Monday, November 2, 2020

Very reserved

 I parked my car in the empty church car park and headed off on my 5k walk.

By the time I was getting back it was starting to rain heavily so I broke into a run. But the sight that met my eyes stopped me in my tracks.

My car was now parked right in the middle of a reserved funeral zone! Honestly, those cones were placed there AFTER I’d parked.


After a furtive glance around to make sure no one could see me, I hopped into the car and took off like I was in

Fast and Furious 8!

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Last day of autumn

.

Seeing as today is the last day of autumn I was adamant that I was going out for a walk today. But as I lay in bed , listening to Storm Aidan swirl around my house it seemed like a lost cause. 

Fortunately there was a lull and I managed to escape for a while.

Autumn has always been my favourite time of the year. I love the colours.



I remember hearing as a child that if you catch a falling leaf before it hits the ground, you get a wish. 

So if any of my neighbours saw me flaying around the place, that’s what I was doing.

I didn’t succeed in catching one, but I did get some extra cardio in!

Well, we all know what’s coming next.


It’s going to be a tough one. The first time it’s not just the squirrels who will be hibernating.

But all is not lost. Winter includes 

My birthday

Christmas It hasn’t been cancelled, just reimagined.

The New Year. The sooner 2020 is shown the door, the better!

Only 62 more days to go!


Thursday, October 29, 2020

My Covid testing experience

 


I’d been feeling pretty crap over the past few days. Streaming eyes and nose.

Not a Covid symptom. As a teacher I’m deemed an expert in diagnosing it at this time.

A bit of a sore throat.

But I’m ripping the throat out of myself every time I sneeze, which is often.

Fever, raised temperature?

Now and again but I think they’re hot flushes.

Monday was particularly bad. I went from thinking I had a head cold, to the flu, to Covid, to the Bubonic plague. Decided that I needed to know for definite before contemplating going back to school.

Tuesday morning 10.58am: I rang my doctor and explained my case

11.08: I got a text saying I had a test appointment at 12.10 TODAY!

Mad dash to get showered and dressed and headed for town.

12.00: I arrived a bit early. No one else there yet to be tested. As an army soldier led to me towards the cubicle I felt like I was in The Handmaid’s Tale!

Two women were doing my test. This was the part I was dreading as I’d heard lots of horror stories.

“It felt like my nose was being raped!”

But it was fine! A little uncomfortable for a few seconds but that’s it.

I was back in my car heading for home at 12.08!

Then of course I had to self isolate. Seeing as I hadn’t seen another human since last Saturday, that shouldn’t have been too hard. But if course my gas ran out and I had to cook dinner. But Declan, local shopkeeper to the rescue. It was delivered to my door.

Then at 14.32 the next day I got my result.

NEGATIVE 😄

I’m so relieved and also a bit more optimistic. I had been hearing reports of delays in testing and results but I must say I was impressed with that turn around.









Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Split personality

 I had a busy evening.

First of all I had a zoom meeting with my Slimming World group. After getting lots of tips and motivation I switched over to..

The Great British Bake Off!

Ah, you can’t beat a bit of Food Porn!



Saturday, October 24, 2020

Strictly Saturday Night





 

At last, a bit of normality. Strictly returned to our screens tonight.

It was a bitter-sweet moment. It was Mam’s favourite show and even in her later years we would sit with her to watch it. I remember in recent years thinking how on earth could I ever watch it if Mam was no longer with us.

And that day has arrived. I invited my sister Geraldine over for dinner and then we could watch the show together. And before anyone complains because under Level 5 restrictions we are not supposed to visit any other houses, I’d just like to point out that as a person living alone I’m allowed to have another household as my social bubble and that’s my sister.

Have to say tonight’s show was brilliant. For a first night the standard of dancing was amazing. Mam would have been impressed!







Friday, October 23, 2020

For this I went to college :)

 I'll be perfectly honest. Last August I didn't think that we'd make it to midterm but here we are....

dress up day.

