Monday, May 30, 2011

Did the earth move for you?

On Sunday I went over to Mam's on the other side of the village. When I turned up her road I got the shock of my life when I saw this sign.

What on earth? Seismic survey? Where do they think we are, Fukushima?
Nothing so disastrous, thank God. It seems there is a possibility that there is an underlying zinc deposit in the area, and the company is checking to see if it would be viable to start mining!
So they were carrying out a tremor test every 10 metres along the road.
Of course what do you do when there is a machine outside your house, causing the tectonic plates to shudder......and glasses to rattle in the cabinet? Why, you go out to the lawn to have a better look!

It was a scary experience to be standing on the front lawn and then the whole ground begins to shake. The funny thing was how Ruby reacted to it. Ruby is the second family dog, the one with a paranoid disposition
As opposed to Daisy who has just came off the Valium as she has recovered from her phantom pregnancy!
Ruby disappears under the bed every time the vacuum cleaner appears on the scene.
She should move down to my house, she wouldn't be so traumatised very often!
In fact she has been known to scamper off in fright whenever Niall snaps shut his pencil-case.
So how did she react to a huge machine outside her house, roaring and grinding,causing the earth to move?
She was out, running around and wagging her tail at the nice man who had some sort of gadget against the wall of the house, just to make sure it wasn't going to fall down!
That was nice of him!
Then it dawned on the Lynam clan. What will happen if they actually do discover zinc under their house? Were they devastated at the prospect of being uprooted from their family home and having to leave the memories of decades behind?
Were they heck as like!
They figured they were going to be like the Beverly Hillbillies, make millions from the treasure in their back garden and retire to Dalkey!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

What makes a healthy school lunch?

I met up with childhood friends over the weekend. I love this story as it proves that I am not the only one in the group to make a complete fool of myself on occasion!
Lorna's friend was headng off on holiday for a week with her husband and kids. They were coming home late on Wednesday evening. As the kids were going into school on Thursday morning, her friend asked Lorna if she would get in some stuff for their school lunches. As the school has a very strict "healthy eating" policy, her friend gave Lorna a list of suitable foods to buy.
On Wednesday evening Lorna popped into her local Super Valu on the way home from work.
Fruit and Veg section
Grapes.....check they are
Apple.......must be for Teacher!
Opened the fridge
Yogurt.....I could never eat that stuff!
Cheesy dippers......Mmm, are they really healthy? Full of E additives. Not my problem!

Finally, onto the sandwich spreads. That's when Lorna hit a problem. She had located all the items on the list in record time, except for the last one.
"KY jelly? Never heard of that. Must be some new type of organic spread for bread".
Lorna searched high and low along the shelves but couldn't find it.
I wonder why???
After several fruitless minutes, she called over one of the girls for help. She was a Polish girl with good but not great English.
"Can you help me please? My friend asked me to get KY jelly for her kids school lunches, but I can't find it here."
The girl looked a little puzzled.
"Zis KY Jelly? I have never 'eard of it. I vill help you."
Sorry I don't speak Polish! Don't know why she had a French accent!!!
So the two of them began searching among the Marmite. No success.
The manager and his assistant passed by.
"Excuse me. My friend asked me to get KY Jelly for her kids' school lunches. Will I get it here or in the desserts section?"
Lorna couldn't understand why they stared at her open-mouthed, before making weird faces, as if they were biting their inside lip.
"Sorry Madam. I'll send over someone who can help."
All Lorna could see were the back of their heels as they legged it around the corner, when she could have sworn she heard what sounded like muffled howls of laughter.
"How strange," she thought. "That's not very professional of them."
A few moments later a female assistant appeared.
Quite exasperated at this stage, Lorna launched into her plea for the third time.
"Look, I'm just trying to get this KY Jelly stuff for my friend. Her kids need it for their lunch. The teachers insist on it."
 The woman replied
"Maybe Madame, you should text your friend just to check that really is what she wants!"
Lorna looked at her watch.
"Well they are just at the airport in Spain at the moment. I'm sure she has more things to worry about than school lunches. Talk about fussy kids. In my day you ate what you got, and were dam glad to get it!"
She texted anyway.
Hi there. Can't find any KY Jelly for their lunches. Will ordinary strawberry or raspberry do instead?
"I don't think she'll even bother replying. It can't be that important."
No sooner had she said that than the phone began to ring.
"She's ringing from Spain??? She totally ruins those kids."
"Hi there. How was the holiday?"
"LORNA! What on earth are you on about? What are you looking for???
"KY Jelly. It's on the list......"
Lorna could then hear guffaws of laughter down the phone. In fact they were so loud, they may have made it all the way from Spain all by themselves.
It was her friend's husband. He had seen the list for Lorna on the kitchen counter and had written KY Jelly on the bottom of it "for the craic".
Pardon the pun!
 He thought Lorna would just get a bit of a shock when she saw it and be too embarrassed to buy it. Not in his wildest dreams did he think she would actually go and look for the desserts aisle!
Lorna is now reduced to going to a neighbouring village to do her shopping. She can't face the sniggers, nudges and whispers of "That's her, the KY Jelly woman" every time she enters the shop!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

As happy as a pig in the proverbial!

