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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Disco at the Dreen

It's a good job I'm not easily spooked. Unfortunately, Ziggy is and I pay the price for that. Yesterday Ziggy, Sprollie McAuley and I came out to my mum's. Nellybert are away spending Christmas with Katkins and her little one. I have the Banjos coming to keep me company but they won't get here until sometime today.

Ahhhhh, the peace and quiet of the countryside. Aye right! 'Twas blowing a gale last night and Ziggy insisted at barking at every leaf rustling on the ground and every creaky floorboard in the house. We managed to sleep despite. I woke up wedged between Sprollie McAuley and Ziggy. I'd lost all feeling in one side of my body. Was this not meant to be some kind of relaxing holiday?

The first thing I did when I got here was light the fire. I am not sure what Bert does most of the year around but he says his pot bellied stove is no good. This is lies. It just needs to be cleared of it's ashes every onest and a while. I took to this task with great glee. I happened upon several large black screws and a small square piece of metal. Perhaps if Bert tired burning wood and coal instead of metal his fires might go better. My fire was a fire to champion all fires. Not quite as good as the one in the treehouse when the stove glowed red. But good enough to keep me and Dirt Bird warm.

Dirt Bird joined me for a few hours. Before she arrived I used the kitchen as my own personal disco hall. I played my tunes full blast and made shapes all over the place. I felt alive. I had toyed with the idea of joining my work buddies for the staff night out but I was enjoying my company too much.

It was lovely to see my dear friend. She had a cold lurgy going on. I had the Christmas Rush lurgy so our frame of minds complemented each other perfectly. I told her about the really nice thing one of my tutors said about my course work and she felt a tear come to her eye. She's the kind of friend that swells up with pride on your behalf. I miss her when she's not here.

Now I have to be brave and go outside and look at things. Y'know, make sure that the treehouse hasn't blown away, all livestock is well, bonsai trees haven't died, etc. Then I will light another fire because big country houses can feel cold and lonely without one.

Friday, December 18, 2015


Last week went by in a coursework frenzy. Well, actually, it wasn't really that frenzied as I just chipped away at it all week but it was pretty all-consuming. I handed it in on Monday, went for food with my classmates then had a couple of drinks with the two other musketeers who have become dear friends through this course. On Tuesday I came home from work and sat on the sofa realising just how drained I was. Ziggy had an extended stay at mum's due to transport issues. He arrived back filthy. As always.

I've had to work extra over Christmas. I have grumbled a lot about it. Tomorrow I start at four in the morning. I don't grumble over nothing y'know. Tomorrow night there is a reunion gig. Jobe, the 'real' guitar player of the GCDCs has turned 40 and his former band mates thought it would be nice to get back together for the occasion. I am hoping I stay awake long enough to see them play.

As always, when I go to write a blog post I am convinced I have something funny and witty to share and then I get there and wonder where those awesome ideas have gone. Have I forgot them? Did I really have them? I'm sure I had something funny and witty to, I just wanted to moan about all the hard work I've been doing.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Super Han

As Ziggy and I walked along the river path today the sun was just going down. The world looked nice. I thought about how we're all just doing our best in life. Made me think of a preliminary line for Russian Alcoholic Zest, "Wear your vest, do you your best", which then reminded me of the time that my two elder sisters created Super Han. I wasn't overly happy at the time but we learn to laugh at ourselves as we get older. Super Han wore a vest, 'y' fronts and fishnet tights. It's true, I did wear vests for a long time but this was because I didn't want to grow up. Plus, they kept me warm. So I let them laugh at my expense and I decided to recreate Super Han so everyone else can laugh at my expense (including me).

But, you know what, we all have to be adults sometimes too. This evening I made the very mature decision to cancel music night so I could get coursework done for the end of term. I got some feedback from work yesterday which was really positive and uplifting. This puts me in good stead for starting placement in January. What I actually ended up doing tonight was 10 per cent course work, 20 per cent counting change from my change jar, 20 per cent drawing a really bad picture of Super Han (at least Z was an artist) and 50 per cent cleaning gunk out of the washing machine. A productive evening for sure!

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Russian Alcoholic Zest

I'm struggling to keep my Zen at the minute. It has been replaced with the jitters. This is what happens when it turns December and you check your bank balance and get a quare shock because you had forgotten all about the £120 payment for course fees. They come out in four instalments during September, November, December and February. Combined with the extra cost of oil and electricity at this time of year it is no wonder that I find the winter months a struggle. In January and February the overtime at work will be cut so it may take me until March next year before I get back on track. This is the cycle. And it's not even like I'm rich in the summer, I just don't have that same pressure. This year I had planned to save up during the warmer months because I knew the winter would be hard. This would have worked out ok if I hadn't failed my driving test 3 times and had to buy a new camera for the wedding.

I do not really want this blog post to be a moan about money but I just felt a little dsiheartened when I cheked my balance. On the plus side, we had another fantastic music session on Tuesday. Gus has fitted back in nicely with the new set up. We are all a lot more open and honest in sharing ideas and feedback. We have really only a couple of complete songs but plenty more on the back burner. There's the Dessert Song, the Vervey One, the One About the Lesbian Artist, the Anthem, The Roadtrip One and the New Sound. The New Sound is based on a bass riff Tobe had come up with and it sounds really good but I think it's gonna be a hard one to sing along to. My well of creativity kinda dried up when I had to do loads of school work so I haven't been in the flow of writing.

Gus and I are working on something on the side. It's kind of an ode to Tojo who used to live here and the song is played, of course, to the chords G, C and D:

I'm possessed in my chest,
With Russian alcoholic zest,
Bathroom messed, flatmate stressed,
Eating spicy chicken fillet breast,
I've assessed, cardiac arrest,
With Russian alcoholic zest.

It is pretty much a nonsense song that could go on and on for ever because there are a lot of words that rhyme with 'zest'. Oh yes. I'm trying to persuade Gus to open a coffee shop called Ziggy's Palace of Earthly Pleasure. Another good idea for the museum of good ideas.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Another Orange Ball

I got out of class a bit earlier than usual tonight. Silver linings all over the place! Ziggy is also home with me cause he got babysat by Jakers instead of his granny. I bought Ziggy a new orange ball. He's had two before that got lost. This one is extra special. It has strobe lighting that works on impact. It does come with warnings though. Two. One is for humans to not stare at the strobe lighting for too long or too closely. The other one is for the dog, saying it contains small parts and the ball is not a chew toy. I guess it's the sort of ball most responsible dog owners would avoid. I trust Ziggy with it though. Orange balls are not for chewing and he knows that. They are for losing.

Today was much easier not having to go to work. I left class at 7 O'Clock without feeling completely drained. In fact, I was feeling quite uplifted because I handed some work in after weeks of procrastination. But the Desert Song was not going to write itself. Even though it's a song about the desert (sort of) and we call it the Desert Song we can't officially call it that because Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have already took that spot. We may call it the Dessert Song.

The calendar tells me it's one month to Christmas. The shops were telling me four weeks ago that it was Christmas but somehow I just didn't believe them. I believe the calendar though. They don't lie like the shops do. I won't panic yet. I'll wait until 5 days 'til Christmas before deciding that 'this shit got real'.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Last night's music night was just like old times. When I say old times I mean like a few a months ago. Gus had been laying low for awhile but now he's back out to play, bringing much silliness with him. This past week's been busy. I slept in for work on Tuesday morning. I think I know why. Normally when I come home from class on a Monday night it takes a while for my brain to shut down. To be honest, I don't think it actually does shut down and whatever sleep I get on a Monday night is very light. I felt compelled to write a blog post this week after class and I reckon it got all those thoughts out of mind and cleared it for me to fall into a deep sleep. I slept through two alarms. I only woke when my phone was ringing to tell me my lift was there.

I'm off work for a few days. The plan was to get a bit of a rest before the Christmas rush. Ziggy peed on the Christmas tree at the bandstand today. I am proud of my little 'bah humbug' dog. Then we went to the beach with my dad and nieces. It was a nice day for it. Ziggy hasn't been to the beach since the roadtrip. He had forgotten all about being a beach dog.

I thought I had loads to write about but as it turns out, I don't. Had a strange dream last week that I had a hole in my belly and a fly crawled out of it. When I woke up I went to the toilet and my eye was drawn to something black on the floor. A fly. I thought that was kind of odd. Gus shared his insightful analysis of my dream. He thought it represented my desire to have children and my fear that I was getting older and, well, to put it bluntly, the fly represented my fear that my womb was rotting away. Then he told me he'd seen the fly in my bathroom wearing a nappy and sucking a dummy. Her name's J'amblet.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Collapse The Econony

It's late. Ok, it's not that late. 21:53 to be precise but I'm up at the screak of dawn (I'm sure there's something not right with that word 'screak' sounds a little made up. Maybe it's ulsterscots). I had to write though because today was class day and I just found my passion rekindled. We watched a Ted talk video, one that I'd seen before and had made an impression on me. It's about the power of vulnerability. Here's a link for those so inclined to embrace their own vulnerability. It's very empowering.

