Thursday, August 29, 2013

Parents' Notes To School

These are real excuses from parents (with their original spelling). They are not however from parents in my school! I saw them on
  • My son is under a doctor's care and should not take P.E. today. Please execute him.
  • Dear School: Please exscuse Aaron being absent on June 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 and also 33.
  • Please excuse Gwen from jim today. She is administrating.
  • Please excuse Martin from Physical Education lessons for a few days. Yesterday he fell out of a tree and misplaced his hip.
  • Chris will not be in school cus he has an acre in his side.
  • Please excuse Ray from school. He has very loose vowels.
  • Please excuse Pedro from being absent yesterday. He had (diahre) (dyrea) (direathe) the runs.
  • Please excuse Eddie for being. It's his father's fault.
  • I kept Billie home because she had to go Christmas shopping because I don't know what size she wears.
  • please excuse Jason for being absent yesterday. He had a cold and could not breed well.
  • Anne-Marie was absent last week, because she had a fever, sore throat, headache and upset stomach. Her sister was also sick, fever and sore throat, her brother had a low grade fever and ached all over. I wasn't the best either, sore throat and fever. there must be something going around, her father even got hot last night.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Last day of Summer holidays

I can't believe that the last day of my summer holidays are upon me. I spent it in Galway with my mum and two sisters.
We went into Brown Thomas store.
The Irish Harrods!
And did I act all nice and properlike?
What do you think?
Well, what did they expect, leaving that in the foyer? And what's more, it was one of the assistants who took the photos for us.
Time enough for me to be all grown up and serious TOMORROW!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

PG rating.

I called on my "Twilight" buddy to go to see the new film "The Mortal Instruments". None of our other friends would be caught dead going to those type of films!

During the first ten minutes of the film, all I could hear from her was
"Oh my God!"
It seems the appearance of various demons was too much for her.
I had to turn to her and hiss
"Ah cop on. This is a 12's film.....and you're 36!

I couldn't buy into Robert Sheehan being a meek and mild nerdy teenager after his brilliant performance as the gang member  Darren in Love/Hate!

Monday, August 19, 2013

A child's worst nightmare!

I was visiting my best friend Genevieve, catching up on what we have been up to over the summer. Her 10 year old daughter, Sadhbh also had her friend over on a play date.
The two girls came into the kitchen, moaning.
"Mam, we've nothing to do . We're bored."
This is despite the fact that the house is better stocked than Toys-R-Us, with every conceivable toy and gadget known to children.
I put on my best "teacher" voice.
"Tell me girls, what class are you going into this year?"
"Fifth", they said warily.
"Brilliant! I teach fifth class. If you go and sit at the dining room table I'll get some paper and pens and I'll start to teach you Long Division. You'll have a head start on the rest of your class."
The girls' faces dropped. They looked at each other in dismay. Her friend looked quizzically at Sadhbh as if to say
"You know her. Is she capable of doing it?"
Sadhbh responded
"Yes she is mad enough. RUN!"
They ran out, screaming.
I grabbed a sheet of paper and a pen and ran after them. The next ten minutes were spent with me chasing them around the garden, waving the paper and shouting
"STOP! Long Division is great fun!"
I returned to the kitchen, worn out. And do you know what?
They didn't appear again all day to complain that they were bored!!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Help the medicine go down.

It is only when you go to a place like Turkey that you realise how exorbitant the price of medicine is in Ireland. A friend of mine got her month's supply of prescription drugs for €17 in Turkey as opposed to €78 for the same amount in Ireland. She also saved a further €50 on a visit to the doctor to get a prescription in the first place.
It was no surprise then that I was getting texts from various members of my family before I came home from holidays, asking
"Noeleen, can you get four bottles of my ear-drops?"
"Can you get me some antibiotics?"
"Do they sell Neurofen plus over there?"
And so on.....
I arrived home with my stash.
When I got here, the front pages of every paper were plastered with the story of the two young women who have been arrested in Peru for drug smuggling .

I've just family have turned me into their drug mule!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

There is more than one direction in life.

