00:30 heavy metal, beer and an the unbearable lightness of tolerating scum bucketery

Here I sit, cold beer in a glass, Disturbed’s “Indestructible” loosening the wax in my ears whilst I review the week just past. A week in which my normal bonhomie was stretched to breaking point and beyond by the levels of scum-bucketry on local and international news – I am going to rant so be warned – this will probably not contain many laughs.

High on the list was this story Nick Griffin, spokes-ring piece of knob end central (aka the British National Party) sank once again to the point where I had to throw things at the TV thus terrifing at least one of the cats. In precis he enraged that a couple got damages for being cast out of a B&B for being gay. As a male nurse in the 70’s and early 80’s it was de rigeur for a conversation with a stranger to go thusly
Them: “What do you do?”
Me: “I am a nurse”
Them: “Oh………..”
Me: “What’s the matter?”
Them: “Well I didn;t know you were…..errr..”
Me: “What?”
Them: “You know…..”
Me: “No What?”
Them: “You know.. a shirt lifter, an uphill gardener.. you know.. GAY!”
Me: “Well you can F**K off into the file of people not worth the anguish of having to make a pretence of liking”
Anyway I digress …. Mr Griffin filled with the unrighteous indignation only really possible  if you are closely related to pond scum told his followers on Twitter the name and more frighteningly the address of the gay couple in question ending the tweet with a barely veiled threat and an ellipsis dipped in the sickly sweet shite only the far right can manage with a straight face. He  claimed a “British Justice team” would come and protest the ruling at their home.

Justice my Hairy Norn Irish Arse!!!

Mr Griffins “justice” is served with the business end of pair of 18-hole DMs by someone with a severe hair cut and the intellect of fused light bulb.At least Twitter acted within the hour and suspended his account and the Police are having a close look at the whole affair.

The starting point for this week was the refusal by the B&B owners to countenance a same sex couple sleeping in their beds. The owners Mr & Mrs Wilkinson say they have received two years of abuse for their decision to refuse the gay couple their room. she ended her statement with “We find this a strange justice in a society that aspires to be increasingly tolerant.”

My first, second and third reaction to this was “F**king Tough! now you know what it feels like to be on the receiving end!”

I am not gay, but I put up with “Chick Tracts” like this one left in my locker. being told to my face I was going to “hell” for a perceived sexual preference based on my career choice. I only got a small taste of what it must be like to actually be gay in Northern Ireland. No amount of glibly asinine pseudo-placatory statements like “We hate the sin and love the sinner” made up for the level of plain and simple disgust I received from some of the faithful when they jumped to the conclusion I was abomination before the lord.

On the topic of gender preference the week was further soured when that bunch of super-annuated pus filled boils that inhabit the polish-scented corridors of Stormont (AKA the MLAs) decided that Northern Ireland would remain a bastion of proper marriage and refuse the rights of same sex couples to marry. Which would make some sort of sense if the heterosexuals in society were making a decent fist of the honourable institution of marriage, but NO the MLAs felt that society would suffer immediate and irreversible collapse if two people that love each other were to be married. FFS!!

On the subject of things that has a lingering smell of the Stormount cabal of f**kwittery lead by luminaries such as Edwin Poots and the equally ignoble Cable Foundation. It seems that the inclusion of Creationism in an exhbit at the new Causeway Centre over which there was much furore and indignation may have been originally been put forward as a condition of the centre receiving £9.25 million of public money. It remains to be seen whether this is  actually  true, if it is then those responsible should resign forthwith.

Then the scouts got in on the act .. by not allowing secular young fellas to make and affirmation rather than take a religious oath. I enjoyed being a scout but when it came to the religious bits, I nodded as if in agreement, and ignored it which to be fair was disingenuous of me but now 40 years later the young are faced with the same problem and well done them, they are asking to be recognised for what they are rather than what the scouting organisers want them to be. UKIans can sign a petition here.

Being outspoken and critical as I have a wont to be has lead to accusations of a lack of tolerance on my part. Well yes! I Will not tolerate things I disagree with why should I?