I was kinda hoping I'd actually be stopped by the guards on the way to school this morning.

Guard: And where would you be off to this morning?

Me: Hello? To school of course. Where else would any self-respecting 55 year old be going, dressed like this, at eight o' clock in the morning??? 



Thursday, October 22, 2020

Putting my best foot forward

 I got a lovely surprise today in the post from my bff from secondary school, Majella.


I’ve heard of wearing your heart on my sleeve, but now I’ll be wearing my lips on my heels 😂

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Level Number 5

 It’s a strange evening, waiting for Level 5 to kick in. 

Here we go again.




It’s been a tough couple of months and to be honest I’m probably not in the best headspace to take on social isolation, but hey, we’ve got this.

I’ve sat down with my paper and pen to plan out my next 42 days.

The good news is, that’s the length of Lent.

See what I did there!!!

So as a good Irish Catholic (!) I know that we have to go through a bit of self sacrifice and self denial in order to reap the benefits when we come out the other side.

Also Science has proven that 42 days is the optimum time to establish new habits and to break bad ones. 

I don’t want to write off the next six weeks. They can be a great six weeks with a bit of planning and acceptance.

There are two major differences to the last lockdown. (even though we’re not calling it that).

Our main worry last time was the effect that it was having on Mam and the heartbreak of not being able to visit her. It really is a blessing that she doesn’t have to go through that again.

School is still open so I have a reason to get up in the mornings. Contrary to what the media are saying, teachers are not refusing to go in. All teachers I’ve talked to would walk barefoot over hot coals to get into school. 

Also, being a person who lives alone I have a social bubble that I can still visit, so I can still drop into the Ayres in the Hill of Down.

So I have a plan of sorts in place. I hope to update how I’m getting on, here. I’m not being narsistic, it’s just that for some of us, blogging is a way of feeling connected to the rest of the world and not feeling totally isolated. So if I’m annoying you, don’t click in. 

But if you do, I’d love an auld comment, so I know there’s someone out there!

WE CAN DO THIS!

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Game, Set and Match

 I got my love of tennis from Mam. I remember summers as a child watching Wimbledon in our kitchen and then going out to hit a tennis ball up against the wall.

I don't remember ever breaking a window but then again I don't think I ever had enough power in my shots.

Mam had a soft spot for Djokovic. When it came to a time when she struggled to remember people's names, she always remembered his! 

Anyone who knows me knows of my love/obsession with Nadal.

Those days of myself and Mam watching them play, seems like a lifetime ago now.

And yet, look who's playing today in the French Open Final.



It is a testament to them as sportsmen that they are still at the top of their game in their 30's.

And I can't help feeling that Djokovic has the edge today seeing as his no.1 fan will be cheering him on from on high.



Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Maureen Lynam 1934-2020

Today Mam passed away peacefully. We were so lucky to be able to be with her over the past three days and nights. She has had a tough few years. Thankfully she decided to bail out before the next lockdown kicked in. Neither she nor we could have coped with not being able to visit, again.

It's still a shock when a parent dies. No matter what age you are, inside you're seven. But we know that you and Dad are waltzing your way around that great big ballroom in Heaven.




 I had two different mothers-two mothers I claim

Two different people yet with the same name,

Two separate women, diverse by design

But I loved them both because they were mine.

The first was the Mother who carried me here,

Gave birth and nurtured and launched my career.

She was the one whose features I bear

Complete with the facial expressions I bear.

She gave her love, which follows me yet

Along with the examples in life she set.

As I got older, she somehow younger grew

And we'd laugh as just Mothers and daughters do.

But then came the time that her mind clouded so,

And I sensed that the Mother I knew would soon go.

So quickly she changed and turned into the other,

A stranger who dressed in the clothes of my mother.

Oh, she looked the same at least at arm's length

But now she was the child and I was her strength.