My mother told me there'd be days like this.
I headed off to the Wellington Eye Clinic this morning for my check-up. My sister had driven me there on the three previous occasions, so I knew the way.
Yeah, right. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I am dyslexic when it comes to directions.
All was going fine as I exited the M50 at exit 14, which was correct. I was delighted with myself. But not for long. As I approached the first roundabout I thought
Is this the one I go straight through, or the one I turn left?
Seconds to decide.....and of course I chose wrong. It was a one way system  so I got completely lost. I spent the next half hour driving around, trying to find somewhere familiar.
Having been in this situation so many times I always allow at least 30 minutes for getting lost!
I was beginning to panic/well up in tears, when I recognised the Beacon Hotel, next to the clinic.
Granted I was approaching it from the completely wrong direction, but who cared???
When I went into reception, the receptionist smiled and said
"Oh you're a little bit early. It didn't take you as long as you thought".
After an intensive examination, my surgeon announced that all is well with my eyes, I have gained three lines on the eye chart....and I don't need to get the second one done! That's what I had been afraid of, but all is well for the moment. OH HAPPY DAY!

On the way home I just HAD to pop into Liffey Valley. I ended up buying a few "essentials" for holidays! Then I was plagued with guilt on the way home as I need to be saving my money for the flight and spending money. When I opened the front door there before me lay an envelope with an official  harp on it! Never a good sign.
But I was wrong!
It was a tax rebate for 800 euro!!
The government giving me back money! WTF!

I turned on the computer and discovered that my cunning plan of yesterday actually worked. I have reached  a total of 2000 hits on my blog this month!
Whoo hoo!

Okay, so I helped it along a bit. But I can't believe that it worked!
Does this mean it doesn't actually matter what I write, as long as it has a catchy title???

I am sitting back on my couch, thinking
I am happy!
And how often can we say that?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Women who drop their knickers for Joe Dolan gach lá!

One of the symptoms of my PSTS Primary School Teacher Syndrome is an obsession with all things graphical! So I was beside myself with excitement recently when I discovered the STATS button on my blogsite.
How could I have overlooked this little gem for all these months?
There before me was all the history of activity on my blog in glorious trend graphs, block graphs and pie charts. And I could flick from daily to monthly to all time history.
Oh happy days!
According to the home page of my blog I had a total of about 500 hits.....and I was very happy with that. But according to my stats I have actually had a total of 10,000 hits.
The site was getting about 700 hits a month! But for this month of May, I am about to reach 2000 hits! I am ecstatic. Many thanks to all regular readers and readers who have stumbled across me by complete accident.

Another feature is a map of the world which shows where the audience comes from. So when I look at it I know
"That must be Michelle or Val in Australia"
"Debbie, Diana or Emer are looking in from USA"
"Keith is pretending to be at work in India"
and "Gerardine and Dave are still in Kuala Lumpar"
I am really stumped by some places.......Germany, Romania, Brazil, Chile, Jersey and Argentina to name but a few. I don't know anyone living there, so I guess they must have stumbled across "A Girl for all Seasons" by accident.

And that's where the most interesting feature comes in. The source of most of the audience comes from Facebook, but there is an increasing number coming from Google and Bing. It gives the phrases that people have keyed in and then been directed to my website.
By far the most common one is "The night Joe Dolan's car broke down".
I get about two hits from that daily.
Joe is as popular as ever.
Next is "Aimsir Láithreach".
I apologise to all teachers who have been searching for an emergency Irish grammar lesson plan....and gotten my little anecdote instead!
But the weirdest of all are the ones who have found their way to my blog by typing in the phrase
 "women who drop their knickers". I couldn't understand that one til I remembered this entry.
Out of curiosity I typed that phrase into Google, to see what company I was keeping.
Oh, Holy Mary, Mother of God!!!!
Whoever found my little innocent blog while trawling through that mire must have been very disappointed!!!.

So I came up with this devious plan to optimise my hits, by using these most popular phrases and therefore reach 2000 hits by the end of this day. Hence the title of this blog!!!!
Well, it caught your attention anyway!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Is féidir liom, leat, leis, léi...........

What a week for Ireland! It has to go down in the history books as the week we began to believe in ourselves again. The Queen's visit showed that (for the most part) we don't have to live in the past, Leinster's magnificiant comeback personified our never-say-die attitude and yesterday's inspirational speech by Obama made the future seem a lot less hopeless!
I will put my hand on my heart and say
I have no idea what his policies are on the economy, education, health etc. etc. etc. I also have no idea how he is fareing out in the popularity stakes back in his own electorate arena.
All I can judge him by is how he performed yesterday. And in my humble opinion, he was brilliant.
Of course he didn't outline any policies as to how we are going to get ourselves out of this mess we got ourselves into.
That's not his job. That's what we pay our own polititians to do. And by the way, Enda gets more for leading our little country than Obama gets for his!

