Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"There's no show like a Joe show"

My friend Lorna has been in the wars! She broke her wrist while at Oxygen festival this year. When we heard, we shook our heads in disbelief.

Serves her right for still going to music festivals at our age!!!!

However it was not as it seems. She was working, entertaining company clients in the hospitality tent. She slipped on some mud on the wooden floor and hence the broken wrist. As she so rightly pointed out, if she had been drinking out in the muddly field, she would have fallen, bounced straight back up, and not even broken a sweat. The moral of the story is

Avoid broken bones by never growing up!

Next stop....hip replacements!

She was down home for the day, so we went mooching around the shops in our local town of Mullingar. As we walked across the market square in a rare bout of sunshine, the seats outside Canton Casey's pub beckoned us.

"We'll have one wee drink, we are on holiday."
Okay, so only one of us is on holiday, the other is on sick leave. Even more cause for a cool beer.

We sat, sipping our drink and watching the tourists getting their photo taken with the statue of Joe Dolan, which takes pride of place in the market square.

For those of you who are from another country/planet, Joe Dolan is the most famous son of Mullingar. He was an international singer, whose career spanned several decades. His funeral was one of the largest ever seen in the area. Bus loads of people came from all over the country. In fact it is said that so many people visited his grave and took a handful of clay as a momento, that he was almost dug up again. A security guard had to be put guarding his grave!

As we sat looking at them we realised that we had never had our photo taken with our Joe. As I always have my trusty camera with me, we soon rectified that situation!
And just to prove that you can do nothing unnoticed in a small town, we had no sooner gotten down from the little statue podium when I had a text from a passing friend of ours

"What are you two ejjits doing taking your photos with Joe? Who do ye think ye are....feckin' tourists????

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's all in the mind

It was with much trepidation that I eventually went to see "Inception". Last week we had even gotten as far as the cinema foyer. We stared up at the posters but couldn't decide what to go to see. "Inception" was the best option, but we were all too tired and world-weary for it. It felt like going into an exam, knowing you hadn't studied for it. But the beauty of this, was that we actually didn't have to go in if we didn't want! So off we toddled for something to eat instead!
I had recollections of Vanilla Sky, that awful Tom Cruise film. I sat through it, really concentrating but still hadn't a bull's notion what was going on. About three-quarters of the way through, I just gave up. It wasn't worth the effort. An hour and a half of my life wasted, never to be retrieved.
This week I was ready! Bring it on. I was nearly going to bring a notebook to jot down a few details in case there were questions afterwards!
But it was brilliantly done. Near the beginning Leonardo had to explain the rules of dream sharing to one of the characters who knew nothing about it.
In other words, the director was saying "Listen here, audience, this is what you need to know before I can get on with the plot!
I loved it, loved it, loved it! It was so far-fetched and over the top....and yet it all made perfect, logical sense within "the rules".........and as for the zero-gravity fight, wow! When the final scene ended, the whole theatre just let out a collective "AH!"
I am fascinated with anything to do with the dreaming and the power of the mind. I have experienced many cases where I know I just have enough money left for the ESB bill, groceries and mortgage. And yet my mind can convince me that I need, nay, must have that new handbag/pair of shoes. Amazing!
I left the cinema feeling that I had just sat Honours Leaving Cert Maths, but very happy with myself because I had gotten an A!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A toy no single woman should be without!

Being a single woman there was one vital task that I felt I could not complete properly without the assistance of a man. But there wasn't always one around when I needed him. So I have just purchased a miracle new toy to do it for myself!

It runs on batteries and vibrates at a remarkable speed. It has a long and pulsating shaft. In case of over use, it comes with a five year guarantee. I had wanted one in pink but it wasn't available. Regardless of its colour, the nice man in the shop said it would keep my bush under control and in good shape. Girls, do yourself a favour. Don't depend on the man in your life to step up to the mark every time.

Buy yourself a

Bosch AHS 41 ACCU Hedge Trimmer!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hell's Kitchen....

During the week we had a girlie night in to watch the finale of "The Tudors"....mmm, Jonathon Rhys Myres, wine and nibblies. What more could a girl want? My sister-in-law, Marese was very thoughtful of my dieting requirements and brought a box of Weight Watchers Lemon muffins, at only 1/2 point each!

Programme was about to start so I went to the kitchen to open the wine and the muffins, and I got a shock!
The box was full of packets of white powdery substances.
What? Has Marese turned into a drug-dealer???
PHEW! Nothing so dramatic. It was a box of muffin mix. The muffins were still in packets and needed to be baked. Well "baked" is perhaps too strong a word. It involved adding water and popping them in the oven for 10 minutes. However time was of the essense. It was a toss up between cooking in the kitchen or watching JRM in the living contest.