Time for bed. 🙁


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Orangefest – same old prostitute prettied up in a posh frock.

Currently here in Northern Ireland there is a move afoot to make the 12th of July more of a celebration, a family-friendly holiday and a more palatable occasion. In fact the week before the 12th July and the 12th itself are now pimped as “Orangefest”. I believe this is being done to bolster support for something that has little to do with the Northern Ireland we live in other than to keep that which divides our society open. If the aims of Orangefest were to make the 12th July become like Guy Fawkes Day where the Catholic/Protestant sectarian underpinnings are all but forgotten (and cared about even less) then perhaps I would be able to be more enthusiastic.

So why my abiding negativity for all things Orange? Many consider this odd as I am an atheist and by definition the doings of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism are not high on my list of things I give a shit about. Why should I care if The Orange Order want to march to a field carrying 17th Century Swords whilst wearing bowler hats,white gloves and a sash to listen to some prayers and then go home?

Well I am in my 50’s now and I have lived here in Northern Ireland for most of that time and I have to say I really really really do not look forward to the annual crescendo of sectarian bollocks that is focused around the Orange, Purple and Black Loyal Orders. Do not get me wrong here the “other side” are far from faultless victims but this is not their day, they are not the ones asking me to accept “Orangefest” and all it’s trappings as a day that benefits the society we live in and is deserving of celebration.

So, I ask myself, is there some cintilla of worthiness that we could all realistically celebrate on the 12th of July?

The victory of a William III over his uncle James II. William was married to James’s daughter Mary, and Anne who came to the throne next was also James’s daughter. That’s a 3:1 throne score for James’s lot so it can’t be that then. Perhaps we being asked to celebrate what some would consider incest? No that would be not nice at all. So Nepotism – that MUST be it we are being asked to celebrate Nepotism! … Perhaps not … well then let’s see … William died of complications from injuries caused when his horse stumbled over a mole hill, so perhaps this is a celebration of that ancient profession of Mole Catcher? Sadly no there is nary a mention of moles at all in Orangism. In fact the phrase “Little gentleman in a black velvet jacket” was coined by the support of James.
So what can this really important thing worthy of centuries of celebration be?
No tell me it is not so !!… we are celebrating what church William belonged to.

OK now we have that straight, we are celebrating a King who happened to be a Protestant who was married to his cousin, deposed his Uncle (his wife’s father) and was succeeded by his wife’s sister the deposed uncle’s other daughter. I suppose given we are Irish that has to make some sort of sense but worthy of celebration? I think not it must be something else.

So now let us zip forward 100 years to the 1790’s. In county Armagh the church that William went to was still important enough for the inhabitants of that fine county to form secret societies so they could beat up the people who supported the church that James went to. The precursora  to the Orange Order were the “The Orange Boys” and the “Peep-o-day-boys” and on the other side were “The Defenders” a Roman Catholic Society of a similar all be differently churched but equally horrible bent.

The church William went to was SO important that the Protestant clergy felt behoven to preach long sermons on that very subject and to this day still do! In July 1795 a Reverend Devine had held a sermon at Drumcree Church near Portadown to commemorate William III’s victory at the Battle of the Boyne . Since William went to a Protestant church this got a lot of mentions!. In a contemporary article about this sermon it was noted that ..

Reverend Devine so worked up the minds of his audience, that upon retiring from service, on the different roads leading to their respective homes, they gave full scope to the anti-papistical zeal, with which he had inspired them… falling upon every Catholic they met, beating and bruising them without provocation or distinction, breaking the doors and windows of their houses, and actually murdering two unoffending Catholics in a bog. This unprovoked atrocity of the Protestants revived and redoubled religious rancour. The flame spread and threatened a contest of extermination…

Ah yes the often praised milk of Christian kindness may well have been alive back then but Catholics were considered not to be Christian and declaimed as such from the pulpits then they were therefore excluded from milk and had to make do with simple hate flavoured vitriol, beatings and murder.

