Saturday, October 27, 2012

Actual Flying Rats

We gave the rats a bath last night. They're not huge fans of the water but they normally put up with it pretty well but last night I gave Meka to Jakers and he put her in the bath before I had a chance to get hold of Polly. So when I went into the bathroom with Polly, Meka was already freaked out and crawling round Jaker's neck. When she saw me she took a running leap right at my face. Rats don't normally do this but she was scared and she saw me and I'm her safe place so she dived for me. It was kind of comical. I just managed to catch a glimpse of her jumping with her four little legs splayed out. Then I had to close my eyes and, as she grabbed hold of my face, she dug her little claws in to make sure she didn't fall off. I had to peel her from my face. It stung like a bitch though. She then, reluctantly, had a bath but not without poohing in the water several times. She huffed under the sofa for ages afterwards whereas Polly indulged in all the extra attention she was getting with the towel drying.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sore Feet, Big Lumps and Flying Rats

Polly hurt her foot a couple of weeks ago. At first I thought it was a sprain like Rocky had but it happened on a Saturday so I couldn't take her to the vet. By the time I got her to the vet on the Tuesday her foot was so badly swollen that I thought it was going to burst. Her toes were all sticking out at funny angles and they looked like little ratty sausages. It was much worse than Rocky's foot had ever been and so I reckoned it was a cut that had got infected. Polly was the perfect angel at the vet's. Even when she had a thermometer stuck up her bum. She was prescribed antibiotics and had to sleep in a separate cage for a few days.

One morning I woke up to find her little cage empty. I suspected she was under the sofa where her and Meka often hang out but she was curled up in a ball under the throw. I think it was her way of telling me she was fed up with her sick bed. She's well mended now but Meka's lump is rapidly growing. Rat's, especially females, are prone to mammary tumors but the vet thought it felt too soft and fatty. But it has grown considerably so now it drags on the ground when she walks. I have already discussed surgery with the vet. She's in good enough spirits and eats as well as she ever did but it's such a shame to see her carrying it around like a burden. The surgery could be dangerous for such a little critter though and I'm guessing the vet probably doesn't perform operations on rats that often.

As for Rocky, well, he's still a little oddball who keeps himself to himself but I've noticed he's slowing down. The other night he was perched on the edge of the little table he likes to sit on and he was lying on his side in a deep sleep, his wee paws and whiskers twitching away. I've never seen him sleep like that outside of his cage and I was kind of worried about him. I kept stroking him to see if he'd rouse but he just slept on. I'm a little neurotic when it comes to my ratties, and though I could see Rocky breathing I was thinking this could be his last hours and if he was dying he was better off in my arms. So I tried to pick him up thinking he'd be all limp and weak but I jolted him out of his sleep and he assumed his normal poised stance. Then I felt guilty and left him alone. Jakers came round later and Rocky was looking all relaxed again and I left him to it. We were in the middle of watching a film when we hear a thud. Rocky must have dozed off again and he'd been perched so close to the edge of the table that he fell off. Luckily he was fine but I'm sure it was a scare for him. After that I put him back in the cage with the girls where he snuggled deep into the saftey of the hammock.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pottering About

We each have to take responsibility for our own happiness. I understand this. Everytime I book a holiday from work, at some point, I get called in. I can nearly count on this happening. The obvious answer would be to get out of the country so that I, physically, couldn't be called in. But my passport's out of date and I don't think I'll be able to afford a holiday for a long, long time. So I just 'potter about' on my holidays.

The next time I have a holiday I want to ask them not to call me because if they do call me, I will answer the phone. And if I'm asked to go into work and I really have nothing else planned I will say yes. That's just the kind of person I am. My colleague has suggested that it is my responsibilty to not answer the phone and so, therefore, not be put in that position. But then I would feel guilty.

So my colleague is basically saying "don't let yourself be taken advantage of". But no one is saying "Don't take advantage of Hannah". Why am I the one who has to change a part of my personality? Clearly, everyone seems to think that it's ok to take advatange of people. But it is not ok to let yourself be taken advantage of. In other words, it is ok to be a cunt but not ok to be a wet blanket.

Life sucks enough without having to change your values to fit in with people you don't agree with. Meh

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

10 Random Things

It's not often I get an idea for a blog post so this is a bit of a novelty for me. I decided to take photos of 10 random objects in my flat. This task was harder than I thought as it wouldn't make a very interesting blog if I just used objects that everyone has in their flat. This meant delving into my personal belongings. I'm not a materialistic person and many of these items are things from other people. I didn't think I was an overly sentimental person but, judging by these pictures, I am.


Exhibit A - In hindsight, this wasn't a great one to start off with as it's a sad story that makes me feel like an evil wicked person. Dirt Bird bought me this plant as a housewarming gift. I kept it in my bedroom because the rats would scurry through the soil when they were free ranging. I'm ashamed to say I neglected it. It got to the point where I had starved it of water for so long I started to feel really guilty. Instead of doing anything about it I just continued to feel guilty. Until one day I thought I should water it. It might pull through. I gave it a good big drink of water and a day or two later it started to grow mould. I've been meaning to ask Bert what I should do with it. They say you should never own pets if you can't look after a house plant. I think I've been so busy looking after my rats that the poor plant was forgotten about. I've also come to the conclusion that any plants I own I should grow from seed as I'm more likely to nurture a little seedling that I've planted myself.

Exhibit B - This is Roo. My Leitrim Aunt brought him back from Australia about 23 years ago and he's about the only thing I have left from childhood. I'm not sure how he survived all the million moves I made. But every time I came back from my travels he was there waiting for me. He's in, near enough, mint condition apart from a little spot on his nose where Polly the dog had a chew on him.

Exhibit C - Fortisip. Rocky is supping away on a little capful right now. This is after he was offered a lovely meal of squished banana and vanilla yoghurt which he tossed off the table on to my good clean floor. I would have let the girls out to lick the floor clean for me but they've already had a helping. This was Rocky's way of telling me that he didn't want banana and yoghurt he wanted Granny Juice. Spoilt Ratten.

Exhibit D - I can't remember the name of this but I'm pretty sure it's a Vietnamese xylophone. It's a Christmas present from mum a few years ago and, as well as it being a musical instrument and an interesting ornament, it's like a puzzle the way it's constructed.

Exhibit E - This is a chart of values and certain characteristics in life. The ones that are most important to me are highlighted in yellow. The ones that are quite important are highlighted in pink and the ones that aren't highlighted are the things that are not in the slightest bit important to me. I have this because it reminds me of what I value in life and what's important. If I feel deflated or down it can help to look at my chart and see if any of the really important things are missing in my life.

Exhibit F - This is the head of a rose. The rose was given to be my an ex boyfriend who died shortly after we split up. He'd given me the rose a few months before and I hung it upside down to dry out without realising that this would be the most important keepsake I would have.

Exhibit G - This is a little metal giraffe I bought from Poundland and made. Best pound I ever spent. Not really much of a story behind it though. It is what it is.
Exhibit H - Working in a photoshop I have come across all kinds of weird things that people think of getting framed. This is most definitely the weirdest. When I moved to England my big sister kindly sent me a little present. She took a sample of all the pets' hairs and tied them up individually and labelled them. She popped it in a small frame that said "Spare Hairs" . The pets at the time were Danny and Rosie the dogs and Caps, aka Tootycat.

Exhibit I - This is a wee drawing The General did for me when we were in Thailand. It was the last of many crayon drawings that she did for me. I have a book full of crayon masterpieces done by various people I knew at uni. Crayons are my number 1 art supply. Number 2 is double sided sticky tape. If you didn't have that stuff you were screwed when it came to making anything off Blue Peter.

Exhibit J - To finish off, one of my most favourite belongings is my Memory Book. I started it at uni and continue to add to it. It's like a scrap book with photos, flyers, cards and stickers but it's also a book of messages and drawings from my friends over the years. It's the nicest way for me to remember a lot of people that I don't see so much anymore. The page is open at Magda's little message to me. She wrote this the day we took a walk along the canal and ended up staying all night at a party at a rare breeds farm just outside Leek.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rat Darlings


Here's a pic of Big Daddy Rocky looking mighty handsome. I call him Big Daddy because when the girls were babies Rocky was fat. He was a big pudding. He's a shadow of his former self now but I caught him at a good angle in this picture so he doesn't look so waif like. It's hard to know what Rocky would've been like if we hadn't got him neuteured, or if Pepe hadn't been his original cagemate. Pepe was the boss and Rocky didn't put up much of a fight. He doesn't seem to care much about Polly and Meka but they adore him. Meka would go to Rocky to feel secure and Polly would groom him. Rocky doesn't like to be handled as much as he used to but he's a well behaved rat and he gets to hang out of the cage and sit on the windowsill or his little spot on top of the chair.


Meka Moo is a hoarder. As soon as anything goes into the food bowl she rushes straight over to fill as much as she can into her mouth and then dashes to the bottom part of the cage to stash it. Polly is no dozer though and raid's Meka's stash whenever she wants. Meka is atypical skittish female rat. She must have more nervous energy to burn off as she doesn't sleep as much as Polly.


