Monday, August 30, 2010

Come into my parlour........

While I was away on holiday, my house alarm went off for the first time ever. Raharney is not exactly a crime-ridden ghetto, but there was a house burglary in the area last week. My neighbours from across the road came to check around, saw nothing wrong, but still rang my brother to come and check inside.


Very apprehensively, Finian entered the house. Thankfully nothing was amiss. Having consulted the code on the alarm he located the source of the problem.......
A spider had built a web in front of a sensor in the hallway. The vibrations caused by a trapped fly had caused the alarm to go off!
This proves that either my alarm is VERY sensitive or I am cultivating a herd of gigantic spiders.

What is the collective name for spiders??


Spent my first evening home dusting, dusting, dusting.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Back Handed Compliments

One of the things I really like about Turkey is how friendly the people are. I am quite aware that this is part of their jobs, but they go above and beyond the call of duty. They are very complementary, well most of the time. I like to think that the following stories are due to crossed wires in translation.
One night I went to the restaurant. Mustafa gave me the customary kiss on both cheeks and said
"You look very sexy tonight. What happened?"
Eh, I didn't think I looked that bad on other nights!!!

On another occasion we were being persuaded by Sanders, another Turkish waiter, that we should go to Klass, a local nightclub/den of iniquity. I have seen the clientele that go there and Klass is a very good name for it....they were about the same age as the kids i teach in my class back home!
I declined graciously
"Thanks but no. Its not really my age group"
"Oh but you are wrong. Lots of old people go there."
Still gave it a miss!

However, it was not just the Turks we had a communication problem with. One night we met Paddy from Dublin. Now foreigners may think that all Irish accents are the same.
THEY ARE NOT!
Paddy sat down opposite us and we had a great chat. Well Paddy did. For a lot of it Emma and I just smiled, nodded and said "Really", but not having a clue what was going on. After about twenty minutes Paddy asked me
"Are ya rearin?"
"Pardon?"
"Are ya rearin?"
"Sorry. I don't know what you mean."
"Are ya rearin? Do ya have any kids?"
"Oh, I see what you mean. No I don't"
"Do ya have a man?"
"No, not at the moment."
"Why not? See you. You're a good lookin woman"
Then he thought for a moment and said
"But I'd say you'd be a c*** to live with."

He didn't mean it as an insult. He was just making an observation. And the more I thought about it...
You know what Paddy. You may only know me twenty minutes, but I think you have summed me up perfectly!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

E.R Turkish style

Despite spraying ourselves with foul smelling insect repellent (that could stop an elephant in its tracks) Emma still managed to get two nasty mosquito bites on her ankle. Then when she got a large swelling above her knee I decided that it was time to go to the Medical Centre. When she protested a little, I said

“Listen. I know it’s every woman’s dream to be like Cheryl Cole, but let’s not go down the malaria route!”

We were a little worried about what we would find there. You tend to think that these countries are less developed than ours and so their medical service will be appalling. Well.......I wish Mary Harney would take a visit out here and see what service they supply.

The building was like a hotel. The reception area had plush comfy armchairs which we had barely time to seat our bums on, as we were seen immediately.

No waiting on hard plastic chairs here for six hours until you’re finally seen by an intern who has been working for 36 hours....or something ridiculous like that!

We were ushered into Dr.Fahi’s consultancy room. Again, thumbs up to the interior decorator. He arrived in, all Adonis like....big chocolate brown eyes and sweeping black hair. I was immediately brought back to my Mills and Boon romantic novel days. All he needed was a square jaw line and he was complete!

He examined Emma’s lumps and bumps and diagnosed that she also had an allergic reaction to just about everything. She needed a drip to clear the blood infection. All of this was directed at me but we were used to this by now. Everyone here assumes that I am Emma’s mother and that she is about 16 years old...not what any 22 year old wants to hear! However I try to convince her that there will come a time, and not too far away, when she will be delighted to look 6 years younger than she actually is.

Off we went to room no.3. This had two comfy beds and a plasma tv. Emma lay on one (the bed, not the TV) and the nurse came in to attach her up to the drip. This is when things took a turn for the worst. She put in the first needle to take blood for tests. (The results of which we got in an hour, as opposed to a week......Mary, once again take note!)

Then the nurse put in the drip needle. I was sitting on the other bed, chatting to Emma to keep her mind off things. I got a bit worried when the nurse made an “oops” face. There was quite a flow of blood out of Emma’s arm onto the sheet.

