Monday, November 14, 2005

Moog Me Dear, This One's For You...

My sister's hen night was in Liverpool. It was an interesting evening. Liverpool is a very cool city as far as I can tell. The gentleman opposite is named Daniel.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

it's been some time

Hmmmm. Hope some people are still bothering to read my blog ! This post is speshlee for kellie.

It's been a bit busy. Here's Ana all dressed up supergirly for my sister's wedding last week. She's a real wee rascal now, wrecking more, sleeping less and so my blog has suffered somewhat. But she's real cool as you can see. How are you lot anyways ?

Monday, September 26, 2005

ee cummings

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me,i and
my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

Friday, September 02, 2005


Here are some links to other blogs that I like. I still can't do a 'links' section. I have tried but only managed to turn my blog a nice shade of blue for a short period. This can't wait any longer though. Look these up, they're good !

more to come in the future...


I’ve taken a leaf out of the Hungry Blogger’s book. Today Ana and I went blackberry picking. The hedgerows have tons of blackberries at the minute. I brought them home and Gillian McKeith-ed them with some strawberries, oats, almonds, cinnamon and honey. Email me if you want the recipe. It’s yummy.

The Good, the Bad and the Muggley

Those nasty pasties at Radio 1 gave away the end of the new (new for me, old for everyone else) Harry Potter. The rotters. Just as I was starting to like Radio 1 as well. They’d never have done that on Radio 4.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Old Who New Who

Looking forward to the new Doctor Who. It was just announced the other day that K-9 will be making a return.

I don't remember the outfits being this racy when I was a kid.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Naff off Anon !

In order to try and get rid of 'Anon' and her/his annoying advertisements (no, I would not like penile enhancement surgery, thanks very much...) you might now have a little task to perform if you want to leave a comment. Hope it doesn't bug ya.

Another good coupling: Julie Miller and Ani de Franco.

Friday, August 26, 2005

vamos a jugar por la playa

I loooooooove my ipodshuffle. Have I mentioned this before ?? Another great thing about it is that it throws up really unlikely combinations that often work really well together. Like today I was hoovering to a mixture of the Pixies and the Indigo Girls and whaddyaknow, they work just lovely alongside each other. I am not sure whether I'd rather be a Pixie or an Indigo Girl. But anyway. I'm sure my neighbour thought I'd reached a new level of insanity as I was singing along loudly with the windows open. I caught myself doing that on the beach the other night too (no wonder it's always so deserted when I'm out).

Would also recommend mixing Beck and Emmylou Harris. Hmmmm, wonder what their children would be like....

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


I have had a surprising and pleasant (although not surprising because they were pleasant) few days. Donegal was ultralovely and Ana was really excited to be hanging out with another wee’n. She was better on the car journey than I had anticipated and we even had our first in-car-nappy experience. Nice.

Another surprising thing was that I made my first successful purchase on ebay. Ana has a Spanish Elmo dvd that really cracks her up so I got her an Elmo for a fiver. Anything else I’ve bought on ebay has been broken or not-as-described. Elmo arrived after a night of teething trauma (at least I bloody hope it was teething! The noise! Gadzooks!) and he really cheered everyone up.

Last night I went to see Franz Ferdinand and the Scissor Sisters. We just caught the end of FF really although they seemed really good. Very cool. The Scissor Sisters I found surprising for the following reasons:

I knew more of their songs than I thought I did.

Some of their songs reminded me of Rufus Wainwright.

The singers were very good singers.

The boy singer could do West End, even.

The boy singer could be some of the students that I teach. He would be on Ritalin for sure.

It was maybe the most colourful (literally) show I’ve ever been at.

It was inspiring I think.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Newcastle and My Baby

For jp/p !

Here's some pics of Newcastle, Co. Down. And one of Ana for good measure.

I went out this morning. It was sunny and deserted.

The hotel is the one the helicopter landed in.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Not far from the busy bit of Newcastle town you can get onto a bit of beach which is not covered in green slime. It’s great because if it’s not a sweltering hot day you can almost guarantee it’ll be more or less deserted. So about 5 minutes walk and you can feel totally alone on a lovely stretch of sand looking out to sea or up at the hills. It’s magic.

