Thursday, February 23, 2006


Okay chaps, just waiting for the taxi. Bloody cats are aware I am leaving and are hampering my every move. Fie fie wretched creatures! I will bring you back Serrano ham!
And photos, I will get photos.
I will grow large with Paella, I will drink wine until I can't drink no more- then I will switch to cocktails. I will shop for excellent knock offs at the gypsy market, Roberto Cavalli sunglasses for 20 quid? Gimmie! I know they're fake but who cares. I plan to visit cultural places during the day, expand my mind a little, I plan to take siestas, I plan to eat tapas and drink Estrella. God help me I plan to go dancing.
So adios amigos, hasta Miercoles!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Good Morning, I am up very early. I seem to have this terrible pain in my head, limbs and torso. My mouth feels like and old damp sock that has been dragged across a carpet in a house full hairy dogs and small chidren.
I- say! What the hell is Maura Durran wearing on TV3(whispered)? It looks like she vomited up a sheet of tape worms onto her chest. Vile.
Arsenal beat Real Madrid last night in the Bernabeu. There was much celebrating. I am not an Arsenal fan per se, but I do watch them more regularly than other teams due to some of my friends being Arsenal supporters. But I like soccer and I like good matches. And last night was a hella good match.
T'was amazing, Reyes almost opened the account in the first few minutes. Henry-lazy throughout the game scored after a magnifique run and a low shot. Fabregas was a god, albeit a skilled youthful one. His passes were deft and preternaturally accurate. David Beckham and Ronaldo both looked frustrated and unusually berefit of ideas. Lehmann was in top form.
Today will be a gentle one. Tomorrow I am off to Valencia to visit a friend of mine, and-as she has just had liposuction done, and probably looks amazing- I don't want to arrive there looking like the proverbial dog's dinner.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Caligula would have been proud.

Well, the party, the party...what can I saw about the party?
It was a nice mix, about fifty/fifty straight/gay. There was alcohol, dancing, laughter, some really great music.
My paramour was charming and instantly approved of. His arms were squeezed more than once, his opinion sought out for various discussions. The French gay-FG- gave me the thumbs up and made a gesture so rude I snorted rum out my nose. The Italians were hilarious and in top form. Everything was fabulous and fun and bright and breezy. I began to relax.
Naturally diaster was right around the corner.
Folks, meet Cherry.
A little history.
CG and I have been pals a long time-eleven years. Country gay is the straighest gay I know. He is gay but you would never know it unless he told you. He is well read, likes sport, there is no shrieking, no real bitching, likes women, and he actually has a real dog. He doesn't own a sunbed. He works in a job not a million miles from mine and I like him a lot.
He is one of my best friends.
However he-without fail- picks the worst boyfriends in all of the natural world.
There was...
1- the Florist- horrible little viper who looked lke Toad from Toad hall and wore his trousers too short.
2 The midget- vicious little mosquito who hated everyone and used to tell CG that he 'didn't do love.'Found out after the crash and burn of that relationship that he used to steal things from CG's house. Nasty piece of work.
3- Denial gay- this guy had to be wasted to be 'gay', not off his face he was 'Straight as a DYE! right!' Would frequently turn up at places CG was, shitfaced and bawling. Nearly turned CG into an alcoholic trying to keep cope, still rings on occassion, drunk and belligerent, but looking for his hole, as Twenty might say.
Then there was Adam: he was lovely, he worked for a brewery and was on the road a lot. We all liked him. He was funny and handsome, from the country, witty and a nice dresser. We all thought he was the one, CG started talking about house sharing. They had 'we'conversations, like 'This year we are thinking of going to Spain.' Everything was perfect, right up to the day Adam's wife and two kids arrived on CG's door to scream abuse at him.
It took CG a while to get over that one. The FG claims 'EEE never 'az, that beetch broke-ed iz hart.'

So he doesn't have the greatest track record, but this new one he has takes the biscuit. I'm going to call him Cherry, namely because of the tattoo of two cherries he has on his shoulder.
Cherry is everything I dislike about gay men rolled into one package. He is a vicious little queen, he speaks in a screaming high pitch voice and cannot hold a conversation with you without A-striking a pose and B- his eyes constantly roaming the room looking for someone better to talk to. He works in fashion and he despises women. He hates me because I have his measure and did the moment I met him. Because he hates me he seeks me out on every social occasion, with me he is obsequious and sycophantic- I am overly polite and I laugh too loud at his antics and stories.

