Tag Archives: family

homework for daughters

Donegal, May12

Dear Girl1 and Girl2

Most mornings you head off to school with a variation of “Love you, work hard, have fun, be kind, see you later pet” ringing in your ears. Some days it’s full on, other days it’s a grunt and a hug from under the quilt. Every day, that’s what I mean to say.

There’s more too. I could go on. I often do.

You’re at school now, learning lines for the musical, all about negative numbers, what Vitamin C is good for and something about factors, whatever they are. All of those are important, the sort of things that schools are good at. You’re learning all day, every day. I never learned to play a tune, to hit a ball where I wanted it to go, or to pass a physics exam, but I’m still learning important things about life.

Tina Fey wrote a wonderful prayer for her daughter. I agree with every word of it. That won’t stop me adding more. I’ve made you a list- LOLsome, I’m sure- of things I don’t want you to forget. We all need to be reminded of them from time to time…

  • love, laugh and live life to the full
  • hugs are the business
  • you can’t get rid of your parents; no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try to run away, we’ll always be there. Even when we’re gone.
  • respect yourselves and others
  • be polite and mannerly
  • to know that no one is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than you are. We’re all just people, muddling through.
  • find the humour- it makes things easier
  • enjoy what you work hard at
  • make people feel comfortable in your company
  • make an effort- good things generally don’t just land at your feet by chance
  • value your own opinions
  • be guided, but not led
  • don’t add to the unfairness of the world
  • never be afraid to ask for help
  • generally, negotiation works better than nagging
  • campaign for social justice
  • sometimes you need to protest, to stand and be counted, to shout a bit louder
  • keep singing and dancing
  • wear a coat when it’s cold
  • remember that wellies are not the devil’s work
  • always, always, be there for your sister, no matter how irritating she is
  • be curious
  • make a list
  • bring a hot water bottle
  • vegetables are edible

I’ll probably keep adding to this, just to annoy you. Daddy may add things like “No, you can’t go out wearing that” and “You must support no other team but Spurs”.

You know us well. We continue to be amazed by you. Our people.

Now, go and do your homework- this is the stuff you get tested on every day in life. Get it right early on and you’ll be grand.


risky behaviour

Jake the re-homed westie has been with us for nearly seven months now. A lifetime. I’m still fascinated by how we’ve adapted to having a stubborn old dog about the place, and how he’s adapted to us. Having trained us that longing looks at the fridge mean ‘ham, ham, ham, give me ham’, he seems generally quite contented with us, and he’s getting more relaxed in the outside world.

He’s not a bouncy, friendly dog; he’s more likely to lick a wee-ed on, flithy, city wall than a warm, clean and loving hand. He lets us know when he wants cuddled and stroked and enjoys it all; in his time, on his terms. He’s still wary of other people- he wouldn’t let Grandad take him for a walk even though Grandad had been nothing but kind and good to him for a week- and retreats quietly from situations he’s not happy with.

His reaction to other dogs is changing too. It’s no longer ‘head down move on swiftly nothing to see here’. He tolerates sniffing, sniffs back, and is beginning to wag his tail at these encounters.

This morning in the park, his interaction went to a whole new level. He was the investigating doggie. Bounding over for a good old sniff, sniff, sniff at another butt.

The other butt was in action at the time.

Jake only just missed getting covered in something not only smelly but warm too. He’d have loved it.


What will the weekend bring?

Spurs Fan, Girl1 and Girl2 are away. They’re visiting Nana and Grandad and the hallowed ground. I am home alone.

The shopping is done- microwave meals for one, books and wine. The fire is set. I’m ready.

I will need to leave the bed and the house to be a responsible doggy owner; other than that, it’s all me.

It has been years and years since there was just me and a weekend.

Will I spring clean?


Explore weekend events in town?

Write many blog posts?

Do that blog organising?

Do huge admin sort out and shredding?

Right now, I have no idea at all.

I’m looking forward to finding out.



Sidey’s weekend theme is anticipation

that time again

What time, Speccy?

Why, dear reader, Rare Disease Day! Those of you who were around this time last year may remember videos, anxiety about an event and me practising my burble for the Health Minister…

The 2013 theme for Rare Disease Day is Rare Disorders Without Borders- particularly relevant to a small island on the far west of Europe with its own international border.


NI Rare Disease Partnership are co hosting a joint event with the charities interested in rare disease in the Republic of Ireland. There will be Ministers, an EU bod, professors of complicated things, and examples of effective cross border health care work.

Most importantly of all, there will be patients, carers and families telling tales of living with rare disease, sharing their expertise with the Ministers, the policy makers and the commissioners. It is only by working together that we can begin to address the issues that affect us all- international boundaries are far from our only concern.

Our fabulous, dynamic, innovative event (I hope!) will be held in City Hall, Dublin on 28 February. In the unlikely event of me not having nagged at you before, and you’re interested in attending, you can register here. It will be well worth attending.

At least one of the speakers will be devastatingly gorgeous spellbinding.