This fervour continued to rise and after a particularly bloody riot known as “The Battle of the Diamond” the  Governor  of Armagh, Lord Gosford said

It is no secret, that a persecution, accompanied with all circumstances of ferocious cruelty which have in all ages distinguished that dreadful calamity, is now raging in this county. Neither age nor sex, nor even acknowledged innocence as to any guilt in the late disturbances, is sufficient to excite mercy, much less to afford protection. The only crime which the wretched objects of this ruthless persecution are charged with, is a crime, indeed, of easy proof—it is simply a profession of the Roman Catholic faith, or an intimate connection with a person professing this faith. A lawless banditti have constituted themselves judges of this new species of delinquency, and the sentence they denounce is equally concise and terrible! It is nothing less than a confiscation of all property, and an immediate banishment

Indeed it was noted at the time that the modus operandi the peep-o-day-boys and other Protestant groups used to rid themselves of their catholic neighbours was to post a notice on the door of their houses that read

To hell or to Connaught with you, you bloody Papists! and if you are not gone by (mentioning the day) we will come and destroy yourselves and your properties. We all hate the Papists here.

it was also noted in the assizes records that they seldom failed to enact these notices with the bitter accuracy only a true sectarian bigot can manage.

Things did not improve, in 1796 Henry Gratten notes in the Irish Parliment ..

..that of these outrages he had received the most dreadful accounts. Their object was, the extermination of all the Catholics of that county … a persecution conceived in the bitterness of bigotry—carried on with the most ferocious barbarity by a banditti, who, being of the religion of the state, had committed, with greater audacity and confidence the most horrid murders, and had proceeded from robbery and massacre to extermination! They had repealed by their own authority all the laws lately passed in favour of the Catholics had established in the place of those laws the inquisition of a mob, resembling Lord George Gordon’s fanatics—equalling them in outrage, and surpassing them far in perseverance and success. These insurgents call themselves Orange Boys, or Protestant Boys, that is, a banditti of murderers, committing massacre in the name of God, and exercising despotic power in the name of liberty”

So it would seem that the glorious history out of which the Orange Order was born was “..committing massacre in the name of God, and exercising despotic power in the name of liberty”  Nope sorry we can’t really celebrate that. It is a wee bit nasty and awful don’t you think?

The Loyal Orange Order itself was formed in 1795 by three main founders one of which was James Wilson the founder of “The Orange Boys” one of the main players in the previous years of violence. .  The official  Orange telling of the events that led to their formation can be found here and it it sort of skims over the details and when pushed a previous grand master did claim that the Orange Order back then had none of “those sort of people” in it. So what he is saying that the new Orange order managed to attract ONLY those people who where not murdering sectarian bigots  who through Ghandi-like passive resistance fought off Catholic nere do wells by force of prayer alone? Oddly if that is case it was never mentioned in the records of the time and if true would perhaps have meant that yes this was something worthy of rememberance.

I have to add the other side was as bad however I am not being asked to celebrate their part only the Orange Order’s wonderful history and traditions.

Zip forward to the 1970’s, 11th night in a Belfast A&E, 100’s of patients most of them drunk abusing anyone they felt might be catholic and when they couldn’t find any using the shot gun approach of sing songs that ended “FUCK THE POPE” or “FENIAN BLOOD” very loudly. I was approached by one of these revellers and he took exception to my name badge because “McDonagh? McDonagh that is a fucking Fenian name you fucking Fenian faggot why do you not fuck off back to the fucking free state where you fucking belong to sick c**t” and then proceeded to stick a pair of scissors in my arm. I noted with no shock what so ever he had an orange sash sticking out of his coat pocket.

My past experiences are echoed across the province and over the north channel into Scotland and some of those experiences are a lot worse. When challenged the Orange Order always wriggles out of responsiblity by saying “we have no control over *the bands/the followers/the bonfire builders” Yet I posit that no amount of “Orangefesting” make-overs will assauge the fact you are one of the prime contributors of the devisive, sectarian bollocks that drives those that make the 12th July a deeply unpleasant experience for people like me and many others. You are ,even with your denials, part of the problem! You will find that non-Orange Protestants will not voice our complaints at the barbaric nonsense enacted each years lest one of those over whom you have no control but act on your behalf come around and kick our garden gate in (my neighbours house in 2011), put our windows in (the house opposite in 2010) or use my garden as a rubbish tip for empty beer cans and buckfast bottles not to mention using my drive as a public toilet (every year since 1986).