Cherry likes to be the centre of attention, he is pretty in a sulky limpid way, he is an amazing dancer. He is a flirt and a preening popinjay. He is as shallow as a puddle.
Naturally Country Gay is head over heels about him.
So when he found the little fuck on his knees in the back garden with the very drunk younger brother of another of our friends...
Well it wasn't pretty. Paramour said he'd never seen a party clear as fast in his life.
The phones hopped yesterday. This is the biggest scandal to hit our group in a while. Tara, the sister of the young chap is gunning for Cherry. The kid- he's nineteen-claims he doesn't even remember going out the back with Cherry, oh and he is a straight as a DYE! too. Tara says she is going to hunt Cherry down and cut his balls off. I'm not really certain she is just blowing off steam.
I feel confused as I type. I hated Cherry, but I like CG and don't like it when he is upset. I spoke to him last night. He told me ina strange distant voice that he is turning into is the Bridget Jones if the gay world.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Before I unplugged the phone...

this morning, I got a call that made my eyebrow shoot right up.
One of the gays, we will call him Country Gay or perhaps CG, is throwing an 'impromptu' party tomorrow, and I am invited. So too is my er...hmmm, I want to say lover, but that smacks of twee, but I can't think of what else to call him. I loathe the word boyfriend and feel I am too old for one. Partner makes me think of work, and chum doesn't really soar, now does it?
Paramour, that will do. Anyway, he is invited too-by name no less. This is strange, because I don't recall ever mentioning his name to CG, or any of the other Gs either. But then the gays are like dolphins that way, sneakier than you would give them credit for.
Dilemma then. I'm not sure that I want to subject my paramour to one of their parties this early in our relationship.
The last one I attended ended up in uproar; there were two fights, tears, accusations of infidelity, drunken weeping, terrible dancing, one partial vomit and one actual, the gardai were called eventually and everyone ended up out on the street at half five in the morning dazed and confused. Some of us went home, the rest of the party went to Capel street to an early house. The cops were called again. A Norwegian was tearfully arrested.
To this day it is still spoken in shuddering hushed terms.
Now, I'm not gong to try an pretend I am some delicate flower here, I can tear it up with the best, but those nights are few and far between. No matter what resolve beforehand, these parties always end up like a Viking maruading celebration. Gordan Gheko styled excess is de rigeur.
And then there is the paramour, he has asked once or twice, very casually now, when he might get to meet some of my friends. He suggested a dinner maybe.
That is fine, but who do you ask? I can imagine the calls the next day if I ask this one, or that, but not this one. Dinners can be a little stiff and staid, I prefer dinner not to be an introduction.
I am stalling.
No, this party might actually serve a purpose, rather like teaching a chap to swim by flinging him in the deep end and releasing the piranas.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Sweet mother of the sacred divine...there is not one, hear me, one, piece of my decrepit body that does not ache in a new and painful way. My shins are swollen and my stomach is black and blue. I am going to the gym to cycle for a while and then lie face down in the whirlpool until the jets pummel my blood back to life.
The added advantage to going this early is the catching the old ladies dance class. Fantastic. They are a vibrant group of about twelve, all in their sixties. They wear little leotards and leggings alá Fame, and do a sort of gently whirling tai chi styled aerobic dance. Their trainer is about forty and as camp as christmas. I'm fairly certain I"ve seen him on my later nights out doing slightly more convoluted moves. He is trim and bejeweled and wears the tiniest shorts imaginable. For some strange reason he wears a headpiece microphone, even though the dance room is not that big and the acoustics mean you can here even the most casually spoken word. Naturally the ladies love him and he flirts outrageously with them.
'Come on Margie, don't make me come down there sweetie!'
'Alice, I said tree, but think oak dear, not willow. Get 'em up girl, you can do that can't you, I heard you're a bit of a goer!'
'Come on girls, let's go...and a one, two, three, let's trip the light fandango! You wanna be limber dontcha! Don't want to be stiff, that's no good, that won't impess him!'
Much tittering ensues.
Every single one of them leaves that room smiling. Maybe I should mention it to the harpy downstairs.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The uppity idiot.