Polly Pooh Pooh Head is the easiest rat in the world to work with. She doesn't mind baths, she's not scared of anything and she likes a cuddle. Polly is an adventurer and has been from the very first day we got her. She is also a cheeky wee scamp who chases Meka around the room and does all the things she knows she's not supposed to. Rats are very energetic players. They do a lot of running and chasing and scamping.

My 3 wee rats are all lovely and special in their own ways. They groom and play with me like I am just a giant version of them. They wake up early with me on my work days and they have a lie in on my days off. They are completely and utterly spoilt but sure, if I wasn't spoiling them I'd have to spoil someone else, like my boyfriend. It's better to spoil the rats.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Quiz Master

When I was teaching in Thailand the other teachers and I would meet up at Tobie's bar for the a quiz night. It was always a Thursday and we each took it in turns to be the host. I remember when it was my turn I designed a quiz I thought was going to be really easy for everyone. It ended up being really hard. I found a draft of some of the questions I had came up with today and was rather amused by some of them. And, of course, I will share:

Section 5: Randomness

1. How many people a year are killed by vending machines falling on top of them?

2. What way do windmills turn; clockwise or anti-clockwise?

3. What is a 'palindrome'?

4. Originally, what colour was Coca-Cola?

5. What is the longest recorded flight of a chicken?



Section 6: Fact or Fiction:

1. A cockroach can live 9 days without it's head before it will starve to death.

2. A duck's quack doesn't echo.

3. In a public house, a landlord cannot refuse to serve a customer unless they have rang the bell for 'last orders'.

4. A scrambled egg made from the egg of an ostrich has to be made in a frying pan with a diameter of no less than 42 inches.

5/ All polar bears are left handed.


I will provide answers in a few days but if you really need to know before then you can always google it :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

There's An Arrow In My Bow

Wow! You know the way you can listen to a song several times before you actually listen to it? I just listened to Lay Down Low by KT Tunstall. She's a class act even if she does spell her name a stupid way. It's obviously a post feminist break up song which most chicks of my generation could relate to but it was this particular chorus that caught my attention:


You are the right, you know, and I am the wrong
I am the silence while you sing a song
You keep me for yourself while I am alone
You suck the life from me and I am just skin and bone
And now it's time for me to show
That there's an arrow in my bow
You think I'm lost in you but I have found
That you can lay down low

The first 4 lines made me think of my relationship with a certain ex and I wondered if KT Tunstall had the misfortune of dating the same guy. But when she says that there's 'an arrow in my bow' I realised that this song was written for me personally. You see, my surname is Bowyer and I come from a long line of bow makers. Obviously KT Tunstall is sucking my ideas up before I have time to even process them. I'd be annoyed but I know she's doing a far better job than I ever would.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Electric Feel

I'm out on the homestead looking after the big girl for a couple of days while Nelly and Bert are away scunging. They've taken Judy Pudding with them so it's just me. Bonnie and the cats.

Last week I went to a gig. It was part of Tenants Vital, a pretend festival they hold in a playing field in Belfast. We missed Rodrigo and Gabriela, who were awesome apparently, but we were there to see Florence and the Machine and the Stone Roses. I was more excited about Florence and they were good but they just didn't play the songs that I expected them to play so I ended up feeling a bit disappointed. The Stone Roses, who I do love but wasn't caring about as much, ended up being much better than I thought. And they did play all the songs that I wanted them to.

Back to this evening though. I've just put the pigs to bed. It's such a shame that the only real way of testing if an electric fence is switched on is by touching it. In most cases it is definitely on and it's only after the shock to the system that your brain works hard enough to go and find the on/off switch. Rarely do we just go straight to the on/off switch. After I put the pigs to bed I did a quick rally around the wild strawberry bushes and picked myself a nice pudding. I might have mentioned before that I don't get to eat the strawberries much as Martha normally eats them faster than I can pick them. I'm sure Bert will be able to explain why the ones growing in the tunnel tasted nicer than the ones outdoors. After that I put the hens to bed. With the livestock tended to, the domestics fed and watered it's now me time. Master Qwan is awaiting me.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Face Face Likes Her Face

So, I used to look in front of the mirror and despair at what I saw. My hair that's neither brown nor blond, my eyes that are too small for my head, my nose that turns up at the end like a ski slope, my ears that stick out like a wee mouse, my lips that are massive. My poor little head trembling under the weight of them. But youngsters are hard on themselves. Youngsters are hard on everyone.

It's taken me a long time to get to where I am. A lot of soul searching and delving into the depths of my mind. But after 30 years, when I look in the mirror, I can look at my face in a different light. When I look at myself now I notice the lips I have used to show my love in the most wonderful way. The eyes that have witnessed complete and utter, breathtaking beauty. The nose that has the ability to transport me back in time with the sweet smell of freshly cut grass. The ears that channel the sounds that fill my soul with the urge to dance. Every scar, blemish and cell holds a little bit of my story. Who I am and what I've done.

This post has been inspired by an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun. This face is a scrapbook dedicated to who I am. Genius!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Rat Line

Last night Jakers and I were discussing Rocky. I have tried a few different things with him lately but it seems that I have to face facts that he's just an odd rat. Yes, we have probably contributed to him being odd but then again, it was never planned that his sister would die and Rocky's life would totally change.

So, after reaching this conclusion I said to Jakers that it would be great if there was a hotline you could call and speak to a rat expert. I guess this is what the internet is but for some reason information is always more reassuring when it comes from an actual human being.

Several minutes later, as Polly and Meka scooted about on my bed, I asked Jakers a question:

Me: Do you think, if I was a loner, and I had the rats out free ranging, and, say I just died suddenly, do you think the rats would eat me?

Jakes: Yes.

Me: Really? Even though they're my pets?

Jakes: Yes. Evan a dog would eat you.

Me: How long do you think they'd wait before eating me?

Jakes: About half an hour.

Me: And do you think they'd feel bad about eating me?

Jakes: (smirking) I don't know, you'd have to call your rat hotline to find that out.


Of course, the next morning I realised that they wouldn't feel at all bad for eating me. In fact, they'd probably realise how tasty I was and wonder why they didn't do it sooner.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Excercising The Power Of My Will

So, this week I have decided to not eat bread. And next week I will not eat any sugar. I have decided to excercise my will power. It had got a bit fat and lazy over the past couple of months. Bread is a hard one for me to give up, even if it's only for a week. When I was in Thailand my biggest craving was always for a nice tasty sandwich. Or some of Zoe's delicious buns.

Part of my reason for doing this is to give myself a weekly challenge and to prove to myself that giving things up doesn't have to be so difficult. Sometimes the thought of something is worse than doing it. I had let cigarette's creep back into my life. It started off as the odd one when I was drinking. Then I started to have a couple of cheeky sober ones. So this week the giving up of bread is also acting as a distraction from the fact that I'm giving up smoking again. There is always a method to my madness. Though the week I give up dairy products should be fun but not as much fun as the week I give up coffee!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

The Importance Of What's Important

I have been thinking a lot about values lately and what's important to me in life. Obviously friends and family come top of the list but, let's face it, if it didn't I'd be some kind of sociopath. I have always believed laughing to be of great importance. I could go into a scientific explanation of how laughing affects the brain but that'd be far too technical and boring. Best just to say that laughing releases the same chemical as chocolate, sex and having a really really good, satisfying pooh. Though obviously these aren't meant to be done at the same time.

Adventure is high up on my list of priorities but I think it's wise to note that backpacking across the world is not the only kind of adventure we can embark upon. We have to use our imagination like a child does and realise that everyday can be an adventure.

One of the main things in life that I find important is to be creative. I used to churn out poems and lyrics when I was a teeneager like I was spewing up my guts. Now it's not so easy. I keep writing my blog just to make sure I don't get out if the habit of writing but it's not the same as writing creatively. The only time I was ever top of the class was when it came to English. I used to run to my teacher eagerly asking him if he'd marked our latest essay. I also took immense pleasure in getting higher grades than the students who came top of the class at everything. I was never booksmart. Too busy being moody and creative to care about science and maths.

And as life goes on and I get older I swear the creativity is being sucked from me. And all I really want is a small group of interetsing people with interesting minds to collaborate with me and embark upon a creative adventure. These people may or may not exist but if you're out there, and you're reading this, come see me and my rats and we can play guitar and laugh and write songs that make us smile.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Jakes And The Jokes

Jakers likes to think of himself as a bit of a joker (and a midnight cowboy). One of his favourite jokes is to tell me it's 6:00 pm on a Sunday when it's only 10:00 am. He likes to watch the look of despondency on my face as I realise I have wasted my whole day off. As the recipient of these gags I find them highly unamusing but this morning I played him at his own game. In fairness, it was immensely gratifying and I now understand the attraction to japing.

