Saturday, December 31, 2011


It was the eve of New Year's Eve. I met up with the girlies in Fiona's house for a few drinks and nibblies. As the effects of the alcohol kicked in, we ventured downtown to Club Bed.
Now, Its actual name is just Bed, but it gets kinda embarrassing.
"Where did you meet your boyfriend?"
"In Bed."
"Where did ye girls end up last night?"
"In Bed."
And so on......
The place was jammed on account of the night that was in it. We were stuck right in the way of everyone trying to pass by on the way to the bar/dancefloor/toilets.
It's all about location!
One very goodlooking guy went by, and made eye contact. He stopped to talk and actually made sense!. As Antoinette already has a boyfriend, she winked at me, announced "I'm going to the bar" and promptly left the two of us.
We were getting on really well, chatting about where we were from and who we knew in common
Typical Irish converstion.
Suddenly a woman appeared at his elbow and glared at him. He smiled at me sheepishly and uttered the immortal line
"Sorry. Have to go. That's the wife."
I was still standing with my mouth open, when Antoinette appeared back a few minutes later.
"Well, where is he? How did ye get on?"
"Just let me say, that as a wing-woman, you suck!"

Half an hour later, Antoinette turned to me and said
"She's still down there, giving him grief."
Proper order!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Keeping up with the Kardashians.

Back Row: Niall, Emma, Barry
Front Row: Finian, Ruby, Marese.

Here is Ireland's newest reality tv family.....the Lynams of Wardenstown!.
On Christmas morning we were all glued to our tellys watching Alice In Wonderland from the Royal Opera House in London. No, we haven't become culture vultures overnight. It was just that we were hoping to get a glimpse of Barry. Not in tights and tutu, I hasten to add, but he works as stage engineer over there.
There was some footage of the work that went into setting up the stage beforehand. There were squeals of delight when the camera panned around backstage and we saw Barry....for a whole two seconds.
"Well, son," said Finian proudly. "You must be really important there."
"Thanks Dad. But why do you say that?"
"Because you're the only one standing there, while everyone else is running around like headless chickens!"
Yes, that's the sign of a person in charge!
Then last night, the expended Lynam clan were all assembled in their respective houses, glued to
Ireland's Top TV Moments 2011 on TV3.
It was Emma's first foray into the world of script writing.
I managed to predict four of the top five.
More squeals of delight when the credits rolled and there was her name in lights.
So what's next for this new celebrity family!
Niall on The Arts Show
Finian on Crimeline
Marese on Desperate Housewives
Daisy and Ruby on Pets gone wild???
Me on Take me out!!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Back to the Future

Memories are made at Christmas.
The first photo was taken in 1969 on the occasion of Geraldine and John's confirmation.
That explains her veil. She wasn't a child bride!
The second photo was taken on Christmas Day 2011, an unbelievable 42 years later. Personally I think we all look great.

Back Row: Jacqueline, John and Geraldine
Front Row: Finian and Noeleen

I still can't play that bloody guitar!

Best Christmas pressie ever!

The family went to Finian and Marese's for Christmas dinner, all 20 of us!
Fair dues to ya!After dinner it was time for pressie distribution. My god-daughter handed me mine. When I ripped off the paper, I squealed with delight.
It was a book version of my blog! I couldn't believe my eyes. I felt so if I'd given birth!
Now, if only I could get a publisher to produce the real thing for me!

Thanks again, Michelle
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My Christmas Eve moment.

My Christmas shopping  finished, I went into the Greville Arms to meet up with the Raharney women. We've been doing that every Christmas Eve for about twenty years now, so there is no breaking with tradition. Granted nowadays the numbers have increased as children are brought along.
Having wished each other Merry Christmas, we went our separate ways. It was a miserable evening as it was spitting rain. I rounded the corner onto the Market Square There was a group of people gathered in front of a small marquee. Being noisy I made my way to the front. There was a group of musicians singing. On closer inspection I recognised Bressie (ex- Blizzards) who was once voted Ireland's second sexiest man.
Now there's something worth putting on your cv!
Fronting the band was Ashley Tubridy, the little girl from The Late Late Show. She was amazing. She played along with every song the lads played. I predict a bright future for her. We all stood and sang along oblivious to the rain.
I guess you had to be there, but it was a magical moment.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas high spirits.

The week before Christmas is a nightmare for any Primary school teacher. The children are hyper - minds full of Santy, blood full of sugar from selection boxes! Children that are normally very well behaved can sometimes lose the run of themselves.
 I was leaving the classroom at break when I heard a slight kerfuffle behind me. I turned to see a group of my girls looking pseudo-innocently at me.
I went into the staffroom. One of my colleagues started to laugh and removed one of those little gold stickers that they put on apples, from my back. It happened to have been a "Granny Smith" one!
Those little bi-atches!!!
When I went back to the classroom I didn't say anything. I just handed out their Christmas Science test.
I figured that was punishment enough for anyone!

As they were handing back their papers, one of the girls slipped me this note.

