Thursday, May 31, 2007


My other half doesn't often do the shopping, but when he does, bless him, he likes to come home with a few surprises and treats. Like the night last week when he arrived home and proudly held up one of his purchases exclaiming:

"Look at that, only 45p!"

What he had actually purchased was a bag of 'Tesco Value' air that just happened to have 15 tortilla chips in it. Truly a man who knows a bargain when he sees one ;-)

Have you got a date yet?

The question that is asked in every email and text I get, and every time I meet someone face to face! It's lovely people are so interested and concerned, but I am beginning to wonder if I am becoming a bit obsessive about getting a date for my surgery!

Anyway, the answer 2 weeks later (expected date for surgery 15th May), still no date :-(

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

You made me smile today!

It's the end of school year wind down - only four weeks to go until the summer holidays. Obviously the childrens' school is doing all manner of tests and the like as we are bombarded daily with tests to revise for, tests that have been completed, tests to be corrected and a variety of reward stickers to accompany each task completed.

Dolly, in particular, is a avid collector of reward stickers. She's had them all: pupil of the week, table of the week, Miss is proud of me, good listener, great reader, well done .... I could go on. Michael, on the other hand, has talents in other areas, as shown by the sticker he was wearing when he came home today: you made me smile today!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Local airport closed

Derry City airport was closed for safety reasons last night.

So, the scarecrows didn't work then.

And that'll be the last time they let the gypsies do the tarmac.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Never argue with a woman

One morning the husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors, and reads her book.

Along comes a Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, "Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?" "Reading a book," she replies, (thinking, "Isn't that obvious?") "You're in a Restricted Fishing Area," he informs her. "I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing. I'm reading." "Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I'll have to take you in and write you up."

"If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault," says the woman. "But I haven't even touched you," says the game warden. "That's true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment." "Have a nice day ma'am," and he left.

MORAL: Never argue with a woman who reads. It's likely she can also think .

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A new concept in 'Grow Your Own'

A year 8 class in the school I worked in for many years have just completed a little science project were they reared painted lady butterflies from caterpillars. Dolly, who is a big fan of the flutterby, watched the blog they kept on this activity with much interest.

Now she has decided she would like to 'grow' some butterflies of her own. I've tried to explain to her that butterflies don't make great pets and she'd be better sticking with growing nasturtiums or collecting snails from the garden (at one stage last year my mum had to 'pet-sit' 27 snails, all individually named, for a weekend)

However, with each passing moment it seems inevitable we will be visiting gribblybugs to make a purchase. Watch this space

Hold that as long as you can

As I wait to be called for surgery, my mind goes back to previous hospital experiences ...

My children were delivered by caesarian section, and when you have surgery like that and the doctors have been groping around your innards, everything in the vicinity starts to work a little bit more slowly.

Such was the case after Michael was born, to the extent that three days after he was delivered, the nurse on duty decided I should have an enema. I'll be honest, I hadn't a clue what she was talking about, but being the model patient and first time mum, I was happy to accept any freebies on offer.

Little did I know.

I don't remember too much of what actually happened, I just remember that after she had finished the procedure she muttered the immortal words 'hold that as long as you can', and left the room.

Three hours later ...

I remember pacing (OK, shuffling!) the ward and the sweat running in rivers down my face and back as I struggled to maintain control. It was only the look of sheer horror on my mum's face when she came to visit that evening that made me realise maybe I had got it wrong. At the time I could clearly see she was torn between diving under the bed for cover, and rushing to tell the story of the miraculous sphincter muscle to the tabloid press.

What she actually did was 10 times worse than either of those. She started to laugh.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

My Shamrock's Showing

Today I got the urge to play the bodhran again. Having done my 'professorship' in bodhran playing a couple of years back and played a few times in my former work and in church, I've not hardly touched the thing in a year! I quite fancy trying to play along to this, The Blackthorn Stick:

Well, after last week's Irish dancing class (I went the wrong way round a one-way circle and caused minor injury to at least three other dancers) there's no way I'm ever going to be able to dance to it!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bonjour la Classe!

J'ai été invité à enseigner le français pour les deux semaines suivantes dans une école pour des enfants avec des difficultés d'étude. C'est un long temps puisque j'ai parlé français! J'attends avec intérêt le défi.

Cette année j'ai déjà enseigné l'économie ménagère, l'anglais, la science et maintenant le français. Vous ne savez jamais ce que vous ferez après quand vous travaillez en tant que professeur de remplacement.

Et maintenant, je dois chercher mon béret!

And the Babel Fish translation of my French:

I was invited to teach French for the two following weeks in a school for children with difficulties of study. It is a long time since I spoke French! I await with interest the challenge. This year I already taught the domestic economy, English, science and maintaining French. You never know what you will do after when you work as a professor of replacement. And now, I must seek my beret!

Hmmm ...

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Ok BlogFans, have a look at this and see if you can work out the answer. Then if you'd be so kind as to let me know ....