So you can take your Orangefest and stuff it! 🙁


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Oh Joy unbounded tis the season to be grumpy!

Gentle readers all. It has been a while since I waxed lyrically in gloriously bad grammar and I were I 20 years younger I would apologize for both but sod it I was busy doing stuff that kinda got in the way 🙂

Anyway it is the start of June and “the boss” more commonly known as Val has just booked the annual McDonagh Summer tour. Rather than seeking the sun we are revisiting the jaunts of 10 years ago and heading for the south west of Ireland for a week of dolphin watching, walking  a spot of painting and lots of eating and Guinness. This has cheered SWMBO up no end as the inclement weather of late has somewhat soured the summery feel of the end of May. She does like to have something to look forward too 🙂

June! Oh Sweet June month of blooms, gentle breezes on warm days and amazing sunsets… my fat Irish arse it is! So far the first 8 days have been replete with ample Novemberish misley pish and huffy gales 🙁 Sod that for a meteorological game of soldiers. Even I (and I burn under a 40W bulb) wouldn’t mind the walk to work being warmer and dryer!

June is also the month when some of my fellow country-persons get this sudden urge to wrap every available sticky up thing in flags. I am the owner of a large nose and if I were to lie down outside the house some passing Orange man would fly a flag from it!

This general flaggishness has been compounded by our Monarch the doyen of the milliner’s art , Queen Lizzie the twoeth having her Diamond Jubilee which should be for 75 years, but because her “one is not amused” antecedent Queen Vicky the oneth was a bit down – so the privy council had the brainwave of moving Diamond from 75 to a meager 60 years to get her out and about again. So this being the 60th year since Queenie was moved by act of some traditional established bollocks from mere princess to monarch. It was beholding on the UK and the raggedy remains of “The Empire” to wrap itself in a big snugly blanket of flags and spend a sodding fortune to congratulate, celebrate and be as obsequiously gushing at every possible moment of someone who … well.. was born rich and titled and has managed to remain so. A thing so important that the one from”Take That” that isn’t Robbie Williams was inspired to go on a 6 month jolly around the world in pursuit of a song that would do justice to our chronologically gifted monarch … he really shouldn’t have bothered.Perhaps next time we can pass the hat around to make sure he stays at home?

Queen Lizze did wear a nice hat and as our Monarch-Lite neighbours in France might say about the whole “Royal” thing “plus ça change, plus c’est les chapeaux restent les  mêmes”.

I am left a week later wondering was it worth the time effort and money? Personally I would have pinged her a £50 Ladbrookes prepaid card for the horse racing and been done with it. Hell all I got was a pen for slaving away as a handmaiden of mammon for 25 years!

I will be accused of jealously … damn right … I would love to be King, however I was born dirty stupid and common and I just have to doff the cap and tug the forelock to my betters* (*betters = people in possession of their great great great great granddaddy’s big golden hat. A  great great great great granddaddy who drowned in a vat of brandy when he collapsed after a surfeit of lamprey pie and ravishing a few comely wenches. )

But to my royalist readers shouting “she is useful, she brings tourists and investment.. yada yada yada”  so are/do Nail Clippers, Regent Street and Low Corporation Tax and we don’t give them a party.

Ah this is great I do love being 50+ the general license to grump and not feel old when I do is so liberating – so with that in mind I will get my money’s worth.

Glee is shit ….  not the emotion the TV show if there was every a reason needed for the invention of a stargate it would be Glee at least then we could sod off to another galaxy and not have to put up with the over carbonated precious always sunny shite that is GLEE.