Ah, bless! How could you not love those kids?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Jekyll and Hyde

My heart sank when I looked out the window and saw the layer of snow lying on the ground.
Oh no, not again.
Fortunately it wasn't as bad as last year, but myself and Roxy still set out with some intrepidation. All was fine until we got to the bog road to Ballivor.
For those of you who have not had the pleasure of negotiating "a bog road" in icy weather, let me paint a picture. If there are two inches of snow on a normal road , then there will be four inches on a bog road. The fact that the land is marshy means that there will be some level of subsidence, leading to bumps and hollows. But worst of all there are no hedges or barriers along the roadside so if you career off, you go straight down a bank into a watery ditch.
So it is always with a sense of dread that I approach that road. There was a car in front of me and two behind travelling in convoy. The road was a sheet of glass so we were all taking our time. The car in front of me indicated to turn right and my heart sank.
Feck. This is the dangerous time. Hope it doesn't swerve and I have to brake, we're in deep shit.

 It was then that I looked in my right wing mirror. and saw that the gobshite two cars back was overtaking us all!
WTF!!! He's going to plough into the car in front as it turns....or worse! He's going to slam on the brakes, swerve into me and run me off the road.
I have no idea how he did it, but he managed to just get out in front of me and still miss the turning car. My knuckles were white as I was gripping the steering wheel so tightly. I was fuming all the whole way to school.
Now I am not a violent person but........
If he had slammed into me and I wasn't too badly injured, I would have gotten out of my car and
I read an article once that said that all serial killers started off by killing defenceless animals. Well there are three less mice on this Earth because of me, so maybe I have an alter-ego.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

There's no such thing as a coincidence.

Yesterday's post got quite a few hits.

Today I looked out my classroom to see two gentlemen, complete with clipboards, wandering around the school yard. My first knee jerk reaction was
Oh God, I hope they're not inspectors!
But then I saw my principal with them. As he hadn't sent around the coded message that lets us teachers know there is a cigire on the premises, I knew we were safe.
A few moments later my door opened and the entourage came into my room. They told me to continue on, as they looked around and even started taking photos.
If you go to my blog, you'll get several useful photos there!

At breaktime all was revealed. They were an architect and a surveyor. After twenty years of coming up against brick walls, and not of the school building variety, we have been given the go-ahead.
It couldn't be's just a little blog couldn't have......nah.

Now, what shall I blog about next???

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An open letter to the Minister for Education!

Dear Ruairí,
The budget, with its austerity measures, has come and gone. We really won't know the its full effects until the New Year. In the meantime we'll have the typical Irish response - grumble and complain to each other, and then get on with it.
There is one issue however that I would like to bring up with you. You have raised the pupil-teacher ratio to 21:1. My reading of this is, that you consider 21 pupils in a classroom to be the optimum number that a teacher can successfully deliver our comprehensive curriculum to.
Oops. I really shouldn't finish a sentence with a preposition, should I?

Anyway, what I want to say is....
If I was told that I was to have 21 pupils in my classroom, I would do cartwheels all around the school in sheer joy. In my twenty-something years of teaching I have never had ONLY 21 pupils
The exception being when I taught in Abu Dhabi, where I had 8 pupils in my class, a full time assistant,  Arabic, Islamic, Art, Music teachers who took them for those subjects. Tell me again that I was right to come home!!!

Back to Reality.
Yesterday we took part in the Hallelujah Concert in the RDS.
Along with 3000 other kids.
Our choir comprised of my class and those of a colleague. Here is a photo of us in rehearsals.

Ruairí, as you may notice, it is a tad crowded. This is because there are 62 children crammed in. I know that Maths are not a strong point of the government.
You did manage to overlook 3.6 billion euro that you didn't know you had.
So, to get the average number of pupils per class
62 divided by 2 = 31.
Yes Minister, that's 31 not 21 pupils per teacher. So by you raising the ratio I will have even more next year. Now I consider myself a good teacher and I can teach/manage/control a large number of kids. My issue is with the lack of physical space. I can barely get around my classrooom because of all the kids/desks/chairs/schoolbags that are in it.
Also, please note the way that I am perched precariously on a wonky chair so that I can see them all.
Health and Safety regulations, me arse!

Now, why didn't I teach them in the school hall, I hear you ask.
 We have been lobbying for a new school building for 20 years, I kid you not. We didn't even manage to get one during the "boom times". What hope have we now?
This lack of facilities severely hampers our ability to deliver, what I consider to be, a very wide-ranging and challenging curriculum. Grovel, grovel.
PE. season is very curtailed. We can only do it outside in dry weather. As you will appreciate, these days are very few and far between in Ireland. I once had a visit from an inspector who told me that I should do PE in the classroom! Yes, I did a double take too. I was to do gymnastics in a classroom full of desks and chairs with 30 kids! I pointed out that it took the skill of Olga Korbut to get from one side of the room to the other on a normal day!
The last time I went to get my legs waxed, I had to explain to the beautician that the extensive bruising on my thighs was the result of constantly bumping off the corner of desks, and not some deviant sex-game.
God, I wish!

Having said that, last month we won the County School's Football Championship.....for the second year in a row.

Yesterday we had a brilliant time at the concert. We sang our little hearts out.

My point is, Minister,
All these things we achieved, not because of your educational policies, but rather in spite of them!
Just saying.
And a Merry Christmas to you too.
A sometimes un-civil servant!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Siblings but no rivalry!

My brother Finian celebrated his 50th birthday at the weekend.
Here is our often strange pathway in life.....summed up in three photos.

 This was pre-school uniform time so Mammy knitted all our jumpers. We got used to dressing similarly.How angelic were we?

So angelic in fact, we actually became nuns.