I am glad to be feeling this way about class again. One of the things Brene Brown talks about in her video is how humans are hard wired for meaningful connections. What prevents us from feeling connected to others is our inability to show our vulnerability which is, in essence, showing who we really are. Daring to be ourselves. I had been feeling disheartened, disconnected and ready to pack everything in. I love the days when I'm reminded of who I am, what's important to me and why I do what I do and try to achieve what I try to achieve. Both in my personal and professional life. They're intertwined with my values.

That doesn't stop the road ahead being uncertain and bumpy at times. But I'm an expert blowhole surfer at both ends of the spectrum. Another thing I learnt today is that the revolution will most definitely be started by women. I was pretty amazed to find out that the whole world's economy would collapse if women stopped buying cosmetic products. So here's another video, purely for educational purposes, to illustrate, in a rather explicit manner, how some girls are kinda fed up with the whole capitalism thing.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Joblette

I did not do any schoolwork today (except read a little bit of a book called "The Myth of Suicide") and so I have words left over to blog. What shall I use them for hmmmm....

Someone I know was telling me about a bit of extra work they did on Game of Thrones. There were only four extras so they got the luxury of eating the same food as the actors. My friend was overjoyed at the breakfast buffet and especially charmed by the 'omelette station'. I asked him what he had. He said 'Everything. I had a cooked breakfast, mueseli, youghurt, fruit and a three egg mushroom omelette. Which was a mistake. Because an hour later I had to shit'. He went on to tell me that the costumes were particularly difficult to go to the toilet in but he realised that he could use the sword belt and buckle it really tight so the food could not go anywhere. Of course, once the belt was removed...well, he made it to the toilet but not without an uncomfortable bus journey to endure first.

It's the day of Fri. It's gone so cold. I have added another blanket to the bed and there's a hot water bottle waiting for me. I will fight this cold with heat!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Four Baldy Bastards

I like to believe that if I was cut open, rivers of words would flow out rather than rivers of blood. I should probably drink cans of red thesauri, to make sure the words never run out.

No more new songs lately. Except for the Desert Song. Jobe thinks it sounds very like Queens of the Stone Age. I said "Humph...but they never did a desert song" to which Jobe replied "Yes they did. They're from Palm Desert. Their record label did the Desert Sessions!" Well, fuck them anyway. Thinking they own the desert.

We're all pretty pleased with it. I think that's because it's the first song we've really written together. It started off as one of Jobe's many little riffs, Jakers added another guitar, I wrote some words and Tobe figured out the bass line. Jakers is always talking about 'The band'. I am still an advocate of 'music night' as opposed to 'band practice'. Jakers nearly quit and went solo. This is how it is when you're in a band. Us creative types can get very moody lol

I have to maintain my stance on what this was always about. It was, to some degree, about the music. Mostly, it was about friendship and people connecting over something fun and beautiful. If it starts to become all about the music it loses it's charm for me. When everything has to be done right, done to perfection, practiced ad infitum, I stop seeing it as a creative enterprise and more like a job.

I am hopeful it won't get that way. And, if a lucky coincidence occurs and we end up writing more songs this is just an added bonus to something that it is already pretty awesome. And if we do keep writing songs and working well together we might have to change the name of the band. The GCDC's were the name of a band who weren't really a band. They indulged playing songs only in G, C and D because it was easy and fun. Jakers wants me to shave my head so we can call ourselves Four Baldy Bastards.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

The Ego and The Spark

The Ego. They say it is no good. We should let go of ego. But I disagree. We should be the master of our ego, not let our ego be the master of us. Our ego should be more dog, less cat. Though I don't particulalry like that analogy. It doesn't seem fair including animals in something that is distinctly human. Actually, no, I realise that is a naive assumption. Animals do display behaviour that would suggest they have some kind of ego. Like small, cocky dogs thinking they are tougher than they are, or cats who get embarassed when they do something stupid and start licking their privates as a way of hiding their shame.

I think the ego serves us to a certain degree. I like to be aware of what my ego is driving me to do, why it's driving me to do it, and what the outcome will be if I let it have it's wicked way. I mean, who doesn't want praise? Who doesn't want to be thought something of? I, personally, like those physical and metaphorical pats on the head. It makes me feel grounded and connected at the same time. The first time I put a video of my song on facebook I was genuinely surprised by the reaction it got. It was humbling to realise that people liked something I had made.

But will my ego get carried away with the praise and start churning out drivel just for the sake of hearing someone say it was good? I'd really like to hope not. Because then it loses it's essence. It's reason for being made is not to provoke self-affirming reactions from others. No, it's reason for being made was because it wanted to be made. A spark went off and I chose to nurture it because I realised, that spark, that poem, that song is part of me.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Bad Week Good Week

This week has been a great week. I wonder was it really that awesome or is it just in comparison with the week before which was horrendous? Here's a snapshot of those two weeks.

Saturday night week one - get off the plane, Bert, Judy Pudding and Ziggy waiting for me. Dropped off at home. Boys come round with drink and we make music and catch up for a few hours. Realise it's midnight and get a taxi to the pub. Stay there until 3 in the morning. Go home, pass out.

Sunday - force myself to get out of bed at 11 so I can get to sleep at night. Regret my decision. Lie on the sofa feeling sorry for myself. Attempt a dog walk. Fail miserably but think Ziggy is just as tired as I am. Go to shop. Buy ice cream. Feel sorry for myself all day.

Monday - go to work. Survive. Go to class. Realise that I am not enjoying anything about this year whatsoever. Do 'here and now' exercise. Go home and try to process the days events.

Tuesday - Hard day at work. Overtime cut. Stress about money. Shattered. Music night. Everyone's playing an instrument except me. No inspiration for words. Want everyone to go home so I can sleep. Too polite. Should have used my infamous line from a night in Thailand "You can stay, just turn off the lights and don't make any noise"

Wednesday - Day off. Finally! Go to meet woman about placement starting in January. Woman cancelled. Not her fault. Would have made me feel productive but ho well.

Thursday - Hate work. Still stressed about cutbacks.

Friday - Same as above!

All in all rather depressing. Cutbacks at work have a serious knock on effect to me being able to finish my course, and, the way I was feeling last week I was ready to knock it all on the head. Then came the Golden Week.

Saturday - Get overtime in work. Raging. Had expected to go home early and had made my peace. Feeling all over the place. Then...late Saturday evening...text message from boss. Trying her best to get us the hours we need and wanting everyone to work together. Heart warmed. Working hard does pay off. Brilliant music session. Didn't go to the pub.

Sunday - Clear head. Energised. Ziggy walked, drawers decluttered, paperwork sorted, files organised, bed sheets changed. New woman. Buy ice cream.

Monday - Work good. Half term, no class, coursework started, yee ha!

Tuesday - Work good. Bonding session with flatmate. Tell him it is time he buys toilet paper. Music night good.

Wednesday - Meet with woman about placement. Find my mojo. Coursework flowing. Feeling productive.

Thursday - Work good, dog walk with Zen N, get lost in drawing a piture of the blowhole.

Today - Work exhausting, but good. Fridge full of yougurts and cheese.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Bonus Hour

It was a pleasure to meet my new nephew. Obviously I'm a little biased but he is absolutely gorgeous. His main tricks are; feeding, crying, poohing and giggling. He's a real wee smiler and he's rather fond of classical guitar music. This was the longest time I've spent in any baby's company and, well, it certainly didn't put me off. In fact, it made me a little broody (like I wasn't broody already!).

Little J looks a lot like his mummy. I know this because I used to look at all of our baby photos. I am sure as he grows older he will resemble his father's features too but I think we tend to see our own genes in babies because they are more familiar to us. When I was a baby I only looked like one member of our family and that was a great aunt on my dad's side. It might just have been a coincidence though and mum even said recently she wonders if they gave her the right baby at the hospital. She's stuck with me now though!

Music has been going strong recently. We all feel like we're learning. I am learning less technical, musical instrument stuff than the boys but I am learning to be more confident and less ashamed of my creative pursuits. I remember the days when I tried to play in front of people and my throat would close over. I am less concerned about being perfect and more concerned with singing my heart out because it just feels so damn good. Blogger doesn't give me the option to upload videos or I would share one but, hey, the rate we're going you'll be able to see the GCDC's at the Royal Albert Hall in 2016 ;)

Oh, and I was pleased about the bonus hour this weekend. Not as pleased as I'll be next March when we're minus an hour but I have to see the silver lining at the minute.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Photos Replace Words

Life really is busy at the minute. The summer had me spoilt. I haven't even had time to see my nieces in weeks. The universe planned to rectify this by chance meetings in the street twice in two days and then a short visit from them today. Even the briefest of interactions with them make me happy. And when they haven't seen me in a while they are full of smiles and cuddles and kisses.

Even more exciting, I get to meet my nephew on Wednesday. Katkins can't wait to introduce her little darling to one of his aunties and I can't wait to meet him. This means that Mr. Zigatron Grumbleface Marley will have to spend four whole days away from me. I expect lots of licking and snurfling and grumbles when I get back.

