Saturday, December 31, 2011


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

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

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Keeping up with the Kardashians.

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

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

Monday, December 26, 2011

Back to the Future

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

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

I still can't play that bloody guitar!

Best Christmas pressie ever!

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

Thanks again, Michelle
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My Christmas Eve moment.

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

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas high spirits.

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

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

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

Friday, December 16, 2011

Jekyll and Hyde

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

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

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

There's no such thing as a coincidence.

Yesterday's post got quite a few hits.

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

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

Now, what shall I blog about next???

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An open letter to the Minister for Education!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 12, 2011

Siblings but no rivalry!

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

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

So angelic in fact, we actually became nuns.

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

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

S'up Finian. S'up Noeleen!

Things you don't consider about being a cougar!

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

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

Thursday, December 8, 2011

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

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

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


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

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bushtucker Trial

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

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

Friday, December 2, 2011

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

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

Three years ago.

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


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