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?

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Namaste

Today I was sooooo excited. When I looked at my calendar, instead of a black space or an X, there was an event!

I was going to my outdoor yoga class on the banks of Lough Ennell on the grounds of Belvedere House. Phase Two of Lockdown says that you can have an outdoor activity with up to 15 people, provided you observe social distancing. So with my yoga mat tucked under my arm, off I went.
Just setting my mat on the grass and looking out over the lake, I could feel my zen setting in! Every other year it has been the surroundings and nature that has added to the spirituality of the occasion. This time it was the presence of real live people that made it a surreal.
I'M PART OF THE HUMAN RACE AGAIN!



On the down side...I can't believe how unfit and creaky I've become in the past few months!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

The road to re-emergence

So I've decided that from this day forward I am going to focus on getting ready to re-emerge into society, rather than focusing on all the things I can't do at the moment. I'm on a bit of a Life Audit, making sure I'll be fab-u-lous when the time actually arrives.

I had looked into colour analysis (online, of course) and had ordered my colour cards. As if on cue they arrived today.

Do you think perhaps they could have come in a smaller box....or even an envelope???

Monday, June 1, 2020

Time after time

"Take care of the hours, and the days will take care of themselves."

If we had been told on January 1st 2020 that we were going to spend at least 1/4 of the year in Lockdown or under restrictions, we would have 
a) scoffed in disbelief
b) gone into meltdown, claiming that there is no way we would survive that
c) booked a space on Elon Musk's flight to the International Space Station.

But anyway, here we are on June 1st, still surviving in a strange new world.
Okay, so some days are better than others, but hey, that's life.

I remember back to the 12th March when we were told that the school would close in two hours time for two weeks. We were to be coming back for a week before the Easter holidays, off for the holidays and then back to resume the school year as normal.
A mad, frantic panic to get everything ready for two weeks of distance learning
There were standoffs at the photocopier!!!
It's amazing what can be achieved in a short amount of time. It's like when you hear you are having visitors in half an hour, how much tidying up can be achieved in that 30 minutes! THE WHOLE HOUSE!

Anyway, I kinda guessed that we wouldn't be opening for that preEaster week, but thought we would be back after Easter, a bit like Jesus himself.
Oh God, how naive was I?

Like a prisoner of old, I took to marking off the days as seriously, they were all merging into each other.




And onto today when it was time to turn another page.


What struck me, was that although some days seemed to stretch on forever, especially at the start, the weeks have actually flown by.
It's also strange to see that I had marked in SCHOOL HOLS, probably at the start of the year, and I would have been to excited looking forward to being finished work and getting away to the sun for some rest and relaxation.
Now?
It seems more like a marker to separate frantically trying to put closure on this school year....and starting to get ready for the next, while not having a clue what that is going to entail or even when it is going to happen.

But hey, I got through the past two and a half months pretty much unscathed, and things are looking as if they are moving in the right direction. 
I have PHASE TWO marked in.....fingers crossed.

I'll not be jetting away anywhere this year, but the sun is shining here on this Bank Holiday Monday, I have no school work to set or correct, so I'm heading out to the back garden to pretend I'm by the pool in Turkey.
It's all about your perspective. 
Stay safe!

Friday, May 29, 2020

Important life lessons I learned from living in the Middle East. No. 1

The first  lesson is.....
The Importance of dramatic eye make-up when wearing a lower face covering.


When they are the only part of the face on display it is vital that they pop!

Aldi, here I come!!!




Thursday, May 28, 2020

A Human Touch

I went for my daily walk along the canal bank this morning. It really was a glorious walk and lifted my mood considerably. 

Along the way I met a woman walking towards me. I didn't recognise her but we stopped ( at a social distance) to have a chat. I soon discovered that, like me she lived alone in the area. I deduced from her accent that she wasn't a local.
Angela Landsbury, eat your heart out.
I figured that like me, this was probably the first face to face conversation she had had in a while.
I introduced myself and she stepped forward with her hand extended.
I laughed it off and said
"Oh I don't think we should be doing that."
She immediately drew back and said
"Oh god I completely forgot. Sorry".
We continued with our conversation for a while and then went our separate ways.
But I was still taken aback by my reaction.
Inside, I had RECOILED when she put forward her hand. My instinct was to draw back as my fear level rose at the thought of touching another person. And that was what was the saddest. It wasn't a thought out reaction, it was purely automatic. This wouldn't have been the case a few months ago. But by now the idea that we have to shirk all human contact is now second nature.
What will life be like when we come out the other side of this pandemic?
Will we ever go back to the way things were?
As if the dating game wasn't difficult enough.
 I may as well kiss the thought of ever dating again goodbye!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Where the poppies grow.