That’s not supposed to happen.

Blood stopped flowing and things returned to normal. Until cleaner came into the room and started to berate the nurse. We took it, it was over the state of the sheet.

I had a little lie down on the opposite bed while we waited for the drip to take its course. Within 20 minutes the bites and allergies had disappeared.

On the way home we went into Foleys Bar, well we just couldn’t pass it. We were telling our story to them. Adam, the head waiter, was raging about the needle and said that we should have gone to him! As he was in command of a group of soldiers when he was in the army, he was trained to give injections, as they were stationed up the mountains....and someone had to be able to do it. In fact, he proudly explained, he now gives injections to all the bar staff when they need them!

We had visions of going to our doctor back home and saying

“Ah Doctor, I don’t need the flu injection this year. Didn’t I get it from the barman last night!”

The next day we had to return to the Medical Centre to check that all was well. Dr. Fahi pronounced that all was practically clear. Emma just needed an injection to completely get rid of it. He smiled, left the room, and in came that nurse again.

I looked at Emma, Emma looked at me and we both mouthed at the same time

“Where is Adam when you need him!”

Can I take a picture of that for my blog????

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mahmutlar's Next Top Model

As the sun was going down, we headed across the road to our hairdressers. We hadn’t see them since the night of Jenny’s “wedding” last month when we created quite a stir.

I wonder if they’ll remember us.

Did they what! When we walked in the door we were greeted like celebrities. There was a loud shout of delight.

Well I hope it was delight! It could have been

“Here are those bitches who pretended to be going to a wedding”. But I don’t think so!

Our hands were shook with vigour, smiles were beamed at us and there were lots of wild gesticulating of arms. Ibrahim was saying something but we couldn’t understand. He then ran over to the counter and produced his new advertising flyer.

Who did it feature only US on Jenny’s wedding day!!!!!

It seems our faces are now circulating all over Mahmutlar and Alanya as the ideal bridal look!

Fame at last!




Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lord of the Dance


Emma and I were sitting in Foley’s Bar quietly sipping our unnaturally blue cocktails. I was wondering about such important things as

Who won the Hurling match between Tipperary and Waterford?

Ah, you can take the girl out of Ireland but you can’t take Ireland out of the girl!

I asked one of the Turkish waiters, cos like he’d know! He didn’t, but never one to leave you disappointed, he said

“I’ll ask our boss Des Foley. He is over here for a few days. He likes the matches.”

Before I could utter a word he returned with Des in tow.

Flashback to two summers ago......

All my family were out on holiday and we were having a mighty time in Foleys. Des Foley was over that time too with a large group. A little bit of a Dance-Off started between the Turks and the Irish. The Turkish waiters performed a very intricate folk dance that involved lots of weaving in and out, waving of arms and lots of guttural cheers. Us Irish couldn’t let them away with that!

I have no idea how it came about but myself and Des ended up doing a performance of Riverdance.

Actually “performance” is too strong a word, it was more like an “interpretation”.....and a very loose one at that!

We one-two-threed, swung around, high-kicked for all we were worth, legs flailing independently from our bodies a la Michael Flately. We finished to the tumultuous applause of our adoring audience.

Or maybe it was shrieks of laughter, I can’t really remember!

The next day, when we returned to Foley’s, I was met with the question

“What on earth did you do to Mr. Foley last night?”

“Why?”

“He was taken to hospital last night with a dislocated hip!”

The poor man! I hadn’t seen him since.....until now, that is.

He was shaking our hands and said

“Don’t I know ye from somewhere?”

“Eh, yes. Do you remember doing Riverdance a few years ago? That was me....”

“Jaysus, is it yourself? Sure wasn’t I out of action for a month after that!”

I was a little worried about how he was going to react to someone who had contributed to such an injury But I needn’t have worried. He called to a waiter and said

“Get these girls a drink!”

Had a great auld chat (Tipperary won, in case you're interested!). We have been invited to his pub back in Ireland for another session. It should be mighty craic but we’ll go easy on the Riverdancing though..

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Good,the Bad and the Ugly


As my brother was kindly leaving us to the airport, I arrived at his house at the ungodly hour of 7 in the morning. Roxy (my car) was spending her hols there as I was afraid of what she would get up to if I left her on her own at my house for two whole weeks!

There were a few moments of panic on the journey up, as we kept running into patches of thick fog.