Our fighting class is small, and-truth be told- fairly novice. We are together for a year and are a mixed group, girls and boys.
Our instructor Memnoch the Devil is made of granite and has about a hundred different belts. He is a no nonsense kind of guy, doesn't drink or smoke, eats correctly and frowns on any kind of excuses. If you say 'I can't do it.' he gets a look in his eye and you suddenly start thinking that well, maybe you can do it after all.
We don't strictly stick to kickboxing. We train with weapons, we use kettlebells for strength. after a very hard workout sometimes Memnoch makes us do conditioning for half an hour, constant motion that can make us vomit -but is great for endurance. We use Thai techniques-for confined space and boxing, feints and bobs. We use elbows, headbutting and eyegouging and any sort of defense we can. Memnoch believes in certain principles. The main principe of his class is 'No whining.' The second -he says- is to be able to run, and run really fast. So we -his pupils/servants - learn how to run and can run flat out for a kilometre. We learn how to overcome the natural hesitation in humans -especially women- for hurting someone first ask questions later. We are learning, in his words 'not be stupid, keep your eyes open. If it looks dodgy it is. If you can escape, find a way.'
I have been kicked, cut, knocked down and trod on. I've pulled muscles, ripped tendons and been bruised from head to toe. I have been on the recieving end of a bout and I have been the aggressor in a bout. I have learned a great deal, I now know how much stronger men are than women. It has thought me to respect others.
My least favourite sparring partner is Canadian. He is 24, he is 6'3' and he out- weighs me by about fifty pounds, none of it fat. Every time we spar he flings me around like a rag doll and boots me from one end of the hall to the other. The only way to tackle this guy is to go in hard and fast and not give him room to swing or use his superior reach, and even then I usually end up on the mat, admiring the ceiling and trying not to whinge, wondering if I might breathe again any time soon.
Memnoch likes all of us women to spar with the men at least once a month. He believes it sharpens our resolve, makes us more aware of our weakness and strengths(if we have any) and also puts us in our place, especially if we are getting 'uppity'. I am better than most of the other women, I am taller than most and use my reach, I am very fit, and also I am not inclined to pull my punches- like some of the girls do, despite Memnoch's threat of violence if he catches them doing this. I like to kick the back of the knee in and when they drop follow up hard with a cross to the side of the head and after hours of practice I can do this from lots of different positions. And trust me, when you are down on the mat looking up it is hard not to feel intimidated. I use this to my advantage and once I see that a person is trying to stay out of my way or 'dancing' I know I've won. This makes me uppity. I know it does. This is usually when I end up sweating and facing the Canadian.
Due to unspeakable uppityness last weak- when in my stupidity- I whooped when I took down Claire- my usual sparring partner- with a leg sweep, I will face the Canadian later on today. Memnoch is putting me back in line.
I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous already. I hate being sore, and I will be sore tomorrow and the day after that. I am sitting here planning my attack with a military forethought that is unusal. I am pondering over the safety of hitting him with an uppercut after a knee(close contact sure to make him bend forward slightly) But I don't have the strongest uppercut and I need something impressive to follow it. My right cross is the strongest weapon, but he knows that and guards against it. I MUST do something different. My elbows are vicious, but if I start down that path he will surely use his and his are worse. It is only nine minutes. I can do it, I might not win but I can survive it, right? Right?
After a day of romance yesterday, today brings war. Surely there is a lesson there somewhere.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's day!

I know some people-good morning Beardy- across our small corner of the blogosphere are lamenting this day, but not me. I love Valentine's day. I realise it has been taken over a little by commercialism, but it is still a day of love and romance, where your heart gets a little flutter when you open your post and you see a strange stiff envelope, when you love and are loved in return.
What could be wrong with a day like that?
Happy Valentine's day bloggers!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Things are looking up!

My sister might be moving back to her own house today. She and that Kevin had some 'talks' yesterday and appear to be sorting things out. I am very happy about this development, mostly becasue I want my sister to be happy, but also because of things like this...
Yesterday dinner time, we are eating comfort food: mashed potato, gravy and venison sausages.
Her. 'How come you eat like that?'
Me, poised with fork half way to mouth. 'Like what?'
'You eat everything one thing at a time.'
I look at the virgin white mound of potato on my fork. 'Dunno, that's just the way I eat. I don't like stuff mixed up.'
'Not even the gravy?'
'I might dip my sausages in it.'
'But you won't take a bite of sausage and potato together?'
'You're so anal.'
Right, and then this. '...Sienna Miller and blah blah Lindsay..., Branglina! Paris, so weird...'
I don't want to know who any of these people are, but I do. I don't want to, but now I can tell you who Mary Kate Olson is and worse, who she used to date. I know what a Paris Hilton is( some kind of heiress who might well be a fungal growth)
My mind is turning to treacle.
Then there is the morning thing. I am not an early riser. I flalump out of bed about nine. That seems early enough for me, after all I don't have to travel to work. I like to drink coffee and consider the possibility of work for a while. Sometimes I don't bother getting dressed for hours. If the muse strikes I might just work straight through lunch and then go to the gym.
My sister gets up at seven: she makes noise, has showers, blow dries her hair, eats breakfast...all fine during the week, but she does this on the weekend too. She talks first thing in the morning. I do not. She HUMS! She is cheery: I want to kill her.
However- if she is going home- I can put those homicidal thoughts back in the closet with all the other pent up feelings I harbour for members of my family.
I will even help her pack.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Things I have learned this week...

1- If you work on a computer, back everything up onto an external memory stick at the end of every day. This simple function can save no ends of tears and chair kicking. That way, when the file you working on disappears into the ether, you will not panic and begin gibbering and sweating until it is located again some HOURS later in an entirely different and unknown folder.
2- If popcorn looks dodgy, it probably is. Under no circumstances should you eat it.
3-Keep left hand up when throwing right hand cross. I thought I had learned this last week, but it appears not.
4-Adam Hersh Auctions on ebay are a terrible cheating herd of swine and should be stopped from ripping good people off.
5-Daytime frollicks are great fun and even better fun if you are afraid of getting caught (actually I knew this before but had forgotten, so I've relearned it. I intend to relearn it on a regular basis).
And that is it for another week, going to the cinema in a while to watch Underworld Evolution with the little goth/valley kid from downstairs.I found her snuffling on the stairs on my way back from the post office, apparently her mom said she wasn't allowed go on her own so I have volunteered to take her. I couldn't tolerate seeing her mascara run like that and under all that panstick she is a sweet kid and has fed the cats for me on a number of occasions. You give, you receive, right?
Have a nice weekend bloggers. ma-wah ma-wah (air kisses, I am practicing them)

Someting new, but not in a good way.

