Sunday, July 31, 2011

Private Peter Mark

I went across the road to Ibrahim's coiffeur shop, as I am wont to do of an evening! Ibrahim wasn't there, so I put my hair in the capable hands of his new.assistant. I had discovered the picture of a hairstyle I liked in a magazine, but of course I forgot to bring it with me. It was too hot to go back across the road for it, so I tried to explain what I was looking for. He had very little English and looked very puzzled as I tried to explain, complete with sign language. He then smiled and said "No problem".
This should be interesting to see what he comes up with. He hasn't a clue what I said!
He set about his task. I was reading, I mean, looking at the pictures in a Turkish magazine and wasn't really passing much remarks.There was no point. He was gonna do what he was gonna do! I found it very hard to concentrate as there was a football match blaring quite loudly in the background on the tv. I glanced into the mirror a few times.
Not bad, but nothing like what I asked for! Ah well, its only for a night.
I then noticed something very strange. He had one eye on me and the other on the match. Actually, it was  more like half and eye on me, one and a half on the match!
What's that about? You're supposed to give me your full attention and ignore any such macho activities.
Ibrahim came in just as I was walking up to the counter to pay. Dilema time! How do I strike a balance between praising the newie and not offend Ibrahim who has been doing my hair for years?
As we were standing at the counter, Ibrahim filled me in on the newie's background.
He had been a soldier up to two months ago and now he was a hairdresser!
Wow, I can really see that catching on with all the boys in the Irish army!
As I was paying him I noticed the brochures on the counter. I pointed to some pictures in it and said,
"That's me, and that's me there too."
I did spend quite a bit of time there last holiday!
He looked at the photos and smiled in recognition. Then he produced a writing pad and a pen and laughed
"Celebrity? Write name?"
My first autograph seeker. Fame, here I come!


But actually I think he mistook me for Farrah Fawcett Majors circa 1980


Yep, I could see a definite similarity!


Yep, I could see a definite similarity!


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Riding Seán Óg around Mahmutlar.


I have just been reading my blogs and looking at my photos on Facebook and I realise that local bars and waiters seem to feature very strongly in them! There is much more to Mahmutlar. So this morning I decided to take my life into my hands and go for a cycle around the town.
Finian and Marese bought two bicycles last week. Of course they had to be named.
If it moves, it is an animate object and hence needs a name.
One was nice and white with pink flowers and so was called Penelope. The other was in the strong colours of Cork-red and white, and just had to be called Séan Óg!


I hopped on Seán Óg and headed off ! The first rule of the road over here is
There are no rules of the road.
You need eyes in the back of your head, as a car will drive up behind you, beep loudly and make you swerve in front of them. You must look out for cars that pull in infront of you to park and then the passengers open the door onto the road, also causing you to swerve into the path of oncoming traffic. Finally you must look out for cars approaching you from the front. The fact that you are on a one way street does not mean that you won't encounter a car heading straight for you. Sure aren't they turning left in a few metres so why would they be on their own road,? That would waste time.
Keeping all this in mind I managed to see many things I had never noticed before.

I discovered a lovely greengrocers, where I bought a basket of vegetables for 2 euro.


To quote Baby from Dirty Dancing , "I carried a watermelon."


A reminder that only mad dogs and Irish women go out in the midday sun.


There were statues and monuments dotted along the streets.


Nestled in among the hotels and high rise apartments were the quaintest little houses and farms.







I noticed signs of partriotism...


The call to prayer


This is my favourite....


What the hell happens to you when you get halfway across the road?
I can't wait to take Seán Óg out again!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Challenge #1: How many men can I get to give me a rose.... in one night?

It was Finian and Marese's last night in Mahmutlar. We were having dinner when the nice man selling roses came along. Finian has been promising to buy one for Marese for ages. And tonight was the night! But the fact that I was tagging along meant that my brother bought me one too!



So, I love a challenge. Could I get ten men to present me with the same rose......in one night???

