Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Celtic sisters were doin' it for themselves!

I went to my favourite place in the whole world yesterday...Belvedere House and Gardens, just outside Mullingar. I love to walk around the picturesque lake, through the woods and in the walled garden. There was an exhibition of Celtic mythology in the reception area. Suffering from PSTS (Primary School teacher Syndrome) I just had to have a look and see if there was anything I could use in school...despite the fact that I AM ON HOLIDAY!

It was mainly the same old legends, you know the ones about ramming a sliotar own a dog's throat, killing him and then having to take his place! Or where the evil stepmother turns kids into swans and that is why it is still illegal to kill a swan in Ireland today. All the nice bedtime stories we tell to our children!

However I did encounter this fascinating legend which I hadn't heard before. In the mythological history of Ireland Ceasair was the leader of the first people to come to the country and of the first ever settlement. She is portrayed as a land goddess and her name would mean "shower of hail". It is claimed that she was the granddaughter of Noah and came to Ireland to escape the flood.

She obviously never listened to the weather forecast for here then!

She was looking for a place where no people had been before, where no evil had been committed and that was free of snakes and monsters.

Just as well she wasn't thinking of coming today!

Ceasair arrived in the Dingle peninsula in Kerry with 50 women and three men!

What????? Don't like those odds!

She then went and married one of the men, the shamen Fiontainn.

Now I'm really curious. Did the 51 women continue to share the 3 men equally....17 women to one man? Or did Ceasair get greedy and keep Fiontainn to herself and let the other 50 women make do with the two men?

I think it must have been the latter because didn't the two men up and die! It may have been due to

a) sexual exhaustion

b) nagged to death

Whatever the reason Fiontainn was now on his own. I think that if this was a story from another culture, if for example, our hero was Italian, French or Greek, he would have given it his best shot to satisfy everyone. But not our Fiontainn! He did what every Irish man does when faced with a dilemma involving women...he fled!!
Oops am I being controversial here? Tee hee!
Poor Ceasair was heart-broken and died.
It doesn't tell us how 50 lone women went on to populate this island of ours.
I like to think that there was a passing ship filled with lusty sailors who had been at sea for a year. They got shipwrecked off our coast, swam ashore, were met by the sex starved women and Bob's your uncle! The rest, as they say, is History.
However I don't think I could teach my version of how the Irish race came into being. Drat!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Going a little Gaga

This picture was drawn by my 16 year old nephew Niall. How talented is he? He obviously takes after me despite the fact that I can barely draw breath!
I was at the wrap party for our play Mauritius. I know that was ages ago, but better late than never. A discussion started about Lady Gaga, as to whether her success is due to her musical talent or her theatrics. Someone said that she has hired the creator of "Bodies-the Exhibition" for her tour. She wants to incorporate preserved corpses into her show. A heated debate ensued. People felt that there was no way of knowing whether those deceased people had agreed to take part in her show. So Lady Gag was slated for even suggesting using preserved corpses in her show.
My feelings on the matter are
Hey, Daniel O Donnell has been doing that for years and no one has complained!!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cemetery Sunday

For those of you not familiar with the Irish concept of Cemetery Sunday, it's where, once a year in the parish cemetery, prayers and devotions are said for all the people buried there. There is a two-fold reason for it.
1. It is a lovely opportunity for families to gather together and remember their loved ones.
2. It is a devious way to make sure that people look after their family plots and prevent the graveyard becoming unkempt and overgrown. This is good old Ireland. The neighbours will talk if your family plot is not up to scratch!
Ah, you can't beat peer pressure to get a job done!
I particularly liked Cemetery Sunday when I was living in Abu Dhabi. It is held the last weekend in June and that was always the week when I returned home for my summer holidays. The one thing everyone in the village has in common is a dead relative and so everyone goes. It was the perfect opportunity for me to meet up with my friends!
Now, a good friend on mine Mohammad, could not get his head around this concept at all.
"Sha'adah! You go to the cemetery to meet your friends???"
I tried to explain that this was not a regular occurrence. It just happened that the first time I met my friends when I went home, was in the local graveyard! We didn't make a habit of it. It's not like we said every week.
"Well, what will we do tonight? Oh I know. Let's meet in the cemetery."
And when I told him this story he nearly lost the plot altogether...
Everyone from the village goes to Cemetery Sunday. The cemetery itself is in a nearby village on the other end of the parish. This means that the village is empty for a few hours. A few years ago some quick thinking individuals took advantage of this and the whole village was robbed during this time. Cleaned out! There was no one left to protect it!
So now, Cemetery Sunday is the only day of the year when there is a visible garda presence in our sleepy little village!!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Haste to the wedding....