Okay, this is very odd. I woke up last night standing in my kitchen. I can only assume I sleptwalked there, something I've never done before in my life. I opened my eyes, or maybe they were open already, I'm not sure, but I knew I was standing and I knew I was not in my bedroom. So I said 'ooorrorororo' with fright or something stupid like that and put my hand out in front of me, promptly walloping it off the wall(it is sore today). Disorientated, I felt along the wall and my hands ran over my plastic recycling bag and then the hot water heater. That was when I realised I was in my kitchen.
I didn't bother turning on a light but scampered back to bed as fast as my legs could carry me. It then took me ages to get back to sleep as I was worried I might take off again. This was around 4am or thereabouts.
Has that ever happened to any of you lot? What might cause it? Is it dangerous? What if you head off out the front door or something?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Sometimes days start out bad...

...but then they keep getting better.
I was cranky this morning, but Dr Evil made me laugh, now the project I'm working on is finally starting to make some sense, and a man with hazel eyes emailed me and said he'd meet me here at 5:45 for a bit of 'hows yer father.' Don't mock, my sister -who is still here- is working late tonight, so needs must.
And then, to top it all off, I have new shoes.
I am going to leave them on ALL day.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Big Fat Lie.

Let me start this off by saying...if you don't like what I have written, too bad. I believe in what follows, and I'm not writing it to offend or stir the pot or be holier than thou.

Three years ago I gave up smoking. I went from 30 a day to 0. I did it over night, no patches no gum, I read Allen Carr's book and what he said made sense to me so I just stopped. I was also going through some major shit in my life. My diet was crazy, my drinking daily, I wasn't sleeping, my enthusiasm for life was nil.
On the 15th of January that year I stood on the scales of my bathroom in my old house and looked down hopefully. The scales said I weighed nearly 12 stone. I was not surprised.
I decided there and then to do something about everything.

Dove are doing an new advert at the moment aimed at'Real Women' and by extension their real wallets and real money. Cleverly enough, they are now aiming their lazer sharp advertising skills at the insecurities of little girls and beating the drum of 'Ah, look everybody just wants to be loved for what they are. Buy Dove, we will love your mo -er you no matter what shape and size you come in." It is driven by the 'Dove Self-Esteem board.'
Here is one of the letters about the new ad.

"Thank you so much for having this ad during the superbowl, Dove. It was a refreshing counter to ads such as the burgerking one that can be seen at where women are so objectified. The first step to making women feel proud of their bodies is to stop promoting an unatainable body image ideal."

The word I dislike there is 'unatainable' this woman has bought into the victim game at the very first hurdle! Nice.
Dove are clever sods and this ad panders to the we are all 'real' codswallop they've been shoving down our respective throats for a while now. Over the last few years Dove have had a poster campaign and advert featuring larger-than-the-average-model ladies to promote everything form underarm sprays to a cellulite cream...all fine and slightly hypocritical of them- if it's 'okay to be large', why is it not okay to have cellulite?
The ads have, of course, been applauded by the mainstream for depicting 'real women' instead of models, who clearly are not women at all but some kind of tree.
A new gym is being introduced to Ireland -land of the rapaidly expanding waistline- The ad 'Curves Gym, a gym for real women' is being widely broadcasted on the television, radio and papers.
(No men allowed for the ladies, laughable really as women are far more critical of each other than any man)
But I digress.
A quote from my -fat- mother on Sunday over brunch: ' I don't worry about my weight any more, there are so many other real concerns in the world. Anyway, real women have curves.'
I put down my fork. 'But you have very high blood pressure. YOur own doctor said to lose weight.'
'Well, we don't really know that it is connected to my weight now do we?'
'Er, I'm fairly certain of you lost about 4 stone it would come down some.'
'My faith healer thinks my blood pressure is connected to my emotions.'
'It is connected to your heart struggling to pump blood through arteries clogged with fat.
'I don't want to talk about it any more. You are such a cynic!'
I am at fault! This is how 'the real woman' backs out of the discussion. Name calling, aggression.
But it got me to thinking.
What is this sudden glut of 'real women' and where did they come from? Were there no 'real women' before now? What was there instead? Fakes? Clones? Robots?
And why 'real'? I am sick of hearing the expression 'real women have curves'. What is the suggestion here? You can't be a real woman if you're not curvy? What is curvy? I have curves, but I don't come under the heading 'curvy' because I am not heavy enough. What does that say about acceptance?
"Big and beautiful, strong and empowered! Fat and beautiful. Real women are taking back their power."
Lines like this are becoming commonplace in the media. Blogs like are racking up the readership as more and more people, especially women, are gaining weight. And if you raise a concerned voice you are villified, mocked, shouted down because...well, you don't understand what being a 'real woman' is about.
(It is interesting to note they are particularly vicious when a previously heavy person, e.g. Kirtey Alley, loses weight, almost as though she 'sold out.' So much for size acceptance!)
Since when does being fat equal being powerful? How does being unable to climb a flight of stairs without feeling winded equal being empowered?
If you want to be strong and empowered, get fit, know that your body can answer and respond to any demand you put on it. For me that is being strong! Trust your body not to let you down. That is empowered. Walk with real confidence because you know you look and feel good. Not the aggressive faux confidence of a woman who feels it is her right to be desirable no matter how she looks. Who demands you find her attractive! I'm sorry sister, but being desirable is not a right, no matter how many people say it is.
I am not for one second talking about physical features here, people are attracted to all sorts of things, I like hazel eyes and dark haird men who are taller than me, my best friend like blonds with blue eyes and couldn't care less how tall they were.
But neither of us are attracted to fat men. I'm sorry, that sounds harsh, but it is absolutely true. He could be the sweetest most intelligent person in the world, but if he is obese, then neither of us would consider him romantically. Does that make us shallow? Perhaps, but that does not alter our thinking.
It is not PC of course to say that, but like I said at the start I am not aiming for PC. To even the Steven, I asked my male friends the same question, would you date a fat woman? The resounding answer, to the man, was no.
People claiming that obeseity is a desease get on my wick too. Obeseity is not a disease, it is a symptom of a lifestyle. Junk food is cheap and in ready supply, people are more and more sedentary, the problem creeps up over a number of years. But there is a solution... one that fat people deny, argue violently against, grow incensed, dismiss you as an idiot, bigot, hateful creep if you even dare suggest want to know what it is?
Eat less, exercise more.
Huh? What's that? No miracle cure? No tablets, no stomach stapling, no shakes, no Atkins, no GI, no clubs, no-no-no-excuses? But that can't be right, can it?
Sorry, but there is no quick fix. And it is time people stopped buying into the idea that weight gain is somehow not their fault, that they are powerless to prevent it.

