Crunchy Nuts….

31 08 2016

CerealDriving along this morning listening to “Today FM”. On the programme listeners were revealing embarrassing incidents as requested by the host. Apparently one listener who worked as a shop assistant (Joe) was asked by a customer for “The Sunday Times” newspaper. As it involves inserting a lot of supplements Joe suggested that the customer do some shopping, and by the time he came back the newspaper would be ready for him. Having put the newspaper together with all the supplements Joe was called to the till to serve other customers. Another shop assistant having found the newspaper on the counter called out ‘Who has ordered the Sunday Times?’
Joe looked up, saw the customer clutching a box of cereal and shouted ‘Its the man with the Crunchy Nuts’. It bought the house down when everybody present burst into a hearty fit of laughter. Having burst into fits of laughter my self for the entire journey there and back I thought I’d share this amongst those who weren’t listening to “Today FM” this morning.

Mother. (Episode 26).

31 08 2016

Mother belongs to a generation where she only had one partner- my dad – and even though he passed away nearly fourteen years ago now I’m still convinced she would feel disloyal or unfaithful in some way if she even entertained the thought of another partner. Not that she has lacked admirers. There was Harry, Dax Wax hair, a paunch framed by a waistcoat, who took a shine to her – and even though mother was flattered by the attention she received initially, quickly began hiding when she sensed that he was becoming a bit too amorous. Door bells unanswered, letters not replied to. But persistent he was, even going as far as to empty a box of chocolates through the letter box one by one when he discovered that the box itself wouldn’t go through it. Unaware of this new postal service mother opened the front door and trampled coffee creams all the way back into the living room. Even after mother had read the little gift card that came with them, smudged with strawberry cream fondant, she remained unmoved, declaring that she was quite happy on her own thank you very much and was quite able to buy her own confectionery. ‘He’s  always chasing woman but never knowing what to do with them when he finally catches them’. (Pause). ‘Or so they say’.

Needless to say that a lack of attention from mothers side meant that he did eventually disappear from the scene, leaving mother I suspect, a little sadder for the lack of admiration. Complicated? Who am I to say, but loyal to my father mother most certainly was and is to this very day.

Which reminds me. A trailer park owner once took a shine to her as well, repeatedly saying ‘Wow’ when she wound down the car window to ask him for directions. I do believe she blushed slightly before re-establishing her composure, but the sparkle in her eyes remained for the rest of the day and indeed for the rest of our Florida holiday.

Sadly there seem to be a lack of admirers on the scene at the moment, and mother has taken to telling me about how many people compliment her on her young looks for her age. This I know is my cue to reaffirm the truth with a nod and a couple more compliments. ‘Your hair looks lovely. Nice coat,’ which nearly always acts as a prompt for mother to smile, do a double take in the mirror, and add an extra dab of powder to an already over powdered nose. (Cough)

With an audible sigh of relief, from me that is not mother, we then head out of the door.

Once on the bus mother whispers about girls displaying tomorrows washing today and how they fail to leave anything to the imagination, and I try really hard not to stare for too long at a tall girl in leggings that look very similar to an extra layer of skin.

‘What a lovely day…. Ooooh look a squirrel’, I say as I turn my head away and point a little bit too vigorously out of the bus window.

Happiness is the way …..

30 08 2016

Dance dance dance...Dance Like No One’s Watching

We convince ourselves that life
will be better after we get married,
have a baby, then another.
Then we are frustrated that the kids aren’t old enough
and we’ll be more content when they are.

After that we’re frustrated that we
have teenagers to deal with,
we will certainly be happy
when they are out of that stage.

We tell ourselves that our life will be complete
when our spouse gets his or her act together,
when we get a nicer car,
are able to go on a nice vacation,
when we retire.
The truth is there’s no better time
to be happy than right now.
If not now, when?

Your life will always be filled with challenges.
It’s best to admit this to yourself
and decide to be happy anyway.

One of my favourite quotes comes
from Alfred D Souza.
He said, “For a long time it had seemed
to me that life was about to begin -real life.
But there was always some obstacle in the way,
something to be gotten through first,
some unfinished business,
time still to be served,
a debt to be paid. Then life would begin.
At last it dawned on me that these
obstacles were my life.”
This perspective has helped me to see
that there is no way to happiness.
Happiness is the way,

So, treasure every moment that you have.
And treasure it more because you shared it
with someone special,
special enough to spend your time…
and remember that time waits for no one.

So stop waiting until you finish school,
until you go back to school,
until you lose ten pounds,
until you gain ten pounds,
until you have kids,
until your kids leave the house,
until you start work,
until you retire,
until you get married,
until you get divorced,
until Friday night,
until Sunday morning,
until you get a new car or home,
until your car or home is paid off,
until spring, until summer,
until fall, until winter,
until you are off welfare,
until the first or fifteenth,
until your song comes on,
until you’ve had a drink,
until you’ve sobered up,
until you die, until you are born again
to decide that there is no better time
than right now to be happy…

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
So, work like you don’t need money.
Love like you’ve never been hurt and
Dance Like no one’s watching.