We'd come full circle. we women three,

My mother  the first, the second and me.


by Joann Snow Duncanson


Saturday, October 3, 2020

Happy Heavenly Birthday

 How I wish we could be heading out to celebrate your birthday.


Is there a party up in heaven

To celebrate today?

Did an angel frost a cake for you

Or sing to start your day?

We're celebrating you down here

As they must be above.

I truly hope your special day 

Is filled with peace and love.

This day was always special

As we gathered round you here

We'd sing and laugh and celebrate

Your day with so much cheer,

I miss those special moments

That we shared throughout the years.

It's hard to find that on this day

my eyes fill up with tears.

I've tried so hard to smile for you

But ohhh...that empty chair*

I turn around and find myself

Still shocked that you're not there.

Please know that I'm thinking of you

As I go throughout each day.

this day is very special though

Because it's your birthday

kp@2014 Out of the Ashes/fb

* This should say "bar stool" but that doesn't rhyme!

Miss you.




Thursday, October 1, 2020

A right knit-wit.

 I opened my front door the other morning to find this gorgeous gift from my sister-in-law Marese.



If we’re heading for another lockdown at least I’m prepared. 

No one was more excited than Lil’ Covid! He’s been longing for a friend for the past six months.

Unfortunately he’s going to have to wait a while longer. My current project is to knit.....

AN ARAN JUMPER!


 Now, I’ve knitted many jumpers but nothing as intricate as this. Mam used to knit us all Aran jumpers when we were kids. I remember the sounds of her clacking needles. She used to knit them while looking at the telly.

Me? I have to concentrate as if I’m trying to crack the Enigma Code!


It just might take another lockdown for me to get it finished!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

?????

 


"Grandma, I have a question for you?"

Geraldine's heart sank as she looked into the inquiring face of her six year old grand-daughter Evelyn. As the rest of  the family are very aware, Evelyn's thought processes are quite complex and can floor the best of us!

"Okay Evelyn, what is it?" Geraldine asked tentatively.

"You know before Corona-virus....?"

"Yes????.......Where's this going?

"Before the virus, what did they talk about on the News?"

" Well........there was the weather, sport and..........eh, other things."

Geraldine didn't dare mention BREXIT or she'd still be there answering the hundreds of questions that would ensue.


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Mandatory

 I was coming out of a local shop. I came face to face with a man who was about to enter it. 

We made eye contact.

I watched as his face crumpled and he mouthed 

" AH FUCK!!!"

He turned on his heel and headed back to his car.

I was dumbfounded and tried to wrack my brains to figure out why I had had such a traumatic effect on him.

"Had I shifted him in the past and never returned his calls?"

"Was he an ex-pupil from way back in my early teaching days and I had thrown the glantóir at him?"

Nope. None of those scenarios rang a bell.

Then as I saw him striding back across the forecourt my worries were dispersed.

HE HAD MERELY FORGOTTEN HIS MASK AND ONLY REALISED IT WHEN HE SAW MINE.

Phew! 


Friday, July 31, 2020

The power of prayer???

OMG!
I've had to look over some of my old posts. This is the one I posted after New Year's Eve this year.
Look at the last sentence!!!

Proof that my prayers don't work.


Thursday, July 30, 2020

Best year yet???

I've just found this book among all my other "self-help" books as I was clearing out the "office" ( I use the term loosely!)
So what do you think?
Should I 
A) Start following its steps IMMEDIATELY as I may have a bit of catching up to do?
B) Throw it away as a lost cause? There isn't a chance of that happening this year.


Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Tales from Covid-19


In years to come we'll ( hopefully) look back at this time and recall some funny events that happened to us.
One thing that appears to be confusing us is the etiquette that is involved in entering a public setting. My friend Genevieve had just been going grocery shopping up until now. With the easing of restrictions she decided to venture into Home Store.
She put on her mask and approached the entrance. Ms High Viz Jacket was waiting in the foyer.
"Please use the hand sanitiser on the table to your left and then follow the arrows to the right."
"Thank you," replied Genevieve.
She passed by the helper and spied a bottle on a table. Having watched numerous episodes of 
Grey's Anatomy, she knew exactly how to scrub up properly. She applied copious amounts of the liquid  all  over her hands and made sure it covered in between her fingers, around her wrists...everywhere,
She heard a little cough behind her.
Not a Covid cough but rather a slight ahem.
It was Ms High Viz Jacket.
"Excuse me. But that's.......my WATER BOTTLE!"
Genevieve did a double take. Really?
She then didn't know what to do. Was Ms HVJ angry with her? Should she offer to replace it?
When Genevieve saw the tears of laughter streaming down her cheeks she realised that she had probably made her day. She had a great story to tell her colleagues later.
"Hey lads, you're not going to believe what this wan did today in the store!"

Genevieve apologised and stepped over the threshold into the store. Sure enough on the left hand side, covered with yellow and black Covid banners was a shrine of hand sanitisers!
Ah well I'm sure her hands were doubly clean and sterilised!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Sister Act


Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, the nation woke up to the news that our national treasure Jack Charlton had died. 
 For anyone who didn’t live through the euphoria of Euro 88 and Italia 90, it is impossible to understand the pure joy, ecstasy and unbridled pride that the Irish football team, under the management of Big Jack brought to our country. 
At that time Ireland was just coming out of a recession (what’s new). We were (and still are) a little island out on the periphery of Europe and we lacked the confidence to believe that we could compete, let alone win against the Big Boys. They showed us that David can indeed beat Goliath. And if we could do it in football, we could do it in anything. 
I have been looking at TV footage of those times and it’s hard to believe the scenes of packed pubs, crowds thronging the streets and people hugging each other!!! Hard to believe there was a time when we could do that, or a time when we had a reason to do so! 
My favourite Jack Charlton story is the one of his friendship with Sr Pius. Many years ago when I was in boarding school, Sr Pius was one of the nuns in charge of us. She had won a signed football and Jack had to drop it into the convent as he was passing through Rochfortbridge on his way to a fishing spot in the West. It must have been some conversation because they became firm friends. She went to every match and function afterwards. 


 When Sr Pius died a few years ago, Jack’s wife sent flowers. I’d say Jack and Sr Pius are in that great dug-out in the sky, having a great catch up at the moment.....and lamenting the current state of Irish football!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Life Lessons

They say that everyday is a school day, and the day we don't learn something new is a wasted day.
I set off for my usual walk/run along the canal.

Things I knew before this:
  • It's much easier on the legs to run on the far side of the canal, across from where I park, as it's grassy, compared to the tar-maced side.
  • It's still lovely to run when it's misty raining, very refreshing on the face.
Things I learned today:
  • It;s NOT such a good thing to combine both of the above. It means that when you get back to the lock gate to cross back over, IT'S SLIPPY AND THERE IS A DANGER YOU WILL FALL IN!


Things I knew before this: 
  • I'm a good swimmer
Things I had NO DESIRE to learn today:
  • Whether or not I could swim in full tracksuit and runners....if by chance I was to fall into a large body of water.

Phew, I got across safely.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

K1 P1

Feckin' typical!
During the last few weeks of term, as I was sailing the unchartered, choppy waters of distant teaching, I looked forward more than ever to the isle of Summer Holidays.
I imagined a time of sunshine, outdoor activities and freedom to travel more than 20 km.
The first of July arrived....and with it RAIN!
Other summers, I would have had lots of things to do in the house to keep me busy. Things like tidying up, organising my knicker drawer, washing my make up brushes.
But, you've guessed it, Covid-19 has meant that all those exciting things are already done.
So I've taken on an old hobby. Knitting!


I should have it done by Christmas!