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Proud Mummy

Unbeknown to us, the Chorus Master of the Belfast Philharmonic Choir was in the children's school today auditioning for the Children's Philharmonic Choir - Phil Kids.

All the P4s were taken to audition, a process which involved playing singing games and singing some 'stuff' (!!) on your own.

The long and the short of it (and it was quite long in the telling I have to say) is that Mini Me was given a letter asking could he go to the next round of auditions next month. Says he; "It's like being in the X Factor mummy!"

Bless :-)

The Planets

What an absolute joy of a lesson! It gives kids the right to shout 'Uranus' at the top of their voices everytime there is a question, a discussion or even a gap in the conversation, without getting into any trouble whatsoever!

The funniest part was that most of them didn't even know what an anus was!!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Things temps do in your absence

I'm doing a bit of substitute cover for Pluto (the teacher formerly known as Un-named Ex-Colleague) this week.

I'm considering it!

This one could be a definite contender :-)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Temporary Unavoidable Closure of Blog

Due to tonight being Eurovision night, this blog will temporarily be closed for business. Watching Eurovision is a bit like picking a scab - you know you shouldn't, but you can't resist!

And so, I plan to lie in front of the tele all evening with a chinese and a (few) stiff Martini's to dull the pain.

I see that whilst Ireland still think the competition is about writing songs and singing them (good luck anyway Dervish), the UK have realised it's about being as cheesy as possible for the three minutes you have the audiences attention.

Irelande: nil points!

Friday, May 11, 2007

So much for good intentions

I didn't get to do my random act of kindness today. That's a great start!!

I was on the receiving end of a random act of kindness when a man on the 'park and ride' bus to the rugby tonight stood up to let me have his seat. I tried my best not to accept this kindness as I didn't want to be going into the whole project one in debt. But he wouldn't take no for an answer,virtually grabbed me by the shoulders and forced me into the seat.

I must check the 'Join Me' website gallery for his passport photo!

I love my rugby ...

... but after the last lack-lustre performance, tonight I just can't be ar$ed

Thursday, May 10, 2007

It's not a cult, it's a collective

If you're watching BBC's 'Castaway' at the moment, you'll know who Danny Wallace is.

What you may not know, is that in 2002 he started a movement called 'Join Me'. On an impulse, inspired by a similar project attempted by a relative who had recently died, Wallace put a classified advertisement in a magazine asking readers to:

"Join me. Send one passport-sized photograph to..." (followed by his address).

The advertisement contained no other details nor any reason. Wallace claims he had no plans as to what he would do when people sent their photos. He originally hoped he could reach and improve upon the number of people who joined his great uncle Gallus: three!

The Join Me movement soon took shape. It now has over 12,000 members. As the group grew in number Wallace was put under pressure by its members to explain its purpose. Having had no reason in mind when he first asked people to join, Wallace sought a purpose for his Joinees.

Ultimately he presented the idea of performing random acts of kindness, preferably to a stranger, every Friday. Acts like paying for the cup of tea that the person in the queue in front of you has just ordered... offering to carry an old woman’s shopping (and not legging it)... or something as simple as holding a door open for someone. Fridays thus came to be called Good Fridays.

This reminded me of a church I once visited where they had a social action team who spent their weekends committing such random acts of kindness around their local town, like trimming peoples hedges, washing cars for free, paying for people to 'go large' at the local McDonalds.

The church based their outreach on a passage in 2 Corinthians 9 v 12-15 where it says:

'carrying out this social relief work involves far more than helping meet the bare needs of poor Christians ... you show your gratitude through your generous offerings to your needy brothers and sisters, and really toward everyone'. (The Message)

I loved the idea when I first heard about it at that church, and I still love it now. And although I might not actually send a passport photo away and join Danny Wallace's collective, I feel like I will definately subscribe to the Good Friday idea!

Watch this space ....

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Vote Early, Vote Often!

The kids school choir has entered an online competition to get the opportunity to sing on BBC's 'Any Dream Will Do' programme.

Click here to vote for them. This takes you to the audition room, where you will have to keep pressing the 'show the next choir' button until you come to a screen that say Cairnshill Primary School Belfast. Then click 5 coats. It's as easy as that!

Actually, you might want to listen to the choir too - they're not at all bad!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Happy First Birthday!

My blog is one year old today!

Maddie McCann

I feel so sorry for these poor parents - how terrible to be in a position where your toddler has gone missing, let alone missing in a foreign country.

But ...

Everyone, particularly in the British Press, is pointing the finger at the Portuguese police, saying how slow they were to react, how little progress thay are making and so on. No-one questions the responsibility of the parents who left three children under the age of four unattended in a hotel room, some distance from where they were dining, in the first place.

As a parent of young children, I just can't understand how two intelligent people, who are obviously not strapped for cash, didn't take the children to dine with them, order room service or at very least make use of the babysitting service on offer at the hotel.