Jakers the joker enjoys a jot of japing,
The japes Jakers joked,
The jokes Jakers japed
Juxtaposed the jovial judges of Jamaica. Ja man!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Credit In A Straight World

I just had the lovliest weekend. But prior to that I have a good couple of weeks. It has taken me a long time to get to where I am but I'm here now and that's what matters. I have spent many years looking at my life in terms of what I haven't acheived. I haven't got a proper job. I haven't started a family. I haven't written a book. Now it's time to start giving myself credit for the things I have acheived. I have plunged into the unknown by going to Thailand and working as a teacher. This did wonders for my confidence. It also helped me to break away from a truly destructive relationship.

I went to South America by myself. I didn't last as long as I'd hoped to but I still did it. And, not only that, I worked my goddam ass off to save the money to get there. I proved to myself that I was willing to do anything to acheive a lifelong dream. I left behind the guy that I loved because I had faith in us that we would last the distance. And we did. And we're still ploughing through everything that life has to throw at us because life won't stop throwing stuff at us just because we survived the 1st round.

The realisations I have made in the past couple of weeks are tremendous milestones. We often measure things in term of happiness but right now I am content with this feeling of inner strength.

I have had a recurring dream for well over a year now. In the dream I am in Lopburi, Thaialnd where I taught English. I am always looking for Tobie's bar which is where all my friends and I hung out. In all my dreams I never reach it though I am always so eager to see Brad, Tobie and Gift. Last night I got there. I made it to Tobie's and I spoke to him. I asked him how everyone was. When I woke up I knew that I'd made it. This dream has represented me looking for a part of myself that I had lost along the way. The feeling of accomplishment was overwhelming. I made it to Tobie's bar after all this time and all those dreams. And today I feel a little bit lighter.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Meh

Today I'm feeling a bit 'Meh'. I am seriously lacking in any sort of motivation to do anything. There's no pleasing me. I don't want to hear about negative things and yet I'm told that 'that's life'. Like it or lump it. So I don't have a choice about the conversations I have and yet I grew up believeing that I had a choice in everything.

I thought I had dealt with some very strong emotions a while ago but, seemingly, I haven't. These feelings are giant. Bigger than I am and I'm a little swamped by them. Part of me would like to hide away from the world for a while but I don't have the luxury of hibernating.

Everyone has good days and bads days. I know this. In order for me to have more good days than bad days I need to be a bit more honest about my feelings in general. I once went out with a guy who didn't allow me to be honest about my feelings. I know this sounds stupid but it's true. I am scared to be upset, annoyed or pissed off because it has been reinforced that these emotions are not acceptable. But, you know what, I don't care any more. I really just don't care.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Beef Hustler

So, I misheard a word the other night. I thought someone said 'Beef Hustler'. What they really said was, 'befuzzler'. Neither make any sense but both were funny. Just out of interest I googled 'Beef Hustler' and look, it exists! You have to scroll down to see it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Djingle Djangle

Sometimes real life gets busy and cyber life suffers as a result. Not that this is a bad thing. My big sister Katkins was home this weekend. She came out with me on Saturday night for a spot of bingo. Now, in fairness, this is not as granny like as if sounds. The bingo was for a charity fundraiser that a friend of mine organised. The general consensus was that all the girls loved bingo, all the boys didn't. Perhaps if the game worked so that, when you scratched off a number, it revealed a nude picture of a lady, the boys may have enjoyed it more.

This week is also a busy week. Tonight I have an awards ceremony and dinner to attend at Stormant and tomorrow we have a Django Django gig in Derry. The dinner is courtesy of Jakers (he was nominated for a learner's award) and the gig is courtesy of Nelly (who tells me that this band are the hottest thing since that spell of good weather we had a few weeks ago).

In other news, Rocky Rat doesn't seem in the best of health though his form isn't too bad. He doesn't seem to be able to put weight on but he accepts whatever food I offer him. He is a big fan of fortisip (a special vitamin drink designed for people who need calories but can't eat very well) so I give him a little sup of that every day but I can't leave anything in the cage for him to eat as the girls will get to it first and they certainly don't need to put on any weight. Meka is a hoarder and whatever food I put in their bowl she will hide down at the bottom of the cage. Sometimes I see her trying to squeeze as much as possible into her wee mouth to hoard downstairs. It may be this hoarding tendency that prevents Rocky from getting all the food he needs. There may come a time when I have to put Rocky in his own separate cage.

So, anyway, probably about time I got back to work here. I am nearing the end of the biggest order of reprints this shop has ever seen. I have built up a rapport with the customer and what had turned into a £100 job is turning into a £600 job. I feel like I know her whole family as I've seen so many photos.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Taking A Walk In Someone Else's Shoes

As it was my day off yesterday I decided to go out to Mum's to see Miss Martha. Judy and Bert had just got back from their holidays in Donegal and poor Judy was shattered from all the fun she'd had running wild and free at the beach. But Judy really took a shine to Martha's shoes and socks and so she asked if she could borrow them for a while. She looked a bit silly but I don't think she cared.




Poor Martha had to make do with my camera case to keep her little toes warm. Though she was the one who initially had taken off her shoes and socks to show me her lovely painted toenails. When we put them back on for her she was pleased that Judy had made them all warm and cosy for her.




Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Keep On Crushing

I have been struck down by Hannah Flu. It's not quite as bad as the swine flu epidemic but still worth complaining about. Speaking of the swine flu, I haven't been able to eat a Pear Picking Porky since I got a bad dose a few years ago.

I have recently joined hitRECord which is a website for creative and arty types to express themselves. If editing floats your boat you can use other members' songs, videos, photos, paintings, poems, etc. and remix your own version. It's basically doing away with the concept of copyright. It seems to be human nature to claim ownership but wouldn't the world be so much better if we all shared?

And whilst I'm talking about this website it's also worth mentioning that I have a crush on the guy who came up with the idea. He's an actor called Jospeh Gordon-Levitt and he's made me remember the importance of having a crush. When you're too young to get served at a bar, or buy a packet of skins to make a doobie, you're too old for dolls and prams, crushes are what gets you through the day. My first crush was Michael J. Fox and I didn't care how many gigawatts Doctor Emmet Brown was shouting about because Michael (Marty) looked so cute in his orange bodywarmer.

So it's healthy to have a crush, even when you've just turned 30 and the world of fantasy isn't quite as lucid as it once was. It's healthy because it keeps your mind preoccupied for a minute or two when normally your mind would be telling you to light up another cigarette. I also have a crush on my boyfriend because he kind of reminds me of JGL. Though my crush on Jakers is possibly more than just a crush. In fact, I think I might be in love with him.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Witched Wick of the Weest

I think I might be an apple connoisseur. This time of year the Royal Galas are in good stead. They must know it's the Queen's Jubilee next week. Normally I'm a Pink Lady kinda gal but they aren't so sweet this time of year. They're more of an autumn fruit. I'm not a big fan of a Grannysmith. They make my glands go a bit funny. And Golden delicious are neither golden nor delicious. But anyway, that's not what this post is about. This post is about, well, nothing in particular really. My life, though happy and relatively peaceful, is a little mundane at the moment.

I've been watching a series called Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction. As you can probably tell from the title it is American and total trash T.V. It's about strange coincidences and ghostly things and the point is to determine if they are true or not. It's one of those things that the more unbelievable it is the more likely they are to claim that it'a true. The believable ones are, apparently, codswallop. Anyway, I told Jakers the other morning that I had a rather pointless dream about his block of flats being redecorated. He'd been staying at mine and I joked about how funny it would be if he went home and they were decorated. We both agreed that would be a story (albeit a very boring one) for BBFF. Turns out that Jakers block wasn't redecorated but his next door neighbour had repainted their door. I don't care how pointless and random it is I still think it's a bit freaky. Being psychic would surely be a curse. I like the unknown. I like surprises (so much so that I requested a surprise birthday party). I like the suspense. Being psychic would be a total burden and not to mention the fact that if I was in a different era I would be burned at the stake as a witch. I don't want to be a witch. I want to be a clown. I know they're just as scary but I view juggling as a much more worthy pastime than casting spells and cursing people.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Captured

Awwww it would be lovely if the weather was scorchio all the time. It's warm at work with all the machines running and so the working day is torture but it's worth it for the warm balmy evenings. Puts me in the mood for a spot of photography. And I have found a stash of Kodak film at Poundland which means I can get trigger happy with my Pentax SLR.


Judy and Bonnie happily pose in the lawn for me. You can tell they've done this before.


This is the trendy man's choice of footwear. Bert and Wee Nes model the spring/summer '12 collection.



Wee Nes sporting a fine pair of shades and a very lovely glass of wine modelled by Nelly's hand.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I would love a holiday. Of course, wouldn't we all but I just get all tingly and excited when I think of being somewhere different. I have been doing a bit of Jedi mind training. When I'm walking around I try to look at Ballymena through the eyes of a foreigner. Dspite having spent most of my life here there are many parts of the town I have never really bothered to look at. By looking at them I can convince myself that I've never been here before and it's all new to me. I wonder how long this will last before I get bored and need an actual real holiday.

The rats have bonded well with Jakers. In fact, they seem to think that he is a big rat (might be the ears, I'm not sure). They groom him when he comes to visit. Saves me the bother. It's nice for him though as he never received much affection from Pepe. There was a power struggle going on between them and Pepe preferred me 'cause I let her run rings round me.