Author Unknown


Mother. (Episode 24)

30 08 2016

Although mother’s car is over eight years old she still takes a pride in its appearance. It’s an Audi Green VW Polo complete with radio, air vents and a nodding dog on the back window shelf. Just a shame that when ever mother parks the car some where, someone decides to put a dent in it – or scrape the bumper or scratch the paint work. A couple of times mother has returned to find a note lodged between the wind screen wiper and the wind screen informing her that some one has seen some one else damage her car. They just never leave any information or details that could be of any use to an insurance company. But as mother says ‘At least some one saw it happen’.

Just recently mother zipped into a space in a supermarket car park only to be shunted not once, but three times by a big black 4X4 that was busy reversing. A rather puzzled woman stepped out of the jeep only to ask mother where she’d come from. Mother replied, “From a place where you obviously haven’t been yet.” “And where is that?” “Specsavers.” Eventually insurance details were exchanged but mother decided not to pursue the claim as she couldn’t be bothered with all the fuss. She wouldn’t allow us to pursue it either so we didn’t.

Talking about being bothered I remember another time when mother parked her car around the back of a cinema in Bromley, oblivious to the ‘Authorised parking with permits only’ sign. When she returned she found her car wedged between two metal street bollards, one at the front and one at the back. Feeling flustered mother looked around, and then looked up to see four construction workers grinning like Cheshire cats. They did at least lift mothers car back out from between the metal bollards again.

Mother now has a rusting hole in her rear bumper, a rippled effect on the passenger and driver’s door, and a bent car radio antenna which only receives Radio Pakistan or extended versions of Church of England sermons. Oh yes and the nodding dog has long since lost its head. But at least mother has managed to keep hers, and the absolute maximum no claims bonus. We are certain of this because we found the documents in the airing cupboard last week. And whilst cleaning out the fridge yesterday we found the missing nodding dogs head under the peas in the freezer compartment. I know. Don’t ask!




There wasn’t a chair….

30 08 2016

Wood wood houseI’m surrounded by crystal glazed water reflecting back a sorbet hued skyline. Within a minute the ferry will dock and I will be walking a carefully laid path back into town.
I pass by boat sheds, then houses and finally modern minimalist buildings with razor-sharp edges. Their understated forecourts deceive because within the smoked glass doors people are eating, drinking, chatting, flirting or proposing. I know. I’ve been here before. At last I reach the town square and it is exactly as I remember it. Light, spacious, clean and welcoming. The few people in it appear to be whispering to each other rather than shouting. It’s all so quiet. So tranquil.

If I continue across the square I know I will reach the section of the town where white wooden houses staircase a hill right up to the very top. I stayed there once. Invited there by a friend. She’d asked me to stay. She’d told me to sit anywhere but there wasn’t a chair. But there were oversized cushions covered in knitted fabric, sheep skin rugs on the walls, candles in earthen ware holders, and brown cheese in the kitchen. I still love that cheese.

When I left that wooden cocoon I felt as if I had been meditating for the past 3 days. The voices in my head were softer, my vision sharper, the air both cool and sweet.

But if I am to retrace the footsteps of a younger man I needed to find my accommodation. Is it there? No. Here? No. It’s here. I dawdle into the reception area. The girl behind the counter looks up and sends me a warm Latin smile. ‘Welcome to Norway’.


(She asked me to stay and she told me to sit anywhere – So I looked around and I noticed there wasn’t a chair) extract from Norwegian Wood Lennon/McCartney








Mother. (Episode 22)

29 08 2016


Although mother still drives she often orders a taxi for important appointments – doctor’s appointments for example.
Last week mother ordered a taxi for an appointment at 10.30 am. Ready and waiting she was surprised when it hadn’t arrived at 10.15. To double-check that it wasn’t holding on the street she stepped outside.
‘Are you waiting for a taxi? The neighbour to the right had stopped cutting branches for a moment to observe mothers confusion. ‘Yes… must say it’s most unusual it’s not here … they are normally very punctual’.
Having brushed most of the leaves from her hair Mothers neighbour shook a remaining leaf from her head.
‘There was one holding on your driveway a while ago but a woman got in and it drove off’.
Still confused mother ordered another taxi and just made her appointment in time. There in the waiting room sat her neighbour to the left. ‘Aw hallo, fancy meeting you here’. It transpired that her neighbour had come out of her house, saw the taxi on mother’s driveway, jumped in, and the taxi driver, without asking any questions, drove away. ‘Oh dear I am sorry’.
‘That’s alright. These things do happen. Tut’.
Anyway the same neighbour ordered a taxi to take her back home. Halfway through the journey she informed the taxi driver that he was going the wrong way.
Insisting that he knew where he was going the taxi driver continued on their journey, eventually stopping outside a house Mothers neighbour had never seen before. ‘But I don’t live here and this is not my house’.
‘Are you sure?’
Accepting, rather begrudgingly, that she must know where she lived, the huffy taxi driver did a U-turn wheelie and eventually got her home.
‘Does this look familiar?’
‘Very … but I’m not paying you for the extra mileage’.