So we actually saved WW points by not eating any muffins...and promptly spent them on guzzling wine! Well I'd hate to get too skinny too quickly!

The next day I took to the kitchen to do the baking. Oh my God, no wonder there was only 1/2 point in each muffin...they were TINY! Here is one with my thumb, not Shrek's thumb!

They tasted lovely. However I had to eat the 12 of them to fill me, so that kinda defeated their purpose!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Big Phat Turkish Wedding!

The best day of our Turkish holiday has to be the day that Jenny got married!
We went for breakfast (ok so it was brunch) in Foleys Bar. As we mulled over our egg and sausages, we wondered what the day would bring. Someone ( I have no idea who) came up with the suggestion that one of us should get married. Seeing as Marese and Gwen are married (not to each other,mind you!), that limited it to Emma, Jenny and myself. As Jenny is the award winning actress she was the obvious choice! The waiters overheard us....and suddenly the whole adventure took legs and ran around the place!! Mustafa, who had the hots for Jenny anyway, was to be the lucky groom.

The waiters drew up their list

  • venue
  • decorations
  • cake
  • priest...who just happened to double as the bare-chested, fire juggling barman!
  • wedding singer....thanks Charlie!

Us girlies were then responsible for

  • dress
  • veil
  • bridesmaids outfits
  • ring

The time was set for 8.30pm that very evening, so time was of the essence. We were all reved about it at this stage and we kinda forgot that it wasn't for real!First task was The Dress! We went into the first little kookie dress shop on the street.

Shall we go with the Vera Wang or the Alexander McQueen?

There were a couple of white sundresses hanging up. Jenny tried on the first one.

It was nice, but not wow!

I have heard it said that when you try on your perfect wedding dress, you will know it immediately. As I have no experience of this I will take your word for it. But when Jenny appeared from behind the curtain that served as a dressing room, wearing the second dress, we all had a sharp intake of breath and said

Ahh, that's it! Perfect.

It definately had a touch of Vera Wang about it.....and for only 15 euro! Score.

When the shop assistant heard that it was for a wedding, she got so enthusiastic, that she gave Jenny a good luck elephant as a present for her "new home". We had a pang of guilt, but we couldn't spoil her day by telling her the truth.

Next stop was a veil. We found it in the next shop. We couldn't find fascinators for the bridesmaids, but we did find four lovely headbands. Last item on our list was a ring. Jenny was planning on buying herself a ring anyway so it wasn't really an added expense. The jeweller was very helpful. The ring was too big and he said he could have it resized by 8.00. Jenny was distraught and said

"But I'm getting married at 8.30!"

"No problem I can have it at 6.oo".

You wouldn't get that service in Tiffany's!

Of course, Mustafa needed a ring as well. The jeweller produced a cheap but very suitable man's ring. Not only that, when he heard what it was really for, he put it in a box, wrapped it up and put a bow around it. The wrapping probably cost more that the actual ring. There was another Irish customer in the shop who was fascinated by what was going on. He said that he would love to come to the wedding but he didn't bring a suit with him on holiday! We reassured him that the dresscode was "smart casual" and he was more than welcome at Foleys at 8.30!

Time was moving on at this stage. So off to the hairdressers for hair, make-up and vodka! Again, there was fierce excitement when they heard that there was to be a wedding! Books were taken out and hairstyles were discussed! Ibrahim's wife was also a beautician so that was that sorted. It was when the door opened and a professional photographer came in to take our pictures that we began to panic a bit. Ibrahim had called him as he wanted photos for advertising.

We are probably in this month's issue of "Hello Turkey".

Jenny looked stunning every bit the Turkish bride!

I just get over the fact that no-one thought it was strange that she could be getting married in an hour after only meeting her "groom" three days previous. But then I suppose we have all heard the weird stories of women running off with Turkish waiters, so it could have been true!

Back to the apartments for the final preparations. Once Bridie and bridesmaids were ready, off we headed for the bar. Luckily we only had a short walk down the street. What a sight greeted our eyes. The whole place was decorated with balloons and flowers!

When they saw us coming, the waiters made a guard of honour down the stairs for Mustafa to make his grand entrance, bedecked in his black Foleys shirt and a glittery dickie bow.

I don't think I have ever laughed so much in my life. We had everything...the exchange of vows, the cutting of the cake and the first dance! I ended up having to do the vows. I think Fr. Mc Dreamy might have singed his hair (chest, not head) during his act. The vows were particulary moving, even if I do say so myself.