But what he did give us was praise for what we have done and the enthusiasm to try harder.
The golden rule of Teachers!
Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh siad!

Not one of our polititians has given us an ounce of inspiration in the past two years. All we heard was how bad things are and will continue to be.  Of course they had draconian measures to implement but, in the words of Mary Poppins
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!

As I listened to Obama's speech from College Green I nearly fell off the couch in surprise when I heard him say that Ireland has one of the best educational systems in the world  and to use that to build  the future.
I am speaking personally now. I have always wanted to be a teacher, ever since I started school myself. But in the past few years I have nearly become afraid to admit in public that I am one. I am immediately berated.
The government has done an excellent job in pitting the Public sector against the private sector in an effort to take the spotlight off themselves. In sometimes appears that it is teachers' wages that has taken the billions that we had a mere few years ago.
Oh, how I wish that was the case!
It sometimes feels that teachers have been put on a level with corrupt bankers and paedophile priests!

It was brilliant for someone to acknowledge that
Hey. We're not all bad and are actually doing our best in an increasingly difficult situation.
So, as I sat in front of the TV correcting my copies, I did not grumble as I usually do
Bah. Humbug. Does it mention all this extra work in the Croke Park Agreement, does it, does it? Eh, eh?
Instead I just got on with it. Which is what we all have to do!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pure Madness!

Yesterday was the BIG day. The nominations for the A.I.M.S awards were being announced. For those of you not-in-the-know, these are the accolades which are bestowed on all the amateur musicals which are performed all around the country.
The week after working backstage on "Tom and Viv" with Bradán Players, I was off to Leixlip Musical and Variety Group to work backstage on "Our House". This is the musical based on the songs of the 80's group Madness. I knew one or two of their songs, but only realised how many hits they actually had  when I started working on the musical.
Sets were awesome, and so backstage was hectic. Anne and I were assigned to our truck on stage left...and the madness began in earnest. List of instructions was handed on to us from Mary, our revered stage manager.
Move it from "Casey Street/ black and white to "Casey Street/normal".
Then there was "Casey Street/ Back to Normal/ Back"....and it went on and on.
Even on the last night, when we should have been able to do it with our eyes closed we were still checking instructions just before each scene be sure, to be sure.
Throw in half a car, a coffin and a few school desks on wheels, and there wasn't room backstage to change your mind! In face there was just about room for Mary's box of condoms!
Now she claims that they were merely props, but I have my doubts!

But it was a FANTASTIC show! The energy from the cast was leapin' off the stage.
Nominations were in! And we got nominated for.....
Best choreography
Best stage management......GO US! and
Best Overall Show!!!!
Here is a clip from the show. If you look very, very, very closely you can just about see the scene change from "Casey Street/Normal to Casey Street Front".
That's how good us Backstage crew were!!

So, "Tom and Viv" was nominated for Best Stage Management in the All-Ireland Drama festival. "Our House" was also nominated for Best Stage Management for AIMS.
I was part of both crews. Ahem. Just saying!

Bring on the Awards weekend in Killarney in June!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Feck the begrudgers!

Yesterday's monsoon style wind and rain saw me confined to the house. It was a toss up between housework and watching rugby.
Well, no contest there then!
However the sight of Leinster being annihilated by Northampton by 22-6 in the first half saw me retreating to the kitchen to do my ironing. That's how bad it was!
What must go down as the understatement of the year goes to Brian O'Driscoll.
"There were a few choice words in the dressing room"
and the tables were turned! My backlog of ironing was abandoned in the second half. Leinster's steely grit and determination resulted in the comeback of the century.
Leinster 33 Northampton 22
I know it's only 11 years into this one, but beat that!

I can understand the opposition's horror at watching their victory being steadily taken away from them. But it didn't account for some of the chanting that was audible to all viewers.
"Never surrender to the IRA"
Fair enough.
"Stand up if you hate the Irish"
Totally out of order. Especially as the majority of people were in the terraces and were standing already, regardless of their views.
It seemed all the more derogatory in view of the giant steps that were made in Irish-British relations this week with the visit of the Queen to our shores. Beforehand, regardless of one's republican views, the visit was seen as an unnecessary event. It would cost us in the region of 11 million euro in security, money our cash-strapped nation can ill afford.
However from the moment she stepped off the plane in her St.Patrick's Blue outfit, she began to win the undecided sceptics over.
How many Irish people actually knew that the official colour of Ireland is blue...and not green! I didn't.

Our President, Mary McAleese was equally poised, dignified and competent. Women rule the world!
Ireland, as a nation, came across to the world as a forward-facing country in which to invest.
Hey, it was even gloriously sunny. Bring on the tourists!
I particularly like one comment. As the queen laid a wreath in The Garden of Remembrance, someone tweeted
" Now the Queen bows her head to those who died fighting for our freedom"
Then as she walked past a group of our politicians, including former Taoisigh, Ahern and Cowen, he quipped
"And now she has just passed the two gobshites who have given it away!"
Our economy is in deep trouble and we need all the international help we can get.

