Sunday, February 27, 2011

Random Question #4

Yesterday heralded the promise of spring, so I headed off towards Raharney in a brisk walk on another "Get-fit" regime. On the way back I could see a young fella...
Early twenties is young to me now!
approaching me on the other side of the road.
I am back living in Raharney for six years now, so I have regained my "small village mentality"
Em, I don't recognise him. He doesn't live around here.
As we got nearer, I smiled and said "Hello. Lovely day".
Have also gotten back into the habit of greeting everyone I meet.
" Hi", he said, in a lilting Northern Irish accent (see, I knew he wasn't a local!)
"Is there a taxi rank in Raharney?"
Are you takin' the p***? This is Raharney you're in!
Then I realised that the poor chap was being perfectly serious. As he was walking towards the village he had obviously never been in it, or he would have realised just how absurd his question was! He must have been dropped here out of the sky in Doctor Who's police box.
So I gave him directions to the local shop where they would know the phone number of someone who had a hackney service.
He thanked me and went on his merry way.
Bless him. I hope he got a lift, because it's a hell of a long walk back to Belfast!
Belfast? That'll be a thousand euro......and a bale of hay for the horse!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What year is it?

I am currently working backstage on Bradán Players production of "Tom and Viv".
Oh, that sounds very lurvie!
Well technically speaking I have one foot in the crew camp and the other in the cast camp. Since we last did the play in November I have been given six lines.
Well "lines" is pushing it a bit!
In order to depict the passage of time, every so often, after turning a wall, moving a chair or pushing on a tea-trolley, I pronounce
1921....1927.....1933 etc. etc. etc.
It's coming between me and my night's sleep! Just before stepping on stage I have to consult my "script" to make sure I have the right year!
You would think I would be able to handle that much.
But thinking about it, I have to handle six dates in one night. That's more than I had all last year!!! No wonder I can't cope!

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Moving Story

1985 was a remarkable year in Ireland as it was the year that statues moved all over the country. The most famous of these was the statue of the Virgin Mary in a grotto in Ballinspittle , Co.Cork. People reported that they saw the statue rock back and forth and in some cases Mary even beckoned to them. The story was reported both nationally and internationally and people flocked in their hundreds, nay thousands to witness the phenomenon for themselves. The Church remained neutral on these events.

Personally I think that if you stare at something long enough, especially if it is surrounded by lights, as the statue is, then of course it will appear to move. However I am not so arrogant to believe that there isn't a force more powerful than humans out there, so........anything is possible.
Two positive outcomes of the sightings were
a) an increase in prayer
b) thousands of tourists flocking to Ballinspittle, thus bringing increased revenue for restaurants, B&B's and pubs.

Thirty years later I was reminded of this colourful period in our history.
Avid readers (!) of my blog will be familiar with the on-going saga of Joe Dolan's statue.
Last summer it had pride of place in the Market Square, where it was regularly accosted by clamouring women.

As a result he began to subside on his plinth. So the Council put up barriers around it to protect him.
As if that was going to work!
Gwen and Jenny saw this as a challenge when they came down to Mullingar. After a few minerals (!) they scaled the barriers and had their photo taken in the stealth of night.

Soon after the statue disappeared. No connection!
The plinth remained empty for several months. A temporary Joe took his place during the Arctic season. But he too disappeared with the thawing snow.

And so once again there was an empty stand where Joe should have been taking his rightful place. Until this week...........

I rounded the corner into the Market Square and stopped in my tracks. HE WAS BACK! His raised arm was beckoning us forth and him holding a sustained note for eternity.

I had a brainwave. Lets start our own "Moving Statue" phenomenon. Thousands will flock to Mullingar to see if he will "leg it" again. The square will once more be filled with the sound of merriment and good cheer, as it was in the heady days of the "Bachelor Festival". And if this idea takes off, then we can extend it to the four corners of the country.

After a good tourist season or two, sure we'll be out of this recession/depression for good and the Celtic Tiger shall roar again.
Dam, if I had thought of this sooner, I would have gone up for election. Well it's as good an idea as any of those gobs*"!^& have come up with!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The King's Speech