Oh and guess what? Big Brother has started and yes they have found yet another level at the bottom of the barrel of humanity to scrape up and lock in a house for 8 weeks so we the viewing public can sit transfixed by the antics of the grotesques in some modern day bedlam … and shame of shames there is a Norn Iron Spide (*translation = A person of very little brain, no taste and extreme sartorial inelegance) letting the side down on national television. There are times when a zombie apocalypse would actually be useful. All I can say is thank goodness for the OFF button.

Talking of the OFF button .. why oh why oh why could the arch deacon of all that is evil Mr Murdock not outbid terrestrial TV and purchase the rights to Euro 2012. The thoughts of that much football would make me turn white haired overnight had not the deleterious effects of Big Brother turned it that way already.

Not content with Jubliee, Big Brother, Euro 2012 I have the unmitigated joy of 2 weeks of grunting female tennis players in Wimbledon (most unattractive that grunting) and then the Irish Open Golf is being played 6 miles up the road in Portrush, I suppose I shall have to make do with the Ladies Beach Volleyball and 4 Day Eventing at the olympics but the Beeb will probably show the synchronized blowing up bouncy castle competition on all four channels and in HD.

Perhaps June and July are a cunning plan by the chaps with the pointy heads that are planning the new world order to make folks like me go for long walks , think deep thoughts and as a result work out how to save the global economy, bring peace to the middle east and work out once and for all the best way to get into a pack of M&S BLT sandwiches without using an arc welder.

With that I am off to get a beer and write a chapter or two of the novel I have suddenly decided to write as I have an urge to win The Literary Review’s  Bad Sex Award in literature for 2013. I have this idea that involves a wheelbarrow, wellingtons, a bracket fungus, an industiral tub of swarfega and an amnesiac nun running in a brothel in the potting shed of Blenheim Palace.

Nighty Nite

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Of Munich, Good Craic, James Joyce and spacetime

It is that time on night when the gravitational effects of beer, Commissario Salvo Montalbano and a packet of Tayto cheese and onion crisps approach the Blogging event horizon and who am I to mess about with the fundaments of internet physics?

But first a quick “Danke” to my friend Werner Motzet who on my recent wee trip to Munich drove down some 100 miles from his home for a chat, a meal and some beer (Well for me anyway Werner was driving). The two of us “put the world to rights” covering topics as diverse as Social Business, ibm i5 domino and metaphysical apologetics! Which as those of you that know me will understand that is not only RIGHT up my street but it is  drinking my cup of tea 🙂 Thank you Werner and I owe you a similar night the next time we meet!

Also rather worryingly my interesting use of english (*Val’s edit* = inability to spell of read what he has just typed) I may have convinced another chum to read Jame Joyce. An odd consequence of trying to type “YODA” on the HTC and it correcting it to “TOSS” on twitter lead to me having to explain what I meant. I excused myself by a rather rash comparison to the wonderful splendiferous Mr Joyce’s work and as a result my friend Femke Goedhart is having a go at “Portrait of the artist as a young man” and “Ulysses”  now for me Joyce is a painter who uses words adn I love him to bits. However even for native English speakers he can be .. challenging .. i expect queries as the meaning of some of his more inventive phrases. Thank goodness I did not mention Brendan Behan!

Anyhows … onto spacetime … i am for my sins a lover of hard sums and the easiest sums at first glance are sometimes the hardest to get your head around, and so it is with E=mc^2.
Passing through Birmingham airport I happened upon this slim volume by Prof Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw “Why Does E=mc^2? (an why should we care?)” and I just HAD to buy it!

