Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Found a penny

The day started quite well, with both eyes opening at around the same time. Herself said:

"I've to be in work early today. So goodbye."

I said: "Can you leave me busfare, then? I don't have any change."

So she counted out the busfare in tens, fives and pennies and left. I rub-a-dubbed, washed teeth, brushed hair, left for the bus.

I thought:

"I really don't have much money. I'd better go to the ATM."

So, I tapped keys and withdrew more than I wanted. Bloody machine! Never having the right notes!

Then I dropped 5 cent of my busfare into a crack in the path.

Now, I knew I could get to bend down as far as the ground, but the extra inch of depth was doubtful. I could, perhaps, throw one leg up into the air like a sumo wrestler. But the seam of my pants would probably not stand the strain. So I rummaged in my pockets and found another five-cent piece.

Not a word from the ATM on the subject either.

And as I walked away, I saw a penny, a shiny one, lying on the ground. Feck it.

For all I know they're both still there.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Yes we finally turned into a whole flock standing last night at the bus stop in The Square with the wind howling down from Tallaght onto us. We just kind of shuffled forlornly sticking a beak out from time to time into the gale to see if *anything* was happening at the place where the double-deckers pull in to park. A woman waddled up to me and squaked:

"Are you waiting on the 311 to Rathcoole?"

"No," I croaked back. "A 49 or a 75 will do me."

"I think I see people over there who might live in Rathcoole. One was due at 17.05 and it's now 17.20," she said, shuffling off and flapping her arms slightly. I heard her say:

"Are you waiting for the 311?"

Another woman's voice said:

"I'm not sure if I am or not."

It was that kind of night. Fifty of us on an ice-flow showing no signs of melting. Everybody wearing thinsulating hats and scarves and trousers stuck to us with wind and rain coming over the mountain. A lady with a bottle of blonde hair on her head cradled a crafty cigarette behind the end of the bus-shelter, but it sent off little sparks in the night every time she pulled on it.

At last a 75 pulled in and we waddled up the steps asking for tickets through gritted teeth.

At Belgard Square West -- ten minutes later (it lies 100 yards away from the bus-stop but traffic was heavy) -- a man and woman got on, her pulling a small, two-wheeled grocery trolley behind her. They stumbled up the stairs together as the bus lurched forward and sat down somewhere behind me. I couldn't see them as my neck was frozen and wouldn't turn.

"Hello!" he shouted suddenly down a mobile phone. "I was given your number about trying to find accomodation for the night."

A few titters erupted from the youngsters near the front of the bus.

"My partner and I had gone to bed. We were going to watch Crime Scene Investigators upstairs because the reception is no good downstairs. Anyway, she was asleep and after a while I smelled smoke. I opened the bedroom door and the whole house was on fire. I got out in the clothes I was wearing. She was in pyjamas. I'm badly burned.

"We had the fire inspector out. They think it might have been electrical, but the heat had destroyed everything so they're not sure. They think it might have started in the kitchen.

"We were in the Council all morning and they've stamped our forms and everything. No, it doesn't matter..."

Aside, to her: "She says we might be separated, but it doesn't matter, does it?"

She said: "No."

He went on: "We got on a 75 bus just to get out of the cold. I'm on a mobile, so I'm not too sure of the cost. Oh! It's a Freephone number. Well, I'm not too sure how long the battery will last."

To her: "Give me a pen."

She said: "Do I look like I have a pen?"

He goes on: "Yes, I know it. 17-18 **** Street. Yes, we can go there. We should be there before 8.00pm. No, there's no drink involved or anything. I'm a bit unshaven, like, because I was burned..."

A few more arrangements were made, and he repeated the address until he knew it by heart. At the end of the call he said to his partner:
"Right. We need to get off this bus."

They hobbled downstairs, having a small argument about who was going to get the trolley out of the luggage compartment. Then they went off into the night, looking to catch a bus for town.

I suppose there are worse things than waiting 40 minutes for a bus to bring you home to your comfortable life.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A fit of turning right.