When I decided to do something about everything one of the first things I did was research into weight loss and fitness. Every single thing I read indicated to me that dieting is useless, so I didn't go there. I did however alter how and what I ate. Naturally thin people eat more or less what ever they want. But, and it is a big but, in moderation, they also eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full, not exactly rocket science, but to a woman who can eat rings around her when bored it was a revelation.

Do I eat chocolate? Sure; cheese, yum; white bread, of course; butter, mmmmmhhh; chips, lovely; beer, on Friday.
What I don't do is eat this type of food every day or in vast quantities when I do.
I made simple changes, I steam veggies, I grill meat, I eat fish twice or three times a week, I eat tons of vegetables, I eat a lot of eggs, I don't drink alochol during the week at all, I drink a lot of water and I don't eat after seven in the evening.(for some reason that last one makes a big difference to my body)
But the main reason I lost weight?
One hour of cardio a day, weight training three times a week, kickboking class once a week. I take the stairs to my apartment some days: it is six floors, but hey, good for the gluts.
It might sound like a lot, but when it is spread out over the week it isn't.
That hour, or class, is my commitment, my commitment to my body. It is not a chore or a pain, it is me taking care of the most valuable tool I will ever be in charge of, making sure it is running as well as I can make it run. It is empowerment. I feel great, I am in better shape than I was in my twenties. I look good naked. Feeling good gives me confidence, and that spills over into other aspects of my life.
I don't need to demand people accept me, they either will or they won't. I'm not growing bitter because "dammit people should love me no matter what shape I"m in." The world does not work the way women, expecially 'real women' want it to work. I am 5' 10 inches, I weigh 140 pounds and I too am a 'real woman'! And I am growing increasingly resentful of suggestions that I am not.
If you are genuinely happy and unapologetically fat, go for it, but most peole are not happy with how they look. It is time to face reality, the 'real' reality. If you want to feel good about yourself feel good, but if you let your body go and you become fat, don't get mad when not everyone pats you on the back and basks in the glow of your 'realness.'
And if you want to change, you and only you can do it.

All that ranting leads me to... my blogging friend Mr Kim Ayres over at has this week slipped under the 200 pound line, meaning he has lost the grand total of 76 pounds! Kim is a man who decided to change his entire life, including his weight and actually had the balls to do it. Now that is what I call real empowerment.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Golly, now that is hawt. Between Christian Bale and Eric Bana, I mean jebus...such crumpets. How would you pick?


