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!!!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

A very important decision to make

The date for the referendum on repealing the 8th amendment to our constitution is drawing nearer. At the moment all abortion is illegal in Ireland. This is not to say it doesn't happen. We either export it to clinics in Britain or we import it online by means of pills.  Now our country will decide whether abortions up to the age of 12 weeks will be allowed to be carried out here or not.

Seeing as it is such an emotive issue, it is not a clear cut black and white scenario, there are many shades of grey. I would lean more strongly towards one side of the argument than the other, but I still have reservations. I would worry about it being used as a means of contraception, but on the other hand how do we show empathy and support towards women who are pregnant as a result of rape, who are putting their own lives at risk if the pregnancy goes ahead or when the baby, due to a severe foetal abnormality, will either die in the womb or immediately after birth. Should society decide that they must go ahead with such a pregnancy until Nature takes its course? So I am one of the many "not exactly sure yet" electorate.
So with that in mind, I sat down last night to watch "The Late Late Show" which was having the first of several debates between the ProChoice and the ProLife sides of the argument.

I was very adamant that I was listening to both sides with an open mind. Firstly I was very impressed with how well conducted both sides were, especially seeing as how emotional the issue involved is. I thought the Prochoice side were very clinical in their arguments while the Prolife side tugged on the heartstrings.
As the debate neared its conclusion I have to admit that I was getting very irritated by the repeated argument of the Prolife side. It was, that if women have a choice, they will rush into abortion and live to regret their decision. When questioned about rape cases that result in a pregnancy the response was that it was very unfortunate, but that the women would come to love their babies. What I took from this argument was that women would not make the right decision so choice should not be given to them, instead society would make that decision in order to save themselves from themselves.

When the programme was over I changed channels and was delighted to find that the second season of "The Handmaid's Tale" was starting. Pure fantasy and escapism from the real world. Halfway through it, it suddenly dawned on me.
Yes, this is a sensationalised piece of drama. But if you strip all that away you get to the underlying theme...
Women have no place in decision making in society. Their worth is only measured by their ability to carry a child to full term. They have no choice in whether they want to have a baby or not. It is for the good of society so they must go along with the law. Society knows better than they do.

Not so much fantasy after all.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Walk a mile in my shoes

The job of principal is coming up shortly in my school. There is a lot of speculation going around, even among the kids.
One of the young lads said to his teacher today.
"Miss, you better hope Ms Noeleen doesn't get the job..."
"Why not???" she asked in surprise.
"Well if she does....she'll make you all wear high heels!".

And I can see where he's coming from.
These are the ones I was wearing today.....and I was on yard duty!

Life is a catwalk.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

'ear 'ear

I was out for fabulous dinner in Miller & Cook in Mullingar.

As I stood up to leave I heard a ..klunk. One of my new earrings had opened and fallen out, hitting the floor.
They were hoops so did actually made a little sound...maybe not exactly a klunk. That was for dramatic effect.
I searched under our table but couldn't see it anywhere. I had just given up hope when I espied the foot of a man at a nearby table.
What should I do?
I went up to him as he was having an animated conversation with his companions.
"Excuse me," I interrupted.
All the diners at the table stopped to look at me.
"Please don't get alarmed or excited but I'm just going to bend down for a moment!"
There was a collective intake of breath while I bent down and .......retrieved my earring.
"Taadah" I held it aloft.
A moment's silence was followed by howls of laughter.
"Well I didn't want to make any sudden unannounced movements" I explained.
I wish I could have taken a photo of the shock/horror/excitement on his face!

Close up to prove that I had really been wearing hoop earrings and it wasn't a very clever chat up line!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

One in a generation.

Back at school, we were discussing the effects of The Beast from the East, Ireland's worst snowfall in over thirty years. I asked them what they were feeling now that it was gone.

Personally I'm delighted as I couldn't cope with another day of isolation.

One of the lads put up his hand.
"Miss, I feel very sad."
"And why is that?"
"Well if it only happens every thirty years, then I won't be a child when it happens again."

Boy, did my heart nearly melt.

Monday, March 5, 2018

A rude awakening.

Reality is...

when you're feeling quite smug about yourself, because you've eaten healthily over the past four snowed-in days (apart from a few Twixs) and exercised daily along with Karl Henry in your sitting room...

and then you slip out of your comfy tracksuits and into your trousers.....Eekkkk!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Aftermath

I shall be eternally grateful to another neighbour with another tractor, who cleared my driveway for me this morning. I can now officially rejoin the human race.

But we're not out of the woods yet.
Raharney awoke to the devastating news that a young man had lost his life just outside the village in the early hours of this morning. I think the whole country thought that we had managed to survive the snow emergency without any fatalities. However, even though the Red and Orange weather alerts have been lifted, the danger is not over. Roads are still in a treacherous condition and will be for quite some time to come. It's not back to "business as normal".

So everyone, keep safe.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

A bid to escape

I woke up this morning and thought
"I am soo over this snow malarkey".
The first day or two were fine. I got so much done.