Pushed for time here so I must go and get my bedroom sorted. I can brasso no more. It's costing me a fortune in money and time. Jakers is starting to think that I'm possessed by the evil bed spirit. A bit like Stephen King's Christine. So I have to give up my brasso habit to concentrate on my role as a loving, caring girlfriend.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Land Of Giants

I was in the darkroom at work today which is, you know, dark. It is also the staff toilet. We go in there to change photo paper or bust a roll of film out of it's canister if the little doo dah contraption doesn't work. Can you see where I'm going with this?

Yes, I accidentally dropped someone's film down the loo. I had that moment where I thought about what I would do. Well, to go and turn the light on was not an option as the film would most definitely be ruined. But I couldn't be sure that it wouldn't be ruined after being dropped in the toilet. We live in fear of ruining anyone's film or photos because photos can be so precious to people. Nothing can replace them. So I did what any dedicated photo specialist would do and stuck my hand down the toilet, in pitch black, and fished it out.

The photos were fine. My hand was fine. Sometimes the toilet doesn't totally flush away all the loo roll but, thankfully, this wasn't such an occasion. All was well except for the fact that I still had to stick my hand down the toilet bowl and that's never a good thing.

The Lovely Mel was at home on Saturday. We went to out to Cullybackey to hang with Nellybert, The Banjos and Swisser and the many many dogs. Young Loveheart was also there and he was showing off his heavy duty microscope that magnifies things by a million times. I had never been a big fan of science but Mel and I happily spent several hours getting lost in the world of small things. Things just look totally different that close up. We raided the herbs and spices rack to get many of our 'subjects'. Fennel was one of the most interesting and a Jelly Tot up close was also pretty cool. Mr. Banjo offered up one of his dirty skanky nails for us to investigate but that was a little scary as I'm sure I saw something wiggling. And then Loveheart left, taking his toy with him, so we had no choice but to revert to conversation as a form of entertainment. I may invest in one of these state of the art microscopes.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Never Too Old To Play At The Park

I have had the best week. It has been a week of not working and taking things slowly. I purposely didn't plan anything for the week other than having my niece for a sleepover. This was the first time she had come to stay with me so it was very exciting for us both. We did a bit of painting, etch-a-sketching and reading. She was a perfect angel.

I took her to the park on Wednesday. We were lucky that it was a rare sunny, dry day. We played in the toddlers park for a while and then we ventured into the big kid's play area. This was mutually beneficial as I had to do a lot of supervising and by supervising I mean playing.

Today is my last day of holiday so I plan to make the most of it. I have already had a lovely lie in ruined by the builders next door. But when you're happy you don't care that builders are in the next room drilling holes and filling their cracks with sawdust. And it was 11 O'Clock to be fair.

Jakers is now a trained acupuncturist. He can stick needles in my ears and I love it though if he tries to stick them in my eye I'll punch him in the face. Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention that he got us tickets to see the Stone Roses and Florence and the Machine in June. I may, possibly, have the best boyfriend ever.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Colin The Caterpillar Has A Very tasty Face

I wanted my 30th birthday party to be a good one but I didn't want the hassle of organising it myself. That's when Dirt Bird offered to organise it for me. And when Jayney found out she wanted to help. It was she who suggested that we should tell everyone it was going to be a surprise party. So we did.

For my 21st Birthday a few of my closest friends, my (then) boyfriend, mum, dad and respective partners all went to the Dam of Amster. It was brilliant, at least what I remember of it. The main thing is that I learnt a very valuable lesson on that trip. Don't take magic mushrooms in the heart of the city, in broad daylight before you've found Vondel Park. It was only Romy and I at this stage and we were to meet everyone else the next day. The plan had been to find the park, consume the edibles, and lie back to enjoy the good times. The reality was that Romy couldn't wait that long, mushies burning a hole in her pocket, so we sat on one of the many canalside benches, ate our mushrooms and walked along in pursuit of the park.

I think I first noticed that the drugs were taking effect when Romy announced that she didn't like hills. They weren't so much hills as slight ramps but such was Romy's aversion to them that we had to sit on several benches every few minutes to get over the mammoth ramps we were climbing. So while she battled with her fear of hills I was still intent on finding the park with it's lush green grass for us to lie on. We were lucky. We had maps to refer to. We were unlucky. Because although I could see the shaded green patch that represented the park on saiod maps, I could not, for the life of me, relate this to real life. I chose instead to sniff the air and wander in the direction that I felt the park should be in.

This went on for several hours. The closest to a park we found was a little island in the middle of a roundabout. We were almost run over several times while trying to get to this island and when we did we were less than impressed with it's patchy, scratchy grass. And the tranquility of the moment was rather spoiled by the noise and fumes of the traffic rounding us.

Possibly the worst part of the day was when we needed the toilet. I'm still, to this day, not quite sure how we managed to go to a random bar, use the world's tiniest toilet, and live to tell the tale. But we did. Also, after a while it occurred to us that we would need to find the hostel we were staying at and this led to a feeling of impending doom. How were we ever going to find it when we had no idea where we were, where our hostel was and what it was called. Luckily we just stumbled across it. And as we lay in our bunk beds (me willing the sun to go down so I could sleep, unaware that it wasn't the sun but a light in the dorm) we had a long, deep discussion about how nice it would be to smoke a joint but how on earth were we ever going to be able to roll one. I had to pep talk myself for a long time before we went down to the hostel cafe and it took me just as long to be able to roll a joint. It wasn't 'til the next day that it occurred to us that we were in Amsterdam. We didn't have to roll joints we could just buy them.

My 30th wasn't quite so dramatic. In fact, I walked through the wrong door so I kinda spoiled the surprise part, even though it wasn't really a surprise. I had the best night I've had in a long, long time though and that was thanks to my mates for being there, my mates for organising it and in particular, to Jakers who tied everything together and made sure I had a good turn out. And after printing a 1000 pictures of kids and their caterpillar cakes I managed to get not one but two of my very own.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Give Me Back My Old Blog

Press 'enter' for line breaks....

(Enter)

Reading blog posts is no fun if it looks like the words have just been spat out on the page.

I need spaces

between

my words

please :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

If It Ain't Broke....Don't Make It Worse

I have to say, I really don't like it when they change things on the internet. Obviously the old adage, if it ain't broke don't fix it, does not apply to the interweb but technology is something I've never really understood and I guess there's no point in trying. So I still haven't got online at home because I can't be bothered with the hassle. I joined the library instead which means I'll have free access to internet without it distracting me at home and encouraging me to play mahjong when I should be washing the dishes. I really must be old now because I bought my first ever pair of trousers from Next. I used to work there and had to wear the clothes as uniform. This is the first time it's been out of choice and that I've had to pay full price for. I don't mind. I am quite content to 30. In fact, it's kinda awesome because I have an excuse for being a boring old fart but I also still look young enough to get away with buying pick-a-mixes from the newsagents and skipping down the street. Not that I would. There's a sweet shop in Ballymoney, as well as several hardware stores (my 2 favourite kinds of shops), that sells actual real Willy Wonka chocolate bars. I bought a Scrumdiddlyumptious bar which was, to be fair, rather disappointing. But to make up for that I also had a Jelly Belly Bean Blueberry flavoured Soda which was toxically tasty. And, best of all, Sainsbury's does a special chocolatey, malty, hot milky drink which can only be described as a little mug of heaven.

Monday, April 23, 2012

How To Kill The Last Few Minutes

I'm not sure what I make of bloggers new get up. I suppose it just takes getting used to, like everything else. Well, I am now 30. My (not really a surprise) surprise birthday party went down a treat. I knew all about it from the very start but it was great fun pretending I hadn't a clue. I had rehearsed my look of shock but when it came to the final crunch I walked through the wrong door so everyone's back was to me. But that didn't matter because all the people I wanted to be there were there and we all had a fabulous night filled with laughing, drinking, dancing and eating caterpillar babies. Oh, is that the time? 7 more minutes and I'm going home to my little minxy rats who love nothing more than gurrying and digging through the soil from the rubber plant Dirt Bird got me for my birthday.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hannah

I love the Urban Dictionary. It's so kind! Hannah An amazingly beautiful girl who takes care of her friends and makes everyone she knows smile. It is a hebrew name meaning 'grace', which, although it may not always be accurate, is mostly true. She may have a fondness for sugary foods (sugar puffs, candy bracelets etc) but she will never put on any weight, as she is naturally gorgeous, as well as most probably being blonde. Men will fall at her feet, but she will only notice the wrong ones, or ones that are completely inappropriate (justin bieber and other such losers). Although she has fairly regular blonde moments and may be perceived by some as being dumb, she is actually incredibly intelligent and wise. She stands by her friends and is generally an all-round perfect person, with more strength and intelligence than she realises, as well as the best friend anyone could ever want. "Dude, that girl is peng!" "Yeah, she's a total Hannah." "Where are all the sugar puffs?" "Hannah probably ate them." I didn't eat all the sugar puffs but I did eat all the rainbow drops.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Peek Inside

Ahhhh...time to unveil my little palace. These were taken a couple of weeks ago but I still haven't fully got settled in. I need a few more bits and pieces to make it a proper little home.