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Taking it to the limit

The thing I miss the most about lockdown and restrictions is not being able to go to live gigs....
concerts, plays, musicals, pantos anything really.
In the years BC (before covid) we would travel the length and breadth of the country to go to see/hear the Sheerin band with Johnny Brady, Simon Casey and Nigel O Connell in their Eagles show "Take it to the Limit".
So we could hardly believe our luck when it was announced that they were doing Ireland's first drive-in concert in Kilbeggan. We weren't quite sure what was involved but we were thinking drive-in movies crossed with drive-in bingo!


It was the first concert I've been to, where there was NO PROBLEM bringing in your own food and drink! No searches at the gate.


Though we did experience food envy when we saw all the lovely snacks that the occupants of the car beside us were consuming.

It was a fantastic show. We hadn't known what to expect. The biggest worry was the toilet situation. I have to say they were the cleanest portaloos I have ever encountered. There was even a woman who sterilised the door handles after each "trip". Bet that doesn't happen at Electric Picnic!




All in all it was a brilliant night.
Virus, what virus???


Saturday, July 4, 2020

Another first

It's strange.
You'd think after four months of lockdown/restrictions/cabin fever or whatever you want to call it, you'd think that when you get the go ahead to go out, that you'd be out that door like calves released after the winter in a shed!
No!!!
I am quite anxious about venturing out. I know it has to be done
a) for my mental health. I'm getting on my own nerves at this stage.
b) Things are opening slowly, so its doable
c) The economy needs all the help it can get.

So when Fiona and Helen invited me to meet them for lunch in The Spiced Bean inn town, I took a deep breath and went.
I suppose it's the fear of the unknown.
Can I go in now? 
Do I stand at the counter?
Do i carry over my own food?
Can I touch ANYTHING.....including the cutlery???

Anyway, after a few initial wobbles, we sat down to lunch. It was soooo fantastic to eat something that wasn't prepared by myself...and also not have to wash up

!

We had a great laugh and catch up.
What I had noticed is that EVERYONE is so talkative, including staff and other customers. I think that everyone is so happy and relieved to be actually able to converse with other human beings, that once the floodgates ope, there's no stopping us!
Thanks for a lovely lunch girls. Til the next time!


 

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Hair we go, hair we go, hair we go......

Today was the day I've been waiting for. Four months have passed and I tried to fool myself that it didn't really matter. I am NOT my hair, so I will not be defined by how long it is or the fact that I am now a blonde ....from the ears down.
But this morning I woke up giddy with excitement. 
I WAS GOING TO THE HAIR DRESSERS!!!

As you can see, it wasn't before time!

Off to Ger Murphy's I went. It was Bobby's* first visit to the hairdressers. I told him to get used to it, he was going to be going there a lot in future.
* see yesterday's post!
I was soon suitably sterilised, gowned and masked. I sat back for her to work her magic.
Hey presto!


I'm ready to join the human race again.
THANK YOU GER!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

My new arrival



Well after a very long delivery I'd like to announce the safe arrival of my new baby......Bobby!

 
Now before all the begrudgers start with

"Would ya look at yer one! Typical teacher! Hasn't worked in six months and now buys a brand new car. No wonder the country is in the state it's in".

I'd just like to clarify....
Firstly I stopped working two days ago when I got my summer holidays. And I will start again tomorrow when I commence my online course.

Secondly, this car was ordered last Feb/March.
I remember it well.
I was in O'Brien's garage talking to JP. I ordered my car and he kindly told me that 
"Because of some virus thing in China it will probably take a little longer than normal to get here."

I said that was no problem
"Sure that virus thing will never reach here."
Oh God, how young and naive we were back then!!!

Fast forward four months, country/ whole world in lockdown , economies ground to a halt, but eventually my car was delivered.
Mother and baby are both doing well!

Monday, June 29, 2020

CSI: Raharney

It being Monday morning, I decided to start the week off in a healthy manner. I whipped out my blender and lots of veg and proceeded to make a Beetroot and Orange smoothie.

It tastes lovely but then I remembered why I don't make it that often.

Every time I do, my kitchen is left looking like the murder scene in Criminal Minds.


