Sunday, July 31, 2016

Tommy Lynam 1932-2006

It's exactly ten years to the day that we lost the best Dad in the world to cancer. Yes its true that time is a great healer. Days may go by in our busy lives and we don't think of him. Then out of the blue something mundane will happen and Dad will immediately spring to mind, resulting in tears of laughter or sadness, depending on the memory.
I don't believe in coincidences. Last night as I was flicking through the TV channels Paulo Nuttini's "Last Request" came on. For me that's forever associated with Dad and I believe its his way of getting in contact with me. This explains why.

Having said that Dad would have HATED that song and said
"What sort of a feckin' eejit is that, sure he can't sing!!!!

I've spent all morning going
This time ten years ago we were.....
This time ten years ago Dad was....
This time ten years ago was the last time....

I'm dreading 3 o'clock this afternoon coming.

The night before his funeral the family were all gathered together to prepare the funeral mass. We were composing the Prayers of the Faikthful and the commentary for the offertory gifts. If anyone had been passing by the window they would have said
"Those Lynams are having a party".
There were howls of laughter as we recalled things that Dad said. He was a man of few words but the ones he said meant something. He had a very droll sense of humour and I would like to think he passed it on to all of us.

It was my job to read out the meaning behind our Offertory gifts. I still think we managed to catch the essence of Dad in those words so here they are again

Offertory Gifts
Dad never broke his Confirmation pledge and was the proud wearer of a gold pioneer pin. This is brought by his niece Fionnuala.
Dad is proof that you didn't need to drink to have a good time.

By his own admission Dad couldn't sing or play a note, but he certainly had an ear for music. One of Mam's and Dad's great loves was Ballroom Dancing. They made many good friends through this.
One of these friends Helen brings a selection of Dad's favourite dancing music.

Dad was a founder member of Mullingar Credit Union 37 years ago and up to the time of his death continued to serve on the Board of Directors. Fellow director, neighbour and life long friend Tommy brings the book of Standard Rules for Credit Unions.
A little worryingly this book is in perfect condition and appears to have been rarely consulted.

One of Dad's hobbies was restoring vintage cars. He spent many draughty but happy hours in the shed working on his favourite car, an Austin Princess.
His son John brings the Owner's Manual, the accuracy of which Dad often called into question.

In his retirement Dad took up golf. He spent many happy hours on Shay Murtagh's golf course with his friends. His granddaughter Lauren brings one of his golf clubs. 
it must be said that Dad got just as much enjoyment out of finding lost golf balls as he did out of actually playing the game.

Dad started as an apprentice carpenter at the age of 15 and worked all his life in the building trade.
Business partner and good friend of the Lynam family, Billy Boyle, brings a hammer, one of Dad's many tools of the trade.
Dad not only built many fine buildings in the community and further afield, but he also built homes for us, his family. It is very reassuring to know that all we will ever have to do is look at the walls around us and the roof over our heads and know that Dad continues to shelter and protect us.

The greatest gift that Dad passed onto his family is the gift of faith. He was both a Minister of the Word and a Minister of the Eucharist. The bread and wine are brought up by his son Finian and his grandson Niall, representing the next two generations of the Lynam family.

We miss you as much today Dad as we did ten years ago. Keep looking out for us xxx

Thursday, July 28, 2016

My boob job!

First, the medical bit!
I went to my doctor who told me I had a "sebaceous cyst" right on my breast bone between my boobs.
Now it wasn't anything serious but  he, himself wouldn't remove anything from the tip of the nose or the cleavage as they are very aesthetically sensitive areas. He recommended a very good plastic surgeon and as the procedure was medical, not cosmetic, it would be covered by my private health insurance.
Oh goody. Maybe while the surgeon is in there he could give me a quick nip and tuck and put it on the bill!!!

That is why this morning I found myself in the medical clinic all geared up for my "procedure". It would be done under local anesthetic and would only take ten minutes. I was dressed in a very fetching gown and cap and was brought down to the operating theatre.
I popped myself up on the table and lay down. There was a team of three nurses and the surgeon. I lay looking up at them as they talked in medical terms that I couldn't understand. The local anesthetic kicked in and the surgeon stood poised over me with the scalpel in his hand. From the right of me I heard the famous words
"I know your face from somewhere!"
"Yes, so do I. I'm wracking my brains to remember where from."
Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at me.
I said sheepishly
"Maybe it's from Operation Transformation?"
There were grasps of recognition and lots of "Oh I love that programme!"
My surgeon smiled and said
"Oh, a celebrity on my table. Now I'm under pressure!"