I was walking along there today and a helicopter flew past. It was pretty low. Low enough to see that it wasn’t an army helicopter. It flew from the direction of the hills across the beach and out of my view. Quite exciting. But then it came back. And it started to get lower. It was flying right towards me as it descended. It was really quite scary and I even tried to move out of its way (like, in case it hadn’t seen me and was about to land on me… because like, I’m so tiny and hard to spot…). But before it got to where I was it veered across to the hotel along the beach and landed.

I went up to the hotel to have a nosey. I thought it might be some famous/ extremely rich golfers. Must have been as three of the hotel staff came out to carry in all their golf equipment. None of them were Tiger Woods and as he is the only famous golfer I know of I can only conclude that they were merely very rich, and not famous.

It was all quite exciting I thought. Must be a bit what it’s like to have a spaceship land in your back garden. A bit.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

A Thin Place

Here's some work by Todd Greene. I think it's fab.

Our Place

They cut the grass in the field the other day. It's hard to get a good photo of the hills with our camera. They always look a bit gloomy.

Sweet(/terrifying) Dreams are Made of These

Nicked this picture from someone else's blog. I loved the tripods. I used imagine being in the Tripods. Also found the title link website about Chocky which reminded me how deeply scary the show was. Don't make 'em like that anymore....

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Homophobia is a Sin

In response to the 'Stop the Parade' group who are trying to stop this weekend's gay pride parade in Belfast, Zero:28 have this to say. I agree.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

R.I.P. Wise Father

I learned last night that Eolath Magee has died. Eolath was a psychotherapist that I encountered when he led a short course for teachers in pastoral care a few years ago. It is the only time a training course has directly affected what I do in the classroom in a positive way. And because of the sort of person he was it directly affected my life in general as well.

Eolath had recommended a book to one of the teachers who was pregnant. He said it was good book but not to worry if it made you feel guilty as a parent. You can't escape the guilt, he said.

When I was pregnant last year I read the book. It is wonderful. And I did feel guilty when I couldn't exactly live up to it. It is worth reading though. Definitely.

Eolath was right - you can't escape the guilt. To give birth made me feel as if I had touched God. For a split second maybe I felt like a god. It didn't take long to remember that actually, I had no idea how to make a baby work. That's some fall let me tell you. Immediately you encounter something of perfection and simultaneously you screw it up. You can't escape the guilt. To recall Eolath's words in the days following Ana's birth was ironic and comforting. I almost wrote to tell him but I didn't. I wish I had.

Next time.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

If I Were Queen of Narnia

Thanks to whoever made the drawing that now adorns my profile. I think you might be called Suzanne. Cool picture Suzanne. Hope it's OK for me to use it. If not, drop me a line.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

You Just Jealous Cos You Ain't Got No Ass !

I fear I may never lose the weight gained during pregnancy while this stuff exists. The best best one is cherry. And it's fairly traded so you're not allowed to feel guilty. If you've never tried it go and get some NOW ! Join me ! Join me ! You know you want to !

If I Could Stir

Our mini-heatwave and the one in NYC which has been on the news recently reminded me of this poem by HD. There seems to be more than one version of it but this is the one I know.

The Garden


You are clear
O rose, cut in rock,
hard as the descent of hail.

I could scrape the colour
from the petal,
like spilt dye from a rock.

If I could break you
I could break a tree.

If I could stir
I could break a tree,
I could break you.


O wind,
rend open the heat,
cut apart the heat,
rend it sideways.

Fruit cannot drop
through this thick air:
fruit cannot fall into heat
that presses up and blunts
the points of pears
and rounds the grapes.

Cut the heat,
plough through it,
turning it on either side
of your path.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Amos Michael Oman

Brilliant picture guys. He's a wee pet !
And you two look far too fabulous to have just been through a birth. Did you stage this photo months ago ?

congratulations !