Now I will leave the heavy insightful book reviews to Duffbert but I do have to say that this wee book does a fine job of explaining in some detail how the universe does what it does but without recourse to hard sums, the first 150 pages are nice and easy the rest get a bit intense at times, but remain understandable . excellent A+ gold star … oh i did spot an error on P27 they tell us that sound in air changes with varying atmospheric pressure .. ah no it doesn’t … the speed of sound in air is totally independent of pressure. It only depends on the Temperature, the Average Molecular Weight and the Adiabatic Index (1.4 for air), so THERE .. Nah nah nah nah nah. 🙂  <= smug geek quotient approaches infinity =>

(PS Val and Eileen Fitzy want me to add that sadly there are no pictures of the bold professor Cox either clothed or naked )

Right I have reached the bedtime event horizon and the joys of climbing through a bog on the eastern slopes of Bendradagh with my chum Andy start early tomorrow… toodle pip for the now






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Of beer, teenage memories and being thanked

As the rogue purple underpants of Saturday begin their assault on the whites-only wash cycle of Sunday destiny, and the twin buttocks of Birthdays are sucked into the malfunctioning chemical toilet of my own natal anniversary I find myself sitting  at the computer sucking my creative pencil and sipping on a bottle of Barcelona’s finest Estrella lager.

My sageous words of this even-tide concern small happenings from long ago that echo through the decades. Rather than sit on my arse this evening watching Inspector Montellbano on the TV I thought would wander down to my local and have a pint or two and just watch the world go by with a chum. So it was this in mind I did just that and ended up sitting on the steps of  “The Old Courthouse” sipping a pint of Guinness.

The Old Court house

… and twas there I was approached by a lady, the conversation went thusly :-

Her: Excuse me can I interupt?

Me: Of course

Her: Do you remember 1974?

Me: Errrrrr… not really

Her: You were at a scout/guide disco and you asked me to dance

Me: I did?

Her: Yes – it was my first disco and you were the first boy I ever danced with

after a moment of full text index searching of deep memory:
Me: …. oh .. yes.. was it T-Rex “Get It On”?

(now why i remember the song I have no idea at all but i did)

Her: Yes [big smile] you remember?!!! That was it. It was the first disco my parents allowed me to go to and everyone was dancing except me and you asked me to dance
and I just wanted to say thank you … so … thank you.

Me: errrr… no problem … 🙂

Her: My Friends were all asked to dance before me and I was terrified but you were nice to me – it was a good first dance.

Me: [now blushing furiously] Sure thats fine, no problem ….

…and with that she turned and went back to her husband who was standing some feet away.

Now I have to add at this point than the memory of the incident is very very weak it being 38 years ago, I do remmeber that we were told to dance with “ALL” the guides and there may have been a scout leader poking me with a stick so perhaps my act of kindness was not quite so spontaneous as the lassie thinks.

But then .. for whatever reason she remembered the disco, the song and the fact I asked her to dance even after all these years. So in this world of “Social enablement” and an overpowering desire for celebrity it would pay us all to remember that it is not just the BIG things we do that we will be remembered by.
The things that to us are small and insignificant may be big important things to others … A fact that my dance partner from long long ago brought home to me today.

Thank you for the “thank you” I am almost positive it was not deserved however I did appreciate you saying it and thank you for remembering.

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Walking, remembering and being home

Had a good dander with Andrew Clark today in one of our favourite Sunday Dandering places – Benevenagh on the north coast of Co.Londonderry.

Benevenagh in the Mist

Benevenagh in the Mist

A short walk at 6 miles,but it is one that both stretches the thighs getting to the top and on the descent treats the eyes to a close up view of the cathedral cliffs that mark the end of Ireland and the start of the Atlantic … on the sofa this evening it set me to thinking  as to why this place and others are important to me – and this is what I thought.

My father’s face is in the rock of the mountain
The voice of my father is on the wind that blows
A voice for sons to hear.
That speak of flying higher than an buzzard,
to run faster than the hare in March,
to swim as freely as the bright  river trout,
to have the cunning of the fox,
and to have the wisdom of the fresh run salmon.
These are the words that sing in the wind,
words that never leave home.

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A thought (care of Pablo Neruda) for St Valentine’s day

Well the 14th February is here again and shops in the UK are awash with hearts, flowers, and cards. Panicked men are even now raiding petrol stations for the card or token they have forgotten again to buy in good time for the annual outgushing of commericalised love.

I suppose I shouldn’t moan at least it is a nod in the right direction even if it is a last minute attempt at making whatever it is they do purchase seem as if they put some thought into it. Gone it seems are the days of  “courting” which as far as I know and as I remember my Dad telling me “… is something a chap needs to keep doing long after the confettii has been swept away and the last crumb of wedding cake scoffed.”