No 1
No 2
No 3


No 4
 

No 5



No 6
No 7
No 8
No 9

No 10





No 11



 












Boy, I surpassed myself!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Deja Vu

We were sitting in the bar.......there's a surprise! It was coming near to the end of the night. Suddenly a very respectable man appraoached our table. He apologised and said
" My name is * I didn't quite catch it. I am from Iran. I am very sorry but I would like to ask the gentleman of the group a question."
We all looked at him with suspicion.
"I would like to know if your lady friend is married", and he nodded vaguely in my direction.
Marese puffed out her chest and said
"Who? Me?"
"No, I mean her," pointing to me.
Finian sat silent for a moment thinking
Okay Noeleen. Give me a sign here. What do you want me to say?
He could see by my strained expression what the correct reponse was.
"Yes she is married."
"Oh I am so sorry. I am not looking for fun. I just wanted to ask the man of the group first, out of respect.""
He went back to his table.
Finian was raging that he had missed out on another deal. At this rate he'll have a herd of livestock before he goes home!
The man then came back and explained again
"I am not looking for fun. I am divorced and here is a picture of my son."
He produced a picture on his phone and Finian amd Marese who were sitting on that side of the table made suitable oohing and ahing noises.
At no point did he address me at all.
"Now I feel I must leave" he said, and made for his motorbike that was parked on the side of the kerb beside us.
After a few minutes we realised that he wasn't going anywhere. He had lost his keys! The waiters went searching around his table, the ground, the grate beside the bike, but no joy! Eventually he had to phone a friend, who arrived on his bike and gave him a lift home.
As he sped off into the distance I thought
Ah bless him. It really wasn't his night. First I turn him down. Then he loses the key to his motorbike. In other words, he got a ride from neither of us!

Not the look I was going for!

My favourite thing to do in Turkey is to have a  Turkish Bath. I headed to "European Beauty" for one the other day. I had been out til stupid o'clock the previous night so I was a tad tired.
First of all I was brought into the steam room which is decorated to look like a cavern. I was placed on a marble slab, pillow under my head, and left to cook for a while. I could feel myself nodding off. Luckily my masseuse arrived back before my snoring started to reverberate around the walls.
I felt like a participant in "Embarrasing Bodies" as I pointed to my mosquito bites. He looked at them quizzically and asked
"I do light?"
"Oh, very light light!" I replied.
He proceeded to scrub my skin,bites and all, with what can only be described as a brillo pad! As I can't bathe in the sun I have been using Dove Holiday Sun to mimic what I should be like. I could see little brown rivelets of water cascade down the side of the slab.
I guess that's the end of that bit of colour!
I definately weighed a kilo lighter after it, I lost that much skin. But boy was I tingling!


Next cycle in the wash, is the foam. Pillows of bubbles are caressed up and down your body. Then you are lightly massaged.
There were definately a few zzzzz during that time!
After being washed down I was brought to a relaxation room to lie down and drink apple tea.
Zzzzzzz
"Madam!"
"Wha' Huh?" I was awoken by a call.
"Time for your next treatment."
I think I slept walked into the room.
I lay face down on the bed and was massaged within an inch of my life. Maybe its the swimming but my muscles objected strongly. But once again, when he was finished I was like a rubber band.
Time for my face mask. Some special mud from the sea
or maybe just from out the back garden!
Anyway, this green mud was painted on and I was left again to relax.
Zzzzzz
"MADAM!"
Oh damn, time to wake again.
I was brought back to the relaxation room where, yes you've guessed it
Zzzzzzzz
"MADAM, time to remove your mask."
Oh just a few more minutes please?
Green gunge was removed and I was ready for home. I'd say my masseuse was sorry that he didn't just leave me lying on the slab for the two hours and then call me and say it was finished!
I walked, nay I floated out of the place. Every pore in my body was cleansed and every muscle had been pummelled into submission. My skin was glowing, if INCREDIBLY white. I was trying to think of suitable words to describe it.
Transulent?
Alabastar?
Etheral?
I got my answer as I passed by  Foleys on the way home.Adam took one look at me and said
"Oh, now you look like raw chicken!"

Yep, that is the shade I resemble!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

I've decided to swim the Channel

With all this eating and drinking I'm terrified of how much weight I could put on in the course of a month. I can put on 4lbs over a good weekend. Can you imagine what size I'd be come August 18th?
So I've decided to swim the English Channel!
Not the actual channel mind, but the equiviliant. I've googled it and its width at its narrowest is 21 miles.
Now when I was doing "Swim a mile with a smile" last year, 80 lengths of the pool was a mile. The pool here is roughly the same size.So I can do it in 21 days which leaves a litttle bit of leeway for any days I just can't manage it!
I know, I know. Swimming in a nice, warm pool is not the same as braving the elements in a freezing, wavy, polluted ocean where you have to dodge ships and floating dirty nappies. Channel swimmers do it in a few hours, while I will take 4 weeks.
But its still a big challenge for me.
On the past three mornings I have been at the pool at 10 before it gets too busy. On Sat I did 40 lemgths. Sunday was 50 and Monday was 60....despite getting to bed at 5!
Tomorrow morning should be easier.
\i feel that if I get the Healthy bit of the day over as early as possible then I have the whole day to undo the goodness
And I shouldn't have to be rolled onto the plane!