I work for myself and like a lot of self employed folk it is either feast or famine. This month it is feasting galore so I am really busy this week. But at this rate I will be even busier next week doing the work I should have done this week.
I am not one of those people who can wake up and sit directly at a computer. I must be coaxed to my desk, like a nervous filly needs to be coaxed into a horse box.
This morning I got up, dithered about, had a few coffees, sat down at desk, checked interweb, answered emails and, eventually, opened the file I'm working on.
I reared up and fled desk almost immediately.
Okay then, steady, steady, bring her round again.
So I put on a wash, made the bed, had another coffee, watched some TV3(whispered) made a slice of toast, fed cats, checked watch. EEK!
Right Lads, you have her!
And so to work.
Just run her in! You! Stand there at the side, don't let her step off it.
I sat down again. I put on Life and Art, Callas would calm my frazzled self.
Easy girl easy now...
I eased my fingers towards the keyboard and paused, poised, breathing shallow, eyebrows furrowed...I scrolled up. There! I could feel it, my feeble brain was bending to the yolk of work. Strains of Bellini wafted through the cool air "Cas....ta Diva, che inargenti..."
She has her feet on the boards, throw a rope behind her there!
I rolled my neck, focused, rested the tips of my fingers on the keys -steady now- I took a deep breath.
Right lads you have her. Quick, roll up the back of the trailer.
The phone!
STEP BACK LADS! She's coming out!!!
I stomp off and answer it. Some chirpy broad from phone company wants to know if I am happy with my service and do I have broadband...
I say I am very happy, I don't make a lot of calls and I have broadband. She persists with questions. I remain polite, but half way through her third attempt to sell me something I rip the phone free from the wall and...
...canter off across the fields, the ropes swinging form my head collar. Free! Even if only for another few minutes. Oh I can see responsibility running after me, shaking a bucket of feed in its treacherous hand and I know I will allow myself to be caught, but not right now.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Passive Cruelty.

Owning pets can be great. They are affectionate, loyal, good for the blood pressure and easy company. Conversely they can be a pain in the arse: they can be needy, noisy, vets bills can scare you and you always need someone to mind them if you go anywhere.
I own some cats, three to be exact. They are all rescues, two of them are getting on a bit and one of them is only 3. The youngest one is skittish, but he likes yoghurt, dougnuts and beer. I think he is very funny, dumb as a box of rocks, but funny. He is a champion fly killer.
The biggest of the cats is a chatty sort of guy. He hangs off my desk every day when I work. He is there now. I can reach out and scratch the top of his head right this second. The oldest of them, well she's just an old slob and she sleeps a lot, I've had her nearly 14 years. She understands about fifteen different words and has a very distinct call for me, which I think is ferociously cute.
They are mine, I like them, even though they do nothing and use one of my sofas as a scratching post no matter how many times I throw the newspaper at them. I own them, ergo I am responsible for them, their health and their well being. That is fine, it was my choice when I took them on and I don't mind in the slightest. Except for ear-cleaning Friday, that I could do without.
The son of the couple across the road has a bulldog/staffy type of some kind. It is a young dog, strong, energetic, intelligent, no more than eighteen months old or so. I know this because I know when he got the dog. The son in eighteen/nineteen and in college all day long. The mother -naturally enough- does not want a big bouncy dog in her apartment during day.
So this dog lives 23.5 hours a day, seven days a week, on a terrace a bit bigger than my kitchen. I can see him when I hang washing out on my line. He looks over at me, wags his tail and peers hopefully over the ledge. Sometimes he barks in the evening when the parents are home, a slow monotonous sharp bark that continues for up to an hour at a time. It is not his fault, he is simply bored rigid.
Sometimes I think of what it must be like for him. He has maybe another 10 years of this life. 10 years of sitting day after day, staring at the four blank walls of the terrace, sniffing the air, watching out for the lady across the way to hang out her clothes and call a few nice words over the space.
It really breaks my heart.
What is the point? Why have that animal? The owner gets no pleasure from him, he spends every Saturday morning grumpily hosing and disinfecting down the terrace, (I dread to think what it is like during the week) He takes the dog out at night, half an hour, tops, no more that that. There is no other interaction so what enjoyment does he get from that poor dog?
Dogs are social creatures. They like company, they like to be with the family, they like snoring in front of a fire or lying under your feet where you work. They like going out and about during the day, they like a game of chase, they like chewing giant pieces of stick and playing games, they like it when you stick your foot out and rub their bellies with your foot when you are on the phone.
Buying a pup and putting him out on a terrace for endless years is a selfish and thoughtless act. The isolation creates a vicious, unsocial, poorly mannered, lonely dog.
It is the ultimate act of passive cruelty.

'What the....