As I said, I have every sympathy for this couple and hope little Maddie is found and returned to her parents quickly and safely. But I hope this is a learning experience for anyone who even considers for a moment that leaving kids alone in a strange hotel room in a strange country while they go out is a viable option.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Fight the Good Fight

On Friday I had the absolute joy of accompanying the year 9 classes from school as they went on their end of year trip (it was brought forward especially so I could go away with them before my stint in the school finishes this Friday).

We went to Battlefield NI, a company that has set up a laser gun game based in a disused lead mine and forest area in Conlig, Co. Down. They dressed us all up in camouflage gear and cam paint, rigged us all up with laser sensors and guns and set us off on a number of tasks about the forest.

My colleague and I took opportunity to talk to the boys in our team and point out that good soldiers:
  • stayed well hidden
  • used height for advantage
  • kept really quiet
  • worked as a team
Slighty disappointing then, when, as the opposition appeared at the bottom of the hill we were defending, one of our boys got so excited that he jumped up out of position, ran over to my colleague, who was dug in behind a tree, stood in full view behind him, waving his gun in the air and shouting 'Sir, Sir, they're coming!' at the top of his voice before proceeding to pull the trigger, letting off 10 rounds of automatic fire, 'killing' my colleague on the spot!

As it happened, we won 4-2 anyway, so it didn't matter ;-)

PS ...

Although my head says 'absolute joy', my buttocks and thighs have something very different to say on the matter today :-s

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A Cautionary Tale

There was a painter named Wayne who was very interested in making a penny where he could, so he often thinned down his paint to make it go a wee bit further.

As it happened, he got away with this for some time, but eventually the Baptist Church decided to do a big restoration job on the outside of one of their biggest buildings.

Wayne put in a bid, and, because his price was so low, he got the job.

So he set about erecting the scaffolding and setting up the planks, and buying the paint and, yes, I am sorry to say, thinning it down with water.

Well, Wayne was up on the scaffolding, painting away, the job nearly completed, when suddenly there was a horrendous clap of thunder, the sky opened, and the rain poured down washing the thinned paint from all over the church and knocking Wayne clear off the scaffold to land on the lawn among the gravestones, surrounded by telltale puddles of the thinned and useless paint.

Wayne was no fool. He knew this was a judgment from the Almighty, so he got down on his knees and cried:

"Oh, God, forgive me; what should I do?"

And from the thunder, a mighty voice spoke..

"Repaint! Repaint! And thin no more!"

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I used to be a Home Economist, now I'm not so Sure

Tomorrow is the first meeting of The Book Circle & Pudding Club I said I would make the first pudding and as such found a never-before-tried-but-nonetheless-easy recipe for Blueberry Trifle. At the weekend I shopped for all the ingredients, and as it needs to chill overnight, this evening when dinner was over I set about making the pudding.

The recipe requires a mixture of white wine and elderflower cordial to be poured over the spongecake base. So I took a bottle of white wine from the fridge and proceeded to open it. Unfortunately, I am not proficient with a corkscrew (I know, I know - you find that very hard to believe!) and so when I gave it a tug, I wasn't THAT surprised that only the half the cork came out of the bottle.

Further attempts to release the remaining cork only succeeded in pushing it further into the bottle, to the point where I decided the best course of action was just to push it all the way in and sod the consequences. So I did this, rather unusually choosing my index finger for the pushing. With hindsight, I don't know what possessed me to do that, especially as I got said index finger stuck in the neck of the bottle.

When the 'right hand one' was finally released from captivity and the cork displaced, I was able to pour out the wine. Of course, it was full of bits of cork. It's at times like this you are glad you did O level Chemistry, and I was able to put what little knowledge I had of distilling, or whatever it was, to good practice by basically straining the wine throught a sheet of Bounty kitchen roll in a sieve.

It seemed to work - well, I tried drinking a glass and it didn't appear too gritty. I had a second glass just to be sure.

Really, the only thing I had to do to make this pudding, apart from open a load of packaging and putting things in a bowl in the right order, was to whip cream for the top. And so I set about that task with gusto, only my electric beaters chose tonight to conk out mid-beat, spreading cream around myself and my kitchen faster than a slurry tank spreads in a field. I had to complete the job manually but quickly - I didn't want the other half to arrive home to find me having consumed half a bottle of wine and covered in whipped cream.

When he did arrive home, some order had been restored. He noted the wine which had by now taken up residence in a plastic measuring jug and asked was it for cooking. I told him I'd finished using it and he could drink it if he wanted, but warned him it wasn't that nice. He took a glass and after tasting decided he did indeed like it and asked what it was. I pointed to the empty bottle in the sink at which point he turned sort of pink and started mumbling words like 'Australian ... reserve ... boomerang ... gift ... special ... chilled'

I reckoned that wasn't a good time to show him the half cork in the bottom of the bottle.