Ireland awoke this morning to much angst and worry. Leaving Cert results were due out. I remember my results day. I was actually down in the Gaeltacht as I was preparing for my interview for Carysfort college which included a section in Irish. Many of the group leaders had gotten their results as well. This was pre-mobile phones so my sister had telephoned my results into the office. I had to go in to get them. The principal congratulated me and said that I could go out and celebrate with the leaders. I was horrified as I thought I'd have to speak Irish to them all night, so I declined!
I also remember the morning of our first exam. We were in assembly and our head nun was praying with us. She said
"Let us pray that we all get what we deserve."
I thought that was a really mean thing to say. Who just wants to get what they deserve? We always want more! And surely it's the people that didn't study that much that needed the prayers more?
To all Leaving Cert students, I hope you got what you were looking for, and if you didn't, then remember
"There is more than one way to skin a cat."
If you don't get enough points, there are always other ways to get the course that you want. And even if you can't get it, then maybe your life is supposed to go in another direction.
Which brings me along nicely to my next question

Was Niall Horan made Minister for Education while I was away?

I went into the stationery shop to get some supplies for school. As I walked down the school aisle I did a double take. I thought I must have taken a wrong turn as I was surrounded by pictures of One Direction.
There were
  • One Direction copies
  • One Direction pencils
  • One Direction pens
  • One Direction rulers
  • One Direction folders
  • One Direction rubbers*
*I mean "erasers", not the other kind. They were marketed by the bigger boys in JLS!

Do these people not realise that it's us poor teachers that have to look at these fads for the next year. Though I must admit that I quite enjoyed the Twilight phase!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A weighty issue.

Having eaten and drank my way through the last month in Turkey I knew I must have put up some weight. I landed in Dublin at 10.30am, was down in Raharney at 1.00pm and was in Slimming World in Mullingar at 5.30pm.
"Please step up on the scales," said the nice lady.
Up I stepped, knowing that there was going to be an increase. The numbers went up and up....and up.
I had put on a full stone!!!
Not that I am surprised. How could I be? I had gone out for dinner every evening for the past 28 nights. So now I am on a healthy eating mission.
I was unpacking my case today when I saw that they had put this tag on my luggage.
I think they should have put it on me before I boarded!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The perfect ending to the perfect day.

 A perfect day was spent lounging on a sunbed, shaded under numerous umbrellas, interspersed with occasional dips into the azure sea.
"I think we'll have lunch here on the beach.
Time was ticking on but did we move? Hell no.
Dusk began to fall.

"I think we'll have our dinner here on the beach."
Darkness fell and we were still there.
"I think we'll have a drink here on the beach."

Mehmet, the man in charge of the beach bar came down to the sea edge, followed by a group of children like the pied piper. He had a collection of Chinese lanterns with him.
Probably feeling sorry for us still there, he gave us one as well. He instructed us to light the tea light and when the lantern started to rise to make a wish and send it out into the universe.

We were as excited as the kids.. I was beginning to panic as one after the other they began to slowly lift off the sand and then float off into the night sky, but mine was planted firmly on the ground.
"Move, you stupid lantern. MOVE!" I inwardly screamed.
I obviously have a sense of authority in my voice, because it slowly began to sway, hover and then rise up to follow its companions.
My eyes followed it until it disappeared, while I repeated my wish over and over again.
I can't recall feeling so content in a long, LONG time.

Of course I'm not going to tell you what I wished for. Sure then it won't come true!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Where was Moses when the lights went out?

We headed into the neighbouring town of Alanya for a night out. Now this was more like the Turkey I remember from my youth! The streets were thronged with (mainly young) people, in various forms dress and undress, all in high spirits and in search of a good night out.
We fit in just fine among them!
We found the bar/club that we were looking for.
Someone in Mahmutlar had written down the name of the club that his friend/cousin/sister's son worked in, and he would give us a "very good discount". And do you know what? He did!
The place was heaving. Music was blaring out from the speakers. You didn't even have to make an effort, the vibrations made up bob up and down in time to the rhythm with absolutely no effort on your part! Hundreds of partygoers were giving it their all, gyrating around poles, on the bar, every conceivable surface.
We found a quieter spot and  settled in to enjoy the view!
Things were moving along nicely when suddenly.............nothing!
The lights went out and the music whined down to a halt. Someone had either pulled the wrong plug or forgot to put a lira in the meter. Whatever the reason was, the whole place descended into blackness.
Darkness continued for several minutes.
Then a burst of light appeared in the bar area.
"Oh, they must have a back up generator", I thought naively.