Later that day I suggested that mother try another taxi company next time. ‘Yes but I’ve done that before and they are just not as reliable’.




Useful dating info when in Norway ….

28 08 2016


When I visited USIT in Oslo they handed me some very useful info. But of all of the guides they handed me this bit of advice made me smile.

Entitled : ‘Picking up a Norwegian’. (It read as follows): “Do you get weird responses to your typical European approach? Adjust it! We are an egalitarian society, and proud of it, so its common to split the bill or take turns buying. Don’t be too romantic, it will definitely creep us out. Keeping eye contact for a long time is super intimate for us, so if someone is looking into your eyes for more than five seconds they probably like you. Or more probable they are insane. Or a foreigner. Its everyone’s game, so if you like somebody, take the initiative and say hi. There is no need to boast about your successes or flash your money (if you have any). We like honesty, integrity, self esteem and sporty attitudes. Ask us about being Norwegian and the weird stuff that we do. We love to talk about ourselves.”

I’m still smiling having read this again. It just seems so honest and straight forward. Or is it? Cue violins. Oh no sorry… this is Norway. :0)


Of rivers and butterflies….

27 08 2016


Its summer. Grass rushes towards the sky. Vibrant sunshine filters through blinds to cast stripes on my apartments walls. The River Boyne meanders past, down towards Drogheda. Bikes and skates lay strewn on the road as children choose to pick daises. Inward looking residents discard inhibitions and yield to warmer air and feint hearted breezes. Howling winds, a filled to the brim river now forgotten, hard to remember in these long light days. In the distance smoke rises from a last minute purchased barbecue, its owners aware that it might be redundant tomorrow. Living in the now, dictated by Irish weather, is a well practised philosophy here. But today is the realisation of a long awaited dream: outdoor chats with friends and family, and the chance to breath sweet air. Memories made now will sustain us through next winter, and guide us towards a time when children will become butterflies once again.

Splendour in the Grass…..

27 08 2016

Splendor in the Grass.Have just watched ‘Splendor in the Grass’ a film from 1961 and was totally mesmerised by it. The story, the way it was filmed and the subject matter seem to me to be very forward thinking for its time. It is, in my humble opinion, just one of those films that once watched could never be forgotten, and let’s face it, there aren’t too many of those around. Although, to be fair,  there have been a good few others throughout the years.

What though the radiance
which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass,
of glory in the flower,
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;

(Excerpt from William Wordsworth).


Mother. (Episode 21)

27 08 2016

According to mother her Sainsbury’s Nectar loyalty card looks very similar to her pension ID card. (I’ve checked and it does, if you are not wearing spectacles). In fact she’s even tried to use it to collect her pension in the past. And likewise she has handed her pension card in to the girl at the Sainsbury’s check out in order to have her loyalty points credited to it. But unlike the post office assistant the check out girl in Sainsbury’s always reminds mother to remove her bank card at the end of any transaction. If they’d done that at the post office mother wouldn’t have had to go without her pension for three weeks.

Mother did check to see whether her pension I.D card had been found but it hadn’t, so she ordered a new one, and after an anxious wait it eventually arrived with a “Rattle” and a “Plop” three days later. ‘Thank goodness’.

And so we headed off to collect mothers now accumulating pension pot.

I waited in the car, a tiny ball of anxiety bouncing around my stomach until Mother returned, rolling her eyes and clutching a fistful of notes- a look of relief smoothed across her once blotchy forehead. ‘Well thank god for that’.

Back home, and to celebrate, we transported tea to a sunny spot in mothers garden, dunked Rich Teas into the poppy decorated mugs, eventually leaning back into our candy striped sun chairs. All is right with the world I sighed as honey coloured sun beams seeped into my sinuses – birds in the back ground twittering around mothers fat balls, hanging precariously from a “Red Robin” bush branch. At some point I must have dozed off.

 “I don’t believe it’, a “Victor Meldrew” voice forcing me to squint sideways at mother attempting to bolt upright in a half collapsing sun lounger. ‘I’ve gone and left my pension card in the post office again’

We hurried back to reclaim it before it fell into less than honest hands – but alas the Post Office  had closed for lunch. Or so we thought. When we tried again later we discovered that they had closed for the rest of the day as well, leaving mother to worry about her lost pension card until the very next morning.

But as a good friend of mine once said, ‘Never be in a hurry to get rid of the worries you know because they will only be replaced by worries you are not yet familiar with’.

So true, I reflected, as Mother gave up trying to start her car and I scoured the “Yellow Pages” for a local car mechanic.


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