To Lucy and Tudor Oman. They had a baby boy, Amos Michael. 8lb 3oz and everyone is well. Pictures will follow once I get permission.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


I recommend doing this everysooften. Feels great. Some day I might go the whole hog although I fear I might look like Phil Mitchell rather than Sinead O'Connor.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Dance on, Gypsy Queen

The library is loud. It is always loud. Luckily I have my GNIPS with me and Van Morrison is the only person I can hear. It is hard to imagine Van at this age, doing this stuff. I can only remember him as a middle aged man really. I saw him supporting Bob Dylan one time. He was great but the whole thing was a bit of a downer as he was so grumpy. It was a bit of a relief when Bob came on to liven things up...

I was going to post a picture of him but I don't know if you're allowed to do that sort of thing and he's a bit litigious I think so I'd better not. I am a bit scared of Van Morrison. Here's a nice picture of Bob instead.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Hey I Can Do Titles Now !

How exciting. I still can't make the title a link tho'. Must try harder.
oh for goodness' sake !

would you believe after my boastful claim that I was doing pretty well having avoided finding out the plot of the last HP, I went and stumbled across it about 20 minutes later ? d'oh ! Mesmerised by the new shiny HP book sitting on the shelf I took a look inside the dust jacket. The first sentence tells you who dies in the last book !!! I can't believe it. Fate bites my bum once again. Serves me right for being so smug I suppose.

The new Harry Potter is out today. I got it for Ian for his birthday. People are talking about going into hiding for a few days to read it. I will have to go into hiding to stop people telling me about it because I’ve only just started the last book. I successfully managed to avoid being told what happened in it which I think is pretty good as I’m an English teacher. Actually maybe that’s why; the students probably either figured I’d already read it or they didn’t want to appear too enthusiastic in case I got all excited and proposed a project based around it or something. One girl had read it within two days of it coming out and told Ian the ending. One time I was watching Jack Dee on TV and he told the audience the ending of The Sixth Sense. I have never quite forgiven him for that. It made it impossible to watch the film without thinking that I would have worked it out anyway. So no spoilers on Potter please ! (Even though it will be a really long time before I read it and I will probably have forgotten about Dumbledore’s death, or whatever….)

I love Patti Smith. My great new ipod shuffle (which I shall refer to as my GNIPS from now on) has made me fall in love with her all over again. As I look through my cds I keep on thinking I have a Franz Ferdinand album. I don’t- it’s just the box. I lent the head of our school David Gray’s last album and he gave it back to me in a Franz Ferdinand box (probably to demonstrate that he is cooler than me, which he is). I wish it was the Franz Ferdinand cd. I like the David Gray ok but much preferred his older stuff, particularly ‘A Century Ends’. If I had a Franz Ferdinand cd I could pretend I was cool as well…. Actually, I could just wait until someone lends me a cd and then return it in the Franz Ferdinand box! I bet that’s what my boss did actually.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Ian returns from Spain today. I am glad. The cat has missed him. He has chewed through three phone/modem connection wires this week, twice when I was on a call. He was probably trying to save me from the impending doom which is our phone bill.

We got a new/old computer as our last one was dying. It is cool. I didn't know that Blogger was different on different computers. There appears to be a basic version for people who have a duff computer. This is why I wasn't able to post pictures before. We had to get a new computer because I bought an ipod shuffle and Windows 97 wouldn't let it work. It was the last straw. So the ipod shuffle is great, not in the least because it is much cheaper than an ipod. Unless you also have to buy a new computer to make it work of course.

On my great new ipod shuffle at the minute:

Steve Earle
Patti Smith
Van Morrison
Tom Waits
Maria McKee

And, since I can, here are some more photos featuring me, Ana and Ibid.

of course, when i said 'since i can' that was an obvious cue for me to screw it up. the tiny little lines at the top of this post are photos that i have shrunk down so you can't see them because i don't know how to delete them once they're there. hey ho !

Monday, July 11, 2005

Ana wanted to sit in her cot today. That was all. Sit. In Her Cot. She did not want to sit in her buggy in the pub. She did not want to be held. She did not want to be wheeled about. And she certainly did not want a large lorry to drive past. She did not want to sleep in her cot, or suck a dummy, or drink any milk, or sing a song. She wanted to sit, was all. Sit and practice her David Gray head wobble. Fair enough.