I occasionally suffer from those muscle spasms in the dead of night when you stretch and forget that unlike a pussycat you can't actually stretch your leg muscles that far and you end up with a passable impersonation (in the dark, if you're lucky) of someone doing the old soft shoe on the bedroom floor while cursing the universe quite roundly.

Last night, while lying on my back in bed, I commanded myself to turn over to the right and nothing happened. Well, that's not entirely true, because my right leg obeyed the command while nothing else did. I had the most peculiar sensation of the sinew above my right knee operating without effect. Naturally, I hopped out of the bed to find to my astonishment that my leg was still receiving the command to turn right. My right foot was quite definitely turned right. And the rest of the leg, which hadn't received the right-hand-turn command, was steadfastedly pointing to the front, no matter what everything from the knee down was doing!

Climbing upwards on the chest of drawers, I decided the best thing to do was hobble out to the bathroom, empty my bladder, and try to get the whole of my body working off the same game plan. I was not entirely sure that, standing over the lavatory bowl, I was not about to pee on the curtains (which, for your information, are [of course] to the right), but I concentrated and everything passed finely.

I figured that the most of my limbs were awake, but that my right leg was probably sleepwalking on its own. Maybe it would wake up if I gave it enough exercise between the bedroom and the bathroom and back again.

By the time I returned to bed, all limbs were again co-operating. I was very circumspect about any commands to change direction for the rest of the night.

Thank God I don't have four legs. I have trouble enough with the two.

Dodging the bullet. Or not.

We were on the hunt for a bed for our teensy teeny guest bedroom today. A couple of weekends ago we went to a particular furniture showroom and picked one out. But we had to make sure of some measurements before we could put the cash on the nail as it were, so it took until today to pay for it and confirm an order. I'm sure the salesman thought "Yeah, right!" when we said we'd go away and come back, but we did! That's €375 we won't see again in a hurry. Nor, for that matter, will we see the bed because they haven't the colour we prefer in stock. I shall await their phone call of confirmation with bated breath.

The last time we went into the furniture store four doors up "just to have a look" we ended up buying a herd of leather furniture for €4,000. I should have known better than to look in there again today, but we need some refurbished dining room chairs. Of course "refurbished" can so easily turn into "replacement". And it's a teensy teeny step from "replacement chairs" to "whole new diningroom table and chairs". (I draw the line at "whole new diningroom table and chairs" and refuse absolutely the notion of "whole new diningroom suite, including chairs, table, sideboard and lamp.")

So, we're trying to find €1,500. And I only went into the store wanting six chairs.

Now it looks like those leather covered high-backed, sprung, diningroom chairs with the brown, distressed-effect diningroom table will just *have* to be bought.

My poor wage packet.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Okay Yah Land here we come, loike.

She said: "Nioo. I've noit run away from hiome. I just don't loike being there. It's loike... everything there is loched."
He asked: "What do you mean, loike?"
She said: "They switched off my Internet conn-eh-shone. And took my mobile phoine. Loike why did they take my phoine?"

I thought: "Because they were sick of the sound of you."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Male Brain

He: "Did you see Mrs Greene's son got married? The picture is in The Echo."
She: "Who?"
He: "Mrs Greene. Years ago. The nice lady used to come in for a small drinkie to the pub when we were going out first."
She: "Don't remember."
He: "Yes you do. Big family. I used to know her sons. The second eldest just got married."
She: "Is that the picture with the v-neckline and the confrabaliddle sleeve detail on the cuff over the white-you-may-call-it bustle-a-bob?"
He: "Huh...?"