I eventually got to the cinema last night to see "The King's Speech"...........about a month after everyone else! I had heard mixed reports about it.
"It was brilliant!"
"It was crap. Nothing happened in it apart from some old geezer trying to teach another old geezer how to speak."
So I went with an open mind. Any opportunity to look at Colin Firth is not a waste of time.
I am in the former camp of opinion. I LOVED it. So there was no matrixesque special effects or rauncy sex scenes. But the way the relationship between Bertie and Lionel was developed was pure class.
The only other time that I believed the relationship between two men was between Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell's characters in "In Bruges". "Brokeback Mountain" doesn't figure!
I had thought that a teacher going to see a film about speech defects was a bit of a busman's holiday. But then again I have never encoutered a pupil who had a stammer or a stutter. These really are a result of fear and terror. Thankfully kids nowadays have so much confidence that it's the teachers who are sometimes rendered speechless.
There was a boy in my class when I was in Primary school who had a very bad stammer. For reading time we all had to stand up in turn and read out a passage to the class. I had no bother with this, seeing as I was a drama queen/show-off even back then. I loved reading aloud, putting in as much expression and pathos as "A Day at the Seaside" would allow! He also had to stand up and read in front of the class, the thinking at the time being that this would help. It didn't. I used to count how many more kids had to read until it came to his turn. When it was about three away I'd get a knot in my stomache thinking about how he was feeling. When it came to him I'd feel sick
That was me. God only knows how he felt.
Everytime he stammered or stuttered, he had to go back to the start of the sentence. I'd will him to get through it. I remember shouting in my head
Don't make him do it again. He's trying his best.
Educational thinking at the time said that this would help his speech. Even I, as a 12 year old child could see that it wouldn't
I was so sorry for him and willed him to get the words out. This had such an effect on me that today in my own class I will never get a child to read unless they have volunteered. Everyone else I hear on a one-to-one basis.
Happy ending: I still meet him regularly in the village and am happy to report that he speaks perfectly. Once the fear of public reading was lifted the stammer disappeared.
Back to the film. Is it worth all the Oscar nominations? Colin Firth was brilliant but even so, for me Geoffrey Rush stole the show.
As I sat in the cinema at the last scene, I was transported back to my English reading class. I was focused totally on every word that Bertie said. I think I was even holding my breath. When he finished I let out a sigh of relief and felt like applauding. Like all the characters in the film I thought the speech was brilliant.
But when I thought about it I realised that I didn't have a clue what the actual speech had been about. I know it was a vital rallying speech of a King on the eve of war,who had to instill patriotism and hope in the hearts of all his subjects. But my whole attention was not on the content of what he was saying but rather on whether he would manage to get the next bloody word out.
And to get me to believe that deeply in the drama of the moment is surely a result of brilliant acting!
Go Colin!!!
Hope his Oscar acceptance speech is less nerve-wracking.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Perfect Present

There have been several events in my life that have caused me to question whether my family or friends have any idea who I really am!
One such time was when my best friend set me up on a blind date. She gushed
"Noeleen, this guy will be perfect for you. You have so much in common!"
After a mind-numbing couple of hours I managed to make my escape, and thought
How on earth could you have thought we would get on. He is the complete opposite of me.
How many presents have you received that you wouldn't be seen dead in/using/wearing?
Snot green really isn't my colour. Haven't you noticed?
But then there are the times when someone sees something in a shop, immediately think of you, and despite the fact that it isn't Christmas or your birthday, has to buy it for you because it sums you up.
Yesterday my two sisters went shopping without me.......Cinderella! They saw this sitting on a shelf and both said, simultaneously
"That's soooooo Noeleen. We have to get it for her."
And it is perfect!

Fernando is now sitting proudly on my bed.
He is christened already. That would be my anthropomorphism coming out!!!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I have just discovered that I am suffering from anthropomorphism. Before you recoil in horror, fearing that it is contagious, let me explain what it is. It means that I am guilty of giving human characteristics to an inanimate object- I have given my car a name! Fortunately I am not alone. It seems that a quarter of all car owners have attributed a gender and a name to their automobile.
Studies have been carried out in this area.
Some faculty had far too much time and money on its hands.
It seems that because cars move we tend to think of them as animate. But according to this assumption we should also bond with our vacuum cleaner.
Somehow I can never hear myself uttering the words "Must get this place spick and span. I'll just get Sucky out of the cupboard!"
When I first went to collect my newly purchased car I saw her taking pride of place out on the garage forecourt. Her red body work gleamed in the sun, topped off by her black softtop. I knew in an instant that she was a Roxy!