OMG. What if our flight is grounded because of that dammed fog?

A discussion ensued as to why a plane can fly through clouds using radar despite the fact that the pilot can’t see in front of him, yet that doesn’t apply to fog, which is technically only very low cloud? I suppose it is handy to be able to see the runway!!!

Flight took off an hour late. Emma and I had the seats in the very last row. I wasn’t happy with this for two reasons.

a) Sometimes the back seats are very cramped. Not the case here. There were only two seats instead of three and we actually had more room.

b) The back of the plane is reserved for ugly people! Anyone who has seen Lost will testify to this. Series One was all about the passengers in the front end of the plane, namely Jack, Kate and Sawyer. Beautiful people. In Series Two they met up with the poor unfortunates who had been in the rear of the plane....all ugly!

Now I don’t expect that I should be in the very front row but I like to think that I should be seated around row 17!

We definitely took the Bog road to Turkey. Maybe it was because we were at the back of the plane but there were a lot of unfamiliar noises. We were only speeding down the runway before take off and Emma looked at me and said

“That sounds like the engine fell out!”

“Well, lucky it did while we are still on the ground. We’d be in right trouble if it did in five minutes time when we’re airbound”

There was a serious amount of turbulence. I’m not a nervous passenger at all but there were a few Lost moments! I don’t mind it when the plane goes up and down a few times, but I begin to get wary when it starts to roll from side to side.

That’s it. We’re going to crash and I’m going to be one of the Uggers!

One airhostess was definitely missing on the day that they gave the lecture on Customer relations. She was the rudest hostess I ever encountered. I asked for tea at one stage. She gave me a paper cup full of boiling water, a teabag and a swizzle stick. I swizzled....and then didn’t know where to put the used bag. (tea...not airhostess) Being a considerate person, I took out the sick bag and put it there to prevent staining the tray/floor/me! When she came back she looked in horror. I tried to explain that I hadn’t vomited into it, I just had nowhere else to put the teabag because she hadn’t given me anything! She tutted like Skippy and stormed off.

Employee of the Month, then Ted!

Despite threat of fog, Ugger seats, turbulence and Attila the Hun nothing could dampen our spirits. We arrived at the apartment, dropped the bags, had a quick shower and headed out on the town.

TO BE CONTINUED......


Friday, August 13, 2010

The Monica Guide to Packing.

Oh my bags are packed,I'm ready to go!


One of my favourite parts of any holiday is the packing. No, I'm not being sarcastic, I really do love it. Which is a good thing, seeing as I was an ex-pat for five years and that involved a lot of packing. So I am now adept at packing not just for short weekly or fortnightly holidays, but I can also cram 10 months worth into a check-in case and a cabin bag. Not bad for a high maintenance gal!


The fun starts a week before I leave. The empty suitcase is placed on the bedroom floor. I start with night wear (as in going-out clothes, not nighties!) I try on everything I want to wear including assessories, taking it night by night! I am now going to confess something that I've never told a single soul. I have a small diary in which I write everything down! Oh God, even saying it now makes me wonder if I have OCD or maybe OPPD ( Overly Particular Packing Disorder).


I am not so bad, that I can't deviate from my plan. If, for example, I want to wear something on Monday night, but I have it down for Thursday night, I CAN DO IT!!!! I see it as an outline rather than a cast-iron plan.


I not only do this for night-time ensembles but also for daytime ones!! However I want to make a case in my defence before I am hauled away by the men in white. There is a logical reason for this seemly irrational behaviour, honest!


When I was packing for months on end, weight was of the essence (my suitcase, not me, thank God!). I would only bring something if it went with at least three other things in my case, thus making numberous outfits. Shoes and bags had to be neutral colours so they went with everything.


As a result, I can pack a fully co-ordinated suitcase which ensures that no entire outfit is repeated throughout the duration of the holiday.......all for under 16kgs! Now there is a feat not many women was achieve.


Michael O Leary would love me!


It fact I am so good at it, family members have gotten me to pack for them before they jet off. I LOVE DOING IT! I wonder if there is an opening for a little business here. I mean, there are companies who will pack up your house contents and ship them off. I could do your wardrobe for you! Now there's a thought.


My case is packed and I'm ready for Turkey.


There is still one aspect of packing that flumoxes me..


How come that, even if you buy nothing on holidays, your clothes won't fit back into the case they came in? Do they mate and multiply in the heat???

