Wednesday, December 19, 2018


I have been teaching for many years and in that length of time there has only ever been one of my pupils that had a birthday on the same day as mine. So it was quite a shock to discover that in my current class there are not one, not two but three of my students that share my special day of birth. We're practically quadruplets!
 In honour of the day our class Elf on the Shelf, Elfie surprised us with a party! As there are 33 students in my class he was clever enough to bring two cakes.

He placed two 9 candles on one cake for two of the kids and a 9 and a 0 on the other cake.
He obviously couldn't find a candle for my age!

The kids were really dumbfounded when they walked into the classroom this morning. They stared at the cakes and one little girl asked in a hushed voice.
"Miss, which one in your cake, the 90 or the 99?"
Well that certainly backfired on me!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Street Angel, House Devil

I went to the local Christmas Fair today. There was a very festive atmosphere, carols being sung and so many Christmas logs I fear even more for the rainforests!
I fell in love with an angel reading a book, made from the folded pages of a book. Ingenious.

When I got it home I got a chance to read the page that made up one of the wings. I got a shock at the x-rated content. I can see the ironic side of it, but I'd hate to think if a child had gotten it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Teenage Dreams

It's been a difficult week in Religion class. Seeing as it's November we are thinking about people close to us that have died, not an easy topic to talk about to nine year olds. I had brought in my Dad's memorial card and was telling them all about him. I explained that I still miss him and think about him even though he died eleven years ago.
There was a stunned silence for a moment.
Then one of the girls asked me
"So Miss, were you a teenager when he died?

Ah bless.No homework for her for a week.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Day 5: Today's life lesson

First day back at school since my 30 day challenge started. I have to admit that the fact that I had my month's wardrobe all hanging on one rail saved me at least 10 minutes procrastination this morning.
Always a bonus on a dark and dismal November morning.

During History, we were discussing Oisín in the Land of Youth. When we came to the part where Oisín fell in love with Niamh and married her, there were groans of disgust from my 9 year old boys.
"That's gross."
"How could anyone be so stupid?"

I tried to set  them straight on the whole falling in love situation.
"Now lads. Take it from me, in a couple of years you'll change your tune."
This was greeted by silence, until one of my "more mature" 9 year old girls commented
"Yes Miss, you're right. Those boys don't realise that if that didn't happen to their mums and dads, then they wouldn't be here today!"

I couldn't have put it better myself. And what's more I can tick off my Relationships & Sexuality objective from this week's scheme!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Day 2 wrapped up

This morning I had to get up at stupid o'clock as my poor car was going in for her health check. The first thing that struck me was the Baltic cold. So today was all about preventing frostbite from setting in. Luckily I had included my puffy jacket in my 30 items.

As I had to go in so early
9 0'clock is verrrrry early for midterm
I hadn't had time to have breakfast. So I headed into Belly on Mount Street where I had the best breakfast EVER!

It consisted of poached egg, mushrooms, flat mushroom, salsa, oven roasted tomato, wilted spinach, fruit and a slice of home made brown bread. It was called Flat Belly ( I think the L is silent!)

I then had a few hours to kill. I felt at a loss because there was no point going into clothes shops as I wouldn't be able to wear it if I bought anything. I actually found myself thinking
Oh maybe I could go for a different colour theme next month and I could wear that!
Then I coped on.
For God's sake, it's only the 2nd of November. you can't start planning next month yet.

I eventually got my car back and arrived home to find this package awaiting me on my windowsill. 

It was a dress that I had ordered last week! Now before you cry out that I'm cheating, I have included it in my 30. So I'm still on track!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Day 1: 30 Day Challenge

Morning One of my 30 Day challenge, that is, I can only choose from 30 items of clothing for the next 30 days. Already it feels quite liberating to have a limited choice and I know that whatever I choose to wear is clean and ironed, well at least for today!.

First up was lunch with the Mullingar women in Con's. I knew there was a full length mirror in the Ladies so I headed there with my phone to take a photo. I was pushing open the door when I could hear the women call me to stop. You know that heart stopping moment when you suspect that there is something majorly wrong with an item of your clothing after you have walked through a crowded restaurant. I couldn't see anything wrong with my attire and then I realised that I was about to go into the Gents.
Luckily I made it into the correct toilets and happily there are no urinals in the background!

Outfit of the Day:

  • Pink jumper
  • Navy wrap skirt
  • Navy boots.

