Friday, May 30, 2008

A prophesy from my husband ..

.. regarding the news that Ian Paisley stood down as leader of the DUP today and was replaced by Peter 'Snakey' (we don't really care for him) Robinson:

'Snakey will be out in 6 months, Nigel Dodds will be in, doing a proper job'.

Watch this space ....

Sleepless nights

I've not slept the best this week; two mornings I woke at about 3am and just couldn't get back to sleep.

If this happens, usually all I have to do is pick up a book and read for 15 minutes and I'm completely wiped out again, but this week I was reading our current book circle offering, 'The Book Thief' by Marcus Zusak. I have absolutely loved this book, to the point were, when I started reading it at 3.15 am on Wednesday morning, I didn't stop until the alarm went of at 6.20 am!

(I obviously am paying for that now!)

Not to spoil the plot too much, the story is about a child living during WWII and the events, twists and turns of her life, which are narrated by Death. Sounds a bit dark, but it is in fact an excellent read, compelling and obviously not-put-downable! I highly recommend.

Monday, May 26, 2008

It completely slipped my notice

that my blog was two years old on Wednesday 7th May!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Well, 'oil' be damned!

You can tell what state my brain is in by the contents of my trolley in Tescos. Today I spent £97 on groceries and seem to have only come home with sweets, chocolate bars, cream cakes, biscuits, crisps, more chocolate bars, coco pops, another box of coco pops, a WWE wrestling belt, toaster waffles and chocolate. No other food groups represented in that trolley and not a one of the five portions of fruit or vegetables we're meant to eat a day.

Ah well, the kids are happy. They're flying round the ceiling as I type, but they're happy.

I think part of the problem in the shop was that I was a little distracted by the fact that I had to pay £575 (that's about $1000) for 900 litres of heating oil this week. As a result I have come to the conclusion that subconsciously I am obviously trying to build up my family's sub-cutaneous fatty layer in preparation for an oil-free winter.

By the way, that £575 of oil isn't even enough to fill my tank as it holds 1200 litres, and it might, might just see us to the end of the summer because although in theory we have months here that we call summer, the practice is actually very different. I for one wish global warming would hurry up a bit so I didn't have to buy so much heating oil.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

RIP Dustin

If there is ANY justice in the world ...

... Dustin the Turkey will sail through tonights semi-final for the Eurovision Song Contest

Monday, May 19, 2008

My husband tried to kill me today.

He was subtle about it. He tried to do it with a sandwich he had made with chicken sandwich filling that was 5 days past its use-by date.

Thankfully I realised what he was up to when I took a bite of the sandwich and literally started to foam at the mouth. He saw a Breitling watch he fancied yesterday. I suspect thats the motive.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Seven going on seventeen

The boys have gone to the North West 200 motorbike road races for the weekend, yuck, so as it was just the two of us, I promised the Dolly I would take her out for tea last night.

So, as soon as she got home from school, she set about busying herself for our big night out. Several outfits were tried on and rejected, shoes were scattered from one end of her room to the other and of course she had to accessorize. Make-up was requested, but I drew the line at mascara on this occasion.

We had to go to a restaurant in town, she said, so we decided on Villa Italia, well worth a visit if you are ever in the vicinity with your own 7 year old. So we headed into town, in the Mini, with the roof down of course, and we're sitting at a set of traffic lights (I do occasionally stop at them mother) when she asks what we will be doing after we have had dinner?

Well, I said, we will probably go home again. She looks at me aghast and I can tell there's no way she's having that. What would you like to do I ask. Well, of course, she would like to go into town, like into town to do some shopping. (This idea was probably precipitated by the arrival of her bank statement yesterday which informed her she had £53.82 in her account)

Well, the shops would all be closed by the time we were finished I reasoned. She did think about that momentarily before then saying that she wanted to go into town anyway, in fact she wanted to go where all those pretty big girls in the lovely sparkly dresses were going. So my seven year old wants to go clubbing.

At the restaurant we asked for a table for one and a half and were duly given a nice table in the corner, where Dolly chose the seat facing out into the restaurant and spent the rest of the night sucking up single strands of spaghetti and waving at other customers.

A bowl of spaghetti bolognaise and half a chocolate nut sundae (without the nuts) later she looks at me with her big doe eyes and says she wants to go to bed.

And so a night in Belfast's clubs avoided for another day!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thought for the day

Be a fruit loop in a world full of cheerios

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Old age

Alice Smith was sitting in the waiting room for her first appointment with a new dentist. She noticed his DDS Diploma, which bore his full name.

Suddenly she remembered a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name who had been in her class in school 30 odd years back. Could he be the same guy she had had a secret crush on all those years back??

Upon seeing him, however, she quickly discarded and such thought. This balding gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was way too old to have been her classmate.

After he examined her teeth, she asked him if he had attended the school she had gone to. 'Yes. Yes, I did' he gleamed with pride.

'When did you graduate?' asked Alice

'1967' he replied 'why do you ask?'

'You were in my class!' exclaimed Alice

He looked at her closely. Then the ugly, old baldy, wrinkled, fat ass, gray-haired decrepit son-of-a b asked

'What did you teach?'

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Amusing blog fact

I have a friend who checks this blog on a regular basis. He was telling me the other night about the time recently he surfed in at lunchtime and Toni Basil's 'Hey Mickey' started blaring full blast across the office.