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ocean's Eleven

Painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat


On the 12th August 1988 Jean-Michel Basquiat, the graffiti artist in Warhol's circle, died of a drug overdose. I am not familiar with his work, if the truth be known I'd never even heard of him before today. I have of course heard of Warhol. Just wondering when my 15 minutes of fame is going to come along.

When I was living in Abu Dhabi, one of the sheiks loaned his paintings, which included several Warhol pieces for an exhibition in The Cultural Foundation. Art exhibitions and concerts were a bit thin on the ground. As the city of Abu Dhabi was only thirty years old at the time the most historic building there must have been Marks and Spencers!

So Alexa and I headed in to see the exhibition. When we entered the hall the first thing that struck me was that there was no one there.....and I mean no one, not even a security guard! i almost expected to see tumbleweed blowing down the hall. As we passed the reception table we saw some papers lying there. So we had a little nose, as you do! It read
#1 blah blah blah $1,000,000
#2 blah blah blah $5,000,000
#3 blah blah blaheddy blah $8,000,000
and the list went on and on.

We stared at each other opened-mouthed. I have never been that close to such wealth! This must be how Aladdin felt when he wandered into The Cave of Wonders.
But to really cap it all, I saw that the two emergency doors at the end of the hall were wide open !

Within seconds I had the heist of the decade planned in my head. Ocean's Eleven here I came. I would get a van to back up to the open doors, a gang of us would jump out and clear the place in a matter of seconds and then speed off into the horizon. We even had perfect disguises at the ready. Even though we didn't have to wear muslim dress, we all had an abaya in our wardrobes....in case we were invited to a palace or something! So who needed balaclavas?But why didn't we do it? For exactly the same reason no one else would even attempt it either.......the punishment if caught. As far as I can see, everyone is quite attached to their hands,legs,heads or whatever and wishes to remain so!
The forms of punishment in some parts of The Middle East are barbaric and yet I'm afraid to say it but I think that in some cases they may have an incy,weency, miniscule point.

In Ireland over the past few years there have been some horrendous crimes carried out against the most vunerable members of our society, namely the elderly who live alone. Thugs looking for quick cash for drugs break into their houses and threaten them with boiling water, beat them up, rape and torture them for where they think they have hidden their life savings. Several elderly people have actually been murdered in their own homes for a few euro. Those who survive live the rest of their lives in absolute terror of it happening again. These people who have worked hard all their lives and deserve to live their final years in comfort, end up living in a self-made prison afraid to open their doors to anyone.

The law in Ireland can be crazy. It is only last month that a law was passed to say that you could defend yourself in your home if you were attacked....yippey dodah! Up until that, an intruder could sue you if he fell on your property and injured himself. Please!
They know that the law is more on their side that the victims. And even if these b******s are caught they know that all they will get is a few years in prison or even more unfair, a suspended sentence.

I know its not very Christian of me, but I can't help thinking that just one little beheading would make the rest of this scum think twice about doing this again.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny....


I'm suppose to be writing this blog based on "A girl for all seasons" by Camilla Morton and I haven't looked at it in ages! I had a look at it and realised that "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini" hit the number one spot in the charts in 1960. The bikini celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2006. The book recommends that you sink your toes in the sand rather than a mound of overdue bills or deadlines. And that's exactly what I'm going to do!


I looked out my window on August the first to find it spilling rain again.

OK. I suffered a mediocre July because I was promised a heatwave in August. Where is it?


I went up to my brother's house. My niece, Emma went immediately onto the Internet to look at flights to Turkey, as she seemed to do every time I entered the house! She found a relatively cheap flight if you went to Gatwick, on to Istanbul and then Atalya.

I came up with a deal. I would pay for her flight......but it was a loan. When she finished her Masters, got a high flying job (after the recession) then she had to bring her auld aunt on a holiday to Turkey.

I figure its an investment in my future!

She jumped at the chance. She was looking at the round-the-world flights when I stopped her.

We'll go direct unless we're saving at least 1000 euro.

It's a long enough journey as it is. If I have a three hour stopover in an airport I'll kill time in the Duty Free and end up spending at least a 100 euro on cream for my face/body/arse/whatever. So get me there directly.


We are heading back next Sunday for two weeks.....yipee! Well the apartment is lying there idle. It would be a sin not to go........seriously. As for the Itsy, Bitsy Teeny etc. etc. I'll leave that to Emma!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Scrap that idea!