Friday morning saw me up and out of bed at the ungodly hour of 6.30am. I had a busy day ahead. It was the last day of the school year which can only mean Fancy Dress Competition and a party. But today was even crazier. The children were leaving at 12.00.Our colleague was getting married at 1.30. So only an hour and a half to beautiful oneself! Once that would have been plenty of time, but now I need a lot more hours and professional help!

Luckily my hairdresser opened her salon earlier for me so that that I could get that out of the way before school. I had my whole morning time-tabled to the last second with military precision.

I hopped out of bed and turned on the shower. The water gushed out and then.....stopped. There was a power cut!

NOOOOO! This can't be happening, not today.

But it was. And I was bricking it because I had to wash off my fake tan or I'd end up looking like an Oompa loompa.

Ok Plan B. I remembered my Granny's invaluable advice.

Wash up as far as possible. Wash down as far as possible. And then wash Possible!!!

I went to the kitchen to boil the kettle.

Dam, sure its an electric kettle and won't work.

Ok. I'll boil a saucepan on the gas.

Dam. The gas is lit by an electric spark...which isn't working.

OK. Where did I leave the matches? I searched high and low. They were nowhere to be found.

For the first time in my life I wish I was a smoker!!!

I was just about to cry when Halleluia...the power came back on.

Got to school where we had the quickest fancy dress parade and party in history!

Went to my sister's to get ready, as her house is nearer to the church. Slapped on the make-up and the new frock!

A brilliant day was had by all!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The pale moon was rising......

The wedding season is well and truly upon us. One of my colleagues is getting married tomorrow. She is marrying an ex-pupil of mine. And before you gasp in horror she is most definately not a cradle snatcher. This is more a reflection on my age.
The staffroom is a mine of information about the grooming process of the female race. We have endless discussions about the best means of plucking, waxing and tweezing oneself onto a semblence of a supermodel.
I wonder why the only two male members of staff have taken to spending their lunch breaks in the schoolyard discussing something called...the World Cup.
The weirdest piece of advice I got was about fake tanning. It seems to get the very best overall tan, you should turn your back to your beautician.....and bend over! It then gets into every nook and cranny and you have no white areas, absolutely none.
Is it just me or is that taking things too far???
Got my tan done this evening and I bet Angela, my beautician is glad that I'm prudish!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tinn sa leaba

We were doing an Irish lesson about a girl who was pretending to be sick so that she could skive off school. Her Dad let her stay in bed. She texted her friend in class but the teacher intercepted the message.....interesting day in school the next day I'd say!

G thought for a moment and then came up with a very perceptive comment

"How come you can always fool your Dad about being sick, but never your Mam?"

C then shared the story with us

"Miss, I only ever tried to get off school once by pretending to be sick. My Mam said I could stay in bed and went out of the room. I said "Yessss!!!". But my Mam heard me, rushed back into the room and shouted "Get out of that bed now and get to school."

This is a fantastic opportunity for a morality lesson. It has all the necessary ingredients - how dishonesty, laziness and disrespect for adults just doesn't pay."

"Thank you C. Now would you like to tell the class what you learned from this experience?"

" Yes Miss, I learned to keep my big mouth shut until 3 o'clock!"