Don't ask. It's a long story!

These years of dressing similarly caused us to have a wardrobe disaster on Saturday. I arrived up at his house to give him his present. We were dressed in identical lilac jumpers, jeans and black boots. I don't know who should be more embarrassed....Finian or me!

S'up Finian. S'up Noeleen!

Things you don't consider about being a cougar!

My friend Ger often has to sleep over at her work. She was dozing off the other night when she heard
Scratch, scratch!
Having just read my blog she immediately thought
OMG! There's a mouse here too!
She waited, paralyzed with fear. Nothing!
Phew. I must have imagined it.
She went to snuggle down under the duvet.....and heard it again.
This pattern went on for quite a while. Silence, followed by her relaxing, followed by the noise again.
She eventually plucked up the courage to get out and turn on the light. She then saw what was causing it.
The duvet had slipped down the bed and was touching a wickerwork basket at the foot of the bed. Every time she moved, it made the scraping noise.
Damn Noeleen and her feckin' mice. She has us all paranoid!
That's what friends are for!.
My house, on the other hand, is now a mousefree zone, thanks to my new gadget.

There hasn't been as much as a scratch since I installed it. Not only does it deter mice, it also can be heard by spiders and TEENAGERS!
I just hope that Caroline Flack doesn't have one her in house or her "boyfriend" Harry will never be able to sleep over!!!
The perils of being a cougar.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Never believe a woman who says "Size doesn't matter"!

There were three bags left outside my classroom since the last day of football training. No one seemed to have noticed that they had mislaid anything.
This morning I brought them into my class to find the owner. One bag contained a school shirt and tie, another a pair of Adidas football boots and the third a pair of trousers. The same culprit claimed the boots and shirt but denied knowing anything about the trousers. That was my fault. I had started my investigation with the trousers, looked at the size and said
"Who owns these? They are Age 9-10".
My culprit is aged 11, but small for his age. So there was no way he was going to say they were his.
I let it go as I didn't want to embarrass him. In order to reassure him, I said
"The sizes on clothes aren't accurate. As us Girlies know, you can be a size 10 in one shop, a size 12 in another and a size 14 in another."
A voice of resignation came from the far side of the room.
"We know Miss. On the day that you are a 10, it's all Drama, Art and P.E.
On the day that you are a 14, we get extra homework!"
Imagine, a male who has worked out the female psyche....and he's only 12!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


The mouse saga continues. Mouse #1 was captured and disposed of by my brother. We reset the trap and left it in the attic.
Where there is one mouse, there is always another one.....or twenty!
I opened the trapdoor to the attic and pulled down the stairs.
Thud. Something grazed my shoulder and landed on the floor.
"What was that?", I pondered as I looked around. I nearly lost my life. There was the mousetrap
The poor little creature looked up at me, leg caught in trap.
I felt physically sick.
Damn. I searched for that mousetrap as it was supposed to be humane as it killed the mouse instantly. WTF?
I had a flashback to when this happened before. I had to hit the mouse with a brush to put it out of its misery.....and then spent the rest of the night sobbing on the couch over my cruelty. People told me I should have drowned the mouse as it was less painful.
But I ran into the kitchen, got a bucket and filled it with tepid water.
Well it would be awful to give it a cold watery grave.
Once again, apologising to the poor creature, I scooped it up on the dustpan and put it into the water.
However, the trap came off and the little mouse began swimming around the bucket, trying to clamber out .
I could take no more. I figured that if it had survived being caught in a trap, falling from the attic and a potential drowning, then he deserved a pardon.
 I scooped him out of the water in the aforementioned dustpan and brought him out to the bottom of the garden. He was released into the wild.
I don't know what happened to him, whether he died of hypothermia or made it back to my house before I even closed the door.
All I know is, I can't do this cruelty anymore. I'm investing in one of those gadgets that emit a high pitched noise that only mice can hear.. It wrecks their heads, so they pack up their packs and move out.
Please God, let that work! 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bushtucker Trial

Streaming eyes, runny nose and sneezes that measure 8 on the Richter Scale. What a lovely way to spend a Saturday, NOT!
So instead of heading out on the town that night, I was snuggled up on the couch, lemsip in one hand, remote control in the other.
Strictly Come Dancing. Check
Gosh, that Harry fella is hot!
The X Factor. Check.
Getting bored already.
What else is there? Ah, the final of I'm a Celebrity......
I have never been an avid watcher of that programme, and now I know why! Watching two guys eating the nether regions of animals is not what I'd constitute as light Saturday night viewing.
Penis, anus and testicles were all on the menu. Hope that doesn't catch on in Slimming World.
Though come to think of it, the weight would fall off me if that was all I could eat!

Today I ventured up to the attic to see if my rodent visitor had been captured. I turned on the light and squinted in the direction of the trap.
I don't mean the trap was empty, I mean it was GONE.
Feck. That means a mouse was trapped but managed to wander off. I bought these new fangled traps that  are supposed to be lethal and kill the critter outright and not leave it in pain. I glanced around....and spied the trap and a tail bedded in the insulation.
 No movement.
Thank God it's dead.
I gingerely put out my hand to pick up the trap.
Couldn't do it.
Come on Noeleen, you don't have to touch it. It's designed so that you can dispose of the mouse at the flick of a button....but you have to get it outside first.
My hand wavered, began to tremble and then I uttered the words of defeat
I did the helpless female thing, and called on my brother.I guess there is no dinner in camp for me tonight!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it!