Yes, there have been major injustices done in the past. The British know too little about their history....and the Irish know too much! We must honour and respect our past, but we must live in the present to create our future.
To quote John Home, Noble Peace Prize winner
"You can't eat a flag".
There were protests, as they were entitled to do. That is why we fought to have a democracy- freedom of speech. But unfortunately, wherever you have a group of people with a genuine belief in a cause, you will have a flock of sheep who will say
"Oh look. A protest. Let's throw a rock!"
There were ugly scenes in Dublin.

Man demonstrates his hatred of all things British........while wearing a Manchester United jersey. WTF!
Atlas, anyone?

What set me off on that tangent? Oh yes. Let's take it, that in both instances it was the result of a minority realising that they were losing control of the score and reacting in the only way they know how....yobbishness.
This week I am incredibly proud to be Irish. We have shown that when our backs are to the wall and we are facing defeat/bankruptcy in the face, we dust ourselves off, regroup, come out fighting...and WIN!
And all by the rule book!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Over reaction.

One of my favourite incidents from a previous Big Brother series, involved a packet of biscuits. The housemates had been interred for two weeks and were just beginning to get on each others nerves. One group of housemates took and hid a packet of biscuits for their own consumption. The rest of the house went ballistic when they discovered this, and there ensued a huge row.
The behaviour expert or whatever his titile was gave a very interesting explanation. When we are in a closed environment no matter how trivial an incident is,if there is nothing else bothering us, then it expands to fill our world and become a ginormous problem.
I'd like to think that this is the reason for how I reacted this morning.
On Wednesday night we had our Confirmation rehearsal. My brother Finian, and Niall arrived with the Holy Spirit display. As it is a joint venture with two other schools, I asked the priest where we should put it, bearing in mind there were two more displays to put up. We were given our place, and Jesus was set up!
This morning I popped into the church on the way to school to check things. To be honest I was making sure that parents hadn't changed the names on the seating arrangement!
It can happen.
When I entered the church, I was stopped in my tracks. Our display had been moved to make way for another one. And it was put behind the pulpit where it couldn't be seen!
I could feel my blood begin to boil. I knew the amount of hard work and effort that Niall had put into it,slaving away during his Easter holidays
Okay. Now I'm getting melodramatic
 and now it was wasted.
I wanted to change the displays back, but I knew it was unprofessional of me to do so. So I rang my principal, to get him to do it!!!!
He arrived, and soon after so did the priest. We did a bit of tweeking, got rid of a May altar, and soon all displays were being shown to their optimum advantage. Day was saved.
The ceremony went off perfectly, the kids read like newsreaders, the choir outdid themselves...and teacher calmed down in time!
 I am sitting here with my feet up, drinking a cup of tea complete with dunking chocolate Hob Nobs.
What on earth was up with you this morning? You completely over reacted. It was only a feckin' display.
But in my defence, we have been living and breathing this ceremony for the past few weeks, so I had nothing else in my life to worry about.
And to misquote Patrick Swayze's immortal line in Dirty Dancing
Nobody puts Baby Jesus in the corner!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Do as I say and not as I do!

Yesterday was the last day in school before Confirmation Day. All the months of preparation and rehearsing have finally come to fruition.
We had a little chat before hometime. I told them that this evening was going to be very busy
fake tanning, eyebrow waxing, manicures and pedicures etc
And that's just the boys!
but if they could spare a monent for a little prayer before bedtime it would be good! Nerves were going to be fraught but they were to try to relax and get a decent sleep as it is going to be a long day.

So why am I awake at 5.30am? I have already eaten  my Weetabix and have all the time in the world to Facebook and Blog???
I don't think I've been up this early since my own Confirmation!

If you are going to lie to me, make it a good one!

I was checking with my class to see who was available to sing in the school choir at the  First Holy Communion mass next Saturday week. Yesterday, numbers were very low, so I gave a little talk about "community spirit", "helping each other out" and "responsibility".
Panic. Can't have a choir without singers.
So I gave a BIG lecture about having to be there, unless you had a very valid excuse.
I checked again today. An increase in participiants, but there were still the usual suspects who didn't volunteer.
"And why can't you sing in the choir on Saturday week?", I asked Ó.
"Ehh. I have to.....go to a funeral", he stammered out.
"Really," I said, with raised eyebrow. "Whose funeral is it?"
"Em. It's my Dad's nephew's....cousin, once removed."
He obviously didn't want to tempt fate by naming someone too closely related!
"Interesting. How soon do we bury someone in Ireland, after their death?"
"Two days."
"Correct. So how do you know that your Dad's nephew's second cousin  once removed is going to die next Thursday???"
"I'll be at the choir, Miss".
"You're dead right, you will!"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What do you get when you cross Lady Gaga with the Holy Spirit?