Apparently, it caused more than a little interest, amusement and consternation. (It appears, Nancy, that not everyone shares our love of 80's music!)

I'd love to have been a fly on the wall as he struggled to find the volume control on his PC, whilst manfully ignoring those who stood up at their desks to peer in his direction.

Hope the office like the current musical offering a little better!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

56. my home was wrecked in an IRA bomb

Wednesday 23rd September 1992

The PIRA (Provisional Irish Republican Army) exploded a huge bomb, estimated at 2,000 pounds, at the Northern Ireland Forensic Science laboratories in Newtownbreda, south Belfast. This was the biggest bomb the IRA had ever used in Northern Ireland, and the building was completely destroyed. My house was directly behind the Forensic Science labs, and it and most of the others in our street were destroyed with it.

Some said it was an attempt to destroy evidence in the labs. Others maintained that the massive bomb had been intended for RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary, or police) headquarters at Knock in east Belfast, but that the police had had a tip-off and security in that area was tight, so instead they drove to the Forensic labs and dumped their bomb there.

The Provisionals used a 'van bomb', basically a lorry loaded with explosives, which they abandoned on the public road in front of the building without warning. Let me explain 'without warning'. On occasions, the IRA would have telephoned bomb warnings through to the media or the Samaritans to give the police and army an opportunity to cordon off the affected area and remove 'innocent' people before the bomb exploded. (nice of them)

So no warning, but such was the level of fear in Belfast at the time that any empty vehicle near any government facility was immediately declared suspicious and as a result, and 8.25pm, the police arrived at our front door to say they were evacuating the area because there was a van that might be suspicious, and could we please leave.

Well, my dad has just brought all his shoes downstairs and had started cleaning them, and when the officer left he returned to his polishing job, unperturbed as usually these things were hoaxes and anyway the police hadn't seemed that urgent and hadn't said we had to go.

Mum, on the other hand was a bit more concerned and insisted that dad leave his shoes and we all leave the house. Our neighbours were beginning to saunter down the street at a leisurely pace but we called with an elderly lady who lived across the road to take her with us, and because she was quite frail, dad decided he would take the car.

Our street was a cul-de-sac, and in order to get out, we all actually had to go towards the bomb, so when the lorry exploded just before 8.40pm we were literally 100/150 yards away from it. I remember the flash. Everything went orange, and I vividly remember curling in a ball, putting my fingers in my ears and thinking 'wow, the bang's going to be big when it comes!'

And it was. The force lifted the car off the road. It blew people around us off their feet. And I remember seeing 'stuff' flying through the air. Turned out that 'stuff' was blasted parts of lorry - two foot of the axle was located in our back garden the next morning.

Miraculously, and it really was a miracle, only twenty people were injured, (none seriously) but approximately 700 houses were damaged in the blast. When we were eventually allowed back to our house later that night I remember looking at the front of it and thinking how pretty it looked, like a Christmas tree draped with icicles, only the icicles were the jagged remains of our double glazed windows. And I also remember being a bit cross that nobody had thought to close the front door before we had left earlier, until we found the front door blown off it's hinges, through the hall and into the kitchen.

Then I had my first experience of the 'Dunkirk spirit'. Neighbours helping neighbours sweep up glass and make their homes as secure as possible that first night. Candles were shared and people set up barbecues and portable gas rings in the street to boil water. People from voluntary agencies arrived with soup, sandwiches and flasks of hot water and somewhere down the street someone had a radio blaring; the song? Annie Lennox 'Walking on Broken Glass'!! And in the wee small hours, the moderators of the Presbyterian, Methodist and Catholic churches appeared out of nowhere and shared a dram of whiskey.

The cost of repairs was estimated at £6 million. We never got back all the money we had to spend fixing our house. Nobody did. We had so much structural work that needed to be done that it was into the new year before I was able to sleep in my own bedroom again. Up until that point I camped out on the floor in the lounge, sleeping under the Christmas tree over the holiday period. Oh yes, our houses might have been blown to bits, but we all still had our Christmas decorations up!

Somewhere, there are photographs. I have hunted all over for them ... twice. I will hunt again and if I find them I will post the visual evidence. Until then you'll just have to use your imagination. Probably the more vivid the better!

Just for the record, that wasn't the first attack on the Forensic site. In 1975 significant damage was caused to the premises when an employee was forced by the Provisional IRA to drive a car bomb, basically a car loaded with explosives, up to the building. That bomb, however, caused only moderate damage. I remember that night well too, because the resulting fire in the labs set off all the stored ammunition and we had to be evacuated in the middle of the night in case a stray bullet found it's way through one of our windows!

Don't you all just wish you'd had the chance to grow up in Belfast??

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Mayday, Mayday!

Yesterday was the May Bank Holiday Monday. A scortcher to boot. The first decent day of the year.

What better day then for our local 4* Ramada hotel to stick up a picture of Santa Claus and announce that they are now taking bookings for Christmas '08?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Bad day at the office

I decided to take this post down. It served it's purpose last night, but today is a new day!

However, Steve made this point which I think is worth keeping:

'We need to train the whole world that, 'Hello how are you?' is a fine question to anybody, whether or not you know they have been ill and regardless of what sort of ill they've been.'

PS when the radio alarm went of at 6.30 this morning, what was playing? 'The only Way is Up' - Yazz and the Plastic Population. Honestly! How about that then