And the more I thought about it, the more I realised that this was an invaluable lesson. I can think of at least two occasions when I should have kept my big mouth shut until well after lunchtime!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A bird in the hand is worth two on the windscreen

Their little beady eyes make my skin crawl. Their pointy beaks make my blood run cold. Their feathers make me queasy. They don't even have to be real birds. My mother loves to recount the story (usually at the most inopportune moment) about how she had to remove the robin figures fron the Christmas wreaths when I was a child.
Yesterday evening I was driving home when I espied a brown feathered object flying in the direction of my windscreen. It was only when I heard the thud and opened my eyes that I realised...
How could I have been so stupid? But it was a completely reflex reaction. Luckily I was driving on a country road so there was no other traffic. I was unhurt, which is more than I can say for the bird. When I looked in my rear view mirror I could see a solitary feather floating in the breeze.
I am a caring person, honest. I once cried when I caught a mouse in a trap.
Actually I apologised to the poor little critter!
But I can't feel sorry for a bird, no matter how hard I try. I bet Alfred Hitchcock could have made a pretty good sequel based on my phobia.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

We are the champions my friends.....

Today was the County final of the Schools Hurling competition. Our school had made it! The team was made up of the majority of boys from my class....and one girl! And may I say, she was the only female on the pitch, but boy did she kick ass! She took no prisoners!
After many heart stopping moments the final whistle blew and we were the winners!!! Huge excitement and celebrations.
I had absolutely no imput into their training. That was thanks to Mr Hennesy. But in hindsight I will take full credit for their win. I firmly believe that it was that session outside The Helix where they played hurling with an empty Pringles can that finely tuned their skills and was ultimately responsible for their win!! Thats my story and I'm sticking to it!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Girls Night Out....

Myself and the girls/women from the Musical society went out for the the cinema! As we approached the ticket desk you could see the cogs turning in the cashier's brain.

"Six women of a certain age. I guess it's Sex and the City then."

You should have seen the incredulous look on his face when we said,

"Six tickets for......Streetdance-3D."

I know we didn't have a hoodie or a pair of trainers between us, but age has nothing to do with dance appreciation, plus the fact that we would all "do" Ashley from Diversity!!!
I can hear Ella, Anne's daughter who was also with us, complaining that she is not one of us "aul wans". I would just like to remind you Ella, that although you may have studied dance in a London College, there was a time when you and Lynn had to dance behind myself and Emer on stage, as we were the front line dancers. Ah, those were the days...
Back to the film. The script was deplorably clichéed, the plot was lame and as for the acting....I've seen more feeling and pathos in a Junior Infant nativity play! But the dancing was dope. See I managed to pick up some of the hip street language. And I know that even using the word "hip" has renegated me to the last century, which is ok. That's only ten years ago!
As we left the cinema, we performed a few of our own dance moves down the stairs and out the door. we have already planned our next night out. Guess what film we are going to see....if they let us back into the cinema!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ode to a rubber!!

Several months ago in school, we got a letter from Navan Educational Centre. They were publishing a children's book of poetry and were wondering if we wanted to contribute to it. Our class had spent a lot of time on poetry writing, so I compiled a selection of poems from all the children and sent them off.
A few weeks ago I got word back to say that one of my girl's poem had been chosen for inclusion in the book and we were invited to its launch. It was so long ago I couldn't remember the poem, but we were all thrilled.
She could choose two friends to go with her, so off we set yesterday to the Education Centre. It was a gloriously sunny day, so us four girlies (yes I include myself in that) donned sunglasses, put the roof down on the car and set off! I was quite jealous that she was a published author already while I have nothing in print yet!
The centre was thronged and we had trouble getting a seat. Not our week for attending events! The adjudicator/poet took each child up, read a bit of their poem and made nice comments about it. When she began to quote from E's poem I could feel the blood draining from my face! It sounded soooooo different when an adult was reading it. I looked around to see what reaction the rest of the audience was having

Please let me be the only one with a dirty mind!

So this poem is now published under our school's name. It is a beautiful poem. It is written by an innocent child. If you get any other meaning from it, then it is just your dirty mind!!!

Ode to a rubber.

I'm sorry
for rubbing you so hard
On my page
it's just when I make a mistake
I get so enraged
I promise I'll be nice to you
all the time.
I hope you're not mad at me
I will now rub you gently.