Now I am no great shakes at the whole romance thing, I am the wrong shape to be classically romantic, so I try for “wind swept and interesting” which mostly now comes across as “flatulent and unsettling” … such are the cards middle age deals us 😉
That aside I can and sometimes do stop reading tech manuals and read things that perhaps you would not ,looking at me, think I would like. With that in mind I would like to recommend to you the “100 Love Sonnets” by Pablo Neruda who can shape a word to fit the moment better than any card or box of chocolates. I am proud to steal his words as they say in 6 lines all that needs to be said from me to Val on Valentines Day

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep

PS I did buy a card in plenty of time and yes it is a nice one

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My favourite famous Belgian (other than TinTin and Theo Heselmans)

In a rather tangential conversation about the up and comming BLUG i was reminded of one of my favourite pictures of all time painted by one of my favourite artists, René Magritte who happens to be Belgian and my sort of painter.

This is the picture and it is JUST marvellous


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Black Holes and banoffee pie

Forgive me gentle readers, it has been a loooong time since my last blog. I  HAVE  felt the urge for a bit of a rant on occasion , but never actually  put fingers to keyboard. But something happened last week which has prompted me to do just that.

I had been really looking forward to seeing our friends Stephen and Aisling, who were coming up from Dublin for the weekend.But as the week progressed I knew there was something wrong. I just didn’t feel quite right. I wasn’t  sleeping very well, not that I ever do anyway. I felt very jittery, uneasy,nervous, a bit weepy …generally unsettled.

Then, slowly but surely, there it was,lurking round the periphery of my vision,the unmistakable shape of a black hole. Not the black holes beloved by the one and only Prof “pwooaar ” Brian Cox. No. These are the black holes that creep up behind you, surround you, smother you, suck you in and hold you prisoner in their inky nothingness.

Still , I didn’t recognise it.

Stephen and Aisling arrived on Friday and although it was lovely to see them I was really struggling to join in with the laughter and conversation. All I wanted to do was go to bed and stay there.

Still, I didn’t recognise it.

Hubby was taking them walking round the coast on Saturday so they were going to be away most of the day. I stayed in bed. I didn’t want to get up.I didn’t want to go out for a meal when they came home. I didn’t want to be sociable. I wanted to crawl away and hide under the duvet.

Still, I didn’t recognise it.

I DID go out for a meal and although I tried to join in the conversation , it was soo difficult. Thankfully Stephen(my OH) could “talk the hind leg off a donkey” so I don’t think anyone noticed I wasn’t my usual chatty self. At this point I HAVE to mention the Charco banoffee pie with banana ice cream, toffee sauce and spun sugar dessert. Despite my not being”quite right,” I was “with it “enough to register the fact that it was,without doubt, a “lick the plate” pud. Not that I did, of course.

Still, I didn’t recognise it.

We came home, settled onto the sofas, had some drinks and as they say here in Ireland, “the craic was fierce.” Brilliant conversation , stories, jokes, laughter… but I wanted to go to bed and hide under the duvet. I didn’t . I stayed up and tried to join in .I think  I managed ok.

Still, I didn’t recognise it.

Sunday morning came. I should have been going out for a drive with them and then lunch in Ground Espresso. Normally you wouldn’t have to ask twice. We LOVE Ground. I didn’t go . I stayed in bed, hidden under the duvet. I didn’t want to get up. I wanted to cry. I didn’t know why. I DID get up ,eventually.

I made a coffee and was just about to take my pills when something made me stop? Pills for UC, huge white things which invariably get stuck in your throat, check. Multivitamin /mineral pill, torpedo shaped cream one, check. Omega something or other for joints, heart and UC, gigantic brown torpedo capsule, check. Blue/ green one to stop me going “doolally” again, small torpedo capsule, ch…!!!??? Where was my “happy pill?” Had I already taken it? No , I knew I hadn’t . I had only just opened the Sunday compartment  of my weekly pill dispenser . Slowly the realisation started to dawn on me. I checked all the other wee daily compartments.Big white pills,cream torpedoes,huge brown torpedoes but NO blue/ green happy pills!!!