  • wrote my cúntas míosúil - all the work I did in February.
  • wrote my fortnghtly scheme for March - all the work I'm going to get done in the next two weeks- yeah, right.
  • college assignment
  • washed all the inside windows and mirrors
  • washed the floors
  • broke two gel nails in the process
  • cleared out kitchen cupbords
  • decluttered my wardrobe
  • batch cooked dinners
  • resistance workouts with Karl Henry
  • caught up on phonecalls, texts, Facebook messages that were long over due
But this morning was different. I needed contact with a real live human being. It had stopped snowing so I ventured out beyond my gateway.

Once I got onto the road the way ahead was clear. Not as pretty as when it's covered in snow, but way more negotiable. 

It felt so good to be out in the fresh (understatement) air and to be able to stride along.
Kilcolum cemetery looked particularly bleak.

This graveyard is no longer in use
Well obviously it is still being used by the people who are in there, but there are no new clients!
I was beginning to feel a little down, as it reminded me that death seems so final, when I stumbled across these.

Snowdrops bursting into life despite the adverse conditions.
With a renewed spring in my step I approached civilisation - Raharney village!
My phone began to ring.
It was my friend Ger who lives in the village. She works in the Health service and had gone into work on Thursday morning at 10 and had just returned home at 2 pm on Saturday.
So many heroes during the current lock down.
"Hi there".
"Hi Noeleen. You sound out of breath".
"Yep, I'm just walking into the village."
"Do you want to go to the pub? I could do with a drink."
"See you there in 2 minutes!"

A vodka never tasted so good. 
And if there's one thing I learned from the snowdrops, there is life after death!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Wonder Woman

I was so delighted to see Laura Higgins Tully be awarded a Hero's award on Operation Transformation this week. She was nominated by Moore's Movers for the outstanding work she does in her local community in a bid to improve their health and fitness.

In September 2016 I was taking part in The Great Dublin 60k bike ride. I was about 10k into the route when I partnered up with another woman who was doing the cycle for the first time. And that is how Laura and I met.
I don't think I'd have finished the full 60k without her support. We chatted and talked from one station to the next, giving each other encouragement when we were beginning to flag. We were so proud of ourselves when we eventually crossed the finish line.

When she asked me to talk at their Operation Transformation launch in Jan 2017, I was honoured to do so. It was then that I realised that the real leaders of this programme are not the ones who go onto National TV (in their lycra!) but rather the people like Laura who bring it to life in their communities. I was totally blown away by the lengths that these organisers go to. Yes there are weigh ins and 5k walks. But on top of that they measure BMI, blood pressure as well as coordinating aerobic, spinning and running classes. And all on a totally VOLUNTARY basis.

This year I was equally as happy to be back at their launch. And Laura was still there putting us through our paces.

It hasn't been all health and fitness! There was a very memorable night at the Sheep Shearing festival in Roscommon to see Nathan Carter!

Laura really is a fantastic woman and I am very proud to call her my friend. Here's to many more events!
Congratulations Laura x

Humanity is.......

"And this year's Mother Theresa's Humanitarian Award goes to .......Noeleen Lynam"
Applause, applause, applause!

As I've said many times I HATE BIRDS!
There's something about their little beady eyes, pointed beaks and sharpened claws that freak me out.
My man used to have to take the fake robin off the Christmas log when I was young, as I couldn't stay in the same room as it.

So why then did I trawl through my healthy eating cupboard for all the nuts and seeds I could find, bash them up into small pieces so those same little beaks could swallow them, and then trudge through the snow drifts to put them in a place where those b@$t@rd$ could find them?

Well I still wouldn't like to think of them starving to death.
Gosh, I feel so compassionate!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Don't do unnecessary housework!

Well, I've just had the first casualty of Emma and the Beast.

Because I'm stuck in my house for the foreseeable future I have been very proactive. I've managed to do most of my spring cleaning, which is quite ironic seeing as it's the result of arctic like conditions.

Due to this increased activity I have suffered a physical injury.

Slipped disc ? Nope
Housewife's knee? Don't be stupid.
It's much, much worse!

I've been immobilised by.....

a broken Gel nail!!!

Dam you, Storm Emma, us gals should stick together.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

#1 How to survive a snow day

I'll be perfectly honest. I know we were all warned about the approaching arctic like conditions but I was sure that we would have school today, things would worsen overnight and we would have snow days on Thursday and Friday. Boy was I was wrong!

I woke up to find I had been transported to Narnia in the middle of the night.

.There's my poor wee shed that hasn't yet recovered from Storm Ophelia.

I got up and waited anxiously for the text.
School closed! Yipee!
So did I go back to bed? Hell no, I was up so there was no point.

So what exactly does a singleton do all day when confined to her house ? Well I was actually very productive.
#1: I wrote 784 words for my college assignment!
#2: Tidied my bedroom, including under the bed. Unheard of.
#3: Did a workout with Karl Henry, which not only toned me up but warmed me up!

#4: I then decided to walk the 2 and a half km to Raharney while the going was good. I won't be able to do it tomorrow when Storm Emma arrives.
It really was a fabulous day once I wrapped up well.

#5: Once home I put my Op Tran training to good use and I cooked a batchload of dinners to last me for the next few days, if, God forbid, it's as bad as they say its going to be.

#6: After all that, it was time to put my feet up in front of the telly, with a nice glass of wine ( which had bought on the expedition to Raharney earlier) and watch the finale of this year's Operation transformation. This year's leaders were fantastic and a real inspiration.
And the good news is, that if they're snowed in, in two years time, they will know exactly how to cope!