Sunday, July 30, 2006

And the livin' is easy

I've finally made it to my annual leave, which starts tomorrow for two weeks. No more... well, no more doing so many undesirable things that I just don't want to recall any of them to mind, really.

I've been in holiday mode for about a week in my mind, so the transition won't be as abrupt as, say two years ago, when Herself and I sat looking at each other for about one week of our two weeks holiday wondering what you do on leave. Nor like last year, when, improving as we were, the crossover from work mode to holiday took three of four days. This year I'm ready to rock.

Don't know what's wrong with the head, though. Depression being a fine companion these past decades, one usually is aware of what's bringing one's mood down. At worst, it tends to affect in a way I can cope with by using a step-by-step solution. Some days that can be as bad as "Okay. You've reached the bathroom. Now turn on the tap. You've washed the face. Now apply the shaving foam...." and so on. This time, I have the same feeling one gets with writers block. A kind of frustration. An inability to do anything constructive.

I suspect it is the unrelenting good weather, which we Irish are unaccustomed to dealing with! Balmy nights of broken sleep due to heat and poor air circulation have continued for several weeks now. This past week, things have cooled down and some semblance of normality is returning to sleep patterns.

I note too that Herself and I were both like the people in those old Golden Pages television adverts, where disaster was averted at the last minute by the services available in the phone book, and whose sighed hugely with relief when the problem was averted. High pressure work being removed (even with my mental preparedness this year) has resulted in the two of us doing passable impersonations of rag dolls these past couple of days. Tomorrow, when Monday rolls around and neither of us walk into a busy office, will hopefully see us getting into true holiday mode. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


I have discovered, tonight, where the speed skaters at the Winter Olympics first thought up their technique. We moved our television further into the corner so that all could see and hear it better. The trouble is, I now have to unplug it at night left-handed. And as a new CD rack is just a little bit in the way, it involves a kind of manoeuvre designed to counter-balance my beer belly while reaching forward and not falling face-first into a heap of wires. I knew I'd seen the technique someplace before. I was thinking this tonight as I bent my legs and stuck my arse out far behind me. I think I'll get one of their safety helmets. But not the suits.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Not life and death

I dropped into work for half and hour after Nell's funeral to check everything was okay, then took some time to sit and contemplate the matter of life and death for the afternoon. The tent-like gazebo is not as securely fixed to the ground as I should like this time, as I was under orders to take account of a need for clean, dry clothes and keep it out of the way of the washing line. So it's kind of mated with one of the sheds to one side, and standing unsecured on concrete slabs on the other. Also, the breeze is noticeably stronger than on its previous outing.

In any case, a few creaks and occasional flapping noises notwithstanding, it was a hot afternoon in Dublin yesterday. The cats were being polite by sitting with me, but preferred the cooler, deeper shade of the shrubbery into which they returned after 20 minutes or so.

We had a solemn type of day what with everything.

Then in the evening time as I was coming out to the kitchen I saw the gazebo shudder and quake as it about to take off. For a second, I thought the wind had really picked up and the whole thing was heading away into the blue yonder. Then I realised the breeze was no stronger than earlier. Instead, our black cat was having great fun using the roof as a trampoline. He jumped from the shed roof onto the green vynyl and then pogo-ed at random about the place, causing the crazy rocking. All I could see between jumps was the tips of two black ears poking over one of the roof ribs.

I called the rest of the family to watch but he heard us moving about and knowing well that he was being a naughty puss he scooted to unforbidden territory down on the ground. Fecker. I had to tighten up a few bits, but no harm done. Must keep an eye on his antics in case he punches any holes.

You can always rely on a cat to liven things up.

Related post: B&Q Gazebo instructions

Monday, July 17, 2006

Nelly Redmond, R.I.P.

My wonderfully witty, wickedly mischievious, wise Aunt Nell was buried today. I have nothing inspired to write, so I'll just publish two items here: the death notice from the Irish Independent newspaper and the lyrics to the song sung as the family carried her coffin from the church to the waiting hearse.

"Saddest funeral I was ever at, " Herself said.

I'm still blubbing here as I type. Anyway, the final song broke me up and even looking at the lyrics again is effecting me. So I'll wish you a good journey Nell. We'll see you again with that glint in your eye.