When I came out I was greeted with the comments of true friends.
"Ah we shouldn't have stopped you. It would have been hilarious if you'd gone in the other one"

Thanks Girls!

Later that night I was meeting my friend Genevieve in Moate to see the play "The Field".
You can now appreciate the importance of punctuation.
There is a BIG difference between
a) going to the play "The Field".
b) going to "Play the field".

I think the latter would have involved a change of wardrobe!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

30 day challenge

In my new found bid to declutter and minimalise my life I have set myself a challenge for November.
I have limited myself to 30 pieces of clothing that I can wear in the next 30 days. This covers work wear and going-out outfits, including coats and shoes.
It doesn't include sports wear or underwear.
So after much rearranging and swapping in and out, I have come up with my capsule wardrobe.

It consists of

  • 5 pairs of trousers
  • 6 jumpers
  • 5 tops
  • 2 skirts
  • 2 dressers
  • 4 coats/ jackets
  • 6 pairs of shoes/boots
As you can see there's lots of navy, red, white, red and a bit of mustard thrown in for a change.
I was hoping that I could cut down on the amount of footwear I needed but I discovered that if I left a pair out then there were outfits that I couldn't wear as I'd have nothing suitable to go on my feet!

Already I feel lighter as I have my wardrobe sorted for the long as I'm not invited to a last minute wedding or Ball. If I am I'll have to go in my tracksuit!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

#1 Signs that I'm officially old.

There are many little warning signs in our lives that we are no longer in the first (or even second) flush of youth. Things like, teaching the kids of kids that you once taught, realising that you once fancied Niall Horan's father, and discovering that you don't just get grey hairs on your head!

Well I had a major wake up call this morning when I get deliriously excited over..........
my new iron! 
Words my younger self would never have uttered.

It all started innocently enough yesterday morning when my old iron gave up the ghost and refused to heat up.
I can empathise!
I wasn't too fazed by this turn of events. In fact I was a little bit relieved as I now had a legitimate reason for ignoring the ever increasing pile of laundry in my kitchen.

Later that evening I found myself near Mullingar cinema and decided to go to see Bohemian Rhapsody. I had 15 minutes to spare so what should I do? I espied D.I.D Electric shop close by and so decided to rush in and pick up an iron.
See the level of effort I was putting in to choosing this piece of equipment.

I found the appropriate aisle and was astonished by the vast array that lay before me. Which one? There was only one that was not a display model, but was actually in a box on the shelf. I didn't have time to wait for a sales person to approach me, go into the stock room and search for another one. Hey, I had a film to get to see,
So I grabbed it and promptly paid for it.
That was the full amount of importance I attached to it. Little did I realise the immense amount of pleasure it was going to bring into my life.

This morning I begrudgingly decided that I had to tackle the everest of ironing that lay before me. I filled up the iron with water, waited for the light to go out and set about my household task.
WELL! As if by magic my hands glided over blouses, trousers and dresses.
The new  stainless steel Soleplate technology combined with Constant Steam Boost "relaxed fibres for easy crease removal".  The mountain of clothing rapidly decreased in front of my eyes. Never before has a hated task required so little effort.

It was only when I found myself about to go looking for other items of clothing to iron, that the realisation hit me.
This was the most excited I've gotten about anything in a while.
Oh Lord, take me now! It's all downhill from here.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The bane of teachers' lives..look at the correct use of the apostrophe!

One of my all time hatreds is the misuse of the apostrophe. It's either
a) in the wrong place e.g. used in plurals rather than to show ownership
b) absent when it is needed.
I know, I know , I have little to be worrying about.

The kids in school did an art competition for the local GAA club, which was trying to promote smoke-free sidelines at matches. The winners received trophies and had their winning entries printed on a poster for display in the school.
Therein lies the problem.

When it arrived it proudly read
St. Patricks School.....WITH NO FRIGGIN' APOSTROPHE!!!
It was nevertheless displayed on the corridor.

Last week I was on yard duty but as it was raining the kids were inside and I was patrolling the corridors. Every time I passed the offending poster I could feel a frisson of tension run through my body. Eventually I could take no more.
As I was passing the office I stuck my head in the door and asked the secretary, who was busy at her desk
"Hey Carol, would you have the loan of a marker please? I want to put in an apostrophe."
She looked up from her keyboard, her eyes opening wide in disbelief.
"You want a what???" she managed to stammer out.
A little taken aback, I re-uttered my request.
"Could I have a marker please? I want to put in an apostrophe?"
Her faced crumbled and she let out a howl of laughter.
"Oh God, Noeleen", She eventually explained. "I thought you said

Can I have the loan of a marker please? I want to put in a SUPPOSITORY!"