Theresa, my sister Geraldine and myself.

Off we went to Kilbeggen Races. I was excited about trying out my new betting system, namely backing a horse that had any connection with my love life, be it past, present or future.
Armed with a racing card, I set about chosing my horses.
5.30: Let's go for Soldier Bay. My first heartbreak was over a soldier about 20 years ago. I think he's now married with two grown up kids. Horse should be given his marching orders.
6.00: Ah, Gentle Noel. Not an ex boyfriend but rather a reflection on myself..... Noel(een).
I know thats pushing it a bit, but they're my rules, so I can bend them!
Nope, that didn't work either despite the fact that it was the favourite.
6.30: Lucky at Last. Now that looked like a future prediction. Alas, I should have paid more attention to the word "Last" in the title!
7.00: Banna Man. The horse that started this selection process off. I was very confident about this one, but once again I was let down.
To any of my friends who backed this horse simply because they had read my previous blog, I humbly apologise. But why are you taking my stalker? Get your own!
7.30: My first teenage crush was a guy called Robert. I was mad about him but he was the parish romeo! He never looked the side I was. It was only a couple of years ago that we met at a function and were reliving our teenage years. Robert told me that he had fancied me and wanted to ask me out. However he figured that I was different to his other girlfriends...and actually asked my mother for permission to ask me on a date! My mother told him in no uncertain terms to stay away from me (she obviously had heard of his reputation) and so it never came to pass. It would be A Notebook moment if we then discovered that we still held a candle for each other, rekindled our love, got married and lived happily ever after. Get a grip, this is real life! I looked at him and thought
What did I ever see in him?
as I'm sure he said the same about me. I can hear Garth Brooks singing "Unanswered Prayers" in my ear!

Anyway, back to the 7.30 race in Kilbeggen. I was in a dilema. There were two possible horses
Ballinoe Bob and What's up Bob? Needn't have pondered so long. neither won!

By this stage I was despondant as my system wasn't working. My sister Jacqueline had 4 firsts.....and she has a husband!!! Life is so unfair.

I was heading towards the bookies when who should I meet, but a genuine, living ex-boyfriend! We had dated for a few months several years ago.
It didn't work out (roughly translated - he dumped me!).
A while later I went to the Middle East. The two events were unrelated, It wasn't that I was heartbroken and needed to get away. It was just that a friend of mine was going and as I had no ties here, I decided to go as well!
Anyway we got talking, the usual questions
"Are you still..........?
"Have you changed the ..............?
"Do you still go to.................?

Of course the main question would be the "Did you get married?" one. Neither of us was wearing a wedding ring, but then again, women always wear theirs, men don't always. I was the braver one to ask it!
"Well, are you married?"
"Yes. Got married about three years ago. And you?"
"No." Short and sweet.
"I can't believe that a lovely girl like you hasn't gotten married!"
Listen here Sunshine. You didn't want to marry me all those years ago, why are you so surprised that no one else did either????
"Ah, thanks very much"

We chatted for another few minutes and then it was time to rush to back a horse iin the 8.00. As I was going F said,
"For what its worth, I got a tip for the next race. It might be worth a chance.......Hot Friend."
"Thanks."

You won't believe it but it came......second! Ah come on! It would have been far too weird if it had actually won! However, having learned from life experiences I had backed it each way.
As I returned to the bookies to collect my diminshed winnings, I suddenly realised

Hey, I may not be a girlfriend/wife/partner but I sure as hell am a Hot Friend!!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The importance of a good wing woman!


Had a great time with Gerardine, reminiscing about our time in Abu Dhabi.
We had been there about two months. Ramadan was over so nightspots were open again. It was a Friday night. The weekend there was Thursday and Friday, so like a dedicated teacher I was in my apartment getting ready for school the next day. Ger rang in a quandary.


She had met a lovely guy, Dave, the previous week. He was off-shore for the week and was coming back into town that night with his friends. He had asked to meet her in The Marina Club. She didn't want to go on her own as
a) what would happen if he didn't turn up
b) even if he did, he would have his friends with him.
So obviously she needed a wing woman aka ME!


The Marina Club was my favourite place in Abu Dhabi. It was outdoors, on the beach. So even when it was sweltering everywhere else, there was always a cooling breeze blowing.
We arrived there and took our posts....at the bar. Ger stood with her back to the entrance
obviously she couldn't appear too eager
and I kept lookout and gave a running commentary.