Are you mad? Of course they didn't.
The barmen, obviously used to this occurrence, merely launched into their routine. Cloth soaked in alcohol was pushed into the neck of an empty bottle and set alight.
As a child I remember seeing something very similar on the news, only that time they were making petrol bombs in Belfast!
Anyway, the barmen started juggling. Fire was twirling through the air mere inches from the customers sitting at the bar. In face many of the customers were still sitting ON the bar. Every now and again a bartender would take a swig from the bottle and blow a huge burst of flame into the air. All of this was to thunderous applause from the crowd.
Now normally in a situation like this, my Primary School Teacher Syndrome would kick into place and I'd immediately think
Right. This is a potentially dangerous situation. I need to get everyone rounded up in orderly lines in a calm but purposeful way, move slowly but steadily out of the area and assemble at a predetermined point.
Did I hell as like?
It's amazing how we all have different personas and we react totally different depending on the situation we're in.
After a momentary pause, I was clapping and cheering encouragement as loudly as the next person!
Or maybe it's just me that's schizophrenic!

Anyway, several minutes later there was a whirr and the lights flickered back on and the THUMP THUMP THUMP beat re-emerged from the speakers.
The party was back on.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

And now for the touristic bit.......

We decided that we needed a little holiday from our holiday, so we hired a car and headed off down the southern coast of Turkey. I'm afraid I had begun to take the beauty of this place for granted, but every so often we would turn a corner and see another sight to take our breath away.
It was about two hours into our journey that we saw a sight that made us shriek with excitement and cause us to grind to a halt on the side of the road.
It was a McDonalds!!! After three weeks of eating nothing but freshly grown produce it was a godsend to be able to eat the processed stuff!

The landscape changed dramatically as we headed inland and upland.
It was then that the hair raising stuff began. There was an hour of corkscrew roads right on the edge of the mountains. There's nothing like a sheer drop to the right of you, mere inches from the car, to get the adrenalin flowing
and when the kamikaze goat jumped out in front of us, it wasn't the only thing that was nearly flowing!
Many heart stopping moments later we reached our first destination, Olympos. Its a little haven set in a valley, the mecca for backpackers. Accommodation mainly consists of huts, many of them built on stilts or in the trees. After our journey it was time to pick a tree and relax.
We put our feet up.
But I'm not wearing any shoes!
A little snooze later and we reassessed the situation. Beautiful and relaxing as the place was, we decided that we'd never manage to climb the tree to get to bed later on in the night, and also we wanted a pool to cool down in. So we headed two minutes down the road to Hotel 212. It is run by a beautiful Belgian lady. It consists of individual "houses" set in the mountain side. We decided on the villa. After climbing the 70 steps with our luggage to get to it, we thought that maybe we should have stuck with the tree!
But in the words of Mylie Cyrus, it was well worth "The Climb"! It reminded me of the house in The Swiss Family Robinson.

The more adventurous, less weary of us headed back into Olympos for a night of debauchery!
Early the next morning, well actually not that early, we had a brunch of salad from the garden and eggs from the hens that were milling around us.
Nightmare for the bird-phobics among us!
It was the tastiest lunch I ever had, and definitely undid the damage done by the McDonalds!
Off we set on the road again, this time heading for Kekova. It is a beautiful fishing village.
2500 years ago , as the result of an earthquake the ancient city of Kekova sank beneath the sea. You can now take a boat trip to see these underwater ruins. But what we didn't bank on was that music was prohibited in the area in case the vibrations would damage the ruins, so there were no late night bars!!!
So after a peaceful and early night
which did us no harm whatsoever
we were up at 7 o clock the next morning for our boat trip!
It was pure bliss. In the clearest water that I have ever seen I tried my hand at snorkelling for the first time.
Swimming with the fish in among the ancient ruins, I felt like Jacques Cousteau!