This is my kitchen. Not all rented properties come with all the mod cons but the washing machine, microwave and tumble dryer are all courtesy of the landlord. The Hellman's Mayonnaise is courtesy of Jakers.


This is the spare bedroom. It's fairly plain at the minute until I get a bit more furniture but I have a nice painting on the wall to brighten it up. The painting was by Martha.


This is the view from my bed. The set of shelves were made with my own fair hands. Though when I bragged about this to a friend they scoffed at me and said that making Ikea furniture was like playing with lego.


This is the brass bed I have been polishing. It's still not perfect but I have a feeling I won't stop until it is. At least I know where to get my brasso now. At the bottom left of this picture, just by the door, you'll notice my little pet rock. It also came with the flat.


This is my living room. Or, at least, part of it. It has room for another settee and a few more pics on the wall. Both this room and my bedroom get the best of the sun during the day as well and through these windows Martha and I can can watch the trains go by.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Text Cons Part II

Sitting in Ballymoney killing time. Texting just for the sake of it:

Me: Oh no, it's Average Friday and I'm in Ballymoney with no whiskey.

Half Term Kerm: Let's get f**ked up. I am off til tues.

Me: Can't. working tomoro and have party to go to on Sat night.

HTK: Ballymoney?

Me: It's a long story and there ain't no dollar in this town. Or whiskey. I have time to kill waiting for a train.

HTK: Go to an off licence. I hear they do booze.

Me: I'm not going to drink booze on the street like a wino. I've got 2 bottles of wine, a half bottle of vod and several ciders at my flat. I'm going to make an Easter punch.

HTK: Boke. But yeah that's what I'd do.

Me: You would too. You'd projectile boke no doubt. You're kng of the bokers.

HTK: I founded the bokist era.

Me: And I'm sure you have many bokelites following in your bokism. You're a dirty dog Kerm, a dirty dirty dog. And we all know dogs eat their boke again.

HTK: Hahahha. I have alcohol duties.

Me: Lol Don't let the side down Kerm. I'll see you at some point over the weekend I'm sure. Even though my ma has banned me from drinking with you. And me nearly thirty!

HTK: Why?

Me: Only joking sham. Though you are a bad influence. Mostly on yourself.


I do so love mine and Kermie's text conversations. Part III coming soon....

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

WOW (Worm of Wood)

Mr. J.W. is a rip off merchant. He charges £3.80 for a tin of brasso when Sainsbury's charges £2.50. I am shocked, stunned and disgusted. This is the same man who sold me a plank of wood for a pound. A bargain I thought but the plank of wood was an old shelf that had fallen off the wall 'cos it was riddled with woodworm. Woodworm must have teeth like a shark.

The other morning Jakers informed me that the rats were out of their cage, lying on the sofa under the throw. The door of the roof was lying open. Either someone (me) had left it open, or Meka had stood on Polly, who had stood on Rocky's shoulders and managed to open the door themselves. The latter obviously being the most likely scenario. I was lucky that there was no major damage done, just a few holes nibbled in the throw. They had probably been having a wild ratty party but they done a good job of hiding the evidence.

I had my first guests at the weekend. Dad and Linda stayed and gave the Palace their full seal of approval. Though Linda and I did manage to ruin two perfectly good bottles of wine by trying to open them with a corkscrew bought from poundland. I plan to donate these bottles of Nelly and Bert who are sure to think of some cunning way of rescuing the wine. And if not they will at least own a sieve.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Dog Twin

Me and Judy by hootchinhannah
Me and Judy, a photo by hootchinhannah on Flickr.

You know how they say about dogs looking like their owners? Well, I happen to look like my dog. This was a while ago though and I don't look like that anymore.

Really, the only purpose of putting this picture up is to make my blog a little less dull. I plan to post pics of my Palace of Heavenly Pleasure but it will be a while before I've got internet at home. Until then I have to make do with stealing minutes at work to keep up to date.

I made a new friend the other day. We bonded over our love of doing jigsaws. He was getting a couple of his framed. I don't think I would go to that length. Besides, once they're in a frame you can't do them again. The best jigsaw I ever did was an Elvis one. A couple of uni mates bought me it for my birthday one year. A jigsaw is my place of retreat. Once your lost in it there is nothing else in the world except you and a thousand higgledy piggledy bits of cardboard. Has anyone started the Jigsaw Appreciation Society yet? Someone should.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rat Lady In Rags

I haven't driven in weeks. Getting settled into the new flat has taken precedence over the lessons but now I'm itching to get back behind the wheel. It's the sunny weather. it's making me think of all the places I could go on a nice day if I could drive. I had planned to be driving before I turned 30 but there's no way I'm going to get my licence in two and a half weeks. Oh well, I have to focus on the things I've achieved, not the things I haven't achieved.

I had my darling niece over last Friday for a play date. We did a jigsaw, played with stickers and done some etch-a-sketching but despite all these amazing things Miss M was way more excited to see the trains go by. We had to phone Miss M's mummy to find out what the timetable was. When I took her back home she was still going on about seeing the Derry train and that one day we would all get on the train and go to Derry.

The weather is amazing. Why can't we buy bottled sunshine yet? The things that man can do and we can't sell sunshine. Or teleport. I mean, come on scientists and get your finger out. We don't need mobile phones that can make the dinner. It's the simple pleasures.

The rats love their new home as much as I do. I am content now to have them back with me. Meka is still a bit shy and doesn't like being handled but Polly is as tame as a shrew, or have I just made that saying up? Polly is the kind of rat I could train to sit up on my shoulder while I walk about the town in rags with everyone calling me the rat lady!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Building the Nest

Today was a great day. I don't think I've ever had such a productive day. After waking up from a night of crazy dreams in which I was at war with a whole family of people who had taken out various store cards in my name and were trying to convince me that I wouldn't have to pay for anything they bought. So I didn't exactly wake up feeling refreshed. But after a good strong coffee round at Z's I was ready for anything.

Today was the day I did all the boring chores like scrub the kitchen cupboards, hoover the minging floors, clean the rats out, and find a little home for all the odds and ends that had just moved in and didn't quite know their place yet. I have learnt a very important lesson in life. Moving in to a proper place of your own is not an overnight experience. It's not the same as me packing my rucksack and living off the bare essentials for a while. It's taken me 3 weeks to get everything sorted so that I have my little haven exactly as I want it. Just in time for Dad coming to stay next week :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Me and J.W.

I managed to age about 20 years in the space of one week. Instead of spending my weekend getting full drunk and waking with a sore head and little recollection of the previous night's events I took my hand to a spot of D.I.Y.

On Saturday evening I strolled over to Sainsbury's and was delighted to see that B&Q was still open. I spent half an hour perusing the paint ailses searching for something to redecorate the old brass bed I have on loan from mum. This bed is over a hundred years old. I asked mum if people had died in it and she said, no doubt, thousands of people died probably in it and I didn't want to know the half of what went on in that bed. So the rust has been sanded and Jakers did a grand job of painting it and I'm getting through the tins of Brasso like there's no tomorrow. Me and John Wilson are the best of friends :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Getting There

The whole moving house thing is a bit of a pain in the arse really. Especially when the landlord is a complete an utter incompetent monster. I've been paying rent for 2 whole weeks and only been able to stay in the flat 2 nights. One of those nights I was full drunk so I'm not sure that actually counts. There's a problem with my heating so it's been far too cold for me or the rats to stay. The rats are currently staying up at Jakers. I miss them but I know they are well looked after and Rocky definitely doesn't mind. Rocky and Jakers always had a special bond. Rock was a daddy's boy and Pepe was a mummy's girl. Meka is still a timid wee thing and she looks more and more like Pepe each day. Polly is still an adventurer and tries to escape the cage at every opportunity.

I will be without internet for a while as I haven't organised it for the new flat yet. I will have to grab snatches of time to do my blog whenever I can. I guess it will be a few weeks yet before my little palace is, indeed, a palace. If anyone who visits me likes herbal tea they are in for a treat as I have been building up a little collection of various teas. Since quitting the smoke I have been reluctant to drink coffee in the evenings so herbal teas are a healthier alternative. Before long I will be the healthiest I've ever been, in mind, body and soul. I'm back on the junk though. The junk food that is. Sugar has got it's evil hold on me once again. Malteasers never tasted so good. Will have to add horlicks to my stockpile of drug free beverages.

Monday, March 05, 2012

How To Beat The Recession

So I did a bad thing the other day. I served an old man in work who gave me a fake tenner. I sort of new it was fake but I didn't want to accuse this poor old wee man of trying to diddle me. Soon after I told Jayney what I'd done and she checked the tenner. It was a poor attempt at a counterfeit note and I was raging with myself for taking it. Then I came up with a devious plan to get rid of it. I took it to the nearest bargain shop and stood in the amazingly long line. There were several reasons for taking it to a shop that sold cheap things a) those shops are so busy the people on the tills are like zombies b) the people who work in them don't really care if people give them dud notes c)quite often they are young in age and not a savvy as older shop assistants might be.