"Red alert. Red alert. Target has just entered our airspace".
Ger took big gulp of vodka and coke to calm her nerves.


"Target has not spotted us yet. Radar must be on the blink".
Dave gave a furtive glance around the place and spied the back of Ger's head.


"We've been spotted. Target is honing in on our position.
Dave and friend began to weave their way in our direction.


"Update. Target has been intercepted by a group of colleagues at a table. He is now stationary".
Three minutes later...


"Man your posts. Target is on the move again. More intent on destination this time".


"Disaster. His wing man is trying to divert him off course to refuel at the other end of the bar".


"Panic averted. Target is locked in on his target and is resisting".


"Target is now directly behind you at twelve o'clock. Communication must now cease. Over and out".


Dave tapped Ger on the shoulder. She turned and gave him a beaming smile.
"Oh hi Dave. I didn't know you were here....."


Four years later Ger and Dave were married in Abu Dhabi.
Mission accomplished: Verdict-satisfactory.




Don't you just hate it when someone turns up to a wedding in the same outfit as you...especially when you're the bride!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Russian roulette.


I was delighted to meet up with a good friend Gerardine, who I hadn't seen in several years. We were friends in Abu Dhabi. I came home in 2004, while Ger moved onto pastures new, including Doha,Vietnam and now Kuala Lumpar. She was back in the Emerald Isle for a few weeks and so was on a whistle stop tour to see old friends. Thankfully this included Raharney!
Ger and I first met in Dublin airport in August, 1999 as we were beginning our adventure to Abu Dhabi. We were separated in Schipol airport for the connecting flight, when I was upgraded to Business Class. They obviously knew breeding when they saw it!!!!!

We were only in the UAE a few weeks, when it was Ramadan. I remember we were all very nervous beforehand as we had no idea what was involved. On the evening it was called, the cannon rang out from the palace...and the every bar and club slammed down their shutters and closed for the month!

As we were only in the country a few weeks, we hadn't yet gotten our Drinks Licence. Yes, you read correctly, you needed a licence to buy/ drink alcohol! Depending on your salary, you were allowed to spend a percentage of it on alcohol. A good idea in theory, as it prevented anyone spending all their grocery money on it! However you didn't need one to buy alcohol in a bar or club, so that kinda cancelled that out. However you did need to have one with you if the bar or club was raided by the police while you were there.

You're probably thinking, did you have to pass a drinking test before you got your licence?
Did you have to do things like reverse around a corner while carrying a tray of Guinness....and not spill any???
Did you need to have an experienced drinker with you in order to have a drink!
NOOOO!

You just had to go to a government office, wait three hours, fill out 72 forms, provide 53 passport-sized photos and then hope for the best!

It was three weeks into Ramadan and we had cabin fever. It's amazing the way you can live happily without something....until you're forbidden to have it. Then its all that you want!!
Michelle, a teacher from Australia, lived across the corridor from me. She rang, all excited one evening. Her friend had visited from Doha and had managed to smuggle in a bottle of wine and a bottle of vodka!!!
Ah, I had forgotten how good that smells!

Did I want to pop over for a drink?
Is a frog's arse watertight?
Is the Pope a catholic?

Ger and I were around in a flash

A few drinks later, Michelle told us about a friend of hers who had lived in Russia. A drinking custom there was to take a swig of vodka, eat a piece of garlic and chomp on a cucumber. It seems this acted on all taste buds, and gave an extra rush. For some bizarre reason, we seemed to think that this was a great idea and I headed across the corridor to raid my vegetable rack. I ran back waving a cucumber and bulb of garlic, much to the consternation of our Filipino neighbours.

We tried this new drinking game. It provided a rush all right....a rush straight to the bathroom! It was definitely a bungee drink.

Down, down, down and boiing......straight back up again!!!
Do not try this at home!


Contrary to her publicity, Barbie was no fun and had to be coerced into joining in our drinking game!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Don't back a Prince, put all your money on a Banana man!

