youngest Daughter wakens me to drive her to work. Bliss.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Every Picture: Hair Cut


This picture shall serve as an aide memoire for I really must get my hair cut. It is becoming so unruly. I don't have a fringe (which Americans call bangs) but when the front bit of my hair grows long it falls over my brow in two corkscrew ringlets which would be cute on a two-year-old but less so on the holder of an over-sixties travel pass.

We have the young ladies here tonight and they were very hard to settle. I blame Bert for indulging them with far too much horseplay, swinging them by the ankles, which they love, but which causes the blood to rush to their heads and the over-stimulation of their young brains.

One reading of Charlie and Lola was not enough. I also had to tell them the story of Aunt Jean's three imaginary friends Dogie, Simplit and Doodle, then the one when I went to Portrush on the Parish Excursion, felt it was far beneath my dignity to go on the helter-skelter and ended up wetting myself laughing at Jean when she did.

It still wasn't enough. Martha needed to hear the one where Tricia spent so long in hospital after her appendix burst that her hair started to grow and afterwards she was allowed to have it long. That led to a discussion about great-aunts' current hair colours and do they dye their hair? I said I never really noticed these things and she could ask them herself. Evie was dozing off but Martha still wasn't satisfied. I finished off with a long story about my great-grandmother, their great-great-great grandmother.

Granny: More than a hundred years ago!
Martha: A hundred years...

She could barely fathom it. The story was about widowhood, clever sons, Spanish Flu and the perils of amateur tree surgery. Moral of the tale - never stand below a tree when it is being pruned.