Do you Jenny, promise to love, honour and disobey your husband all the days of

While they were having their first dance, a man came over to me to ask if it was for real.

"Of course it is." At this stage, I really did believe that it was.

"Just seeing them so happy together, makes me realise the problems that I have in my marriage"

I've heard chat up lines in my life, but that wins the prize!

The festivities went on til a million o'clock. We just kept reminding Jenny


Many thanks to Mustafa and the staff of Foleys for being such

wonderful sports and joining in completely with us five mad women.

As Gwen said the next day

"This will never not be funny!"

Random fact #1

Did you know that it is impossible to remove the euro coin from a shopping trolley, while wearing false nails?
Fact: As proven by myself, while standing in the spills of rain in Dunnes Stores carpark, on Sunday 18th July 2010.
And to the next person to get my trolley with the aforementioned coin still in it, I say
"You are more than welcome to it!!!"

Friday, July 16, 2010

Heart of a saint

Nestled in the heart of our little community is a monastery run by the Order of St. Camillus. When I was a child, it was a boy’s boarding school. During the summer holidays all us children of the parish could use the swimming pool. That is where I learned to swim. (Up to 80 lengths…in case you forgot!) It is now a nursing home where they do fabulous work looking after the sick.
There was great excitement in the area as for only the third time in 400 years the Vatican was allowing the heart of St. Camillus to leave Rome and it was coming to Killucan for four days.
St. Camillus was born in Italy in 1550. His early life was spent as a mercenery soldier who was also an inveterate gambler.
I like a saint who has a bit of experience of real life!
One day he converted to God and decided to enter the Franciscan Order. Some years later, while in hospital due to illness, he was appalled at the way the sick were treated. So he founded a new order of like-minded men, and became renowned for his hands-on charity towards the sick. He is now the patron saint of the sick, health care workers....and gamblers.
A very full portfolio, even for a saint!
His heart never decayed, and can now be seen enshroud in a glass and gold case, which was now in Killucan.This event was carried on the national news, where we had a game of “spot the local” on the tv! Everyone from far and wide was coming to see it….everyone, that is, except me!

One difficulty I have with the Catholic Church is its obsession with suffering, death and body parts! When you stop and think about it, we believe that when we receive the Eucharist, we are actually eating the flesh and blood of a person (albeit, its Jesus, but still….) And then we wonder why early Christians were persecuted by the Romans, who feared this new cannibalistic cult that was starting up? Would the same thing not happen today?
Anyway, despite the fact that I am skeptical about going to see someone’s heart, I have every respect for people who do find comfort and hope in it. And I’m sure that if I was in dire need, I would do and believe in anything to remedy it.
I met my sister Geraldine for lunch. She was saying that she had gone the previous evening and had found the whole occasion very moving. One of the main reasons for this is because of the church in which it was displayed. My Dad built this church several years ago and he was so proud of it.

Of course, he didn't build it by himself! He was the contractor...but it was still his pride and joy.
The steeple is made of glass, which leaves the whole building bright,airy and very calming. I remember the day the cross was being placed on the top. It went through a pane of glass and the whole lot had to be repaired. I'm sure Dad uttered several prayers over it that had no place in a church! This is the place where I feel closest to Dad. When I want to talk to him I don't go to his grave, I go to "his" church.
So on the way home I decided to call in for a visit. I couldn't believe the crowds that were there. I heard later that an average of 4000 people visited it everyday over the four days. As our little parish only has a population of less than 1000, people had obviously travelled from far and near.
I had to park away from the monastery and walk in the rain. When I got to the church, the queue was out the door and down the hill. I was grumbling away to myself.

My feet are all wet. I'll catch my death of cold. Bah, humbug!

Just then, a woman about my age, asked if she could pass through the queue, as she was wearing a full back brace and was unable to stand for any length of time. Boy did I not feel like a complete bitch?

It was fascinating listening to all the stories of the people around me. They were all experiencing pain and suffering, but all had great faith in St. Camillus. The chat stopped when we reached the door of the church and peace descended. Only for it to be shattered by.....the ringing of my mobile phone:( I nearly got sick on the spot as I rummaged around in my bag to switch it off. It reminded me of Father Ted where Fr.Ted and Fr. Dougal keep ringing that priest at the most inopportune times, like when he is skiiing down the black slope or being the target in a knife-throwing event. I eventually got the dam thing turned off. I apologise profusely to anyone who was there. It certainly wasn't done on purpose.
I continued on my winding way up to the altar. I had no idea what the protocol was for venerating a heart so I just followed everyone else's example. When I reached the case, I touched it, blessed myself and filtered out.