He: "Went to a wedding on Saturday."
Lots of She workmates: "What was the dress like?"
He: "Em. White...?"
He: "So Claire had a baby boy."
She: "That's nice. What weight was it?"
He: "Urrm..."
He: "Grocery shopping? No problem. What do we need?"
She: "I have a list made."
He: "Okay. If I have to look like a man sent out with a list I shall."
She: "It's a list of all the things we don't need."
He: "Eh.....???"
He: "Shoes? Shop right over here."
She: "No good. Too expensive."
He: "Okay. Another shop over here."
She: "No good. Not as good a variety as the first shop."
He: "But the first one is too expensive."
She: "So...?"
She: "I still don't understand the offside trap."
He: "Easy. If the porcelain cat gets in behind the CD rack before I kick him the cat toy he's offside."
She: "Oh I finally understand! Hang on. No I don't."
She: "Who's that?"
He: "Frodo."
She: "I thought he was Bilbo."
He: "No that's his uncle. He gave him the ring, remember?"
She: "Oh yes. I remember. Sorry..."
She: "Who is that?"
He: "Saruman the White."
She: "You mean Sauron?"
He: "No Saruman. Gandalf's boss."
She: "Gandalf has a boss?"
He: "Yes."
She: "Gollem is a hobbit?"
He: "Yes. He was a hobbit a long time ago."
She: "He doesn't look like a hobbit."
He: "No. He's very old and the ring has corrupted him."
She: "What ring?"
She: "You hate me don't you?"
He: "No. I love you."
She: "How much."
He: "T-h-i-s much."
She: "Am I ruining the movie for you?"
He: "No. That's what they invented Pause buttons for."
She: "Who's that...?"

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Long Long Way a short read for me

2007 International Impac Dublin Literary Award shortlisted author, Sebastian Barry serves up a wonderfully written story of Willie Dunne, a young Dubliner who volunteers to go to fight in World War I.

Willie's father is a police inspector from Dublin Castle whose life is filled with duty and loyalty. Willie's relationship with him is strained while away at the front and news of the aftermath of the 1916 rebellion in Dublin filters through.
The novel tells the story of an uncomplicated man in a complicated time. Its simplicity of style is beguiling, telling us only what Willie knows or hears and sharing with us the confusion of war and the experience of the ordinary man. I feel this book will be seen in later years as an important milestone in Barry's career and in Ireland's attitude to its Colonial past. Couldn't put it down.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Spanish Students in Tallaght

One of our Dublin South-West Forum members, Ana, organises one of the Spanish Students programmes in the Tallaght area. Click on the picture to view a larger version of the article, which appeared in The Echo of March 23, 2006.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Next Compromise Rules game not expected to be marred by sportsmanship

Croke Park is the venue this Sunday 5th November for the final match in the Compromise Rules series between Ireland and visitors Australia.

The first encounter last week in Galway on October 28th was entirely spoiled when both teams engaged in football. Fans were left in open astonishment as players helped each other up after tackles, swapped insurance details, and in one case proffered the use of a holiday cottage in Donegal "for as long as it takes to get better."

"This isn't what we came here to see!" said one punter in a complimentary Coca-Cola baseball cap. "How is anyone supposed to condemn the standard of the game and threaten the ending of the series next year with this carry on?"

30,000 fans visited Galway to see the gladiatorial contest bemoaned of every sports writer, but instead witnessed the Compromise Rules equivalent of an episode of Jane Eyre.

"It's foot up the arse, or nothing!" said one disgruntled fan who had travelled from County Kerry. "Sure this isn't a game at all!"

Ireland won the 1st match by a score of 48 points to 40 points. The score will be carried over to the next match on Sunday and the Compromise Rules game will be preceded by an International Shinty match between Ireland and Scotland at 11.45am.

The GAA has announced that a small number of Hill 16 and stand tickets have been returned for Sundays 2nd Test in Croke Park. They are now on sale through the GAA’s website and Ticketmaster, while stocks last.

Scraping wax from the blue thing

There's a kind of "Erkk, scritch, scritch, erkk" noise coming from the kitchen. I'm reading blogs on the PC in the dining room. The noise is starting to remind me of fingernails on blackboards.

"What'cha doin'?" I ask as sweetly as I can.

"Scraping wax from the blue thing," Herself replies, matter-of-factedly.

The blue thing is a bowl-shaped candle-holder, the type one fills with nice pebbles, water, then floating candles. We dispense with all but the candles because it looks nicer. In fact, we have a veritable temple to candles all over the sitting room. Sure it's only money burning every night, right?

"Did you hear Bush is now voted the worst president ever?" Herself asks me, between "scritch, scritch" noises.

"That's good."

"Yes it is."

I can hear the tinny sound of nightlights being dropped into bowls in the other room. At least the blue thing is now wax free.