Confirmation poster time again. After last year's debacle, when several of my apostles arrived naked in the church I decided it was time to call in the professionals!
So I called on my nephew Niall. The only worry was that his main muse is Lady Gaga. His drawings of her are fabulous.

Or even.........

So I asked him to expand his portfolio and to paint the Holy Spirit. I did get him a few examples of pictures as I was afraid of a Lady Gaga-esque style result.
I need not have worried. This is what he produced.

Can't wait til Confirmation Day.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Milestones in a girl's life #2

Another very important milestone in a girl's life is when you receive your first.............pair of converse!
My (gran) niece, Megan got her first pair this of course.

Of course she had to pop up to see her Godmother Emma, to show them off. While she was sitting there, she noticed something horrendious.
Megan: OMG! My godmother is wearing the exact same shoes as me. WTF!

Megan was so mortified by this she had to go home immediately to change!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Milestones in a girl's life

I have been to countless First Holy Communions over the course of my teaching career. In fact I could probably recite the entire ceremony in my sleep.This Saturday morning saw me attending my umpteenth F.H.C. But this time was different. I was attending as a loving Godmother not as a stressed teacher. It was Sadhbh's big day.
Sadhbh is Genevieve's (oh, and Vincent's) daughter. Genevieve and I go back a long way.
So I passed up on a night on the town with the girls the previous night because I wanted to be in top form. I was there bright and early, snapping away with my little camera, standing up at the wrong places to get a good shot, blocking other peopes view and generally being the type of person that teachers hate to have at a religious ceremony!
Ah well, pay back time!

We gave Girls Aloud a run for their money.

I had been a bit wary about wearing white. Would it be appropriate?

Well, if Pippa Middleton can wear it to her sister's wedding, I can sure as hell wear it to Sadhbh's First Holy Communion!

At the end of the day there is no denying that Sadhbh is Daddy's girl!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Meet the Irish Fockers

Met up with the Girls last night for dinner and a few drinkies. Over the dinner table, the conversation got around to the various guys that we have brought home to meet our parents over the past few/many years!
Obviously none were successful, as we are all still single. We live in hope!
Prize for best story has to go to Fiona.
When she headed "up to Dublin" in 80's to go to college, it was still quite a rarity....and therefore a cause for an Irish Mammy to brag about, to all and sundry.
Fiona's attention was turned somewhat from her studies when she met "the love of her life". Was it a like-minded student, up-from-the-country, intent on forging a career and making it in the world/
Was it hell as like???
He was a college drop out (if he'd ever been there in the first place), long hair to his waist, yellowing fingers from years of smoking (despite the fact that he was only about 19) and not a prospect in sight! I'm not sure, but she may have met him near a homeless shelter! Just the type of guy every Irish Mammy wants her precious daughter to bring home.
But he was in a band!
Well maybe not exactly IN a band, but was going to be some day, when people began to appreciate how feckin' talented he really was, etc. etc. etc.
Which made him a god-like figure in Fiona's only recently opened Mullingar eyes! She decided to bring him home to meet her parents one weekend. She was so madly in love, she could not see any possibility of her parents not seeing beyond the veneer of .....grime(?) and recognising his genius, like she had done.
Big mistake!
When her mother laid eyes on him, she gave him a look that would wither a baby elephant at ten paces. Things didn't improve when he engaged in conversation with her father, extolling the benefits of dope-smoking. But the nail in the coffin was when he returned to the kitchen after a brief absence and exclaimed
""Hey man. That's a really useful ashtray. I've never seen one on the wall before. It's at the perfect height, no need to bend down".
"What are you talking about, young man", her mother retorted through pursed lips. "We have no ashtrays pinned to our walls".
Fiona's blood ran cold when she realised what he had done.
He had stood leaning against the jam of the front door, dragging on his cigarette....and dropping his ashes into........the Holy Water Font!!!

The weekend visit was cut short after that and they returned to Dublin.
I'd love to be able to say that he joined a rock band, took the world by storm, got rid of world debt and fed the starving millions.....because his name was Bono!
But was would be a big, fat lie!
No, reality is much more mundane. She continued to see him for a while but it soon fizzled out. And she thought long and hard before bringing anyone else from inside The Pale to visit her parents!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Twin it to win it

Last night saw the first semifinal of Eurovision: Dusseldorf. Having seen the calibre of the other acts I have been struck by a horrible thought.
OMG! Jedward are in with a great chance and just might win the darn thing!
After their first audition on The X-Factor I was embarrassed to say they were originated from the same country as myself. They came across as egotistical, precious little brats. But as the weeks went on, I (along with most of the country) came to realise that we had misread them. Granted they were still annoying and devoid of any talent. But they had what Simon Cowell was looking for......
..The X-Factor.
What you see is what you get. An identical pair of hyperactive twins with hearts of gold.     
I know people who have worked with them in Panto and have nothing but praise for how nice they genuinely are and how much time they give to their fans.
Its just a pity they are as mad as wet hens....which is pretty mad, I assure you!
So it's nothing personal against them that I don't want them to win. It's just that.......
Where on earth would our little bankrupt country find the money to host the Eurovision next year?