When I managed to pick myself off the floor I got my marker and  put in my apostrophe.

See> Perfect!

Funnily enough, when I went to give Carol back her marker, she just looked at it suspiciously and said
"Nah. You can keep it!"

Friday, October 26, 2018

Hocus Pocus

This morning was a bit of a rush. I was outta bed and into hospital with Mam.
Update: Mam is doing fine.
I was talking to various doctors and nurses. I didn't want to appear paranoid but I thought that they were giving me quizzical looks.It was only when I went to the bathroom that I realised what they were looking at.
Yesterday was dress up day in school.

I had taken it off in haste and I had missed a few spots.There were still patches of green on my neck! It's a wonder I got out of the hospital at all. I could have been quarantined under the  Contagious Infections Bill!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Ode to autumn

Where did today come from?
Yesterday the weather was dire...cold, dark and raining.
Then today was a glorious autumnal day.
So in order to make the best of it I headed to Belvedere House and Gardens, my favourite place for a walk.

To autumn
John Keates

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; 
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; 
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees, 
   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 
      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells 
   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, 
And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
Until they think warm days will never cease, 
      For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells. 

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? 
   Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find 
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, 
   Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; 
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep, 
   Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook 
      Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers: 
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep 
   Steady thy laden head across a brook; 
   Or by a cyder-press, with patient look, 
      Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours. 

Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they? 
   Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,— 
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, 
   And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue; 
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn 
   Among the river sallows, borne aloft 
      Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; 
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; 
   Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft 
   The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft; 
      And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Putting my best foot forward

After a great night out last night at an 80's disco in the Greville Arms I was feeling a little tired so I had a power nap in the afternoon. When I woke up it was dark so I had a look at my phone.

I jumped out of bed in a panic and pulled back on my boots, I go up to Mam every Saturday to look at Strictly Come Dancing, which was starting at 18.40.
I raced put the door, into the car and up to the Camillians.
It was only when I was at their door, ringing the bell that I looked down at my feet.
What the actual....????

How the hell could I have gotten it so wrong?
 I know I got redressed in the dark, but for God's sake. RED AND BLACK???

I didn't have time to go back home to change. So I had to run down the corridors in the hope that no one would notice. If someone did comment I would have to try to sell it as a fashion statement :)

Sunday, September 9, 2018

LARCCing about

We had decided to do a 5k run....ahem, walk in aid of LARCC. This is a group that offers wonderful support to cancer patients and their families during a very difficult time. Unfortunately it is only when this illness strikes close to home, that you realise that these groups are in dire need of finiancial support in order to keep doing their fabulous work.
I got a text at 10 o'clock this Sunday morning.
"I'm not chickening out, but its spilling rain here in Mullingar. What do you think?"
I had a quick flashback to January 2016, when I was taking part in Operation Transformation. During that time I ran when it was pelting snow and I jumped into Howth Harbour when it was feckin' freezing. I neither dissolved nor rusted!
"I'll be there", I replied.

And boy was I glad we did. The sun came out and it was a perfect morning for exercise.
Is there really such a thing???
Met up with people I hadn't seen in ages and the time flew by.
Here are Martina and I, proudly showing off our medals.
I think the only other time we both won medals was for a set-dance in Ceol, Caint agus Craic in 1979!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Human vs Technology

"You've arrived at your destination," announced Fanny, my car sat nav, in her posh voice.
"Wha???" I looked around in bewilderment.
I had typed in Loughcrew Megalithic Centre and I was now stopped on Main Street, Oldcastle, outside a derelict garage. No sign of any prehistoric ruins, apart from some rusty petrol pumps. I got out and had a quick look around. Definitely the wrong place. I knew I had to be close so I went into a nearby shop and asked.

"Eh, I've heard of it but I'm not sure. Ask someone at the top of the street."
I accosted a group of people standing outside a pub.
"Eh, I've heard of it but I'm not too sure. Ask a bar person inside."
In I went I asked someone who was cleaning tables.
So I presumed they were a "bar person".
"Eh, if you go out that road
pointing in a vague direction
you'll come to some signs."

