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 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.