It is 26 degrees inside our house. I am wearing a maternity dress and wondering why I ever bought it in the first place. It is one of those princess-Di -style floral-nightmare-tent efforts. Hope no-one comes to the door. I won’t answer it if they do.

Friday, July 01, 2005

have just had two glasses of red wine.
I am eating toast and feeling mildly guilty. Last night I spoke to a friend who had lost a lot of weight recently. 'How'd you do it?' I asked. 'Give up bread, rice, pasta, sugar and alcohol and don't eat after 7.30pm'.


Yeah right. Why not go for a spot of self-immolation while you're at it ? 'I don't think I could give up alcohol,' I said, 'It's the summer ! I have to drink gin in the garden !' 'You can't have everything,' he said.

So here I am, eating toast with the voice of HAL from 2001-A Space Odyssey in my head ('I don't think you should do that Shirley, I really wouldn't do that if I were you..') contemplating making a lasagne with aubergine strips instead of lasagne sheets (wouldn't it just be called 'aubergine' then ?).

I don't know. I am sure I could invent ways to retain the pounds even if I did give up all that stuff. Eating nothing but goats' cheese for example. (How does the apostrophe work for goats' cheese ? I mean, if you said 'My goat's cheese' or 'My goats' cheese' it would mean 'The cheese of my goat/goats'. It is probably 'goats' cheese' all the same.)

And not-eating after 7.30pm is right out since sometimes I have to have my breakfast at 8pm when bubs goes to sleep. I might try giving up alcohol though, just for fun.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Why is it always 'inner' demons ? Who has 'outer' demons ?????

Thursday, June 23, 2005


is there anyone who doesn't like jamaica ginger cake ? i don't think i have ever met anyone who doesn't appreciate it. i wonder just how jamaican it is though ?

and another thing! is there anyone out there who remembers the kids' tv series 'chocky' ? it featured a boy who could see and hear an alien called chocky. it was very scary and fantastic. it was far too good for me to have just made up and yet no-one i know seems to have seen it. i did spend a lot of time watching tv as a kid though...

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Why can't I do small talk ? It is an embarrassing disability. I have tried to learn it and I can fake it a good amount of the time now. But I have just been out to post a paperletter and I met our neighbour. The only sentence I said was 'Yes, it's great' in response to her 'It's a nice day isn't it ?'. Everything else I said was either a 'yes' or 'no'.

'Are you out for a walk ?'
It's nice to get out on your own, isn't it?'

That sort of thing.

ARGH !!!!!

If I'd had a few minutes (and possibly a pint) between questions I'm sure I could have said something friendly and neighbourly, possibly witty and interesting even. But as it is I merely appeared as a limp-brained, letter-posting automaton*. Sooner or later the 'I've just had a baby' excuse is going to run out and what then, I ask you???? WHAT THEN???????

*Automatons. Do they have brains ?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Here are two things from the world of science that evade my understanding (there are many):

1. Mirrors. How do they work then ? I mean, how. the. heck. do. they. work? They can see round corners and everything. Do they only reflect what I can see ? Or do they reflect everything ? When my cat's looking in the mirror and I'm looking at him in it from another angle are there two cats in the mirror ? How does that work ?!

2. Circles. How do we really know the earth is a sphere ? OK we know it's not flat. And we know it's not a square. And some people in a space ship saw it one time and it appears to be round (and also blue, and there's nothing we can do...). But completely spherical ? Come on ! Have you ever tried to draw a circle without using a cup ? It's bloody difficult ! And how do they get footballs to be a sphere ? (A cup is probably used at some point in their manufacture.... but then, what about cups ?)

My daughter is trying to see what will happen if she swallows her sock. I guess scientific curiosity runs in the family.

Monday, June 13, 2005

I miss paper :(

Last week in my mother's roofspace I found a bag of letters from years ago. Some were very funny. Some a bit dull. Some from people who I couldn't remember at all. I had several letters from someone called 'Alan' and for ages I sat there wondering who on earth Alan might be. The letters didn't give much of a clue. They were all about fantasy books, orks and whatnot, and rock music. So that narrowed it down to just about everyone I met at University then.