Off I went. I wasn't very confident, so when I spotted an older woman walking along I decided to ask her.
"Oh wait til I see", she replied in answer to my query.
She positioned herself in the right direction and proceed to wave her arms around to not only tell me, but show me the way to go.
"So when you come to a big blue building, take the next right and you'll see the signs".
Thank you very much", I replied as I was about to head off.
"Ah wait now", she replied. "You mind yourself. They're very narrow roads and you might meet a car on a bad bend. Make sure you go slowly and be careful!"
Such a lovely Irish thing.
"I will," I assured her.

Fanny wouldn't do that...give me the proper directions AND worry about my welfare.

And she was so right. The roads were fierce narrow. Obviously Megalithic Man didn't worry about getting his wing mirrors clipped by branches...on both sides.
Thankfully I arrived at my destination, no thanks to modern technology!

Monday, July 16, 2018

My whole stage life flashed before my eyes.

I recently attended LMVGs annual "Leixlip wins AIMS" party.
Okay so we've only won it for the past two years running, but its a tradition at this stage!

Highlight of the night was looking at all the scrapbooks of past shows and seeing how much we've changed/aged.
For all my younger readers there was a time when people actually printed off photos and then stuck them into a book! I know, totally mind-blowing!
I had gone through a few of the shows I'd been in, and then suddenly it dawned on me...

Yep, for nearly every production I was cast as some kind of slapper/ slut/ whore.

But the last one took the biscuit. Here I am in.....

My Fair Lady. Yes, MY FAIR FECKIN' LADY!
Did you even know there was a "lady of the night" in that child-friendly classic? Well apparently there isn't but they wrote in the part especially for me.

I'll put this blatant act of stereotyping down to the fact that I'm a very good actress who can get totally into character!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Things you may not know about me #1

You think you know everything there is to know about someone and then photographic evidence is unearthed. Well the camera never lies, or so they say.

Did I ever tell you about the time I.....

...had my first speaking part in a play!

Luckily I had very supportive cast mates who helped me out!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Just Cruisin'

"Hey, I'm going on a cruise."
"What????", squealed Marese, veteran of many Mediterranean and Alaskan cruises. "Where to?"
"From Dun Laoighaire to Howth" I answered.
"Oh"' she answered, less enthusiastically.
I don't know why she was so crestfallen, it was a fabulous tour!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Friends in Low Places

I was planning out what I will be doing in class during the next school year.
Yes, teachers do that during their hols!
I saw a lovely winter art project that requires three wine corks per student and seeing as I will have 33 of them next term, that makes a total of 100.
Someone will always makes a hames of one of them!
Now I could source all these wine corks myself but I dare say I wouldn't be in much form for doing an art project if I did!

"Hic...shure kids, here's a toilet roll....hic....make something....hic!"

So I decided to call on my trusty friends to help me out. Seeing as screw cap bottles are becoming more common, I sent out the distress call last Monday so that there would be loads of time to have them collected before I actually needed them.

Three days later.....

On the last count I had 436 corks, enough for the next four years!
That's the type of friends I have. For fear that some poor children would be deprived of their winter art project, they selflessly threw themselves, nay, sacrificed themselves, to make sure that no child would have to go without.
Friends, I salute you!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Canal Bank Walk

I was reminded of this poem I studied for my Leaving Cert as I took a leisurely power walk down the canal bank with Audrey the other evening.

Canal Bank Walk

Leafy-with-love banks and the green waters of the canal
Pouring redemption for me, that I do
The will of God, wallow in the habitual, the banal,
Grow with nature again as before I grew.
The bright stick trapped, the breeze adding a third
Party to the couple kissing on an old seat,
And a bird gathering materials for the nest for the Word
Eloquently new and abandoned to its delirious beat.
O unworn world enrapture me, encapture me in a web
Of fabulous grass and eternal voices by a beech,
Feed the gaping need of my senses, give me ad lib
To pray unselfconsciously with overflowing speech
For this soul needs to be honoured with a new dress woven 
From green and blue things and 
arguments that cannot be proven.

Patrick Kavanagh

 It really was a glorious evening for a walk.

And before you ask
"NO! Audrey WASN'T topless. She just didn't want to get strap marks!"

Not so full of hot air.