REDMOND (nee Walsh) (Tallaght) July 15, 2006, (peacefully), at her home, surrounded by her family, Ellen (Nell), beloved wife of the late Mick (late of St Maelruans Park); sadly missed by her loving family, children Bernard, Liam, Gerard, Dermot, Michael, Martina, Elaine, Thomas, Michelle, Simon, Edel and James, grandchildren, great grandchildren, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, brothers, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives, neighbours and a large circle of friends. Rest in peace. Removal today (Monday) from her home to St. Dominic's Church for 11 o'c. funeral Mass. Burial afterwards to Bohernabreena Cemetery.

Going home, going home
I'm just going home
Quiet light, some still day
I'm just going home

It's not far, just close by
Through an open door
Work all done, care laid by
Going to fear no more

Mother's there expecting me
Father's waiting, too
Lots of folk gathered there
All the friends I knew

All the friends I knew

I'm going home

Nothing's lost, all's gain
No more fret nor pain
No more stumbling on the way
No more longing for the day
Going to roam no more

Morning star lights the way
Restless dream all done
Shadows gone, break of day
Real life begun

There's no break, there's no end
Just a living on
Wide awake with a smile
Going on and on

Going home, going home
I'm just going home
It's not far, just close by
Through an open door
I am going home
I'm just going home

Going home, going home

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Irish Skies

When I was small and full of beans I would run around the fields outside our rented farmhouse and drop to the ground to stare up at the skies passing by.

You may think I mean the clouds, but when you lie down and look up for long enough, the clouds appear to stay still and the sky, or the earth itself, appear to move.

The skies are still passing by, but like most adults I've forgotten mostly that it's okay to stop and just look up. Here are a few recent pictures of what's up there over our heads.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Horizontal shopping

Proving my point from my post on the overuse of speed, wherever possible, on Dublin buses, I observed three ladies whose shopping bags -- quite heavy ones -- went completely from the six o'clock vertical position to the three o'clock horizontal position while they gamely tried to stay upright as the bus-driver braked mercilessly coming to their stop.

"T'anks," one woman said.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

63 days of balloons

Sixty-three days or thereabouts, and the community of balloons have taken on a more disordered, natural, organic look. They vary in size now from the specimen from Day 44, who is now about the size of a large pear to a yellow one a little bigger than a tennis ball right up to a couple which don't appear to have deflated much since they first arrived. We have ascribed life-like characteristics to them from the beginning, but as they become less able to move about and interact with the rest of the room, they now remind me of stones on a beach which have fetched up into a corner in their various shapes and sizes. Herself tells me she no longer likes them.

"They die. Slowly. I don't like them any more."

They do look a bit neglected and forgotten. But what to do? I'm still inclined to let them carry on until all the air leaks out of them, but that could be months yet.

Industrious Saturday

A quiet start to the day here so far. Herself, who has to go to work for part of Saturday morning, found that the boss had managed to go on leave without arranging for another boss. And as a boss must be on hand to set everyone else in motion, work couldn't begin for two hours after the usual startup time until a new boss was co-opted in. So she'll be late home.

I've been occupying myself with breakfasting and finding out how to get around the Blogger bug that prevented me uploading images these past couple of days. It appears that if you upload an image before posting any text, it will work. Simple work-around, but as ever tough to find an answer.

The doorbell rang about an hour ago and I could see a car and a kid in the driveway through the glass, so, wondering who the heck this was I opened the door to find a man and a kid and a car.

"Have I got the wrong house?" the man asks.

"I don't know. Who are you looking for?"

When we established no-one he was looking for lived here, he looked a little angrily at the kid, then asked if a named neighbour's house was nearby. I directed him and went back to doing nothing.

Then the cat insisted I fix the loose hinge on the door to his shed, so I managed that. I had intended posting a picture of a screwdriver to illustrate the intense level of industry, but I happened upon a different type of image of a screwdriver and it looked more interesting.

Herself will be frazzled when she finally gets home. I shall arrange for coffee and a bun and put on my best listening ears I think. She can supply the cigarettes.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Angry Drunk delays bus

To continue my public transport theme, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the bus this evening, although obviously boarded by passengers, was in no hurry to leave the terminus at The Square. After I'd paid my fare to the female driver (who, it seemed, looked at me kind of strangely), I turned and was nearly knocked over by a drunk who was sitting near the exit and was leaning out to harrangue the private-security-firm man standing by the bus stop. I went upstairs, hoping yer man wouldn't follow.

Rab C. Nesbitt is fine when he's on telly, but not so fun in full spate on a bus on a Friday evening when all anyone wants to do is get home, get packed in ice-cubes and forget about the week.

"G'er on ye fat bash-tard! Ge' on the bus! I'll.... KILL... ye...!"

The fat bash-tard grinned at him through the window-pane, knowing that backup was on the way.