I can see now that I have the option to upload photos. I might as well add some colour to the palace.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Two New Songs and a Bouncy Ball

I was going to put up some photos of Ziggy the Beach Dog when we were on our road trip but blogger seems to have changed and I can't see any options to upload photos. Surely this can't be?

Perhaps the doctor's prescription of smarties wasn't such a bad idea as I seem to have perked up considerably. On Saturday night Ziggy and I headed out and I realise now that Ziggy is much more popular, more memorable and more loved than I am but this is the advantage of being a wee hairy dog baby with a little button nose and floppy ears. It was a fun night and it ended up with the usual friendly debate I have with everyone, in which I get accused of being naive because I truly believe that the world will become a better place.

Work has been more tolerable. The course has been a reminder of one of my most difficult ongoing challenges, which is my tendancy to procrastinate because of crippling insecurities. I ask myself everyday if I'm ready to be a counsellor and my heart and soul say yes and then my mind pipes in telling me all kinds of reasons why I'm not ready. On the plus side, all of the worry and doubt around the course has been replaced by lots of creative inspiration. I might not be focusing on my studies as much as I feel I should but I've written two new songs in a week and so at least I'm being productive in some way. This consoles me. Also, I made a bouncy ball. I told my tutors this when they asked each of us to say one positive thing that had happened that week with regards to our placement. One of them looked baffled. I thought she was questioning my commitment but she just wanted to know how I had made a bouncy ball.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dr. Smarty Pants

Yesterday I went to the doctors. I'm not even sure what these people do. I think they might just enjoy looking in your ears, poking your stomach and then telling you there's bugger all wrong with you and give you a prescription of smarties. Yes, I'm pretty sure that's all they do.

No, no, I know they are a bit more useful than that but, often that's how I feel after visiting them. Baring in mind, I'm 33 and I only go to the doctor when I absolutely have to. In the past this has mostly been to deal with depression. Same thing normally happens, they ask you a few questions "Do you feel that life is worth living?" which is pretty much a more sensitive way of asking "Would you like to top yourself?" and then they weigh you and tell you you're underweight and that diet and mood are directly linked and how are you meant to feel happy when your body has nothing to feel happy with. So they prescribe you some smarties to put on weight.

I'm being very unfair though. Some doctors are better than others and I have dealt with some very decent ones. The one yesterday didn't seem to take my sinus problem overly seriously though. I tried to point out to him exactly where I thought the tumour was growing in my frontal lobe and the swelling it was causing all down my eyes and nose (I think hypochondria runs in my family...I never actually mentioned anything about a tumour on my frontal lobe but if he had been a fit doctor to practice he would have noticed it straight away). So off he sent me with a nasal spray and some smarties. The tumor told me last night it would have preferred skittles but. seemingly, they are more expensive to produce.

Whilst I recognise that we are lucky to have any kind of system in place that provides us with free(ish) health care often I wonder would I not just be better taking the medicine that nature had already provided for us. Homeopathy all the way!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

In The Hedgerow

Music night was quiet last night with just Jakers and I blasting out a few tunes. I played him a new song I'd written and he was very sweet with his feedback. I still don't take it too seriously because all I have are the bare bones of song writing. Then again, isn't that how all songs start out?

I've started to do a bit more writing in general which is good. Every once in a while I feel very passionately about my writing and I want it to "go places". Where, I'm not exactly sure because the world is getting so full up of stuff that sometimes it feels like there's no room for any more words, or songs, or pictures. After spending time in Connemara I realise that I could happily retreat there and plug into the wild, rustic nature to inspire some kind of book. I think I'd like to live in a hedgerow.

As always, when I fill my days with creative pursuits there is not so much left over for my blog. My wee dried-up diary! And isn't it funny how I have grown to become so affectionate about it? I speak of my blog as an actual 'thing' when all it really is is a part of me. So, I guess it's kind of good and positive to feel affectionate towards it.

Here's a picture of the treehouse drawn by me and coloured in by M.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Back To Work :(

It seems that the more one enjoys one's time off from work the harder it is for one to go back to work. Getting back to reality after the roadtrip was hard. Well, no, getting back to work was hard. In the wilderness the energy is pure and serene. In work the energy is toxic. But this week also brought with it the start of my second year of my degree. Scary times ahead. Scary because of the financial commitment and the deadlines. Everything else is the 'unknown' and that kind of excites me. My motto for this year is something I told myself a while ago. The only person that's pointing a gun to my head is myself. And it's not so much a gun, more like a brain-jobby-poking-stick-device to wiggle in my ear and stimulate my senses.

On Tuesday night we had a few more faces to our jamming session. One is a fella named Jobe (I probably shouldn't give him a nickname that so closely resembles jobby but I like the name Jobe and I like the guy so that's what I'm gonna call him). Jobe is an actual proper bassist so that's always handy. The other guy is called Tobe (I'm feeling uninspired at the minute) and he's an actual proper guitarist so that is also very handy. Since I now feel completely inadequate as a guitarist I have been forced to pick up the saxophone and convince myself that it won't take long before I'm a jazz funkist.

Music night is always different. When Gus is here it is a goofball session. This is when we do really bad covers and play our own ridiculous songs. When Jobe is here we take ourselves a bit more serioously and try to perfect the covers that we can sort of play. When Tobe is here we get all inspired about writing our own songs that are not ridiculous because we have an actual proper guitarist who can write music.

Other than music night the week has been rather lacklustre. Work is sucky. I'm broke and feeling drained. On the plus side, I managed to save myself £200 by using my common sense. My guitar was sounding awful and I thought I was going to have to buy a new one. Instead I bought some new strings and now she's playing like a dream.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Road Trip

I didn't get a chance to blog before Ziggy, Mel and I headed on our roadtrip. We are back now and an awesome time was had by all. We started off on Saturday night by sleeping in the treehouse. It was dark when we arrived but we had a cosy fire and a few drinks to warm us. We settled down for the night, blew out the candles, switched off the lights and it suddenly occurred to me that it was actually roasting. I looked at the pot bellied stove and said to Mel "Is it just me or is that fire so hot the stove's actually glowing red?" Mel concurred, it was glowing red. I opened the windows and kept checking Ziggy's head to make sure it was cooling down. I didn't want to start the roadtrip with a dog that had been fried during the night.

We woke in the morning, lit another fire while we had coffee and then bundled ourselevs into the car where we made our way to Connemara. There was much fun and excitement on the drive down. Ziggy had no idea what lay ahead of him. I had no idea that Actons Eco Campsite would be so nice and peaceful and picturesque. We arrived in the evening and pitched our tent. That was our home for the next two days and a lovely home it was too. One sad thing did happen here but, really, it wasn't that sad at all. I had bought Ziggy a brand new orange ball and we were playing with it on the beach. I threw it into the sea in the hope that Ziggy would bravely retrieve it. He didn't. I kept trying to encourage him as I watched the orange ball floating off in the direction of America. It was only sad for me however, Ziggy didn't give a hoot (which was just as well as we ended up stepping into unkown territory that completely forbade "hooting"). I consoled myself with the belief that the ball would float to America and a little Jack Russell type pup with a 'kerchief around it's neck would find it and be so very proud.

As we were leaving Connemara we stopped off to take some photos of a very oppressive looking Church type building. Mel noticed a dog running down the road chasing a car. We thought perhaps the dog was crazed, rabid even, and then it disappeared. We spotted it in the car it had been chasing. I think it didn't take kindly to being left behind and had proceeded to chase it's owners.

We were a little disorganised in Sligo (although that was kind of the plan-to have no plan) and we ended up staying at a campsite on the beach. It was ok. We couldn't have a proper campfire and there was absolutely no shelter from the sea spray. We'd also put the tent up rather haphazardly and so poor Mel woke up with wet tent flapping around her head. We left quickly and made our way to Fanad in Donegal.

Fanad was pure bliss. We had a caravan to make a proper dinner and we had foraged plenty of wood for a decent beach fire. We sat on a blanket drinking, playing geetar and looking up at the night sky where the stars were so bright and magnificent. My soul felt completely at peace. Ziggy roamed the beach and paddled in the water. Mel and I discussed matters of importance and matters of complete shite. The next day we went to Ards Forest park and forgaed for more wood. I stopped off at an old disused bakery and took photos of creepy things. We spent another night on the beach star gazing and playing music.

Then it was time to come home. We made up a comfy bed for Ziggy in the back seat as we knew he'd be so tired. He was. We stopped at Every Woods and had a poke about. We stopped in with Mum and Bert to tell them all about our adventure. Bert particularly liked the 'no hooting' story. We were driving around Sligo looking for somewhere to pitch the tent and we saw a sign that said "No hooting". We both thought it rather odd. Mel thought it meant 'no looting' and I thought it meant no hooting your horn but it didn't really sit right with me. Then we came upon another sign that said "No Shooting" and Mel exclaimed "Awww, we definitely can't camp here, we can't do anything here, no hooting, no shooting!" I pointed out that it was very likely that the no hooting sign was a no shooting sign without the S. We decided against camping there anyway.