So I stood in the longest queue because there was a girl on the tills who looked like she was about 12. She definitely seemed quite zombie like. The queue moved slowly and she hit her till bell. She hit it 3 times before some superviser in a black shirt came out to help. I was just about to get to the till and willing the customer in front to hurry up so I didn't get served by the more senior member of staff. I did get served by him though and, to my joy and disbelief, he took it.

I was obviously giving the old fella who gave it to me the benefit of the doubt. I didn't want to embarrass him and reasoned that he had probably been given it by some swindling swine. My boss is more cynical though and reckons this old man knows exactly what he's doing and going round the whole of Ballymena palming off his dud notes. My driving instructor told me that he was giving a lesson to a boy and he watched as wee old man walked down the street reading his newspaper and purposely walking in the path of the learner's car hoping to get a wee dunt so he could make a nice claim. Cute as a bag of monkeys he was. I wonder if it was the same old dude photocopying ten pound notes.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Whining About Wine

I get the keys to my flat tomorrow. This is the nice flat, not the navy walled flat. I'm glad I didn't just take the first one that came along. Also, tomorrow is the first day of Spring.I think it's quite apt that I should make the move then.

It's a well known fact that when a person quits smoking their sense of smell and taste come back. A couple of weekends ago I landed home with a bottle of wine. I poured a glass for mum, Bert and myself. One sip was enough for me to know that the wine was bad. Mum agreed. Bert, who still smokes, thought there was nothing wrong with the wine. Then again, Bert's tastebuds are accustomed to eating all manner of pickled delights, fish heads, and such like. A gene, no doubt, inherited from his mother who would rather leave an egg and onion sandwich to sit in her bag for 3 days before she deemed it fit to eat.

But no, the wine was definitely soured so mum and I went back to the off licence I purchased it from to exchange for something that was actually drinkable. It just so happens that the off licence is attached to the pub which my mate Half Term Kerm frequents. It is separated by a wall but Kerm must have either heard me, or the fella that served me told Kerm that his mate was in complaining about the wine. I jumped back into the car with mum and looked at a message that had come through on my mobile.

"Gypsy" it read. From Kermy

Knowing full well that he was in the pub I sent him one back that read:

"Ha, you'll probably end up drinking that bottle of sour wine. Gypsy"

"It was mentioned" he wrote back.

A few more texts were sent back and forth before Kermy adhered that if the wine was bad enough for me to bring back then it really was not worth consuming.

And as for my sense of smell, when mum picks me up after work she smells of whatever dinner she happens to be cooking. Last week she smelt like meatloaf. All mum's should smell like dinner. Either that or Zoflora.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fever of the Cabin Variety

If anyone was to ask me what I'd like for my birthday I'd ask for a clown. Or a jester. Or Bill Bailey. Anything to make me laugh. I remember a time in my life when laughter echoed all around. It's amazing how lonely and quiet it can seem without it.

I am a little frustrated at the minute. Kind of sick of Ballymena but realising that I am officially stuck here and I'm trying to make the most of my situation but it's not always easy. All my friends are scattered around the world and I long for their company. I am always trying to make new friends but people my age seem to think they don't need any more friends. I suppose it's because people my age settle down, have kids, get married, etc, etc.

When I lived with J I was constantly inviting people round for music making, or just for a few drinks. When I go to the pub I'm always the one saying to people that we should have more get togethers. No body seems to care that their social lives are average at best. Why settle for average. Everyday can be good if we let it. But I can't do it on my own.

I always had the best parties. That isn't me boasting it is merely the truth. Because my parties were always centred around everyone having fun, not just me. Right now I am excited about loiving by myself but I remember the flat I shared with my friend Romy when we were at uni. It was a happy flat that people always wanted to visit. I hope I have that again some day. But, in truth, my party days are nearly over or, at least, will have to go on hold 'til I figure out what it is I want out of life.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lucky

It's been a quiet weekend for me. I went for a walk down the back lane today and made friends with some baby bulls. They are very tame and sweet. I fed one a brussel sprout and it licked my coat and boots. Their tongues are raspy, like a cats only bigger. I petted them on the nose and ruffled the fur on their necks. Baby bull hair is very soft and fluffy. I thought about the possiblity of riding one like a horse and wondering how fast they can go. I wondered if I could turn that into a story about a cow girl who actually rides a cow. And I wondered who the baddies would be because almost every story has a baddie and, therefore, a hero. So I decided that the bad guys would be Ronald McDonald the mean old freaky farmer clown and his posse of big, fat, capitalist, burger-munching blimps. And I, of course, would be the hero. Me and my cow, Lucky.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Home Is Where The Heart Is

So I went to view a flat yesterday. It was ok, a doer-upper, which means it's basically a blank canvas for me to make all homely and cosy. It does, however, have navy walls in the living room. Navy? Whoever thought navy was a good colour for any room ? I was saying to Jayney that it's probably not a good idea for someone with depression living on a flat with navy walls so a new lick of paint is definitely in order.

So the cons are, it's a pretty shabby flat, which costs a small fortune for a single person surviving on minimum wage. And the walls are navy. The pros, however, do outweigh the cons. It's round the corner from Zoe's meaning I am on hand for emergency babysitting duties. This is mutually beneficial as I take great pleasure in spending time with my nieces. It's also an end terraced house converted into 2 flats so I only have one set of neighbours. The kitchen is a decent size and I may spend quite a bit of time in there cooking nice meals and baking buns. I am especially looking forward to having my own place. I haven't had my own place ever. And yes, it's only a shabby little flat, but it will be my shabby little flat.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Trying

I mentioned a few days ago about how I was grieving a lot of different things all at the one time. Well, I forgot something. Me and J had been watching a TV series called 'An American Horror Story'. I really am not a TV person but it was nice to get into a show. It was nice to get excited every Monday when the new episode would be shown. The last one aired 2 weeks ago. It coincided with the death of everything else. Perhaps it is what pushed me over the edge (it's a shame there isn't a font for melodrama, I could see it being useful).

I was also giving off about TV and video games as a form of escapism. I still don't agree with it but in my time of struggle it has proved a great comfort to me. Both mum and I are obsessed with watching 'Hoarders'. It's a U.S. show about people who accumulate an awful lot of toot and never throw it away. Mum can identify slightly. The whole prospect of holding onto inanimate objects is alien to me. I just don't get attached to things the way some people do. That is why I am ruthless in a clearout. Perhaps I should head over to the states and get myself a job as a personal organiser. Not that I'm much good at organising my own life. I'm just good at getting rid of crap.

I'm taking Rocky to the vets today. He's lost a lot of weight and doesn't seem himself. I feel so bad for the poor wee guy (I can't call him big guy anymore). The past few weeks have been so tough on him as well and, unlike me, he hasn't the ability to understand it. First Pepe died and he was so sad. Then we got the babies and he was ok for a day or two. Then me and J broke up and I wasn't around for a few days and when I came back I took him somewhere totoally different to what he was used to. I kind of feel that I should have left him at the flat with J but he would have been starved of attention due to J's training regime. It's so fricking hard being a parent. At the back of my mind I am picturing worst case scenario, which is Rocky having a respiratory infection like Pepe did. I don't know if I can cope with anymore loss. Hopefully, whatever it is, I'll be getting him to the vet before it's too late. Please God let him be ok. Please.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Hanging In Their Hat

I meant to put this video up a while ago. It's Rocky and Pepe in their hat. As brother and sister they were really close. The dynamics are a bit different now that Pepe's gone and Rocky has two young ladies to contend with. I think he's just taking it all in his stride. Sometimes Rocky lets the two wee ones snuggle in the hat while he has the hammock to himself, sometimes all three of them share the hammock or the hat, but all in all I think Rocky and Meka are a little closer than Rocky and Polly. I can't help but adore Meka because she not only looks like Pepe but she's quite meek and mild in her way of being. Polly is a lovely girl too but I just know she's gonna be hard work cos she's so naughty. Like Pepe, she is always trying to escape and do her own thing. God bless their wee rattie souls. video

Another Loss


Just when you think you can't possibly deal with any more heartache life (or rather death) throws another obstacle in your path. Not to make you go crazy, just to remind you that the circle of life continues regardless of what's going on in your own. Poor Paddy departed yesterday. He was my mum's dog but I'd spent a lot of time with him. The year that I lived in Ballymena with a certain ex boyfriend was spent, mostly, taking Paddy and Rosie for walks. I know this seems like a callous thing to say but it was the only decent thing that ex boyfriend ever did. But, as we all know, dogs do not discriminate and Paddy was rather fond of him. Paddy was a bit of a schmoozer though and was fond of many folk.