Cheers!


Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Bird Whisperer

Typical!
We've had a month of the most amazing weather and once I get my holidays........the weather breaks.
I still headed to the canal for my run/walk. Ah sure the wind is great for clearing the cobwebs.


I need my run/walk more than ever now. I'm finding coming out of Lockdown more stressful than going in.

Anyway I was walking past one of the houses on the canal back when I suddenly heard the ruffling of feathers and loud squawking. For anyone with ornithophobia it's enough to make your blood turn cold.
Sure enough, there was a flock of hens running towards me. I froze!
I'd say it's not that I have suddenly become more attractive to birds. Rather these ones have become very used to people passing daily but today was so windy there were no other people out, so they got over-excited when a person actually appeared.
 Luckily there was a fence between us.



 Just when I thought it was safe one of them took flight and landed on the top of the fence. I swear it looked me straight in the eye and was about to attack.



Well, take it from me, I broke this speed limit!









Saturday, June 27, 2020

Back to the future

This time last year we forgot Theresa's birthday.
It was soon after Ger had passed away and in all honesty, it was always Ger who texted us to remind us of each other's birthdays.So with no reminding text, we overlooked it.
Major guilt.
So this year I got a morning text from Martina to remind me what day it was.
I really must put all important dates on my calendar!
Later that day I went down to Weir's shop and I bought Theresa a bottle of wine.
As I was coming out of the shop I came face to face with Theresa's mum, who lives in the village.

I immediately felt like a teenager again, and tried to hide the bottle of wine behind my back! We were talking for a while and there was no hiding the bottle from her.
I had a decision to make.
Do I tell her that it's for her daughter or let her think that it's me that has the drink problem?
In the end I stuck by the Raharney Women's Code....and took one for the team! Like when we were younger we had each other's back.
And the fact that we are now in our fifties is irrelevant!


So Theresa, if your mother happens to mention that she's concerned about me coming out of Weir's shop at mid-day with a bottle of wine in my hand, I expect you to bail me out!!!
Happy Birthday.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Day #1 of summer 2020

This is the sight that greeted me this morning when I looked at my calendar.


I'm sure when I marked that in last January I was thinking I'd be much more excited about it than I actually am at the moment.Now, don't get me wrong. I am very happy to be finished with distance teaching/learning. Your one, two or three kids might have been driving you mad over the past weeks, but I would honestly rather have had thirty of them in front of me in a classroom than try to negotiate the curriculum through a screen.
As someone said recently. 
"It's not so much working from home, but rather living at work!" 
So I will be very happy to get my kitchen table back.

I was about to clear it when I remembered...
Dam, I'm doing an online course on "Teaching 3rd and 4th class" all next week. Don't put the books away just yet.

To mark the day I headed into Mullingar this morning to meet Jeanette. We met at Chocolate Brown's to have a cup of tea/coffee.
It was the first time since Lockdown that I went into a cafe to buy food or drink. I found myself beginning to panic a little.
"Where do I stand?"
"Do they hand me the food or can I take it?"
"Is it a one way system?"

However all went swimmingly well and we were soon seated in the sunshine outside.
There were people around but everyone was nicely socially distanced.I am one of those people who are anxious about re-emerging and not feckin' up all the good work we have done so far.
Sitting in the sunshine, enjoying a cuppa and seeing people going about their daily routines has made me more optimistic about the future.



We have all this summer to get it right. Hopefully it will be good news to report when I get to this date on the calendar. Fingers crossed.



Thursday, June 25, 2020

The calm before the storm

I went for my canal bank walk/run earlier than usual this morning. With the warning of thunderstorms later this evening I thought I had  better get my daily exercise out of the way.


Seriously 2020, what else are you going to throw at us?

Anyway, it was a beautiful morning. It is the only place where I can forget about what is going on in the world, or what is about to happen.







One swallow does not a summer make.
Quick, get a friend!!!

2020, can we start again please?