I've included a picture of our adventures. It doesn't include everything but it does show why it is so important for me to find someone to illustrate my stories. The midgies at Connemara National Park were not kind to us. The bigger dog is the crazy, rabid running dog and the small dog is the 'kerchiefed Jack Russell waiting in America for his orange ball.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Happy Birthday

The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure is 10 years old today. Wow! 10 years of my life that I might not have remembered had I not documented all the ups and downs, the trials and tribulations, the joy, the pain, the adventures, the failures, the people who left their mark on my heart, the triumphs. There was the incident with the potato and leek soup. There was the time I climbed through someone's window and the other time I climbed through someone's window. There were many adventures, many relationships and many lessons to be learned.

There were the times I didn't write, the times I wrote to pretend that everything was ok and the times I wrote directly from my heart. I know which I prefer. There's been off beat poetry, posts about nothing and the building of a treehouse. There have been many guest posts written by very talented dogs and probably twice as many animal epitaphs. There have been a whole host of business plans that never came to anything (though I am reluctant to give up on my enterprising) and I am still waiting to pass my driving test and do all those other things adults do.

It has most definitely been emotional. Many tears fell from my eyes and I fought through waves of hopelessness. Travels didn't always go according to plan, relationships didn't work out, friendships grew apart, there were fights, worries, fear, sadness. But I wouldn't change any of it for the world. Not one iota. I chose certain paths and I walked the road less travelled. There were thorns in my paw. But I met so many amazing people who helped me squeeze the thorns out. So many amazing people. And I always, always had my family, a very loving and supportive family. I can't say for sure that my blog will last another decade but, even still, it's the most committed I've been to anything my whole life so that has to count for something. Happy Birthday my wee blog!

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Through The Blowhole

Gus and I broke up last week. Nobody likes to read about break ups. People don't even like to hear about them. They assume that all break ups lead to heartbreak and that's not always true. When someone gets to a certain point in their life and they become romantically involved people tend to think "Oh, that's great, they've found 'the one'" I didn't assume anything about my relationship with Gus and I think that's why I was able to look at it with such clarity.

Another thing people tend to assume when there's been a breakup is that is was somebody's fault. I try not to look at things in terms of whose to blame. Gus and I were both completely open and honest throughout. There was no gameplaying and no bullshit. It was simply a case of it not being right for us at this particular time.

I am loathe to call it the'perfect breakup' only because people don't believe such things are possible. And, of course, I can only tell you how it is from my point of view. I am not Gus and I can't speak for him. But after some of the messier breakups I've had in life, it feels so much kinder and caring. Gus and I truly are good friends. We don't want to hurt each other and we know enough about human psychology to recognise the patterns that can develop when a relationship isn't right.

If Carlsberg did relationships it would have looked a lot like ours. We talked about surfing the blowhole. Maybe one day I can try to explain what the blowhole signified in our relationship. Although it sounds like it might be sexual, it's not. The blowhole is simply the cosmic channel through which the universe is created. It started with hair and spunk but I promise you it has nothing to do with sex.

But, yeah, we surfed the blowhole and it was fun. Then we had to be adults and I think we passed the test. Now we are just friends again and I feel very lucky to have had such a fun summer without too much bittersweetness. I am very much learning to enjoy these experiences for what they are at the time. I feel no need to cling onto something and mould it into what I think it should be, because then, it ceases to be what it was.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Worm Juice and Copulating Flies

I am at one with mother nature. So much so that insects like to do their business on me. I was holding a worm in the palm of my hand when I noticed it had secreted a yucky yellow liquid all over me. I couldn't tell you what the substance was I didn't see which end of the worm it came out of. Sitting at mum's today and she says "Hannah, there are two flies shagging in your hair", which I didn't mind until they fell out of my hair onto my biscuit.

Flies were the order of the day. Both mum and I swallowed one when we were out walking with the dogs. It was tremendously tickly. I thought I was going to cough out my spleen and mum said she felt her fly was doing ballet in her throat and she kept making noises like a cat does when it's hacking up hairballs. Mum stopped at a shop to get a drink and I suggested that ice cream would be a far superior remedy for fly inhalation.

We went to the monastery car park to eat our ice creams and do a spot of people watching. Mum remarked on the woman that walked by woth an army of children, "Wow, five kids, she's some doll....shit! The window's open". My mum is a careless people watcher.

Yesterday I fixed my washing machine. The pump was clogged full of blue tissue that had been in the pockets of my flatmate's trousers. There were a couple of times during the repair process that I thought I was going to have to call a man but then I realised that all the men I know are not the fixing washing machines type of men so I just got on with it myself. One more week and one more day at work and then it's Roadtrip time :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Philosophy, Lesbian Artists and Cannibal Movies: Something For Everyone

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned before how my big sister Z very much encouraged me to write when I was younger. She read a poem I wrote at school and she suggested I get a notebook and write poems in it. So I did. The very first poem to go in it was short and sweet and quite philosophical for a ten year old. It was called Why?

Why I am?
I do not know,
Why I am me?
Why is it so?

And the thing is, I had really thought about this. I wanted to know why I was me, Hannah Bobo, and not somebody else. I didn't ponder it in a green-eyed way. I had no desire to be anyone else but I wanted to know why I existed and why I looked the way I looked and behaved the way I behaved. It was the start of my quest to figuring life out and it's probably why I reacted so badly to puberty, because I'd just started asking the important questions at an age where my body, and whole life, was about to change dramatically and I hadn't figured out the answer of who I was and why I was me before puberty hit and I started acting all moody and nonchalant.

I did some other writing that I probably threw away because it embrassed me but I wrote another one when I was 12 or 13 inspired by a picture my friend drew of me. I've turned it into a song now that's a bitch to play but I can already hear a nice trombone or clarinet melody to go with it. It's called Eily Was An Artist.

Eily was an artist,
She drew a picture of me,
There was something wrong with it,
She made me far too pretty.

She took me to her bedroom,
Where we stayed for most the night,
She said she'd like to hold me,
Just to get the feeling right.

Eily held me tight,
Then she beagan to draw me,
She looked into my eyes,
And she told me I was pretty.

Eily was an artist,
She drew a picture of me,
She liked to draw with her hands,
And tell me I was pretty.

I remember showing it to mum and she might have told me it was good had she not been slightly worried about the content. But my innocence was long gone when, at the tender age of 10, I walked in to find Nellybert watching The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover just at the scene where some dude's being forced to eat a dead man's cock. It is really no wonder I enjoy a good cannibal movie.

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Quick Update

Today we are being treated to a rare sunny day in Norn Iron. 'Twould be a fine day for the park but I did that yesterday with my nieces and their chums. A bit of play therapy was much needed and it was a good park that we went to. Ziggy was at his Granny's for two nights and has returned a 'very good boy'. I think that might be more of a perspective thing though.

I did a bit of music making on Tuesday night with Zen-N. He has a four track so I can listen back to how woeful I sound. The GCDCs haven't played in a while and I feel the void. I harped on for so long about jamming and when it finally happened on a regualr basis I was happy. How is it that as soon as we get something we want in life we lose something else? Is there only a certain amount of space in our hearts for the things that we love? No, I don't believe so but, yes, things change.

So I downloaded a computer eight track mixing program and the GCDCs will live on in my hard drive until we get motivated again. If we ever do get motivated. I did find out that I have definitely got my placement which should start in the new year hopefully. This gave me a sense of being on the right track again. I seem to have developed an allergic reaction to driving lessons, or at least paying for them. I've had a flatmate now for two whole months without any drama whatsoever. The reason being is we keep completely different schedules and so we never see each other. Though he does keep eating my bananas. But what kind of person would I be to begrudge someone a few bananas. As long as he doesn't touch my mango!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Oh Mango

There are people in the world, y'know, who have never eaten mango. This makes me feel sad for them much more than I feel sad for the people who have never seen snow. But I also feel sad for them too. In fact, a lot of people who haven't eaten mango have the choice to eat it. They just never thought to try it.

I'm not sure when I first tried it but I do know that as soon as I tasted the sweet, floral nectar I knew that anything was possible. If something could taste so unique, so luscious and utopian, then life had to have a whole assortment of other treasures to discover. Very few fruits come close. Maybe lychees.

I've had a busy week catching up with folk, editing the wedding photos and being reminded that human beings are ridiculously crazy creatures and this thing we call 'life' is full of surprising twists and turns. All of it a very clever distraction from doing the things I should be doing, like passing my driving test and securing a placement.

Ziggy is telling me he needs his walk. He communicates this by coming over and putting the ball on the laptop. He does not respect the laptop, in fact, I'd go as far to say that he does not like the laptop. Except if it's playing the Doors. Today in work we had a fancy dress rock theme. I never participate in these things as I'm too lazy to organise anything but today involved me showing up in the clothes I normally wear anyway. Because, of course, I am in a band so therefore I dress like a rockstar.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Thank God It's Not Forever

My wee blog will be 10 years old next month. This means that it has also been just over 10 years since I completed my first degree. That means it's been 10 years of working in, mostly, shitty jobs. When I worked in the 216 shop I always had plenty to rant about. Mum would pick me up from work each evening waiting for the next installment of drama like it was a soap opera. I really do try to stay positive for as long as possible in the work place but it seems that once I reach a certain point, that's it. I am nearing that point with my current job, although I feel more hopeful that things could improve with a bit of communication. I used to have my fantasises of travel to get me through the tough days. Now I have the counselling degree to remind me that I won't have to endure this forever.