I can't say that seeing the heart had any major effect on me. But seeing the devotion and beliefthat everyone else had in it, certainly did. I left the monastery determined to change my ways and to stop being such a spoilt, selfish self-centered cow and that in itself is a miracle!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Turkish Delight

I haven't been posting for the past while as I have been busy being up to all sorts of no good in Turkey! My brother and his wife were so good as to purchase an apartment in Mahmutlar, near Alayna, back in the golden age of the Celtic Tiger. It is now my third time to go there and
This year my sister-in-law Marese, my niece Emma and myself jetted off

Please note how fresh-eyed and healthy we to compared to when we return!

We were joined by my two friends Jenny and Gwen. I was a little worried for a moment as I was the link between the two groups who had never met before. But I needn't have. We got along like a house on fire. In fact we had little challenges everyday


Day 1: Get chatted up. Successful, come on this is Turkey.

Day 2: Get engaged. Successful, well done Emma.

Day 3: Get married. Successful, congratulations Jenny. More on this story later!!!

Day 4: Last 10 minutes without laughing. Failure. We just couldn't manage it!

At Dublin airport before we left, we went to the Foreign Exchange to get our Liras. Nice man behind the counter said
"Here you are. Now keep your receipts as then you return you can change what you have left back into euro without commission."

We fell about the place.

Ah, bless him. Is he having a laugh? Bring money back???

There are so many adventures we had, that I will have to take it in instalments to recount them all! any time I have nothing to talk about from Ireland I will tell one, which should be quite often.

Every afternoon our hair would be all over the place because of sweat (oops I mean perspiration!) oils and water. So we would head over to the hairdressers where you could get a wash and blow dry...up style, down style over style, whatever you wanted, all for 5 euro!! But the best part was the fact that the bar-staff from Healy's bar, across the road would come in to take our order. They would then return balancing our vodkas and bacardis on a tray. I've never gotten tipsy in a hairdressers before!

The little guy who did my hair reminded me of Justin from Ugly Betty. The first day as he was finishing my hair he said
"You big for girl.'
"You big for girl."
I was about to hit him when I realised he was saying
"You beau-ti-ful girl."
On our last evening there he said
"You live in Tores bes?" which means Tower Five
He thought for a moment and said
"My weight. Your home"
I thought to myself "Why is he telling me he weighs five stone. He must be at least five and a half!"
I smiled and said yes.
His little eyes lit up and he said
"Really. My weight. Your home?"
I suddenly realised he was saying
"I will wait at your home for you later on tonight"

Come off it Sunshine. You remind me of Justin!!!

It couldn't happen anywhere else!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Old Maid

According to "A Girl for all Seasons" July is all about weddings. An article called "Love's Telegraph" in the first edition of etiquette manual Enquire Within explained
"When a lady is not engaged she wears a hoop diamond on her first finger; if engaged, on her second; if married, on her third; and on the fourth if she intends to die a maid."
This got me thinking. Does any woman intend to die an old maid? Is it not something that just happens? I can't imagine a little girl dreaming about being an old maid in her later years. It's more about white dresses, veils and a Prince Charming!
And what's with the term "old maid" or even worse "spinster". Bachelor has a nice ring to it, evoking images of freedom, boozy nights out and desperate women flinging themselves at you. Spinster, on the other hand, conjures up images of grey hair, cats and knitting!
A few years ago I was setting an English summer test. The pupils had to give the feminine noun to go with the corresponding masculine one. For the last one I decided to make it difficult to really test my little 12 year olds! I put down bachelor and waited to see what answer I would get. As I suspected, most were left blank.
Apart from Gerard who wrote down virgin opposite it....and then crossed it out! Bless him, I had to give him the mark, as he was in for enough disappointment in later years!!!
Another time, I was preparing 7 year olds for their First Holy Communion. We were reciting the Hail Mary
Blessed Mary, ever virgin
when I was asked the question
"Miss, what is a virgin?"
Of course you have to answer age appropriately, so I thought for a moment and said
"It's a woman who's not married." Enough information.
Quick thinking, Noeleen. It's both age and era appropriate.
"So Miss, that means you're a virgin?"
"Ok class. Time for lunch. Put away your Religion books!"
And I just know that when the parents asked their children the daily question
"And what did you learn in school today?"
They all replied
"Oh, Teacher told us she was a virgin"
And the parents all said
"Yeah, right!"