used to be

I used to be a teacher, a rower, a daughter. I used to be employed, and healthy. I used to be a blogger.

Now, I’m not quite sure.

I’m busy and motivated and exhausted. I’m a volunteer and a dance mom and an occasional blog reader. I still have ME, I juggle all the things, and I sleep.

It used to be that I’d go for a walk and tell you about it; taking pictures in the museum and sharing my random thoughts on creativity or elephants or the chap who sounds just like Sir Humphrey.

You’d see my new purple nail varnish, or a tidy room, or the silly thing that made me laugh while my family rolled their eyes in despair.

Then I shared less music and more ranting. I’ve bored myself with the ranting.

Brexit leading to threats of war, Trump, NI politics, the Irish police– all of these are beyond parody. Unbelievable behaviour from those who simply don’t care about the rest of us. We appear to be beyond all norms of acceptable behaviour and nobody is being held to account. I don’t know what happened or what to do about it. (Social media is probably not the solution.)

I’ve felt defeated, and pictures of pretty things haven’t helped. I’ve been missing my wee mate Jake- always one to distract me from too much introspection when we were home alone. I’ve taken on extra responsibility with our charity, but nobody wants to read that sort of detail.

Alternatively, I’ve had loads of new experiences, I’ve joined a political party (in an attempt to divert the ranting into something constructive), I’ve got access to spontaneity via a new to me car, and it’s spring. The world is coming back to life, maybe I should, too.



I used to be in a bit of a rut. Bear with me as I work my way out.


in memoriam

The cards are here. They have a photo of Herself, smiling , happy and comfortable. She’s wearing an outfit that she loved. In the original picture, she is surrounded by her brothers and sisters. We were all gathered for a family wedding some years ago- her siblings, nephews and neices, her children and grandchild.

There’s a simple prayer– one well known for dealing with rubbish situations, and a poem that meant a lot to her, especially after the old man died. The design is simple and colourful, Christian, but not too traditional. We think she’d approve.

I thought choosing the cards would be the hard bit. But choosing a picture of a happy Herself, and prayers that she liked, was not too difficult. There are lots of pictures of her smiling. Hundreds of happy, cheerfully captured, moments.

Now I have a box of double cards, single cards and bookmarks, sitting here. Just sitting here. They’ve been here a week. Loads of them. Suddenly, their distribution doesn’t seem like an administrative task any more. Instead, it’s a reminder of the wrongness of it all. If I send out the cards, I’ll be acknowledging that Herself is dead. Well, du-uh. We all know that. Even I know that. I think I even believe it, sometimes. I just don’t like the thought of confirming it.

Terminal illness takes so much from a family. We’re still dealing with it. Like all my admin, it’s a work in progress.

do you know?

Uncle Bungle was visiting this weekend. We blathered, had lunch and went to sports day. The next day he visited Herself when we were there. It was good to spend so much time together. It’s relaxing and supportive and challenging and fun. I’m looking forward to being taught the ways of The Bee when we visit his hives soon.

I promised you bouncy hoppers

He is the Old Man’s brother, who left home in 1964 and hasn’t lived in Ireland since the early 70s. His parents, brother and sister are all buried in the one spot, next door but one to his grandparents, uncle and aunts- a country graveyard we all know well. My granny was related to half the country and knew everybody. He and I have no idea. We remember Mary The Tea Drinker and Sarah who came into town from the glen every week, but were they sisters or sisters in law? We think that one was married to Johnny (do you not remember Johnny?) but which one?  And the neighbours on the street- what did you call the people round the corner? Oh, were they …? That’s right! Her brother was the first person we ever knew of to go to university. Then I used to play in that house, you know the one down at the end?

Uncle Bungle had the skills to be excused from music and gaelic football when at school, and to skip Irish dancing classes for weeks before Granny asked the dance teacher how he was getting on… caught. He was part of that first generation of working class children to make it to the grammar school, to benefit from opportunities undreamt of by their parents (his father had joined the army when he was 14, and always maintained it was a grand job, except when there was a war on). That also meant he had to deal with the Christian Brothers, and there are tales which could be told, but aren’t laboured.

the boy soldier, 1934

We’re not quite sure what the connection is with the village- were those people Granny’s cousins or yours? Does anybody know those things now? All that shared information burbling along in the background through the generations, assumed knowledege, and we can’t piece it together anymore. Herself was able to help fill in some of the gaps, but the Mary/ Sarah/ Johnny relationship defeated even her, or maybe just her communication. I remember when she knew everything- the Old Man didn’t keep track of all his relations (a man thing apparently) so Herself did. She knew every person who came to the house for his wake and funeral, even all the whose-cousin-are-they people from that village.

Do you think we could qualify for one of those ‘Who do you think you are?’ type programmes on television?  Researchers and tv producers, please form an orderly queue. We need to know about Mary The Tea Drinker, Sarah and Johnny.