1,2,3............

.............68,69,70

Because I'm worth it!

Twenty nine years ago today Finian and Marese got married. Little did they think on that particular day that almost three decades later they would be spending their wedding anniversary in their apartment in Turkey.

Being the good sister that I am, I told them I would head off by myself that evening and they would have a nice romantic dinner without me. They wouldn’t hear of it.
“After twenty nine years we’ve said all we want to say to each other”.
Hmm, nice one Finian!
Of course we had to head to Passion restaurant, where else would you spend your anniversary?



As is the norm here, you ring the restaurant and they come and collect you. Masuit was our driver/waiter/comedian. He had to ask what the story was with a man and two women. Finian hastened to explain that one was his wife and the other was his sister. The slagging started and in the heel of the hunt Finian ended up swopping me for a goat.
The recession has hit the dowry business too.
This is not the first time I have been used by my family as a bartering tool! A few years ago my mother was out here with us on holiday. She fell in love with a necklace in the local jewellers. Every day she would go in and check it out. She was hoping to get the owner to bring the price down further and further. One evening I went in with her. I got the usual question
“Are you married?”
I usually answer “Yes. And my husband is at home with the eight kids.”
But Mam didn’t know the drill and immediately said
“No. She is single.”
Well his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree! He started asking when we could meet up etc etc etc. I fobbed him off. He turned to Mam and asked
“What can I do to get your daughter to go out with me?”
It was Mam’s turn to light up.
“Well, what is the best price you can give me on the necklace and I will see what I can do!!!”

I was horrified….kinda! So that’s the value my mother puts on me! I can just see me now on an instalment of the Jeremy Kyle Show entitled
My mother pimped me out for a necklace!
To be quickly followed by
My brother swapped me for a goat!
So if in the next few weeks you happen to be driving past the Lynam residence in Raharney, and see a goat frolicking on the front lawn…..think of me stuck in Turkey with a 26 year old waiter!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Breaking and Entering

Marese and Finian headed off on their bicycles to explore the nooks and crannies of Mahmutlar. That left me free to wander around the apartment and get myself settled in for the duration. After unpacking and putting everything away I was quite exhausted!
This fluffing around business can really wear you out.
I took myself to the sun lounger on the balcony. The screams and shouts of excited children in the pool drifted up to me…….and got on my nerves!
Children shouldn’t be allowed out during my holidays! Time enough for them in September!
I put in the earpnones of my iPod, lay back and drifted off to the dulcet tones of Adele et al. I don’t know how long I was there. A tap on the shoulder lifted me out of it. I shot up and looked around. Phew! I relaxed back down when I saw that it was Marese.
“Oh, you’re back. I didn’t hear you come in.”
“You can say that again!” she retorted.

Flashback to half an hour previous.
Marese and Finian arrived back to the apartment in a bucket of sweat after their “refreshing” cycle.
I was going to say “ride” but it didn’t read well!
They put the key in the lock, opened the door, ready to collapse inside, when……thud. The door opened a few centimetres but came to a sudden halt AS I HAD INADVERTENTLY PUT ON THE SAFETY BOLT!
I repeat “inadvertently”
They pressed their faces in the gap ala Jack Nicolson in “The Shining”, and shouted my name.
No answer.
They shouted even louder. Nothing
They hammered on the door. Nope
They kept their finger pressed on the doorbell. Nada
They rang my phone. They could hear it ringing on my bed, but no sign of me!

They sat on the stairs and contemplated what to do next. It was only 3.30 in the afternoon so there were a few hours before I would stop whatever I was doing and go to the kitchen to get something to eat. They had no gear with them to head to the pool to await my reappearance. There was also the vague possibility that I had fallen and cracked open my skull  and that was why I wasn’t answering! So there was only one thing for it. They called on the caretaker Mustafa.