 And so I had the "Operation Transformation" question and answer session with them while they proceeded to cut me open, remove a tiny bit of me and then stitch me up again!
It was all done and dusted in the ten minutes and they helped me off the table, told me it was great to see me and that they couldn't wait to get home to tell their family and friends that they had met me.
I left the clinic thinking
"Did that just happen?"

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Time can't, they fly too fast.

The one fine day of summer 2016 happened yesterday. The downside to this hot weather is the onslaught of flies.

True Story:
A grandmother was failing miserably to swat some pesky flies. She handed the fly swat to her little 5 year old grand daughter.
"Here Pet. You've more energy than me. You try to get them."

The little girl took the implement and began chasing around after them but all in vain. Every swipe missed its target.
Eventually the little girl gave up and turned to her granny in exasperation.
"Granny!" she moaned.
 "Those flies must have eyes in their arses because they can still see me when I sneak up on them from behind!"

A very logical deduction!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A hitch-hiker's guide to the galaxy

Geraldine and I were heading to see Jig Jam. As we rounded the corner heading for Mullingar we espied a fella hitching a lift to town. Now there is no way on earth that if we had been on   our own we would have stopped for him. But seeing as there were two of us we decided to be good Samaritans and take him out of his misery.
As he got into the back of the car Geraldine turned to him and said
"I hope you don't have a knife or we are in trouble",
I replied
"I'd say you were more worried when you saw two women in the car."
"Ah no", he replied. "I knew i'd be safe with TWO OLDER WOMEN!!!"
Well, Geraldine stuck the car to the road and the poor devil dug an even deeper hole for himself.
"I's just that I got a lift from three young wans last week and I was a bit scared."
Confucius, he say, "When in hole, stop digging".

Luckily for him we have a sense of humour and we dropped him into town. But we won't be picking up any knights in distress anymore!

Monday, July 18, 2016

On your marks......

It is an 8 week training programme for the Great Dublin Bike Ride but seeing as it's on September 11th I only have six weeks to get ready, so its time to get my act together. There is only one teeny weeny problem.......
I don't have a bike!!!

My brother Finian and his wife have some but they are in Turkey in the aftermath of a military coup. Now might not be a good time to bother them!

So today I took myself off to the gym and hopped on the stationary bike. It did seem a little like I needed a degree in aerodynamics as I typed in age, weight, level, workout programme, PIN number....well maybe not that.
Off I started. 5 minutes warm up, 30 mins up and down hills and 5 mins cool down. I covered 14 km in that time. I know I have a long way to go but hey it's a start.
Bucket-of-sweat o'clock

Sunday, July 17, 2016

On yer bike!

Last week I was contacted by Sports Ireland asking me to be their ambassador for the Great Dublin Bike Ride 2016.
The idea that ANY sporting organisation would even want me to join them, let alone represent them still flummoxes me!

On Sept 11th up to 5000 cyclists will set off from Smithfield to complete either a 60k or a 100k ride. Obviously the longer route is for the experienced cyclists ie NOT ME! The shorter one is to encourage the beginner and anyone who has a bike gathering dust in their shed to take them out and get active. If I can do it, anyone can!  Go to to register and get your training programme.

I went to the launch on July 14th. The initial photos were easy, just stand around holding a sign.

I can do that!

But then the photographer wanted a shot of us actually on a bike. That was no problem for Caroline Ryan who is a professional cyclist, but I explained that I haven't been on a bike since primary school.....which wasn't today or yesterday. Hey, it wasn't even during this century.

As I set off down the cobblestones to the end of the Square one of the organisers came with me. She was terrified I was going to fall. But it was like riding a never forget!!!

As you can see I look perfectly relaxed :)
I do think the Garda escort was a bit over the top!

I'm glad they didn't see this photo taken the last time I was on a bike. They would never have let me take part!

Saturday, July 16, 2016


My sister Geraldine, her friend Theresa and myself headed off to Kilbeggan races. Forecast had said it was going to be a lovely evening. Reality? Dull and overcast with occasional Monsoon showers- typical Irish July weather.
It would take more than that to deter three hardy women.

I was having absolutely no luck when I met the parents of children I used to teach. Their horse was running so I backed it (both ways). It came in second and that was my only winner of the day!
At one stage we were passing by the Weighroom. I had a flashback to OT and had an immediate urge to run in, strip to my black lycra, get weighed and then revel my innermost thought to the panel sitting at the table!!!

Luckily the girls managed to stop me in time!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Westmeath, please don't hate me!!!

During the week I got a call from Cycling Ireland to ask me if I would be interested in doing the Great Dublin Bike Ride on September 11th. I quickly pointed out that I have not cycled since my primary school days....which was during the last century. They assured me that this was not a problem, in fact I am the type of person they are trying to get involved. They have a training programme that will bring you from 0 to 60km in 8 weeks. Or as they like to call it "Sofa to Saddle". Seeing as only last week I had said that I would like to get involved in cycling as it would add to my running and swimming so of course I said "YES!"
If you had told me this time last year that any sporting organisation would ask me to partake, never mind be an ambassador for their sporting event, I would have split my sides laughing!