hell was that noise?' I said to the cat.
I turned my head, the clock said 8:30. I had come in at 3:13. Clearly something was not right; why was I conscious?
I lay still, I could hear traffic. A shaft of sunlight trickled through the shutters which, in my drunken state, I had not bothered to close properly; the cat was purring; I was in my own bedroom, so what was wrong?
'Really? I don't think that's true! Three stone in two months? What, was she doing the South Bea-'
There it was again.
I buried down deeper under the duvet and closed my eyes. My sister, Etheline, she was staying here. She was an early riser.
Then I heard something so chilling, so utterly terrifyingly spine tinglingly-ly chilling that I almost forgot to breathe. I heard Etheline - how could I not, dogs in the next county could probably hear her- say, 'I don't know Mum, no she's still in bed. Okay, see you at about ten. Bye.'
I sat bolt upright and as I did the hammer of Thor stuck me squarely between the two eyes. The cat toppled off his perch of pillows and shot me a disgusted look.
I gripped my head, lest it explode across my John Rocha sheets.
Oh no, please... The gods would not smote me in such a fashion. Thor tapped me again.
I flung the duvet aside and leaped from the bed. After a few moments of reeling about like a corgi with distemper, I threw on a scarlet Kimono and fluffy high-heeled slippers. I caught a glimpse of myself in the Cheval mirror as I fled my bedroom, black streaks of mascara, hair wild, crumpled, rumpled, hungover, run over, puffy, looking like the world's trashiest drag queen.
I stumbled into the hall and slammed into the far wall, blinded momentarily by the sunlight steaming through the door of the guestbedroom.
'Is my Mother coming here?' I shrieked.
My sister stepped into the hall. She wore a dazzlingly white t-shirt and soft blue jeans, her auburn hair was tied into a bouncy pony-tail, it glinted at me, healthily, mockingly, her make-up was minimal and flawless.
'Jesus, the state of it.' My sister grinned. 'I heard you coming in last night, you were singing.'
I blinked, swallowed - why was there no moisture? Summoning every last ounce of strength I pointed a trembling finger at her.
'Mom? Sure, she'll be here about ten.'
If a Cape African Buffalo had burst through the front door, charged down the hall and struck me the result would have been the same. I sank down the wall and puddled into an unsavoury mess on the floor.
'Oh Jesus.'
'Coffee?' My sister said brightly, and sorta skipped off towards the kitchen.
I sat for a while on the floor. The cat, recovered from his tumble, came to sit by me. From the kitchen came the sound of Etheline humming like a jet engine as she banged cups about- she is so very loud.
I pressed my fist against the bridge of my nose and tried to think. Had I gotten engaged/married/had children/become a surgeon/vet/newsreader since the last time I'd seen my mother?
'She wants to bring us to brunch!' Etheline bellowed.
I picked myself up and stumbled to the bathroom. I had just over an hour.
Time for some serious damage limitation.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Things I've learned....

...this week.
1-If you throw a right hand cross, keep your left hand up or you will end up on the mat looking blearily at the ceiling.
2-No matter how tough your opponent thinks he is, if you kick him in the back of the knee he will go down!
3- If you creep up on a sleeping cat with a inflated brown paper bag and scream BOW!! while simultainously exploding the bag, you can get your own back for any numbers of things.
4-I don't like the smell of Opium.
5-It will always rain when you wear new suede shoes.
Have a good weekend fellow bloggers! Kissy Kissy.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Lies, lies and damned lies-even by omission.

Alrighty then, so clearly my sister will staying here for a while, ensconced in casa fatmammycat. She came here at lunch time and dropped off two yeah, she might be staying a few day. I'm coping fine with the idea. Really I am, I'm fine with it.Honestly. I am not going to do that thing where I start noticing little things that irritate me, and then those little things start to magnify into bigger things that makes me want to...she is my sister, I love her of course, so I won't do that.

Thursday evening, news time. The cats are fed and snoozing contendedly, dinner is on, all is quiet.
Then she arrives back, bursting through the doors, (why does she not open them like normal people?) Cats scatter and Opium fills my nostrils. She flings her coat over the sofa. (why does that look so messy?)
'Did he ring?'
'Oh, no, I don't think so.' We both look at the unplugged phone. I grin sheepishly. 'Or he might have... I've was working, then I went to-'
'Jesus, what is it with you and phones?' She plugs the phone in and checks the messages, her face growing more pinched, her left foor tippity-tapping on the floor. 'Bastard!
'I thought you were finished with him?'
'I am.'
'Well then?'
'He should have called.' She flings the phone down (why does she fling thing? Can't she just-STOP IT!)' I could be lying dead in the street somewhere for all fucker knows.'
I watch the news as she storms around for a while, making calls to her hideous and nefarious friends. After twenty minutes she looks fed up and close to tears. Clearly something is expected of me.
'Etheline, why don't you call him?'
She stalls, glares, her knuckles whiten on her mobile. 'Me? For what? What do I want to talk to that selfish fuck for?'
'I don't know, maybe...'I pull a face. I don't know either. I've met Kevin, I wouldn't want to talk to him, but then I didn't buy a house with him and promise to marry the twat some day. I think he has womanly hips and I don't like the way he purses his lips when he's thinking- like a pile has popped out and he's trying to suck it back up. So okay, I wouldn't call him, but I'm not my sister, and mostly, mostly I want my sister's nervous energy to stop cluttering up my apartment. 'Maybe you should just ring him.'
'I don't want to talk to that man ever again.'
'He's a prick.'
She flops down beside me on the sofa and rests her head on my shoulder.'Thank you for letting me stay, I don't know what I'd do without you.'
Inexplicably I feel pleased and magnanimous. Maybe it won't be so bad having her here, maybe it will be-
'OOOOhhh,' She groans. 'Why hasn't he called?'
The news finishes, Ear to the Ground is next. I am a cultchie at heart so I turn up the volume. Etheline frowns at me.
'You never liked him.'
'Kevin you dip. You never liked him, did you?'
"Meh?' She jerks back as though scalded.'What kind of fucking answer is that?!'
Suddenly I am transported back twenty years. She is 15, I am 13. She is laughing because my yellow plastic button earrings have made my ears get all infected and yucky.She is barring me from borrowing ANY of her things-including Jackie magazines she had already read. She says if she finds me in her room again she is going to tell everyone I sing 'Too Shy Shy' in front of a mirror, sucking my cheeks in and using washing up liquid to make my hair stand straight up.
'Actually.' I say with a tight smile, 'I think the two of you are perfectly suited to each other.'
'Really?' The genuinely hopeful look on her face makes me feel guilty as hell. I am a shit sister. I pat her hand.
'Yes, I'm sure he'll call soon. He's probably angry, trying to make you sweat a bit.'
'Yeah, you're probably right.' She smiles then and kicks off her shoes. As she curls her legs under her and flicks her eyes to the TV screen, I resolve not to tell her that our mother has already gotten wind of the break up, and that it was Kevin who told her. My mother has already 'been on' and she is not 'very happy about the situation' and the real kicker...she always thought Etheline was 'too flighty' for Kevin.
Way to pick a side Ma!
She jabs me with her foot. 'Jesus, put on Entertainment Tonight or something, would ya? God Cat, Ear to the Ground? Har, you're such a fucking dork sometimes.'
I change the station and turn to her, my face solemn and contrite. 'Oh, by the way, Mom called...'