He arrived up armed with a pliers. The door was opened the fraction that it would go and he then prized off the bolt.
CRUNCH! They were in.
So, to put the balcony scenario into context.
I am lying back on the sun lounger, foot tapping away in time to the music. Marese enters, slightly frazzled.
Me: Oh you’re back. I didn’t hear you come in.
Marese: You can say that again!
Bet they’re glad I joined them on holiday!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Little Mis-organised.


You know the way I was bragging about packing a suitcase for a month that weighed, like, 750 grams. Well I spoke too soon!
The problem was that I weighed it too early in the week. When I discovered that I actually had 13kgs to play around with, I lost the run of myself.
“Oh, I’ll just pop in this second pair of black shoes. I might need them.”
“This bag doesn’t actually go with anything in my case but I’ll bring it anyway.”
“I’ll bring this kitchen sink just in case the one there isn’t working.”
As a result both my big case and carry-on case were heavier than I had anticipated.

I arrived at the airport in plenty of time. In fact I might have been first there as the check-in crew were sitting twiddling their thumbs. I made straight for a cute looking guy.
Experience has taught me that women check-in'ers can be bitches and won’t let you away as much as a gram.
“’Ello”, he purred. “ ‘Ow many bags?”
He really did have a French accent. That’s not my typing!
“One carry-on and one to check –in”.
“And did you pack  zem yourself?”
No, my butler did it
“Yes I did.”
“Can you place the carry-on one on the belt to weigh it first?”
Pause.
 “Oh dear. It iz very heavy, 12kg. You are only allowed 8”.
I launched into my helpless female act.
“8!. I thought it was 10. And I have my laptop in it.
“Oh we allow 2kgs for a laptop. Is yours a big one?”
“Huge. It’s practically a fully-fledged computer”.
“Well take it out and I vill veigh your bag again.”
I promptly did so, the bag weighed 8.3kgs and he let me off with that. I then took my bag and put the laptop back into it. So what was the point of all that?
The other case was 29.3kgs! How did that happen in a few days? But it was still under the limit…..just about.

Off I toddled around Duty-Free until boarding time. As I approached the desk I could see a very irate woman and an equally hassled crew member. She was trying frantically to squash a HUGE bag into the little container for checking to see if it is the right size for the cabin. It reminded me of trying to get into my jeans.It hadn’t a hope of fitting!
He was exasperated.
“But Madam, even if it does fit, it is 13kgs. You also have a laptop, a large handbag and two bags of Duty-Free. You are way over the limit.
“But I must bring them,” she shouted at him .
Oh don’t do that Missus. Whatever hope you have if you butter him up, you have none if you make him angrier!
“You can either remove some items, pay the excess baggage or not go on the flight”, he announced.
Them’s not very good options!
“Anyway, you are only allowed one piece of hand-luggage.

You could hear an audible gasp of horror from everyone in the queue including myself. I looked at my case, handbag and duty-free. Oops.
Just then I espied my nice Mr. Frenchman at the other boarding desk and made a beeline for him.
Well if he let me get this far, he can’t stop me now.
I smiled sweetly, handed over my card and walked on. Success!

After planes, trains and automobiles (almost) I arrived at the apartment at 2am. Finian and Marese were waiting for me. I dropped the bags on the floor and Marese uttered the immortal words
“Do you want to pop down to Foleys for one?”
Is the Pope a Catholic?
We were there in a matter of minutes. Hugs and kisses all around. We then got catching up on the news of the week. One drink turned into two, into three.
We sauntered back up the road at 5 am! The sun was up and the crickets were chirping.

God, how am I going to cope with a month of this????