I was awoken from my slumbers last night by a low, scratching noise.
"Whaa?", I groaned. It took a few moments for reality to sink in. I shot up in the bed.
"IS THAT A MOUSE?" I shrieked inwardly.
I haven't had a rodent visit for three years. And that ended disastrously....for both of us!

Three years ago.

I had my first mouse invasion and set the obligatory cheese-baited trap. I put it in the hot-press, where the intruder was first spotted. When I opened the door later I was horrified to discover that he was trapped....but not dead! I slammed the door shut and ran away.
"I can't leave the poor thing there in agony all night. I'll have to put it out of its misery."
I approached it, with tears in my eyes and a sweeping brush in my hand.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," I apologised to it, as I put it out of its suffering. I then went back to the sitting room, where I sat, with tears streaming down my cheeks, for the rest of the night.


The dreaded mouse trap has been set again. Every time I open the door of the room where it is, I close my eyes. Then I squint in its general direction, heart in my mouth. The relief I feel when I see that it is still intact is palpable.
"Thank God it's empty," I breath a sigh of relief."
But is that not defeating the whole purpose of setting a mousetrap in the first place???

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Why machines are better than men!

My friend Majella got her new iphone 4s. She was practising by sending a message to her husband.
"Brian", she commanded.
"Brian, husband", responded the dulcet tones of the man hidden in the phone.
"I will be home at seven tonight."
"Message sent".
Forgetting what she was talking to, Majella automatically finished by saying
"Thank you."
She realised her mistake and felt quite foolish.
Imagine thanking a machine.
"Your satisfaction is all the thanks I need!" came the response from the phone.
She nearly fell off the chair with shock. She couldn't remember the last time someone said that to her!

When she got home at seven o'clock, poor Brian was chastisied.
"You so need to get the iPhone attitude!"
Men, you have a lot to live up to!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Reality check.

I can't believe it's that time of the year again.....our girlie Christmas night out. Genevieve, Majella, Rose and I headed out for our annual dinner.
Last year....

This year....

I know I gave up alcohol for November, but hey it was the 26th. That's close enough to a month!
I blame the vodka for the fact that we ended up in Mantra nightclub
Or Mantrap, as my nieces like to call you can image the age group!
That aside, we had a great time. I was a bit taken aback by some of the "outfits" almost worn by the girls!
That's a real sign of my age!
Honestly, I've seen ants dry themselves off with larger pieces of fabric! The fact that we didn't expose large areas of flesh didn't deter one brave soul. He approached us with the classic line
"I have a nesst and I'm looking for a laying hen!"
I had to burst his bubble.
"Sorry Pet, but if you're counting on my eggs, you'll be sorely disappointed!"
Later we said our goodbyes and Genevieve and I got a taxi back home. Our taxi driver was a lovely man, full of chat. We discovered that Vincent, Genevieve's husband, plays soccer with Mr. Taximan's brother-in-law. That's Ireland for ya. You never know where you're talking!
He was telling us that he would head home at about four o clock to have a cup of tea and a shower, then he would head back into Dublin to work from 5.30am til about 11. The reality of the economic state of our little country suddenly reared its ugly head through our vodka induced haze. He told us he was only taxiing for the past two years. Before that, he had had his own auctioneering business and had his retirement planned out. Then the shit hit the fan, and now he's working as a taxi driver.
He wasn't grumbling or complaining. In fact he was very upbeat. I'm quite sure he didn't think three years ago that this is what he would be doing on a Saturday night. But he was just grateful to have a job at all now.
A very sobering thought.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

St. Kevin Part 2

Today saw the completion of the story of St. Kevin. I set the kids the task of illustrating their favourite part of the story.
That's teacher talk for "Draw a picture"!
After a few moments I could hear the word "goalie" emanating from a group at the back. Getting them back on task I said
"Now lads, what has a goalie got to do with St. Kevin?"
As quick as lightning one of them retorted
"Maybe he was signing him for Glendalough Celtic!"
What could I do but laugh! They are the most quick-witted kids I've ever taught. Luckily for them I have the same sense of humour!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A bird in the hand....

The topic in Religion today was St.Kevin. The story goes that St Kevin stood in the lake up to his waist, arms outstretched, reciting the psalms. One day a blackbird started to build a nest in one of his hands. Being very fond of nature, St Kevin didn't move until the nest was built, eggs were laid and hatched, fledglings had flown away.
Phew! He must have had some biceps after that.
This was too far-fetched for the class to believe. So I told them this true story involving my Dad.
Dad was also an animal lover, and this included birds.
I obviously didn't take after him as regards the birds!
He was building a house and had the walls up. He came back to it after a weekend to discover that a bird had started to build her nest in the house. Dad refused to destroy the nest and proceeded
to build the house around it!
He left an opening in the wall for the mother bird to fly in and out, the eggs hatched and a few weeks later the fledglings flew away. Only then did Dad fill in the gap.
The kids were dumbfounded at this story.
"So Miss, your dad was a kind of saint?"
He sure was!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The X-Factor

I was googling Ancient Egypt for history class when I came across the date 1300 BCE.
Is this a typo?
No! Further investigation revealed that Christ has been obliterated and it is now Before Common Era.
I don't know about you, but political correctness has gone mad. Like it or lump it, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddah etc are momenteous historical as well as religious figures and references to them are found in all areas of life. You can't just wipe them out. How much more correct would it be to accept our differences and simply.......