I'm about to declutter my house and was wondering what to do with all my clutter. I decided to see what a car boot sale entails so I went to Clara market on Sunday morning on a reconnaissance mission.
While I was there I spotted some huge football/beach balls. I decided to get two for Megan and Evelyn, my (grand) nieces.
I loaded them up in the car ( the footballs, not the girls!) and headed for home.I was about  two miles down the road when I heard Phssssss!
"Where's that noise coming from?" I panicked.
I checked if the back windows were a bit open. That's alarmed me before. Nope, they were fine.
"Don't tell me I have a puncture!" I wailed, trying to remember where the jack was.
The noise was getting louder and closer.
I turned around, nearly swerving into the ditch, to realise that one of the feckin' balls was after self combusting in the heat.
Panic 1 was over and Panic 2 set in. Now I had only one football and as our family knows, there's one of the two girls who sometimes doesn't do sharing!!!
Thankfully the size of the ball made up for the lost one and a happy game of football commenced in the garden.

This is what the red ball SHOULD have looked like!

And this is how it ended up.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Happiness is.....

Happiness is....growing something.
I'm delighted to say that my new found love of gardening has been successful.
Just wondering if I should flout the national hosepipe ban and risk watering them!!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Seeing things

I was driving home from Mullingar on the motorway. Suddenly in the distance I saw that the road was flooded with water.I stepped on the brakes to slow down.

"Oh no", I thought. "As if the country's water supplies aren't running low enough without major pipes bursting!"
I suddenly noticed that I wasn't getting any nearer to the water.
It kept retreating away from me. Suddenly it dawned on me.
It was a MIRAGE!
Seriously, what was that about?
I have lived for five years in a desert country and never saw one.
And now I encountered my first one in The Downs!
Whoever said there is no such thing as climate change should be lathered in oil and made sit in an Irish garden for the next few days :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Relaxing holiday, me a>$£

"So how did you spend the first day of your summer holidays?" I hear you cry.
Well I heard someone at the back yelling it.

I was up nice and early and headed into Mullingar Educate Together school for a week long course on
"Literacy through the lens of Art and Science."
It's actually a really interesting one, and if I have to spend a week of my hols cooped up inside while the sun is belting down outside, its not the worst thing I could be doing!

Headed for home only to remember that this was the day that my road was closed due to roadworks so I had to make a detour through a neighbouring village to get to my house. Only time to gulp down a cup of tea and it was off to Kinnegad to meet up with my college group to try to put the finishing touches to our Research Project.
Fell in the door at quarter to 10, just in time to catch the end of Love Island.
Don't judge me, it was all my brain could handle by this time.
Then it was off to bed where I zonked out.

So what's in store for me today? Pretty much the same thing.
The first person who asks me
"What on earth do you teachers do during your long summer holidays?"
is going to get a whack of my glantóir over the back of their head!!!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Green fingers

In May 2005 a social experiment was carried out in Slough, an English town. The aim was to see whether the new science of happiness was effective or not.
One of their steps to happiness was To Grow Something.
Well, in my garden things just seem to grow of their own accord and my gardening skills are confined to killing things- mowing the lawn, pulling up weeds and cutting the hedge. I have never proactively grown anything.
Not very conducive to happiness if the experts are to be believed. So I decided to grow something. But what?
Then, as if the universe heard me, it came to my rescue.
I had done my weekly shop in Lidl and the cashier asked me
"Do you want a seed pot to grow your own herbs?"
Did I what?  Hell yeah.

So I arrived home with my pot, soil and seeds. It was like a lucky dip because I didn't know what plant I had been given. Imagine my excitement when I opened it to discover I was about to cultivate some favourite! The universe was definitely was on side.

After I started preparing the soil, planting the seeds and watering them to ensure germination, I was definitely feeling happier.
Boy am I proud of myself! I'm expecting a bumper crop this year.
Next stop, Super Garden :)

Friday, June 29, 2018

The present that keeps on giving.

Well, I made it to the end of another school year. Last time I looked it was winter....for like eight months.  Then suddenly it was summer, complete with heatwave.
I've got to hand it to parents who give me the most (in)appropriate thank you pressies! Cheers!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

We're off to Coppers!

I went up to Leixlip last night for the Alternative Awards night for their recent production of West Side Story. I was delighted to unexpectedly catch up with Karl Harpur, who is home from LA to direct Copper Face Jacks - The Musical!

We have an eventful history!!!