My biggest problem at work has always been my desire to work to the best of my ability and my resentment at everyone else who doesn't. It's completely ridiculous considering that I am probably always the employee who least agrees with what the company is doing, and yet I still bust my balls and give them value for money. Ah, but my life is always so full of contradictions so why should work be any different?

I am due a little holiday. I know I am because I can feel the stagnation. Only a month to go and the Lovely Mel, Ziggy and I will be heading on our road trip. Hooray for friends like Mel who don't need hotels, sun, sea and sand. Hooray for friends that don't mind roughing it so your dog can come along. Hooray for Ireland having so much unexplored terrain for me. Hooray for getting the fuck out of Ballymena! I am pretty sure that we will be taking the pixie trails which will involve some tree climbing, sheugh leaping and poking mud with sticks. My favourite things :)

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

The People In Ziggy's Life

Ziggy caught wind that I was blogging about all the people in my life and he decided he wanted in on that too. Ziggy learnt to read and write when he was a small pup listening to BBC Radio 4. It really is a shame that, despite being a dog with superhuman intelligence, he is very stubborn and does only what he wants to do.

Ziggy's Post

Perhaps because I'm a dog I should be writing about all the other dog's in my life but, well, humans are so strange and interesting to me that I'd rather write about them. You will recognise most of these people as they are all the same people that Hannah knows. This is because we move in the same circles.

What Hannah wrote about Zen-N was exactly right. He's a real nice dude but sometimes I wish he'd be a bit more fiesty. I have tried to initiate battles with him, by tugging on his jumper sleeve, gnawing on his hands but he just gently pats me on the head while looking at Hannah as if to say "What do I do? He's challenging me to a dual and I don't have sharp, pointy teeth!"
But, that aside, when Hannah spends time with him they often go on long walks. This suits me fine as I can sniff and wee on things. I sometimes catch snatces of their conversation and hear words such as "Empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard". Then I go back to weeing on things.

When Jakers comes round I get very excited. I've known him since I was very young and he always makes a big fuss of me. Sometimes, when Hannah is busy, Jakers will look after me. He takes me for walks, plays with me, nuzzles into me and tells me I am a good boy. However, if I am a bad boy, and this has been known to happen from time to time, Jakers will roar at me much louder than Hannah.

I have only met Hannah's dad a few times but I feel good vibes from him. He seems to be more of a cat person than a dog person but Hannah says that he is vegetarian and he loves all the wee animals. Also, he always lets me go in his car even though it's hired and I leave dog hairs in it.

Hannah's mum is my Granny and she is a big ball of pure awesomeness. When Hannah tells me we're going to see Granny I get very excited. This means we are going to see Judy, Jess, Roy and an assortment of other fine dog beasts. Granny is very good to me and lets me run around her place and she doesn't even get that cross when I accidentally pooh on her landing carpet. I don't really do that anymore because I like her so much.

Gus is a good friend of mine. He is so loud, silly and gregarious and when I hear his voice I know it means I'm gonna have some fun. Except if he comes round with his guitar. Then I know he and Hannah are gonna make some noise and ignore me for a while. The dynamics of our friendship changed a little recently and it took a while for me to get used to it. He started to come over more frequently and, at first, I thought it was to see me. Then I realsied that he was less interested in playing with me and more interested in playing with Hannah. This may have led to a little bit of bad behaviour on my part but both Hannah and Gus have reassured me that I am still very high up the pecking order.

Hannah is my favourite of all though. If it wasn't for her my life might not be so filled with fun and excitement. But I get something different from Hannah as well, a comfort and a feeling of safety. I know that she loves me very much because she takes me out for walks, she cleans up my pooh, she feeds me, she only leaves me at home when she absolutely has to, she lets me play with everyone I meet, she gives me freedom to be the dog that I am and she tells me she loves me all the time. Sometimes it's quite embarassing. She also tells me that I'm only a little boy and Gus says no, I'm a hairy little dog, and I get a bit confused so I act like a little hairy boy dog which seems to be the right thing to do and wins the affection of most.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Zoo Day

My dad was visiting last week and it was his birthday on Tuesday. Gus and I had booked a few days off work and had planned on going to the zoo. It was a wet, miserable morning but if you rely on the weather to dictate what you can and can't do nothing would ever be done. In this country especially. So off we went, a party of seven, including my lovely nieces who cottoned on a long time ago that Gus is a soft touch and were practically carried the whole way round the zoo. Gus was glad we braved the rain as he had never been to a zoo before and the previous night was spent watching endless clips on youtube of animals helping other animals. Then, in the morning we had a conversation about evolution and instinct. Ziggy was lying at the bottom of the bed and let out two very long, unusual whines, noises I had never heard him make before. I think he was telling us both to shut up, we knew nothing about evolution and animal's instinct. Ziggy did not get going to the zoo. He would have acted the maggot and tried to take on the lion.

On Saturday I shot my first wedding. I was nervous and made the mistake of looking up "tips for wedding photography" on google. I read something about weddings being a brilliant day out for everyone except the photographer. As it turned out it wasn't so bad. This was helped by the fact that the bride did not expect grand things from me. Of course, I expected grand things off myself and I wasn't able to capture everything exactly the way I wanted to but it was a good experience. I enjoyed taking the shots in the gardens. I felt more confident with the natural light on my side and I didn't have to fight with the other guests to get the shots I needed.

I was a guest at the evening do so I went home to leave off my cameras and pick up Gus and we headed back up for the disco. As I walked through the town I started to notice they had put plants up and everything looked really nice. I realised that it was the longest I had ever spent behind the lens of a camera and I was now looking at everything like it was through a lens. I was all hyped up and excited, partly because it was over and I could relax and have a drink, but also because it felt good to have challenged my self creatively. The rest of the night was spent on the dance floor because it had been a long time since I had a good dance and, as it turns out, Gus makes a very good dance partner.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The People In My Life: Part 5

Gus and I have known each other for over 15 years. We knew all the same people but never really spent much time in each others company. Then we both lived away from Ireland at different times. But Gus was definitely someone that the universe wanted me to keep bumping into. From our random meet ups in the town I began to get to know him. I knew he was funny, kind, sensitive and friendly. Jakers, Gus and I used to do the music thing years ago but we were all much less experienced then. It was only last summer when I cajoled Gus into jamming once again that I really considered him to be a friend.

Of course, there's always that awkwardness around friendship when it's of the girl/boy variety. One of the things I most admired about Gus was that he wanted to be my boyfriend but didn't turn his nose up at friendship when that's all that was offered. He didn't give up on me as a person because I wasn't the person he wanted me to be. Indeed, all the times that I spent feeling lonely I did not ask the universe for a man, but a friend, a good friend that cared about me genuinely.

When we lived together briefly at the beginning of the year it was a fun time for me. This was really when I got to know Gus properly. We laughed, cooked together, debated life and listened to each other when we talked about the tough times. We shared our souls whilst being so silly and carefree at the same time. When Gus told me he was thinking of moving back home I felt sadness in my heart. I wasn't surprised at how I felt considering the never ending trial of flatmate problems but I acknowledged that it felt similar to a break-up in a way and I guess that made me realise that my feelings ran a little deeper than just friendship. Gus had been a proper friend to me and it was only right that I should be a proper friend to him so, when he asked me what I thought I should do I said nothing. I kept my silence because what I thought he should do was stay in the flat with me. I felt I could argue that it was for his benefit but when I was truthful with myself I realised I wanted him to stay because it made me feel better.

Things have a funny way of turning out. If Gus hadn't have moved back home I would never have been able to gain clarity about my feelings. By giving him space to listen to his heart a space was created for me to listen to my own. It told me that I was happy when gus was around. What more clarity did I need?

Gus might be the tallest, strongest guy (he won a strong man competition when he was a teenager, you know those things where they lift cars and pull them with their teeth) I have been with but he is the softest and gentlest inside. He is also the funniest and has an uncanny knack for remembering every single theme tune there ever was. He is like a juke box and I can demand any theme tune from 80's cartoons and adverts. He also knows big words despite not being much of a reader.

I look forward to this adventure with Gus, wherever it takes us and for however long. Life is so crazy and it's nice to have someone to laugh and share worries with. It's nice to have someone to climb trees and go brain jobby hunting with. It's nice to have someone to just be with. And when I see the way things have turned out I am so thankful for getting to know myself and trusting my decisons. My intiution led me into the arms of a real man with a real heart.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The People In My Life: Part 4

You'll notice a distinct lack of females so far. There have been many important, significant women in my life but just not at the minute. Except for my mum who has been my beacon for the past few years. To me, my mum and dad are lke yin and yang and I have developed a rather contradictory set of personality traits from them both. I have my dad's patience, gentleness and shyness and then I have my mum's temper, stubborness and tendency to worry. I don't mean to say that my dad has all the good personality traits and my mum has the negative because Nelly is one of the kindest people on the planet. She is intelligent, sharp and witty but she could cut you like a knife. And she'd have no qualms about doing so.