I broke down and cried then, but with relief.

Now, I recognised it.My depression was back.

I had got my repeat prescription during the week and had forgotten to refill the pill dispenser. I have NEVER forgotten before. Why I forgot , I have no idea. Why I didn’t notice , I have no idea. Maybe it was a senior moment, who knows?

I am now back on my anti depressants and the black hole is gradually receding into a”galaxy, far far away ” no doubt to be admired and studied by the pwooaar Prof Cox!

Lesson to self. Check your pills. Really, really frightening just how quickly the blackness returned. DO NOT want that happening again.Now just need to rewind, do the weekend all over again with MORE drink , conversation, laughter, drink , oh and DOUBLE banoffee pie :-)))

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Eulogy for Kev – Gentlefish and Scholar

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of “Kev” goldfish of the parish of Barrnett, Belfast today 29th January 2012.

Kev was closely associated with our dear friend, colleague, ubergeek and Lego minifig model Paul Mooney. Their association spans many years, replete with adventures smiles and a few tears and his passing to the celestial bowl in the sky will be mourned by many none more so that Paul himself.

Little is publicly known about those early days of Paul and Kev as the piscean subject of this eulogy was at heart a gentlefish and not given to blowing his own bubbles about his life or works. Since his sad passing has freed this commentator from the bindings of propriety and the requirement within goldfishean society to be humble at all times, I now  feel justified in telling you the details of his life and works.

It all started in Fintastic Aquatic in Patrick Street in Dublin. The young Mr Mooney would run each Saturday down to the aforementioned piscean establishment with his pocket money in his hand, his heart beating wildly in the hope that this week he would have raised enough money garnered from the pennies raised from being a garden gnome stunt double in RTE Children’s epic “The 6 million punt leprechaun” to buy one of the many beautiful ornamental fish found within that august establishment.

Panting he would arrive, small face pressed against the glass in awe of the Angel Fish, gobsmacked by the Gobies and electrified by the eels and on that warm June afternoon he saw a bright orange flash dart from behind a plastercast model of the Black Pearl and he was hooked, so to speak, this was the fish of his boyhood dreams. this was the fish for him.Transaction complete and his new companion swiming in a clear plastic bag young Mooney jumped on the number 11 bus and headed for home.

As the journey to home progressed and as is the way in Ireland it started to rain and pisseth it did and mightly! But the inclement weather did little to dampen the joy and excitment of young Mooney as he passed through Drumcondra, Leeson street and the heady heights of the North Circular road. … It should however have reminded him to exercise the caution and common sense hammered into him by mother and elder brothers about use of excessive exhuberance around puddles … young Paul not being blessed in the height department.

On this day Paul was too full of his new fish, now named Kevin, and not looking carefully enough fell head long into a deep puddle not yards from his house. Being an ambitious chap with a mind to the future Paul had spent all his free time learning Windows 3.11 installation procedures (and dreaming of fish) and had neglected to learn the fine art of self propelled aquatic propulsion or “swimming” as it is know to heathen northern Protestants.

As Paul’s head dipped under the surface of the puddle for the 5th time, the bag holding Kevin burst allowing the plucky piscean to swim free. Quick as a flash Kevin turned and swam under the struggling Paul and carried him on his back for 10 minutes until a passing Guard was able to resuce the sodden Paul from his predicament.

Kevin was hailed as a hero by the denizens of Ballymunn and the extended Mooney family so it was not surprising that in recognition of the fantastic fishy bravery and pluck, Dublin Corporation commisioned “Tessilation” Terry McNoughtery, famed around the world for his mosaics to create a piece to commemorate this day for all time.

To this day outside Macari’s shoppers pass over the now world famous mosaic cebrating Kev the goldfish saving young Mr Mooney’s life …

Fare thee well Kev, swim free in the celestial bowl of happiness!

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