My huge peeve is the use of the word Xmas. It is a celebration of the birth of Christ. You can either celebrate it or ignore it. But you can't just change Him into an X, and then go and have all the fun!
If you do that then you must also
  • Erase Sunday and Monday from the calendar, as they were named in honour of the pagan deities of the sun and moon. I'm sure that offends someone. They are henceforth to be called Xday 1 and Xday 2
  • Tuesday  is named for the Norse god of War. So shall we call it, say Xday 3?
  • Was Wednesday named for weddings? No. Another in the line of days named for Norse gods. This one was for Woden (or Odin), the chief of the pantheon. Xday 4, perhaps?
  • When you hear thunder on Thursday you will remember how this day got its name. It was named for the Scandanavian god of thunder, Thor. You guessed it, Xday 6!
  •  Friday is the only day of the week named for a woman. Her name was Frigga and she was the consort of Odin.  The slapper! She should definately be renamed Xday 7.
Now see how confusing the whole thing gets. And don't get me started on the months! January is called after the god Janus, definately a two faced character. So in case it offends someone, lets call it Xmonth 1. And on and on it goes.
But why stop there? Your designer Nike trainers are a no no. They are named after Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. And in all fairness, the Greeks are not exactly winning at the moment!
Why can't we just accept that we have different beliefs...or perhaps none at all. This is what adds fullness and diversity to the world.
Why do some people want to suck the colour out of life and paint it grey?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The rhythm is going to get you.

First it was invites to 21st birthday parties, then it was to 30ths, onto 40ths and now its the 50ths! And they get bettter and better.
I headed up to Leixlip for one of the above.
I won't say which!
It still being November, I am sticking to the Coke. Oops, let me quickly verify that..... I am still on the Coca Cola. Liz had driven over as well, so she was teetotalling too.
The band started and we were up on the floor. It was right up our alley, you know, music with words that you can hear! Queen medleys, followed by a bit of A-Ha, with Footloose thrown in for good measure. This was then followed by a good old disco, with more of the same. It was better than any aerobics workout.
I eventually left the floor and got my coat to head back home. When some of the other party-goers saw me with my car keys in my hand they exclaimed
"You're not driving? What if you're stopped?"
"It's ok. I haven't been drinking."
"What?? Judging by the moves you were making on the dancefloor, we were sure you had been drinking!"
I know a couple of guards who thought the exact same thing last weekend!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bloody hell!

It was a crisp autumn day. I was walking around the school during breaktime as I was on yard duty. Two of the younger boys came racing towards me, in their shirt sleeves, oblivious to the cold. Despite the fact that I was muffled up in a scarf and coat, I stiil shivered on their behalf. I halted them in their tracks..
"What are you doing? Get back to your classroom and put on your sweaters."
Off they sped.
Two minutes later they were back, one of them sporting a bloodied elbow.
"What happened?" I enquired.
"I fell and scraped my elbow."
Eh doh! What does it look like?
I brought him in to doctor him up. As I wiped it and applied antisceptic, I couldn't resist the urge to give a mini-lecture.
"Now if you had been wearing your sweater like I said, then you wouldn't have scraped your elbow so badly."
Two big innocent eyes stared up at me.
"But Miss, I was running back into my classroom to get my sweater, like you told me, when I fell!"
What? Who? When? I didn't say that! It's not my fault!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Vertically Challenged

On this very auspicious day we watched the inauguration of our new president, Michael D Higgins.
What other president in the history of the world can attribute their election to a simple brown envelope?
My class were engrossed as they watched the live broadcast of him entering the chamber of Dublin Castle, walk up the aisle flanked on either side by his aides-de-comp. The kids weren't even born when our last president was inaugurated. There was absolute silence in the class as they watched the pomp and splendour unfold. Then a genuinely puzzled voice asked
"But Miss, when is he going to stand up?"

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Simple Machines

In science class today we were discussing simple machines and how they develop into more sophisticated ones over the years. We took the example of a washing machine and traced its history.
  • beating your clothes off a rock in a river (preferably after taking them off first!)
  • hand washing them in a tub at home and then squeezing them through a roller to wring them out
  • a twin tub, where a machine washed them but you had to transfer them into a spinner
  • our modern day machines, in which you throw your clothes, press a button and come back when they're washed and spun (at least that's what I do!)
We then went on to predict what the washing machines of the future will be able to do.
"So if you were to develop a new washing machine, what other tasks would you make sure it could do, to make life easier for us?"
Most of the children decided that what was needed was a machine that would gather your clothes off the floor and actually put them into the machine for you.
"Very good class. That would be very useful."
"But Miss," said my smart Alec. "That's already been invented. It's called "Your mother"!
I know his mother well. She'd kill him if I told her what he said!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

See, it's not just me!

When I saw this I whooped for joy.
Yessss! I'm not a sole paranoid nerd. I have a superhero!

These are my previous thoughts on the matter.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Welcome to my Crib......I wish.