But really, my mum and dad are not so dissimilar and they are both caring, compassionate people. They both brought me up to respect and help others. Through the past few years my mum and I have grown together. There have been many painful times, painful memories to sift through and a rainbow of emotions to ride out. Never I have I worked so hard on a relationship in my life and been so lucky to have the other person work just as hard. And why? I truly believed that in order for any of my relationships to be successful I must first have a successful relationship with myself, and this involved opening myself up completely to the most important person in my life, the person that has had the most influence in my life, the person that brought me into this world. It was just something I had to do.

My mum is only wee but her personality is giant. People always flock to her and she blames Bert for the many visitors that pass through her door but she forgets that it is also her humour, sensitivity and kindness that keep people coming back. Humour is definitely one of my mum's strong points and I smile often at things she's said or stories she's told me. Really, I could write for hours about Nelly's vivacious personality and hilarious anecdotes but most people who read this blog know my mum and know how wonderful she is.

I am enjoying writing about the people in my life. In doing so I realise how lucky I am to have special connections with so many people (I'm not even done yet). Some people view them just as relationships with family and friends but they are more than that to me. They are adventures and challenges and a minefield of learning opportunities. I want deep connections with people because it makes me feel alive and it prepares me for what I want to do with my life.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The People In My Life: Part 3

Mi Padre. My dad was pretty much my idol when I was a little girl. He could do no wrong. He can still do no wrong. My dad is a dude! He was the one who sheltered me from the world of pop music and was so passionate about his indie taste that it was impossible not to share in his enthusiasm for bands like Nirvana, Pixies and Blur. I used to borrow his T.shirts and jackets even though they were far too big for me. My favourite was the Therapy? T.Shirt that said "Have A NIce Day" on the front and "In Hell" at the back. Because of my alternative style people my age used to sneer at me and my friends. The Therapy? T.Shirt always caught them out.

I always respected my dad. I remember how he taught me that I shouldn't repeat what I'd heard others saying without understanding what it meant. And once he'd explained what it meant I realised I didn't want to use the same words that other people used. Dad was the first ever eco warrior that I knew who took his plastic bags to the supermarket 20 years before anyone else. He joined Greenpeace and had us all sign up for the children's membership. He believed in comics and 10p mix ups. He became vegetarian and we all followed suit because dad's compassion was very much a part of us.

When I was 15 dad was offered a job in England. I chose to go with him but when it came to it I decided to stay in Ireland. I had a good circle of friends and a boyfriend I didn't want to leave and I thought I was probably old enough to do without my dad. It was hard at first. Living with mum full time was not something I had fully considered and my teenage years were troublesome. At 18 I went to university in the same city that dad was living. We lived together for a year when I had finished uni and didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. It was an extra bonus year of bonding with my dad. I felt really lucky to have that.

Now I am a big girl and I do just fine without him but that doesn't make me love him any less. And it's true, girls do seek out a man that's like their father. Not personality or lookswise but they seek out a man who is as good and decent as their father and my dad set the bar pretty high. Nothing wrong with that though :)

Friday, July 17, 2015

The People In My Life: Part 2

Jakers doesn't really need an introduction to this blog as he's been a big part of it for so many years. When I first began blogging I was going out with Salt Face. I was very young and naive (I mean younger and more naive) and I guess I really did truly believe that Salt Face and Pepper Head would be together forever. As I got older I became more coy about writing about other people. Jakers and I were "seeing each other" for about 8 months before I allowed myself to be called his girlfriend. But, once I realised that the dude was going to be a part of my life I let my guard down and I wrote about him all the time just as my dear sweet mother writes about Bert all the time. We split up more than once and we were always very dignified about it and there was never ever a need, nor a desire, for me to write about anything that had happened between us.

Jakers and I have been split up for nearly 3 years now and my love for him has extended way beyond the romantic, lustful kind. It has transcended the physical. He is a true friend to me and we have grown together for quite some time now. We have seen each other at the very depths and we have pulled each other out of the mire. We've debated life, love, science and spirituality. We've laughed, sang and cried together. We beared our souls and we know each other inside and out. We don't always agree with each other, which I guess is why we didn't work out but we care very deeply for one another.

I remember reading a book and there was a guy who went to a therapist. He was a jock athlete and was very dismissive of the therapist's work, like it was too feminine and weak for him to engage in. The therapist said,

"It takes tremendous amounts of guts and strength to talk about what you pass off as touchy-feely. Matters of the heart are matters of life. Maybe you've just got a hole in your heart or a block in your brain, but if you need a few minutes to pysch yourself up like in a locker room or something, I'll be happy to sit here while you walk outside and muster up the courage to come back in here and talk to me like a real man with a real heart." The Charge, Brendan Burchard, pg.94.

I always liked that quote because it reminded me that Jakers was a real man with a real heart and it is such a good heart. The reason we can be good friends is because we communicate with each other. The reason it is important for me to be friends with him is because when I was at uni an ex-boyfriend died in a fire. Though our last parting words were positive I regretted every single fight we had and I never wanted to feel that way again about someone I had loved.

Jakers is a bit of a musical child genius. He understands it in a way that I just don't get. He can pick up most instruments and get some kind of a tune out of them within minutes. Mostly, he's winging it but he wings it well. He's also a technical whizz kid. I guess he just has that kind of brain that understands numbers, patterns and sequences. Whereas my brain understands sugar, stupid accents and fluffy animals. The music and history and shared social circle bonds us. He is very much a part of my family. He said to me recently, "I love you like a sister", then he thought about what he'd said, scrunched up his face and said "actually, no, that's a bit weird". I knew what he meant though.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The People In My Life: Part 1

I've known Zen-N for about a year and a half. I met him through work and I remember taking an instant liking to him as he causually welcomed me to the department one Sunday afternoon. I found out that Zen-N was a few years ahead of me on the counselling degree so it was natural that we struck up a friendship.

I am not ashamed to admit that Zen-N got a chance to practice his counselling skills on me as the blossoming of our friendship coincided with some difficult times in my life. As Zen-N gave me the space to be myself I found my strength and, in turn, gave him the space to be himself so he could find his strength. I did not view Zen-N as a counsellor, and nor did he try to be my counsellor but we are very much a part of a 'therapeutic relationship'.

So what's he like? Well, he's quirky, which is sometimes intentional but quite often not. He's submissive around dogs and Ziggy always took a hand out of him just because he could. I've never really seen him drunk but he told me once that he was likened to Bernard from Black Books. Whilst I don't find this hard to believe it's nothing like the Zen-N I know who is far from being cynical and grumpy. The Zen-N I know is a little like Mr. Burns in the episode of the Simpsons where he is mistaken for an alien, the one where he says "I bring you love, I bring you peace".

Personally, I think the guy's a dude and I think this for several reasons. We have similar tastes in a lot of music, films and books but it is our shared outlook on life that really bonds us. We both share a passion for Carl Rogers, the main man in the person centred approach to counselling and we both have an appreciation for the magical beauty of the world. But the reason why I felt he was worthy of a write up is because I'm thankful for our friendship. I'm thankful for him being in my life and walking by my side, not ahead of me trying to show me the way or behind me trying to follow my lead, but beside me seeing the world as I see it. I also know that one day Zen-N will come play music with the GCDC's :)

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Do It Do It Do It

Gus and I play a game with rhyming words. The rules of the game our quite simple; to rhyme words with other words. There is no prize for winning, just an overall sense of achievement at having beat the other. We have played similar games with types of apples.

Having suffered from Swine and Donkey Flu in the past I knew that this recent bout of Jobby Flu would be tough but wouldn't kill me. A quick search of my history has reminded me that I have also suffered from Hannah Flu and Whiskey Flu. How am I even still alive?

It was a tough week though with flashes of brilliance. Being on the Waltzer at Barry's was definitely a highlight but by the weekend I was good for nothing and slept on and off for 19 hours. When I wasn't sleeping I was eating. All the energy from the food was going straight back into giving me energy to eat the food that I was eating.

Gus and I have several characters for our comedy sketch show that will only ever really be alive in the Museum of Good Ideas (The Ideatorium). The latest ones are all well known fictional characters who have skin complaints, for example; Eczema The Warrior Princess, Rosemary's Scabies, Anne of Gangrene Gables. As we are both the sensitive skin types we find this amusing. Then again, we think it's amusing to dance down the street chanting "Do it, Do it, Do it!" When I say dance, I mean, walk like a drunk thunderbird puppet and the "Do it" mantra is interchangeable with "Eat it", "Drink it", "Bite it" or any other verb.

The weather had been really good and now it's pretty rubbish again. I was thinking of sleeping in the treehouse this weekend no matter what the weather is like. But now, I must go check on my magic stew.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015


The clock says 22:40 and I should have been sleeping two hours ago. It's not very often that I am insomniatic but it's been a peculiar day and I have a lot on my mind. My date last night was lovely. I had been dropping Gus' name more frequently in my posts but now I'm just gonna admit that we are in a relationship. Luckily for me he never reads my blog so I can write about him without feeling too embarassed.