"Driver! Drive the bush...! You have de power."

Sirens were wailing in the distance. Unfortunately, when I looked, it was an ambulance on its way to the nearby hospital and not the Gardai.

"C'mon the bush! I... DARE ya! Ye shee... He can't. Ha! Ha! Ha!"

The security man was joined by two others. They passed around cigarettes and made occasional use of their radios. Then the Garda car pulled up. Quietly. No fuss.

Three guards, one of them of higher rank, judging by his epaulettes appeared. Two boarded the bus and asked Angry Drunk if he was causing trouble.

"No! No! It's the men being horrible. They think they're guards...!"

Then, inexplicably, the driver told them she didn't need help. Someone in a seat behind me said:
"Fuck's sake! Now we'll have to listen to this crap for the next hour!"

"They're not taking him off!"

The Gardai checked the driver was okay with taking her passenger. She was. So off we went.

Yer man says: "They shuddent give a fri' like that."

The bus rolled on. Picking up passengers. Some laughed at him.

"I went home and I dropped the bag... But I'm supposed to shurrup. I'll shurrup."

Angry Drunk gargled a few random words more then stepped off the bus into Tallaght Village. He was zig-zagging in the general direction of Molloy's Pub when I last saw him.

There was an Angry Drunk in my own childhood whose exploits I'd largely put out of my mind until today. I remember the vague hostility though the fog towards anything and everything, from dinner-plates to television to neighbours. Even towards the dog. A long drawn out incapable snarling that continued even in his sleep.

Me? I'm a Quiet Angry Drunk instead. And only Angry if that's all right with everyone else.

Anyhow, as soon as I got home I opened a beer.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

My Brachiation Rhythm... Ruined!

Pinballing about the bus as it lurches around the oh-so-soon-to-be-upgraded Firhouse Road, I tend to think of the handholds and bars as obstacles to be avoided if at all possible. Or at least I thought that was my thinking.

There is a multiplicity of chrome in the interior on the newer Dublin Bus fleet so that passengers can enjoy the rollercoaster ride while attempting to be seated or to disembark. I wonder if bus drivers in other countries take off at such pell-mell speed just when you are walking onto the bus, shifting your bag from one hand to the other and so have no hands to spare? Do boarding passengers in other countries inadvertently do a six-yard sprint before they catch themselves and collapse into a seat?

Or when the bell is rung to signal the driver that a passenger wants very much to get off the damned thing, do foreign buses speed up? Lurch out into traffic to catch the green light? Go twice as fast than usual around a bend?

Anyway, the 49 this evening was a single decked bus, which is a novelty. So it was with some surprise, given my antipathy to the climbing frame design of the double-decker, that I realised on rising out of my seat that I had no idea where any of the handholds where. I was swinging along in the way of my jungle ancestors quite contentedly when all of a sudden my hand landed on empty space! Naturally, I then stubbed my toe on an unfamilar piece of interior furniture and tripped as, trying to catch a bar cross-ways while at the same time avoiding strangulation from the strap of my manbag, I shot forward like a lardy projectile to ultimately skid out the open door to a relieved stop on the side of the road.

My thinking needs revision.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The World Cup wouldn't be in it!

Pausing for a few seconds while channel flicking on Sunday, I was reminded of the World Cup soccer players and their histrionics at the mere whiff of an opposing player coming near. One Portugal player, for instance, got a slight poke in the eye while going into a tackle. The game had to be stopped. Two men came on with a stretcher while another splashed Lucozade into the injured eye (a sure-fire cure if ever there was one). Possibly an ambulance was called and the city's Major Accident Plan put into effect, I don't know. In any event, it turned out to be a loose eyelash.

In the few seconds of the Gaelic Football match I has channel-surfed to, the attacking player ran up the back of the defending player, down the other side, dropped lightly by the wriggling heap that was his cursing opponent (trying furiously to regain his feet and continue on), before the referee finally blew his whistle. The offence was picking the ball up off the ground.

The hospitals would be full of over-paid soccer players. Roll on compromise GAA/soccer rules!

Surf's up

This image sums up the events of my homecoming today, when, dragging my tongue behind me in the stifling heat, I threw my briefcase to the floor, hurled the office shirt off, and reached for the freezer to get an ice-cream treat.

In two seconds I was swimming for my life.

Who was cooking yesterday and rummaged in the freezer? Who put one of the drawers back in improperly? Who didn't notice the door wasn't closed properly?

Who do you think...?

Pic from Ocearia Information Network.