All I can say is, we will use the term "eraser" next year!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A weekend away

Myself and my extended family-Mam, two sisters, a brother-in-law and a mother-in-law, went off for the weekend. Somewhere that had sunshine, blue skies and palm trees.

So it had to be......Wexford!

A family friend gave us the run of their holiday house. When I saw it I fell in love with it. I wish my fulltime house was like this, never mind my holiday one
But the best part was the bottom of the garden. At the end of it was a sand dune...

Once you went over it you were in paradise. Crashing waves and miles of sandy beach...

Oh, and some rocks......

I'd like to have some witty anecdotes to tell. Lots of funny things did happen but you had to be there to appreciate them! The bulk of the weekend was spent eating, drinking and walking the beach.

On Sunday morning my mam was worried because she didn't know what time mass was on.
I said, "No problem. Just walk on the beach. God is closer there than in any church."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A teacher's nightmare....

My class headed off to The Helix theatre in Dublin to be part of the audience in the filming of a talent show called "Who are you kiddin?" There were hundreds of children milling around. I got mine lined up and I went up to the desk to register. There was a young fella in charge. I swear I have bras older than he was!
"Hello, we are from Baconstown school"
He looked at the list, and like Santa , he checked it twice! Nope we weren't there. can't be a repeat of the Strictly Come Dancing disaster. I know it was today, as a lady actually rang us back to ask us if we could come on the afternoon of the 9th, instead of the morning. I have the right day, I know I have!

He searched again and again. I could see the sweat beginning to come out on his fervored brow. A teacher from another school came up, and encountered the same problem. It seems that "Sharon" had been in charge of the bookings but had left two weeks ago. Somehow our names had been lost in the transfer and now there where a total of 80 kids without seats. Our buses wouldn't be back for three sort us out Sonny.

After a delay of 45 mins the best they could do was give us fifteen seats each. The others could watch it via a live link in another room. It was better than nothing, just about. We put the names into a hat and I gave out the Golden tickets.

That left myself and Ms Student teacher with 30 kids who had nothing to do for three hours!. We went to the room with the live-link, but the tv was the size of an envelope. They couldn't see it or hear it, so we came out.
I managed to wrangle a free drink and small can of Pringles for everyone. And we waited......
When some of the kids got so bored they asked could they do some of their project (they had their schoolbags) I decided it was time for action.
How on earth could you do school work on a day trip????
I asked them for suggestions as to what they could do.
One redeeming fact was that the theatre is on a university campus. So it was pretty enclosed with no through traffic. A teacher's main concern is health and safety.
M thought and suggested
"Well if we had a sliotar, we could play hurling"
"What else could we use?"

When I saw them tearing after a Pringles can with hurley sticks, I thought.

An adult says " We don't have a hurling ball so we can't play hurling."

A child says " We don't have a hurling let's use a can of Pringles."

Luckily I got talking to a worker who told me there was a park and a playground just down the lane and around the corner. HAPPY DAYS. I wasn't sure how my 12 years olds would take to good old fashioned swings and slides. These were the kids who had wanted to bring their Wiis with them..
"What do you need them for?"
"What else will we do on the bus?"
"Eh, talk to each other or sing songs....."

Off we set for the playground. The kids took off once we reached the gates and proceeded to have the best hour and a half of the school year. I taught them every ancient playground game I could remember......Queenie-I-O; Hopscotch; Statues. We had relay games up and down the climbing frame, which I won. Well I did give myself a head start. It's a teacher's prerogative to cheat!

Several hours later we were on the bus home. I don't think I've ever been so exhausted. A mixture of physical exhaustion after the playground and mental stress after trying to keep 30 kids safe and entertained for so long. Kids were on high doh.

"Miss, that was brill. Can we do that again for our tour next week?"