Many mothers have claimed that they don't choose a name for their baby until it is actually born as they need to see if the name will suit. I know exactly what they mean!!!
Roxy and I share a lot of time together. We clock up over 2000km a month. Roxy houses my office, my spare wardrobe and a host of other things. She occupies an important part in my life. She is "alive".
I am not the only one who thinks this. Many people have said to me
"I saw Roxy going through town the other day."
Hell-o! I know. I was there as well. You hardly think she sneeked out of the house unknowns to me, like a wayward teenager.One day I was driving through Rooskey in Co.Leitrim. I got a text from a friend which read
"Hi there. If you ever want to have an affair I'll loan you my car. You'll never get away with it otherwise!"
Roxy and I have had many adventures together. This weekend saw us seperated for the first time. I left her outside her Auntie Anne's house while I skidaddled into Dublin in search of Frenchmen! When I returned on Sunday evening I got in and turned the key. Roxy spluttered and coughed.......and cut out! I was in shock. This was the first time anything like this ever happened. Even during the arctic conditions of this winter, Roxy braved the cold and purred into life every morning. So why fail me now?
I am convinced it was because she was in a huff. She had said to herself
Hmm. Don't think you can just feck off for an adventure without me and expect me to be here for you when you decide to come back. Let's show you what it would be like to be without me. SO THERE!
Roxy sprung into action on the second turning of the key and hasn't given an ounce of trouble since.
I've learned my lesson!

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Valentine's Tale

On account of the day that was in it we opened the day by reading a fable about love.
To cut a long story short(er)....
A frog was feeling very under the weather. He was feeling hot and cold, his heart was going thump-thump-thump and he couldn't sleep.
I got a bit worried at this stage as I thought it sounded remarkably like the menopause!
Thankfully after consulting with his friends he discovered he was in love. The only problem was.....he was in love with Duck. He was told this was impossible because he was green and she was white.
I could see a MUCH bigger problem than this, but we didn't go into that.
Frog set about wooing Duck by leaving paintings, flowers and presents at her door every morning. But he couldn't pluck up the corage to tell her how he felt. Eventually he decided that in order to impress her he would break the world record for the high jump. Novel idea.
However he lost his balance and fell from a great height, almost breaking his bloody neck. Feckin' eejit!
All was not lost as Duck nursed him back to health. She fell in love with him and they all lived happily ever after.

We had a very interesting discussion about the moral of the story.
The kids came up with the gem "Love has no boundaries." They said that it doesn't matter about race, shape, size (phew), age you are or the fact that you don't look like Justin Bieber (I'm quoting them here) we all deserve love!
M imparted this piece of knowledge to us.
"I was researching Michael Collins for my history project and his father was 67 and his mother was 23! I think that's gross."
I have to admit I felt a little grossed out myself, but couldn't express that. But then again Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Doughlas seem very happy!
Just as class was finishing I asked if anyone had learned another lesson from the story.
O put up his hand and said, in all seriousness.
"Yes Miss. I've learned that if you stalk a woman for long enough you just might get her."
The bell rang!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Curse of a Guilty Conscience.

This was a jam-packed weekend. On Friday night I was heading to Leixlip for the DVD showing of our recent panto The Sleeping Beauty. On Saturday I was meeting some of the women in Dublin for an overnight stay.
The fact that it was a rugby weekend and the place would be over run with sexy French men was purely coincidental!!!
Then Sunday saw me back in Leixlip for an afternoon rehearsal of "Tom and Viv". Hectic schedule.
We were staying in a hotel on Harcourt street, which was great in one way as it was right in the heart of the action, but on the downside it didn't have parking. So I hit on the idea of leaving my car at Anne's on Friday night, get the bus into town on Saturday, hit the tiles, get the bus back for Sunday rehearsal and then head home. Perfect.
I haven't been on a bus since college many, many moons ago. And it soon became obvious!
I hopped onto the 66A and flashed my five euro note at the driver who was encased behind a perspex wall.
Was that for my protection or his??
"One for City Centre, please."
He replied something incomprehensible.
"City Centre please."
Same response.
This misunderstanding may have been the result of a language barrier. But I can't really say, as the thick perspex muffled all sound.
By this time we had taken off and I was channelling my inner elephant trying to plonk my feet firmly on the swaying floor and not topple over.
I eventually managed to work out what he meant. He didn't accept any money. You had to put the exact fare in a little machine
that had a big sign that said "Exact fare only". Oops, hadn't seen that.
As we careered around a corner I was flung into a nearby seat. So I had a chance to root around my purse and find the €2.30
Disaster. I had about 27c in coins.
I sat there in a tizzy. Now what should I do? I didn't have the coins to pay the fare. I couldn't get off the bus because I'd have to get another one back to Leixlip, which would also probably need the exact fare which, if you are still paying attention, was the reason I was in this quandary in the first place.I decided to sit it out! And that was when my good Catholic upbringing came into play....namely I was racked by guilt!
I am a very honest person, honest! I have never stolen anything in my life, I pay all my bills by direct debit so that they won't be late and on the few occasions that I have received too MUCH money back in my change, I have felt obliged to tell the shop assistant of their mistake and give back the excess.
After all, not paying ones dues breaks the fifth commandment and is a sin!
However, my over eager conscience went into overdrive.
"Oh my God. I can't pay my fare".
I was beginning to come out in a sweat. I had knots in my stomach. Every time the bus pulled up at a stop,I was craning my neck to see who was waiting. I was sure an inspector was going to hop on, catch me ticketless and physically eject me from the bus in full view of everyone.
Noeleen, cop onto yourself. If an inspector does get on, all you have to do is explain that the last time you were on a bus there was a driver and a conductor, who had one of those contraptions whereby you gave him some money, he turned a handle and gave you back a ticket....and your change! And then I could bribe the inspector with my fiver!.
Nevertheless, the relief was overwhelming when O'Connell Street came into view. Then I had another dilemma.
What do I do getting off the bus? Do I try to explain again, despite the fact that we couldn't understand each other? Or do I make a run for it?
I am ashamed to say that I got off the bus cleverly concealed in the middle of all the other commuters. Even as I walked away I had visions of the bus driver jumping out of his seat and coming running after me looking for his €2.30
He didn't.
As I pounded the pavement I had a good old chat with myself.
Get over yourself. It's not as if you deliberately tried to avoid paying the fare. And it was only a few euro. After all, the whole country is bankrupt. And the people responsible for it have no qualms about not paying back the millions, nay, billions that they owe. Your measly €2.30 is not going to make a difference.
And yet I can't convince my conscience that it's alright. Even writing this, I still feel guilty and that I have done something wrong. When the Catholic Church implant an idea there's no getting away from it!
I suppose I better say ten Hail Marys!