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lassie come home

Animals are just as much hassle as children......hence the reason why I have neither! Finian and Marese headed to Turkey last week and the dilemma was, what to do with Ruby and Daisy, their dogs. Emma and Niall (their children, and therefore less important) would be away all day and not back til evening. Mam lives next door so would be able to let the dogs out.
Bet you sang that bit!
Ruby could be left on her own, but not Daisy. As you may recall, Daisy is the one who had to be put on Valium for a while as she was experiencing a phantom pregnancy.
Not the type of creature you would trust on her own for any length of time.
http://www.nols-agirlforallseasons.com/2011/05/phantom-of-soap-opera.html
Hence the reason why Daisy is always put into the kennels to be looked after while her Mam and Dad are away!
It was left to Emma to bring Daisy and get her settled in her foster home.
Now everyone takes Daisy to be a bit of a canine bimbo with not a lot of brain power. Well she obviously has more that we give her credit for!
When she rounded the corner and saw the kennels, she stood rooted to the spot. Then she wriggled and squirmed until she got her head out of her collar. She took off like the hammers of hell! All Emma could see was a blur in the distance.
Now I'd like to be able to blog about the fantastic Lassie-esque adventures she encountered on her way home. Acts of heroism like saving a drowning child from a fast flowing river or pulling another unfortunate child up the side of a jagged cliff are way beyond Daisy's capabilities.
Also the fact that the kennels are just 300 metres down the road from her house limited the possibility of anything exciting happening to her on the " long trek" home.
When Emma and Jenny ( Ms. Kennel Woman) arrived back breathlessly to the house, Daisy was nowhere to be seen. They called and called but no answer. They eventually found her looking very forlorn in the conservatory....
with Captain Plum and a dagger!
Her pleading eyes seemed to say
"You can't seriously be making me go back there".

She gets out next Friday!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pack up your troubles......

As I have documented before I suffer from OCD when it comes to packing.
This holiday I have surpassed myself! I found myself making a list on my laptop, dividing it into daytime and night-time, and writing in what I need for each day!
I know, I know, I have way too much time on my hands! I should be doing something constructive like mowing the lawn......oh wait, that's going to be done for me!!!!
Years of travelling over and back to the Middle East have honed in my ability to pack for months and still stay under the weight allowance.
My bags, not me, unfortunately!
This attention to detail means that I never have a wardrobe malfunction while on holiday. Have you ever taken something out of your case but not been able to wear it because you didn't bring anything to go with it?
Well I haven't!
This time took even more planning as I'll need a month's supply of costume changes! Because we're going to my brother's apartment I don't have to bring things like towels, hairdryer, straighteners etc.
I carefully packed yesterday, rolling up clothes so they don't get creased, stuffing my knickers into my shoes and bags so they don't take up any space.
Told you I was a professional at this!
The nice people on Turkish Airlines give you a luggage allowance of 30kgs.
I weighed the case and panicked.
Disaster. It only weighed 17kgs and I'm allowed 30! I mustn't have packed enough!
But I reminded myself that 30kgs is the maximum, not a target!
This evening I have finished by putting in my make-up.....and I think it now weighs 27kg!
My friend Anne has set me a challenge. She says I have to wear everything that I bring with me and she wants to see photographic evidence.
You know I can't resist a challenge. So bring it on!!


Percy Pig, my faithful neckrest oversees proceedings!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What's lower than rockbottom?


I met up with two friends from  Abu Dhabi days for our annual dinner. We met up in a restaurant in Mullingar and couldn't believe our eyes. The place was packed, despite the fact that it was a Tuesday night. Luckily we had a reservation or we wouldn't have gotten a table.
We discussed the fact that maybe......just maybe, our economy was taking a slight turn for the better.
Well, if people could go out for dinner on a Tuesday things must be improving?
Then on Thursday night I was meeting up with the Raharney women. We weren't going for dinner, we were launching straight into the drinks! Thursday night used to be a great night out in town, even better than the weekend. Granted we hadn't been out together in a while. And boy were we disappointed!
There was practically tumbleweed rolling down the main street, it was so empty. And if you had taken our group of five out of any of the pubs that we visited, they would have been pretty bleak.
So things aren't improving then Ted!
Today really brought things home. Because I am heading on holidays on Friday I decided that I had to pay off a few bills, or else the debt collectors would be knocking on the door of Torres 5 in Mamuthlar! I went up to Mr Nice Cashier man in the bank.
"Hello Ma'am. How can I help you?
Well you can start by not calling me "Ma'am"!
"Hi. I want to pay €100 off my credit card bill."
For once I was paying more than the minimum amount as I wanted to have a bit of leeway with it, in case of emergency on holiday.
He raised one eyebrow in surprise and practically squealed
"REALLY? Well fair play to you."
I was totally taken aback. If the thought of someone paying even a fraction of their credit card bill sends our banks into such a state of frenzy, then we really do deserve our "Junk Status".
Heaven help us!