But that is not why I'm still up with thoughts racing through my head. I thought I had a new flatmate sorted but it fell through. I worried for a few hours and then I took Ziggy for a walk. Walking always helps me to think and I thought about how I don't want to worry anymore. And I thought about why I was worried and it's because I have committed myself to the counselling degree and I need to be able to afford it, as well as living. Then I thought about who was holding the gun to my head and it was me.

This lead to other thoughts about the world in general and all the many, many people within it. I thought about trust and fear; how most people are scared to trust others, fear the unknown, how disconnected it all makes us. I thought about good and evil, yin and yang, how the news keeps reminding us that there's "bad people" out there. I thought about theories of consciousness, how we create our own reality, mind over matter. And I came to the conclusion that no matter how many people tell me not to trust that everyone is good I will stand by my belief. I won't bow down to the fear and when everyone else has as much faith in humankind as I do then maybe, just maybe the world will be a better place. I realise that very few people think like I do and that can make it seem like I'm fighting a losing battle. Sometimes the warrior spirit can feel a little defeated but it never gives up surfing the blowhole and picking up grains of happiness on the way.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wild Boar

Gus and I went to Frozen Water Land (you know the place that mums are always going to). They have a speciality meat section with ostrich burgers, kangaroo meatballs and wild boar kebabs. Gus picked up the wild boar and said, "Oooh, wild boar. I've had wild boar" to which I replied, "You are a while bore". It's a good job we share the same sense of humour. Which is why Bobo Productions are toying with the idea of a comedy sketch show.

Ziggy wanted to head out to the pub at the weekend to see all the hot bitches he knows so that's what we did to keep him happy. I love my local pub. I love that I can bring my dog there and when I notice he isn't around for a minute I go to check on him and he's nearly always sitting on someone's knee. There was a birthday cake on Saturday and Ziggy spent a good part of the night running around hoovering cake crumbs off the floor.

I am a little poorly this week. I don't mind because it seems to have been ages since I was last sick. I hope I'm feeling better by Thursday though as I have a day out with Nelly and the girls at Barry's in Portrush. I am also hoping my new camera arrives by then so I can test it out before shooting a wedding in August. The wedding is for a work colleague and the daughter of chums Nellybert have known for years. I wouldn't have agreed to do it only I know the girl is not a bridezilla and she will be happy enough with whatever I produce.

Tonight I have a date so I guess I should probably get ready for it :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Weeding the Garden

This was taken last Tuesday night. You can tell it's "band practice" and not "music night" because there's no booze cans on the table. As you can see, Ziggy is delighted. Elenwe took these and then she left on Saturday. Her reason for leaving was work related. It's a long story, and not mine to tell, but she was shat upon by her employers in a very sleekit and underhand way. I could really empathise with how she felt from my experience of working in Thailand when I had less than perfect employers. I told her I would give her a couple of weeks grace with the rent to give her time to find something else but she was deflated and disheartened. I knew how she felt.

She is in London now and has found a job already. We have left it open that she may return one day even just for a visit. I enjoyed living with her very much. Not just because she was a girl but because she was my kind of girl. She sang around the house, she adored Ziggy, she joined us on music night, she was arty. It was just dead nice having a girl to hang out with.

When I first moved into this flat I developed a rather unhealthy addiction to polishing the bed with brasso. I have a similar addiction to weeding the garden. It was an overgrown jungle and the weeds roots are giant. I could be doing this using appropriate tools but instead I use a plastic trowl that cost 33.33333p It occurs to me when I do this job it isn't about getting it done in the most efficient way possible, it's about being mindful of what I'm doing. I find it therapeutic and it's also kind of like a metaphor for untangling and removing the weeds in my own life. My momma will be so proud of her green-alien-salad-fingers girl, the one that once said "I remember when we used to be happy, now all we do is talk about clematis"

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Surfing The Blowhole

My head is in bobo land at the minute. Monday was a shock to the system. After my lovely week off (which ended with a very drunken night on Saturday which kinda spoilt the effects of all the lovely relaxation I had been doing but was lots of fun so totally worth it) I had to get up at the crack of dawn, work until 12:30 and then go to tech to talk about supervisors and placements and Access NI forms. I didn't like it. I didn't have my after work cup of coffee and I was not tuned into the talk at all. There's a lot of hoops to jump through to become a counsellor and I wasn't in the mood for jumping on Monday.

I'm pushing the driving to the very back of my mind for a few weeks. Cannae be bothered thinking about it. Meh! Basically, I'm kind of avoiding reality at the minute and everything that involves any kind of responsibility (or money - isn't that a coincidence!). Bobo land is nicer. I can surf the blowhole and eat jobby-on-a-stick. The only kind of stimulation my brain wants at the minute is laughter, and plenty of it. Which is lucky because I'm surrounded by it. Gus is helping with that.

It's not just the laughter though, it's that feeling of connection. Life amazes me all the time. Saturday night was fun. Elenwe, who unfortunately might have to go back home to New Zealand, came out with us. She has been one of the best flatmates I've had and if she has to go I'll be a wee bit sad. Last night we had a GCDC's band practice (as opposed to just music night where we get drunk and wail) and Elenwe joined us. She is very artistic and I had high hopes that she might notice the woeful drawings of foxes and cats I had been doodling and offer to do some illustrations for my children's story. What will be will be I guess. I remember when Gus moved out I worried about who the next flatmate would be and what problems it might bring but now I just know that when people move in here, for whatever length of time, it'll be an interesting experience if nothing else. This is what you call surfing the blowhole.

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Lovely Week Off

I was off work this whole week. It was awesome for many reasons. The past few months has been all whirlwind, heat and flash. Cramming all my shoolwork, sorting out endless flatmate issues, focusing on getting my driving test, and meanwhile, my social life decided it was gonna buzz like a busy bee. I've been kept on my toes and it's been fun and exhausting and stressful at times. This week I got caught up with myself, and have eaten better than I have eaten in years.

Monday I went to Nellybert's. I ate a salad bowl from the spar and mum made mince and tatties and pear and raspberry crumble. I drank coffee all day long and played with my two favourite girls. On Tuesday I had a relaxing morning, took Ziggy for a walk and attacked the weeds in the garden (which turned out to be surprisingly therapeutic). Gus called round with caramel frappes and jobby on a stick. These are my new favourite snacks that can also double up as a fun poking toy in which you can jibby jabby people.

Perhaps my eating wasn't quite so good on Tuesday but I did drink a lot of coffee just because I could. On Wednesday morning I woke up and had a breakfast of fruit salad with natural yoghurt and croissants and more coffee. Then we went for an expedition to an old water mill where we met some pretty handsome cows along the way.

Wednesday was a beautiful, sunny day and it put Elenwe and I in the mood for a few drinks. We went to the cheapest pub in the town and wined and dined for less than a fiver. Yesterday Ziggy and I went to Glenariff with a friend from my course. We stopped off at Garron Point to collect stones and Waterfoot beach to have a picnic. Ziggy liked the Glenariff best. I have loved that place since I was a little girl with it's waterfalls, trees and pixie trails. As you can see from the photo Ziggy was enjoying the sea breeze.

All in all it's been a good week and it's not even over yet. I started today with an Ulster fry and a million cups of coffee and a catch up with my mum. There's rumours of smarties frappes being on the cards and that probably means more Jobby on a stick. Life's good :)

Monday, June 08, 2015

Cutlery Issues

I am not sure how intelligent I really am because it's so mixed in with laziness. Also, there are so many different kinds of intelligence. I struggle with subjects likes Maths, Sciences and History. The reason being they are subjects that require you to remember lots of facts and figures. I do better with languages. Even if I have never heard of a word before I can often figure out how to spell it. I understand letters and words. I'm not great at arts and crafts because, despite my fingers being agile and dexterous, I don't have the patience to work with fiddly things. Though give me a blank page and a set of crayons and I will draw as well as any 5 year old can.

I have good social skills. I was painfully shy as a child but always had a desire to be around people. I'm an introvert who pushed myself to be an extrovert. I learnt to talk to strangers. I like to make people laugh. I like to make people feel valued. I like people. My problem solving skills are average. I went to a grammar school and got a 2:1 in my degree so I guess I must have some level of intelligence. But oh how Gus did laugh at me when I was doing a real bad job at cutting cheese the other night.

"It's this knife, I have no decent knives for cutting cheese" I complained.

"I've a really good bread knife out at home you could have" Gus replied.

"Nooo, it needs to be a proper sharp knife not a segregated knife" I moaned.

Then I heard a guffaw of laughter and turned round to Gus who was looking at me in disbelief.

"Segregated?" He laughed again, "Do the knifes have to be kept separate from the spoons and forks?"