Last Sunday after Granny's mass we went back to my Auntie Angie's house for tea and sandwiches. The previous night I had gotten a tip for a horse, Prince Erik, from my sister Jacqueline (gosh, we are beginning to sound like a family of gamblers, but we're not, honest!) I know that Angie likes a little flutter now and again. So while every else was having a chat over a cup of tea, we legged it off to the bookies. To our embarrassment we were five minutes too early, and so had to hang around outside until it was open. Classy chicks!
Once we got in, we had a look at the racing cards on the walls. Yes, there was Prince Erik....but then another name jumped out at me. I thought it said
"Banana Man"
but on closer inspection it said
"Banna Man".
Even so, it struck a chord with me.
On the first night on holiday in Turkey two years ago, a local guy came into the bar. He took a shine to me and practically cleared a table to sit beside me.
He told us he had a banana plantation (probably two trees!) so we christened him "Banana Man".
He didn't know the meaning of rejection. Every night he asked me out and wouldn't take "No" for an answer. This went on for two years of holidays.......



So seeing the name on a racing card, I just couldn't resist it. I figured it was worth a fiver each way!
I have just checked the results. Prince Erik fell.......and Banna Man romped home in first place, earning me 60 euro! I have just realised that I have been using the wrong method to pick horses. I have been carefully studying form, where they came in the past few races, looking at the trainers and jockeys. WRONG!
I will now back any horse that happens to sound like
a) an ex boyfriend
b) an unrequited love
or
c) a stalker

And judging by my track record, there will be at least one in every race!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Jane Keena R.I.P



On Sunday morning I brought my mum over to mass in Miltownpass as it was Granny's 9th anniversary mass. I seem to have spent quite a while this summer in graveyards and churches. I wonder if it's just an Irish thing, but we do seem to honour our dead a lot. When they are alive we celebrate their birthdays and when they die we celebrate their deathdays! Sitting in the church with my aunts and cousins whom I hadn't seen in ages, I realised that it's not just about remembering our dead relatives, but also a great chance to catch up with the live ones!

Looking at my mum, her four sisters, my three female cousins and their daughters, it struck me how female-heavy our family is. By that I mean, there are far more females than males, not that the females are particularly heavy! And the matriarch in this family certainly had been Granny Keena! I remember that as very young children when we were "bold", we were not threatened with "the naughty step" but rather with "Granny Keena."

If Supernanny is reading this and shaking her head in disapproval, let me just tell you

"It worked!"

We were afraid of Granny as she took no nonsense.
And yet the one thing that I associate with her, in fact I can't see it without thinking of her, is.........
chocolate swissroll!

We lived out in the countryside, also known as "the sticks". Granny lived in the village of Miltownpass. When we went to visit her, we were allowed to go to the shop, provided we stuck to the footpath. Believe me, this was a great novelty. She would give us money to buy.......yes you've guessed it, chocolate swissroll. The reason for this was because it was my favourite and as I was the "baby" of the family I got my own way.........most of the time.

I think this is a lovely thing to be remembered by. I wonder what it is that will remind people of me in years to come. Whatever it is, I hope it's decadent!

As I sat and thought about her I realised that I am more like her that I had thought. Firstly I have inherited her boobs ( very ample!) and her legs (Fabulous. She was in her nineties when she died and she still had the best pair of legs, not a varicose vein in sight! Here's hoping!)

She was hale and hearty for ninety years and it was only in the last few months of her life that she was confined to bed.

I could do ninety years on this earth if I'm in good working order!

The hairdresser came to do her hair every week. It was always on the day before the priest came to visit. I remember thinking at the time

I want to be ninety and getting my hair done because there is a man coming into my bedroom!

Granny was a fantastic singer (which I'm NOT!) but like her, I love music of any sort, especially a good old singsong.

When Granny was dying, everyone was gathered around her bed, including the aforementioned priest. He was a divil for the prayers and was starting on the second decade of the rosary. Granny opened her eyes, looked at him and whispered in a barely audible voice

"Now, that's enough of that"

I now know exactly what she was thinking

"Look at all these people here. What a waste of a good singsong!"
Good on ya Granny!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I couldn't face it!

The girls and I headed down to Galway on Thursday to take in the Galway Races. Having arrived in the city we needed something to eat. A friend of ours recommended a fish restaurant called Nemo's on the quays. I thought that it was a terrible name for a fish restaurant, as all I could visualise was little Nemo about to be fried. But when we arrived there, the sign over the door read Nimmo's! Ah, that's better. It certainly lived up to its reputation. the food was delicious, service was so friendly and the decor was quirky.

I loved the portraits on the walls in which everyone had their face hidden by an object. This inspired me for the rest of the weekend. So here is our story of The Galway Races......











Ok. So this is what we really looked like!