Flashback to 2009
"Miss, can we have a fundraiser to help the people of Haiti?"
"That's a lovely idea. What do you suggest?"
We had the usual ideas of "Non uniform Day/ Jersay day/ cake sale.
"Ah now, who can come up with an original idea?"
"How about a Jedward Hair Day?"
Great idea. Simple but effective. Just slap on a dash of hair gel and you're sorted.
I ran the idea past my principal.
"Sounds good but our parish priest is a bit concerned about the excessive amount of fundraising that is going on in the school".
"Ah sure we just won't tell him. He'll never know".
So it was going ahead.

The next day my principal came into my room, holding the phone. He gave me a rye look and said
"I think this is for you".
I took it cautiously.
"Hello this is RTÉ. We hear you are having a Jedward Day in school tomorrow and we would like to film you for a children's news programme".
It seems that one of my pupils had e-mailed the programme to tell them of our endeavour. They too thought it was an original idea, better than the hundreds of Jersey Days that were going on around the country.
"Eh yeah, sure" I replied.
The rest of the day was spent is cleaning and rearranging the classroom.
Any teacher will tell you, no matter what the news story is about, if it is set in a classroom, every teacher in the country is examining the walls to see what is going on in that classroom.

I left the school at five o'clock and stopped off at the local chemist in search of extra strong hair products. The relevant shelves were empty. The shop assistant saw me looking bemused and said
"Are you looking for hair gel, it's all out on a special table. For some reason it's flying off the shelves!"
Mmm, that would be my fault!

I spent the evening trying to get the right hairstyle.
You would be amazed at the number of sites that you get when you google "How to look like a complete prat".

The next morning saw me arrive at my school like this....

It was made all the more embarrassing by the fact that I was the only one in my class dressed like that! The film crew had asked that the kids arrive in their uniform and they would film them getting "Jedward-up".
The whole filming took over an hour.
Have you any idea what kids' hair looks like after backcombing, spraying, colouring it for that length of time.
I think we single-handedly doubled the hole in the ozone layer, over Baconstown!
We appeared on the news programme the following afternoon......all four minutes of it!
But the kids were amazing and it was a PR coup for the school!

So much for not telling the priest!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Things that don't go together

Today I discovered two things that don't go together.
1. A windy day
2. Teacher wearing a full skirt, while on yard duty.

I was crossing the playground when a gust of wind caught my skirt and whoosh! Luckily it was at the start of break and the kids were only coming out. A colleague was behind me and got the full effect!
"Oh Ms. Noeleen. What a sight!"
Thank God it wasn't any of my boys. They would have been scared for life.
or should that be "scarred". Actually both are acurate!

What I wished I looked like!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Games I never thought I'd play.......

The past few weeks have seen me engage in a competitive game of Hide-and-Seek.........with a feckin' bird!
This game has been ongoing for three years. Ms.Blue Tit sits on Roxy's right wing mirror, admires and preens herself......and then promptly shits all down the side of the car.
Things have intensified since the arrival of summer-saving time. The brighter mornings mean that B.T. is up before me and has the dirty deed done before I surface. This is the sight that greets me every morning.

So Roxy and I embarked on a devious game of Hide-and -Seek in an effort to outfox the cursed bird.
We parked at the front of the house........

.........the right side of the house.........

........the left side of the house.

However it all backfired DRASTICALLY!

Didn't the damn bird discover that there is a second wing mirror on the other side, and now defecates on both sides of the car.
Which just goes to support the old proverb


Sunday, May 8, 2011

All Ireland Drama Festival


We have reached the end!
Since last November (even longer for the cast) we have been rehearsing and then performing "Tom and Viv".
We have travelled the length and breath of this Fair Isle to take part in various Drama festivals....some we won, some we didn't. But we made it.....we qualified for the All Ireland Finals which were held in Athlone this week.
We were performing on Sunday night. It was hard to believe that we were doing it for the last time

My costume had become my own personal weight-gain indicator! It was "snug" to begin with, to put it mildly,! Each performance told me how well I had behaved in the previous weeks. All I'll say is that the final performance was held two days after I returned from a holiday of debauchery in Turkey. The word "strait-jacket" comes to mind!

A little bit (okay,a lot) of make -up.............

..........we were transformed into the perfect downstairs/backstage crew.

One final run and it was curtains for us!

Last night we returned to Athlone for the all important awards ceremony.

Well the back of my head looked good anyway!
WE WON.......nothing!
But we did get five nominations, including BEST STAGE MANAGEMENT!
Recognition at last. Finally someone appreciated the skill that we employed in order to move windows, couches and beds. Trays,hats,briefcases and umbrellas appeared and disappeared as if by magic. Lemons were cut, tea was made and whoopee cushions were delivered right on cue. And who needs the talking clock when you have
1937 and
Okay, so that's an in-joke only Bradán Players will get!
I got on straight away to my agent!