It wasn't even a slip of the tongue. I have been calling them segregated knives for years. Just like I have been pronouncing the word carousel "Ka-roo-sel" for years. People should never be measured on their intelligence though. Some of the smartest people lack common sense and social skills and some of the dumbest people can have the intelligence to listen to their intuition to understand a situation.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

The Circle Of Death

I should have blogged on Monday to celebrate Ziggy's 2nd birthday but I didn't feel like it as I failed my driving test again. I was disappointed but able to keep it in perspective. As I told a good friend, it's just a very boring, expensive Jedi mind exercise. I've done heaps of those before, being a Jedi Knight albeit one who isn't overly keen on Star Wars (if you ask me it would serve them a lot better to make love not war, especially way out in the galaxy where it's cold and dark and everyone just wants a cuddle).

Yesterday I was out at Nellybert's. Jakers' pet rat Jimmy had passed away and I thought it would be nice to bury him with the other rats (Pepe, Rocky, Polly and Meka). Jakers was in the kitchen and I heard him say "Oh My God that is the cutest picture ever" Jakers isn't a softie but he was, indeed, looking at the cutest picture ever of my youngest niece holding a wee orphaned fox cub. Approximately two minutes and nine seconds later I saw Bert charging across the yard, towards the hen house, hootin' and ahollerin'. Fantastic Mr. Fox was trying to make off with the rooster and a hen.

I watched from inside the house as Mum, Bert and Jakers looked stoically at the hens (Bert had to wring the hens neck to put her of her misery). I thought about the fox being cute. I thought about the circle of death (I don't like John Elton so I ain't gonna quote him). I thought it was a shame that the hens died anyway and the fox had nothing to take back to the den to feed it's cubs. I thought about how fickle life is, how natural death is and how constant it all is. I thank god that Ziggy is a dog and not a rat, or a chook, or even a fox. I accept that he won't be around forever but for how ever long he is around I promise to make his life full of forest walks and cow dung.

There's other news but I'm holding my cards close to my chest. I have five aces. I know, that's not even possible. But anything's possible really. You just have to believe. Mr.Rob wants to see my freakish fingers. I hope they're not a disappointment as I have claimed that having long fingers is one of the few things I'm good at.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Good Ideas and Pig Headed Pigs

I don't even know where to begin on my update. Tojo moved out on Saturday and my new flatmate moved in on Monday. Everything worked out in the end! On Saturday the lovely Mels joined us for a rather messy music night. I'm pretty sure we had a half hour conversation about my long fingers. That was only the tip of the iceberg of shite talk though. As the night went on it got more ridiculous. In fact, it got so ridiculous it became quite profound.

I have so many good ideas that never come to anything I'm thinking of opening up a Museum of Good Ideas. They will be framed and people will walk around nodding their heads, saying "Yes, that is a good idea". Even this idea will be in the Musuem of Good Ideas.

My new flatmate, Elenwe (I chose this from a list of elfin names) is from New Zealand. A little girl asked her if she was from Middle Earth and being a fan of elves she thought this was delightful. Ziggy likes Elenwe very much. He likes her so much he peed on her bed. He just got a bit overexcited and then he was so ashamed of himself he hid under the bed.

Speaking of animals behaving badly. When Tojo moved in he brought with him a fridge. He didn't think my little fridge would accomodate his weekly groceries and, right enough, it wouldn't have been with people landing at the door with hunks of meat. So my old fridge was put in a shed out at Nellyberts. The same shed that the pigs would often ransack because they knew that's where their meal was kept. Bert had stashed the meal somewhere else though and Lily the pig was mighty disappointed when she stroked into the shed for a snack. So disappointed that she destroyed some of Bert's beekeeping equipment, flung a bag of compost all over the place, tipped the piano over and ripped the door of the fridge. Luckily for me the fridge was the one thing Tojo left behind. Things have a way of working out :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


I realise what my blog is missing is a little wisdom and prettiness. But what I lack in wisdom and prettiness I make up for with ingenious ideas. There was the hot air balloon buisness, Scabby Birds Escort Agency, and the time I helped Salt Face to come up with a plan to meet Michael Jackson. The latest plan is one I've pondered on before; the Treehouse Horror Movie. The set and props are perfect. Pet cemetery, treehouse, scary attic, dark woods, bees. The plot; several young adults partying when the folks are away. There are a few psychopaths on the loose; crazy chainsaw-wielding priest, his motive - ex boyfriend of main character. There's a man who dresses up in a bee suit, possibly he is actually made entirely of bees. I don't know how I want that one to pan out yet. His motive - revenge for the poor bees.

The main character's parents have a pet cemetery in the lawn. They told her when she was a little girl that her pets had gone to boboland. They lost a lot of pets because the girl's granny was a bit twisted. In one scene the dumb blonde runs upstairs to the attic where granny is rocking on a chair, reaching her bony hand out and telling her "it's time for boboland" (in a scottish accent). I'm lucky that I work with a lot of people so I pretty much have an instant cast and crew. I have the token dumb blonde, token jock, token gay guy, token stoner and Gus and Ziggy will obviously be getting lead roles, playing themselves. I'm thinking a cross between Texas Chainsaw Massacre (gonna have to get a really good editor to make it look like that the treehouse has been hacked down), Blair Witch project (finding roasry beads in the branches and smelling incense), Pet Semetary (rabid zombie dogs chasing people down the back lane into the scary woods) and Candyman. No wait, it will have etches of every single horror movie that was ever written and it will be called Boboland.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Granny's Stories

Really, I should have an anonymous blog so that I can write about all the different flatmate problems I've had in the past two years. I remember when Gus was telling me that he was going to move out and I said "But Gus, you're my best flatmate yet!" and he laughed and said "F**k's sake Hannah that doesn't say much about me".

Out at granny Nelly's yesterday, I was listening to the stories she was telling the girls and it reminded me of when I was that little girl, sitting on my mum's knee, and hearing all her stories that she made up in her head but were always inspired by something that was currently happening. I think those were the times when I really knew she loved me. And I could see by the look on the girl's faces, in awe, and captivated by their granny's words, that they felt very loved too.

I feel a little bit like I'm in limbo again. It's alright though. Nearly feels like a second home I'm so used to it. I can't even be sure of who I'm going to be living with each month but I'm taking the good out of that situation as well. The more experiences I have of different people the more I learn about myself, and, people in general.

Ziggy hardly gets a mention these days. I guess that's cause he's so grown up and mature (ha!). He's doing pretty good. Licking his non-existent balls at the minute. I went for coffee with a friend and we sat outside on the pedestrianised street. I let Ziggy have a bit of freedom and he tootled up and down the street making friends with everyone. The Badtoads particularly liked him and would have happily taken him home.

The only other news is that I got my work handed in, did my exam and am now a free woman for a few months and quite relieved to not have to be chatting about our locus of evaluation and organismic self. Though I did get in touch with my organismic (yep, organismic, not orgasmic!) self a few nights ago when I watched Hole Unplugged. Courtney Love was my idol when I was a teenager and I ended up becoming embarassed by her behaviour as I got older but watching the Unplugged set reminded me that she was a very cool, strong, passionate and talented woman and I could have done a whole lot worse for a role model.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Talkin' About A Revolution

Today, I reckoned, seemed like as good a day as any to start a revolution. I proposed this idea to a work colleague. He said there was no point, a revolution would never happen. I told him this was precisely the reason why a revolution would never happen. because noone believes it can happen. Another colleague was complaining of money problems. I told her we were long overdue a revolution. "Yes, but it will never happen in our lifetime", she replied. Again, I told her that the revolution would never happen because people are so beat down (just the way they want us to be) that nobody has faith in the "power of the people". It is a perfect time for a revolution with the politically fractious climate we're living in.

I spread further word of the revolution. Some were optimistic, like me. Some people didn't know what a revolution was. I explained, "You know, that thing that people are always singing about - Tracy Chapman, The Beatles, 4 Non Blondes. Che Guevara started one." This lead to a discussion about cuban cigars. I pointedout that smoking cigars did not constitute a revolution. It was not that simple. So how do you start a revolution? Write a song about starting one? Or write a song about talking about songs about a revolution? And then do we just run, and keep on running until we've established that, yes, a revolution has been started?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Meat You At The Door

I heard a knock at the door and looked out the window to see a young man smiling back up at me. I didn't know who he was but I liked the cut of his jib so I answered the door. There's no TV's in this flat and I ain't afraid of no ghosts. I kinda guessed it would be one of the new flatmate's (I'll think of a suitable nickname for him eventually...if he sticks round long enough to acquire one, though already Tojo springs to mind) chums. I could never have possibly guessed, however, what he was delivering.

Five kilos of pork loin. He could tell by the look on my face that this was a novel experience for me. I recall the freezer at Nellybert's being full to the brim of various bits of pork and I've seen the things hanging up in a butcher's shop but I've never been handed a big lump of meat at the door.

I think the very fact that I'm even blogging about this shows that my brain is mushed from essay writing and studying. That's only my brain though. My heart feels all warm and fuzzy 'cause I picked Ziggy up from my sister's and got lots of cuddles and kisses from the girls. E showed me to the door, gave me extra kisses and cuddles and waved me down the street. No amount of studying can beat that!