I went up to Smithfield for the launch. The other attendees included our new Minister for Sport. Maybe its a sign that I'm getting old, but seriously he looks 12! I was nearly going to set him some homework!

Anyway, we all put on our GDBR jackets and held up the sign. As I looked around I suddenly had a "moment". I was decked out in the Dublin colours.

Now normally this wouldn't be a major problem but this weekend Westmeath take on Dublin in the Leinster Football Final. I realised that if I was spotted in the colours of the opposition I might just be run out of the county!!!
All I can say is
"I promise I'll be wearing my maroon and white on Sunday, when it really matters!

Celt Grass

As you go through life you tend to think that you know your own mind, what you like and what you don't like. There's nothing I like more than being proven wrong.
Over the past few months I have eaten and enjoyed food that I was convinced that I didn't like.
Smoked salmon, capers, I'm looking at you!
It's such a joy to relish a new experience.

A friend of mine suggested that a few of us head to the Galway Arts Festival for a gig that she wanted to go to, namely JimJam, We Banjo 3 and Hermitage Green. I had heard  of one of those bands before but never actually heard any of their music. Googling them, there seemed to be too many banjos, fiddles, cellos for my liking.. Wasn't sure if it was my cup of tea I still agreed to go.
Hey I'll go to the opening of an envelope if I think there'll be a bit of craic.

Why did I not know about this style of music before????
The concert was AMAZING! The music was a blend of traditional Irish, old time and bluegrass.  I think the official term is Celt Grass! Whatever its called ii certainly stirs the senses.
Individually the  bands are brilliant. Put the three of them together on one stage and you have an explosion of musical sounds.

 And if that isn't enough, throw in Sharon Shannon to the mix.

We danced so much I was starving afterwards. So for only the second time this year I treated myself to a fast food meal of chips, burger and onion rings.

But hey, I also had a Diet Coke so I guess that constitutes a balanced meal!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Old is the new young

I can hardly believe what I read today. 

A Retire savvy survey reckons you should
·        stop taking selfies at 34. 
               What do you mean? I have just gotten the hang of it. Granted I will never do the "trout pout", but that's a sign of good old "cop on"  rather than of old age.
·        stop watching reality tv at 41. 
             Oops I'm watching Big Brother as I'm typing this.
·        quit Twitter at 47
              How else would I know what is going on in Kim Kardashian's life!
·        not get your naval pierced after 38.
             Having only had my ears pierced, I wouldn't have done this before the age of 38 either!
·        not visit Ibiza after 40
            Ibiza is so much more than bars, clubs and vomiting Leaving Certs. Go and explore!
·        be home before midnight after 52!
           I don't have to be tucked up in bed with a cup of hot cocoa by the witching hour however I will admit that after staying out after midnight it takes much longer to recover.

Who on earth came up with this survey, a group of twenty year olds?

I have always been a firm believer that age is just a number. I have taken on more challenges in the past few months that I have in the previous decades. One of the most influential interviews that I have read is with a fit and active 90 year old. When she was asked if she had any regrets in life, she replied
"Thinking that I was too old at 80!"

And I think that is the motto we should live our lives by, I certainly intend to.

What is old age?

It's always ten years older than you are!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

It's a bit early for panto season!

I have rediscovered my love of fashion in recent months, much to the dismay of my bank balance!
This week I wore my new River Island jumpsuit into school.
I entered the Junior Infant classroom where I was greeted by one little enthusiastic boy.
"Oh Ms Noeleen, I love your....COSTUME!
"Thanks!" I think!

I'm taking it that this comment was more a reflection on his lack of appropriate vocabulary, rather than on my flamboyant fashion sense!!!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Alarm Bells

As I was taking posters down from my classroom wall, I was struck by a moment of disbelief.
"Am I supposed to be doing this now? Is this year really over?"
Maybe it's because this year was very hectic with the TV programme and all, but it honestly seems like only three months since we entered our new school building and began the school year.
But nope, that was ten months ago and I was right in clearing the place for the summer holidays.
Not that I'm complaining or anything!

One of the sweetest feelings was last night when I was turning off my phone alarm which said
07:00 Weekdays
I settled down for a good night's sleep to be followed by my first lie-in of the holidays.

So why was it that at 07:01 this morning I was bright eyed and bushy tailed and wide awake for the day ahead.
Something I never am on a work day.
Oh lord, if only our internal body alarms were as easily knocked off as our phones.