I hear they are looking for extras on Downton Abbey!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Reasons I love teaching #1

Confirmation season is upon us once again and we are overdosing on the Holy Spirit. So far this week we have explored
  • symbols of the Holy Spirit
  • the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
  • the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
  • choosing of new confirmation names etc. etc. etc.
So when it came to Friday afternoon I had reached saturation point.
God only knows how the poor kids were feeling.
We were once again in the throes of Pentecost when I decided "Enough is Enough"
and not in a blasphemous way, but in a Friday feeling way!
For some reason I was reminded of this clip of the French mime artist, Jerome Murat, a pure genius. So we closed the blinds, put on the Interactive whiteboard and sat back and watched.

The kids couldn't believe that it was done without computer enhancement of Matrixesque proportions.
"Nope. It's all down to talent, practise and a hint of genius"
all traits I am trying to foster in them....and in myself!!!
I was called out to the hall for a few minutes. When I returned I knew something was up. When will students realise, that when a teacher enters her classroom and all her little dears are sitting innocently at their desks working diligently, that she immediately knows that something is afoot!!
I got to the top of the class, turned around and was greeted by the sight of.....

It was the funniest thing I have seen in ages. After we had all stopped laughing, a muffled voice was heard from "the chest".
"Hey, this would be a great act for "Baconstown's got Talent." end-of-year show.
Immediately everyone jumped in with suggestions of what they could do. Much practise and hilarity ensued.
If anyone was passing my room they would have thought it was mayhem inside.
It was, but it was organised mayhem...the best kind.
Before we knew it, the hometime bell rang. As they streamed out the door, one of them turned and said the immortal words
"Miss, that was the best class......EVER!
And it was. No disrespect to the Holy Spirit. I don't know about your God, but mine has a wicked sense of humour! He had an ould chuckle Himself!
And we will get back on track next week.....honest!

Friday, May 6, 2011

All is not as it seems......

 I had finished my 30 lengths of the pool and was struggling over to reach the steps. I looked up to see an elderly man in his seventies standing outside the Ladies dressing room. A young girl of about 12 came out. He spoke to her, put his arm around her and they walked off down the poolside. Because of the warped society in which we live, I was immediately on lookout.
Cop on Noeleen. It's probably her grandfather. There are lots of people around. She has to be safe.
I got out and went to the jacuzzi. I relaxed as the foaming waters eased my weary joints. I could see the girl coming towards me. My "Kerry Katona" eyes means that I can't see very well at a distance.
Signs on it!
As she got in and smiled at me, I did a double take. She was also in her seventies! She had the face of an old woman but the body of a 12 year old
albeit a wrinkly body!.
It was her husband that was with her. Or maybe her lover....after all 70 is the new 50!
I felt kinda guilty about my first thoughts on the situation, but hey, I was being vigilant.
She sat down and we spent a few moments in silence. Then a pool attendant came over with a test tube, took a sample of water out of the jacuzzi and left it standing on the side.
We watched as it slowly changed colour. A thought hit me
"It appears that one of us is pregnant! And I hate to tell's not me!"
She looked at me for a moment and then burst out laughing.  It sounded even louder than normal as you know how sound is magnified in the pool. But then she started coughing and spluttering.I started to panic as I was sure she was going to choke.
Feck. Look what I've done! I've killed her!
 Her husband/lover came over to see what was wrong and to help her out.
"Oh John. Wait til I tell you........" She explained as they went off linking arms down the pool. I could hear them laughing as she broke the news of his impending fatherhood.
A warm feeling spread through my body as I realised that something that I thought was so sordid actually turned out to be something so sweet
Or maybe that was just the effect of being too long in the jacuzzi!

* also posed by don't think I used my camera in the pool!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Phantom of the Soap Opera

Marese was worried about Daisy the dog, as she was acting out of sorts.
Personally I don't know how she could tell. Anyone who has ever met her would immediately see that she is bipolar.
I'm talking about Daisy, not Marese!
One day you go into the house and Daisy rushes over with a sock in her mouth and insists in a game of "Try to pull the sock out of my mouth while I nip your hand". Then the next time you go in, she will start growling as soon as you enter the gate, and not stop til you leave.
But now she was acting even more strangely. She had put up weight, was ripping up the blankets in her basket and was even wetting her basket. All things she had never done before. Marese hauled her off to the vet, thinking she had a kidney infection.
The vet listened carefully and then pronounced
"She has all the classic symptoms of a phantom pregnancy!"
It sounded absolutely ridiculous....until I heard the explanation.
Daisy had put up weight as she was actually producing milk. She was wetting her basket as she was pushing as if she was in labour. She was ripping her blankets as she was trying to huddle them around her to suckle them.
But the remedy that was prescribed for her takes the dog biscuit.
Valium! I kid you not.
Our dog is on valium!!!
The Simpsons are the most dysfunctional family I know.....and yet their dog is not reduced to sedatives!