Paddy was old and sick and that's a lethal combination. In a word he was done. I kinda know how the poor fella felt but us humans have a habit of feeling done, even when we're not. So, the past few weeks have been nothing but grieving. Apparently, when a smoker decides to give up cigarettes it is akin to grieving. The cigarette has been your friend for so long that when you quit it feels like that friend is dead. So first I lost my pet rat, then I gave up smoking, then my relationship with my boyfriend crumbled to pieces and now Paddy has gone too. Yesterday I was too numb to feel sad. Today I just feel like everything I've known and grown comfortable with has been ripped from underneath my feet. But this is all part of the process. The circle of life means that with each ending there is a new beginning.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Times They Are Achangin'

Please let the spring come fast. New beginnings and all that. The past few weeks have been tough as hell. I guess I didn't realise how badly Pepe's death would affect me. And the quitting smoking. And just life in general. I can't be bothered to explain the ins and outs because I've talked to everyone just recently. They all promise me that my life is not over and things will get better. I do believe them but it's been an exhausting time.

I generally do not like blogging when I'm down but, if I waited 'til I was happy, the few readers that I have would slowly lose interest. And besides, things are never that bad really. I have my niece to give me joy and hope. I have my rats to snuggle with. I have the very best friends and family anyone could ask for. I just have to have faith that everything else will fall into place.

I used to feel guilty about not appreciating all that I have in my life because I know that, compared to some, I have a lot. But, just as some people are unlucky to have illnesses such as diabetes, or epilepsy, or asthma, I am unlucky to have depression. I think it is very much ingrained in our society to believe that depression is merely a sign of weakness. I am learning that though I suffer from a mental illness, it is just as real as any physical illness.

I have put an awful lot of pressure on myself for years and years. I am not a perfectionist the same way as most people are but when it comes to how I believe I should live my life I set myself very high standards. Standards that are so high it is inevitable that at some point I let myself down. And I do it again and again and again. And I've done it for years and years and years. And I am so, so, so tired. So now it's time to cut myself some slack and hopefully change the negative thought cycles so that I can get to a place in my life where I am content to be me. Because, being me isn't that bad. And I think the sooner I realise this the sooner I will conquer this depression that has hung over me for so long.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Get Back Jo Jo

Oh what a week it has been! So, Meka and Jo Jo, our 2 new baby girls. Except that Jo Jo was a man who thought he was a woman, but he knew it couldn't last. Jakers and I wanted 2 girls to keep Rocky company. The reason we wanted girls was because we thought that introducting young, un-neutured bucks would put Rocky's nose out of joint. Rats are pack animals and in packs there will always be competition over dominance.

We arrived home with Jo Jo and Meka and introduced them to Rocky. Rocky immediately went over to groom Meka (a sign of him showing his authority). Little Meka closed her eyes and let Rocky do what he wanted to do. Jo Jo, on the other hand, was trying to run rings round Rocky and kept leaping up onto his back. This aggravated Rocky and there were a few scuffles.

Jo Jo's behaviour seemed more masculine than feminine and on closer inspection of his gemitals Jakers and I both thought he looked more like a boy than a girl. We took Jo Jo back to the pet shop where the shop keeper who was happy to let us trade Jo Jo for a rat we knew was definitely female.

So, now we have Rocky, Meka and a little white rat, with a ginger head and no name. Our little rat family is complete. All three of them are lying snoozing in the hammock. Rocky definitely likes the new rat better than he liked Jo Jo. Which wouldn't have been hard considering he hated Jo Jo. It had to be what was best for Rocky. He is much more content now and back to eating properly. I'm sure he has not forgotten Pepe but at least he is not so lonely now. I don't have any photos just yet but will post as soon as I can.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Old Addictions and New Additions

Today is day 3 of no smoking. It's going a lot better than I thought it would. I think my week of mental preparation has done me proud. I am doing this without any nicotine substitutes. I don't see the point in prolonging my addiction without the so-called pleasure of actually smoking.

Now I feel that I've got this far it would be complete lunacy to ever smoke again. I feel pleased that I have taken control over my life, rather than letting my addiction control me.

But, more importantly, we have two new additions to our rat clan. Rocky has been miserable since Pepe's departure. He's been off his food and has been looking very folorn. It was breaking my heart to see him so sad and lonely. It's a well known fact that rats can die of depression if they have lost a mate and apparently it can happen quite quickly. So, without further ado, we went down to the pet shop and picked up 2 new babies. Of course, nothing is ever straightforward for me when it comes to rats. We arrived back home with Jo Jo and Meka. But anyway, that's a story in itself and one I will keep for tomorrow.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

R.I.P. Sweet P.

Today is a struggle. Pepe passed away this morning just after 10. I don't care if she was a rat, she was my rat and she was precious. Last night we were hopeful that she'd pull through. The vet had given her an injection and she was taking small amounts of liquid. I set her out a bowl of yoghurt. She had a little. She fell asleep with her little paws hanging over the edge of the bowl and her nose nearly touching the yoghurt.

Later I took her out of the cage and nursed her in a tea towel for a while. She looked a bit more comfortable than she had been but was still frail and weak. I wanted to cradle her all night but I couldn't. Later in the night she had one last little burst of energy trying to get into her main cage, with Rocky. I kind of knew then that she was dying because rats will always want to go back to their nest to die. I couldn't let her though in case Rocky picked up the infection too.

This morning I really knew it was bad. Her breathing was so light and she was a little cold. I had to leave for work but I told Jakers she wasn't making much improvement and that the vet opened at 10. I called him shortly after 10. He said she wasn't good and, while I was asking him a million questions and giving a million orders, he said to me, "Darling she's stopped breathing". At which point I started to cry down the phone, which made Jakers cry. I thought it was very poignant that she held on long enough to take her last breath while I was on the phone. It was the closest I could be to her side. After I cried for a while I told Jakers to put her into to the cage for a minute so Rocky could say goodbye. Jakers said Rocky groomed her for a while and sniffed her a bit. He seemed to understand.

I know it is hard for some people to understand how I could be upset over a rat but Rocky and Pepe have been my babies for a year. Many a night I have gone out drinking and gone home early to see the rats. When they'd sleep top to toe in the hammock together they looked like a ying yang symbol. I used to love poking my finger inbetween where their stomachs met and giving them a little tickle. And I loved the way when I stroked Pepe's head how her eyes would close over in bliss. And, though I'm sad, I'm able to raise a little smile when I think of her biting Jakers nipple a few weeks ago. It was only a gentle nibble, like what they do to each other when they're grooming.


Me and Jakers are sitting here now remembering all her ways. Rocky is content for the mean time, eating some banana. Next week will be tough on him when we're out at work but I'm hoping he only has to go a few days without company. The reason we got Pepe was for him. Rats don't do good on their own. As soon as I can I'll get 2 more babies. Rocky is such a gentle, docile fella that I don't think we need to worry about them getting on. He needs someone to cuddle with in the hammock. And he needs someone to keep him on his toes like Pepe did. God rest her wee soul.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Poor Pepe



If you could see a picture of this wee girl right now, it doesn't matter how much you dislike rats, your heart would break. Jakers noticed the other night that she had blood on her neck and chin. Our initial reaction was to assume she'd had a fight with Rocky and he'd bit her neck. I took her into the bedroom to try and clean her up and get a look at her but rat's are such delicate little creatures that I was afraid of doing more harm than good.

She also had blood around her nose and I wondered, if Rocky had bit her neck, why she had blood on her nose. And it seemed strange that Rocky did not have any blood on him whatsoever. I did some research on the internet and found her symptoms to be similar to an upper respiratory infection. Either way she was going to have to see the vet.

Mum and I took her this morning. My prognosis was right. At first the vet thought she did have a wound on her neck but when she cleaned Pepe up there was no gash. I was relieved in a way because I didn't think Rocky could be capable of causing such harm, and if he was, we'd have to keep them seaparate. But she is a very poorly little rat and it's breaks my heart to see her like this.

Pepe is the cheeky one. She's the one we had bother with escaping and trying to assert her authority. Nothing was going to keep Pepe back from exploring and doing her own thing and we had our work cut out with her. Now we have built up trust with her she is the sweetest girl. I'm particularly close to her because Jakers was also the one disciplining her. I got to be the good cop and she bonded well with me. Getting them back into they're cage after a scoot out is a breeze. We either usher them along to the cage where they're happy to jump in themselves, or Pepe will crawl up onto my sleeve and I'll carry her over.

One night, Rocky had already climbed back in the cage himself and Pepe was lurking outside the cage. It was bedtime and I went to usher her in the cage. Even though she was right by it she insisted on doing a full circuit of the living room, running behind the chairs and sofa, eventually arriving right back at the cage and jumping in. This is just another example of how Pepe likes to do things her own way.

Right now she is weak and resting. I managed to force her to drink a few drops of warm water mixed with sugar and salt. The vet sait to try to encourage her to eat. I suggested plenty of fresh fruit and the vet replied "Whatever she wants". I'm going out shortly to get her some yoghurt and cheese. The yoghurt should be easier for her to take but if my sweetpea wants cheese she will have cheese.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Today Is A Gift

Yesterday is the past. Tomorrow is the future. Today is a gift, that's why we call it the 'present'

I wish I could cite this quote properly. I think, though I may be wrong, that it comes from a children's animated film, in which all humans have a 'spirit animal'. The reason I'm quoting it is because I've decided to quit smoking. I decided during the weekend that I would allow myself one more week of smoking and then that was it. It has been in my thoughts to quit for many years now but I carried on with my addiction, convincing myself that it was never the right time. There is no right time though and that kind of reasoning is merely a form of procrastination. There's no time like the present when it comes to getting things done.