On the way to shore I had a Titanic moment, well I mean you'd have to!
After more sight seeing along the coast we returned to Mahmutlar, weary but enlightened by our travels.
We'll have more of that please!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Not by the hairs on my chinney, chin, chin....

Having being coming to the close knit community of Mahmutlar for the past few years I feel at home here. I have come to know the staff of various restaurants very well. When you come back the following year they may not necessarily be in the same hostelry, but they will be around somewhere. Despite the thousands of people that they meet every season, they will remember your name and your family's names.
However I find it difficult to explain some of the behaviours that I take for granted. One such area concerns things a Turkish waiter will do that an Irish waiter would lose his job over.....immediately!
  • When you enter a restaurant he will shake your hand and kiss you....on both cheeks, before seeing you to your seat.
  • When you leave the restaurant, he will shake your hand and kiss you....on both cheeks.
Heaven forbid you forget to do this, as you will be chastised the next time you enter the restaurant, as I recently discovered to my cost.
  • If the restaurant is not busy, he will sit himself down beside you and have his cup of coffee and possibly a cigarette.
  • He will ask you such questions as "Are you married?" and "Why aren't you married?", not out of curiosity but rather out of concern!
  • In return, he has no problem revealing all the personal details of his own life.
I could write a book on the gems I've gleaned!
  • If you happen to be having lunch while working on your laptop, he has no problem leaning over your shoulder and reading what you are writing. If you happen to be looking at NEXT's website to see what you will be wearing come autumn, he will get very excited when he sees the pictures until he realises that it isn't porn.
  • If you happen to be eating your meal in the company of a small child or baby, he will take up the child in his arms and wander around the restaurant with it, leaving you to eat your meal in peace.
Not only would an Irish waiter lose his job for this, he would also get a jail sentence.

But this takes the biscuit!
I was sitting writing my blog when a waiter sat down beside me to have his coffee. During the course of our conversation he looked at me and pointed to my chin. I took a serviette and swiped away an imaginary blob of ketchup. He shook his head and said
"No. It is a hair. You need to pluck."
Now I know he was just being kind pointing out that I have perhaps let my personal grooming slide a little while on holidays.
I immediately booked into European Beauty for threading!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A taxing time

I remember when I got my first car, how difficult it was to tax it. As a new teacher funds were low so I could only tax it for three months at a time.
Hey I was so broke, I couldn't even afford to give my car a name!
In order to tax it, you had to physically haul yourself into the Tax Office in Mullingar, armed with car registration book, insurance policy and the money. The queue was always out the door. You stood in line waiting for an empty hatch to appear, while the workers were busy chatting away to each other about last weekend/next weekends plans.
On one particular occasion I had made my way to be served. The lady pressed a few buttons on her computer, looked confused and pressed them again.
"It appears that you have not taxed your car for the past three months," she stated.
"Oh yes I have," I replied in my best pantomime voice.
"There is no record of it here."
"But I have a tax disc saying I have."
"Can you go and get it please?"
"Do I have to queue up again."
"No, come straight to me."
I ran out, across the street to the car park and extracted the disc from the windscreen. Back to the office where I produced it with a flourish. All was soon sorted and I left with my old and new tax discs.
I approached my car and saw a piece of paper under the wiper.
Back I raced to yer one in the tax office. She looked at me, trying to conceal a smirk and said
"I'm sorry about that. But you'll have to go to the County Buildings to explain your case."
Off I sped, doing wheelies into their car park.
I explained my case to the lady there, who was also having trouble concealing a sneer.
"You will have to fill out this form and I will need to take a photocopy of both tax discs."
"But that will mean removing the tax disc from the front of my car."
"That's what has me here in the first place."
The gods were on my side this time and I got all sorted. I never heard any more about it.

The reason I remembered this story today is because it was time to tax Roxy.
The difference is, I did it from my computer while lying on my sun lounger, overlooking the pool in the Turkish sunshine, simply by pressing a few buttons.
God bless modern technology