Friday, February 4, 2011

A rose by any other name.......

I drove home from a computer course in Navan last night through a gale force wind. It was like a scene from The Wizard of Oz. There were branches, election posters (tee hee) flying in front of my windscreen. I fully expected to see that old witch floating by on her bicycle. I got in the door at home and swore I wasn't moving out again that night. But of course I did because........Lauren was finally home with Megan and I had to see them, typhoon or no typhoon!
Megan is GORGEOUS. She is smaller than she appeared in her photos, which is all we had to go on. When anyone asked me her weight I replied that she was small, 7lbs 4ozs. The reply I always got was
"That's not small. That's normal."
Not when you are talking about decendants of the Lynam clan!
Of my eight nieces and nephews the smallest was Barry, who came in at 7lbs 13ozs. The rest were 8 and 9 pounders, and Shane topped the scales at 10lbs 14ozs....OUCH!
The phrase "passing a basketball comes to mind"!
Now the dilema is....what am I to be called? Technically I am Megan's Grandaunt. Now I don't know about you, but I refuse to be connected with anything that has the term "Grand" in its title, no thank you.
I think I have it sorted. Neither Lauren nor Glenn have any sisters, so Megan doesn't have any aunts. Jacqueline and I are going to slip in there under the radar and confisate the title "Auntie" and there is no one to oppose us! SORTED!

Another family trait, apart from the big babies, is that we look much younger than we really are (ahem). Despite what you mght think Lauren is not twelve but twenty four.
And I am.......... let's just leave it at that!!!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Knickers Monica!

I have been pestered by friends to "spill the beans" ever since Keith posted a comment about another blog which referred to me with my knickers around my ankles!
Thanks a million Keith. Just remember, revenge is sweet!!!
Anyway, the real story is not as decadent as your mind here goes!

It happened while I was living in the Middle East. I had headed to the Abu Dhabi Health and Fitness Centre for a day of relaxation by the pool.
You don't actually think I went there to go to the gym, now did you?
In the dressing room I whipped off my shorts and knickers in one swoop and put on my swimsuit. Out to the pool area I went, where I spent the next few hours basking in the glorious sunshine, dipping into the outdoor jacuzzi and being served by the waiters.
Mental question to self: Why did I leave?
It came time to go home. I had my shower, put on fresh underwear, got dressed and left the complex.
While walking onto the footpath along the main road I felt a little uncomfortable.
My shorts feel like they're bunched up.
I had a quick check behind, but all seemed fine.
Another few steps and first pair of knickers fell out of the leg of my shorts and onto the footpath.
Now be honest. It has happened to you at least once. You take off your jeans and underwear in one go and the aforementioned undergarment is left there. Next day you forget....until it worms its way out.
The only problem was, I was in a Muslim country where they don't take kindly to women dropping their knickers in public!
When it hit the ground I had a moment of indecision. Do I just step over it and keep going regardless or do I stop and pick it up and risk being jailed?
A quick glance around told me that the approaching couple were a bit far away from me. So like greased lightning I bent down, picked up, rammed it into my bag in a nano-second! The beep from a passing car was the only indication that I had been spotted.
And that's the story.....not as rauncy as you thought it was!!!
But I do now always check!