Last year I decided to embrace my green fingers and grow tomatoes. I used the green house in Mam's house which was not being used. It was fairly successful, but seeing as they all ripened at the same time, I had no tomatoes for ages and then a bumper crop for a week!
I was at Mam's house during the week so I popped into the greenhouse. Obviously because I haven't been in since last year ,the plants were all shriveled up.



Except for.....a poppy plant. Despite not having had a drop of water in months it still managed to bloom and thrive. My kind of horticulture!



So I've decided to grow a crop of poppies this year instead of tomatoes.
After all, there's more money in heroin than salad!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Me First Holy Communion Day

Last weekend should have been my class' First Holy Communion. Of course it couldn't go ahead because of the "virus".In order to mark the day I searched for a photo of my own First Holy Communion to show them.
This was not an easy task. The fact that I am the youngest of five children, obviously the novelty of photographing every event had worn off.
As a result I have only one photo of that day.


Nowadays there are many shopping expeditions before they say "Yes to the dress". My aunt bought my dress in Dublin and brought it home to me two weeks before the big day. I had no say in the decision but it didn't matter. I LOVED it. I mean it was white and pretty so what was there not to love?
My aunt's friend Lizzie who was also a great family friend made a comment that has stuck with me since. She said
"The ends of those sleeves are really useful. You can use them to blow your nose, you don't need to bring a handkerchief".

Later my mam bought my veil. When she brought it home it was in a cellophane wrapper over a pink background, which made the veil look pink! I took one look at it and asked
"Is it PINK?"
My mum didn't realise how shocked I was and just answered
"Well I thought it would be lovely to do something a little different!"
That throwaway comment makes me realise today that I have to be so careful when talking to children.
I cried myself to sleep every night that week because I thought I was going to have to wear a pink veil to my communion and everyone would laugh at me.

When the big day came and the veil was taken out of its wrapper I couldn't believe that it was white.....with little diamante sparkles on it! The joy.
It was a fabulous day. The biggest shock was when I realised that people actually were giving me money! I had no idea that happened.

So almost 50 years later I can still recall every little detail. I really feel for my class who have been looking forward to this day for years and now it has been postponed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Back to the drawing board (for me!)

So there I was, feeling very pleased with how creative and productive I had been last weekend.
I mean..... I had baked Porridge bread for the first time and I had managed to somewhat disguise my roots by whacking in a few curlers.
Ah yes, I'm winning at this pandemic crack.

Then....... once again, this arrives in on the family Whatsapp group. My nephew Niall who is holed up in Berlin, is putting his free time to good use by doing "a little bit of practise" on his art skill. This is a portrait of his college friend Niamh.



"Okay Niall. Not bad. keep up the practice!!!"

Sunday, May 17, 2020

"I do my hair toss, check my nails......"


Okay, so I know it’s a First World problem, but I am not alone in this.
What the hell do I do about my hair now that my hairdresser is out of commission for the foreseeable future?
At the start of Lockdown I made the conscious decision NOT to tamper with my crowning glory (?) myself. As a result my roots.....
Who am I kidding here? It’s a good two inches, which I don’t think counts as mere “roots” anymore!
.......are of a shade that last saw the light of day in the 80s.
Now I am very pleased/smug to say, that there are very few greys in among the mousey browns, so that is a bonus.
So I decided to go cold turkey and let nature take its course, which is quite easy, seeing as very, very few people actually see what I looks like at the moment.
But last night, being a wild Saturday night, NOT, it was something that was getting on my last nerve. So my little project was to see if I could do something to disguise my Dalmatian style.
I set about frantically searching the house for my long lost, never used, rollers or curlers or whatever they’re called.
I have vivid memories of Mam doing her own hair every week, in the era before hairdryers, curling tongs or straighteners.. I was always fascinated at how she could put in the rows of rollers in perfectly straight lines without even looking in a mirror.
How hard can it be? I thought.
It’s a hell of a lot harder than you might think! My arms were about to fall out of their sockets by the time I was finished. But I must say, I’m very happy with my first attempt. I’ll be hair-tossing with the best of them before the end of this confinement!



During what phase can hairdressers open???

Saturday, May 16, 2020

"Many a true word has been spoken in jest".