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Never open the door at night.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
" 'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door;
Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow, sorrow for the lost Lenore,.
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore,
Nameless here forevermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me---filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
" 'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door,
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door.
This it is, and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is, I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you." Here I opened wide the door;---
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Dear Edgar. Sorry I borrowed so heavily from The Raven.

Oh if only that were true, if only I had stayed quiet. If only it had been the ghost of Lenore. Such folly! I was in my jammies, I had hot chocolate, I had showered and was feeling sleepy and beginning to think bed might be the place for me after all. But nay, I opened the door, oh so cheery, bigger of the cats in my arms, ready to fling him at any attacker, only to find...
'I....ssnnsooocoeeeo....he...bastard...sniff sniff he..then he...sniff sniff...bastard.'
'Hello Etheline.' I said, gripping the cat so hard he farted. Parp. We, he and I, were frozen stiff in horror at my stupidity. Had I not been warned that this might happen? Had not one of the very gays called very me that very evening to warn of this very event?
'Very.' I said.
'Sniff, what?'
He has spied her in Davey Byrnes after work, flinging Gin and Tonics back and screaming abuse down her mobile while a gaggle of her friends sat around her looking vicious and sorta pleased with themselves.
I peered past her, wondering how on earth she had managed to get into the building. I had heard the bell earlier and ignored it.
'What the hell is wrong with your phone?'
'It's unplugged.'
'Jesus, sniff. I've been ringing your fucking bell for ages! sniff sniff.'
I arched one eyebrow in surprise. She had only rung it once, the impatient sot. 'You have? Oh I was in the shower you see, I was just getting ready for-'
'I had to wake your neighbour, Jesus what a bitch she is.' She brushed past me -a thwack of Opium rocked me back on my heels- the cat's hackles rose and I was alarmed to see she was carrying an over night bag with her.
She had woken the harpy! The cold hand of horror gripped me ever tighter, the cat was beginning to struggle. I cut off his air supply with my arm, he went limp again.
'Oh!' She wailed, I heard her open the glass press, clink clink. 'You would not believe the week I've had! It's finished between me and that asshole! First he tells me he is leaving me, then he rings me up and says...'
I took a step backwards and then hesitated. Would it look odd if I left? I was in bare feet true, but so what? I could wear high heels eighteen hours a day, my feet were tough. I might make it, I could flee...but in cotton jammies with pink rabbits? What of my reputation? I should at least be wearing a silk babydoll nightdress. And this was my home, why should I be the one to leave? Panicked, dumbfounded, rigid with indecision, I dithered too long.
'Are you going to shut that door, sniff, I'm freezing. Where do you keep the whiskey? Oh Cat, oh Cat...'she wailed,dropping her coat on the floor-even though a perfectly good coat-rack stood but mere feet away- 'you won't believe what he actually said to me... to ME! That fucking bastard, I threw the ring at him. We're through this time, through!'
'Harrrrhhhhh.' I sighed. I dropped the cat onto the tiles and booted him gently back towards the sitting room and watched as he fled, huge-tailed, under the writing desk. Nothing for it now. I had been remiss in my guarding, and it had cost me dear.
My sister was staying the night.
Sleep, perchance to dream, nope. Not this night.
I made my way to the linen cupboard for the fresh sheets, cursing under my breath.
'He is a bastard, he is a liar and a bastard! Oh...' I heard her slither to a stop behind me, noted the hint of disapproval in her voice. '...Jesus, is that fucking suede wallpaper?'
'It is.'
This is how women in my family say, 'I hate it.'
An image of 'Chinatown' surfaced within me: Jack Nicholson slapping Faye Dunaway silly, slightly altered.
My sister/my mother/my sister/my mother/my sister and my mother!
I buried my hands deeper into the cupboard.
'Where's the Jamesons?'
'I don't have any.'
'There's wine.'
Was there room under the writing desk for another, I wondered idly.

A question, or poll if you will.

Jaffa Cakes, biscuit or cake? And do you nibble round the spongy orange bit first, or do you just bite it in half?