Over my dead body!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's the real thing

I managed to do two things at once from A Girl for all Seasons. Firstly June is the season "to see and be seen at".... Ascot. Well seeing as I'm in the wrong country for that, I set off for Kilbeggan Horse Races instead!
June 6th is also the date that Coca-Cola was registered in 1889. As I was driving I ordered a Diet Coke. It came in this fab pink leopard-print can

That kinda made up for the fact that there was no vodka in it :(

Had a great day at the races, despite that fact that I only had one winner. However a fiver each way won't break me. It was the walking around in impossibly high heels that nearly broke me. Luckily I have learned over the years to have a pair of flatties in my bag.
So I started off the day in my Sex and the City shoes....

But ended the day in my Fair City shoes..

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Strawberry fields forever!

I think I am winning the Battle of the Dandelions. However, some honeysuckle had the audacity to rear its head on my lawn. So its mowing time again. Why is it that you spend ages mowing the friggin' lawn, it looks perfect....and then 10 days later you have to do it all again? I also have the same problem with housework!

To make the chore easier I bought myself some funky wellies. Granted they were probably sitting on the shelf in the shoeshop thinking that their next stop would be a muddy music festival somewhere.

Sorry to disappoint you, but I don't do portaloos! It's my back lawn for you, I'm afraid!

When I showed my wellies to my sister, she just said

"They're so you"

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Abu Dhabi Do

Headed off to see Sex and the City. I was a late-comer to the whole SATC experience. When the series first started it was banned from being shown where I was living, which just happened to be....Abu Dhabi! It's ironic that the film is now set there. I know it was filmed in Morocco. If the "powers that be"wouldn't show a programme with the word Sex in the title, they would hardly allow it to be filmed there. However, it was very authentic-looking. The only thing they got wrong was the Souk. That was definitely a Moroccan bazaar. The souk in Abu Dhabi burned down while I lived there, a total coincidence I hasten to add! They rebuilt it indoors and now it looks like Liffey Valley!

I went to the cinema with my friend who lived in Abu Dhabi the same time as myself. It was a trip down memory lane. While every other woman was gasping over the fashions, we kept saying

"Oh, look at the white and gold taxis".
"I remember those dirhams"

While we were coming out, lots of the women were saying,"That was a bit far-fetched. There is no way it could be like that in real life".

All I can say is "Oh yes it is!"

A friend of mine, Alexa was teaching the sheik's daughter and she was invited to her 16th birthday party. She invited me along. It was certainly a different experience..... a party with no alcohol and no men! We were worried that our clothes wouldn't be suitable so we went out specially to buy some ultra conservative outfits, long sleeves/long skirt/high neckline.
Off we went to the you do! It was absolutely amazing. There was a tree growning up through the middle of the bathroom! Mine just has mildew!
Alexa and I blended in nicely with the abaiya-clad women...until the party girl arrived with her mother, the Sheika. Then, just like in the film, the abaiyas were whipped off. It was all designer gear that lay underneath. And there was quite a bit of cleavage on show. Alexa and I looked like two grannies :(
The Sheika came around to welcome everyone. Her dress was like the famous or is that infamous?) Elizabeth Hurley safety-pin dress. I couldn't take my eyes off her cleavage, not that I have lesbian tendancies! It was just that she was wearing a necklace with the largest diamond I had ever seen. You know the diamond from the film The Titanic?

Well this one was the size of the iceberg!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Whistle while you work!

, There is a new student teacher in our school. She is young, slim, beautiful and blonde. Did I mention young?
Last week my class were performing in Baconsvision. It is our version of Eurovision. The kids can take the air of any song that they know, but they have to change the lyrics completely. This year some of them would have given the real Eurovision entrants a run for their money. Anyway, when Ms Student Teacher came into the hall with her class, my whole class of 12 year old boys hit puberty at the same time. They started nudging each other and giggling. My boys were giggling!
Get your hormones back in your pockets!

Today I had to have a chat with them.
"Boys, I have heard that some of you were wolf-whistling at the new teacher".

A few of them looked a bit sheepish...or rather they looked like little wolves in sheep's clothing.
"If you are not going to whistle at me, then you are not allowed whistle at anyone else!"

J looked at me and said
"In that case we won't be wolf-whistling again."
Success, but at a self esteem!