Then I remembered Alan. He was someone I'd met at university after all. He had told me on first meeting that he thought I'd be quite attractive if I lost some weight. Having registered my offence he went into hyperapologetic mode. I actually think he might have been autistic to some degree as not many people would say something like that (although I fear many think it) and truly believe it is a compliment. Anyway. I lied and said it was fine and we forged a whole friendship (apparently- since all I can remember about him was his doomed chat up line) based on this lie.

Wow. I'd almost blotted it all out. Must try harder next time.

I do miss paper though. Despite having cursed it all day as I stuck many maaaaany layers of Christmas wrapping paper to the windows of our bedroom (Ana now wakes with the dawn at 5am, blackout curtains are too expensive, in fact black cardboard is beyond our budget at the minute). Let's start a revolution ! Write me a paper letter and I'll write you one back ! We can be like, pen buddies, or whatever they used to be called. I'll give you my address if you email me. Well, the revolution can always start tomorrow, can't it?


Monday, June 06, 2005

Well, we set fire to the microwave yesterday. Not on purpose mind you. It somehow happened involving a cheap gas lighter (one of the 'five ferapoun'' variety). I still don't understand what exactly happened but it all went up in flames anyway. Luckily my husband was around to prevent me throwing water at the microwave (I am still pleading birthing-induced insanity in such cases) and we (he)rescued the family from the inferno by putting the melting lighter outside. Scary.

Meanwhile the papers are having a go at Bob Geldof for trying to save the world. Yes, that's right, rich white men angry because other rich white men are trying to help the poor. Makes you wonder. The other day I had to turn off the radio when a (respected) presenter asked people to phone in and get angry over pop stars telling us what to do. 'Why don't they give their millions instead of asking us to do stuff?' he was asking.

Amazing. It's as if having millions precludes you from freedom of speech. Don't say anything that might make you look 'worthy' ! You might look very uncool ! And now they've discovered that the Live8 line up is mostly white. Horrors ! You mean to say that the music industry is so segregated that the world's top acts are white ?! (And mostly male ?! And mostly heterosexual ?! And able bodied ?!) Well, I think we should all blame BOB GELDOF for that !! For goodness sake. Isn't his point just that; about the world being a very divided place ? So, he's not going to change the music industry, I guess that means he's not allowed to do anything with a hint of the dreaded 'worthiness' about it. Bloody hell, he's almost as bad as that Jamie Oliver.

Have celebs use their clout to represent us ? No thanks, we'd rather die. But why go that far when we can avoid the whole messy issue by letting loads of Africans die instead.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

There's no way to write it down

What was the pain like ?

Since it began I have been trying to describe it; to myself, my family, those who had early drugs and missed it, those who have yet to feel it. I can't liken it to anything else earthly.

It is some force that possess your body. It causes your voice to change. It takes you away from your mind so that you can tell what's going on but as a different person. Or perhaps you are more yourself than ever before. I felt myself basic, at the beginning of human-ness. Down at the root of woman. A frightening and wonderful state.

Pushing down I squeezed my lungs out so hard that now, a month later, my chest still hurts to breathe. I could not see but I felt her shooting out. In the moment where my mind came back I imagined her flying across the room two or three metres and all the midwives behind me jostling to catch her like bridesmaids for the bouquet.

The surgeon looked apologetic as he told me about the extent of the tearing. He thought I should have been cut. But I thought it was perfect; the marathonsprint of labour; the whole body experience; the fright; the cowardice; the pleading to anyone for an ending; the calling of my soul. I have been somewhere else. Or perhaps I have been to earth for the first time.

I had nightmares and nightsweats afterwards. I woke up delirious in the hospital. This is what the pain is like: it is fearsome and terrible and I may never want to do it again.

And it was my best moment.

It cannot be tainted by my failures, previous or subsequent. I cried and hurt. I wanted out as soon as I was in. I pushed too fast, too hard. I ripped my body. But we got what we came for, me and the pain. We punched each other black and blue. We died together. And we got the prize.