I was feeling very inadequate when I read that Shakespeare is said to have written King Lear while in quarantine during the plague!

 The weight of this sad time we must obey,
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most: we that are young
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.”
― William Shakespeare, King Lear

Scary how relevant these words are to our situation even today. Though I suppose that's what makes it a classic, it is timeless.

Anyway, it got me thinking. What have I been doing with my time in lockdown? What will be my legacy to this time long after it has passed?

So I set about creating something. I know I'm a bit late to the party but today, for the first time I made porridge bread. 


It was then that I thought of my other creation....Lil Covid. He will be my legacy when this is over, because take it from me, the porridge bread isn't gonna last very long. It's delicious!

Friday, May 15, 2020

Re-emergence from lockdown


Today I was on tender hooks waiting for the news as to whether we could emerge from lockdown into phase 1. I have been very good in adhering to restrictions, a result of a catholic education in a boarding school but also because it's the only way that nursing homes will be able to allow visitors again.
I had a phone call with Mam during the week. To listen to her crying and saying
"I'm doing my very best"
would break your heart.
I swear if I see anyone flouting the rules because "they're bored" or because "It's their right", I will swing for them....and I've never been violent in my life, but I'm at breaking point.
So today's message that we are ready to enter phase 1 was the happiest moment of the year...so far. To think that the idea of meeting 3 of my friends at a 2m distance could fill me with unmeasurable joy. Last year  I was only happy when I was planning to attend a big social gathering. Talk about getting a bit of perspective.
The phrase that has stuck in my mind is
"This is a cause for hope, not for celebration".
I just hope people have enough empathy, or just plain fuckin' cop on, to not treat this as being the end of lockdown. It's only a baby step and no one wants to go back to lockdown.
This piece really sums it up. I don't know who the author is, but I think it's perfect for our situation.
Keep safe and still stay at home unless it's really necessary.

The Butterfly
”One day, a small opening appeared in a cocoon; a man sat and watched for the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then, it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could not go any further.
So the man decided to help the butterfly: He took a pair of scissors and opened the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a withered body, it was tiny and shriveled wings. The man continued to watch because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would open, enlarge and expand, to be able to support the butterfly’s body, and become firm.
Neither happened!
In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a withered body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. What the man, in his kindness and his goodwill did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening, were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings, so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Sometimes, struggles are exactly what we need in our life.

Don't force it! It needs time.


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Please Mr Postman

Lil’ Kovid is feeling very happy with himself as he has just gotten his first postcard!!!
Thanks Majella 😂


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Sweet dreams are made of this.

Dreams are the outlet of our subconscious. It is only natural that in these stressful times, dreams are getting weirder and weirder.

Last night I dreamed that I was going to a dinner party.
I know! A group of people meeting, chatting and eating together. Sounds so last decade!
My host told me that It was my duty to keep whoever was beside me at ease and to keep the conversation flowing.
Fair enough.
I sat down at my place and looked to my right. There was....
The reverend Ian Paisley!!!
I looked to the left of me and there taking his seat was....
Gerry Adams.



Even in my dream I could feel myself breaking out into a sweat. How on earth was I going to keep the peace between those two?
I looked up and saw my host raise an eyebrow and mouthed at me to start a conversation.

I wracked my brains to try to find a neutral topic. I started on one. There were a few grunts from my dinner companions and then silence. I tried again. Same result.
This went on and on. A few conversations started but they soon veered into very dangerous territory and I could see both men getting agitated.

Just then someone turned on a big TV and out flashed the NEWS. It was going on about how the Gardai had no power to stop day trippers from Northern Ireland crossing the border into the republic.
Ah, so there was the source of my dream.
Needless to say the two "gentlemen" got into a very heated argument about who was in the right. My host was pointing frantically at me and ordering me to stop them. I was trying frantically to do so....but in vain. I mean, greater people then me tried and failed..
I thankfully woke up. I was EXHAUSTED and in a bucket of sweat!
Do you think perhaps I'm a little stressed.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

He hasn't got a leg to stand on!

I'm afraid lockdown is getting to some of us.
This is the sight that greeted me this morning when I came down to the kitchen.


Lil'Kovid had gotten to my only wine bottle and polished it off! He obviously got legless last night.

Well, if he thinks I'm going to crochet him another set, he's mistaken!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

A blast from the past

This lockdown has revealed many hidden secrets. This is one of them.



My natural hair colour last saw the light of day in 1980. And as they say
"The 80's should stay in the 80s."