What does that say about our family???

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Location, location, location

"What was the weather like in Turkey?"
"Well, it spilled rain for the first day, but then it took up. A lovely 21 degrees."
"Oh, it was like that in Ireland. You would have been as well off staying at home."
Are you serious?

Date: Monday 25th April
Temperature: 21 degrees
Location: By the pool in Turkey
Activities: Relaxing, reading, listening to ipod, contemplating if it was vodka o'clock yet.

Date: Monday 3rd May
Temperature; Also 21 degrees
Location: Garden in Riverdale
Activities: Pulling weeds, manicuring oops I mean descimating the hedge, mowing the grass/moss/dandelions.

It's my own fault.
Firstly, in order to get planning permission in Raharney, your site has to be at least 1/2 acre. My house is no mansion, which means that there is way too much lawn area. When I first moved in, it was the start of my new life, which included a Get-Fit/ Bootcamp regeme. I decided not to get a ride-on lawnmower as "the exercise" of  pushing a mower up and down, up and down, up and down...........would be as good as any gym workout. However, the gym you can give up if you are not in the mood. The feckin' lawn demands to be cut or else I'd need a briar hook to see out the window.
As if that wasn't bad enough, I fought to keep the natural hedge in front of my house. As a child I had seen a programme about the hedgerows of Ireland. It showed how the destruction of one hedge wiped out entire ecosystems. I was determined to do my bit to save the planet.
Boy am I sorry now.
The hedge and I are in constant battle. All I did was to go away for a measly ten days and when I returned the hedge had used the opportunity to take over half the lawn.
So there I was, strimming away, while my neighbour raced up and down his lawn on his ride on mower.
Jealous, me?
And to add insult to injury, that cute little bird that nestled in the hedge, well every morning it stares at itself in Roxy's mirror......and shits all down her door. I have to clean it off before I head to school. And this has been going on for the past three years!

*Posed by's only a little Blue Tit for God's sake!

Does anyone know the number of a good tarmacadamer?
When I eventually managed to get to sit down, I poured myself a cool beer, stared out the window at the setting sun and thought
Feck, those dam windows need washing.
So NO!!!! 21 degrees does not mean the same thing in every location.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bee careful what you wish for.

After a first day of  torrential rain in Turkey, the weather took up.
Thank God for that!
It was an acceptable 21 degrees with no humidity. Perfect beach weather.
I went there one day, armed with my book and smothered in factor duffle coat.
Well after last year's little scare I'm not taking any chances.
I sat on a rock, staring out to sea and contemplating my life.
It's all sorted for the next few months (yeah, right). I then set about finishing my book. I must be the last person in the world to discover the gem
"The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd.

I had just gotten to the place where Lily, the main character, gets stung by one of her bees. The description of the sting was so vivid I was immediately cast back to the one and only time I ever got stung.
We had some apple trees at the back of our house. I was about seven years of age at the time. I was running around the back when.....wham. I ran straight into a wasp, who immediately reacted by stinging me just under my eye. I still cringe when I think of the resulting  excruciating pain.
I'm glad that's the only time it ever happened to me.
I picked up my book again. I suddenly felt something flutter again my skin. I glanced down to see that I had trapped a big, nasty wasp in the crock of my arm! I immediately flicked it off and waited for a dart of pain.
A few seconds passed. Nothing.
Phew, I got rid of him just in time.
And then it hit me. It was as if a red hot needle had pierced my skin. The pain spread out like earthquake tremors radiating from the epicentre. There was no one near me on the beach, so all I could do was sit with my outstretched arm, paralysed in pain. It subsided to a manageable throb after a few moments.
How lethal must wasp sting be, if a millilitre of it can cause that much pain.
What a coincidence that it should happen just at the moment I was thinking about being stung. Then it dawned on me!
It must be The Law of Attraction at work! You know, the theory that our thoughts are sent out like sound waves, attact themselves to similar thought waves, and bring them back to you. So, by me reading and thinking about a sting, my thought waves went out into the universe, latched themselves onto the poor unsuspecting wasp and like a magnet drew it straight to me so it could unlease its sting.
Wow, that was quick.
If that is the case, I'm just wondering if anyone has a copy of
 "The Week I lost 2st weight, met Mr. Perfect and won the Lotto"
that I could have the loan of!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Copy Kate

Once I got a few hours sleep, I had the concentration to have a good look at Kate's dress. I loved the bodice, overlayed with lace. Hopefully the fact that she wore sleeves will have all brides following suite and put an end to brides having to hitch up their strapless gowns all day
Not to mention the overspill. Not a good look, ladies! 
The cinched in waist which flowed out into a full skirt was wonderfully feminine.
Wait a minute! I've seen something similar to that before.
Many fashion experts have compared it to Grace Kelly's wedding dress. But I had a rummage through my sister-in-law's wedding album from 1982.
Yep, there it was!
Marese, the original...and the best!