Isn't it wonderful the way one little daydream can change a mundane activity into a magical moment?
This afternoon I went into the pool in Mullingar Park Hotel for my mandatory swim. Usually there are a few people racing up and down the pool or lounging in the jacuzzi. But this afternoon there wasn't another sinner in sight.
I slid into the water and began my lengths. It was so glorious to have the place all to myself. I didn't have to check for other swimmers trying to cut me off at the pass. I could do front crawl, breaststroke and back crawl to my heart's content.

I indulged myself in a little daydream.......that this was actually MY pool. You know, like the houses on Cribs.The only difference is, I would actually use MY pool! It wouldn't just be for decoration.
I then spent some time in MY steamroom and MY jacuzzi.

Feeling very relaxed I headed off for MY changing room. As I approached the door, another woman exited, adjusting her goggles. I was in such good form, all I could think was
No problem. Just go ahead and use MY pool.
God, I'm so nice!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The pen is mightier than the sword.

This gem of information came up in the course of class today.
A female swan is called a pen.
As a teacher you are always trying to push the boundaries and so I asked the question
"Does anyone know what a male swan is called?"
There was a silence while they tried to retrieve an answer from the recesses of their brains. Not wanting to leave me waiting too long, a voice came from the back of the classroom.
"Eh, would he be a Ballpoint?"

Saturday, November 5, 2011

One of those nights

I was heading into town to meet the girlies for dinner. With the hour after going back for winter time, it was a dark and dismal night. I had just left my house and was almost in Raharney when suddenly......
Jeez. Where did they come out of?
Out of nowhere there were five young lads walking along the road IN DARK CLOTHES. I didn't see them until I was right beside them. Thank God they were on the other side of the road or I would have mowed them out of it.
I was very shaken at what could have happened. It made me even more careful......which was very fortunate. As I was approaching Killucan I thought I spied something in the distance. I slowed down and as I rounded a corner, there on my side of the road was another young fella on a bike WITHOUT A STITCH OF A LIGHT.
FFS! Has everyone got a death wish tonight?
I seriously considered turning around and retreating to the safety of my house but I powdered on.
I indicated to turn left off the motorway to take the sliproad into Mullingar. I could hear a motorbike behind me.
 I looked in my right wing mirror, no sign of anything.
I looked into my rear view mirror, nothing.
I was about to veer off left, when I suddenly realised that the gobshite was overtaking me ON THE INSIDE!
I'm practically a mass murderer at this stage.
I got into town without any further near-misses.
I'm off alcohol for November. I know most people do that for religious reasons and offer it up for All Souls, but I'm afraid I'm not that noble. I'm doing it as I want to lose weight before Christmas!!! So, a jug of water with dinner, three diet cokes and two still waters later I was weeing for Ireland!
At around 2am I was coming back home into Raharney. At the end of the village there is a fork in the road at the local pub. I live off to the right, so I indicated to get ready to turn. Then I saw flashing lights up ahead and realised that there was a garda checkpoint just up the road to the left.
Shit. Now where do I stop? I'm not going left. I'll just pull up here in front of the pub.
I did just that, and out of nowhere there was a guard at my window.
I rolled it down and she stuck her head in, obviously to smell for alcohol.
"Where are you coming from?"
"Have you been drinking?"
"Are you 100% sure? You seem to be trying to avoid the checkpoint."
Damn. that was the wrong decision I made.
"Oh God no. I live up that road there. I stopped here because I wasn't going up as far as your check point."
I could see that she was still sceptical.
"Could you step out of the car?"
Oops. I'm in trouble now.
"Of course."
Out I got. No wobbles....even if I was bursting for the loo!
"Do you mind blowing into the breathalyser?"
"No problem."
"Can I see your licence?"
"Here it is", as I leaned into the car and took it from the sun visor.
By this stage she could see that I was actually telling the truth.
"Ok. Off you go."
Ah what? No breathalyser? I'm a bit disappointed.
Obviously I didn't say that out loud. I was about to get back into Roxy when a voice boomed out.
Wha? Where is that comin' from?
A second guard had appeared on the scene. I was about to lauch into the reason again.
"I realise that it must have looked suspicious but I  live up this road and........."
Getting a bit irrate I said
"But I did stop."
Guard #1 intervened , gave me a rye smile and said
"It's okay here. Off you go."
And I did!
What I want to know is,
Where were the guards when I was almost mowing down camoflagued road users?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Three strikes and you're out!

On Saturday 15th November 1884, elderly spinster, Emma Keyse, was brutally murdered at her burnt out house at Babbacombe Bay, South Devon, England. The person accused of this atrocity was her employee, 20 year old John Lee, a young man from nearby Abbotskerswell. However, evidence was very circumstantial.
There was no CSI:Babbacombe.
Lee happened to be the only male in the house at the time and he had an unexplained cut on his arm. Despite this and his constant claim of innocence he was sentenced to hang.
On 23 February 1885, he was led from his prison cell in Exeter prison to the gallows in the courtyard. The noose was placed around his neck, the lever was pulled and....nothing.
The trapdoor failed to open.
Strike 1.
The mechanism was checked and all was in order. The process was repeated......with the same result. The door did not budge.
Strike 2.
I suppose they thought "Third time lucky" and they went for it again. You've guessed it. The door  remained firmly closed.
Strike 3.
The place was in total confusion and John Lee was brought back to his cell.
 The case was brought before the Home Secretary Sir William Harcourt. He obviously thought that the poor devil had been through enough mental torture and that fate had intervened. He commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. Lee continued to petition successive Home Secretaries and was finally released in 1907.