Monday, July 18, 2011

A Rampant Rabbit


Is it a uniquely Irish trait, or do other nationalities slag off their friends too?
I had a great night out with the Raharney women at the weekend and most of the night was spent recounting incidents that had happened to us over the years. I realised that the majority of them were a result of being at the brunt of each others' well meant, if sometimes caustic, sense of humour.
Many moons ago I was driving the others home from a night out. I mustn't have been driving for long because I remember my car was a yellow Ford Fiesta.
Those were the days before I named my cars!
Out of nowhere, a kamikaze rabbit jumped out in front of me, got dazzled by the headlights and froze.
Crunch, crunch. Front and back wheels went over it.
There was silence in the car for a moment.  I was distraught at the thought of having injured a creature and wailed
"Oh God. Do you think its dead? I'd hate to think of it lying there in pain, dying slowly."
"Of course it's dead", replied Lorna. " The weight of us in the car going over it would have killed a horse! It's well out of its misery."
That gave me a little bit of consolation, until she continued
"It's the twenty little bunnies waiting patiently in their burrow for their Mummy to return that I feel sorry for. They'll probably all starve to death now."
And the car's occupants all burst simultaneously into the chorus of Bright Eyes from Watership Down!.
And we're still friends after all those years.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Back to the Future

Growing up in a little village in rural Ireland did not mean a lack of friends or company. Quite the opposite in fact! I had a large circle of friends and more than enough activities to keep us out of trouble. There was tennis on the courts behind the school,
swimming in the River Deel in the pre-pollution days
camogie a game very similiar to Harry Potter's Quiddich, only without the broomsticks and with more bruises
Irish Dancing in the good old days before Michael Flately brought sex into it!
This is a newspaper clipping from when we won the Leinster Set Dancing competition in 1981! Please note the "fabulous" rosettes we are wearing in our hair. I crocheted them with my own fair hands.
I was diseased with talent!

Back row: Rosemary, Helen, ME, Martina, Theresa
Front row: Jacqueline, Ann, Mairéad, Lucy

Over the years we have remained good friends. We have been there for each other through boyfriend trouble, engagements, marriages, births and deaths. This is not so say we haven't had our disagreements and falling outs. We may give out about each other but heaven help anyone else that dares do so!
Here we are again on a recent night out. Spot the differences.
ME!!! Ger, Theresa, Martina and Jacqueline
We haven't aged a bit in the 30 years!!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The truth is stranger than fiction

We got talking the other night about drink-driving laws and how if you were even in the vicinity of a barman's fart you would be afraid to chance driving home in case you were over the limit!
I was only ever stopped once by the guards at night time. It wasn't very late. I was on the way home from rehearsing for Leixlip's panto, so it was about eleven. In order to get home, I turned off the main road and head down twisty byroads to reach the outskirts of Raharney.
So I was very surprised to turn a corner and encounter a garda checkpoint as
1) It was a Tuesday night. Not exactly a busy night out.
2) It wasn't closing time so drink drivers (if there were any) wouldn't be out yet.
3) It was the middle of nowhere. It wasn't on a route home from any pub as there were none in the vicinity.
Anyway I stopped and put down the window. A garda strolled over to the car.
"Goodnight Ma'am."
Damn.I'm not a "Miss" anymore. I'm a Ma'am!"
"Goodnight Garda!"
"And what are you doing on the road at this time of night?" he enquired as he bent down to the open window to see if he could catch the hint of alcohol.
I, like George Washington, firmly believe that it is wrong to lie to people in authority, so I answered truthfully
"I'm Snow White's stepmother and I'm on my way home."
He was taken aback for a split second. Then he straightened up and announced
"Bejayus, I better let you go or you might poison me with an apple!" and he waved me on.
See. Always tell the truth. It confuses people!


Friday, July 15, 2011

When you wish upon a star

For my god-daughter Sadhbh's First Holy Communion present I booked for her to have her photograph taken in Mullingar. It wasn't to be an ordinary photo. Using digital  wizardry she was to be transformed into a fairy.
In all honesty it didn't take much!
Sadhbh was sooooo excited about getting it done. Genevieve asked me
"How come you can always pick the perfect present?"
"Easy. I just choose something that I want for myself!"
We eventually got to have the shoot this week. This is a photo of the photo so the quality isn't great. But I think it still looks fab!
Posted by Picasa

The photographer was telling us that a father had come in recently to ask if there was an age limit to getting it done. He replied that most kids were between 5 and 9, but come to think about it, it could be done with older kids too. Dad replied
"Great. My daughter is too embarrassed to ask you herself. She wants it done for her 18th birthday."
And she got her wish!
I really hope she had fairylike qualities, or it could be so cringeworthy!