I have allowed myself a week of mental preparation though. The reason being is I want a week of smoking but viewing it differently. Viewing it less as an addiction and more as just something silly that I do. I am noticing that I don't actually crave cigarettes so much. I wake up in the morning and convince myself that I could go without my morning smoke. I still have it but there isn't the same satisfaction.

I have made several lists. The first list is reasons why I should quit. I managed to come up with 10 reasons. When I feel the urge to smoke I just need to look at all those reasons for quitting. I also plan to keep myself extremely busy next week. When I'm not working I will try to fill my time constructively. I can paint, play guitar, excercise and read. I will go visitng friends in the evenings. Take as many driving lessons as I can possibly get and, basically, mentally and physically wear myself out so that I have no time to think about smoking.

As well as that I shall indulge in nature's remedies by taking lavender baths and drinking chamomile tea. Anything to take the edge off. I have been mentally prepping myself for dealing with the onset of cravings. I will tell myself that, not only will I be saving money, I won't stink or have stained teeth and I won't be setting a bad example to my darling nieces. So with all that in mind I feel well equipped to deal with whatever this whole stopping smoking buisness has in store for me. I don't assume it'll be a walk in the park but there's no point going into it with a defeatist attitude. Nicotene doesn't have control over me, I have control over me. Who knows what next week will bring though. It's just another big wave that I gotta ride out.

Monday, January 16, 2012

How Big Do You Want It?

I was chatting to a mate about music. Let's call this guy Lenny. He's a bit of a cheese merchant when it comes to music so when he was listing off a few bands that he liked, and he got to Nickelback, I scrunched up my face in disapproval and told him I hated them. Then I said, in all seriousness, "Nickelback, that's a kind of a fish, isn't it?"

"Naw", said Lenny, "That's a stickleback"

And then he went on to tell me that the band got the name Nickelback from when the lead singer worked in a shop and he was always saying "here's your nickel back". For some reason I felt the need to google this to make sure Lenny wasn't spinning some crap but he was telling the truth. The lead singer worked in Starbucks. So, I may become a famous rock star yet. I guess if I was going to name my band after a phrase I use all the time it could be Matt or Gloss? but that reminds me too much of the 80's duo Bros who were brothers call Matt and Luke. Another choice would be How Big Do You Want It? This, of course, is the question you ask when a customer is asking you to enlarge a photograph for them.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Life Is Like A Jigsaw

I can't wait to have kids. This is no secret. But it's not children I want to post about. This post is about how we fill our lives up with materialistic goods, a behaviour that is learned, rather than innate.

Jakers had his wee girl up tonight. She wants for nothing. For Christmas her daddy bought her a new phone. One of these android phones that does everything (except walk the dog). She also has a DS Nintendo. Both of which she had with her tonight but when I sat down to do my jigsaw she asked if she could help. So we spent the next hour jigsawing, which warmed wee Jakers' heart. Ok, we couldn't have bonded without some kind of materialistic possession, but surely a jigsaw is much more wholesome than computer games?

The point is though, children don't need T.V. and video games to entertain them, adults need them to entertain the kids. Why? Because life is so hectic and meaningless now that adults all rush around trying to do the things they think they're supposed to do, and they have no time to do the simple things with children. And the simple things really are very simple. I wholeheartedly believe that children will revel in almost any activity, so long as they have the company of others. Adults forget this and think it's better to do things alone because they'll get it done quicker and, more importantly, they'll get to do it their own way.

I've always believed I was born in the wrong era. I benefit form modern technology and I utilise it but I am aware of how souless it all is. I wonder when the term 'escapism' was coined and was there ever a time when we didn't feel the need to escape?

Sunday, January 08, 2012

The Taoist That Strayed

You know how technology is, great when it's working, annoying when it's not. The other day in work we had a customer sitting at one of our computers choosing his photos. We do this when their CD or their pendrive doesn't work in the kiosks. Another customer walked in. I heard his voice before I actually seen him. It was a voice I knew as this particular guy has been in a few times and he's somewhat memorable.

I would call him an excitable chap. He doesn't so much speak but holler in a high pitched tone. He likes to chat about photography and how Apple is better than microsoft (a debate I refuse to participate in) and he doesn't like to make eye contact. I say none of this in a hateful way. He is quite the character.

Anyway, it was my colleague who was serving him at the kiosk and as she was finishing off his order the guy was pacing around the shop chatting away to no one in particular when he noticed the customer sitting at the computer. This is when my ears pricked up as I heard him say "I hope that's not Stray Taoist, he's my friend on Flickr"

Well, he didn't say Stray Taoist, what he said was Stray Toysta, but I knew he meant Stray Taoist and I knew that he had never atcually met him in person, just that he had him as a contact on Flickr.

The Man Who Wasn't Stray Taoist finished his order and left and our little friend said "I bet that was Stray Taoist". I sniggered to myself as I knew it most definitely wasn't but I didn't want to burst the guy's bubble.

So Mr. Taoist, if you have a wee random contact on your Flickr list that sounds like he might fit the bill of our delightful little customer you can let him know that it was most definitely not you sitting in my place of work. And you can thank him for brightening up my day.

Friday, January 06, 2012

In Which I Climb Through A Window

When you get to a certain age you begin to enjoy going back to normality after the festive season. Sure, work's a bore but you need that boredom to appreciate the calm and relaxation when you're not working.

This year is an important one for me. For no other reason than I've decided it is. I now have a goal for my driving. I aim to have my license before I turn 30 in April. This will also be the year that I save up so I can do some further education. I am sick of dead end jobs and caring way more than I am paid to care. But that's not my employer's fault, though it doesn't stop me hating them for it.

Basically, I hope to change my whole philosophy on life. I have spent long enough thinking about the things in life that make me happy. Now it is time to stop thinking and start doing. This involves being pro-active. It involves a healthy body and healthy mind. I have a tendency to get caught in negative thought processes. I need to learn jedi mind tricks to break the vicious cycles. Before Christmas I cut out sugar. It no longer has the hold it once had on me. The next stage of the process is excercise. And the stage after that is overcoming the evil beast that is nicotene.

If it doesn't happen this year I shall not be too hard on myself. We never know what's round the corner. The day before New Year's Eve I had a knock at the door. It was the Polish lady who lives in the flat below. She was anxious and asked if my boyfriend was home. Jakers was at work. She grabbed my arm asking me to come with her. As we rushed down the stairs she explained that the man that lived in the flat next to her wouldn't answer his door and he'd left his oven on. She had noticed when she was outside and she could smell burning. His kitchen window was slightly ajar and when she opened it smoke billowed out. She showed me quickly before dragging me into her flat to get a step ladder. Even though she was anxious she was eager for me to see her cosy flat and show me her bible. She needed me to to help because I was thin and she wouldn't fit through the window.

So, she held the step ladder for me as I climbed through the window to switch off the oven. The smoke was pretty bad. The kitchen door was closed and she reckoned the old man had fallen asleep. After she was sure that the oven was off she told me to come out. She thanked me and said that we had to do it because one day it could be me, or her, who was in need of help. I am sure that if I hadn't climbed through the window someone else would have noticed and helped, at least have called the fire brigade. But I suppose there's something kind of heroic about nipping it in the bud before it gets to that stage. And the old dude downstairs has his lovely Polish neighbour to thank for that. I often have chats with her on the stairs. And one day I walked in and she had a bunch of flowers. I commented on how nice they were and she plucked a few flowers from it and gave them to me. We should all strive to be as neighbourly as Gabi.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Like A Pack Of Teenagers

I love Dirt Bird. You could tell her that her favourite band was playing a special, private gig and you'd got her tickets to go but she'd still want to spend New Year's out at the Dreen with Nellybert. It's tradition now. Just the same as Boxing Day dinner is a tradition. Another tradition is the entertainment provided by Nellybert and Mr. and Mrs. Banjo. If you don't believe me here is the photographic evidence.



Mr. Banjo is on the prowl. At first Mr. Banjo tries whispering a few sweet nothings to Nelly. She is mildly disinterested.



Mr. Banjo tries a more hands on approach but Nelly, clearly, thinks that he is only after one thing, her precious bottle of wine.




Mr. Banjo is really trying his hand now. He goes in for a peck on the cheek, right in front of Bert, who is red with anger behind that big hand of his.



All of a sudden Mrs. Banjo appears, seemingly disapproving of Mr. Banjo's advances towards Nelly, Bert's anger has been replaced by an envy of the attention that Nelly is receiving. Nelly is red though not through anger, just sheer utter excitement.



Mrs. Banjo decides to give Mr. Banjo a taste of his own medicine and Bert's envy is replaced by joy and glee. Nelly is just mildly amused.

So that is how we spent the New Year. That and a bit of harmless New Year Planking. Mr. Banjo juinor received piano lessons off Dirt Bird and played chopsticks repeatedly for at least an hour and a half. She then taught him Auld Lang Syne just in time for the clock striking 12. He was under presseure too as we only asked him to learn it at twenty to twelve. He done great.