So what's that got to do with me, I hear you ask!
Well, last Thursday I was in Mullingar Park Hotel for my swim. My membership was due for renewal so I whipped out my cheque book.
Hey, I know that's so last century but  I was using up my last one.
Ger, a friend of mine appeared on the scene, we started to chat and I got distracted. Then we went off on our way.
The next day I had a call from nice Mr Leisure Centreman who told me I had forgotten to actually sign the cheque.
Strike 1
Oops, it was a genuine mistake Your Honour!
I apologised profusely and said I would be in  to rectify the situation.
The next day I went back. There were different staff on who didn't know where the cheque was. So they said to come back another day when Mr Leisure Centreman would be on duty.
Strike 2
This time the guy at reception did know what I was talking about and said the cheque was in the till. Somehow it's hooked up to the computer. He pressed a few buttons and hey presto......nothing! the till refused to open just like John Babbacombe Lee's trapdoor!
Modern technology, my eye!
Help was called, but to no avail. The drawer held fast. I can only imagine the relief that Lee had felt, but I just decided to go for my swim and reassess the situation when I was finished.
45 minutes later and the till was firmly closed.
Strike 3!!!
Today I will make one final attempt to pay my debt. If it fails, I am pulling a "John Baabcombe Lee" and appealing to the Home Secretary/ Mr Leisure Centreman for clemency.
I think Fate has decided that I don't need to pay my fees for this year.
Wish me luck with that one!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Speaking words of wisdom.

We are in the middle of a debating competition in our class.
Today's topic was
Animals should not be kept in zoos.
The two teams were lined up on opposites sides of the classroom. Nerves were taut and speakers were busy clearing their throats. Just as I was about to start proceeding, a lone voice was heard from the floor

Just remember lads. Whatever you do, don't use the word "envelope".

And boy, is Seán Gallagher's advisor not kicking him/herself for not imparting that gem of wisdom before Monday night's debacle!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A load of bull

One of the most rewarding moments for me as a teacher is when a pupil transfers what they have learned in one subject to another subject area.
This morning's Irish lesson was on the Aimsir Caite (that is past tense for all my non-Irish readers!)
We changed every possible verb we could think of into the past tense.
Phew, that's that done. They won't forget that in a hurry.
Then in the afternoon in English lesson, it was time for Masculine and Feminine of nouns.
Always a tricky one!
As the publishers were obviously catering for children from a farming background, they were asked to give the feminine of bullock. The dreaded question.......
"Miss, what's the difference between a bull and a bullock?"
Eh, how do I explain that without the boys passing out in fear?
One of the farming lads came to my rescue.
"Easy, bull is the Aimsir Caite of bullock!"
Perfectly explained.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Blood Red.

And what was the inspiration behind your change in hair colour?
Well it came from being doused in blood.....and I thought " Hey that colour suits me!"

Flashback to rehearsals for Misery.
Maeve and Jenny were working on the infamous "hobbling" scene. They were trying to see how much blood* to put in the concealed syringe, which would then spurt out at the appropriate moment.
* a mixture of fake blood and Imperial Leather bath gel
There I was standing at the far side of the stage minding my own business......when whoosh!
 An arch of red shot across the stage and rained down on my head.
"Oops, I guess that was a bit too much and too strong", someone suggested.
You think??
As I was washing it out I caught a glimpse of it in the mirror and thought
Hmm, that's interesting.
So I found myself at my hairdressers explaining my new look and the story behind it.
Who said blonds have more fun??

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A set-to with set dancers

Last week I was called upon to help out backstage with Bradán Players production of Misery.
Yep, the scary Katie Bates one!
The best thing about working backstage is that you come in on the last week of rehearsals. And you still get the buzz from being on stage....even if it is in the dark!
No learning lines off and rehearsing for months!
Thursday was opening night. I arrived up an hour beforehand to help get things sorted and checked. I saw our director in an animated conversation with the chairman of the GAA club (where the play was being staged) and another woman that I didn't recognise.
I went to my post backstage and it was then that I learned about the REAL drama that was going on.The hall was double booked and there was going to be SET DANCING taking place simultaneously behind a partition in the hall.
Now for any over-seas readers who are not au fait with the energy and noise created by set dancers, just think Riverdancers.....on Speed!
Tom, our director was trying to explain that there was no way that our play could be performed or heard over such a racket, but they were having none of it. He tried to reach a compromise by offering the use of our nearby dance studio which had a wooden floor and nice big mirrors! But the comment was
"Well you use it then!"
Eh, but look at the size of our set. What do we do with that?"
At the end of it all we had to cancel our opening night. I know the old adage
The show must go on.
Well not this time.
There is no way two actors could compete with forty Michael Flately-wannabes hot footing it around the place.
So tonight was opening night, just 24 hours late.Posted by Picasa
No set dancers were harmed in the taking of this photo!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

It's not every man I'd get out of bed for......