Genevieve and I looked at each other.
Nah. We'd never get away with it!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A fiery Irish sunset



As holiday time approaches it is time to do all those little "jobs" that need attending to.....like waxing. Which reminds me of my all-time favourite girlie story. It doesn't involve me personally but rather a friend of mine whom I shall call Mary*
* not her real name. I have changed it in order to protect her dignity, or rather whatever is left of it.
We weren't in Abu Dhabi that long, but still long enough to have to go to a salon and get the dreaded waxing done. Mary headed off to one that had been recommended to us.
The background to this story is that all the salons in Abu Dhabi were run by beautiful girls from the Phillipines, who were used to dealing with Arabic women, both groups of women having very black hair. Mary was a sterotypical Irish cailín with flaming red hair. As she pointed out to us when retelling this story
"All my damn body hair is this colour!"
As we all well know, waxing is not an overly pleasant experience. It's something you get through by talking two Neurophen tablets about half an hour beforehand, you go in and lie down, close your eyes and hope for it to be over as soon as possible, which is what Mary did.
She was lying down on the bed and she heard her attendant come in. Mary smiled a "hello" at her and then closed her eyes to await the inevitable. But her eyes shot open when she heard a gasp, followed by an exclaimation of
 "Oh Madam. It is so lovely. I have never seen one so beautiful!"
Mary bolted upright on the bed, thinking
"Noooo. I misheard what she said. She can't really be commenting on my "Lady Garden".
Oh but she was!
In face she was so in awe of this rare sight she called to her colleagues
"Blossom, Mia etc Come here quick and see."
and before she knew what was happening there were six women around her, oohing and ahhing and gushing
"Oh Madam it is like fire."
"No, I think it is like sunset."
"You must be so proud of it"
Pride is not what Mary was feeling at that moment and as for the compliments, she would have much rather they came from a man!
Eventually the onlookers left and her attendant set about her task. She applied the wax and a strip, ripped it off and then paraded it in front of Mary's face, announcing
"See Madam the beautiful colour"
"I know. I've seen it before.Get it away please."
Later on that night she recounted the ordeal to us over a medicinal bottle of wine. Us being supportive friends, were in a hoop laughing, tears streaming down our faces. Mary kept saying things like
"Stop it girls. It wasn't funny"
Not funny! This will never not be funny, even ten years later!
But we nearly went too far when we told Mary
"You do realise that the next time you go to that salon that wax strip will be framed and hanging on the wall in reception, under the title
"A fiery Irish Sunset"
She never went back to find out!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Green fingered....NOT!

I fear I'm fighting a losing battle against my garden. I had hoped to get it under control now that I am holiday. But the weather and the fact that more interesting events keep popping up, mean that I haven't spent as much time on it as it needs
The other day I was outside my hedge next to the road wielding a girl's best friend.
http://www.nols-agirlforallseasons.com/2010/07/toy-no-single-woman-should-be-without.html
I was half way down one side of the hedge and my arms were beginning to give out. A car stopped beside me. It was my lovely neighbour from next door.
"God love you Noeleen. Sure you need a man to that job."
If I had a man I could think of lots of other jobs he'd have to do before gardening.
"Anyway Noeleen.I was just wondering if you would buy some tickets to support the tidy towns?"
Suddenly my heart sank with the realisation that she is very involved in Raharney Tidy Towns.
Oh my god. She must shudder every time she passes my house. I'm probably lowering the whole tone of the neighbourhood!
"Actually, one of the prizes is €100 voucher from the local gardening service,"
I knew it! That's a hint if ever I heard one!
"That would be perfect. I'm heading away for a month and was wondering how I'd get my lawn mowed."

Later on I was telling Marese the story.
"I bet she feels so bad about my garden that she'll arrange for me to win it!!"
Last night there was a knock on my door.
I was watching "Sweeney Todd-the Barber of Seville" at the time so it frightened the bejayus out of me!
It was my neighbour.
"Noeleen you're not going to believe this. You've just won second prize in the raffle....the gardening voucher!"
I stood open-mouthed.
How am I going to tell Marese? She'll never believe it wasn't rigged!
Now I have it on good authority that the raffle was held in public and everything was above board. I just think it's too good to be true!
After a month in Turkey I shall return home to a perfectly manicured garden. How jammy is that!


i wonder will my €100 stretch to getting a sculptured hedge?