It was a typicial Irish October morning. It was damp, dismal and drizzly, the kind that makes you turn over in your bed, snuggle deeper under the duvet and go back to sleep.
But not this morning!
I'd say the tremor in Ireland read at least 5 on the Richter Scale as the collective beeping of mobile phones got the country up at the ungodly hour of 8.15 am on a Sunday morning. And the reason for
I'm no expert on the game, but I was totally confused by the turn-about in our fortune this week.It was a carbon copy of our economy. One minute we were on top of the world, cruising along and even dreaming of the distinct possibility of reaching the Final.
Imagine.....Ireland in a World Cup Final.....of ANYTHING!
Next thing we were being told....
"If we dont win this, we are on the plane home!
How did that happen? Would we not even be second in our pool? It seems not.
Hence the country, including me, was up for the Ireland Vs Italy match.
I'm no George Hook...
Thank God!
so I've no intention of even attempting an analysis of the game. All I saw wwas
Slow first half
Celtic Tiger resurfaced for the first 12 minutes of the second half.
Handbags at dawn tactics employed by the Italians in an attempt to rile the Irish.
Don't they know we've invented that technique
Followed by.....
So now our little countey will forget for a moment about bailouts, euro-crisis and the Seven Dwarfs! In the words of Prince
We'll party like it's 1999!
Oh, and Declan Kidney for President!
And I'd like to take this opportunity to apologise to my neighbours for any screams coming from my house. No, I wasn't being murdered, just egging Tommy Bowe over the end line....which didn't count. Boo!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

School of Rock

Today's story comes courtesy of a colleague who teaches a more junior class.

She was teaching about the Stone Age people and how they lived. The class were enthralled in a DVD which showed a re-enactment of their lives. It showed them going a huntin' and a gatherin'. There was footage of their caves all decorated with  paintings. The chidren were particularly fascinated with the fact that there was life before electricity, mobile phones and Wii.
How on earth did they pass the time?
One little girl was looking very perturbed!
"You know the way they had no electricity or television back then...."
"That's right."
" did they manage to video them?"

Monday, September 26, 2011

How does your garden grow....

I was having a discussion today with one of my pupils who has a slight problem with speech and vocabulary.
We were talking about gardens and I was trying to elicit the word "vegetables".
Teacher: Do you have a garden at home?
Pupil: Yes.
Teacher: And what grows in your garden?
Pupil (without a moment's hesitation): Weeds.
Hmm. Guess his garden is the same as mine!


This is Mikey Joe, who sits on my doorstep awaiting my return every day!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Always dance as if no one is looking.

What to do on a Saturday afternoon?
Well this Saturday myself and Theresa headed to Dublin to see Thriller Live, the musical based on the music of Michael Jackson.
We didn't go alone. We brought Theresa's two daughters and the nine year old daughter of another friend,.
It's not that Martina is an uncaring mother! The reason she couldn't go was because she was in Trinity  College, studying for her PhD.  A noble cause I know, but I still think our idea of how to spend a Saturday afternoon was much more fun!
On the way into the Grand Canal Theatre we broke it gently to the girls that we would be up dancing in the aisles during the show. After all we had years of practise in The Beehive disco......many, many moons ago.
There were  gasps of  horror, coupled with shrieks of
"You can't be serious. If you do that, we're walking out."
We pointed out that as they were all well under the age of being able to drive, they were stuck with us and we could do damn well what we liked!
The show started and sure enough, about fifteen minutes in, the audience were called upon to stand up and dance.
Theresa and I didn't need a second invitation. We were up and grooving with the best of them.
Hey, I've done enough panto to realise the importance of audience participation!.
The girls were cowered down in their seats, covering their faces. Then Ellie Anne uttered the immortal words.
"OMG! I am so embarrassed.....and I'm not even your child!"

Ah bless. they're still young. They will soon grow up and realise how to have real fun. How wonderful to reach the age when you don't give a toss about whether other people are looking at you or not.
Just do it!

The Girlies and I.....before they disowned me!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stress relief

One of the little quaint things about working in a rural Irish school is that every September kids take the day off to attend the Ploughing Championships.
One of my girls, K, arrived in this morning after such an absence. In order to sweeten Teacher she had a present for me!

Anti-Stress Kit

  • A rubber to make all those mistakes go away
  • A cent so you will never be completely broke again
  • A marble for those days when you've lost your own
  • An elastic to help you stretch beyond your limits
  • A string to hold it all together when it seems to be falling apart
  • And a chocolate treat to remind yoy that someone cares about you!
I feel like framing it with the message
In case of emergency, break glass.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Kids never fail to surprise me.

Today was one of those horrible wet days, even worse when you teach in a school that has no PE hall. The kids....and me, have to stay in the classroom at breaktime. Everyone is climbing the walls come eleven o' clock.
At breaktime, the kids had "Golden Time".
A euphanism for "Keep yourself busy and don't bother me."
They were all busily playing draughts, reading library books, gluing glitter and themselves onto pieces of card. I saw three of the sixth class boys huddled around a book, totally engrossed in it.
Being the suspicious type I made my way over to them. What I encountered rooted me to the spot. I never in my wildest dreams thought that 12 year olds would be reading this.

They were spending their "Golden Time" working through........
Maths Wise: Junior Cert Maths
Yes, you've read right. Primary school kids completing secondary school work.
They looked up at me expectantly and I just said
"Excellent. Well done"
and made my escape before they asked me how to do something!

I was very good at Maths in my day! But as Jane Fonda used to advocate
"Use it or lose it".
I can add, subtract, multiply and divide at top speed, but please don't ask me trigonometry, calculus or theorems!

Thankfully the sun came out for 12.30 break and they rushed out to the playground to be kids again!