Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Good Hair Day that ended in the Wars......


The day had started off so well.

I sat there in the hair-dressing chair, at the last minute appointment I was so lucky to get, with my newly shorn tresses being efficiently and gently coloured and put into easy meche plastic packets.
It is of course a time consuming operation and hard to find the requisite couple of hours to set aside for this mood enhancing, uplifting  - and therefore totally necessary for ones survival - exercise!

However needs must, I thought as the grey speckles glittered through the ever darkening fronds, and the time was found.

Oh, it was bliss, sitting there chatting to real life adults and flicking through magazine after magazine. At 11 O'Clock in the morning! I was only saying to the girl how unusual it was to be able to do this.  It was like a guilty pleasure. I was even contemplating a nice light lunch somewhere afterwards.

But it didn't take long for the guilty pleasure bubble to burst.

All it took was a phone call. And one look at caller-ID for the heart to beat faster and the stomach to drop when I saw that it was the school phoning.

But it was okay, it wasn't one of those phone calls. it was one of these - you know, the 'I forgot my text book/copybook/pencil case/jumper/entire school bag/my head (circle as appropriate) ....can you bring it.....please??' spoken in his bestest good-boy voice!

Well, it was all hands on deck as the plastic packets were whipped from my head as soon as they were ready, and my hair was blow-dried quickly and brilliantly before I left, with newly golden high-lighted hair bouncing in the Spring breeze!

A quick dash home and I was at the school just in time to deliver the forgotten item ..... and to see the cool teens hanging out, chatting before lunch break was over. Worth it for that alone ;-)

No point in going home to come back in 2 hours, I thought to myself before dashing off to get some shopping jobs done. With hair continuing to bounce in the Spring breeze..... and the light Spring showers. Noooooo.....!!

Of course the 'nice light lunch' became a quickly purchased and consumed bag of popcorn, apple and bottle of water in the car as I waited for school to finish! Phew.....

A quick dash home to deposit the boy and his homework filled school bag and it was time to put my years of quick costume changes - gleaned through many, many shows - to good use and change into my 'going out' clothes and face. It was  a quick 30 minute turnaround and all 'W' questions - especially the 'what's for dinner Mum' was met with a very prompt...'Ask your Father' before I vamoosed out the door, with ever-bouncing hair....

Straight to Milano for a quick pre-theatre dinner with a good friend. It was so lovely to have a catch-up chat.

Before long we were in our seats in the stalls of Bord Gais Energy Theatre for a wonderful performance of War Horse. Now, I'm an all singin' and dancin' kinda gal but this show - a play with music and some unaccompanied singing - was amazing. It's a heartwarming tale of a teenage boy and his World War 1 fighting horse that has been uniquely adapted for stage. The use of life-sized equine puppetry and the attention to detail is phenomenal. Watch out for the hilarious Goose too, he sure knows how to milk his scenes! The floating 'cloud' that enhances the narrative is also brilliant. The show was admittedly slow to start but it didn't disappoint. Lots of funny and poignant moments, and some extremely loud gunfire too!  A great show that deserved it's standing ovation.





It was a  perfect end to this very hectic day.....

xx



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mrs Mop and the Cat's Miaow


She sat there watching, through eyes half closed with mid-morning lethargy.

Meanwhile, I was rushing around manoeuvering a full and heavy clothes horse from inside to out, and getting bucket and mop in place for the floor washing that simply had to be done.

She never tried to give even a half hearted attempt to assist. So comfortable was she reclining on the sofa, satiated after a full breakfast and propped up with comfy cushions, as her whole day stretched lazily ahead of her.

She's been there, done that you see. She's had her family; gave birth to them, nourished and raised them until they were all ready to leave the nest. It's just her now, no responsibilities. Her life's work on this earth is complete. 

Time to relax.

Let someone else do all the running around, pulling their hair out for a change.

At least I imagined that must have been the thought that floated through her little head, as she snuggled even deeper into her fluffy cushion-land. Giving me the most dis-interested look. Ever....




But soon she just  couldn't help herself, it's in her nature you see. And while curiosity didn't quite kill her, it certainly did get the better of her, as the lure of the long-stranded mop sloshing across the floor swiftly became a temptation she just couldn't resist.

She just had to go investigate. From a discreet distance of course.




She followed me around from room to room, eyes round and brightly inquisitive, with paw tentatively reaching out every now and then to touch the strange long strands swiftly moving to and fro; only to withdraw a tad fearfully at the very last minute.

What fun! An early morning unexpected play time!

Washing floors may be fun to you, my dear Pretty Cat, but it is most definitely not anywhere on my fun-things-to-do list. It is a chore, dear Pretty Cat ...... a C.H.O.R.E.

However, she was great company and did add some amusement to this most menial of household tasks!

Of course, all this floor washing 'fun' can be quite exhausting you know. So after a little self-grooming cat's lick of her own and a nice snack - for her, not for me - it was back to business as usual for me.

And for her.......





Oh to be feline and free!

xx



Friday, April 4, 2014

Reasons To Be Cheerful #RTBC - Positivity All Around.


It's been a hectic fortnight filled with appointments, meetings, visits, lots of dashing here and there; some hair-pulling, a spot of worry, sprinkles of fun and a dollup of stress. Oh, and there was wine too. Naturally.

And laced through all of this were some lovely moments of positivity....

Like the first day of April that showered us in some glorious Spring sunshine with a stunning cobalt sea against a backdrop of a gorgeous blue sky. The perfect colours for World Autism Day, as a friend rightly pointed out! Sure who could resist going out walking in this.....




Like finally finding the book I wanted in order to complete my trilogy of books by Khaled Hosseini. And I have my recent listography post and the lovely Kate Takes 5 to thank for that!





Of course, when you're a tad stressed from all the running hither and tither, there is nothing better than making some time to meet with a really good friend to enjoy some  tea and cake. Or coffee, if you prefer! Thank you Looking For Blue Sky for the very enjoyable catch-up.

Then there are the secret meetings I've been having with some other good friends of long standing. Plans are afoot and who knows how this project will finally materialise. I can't tell you any more right now. It's very clandestine you see.... tell-you-and-I'd-have-to-kill-you kinda stuff! Suffice it to say that it sure will be the Tops ;-)

And of course I'm still living off the back of the lovely Mother's Day visit I made, it's even been followed by a similarly pleasant one.

It's all good really. Onwards and upwards.

I wish you a wonderful weekend, wherever in the world you are.







xx









Sunday, March 30, 2014

Happy Mother's Day.......


A bunch of pretty flowers and a thoughtful card with an inspiring verse. It may not not seem like much but sometimes it is just enough. A perfect Mother's Day present, for someone who can't have much and is grateful for so little.

It was the verse that spoke to me the most (albeit a tad cheesily), that pulled at the heartstrings and said all I wanted to say....

                                                   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I learned so much from you Mum
  When I was just a child
You taught me to respect myself
  And stopped me running wild.

You taught me to be patient
             To be strong in heart and mind
To be thoughtful and forgiving
     Understanding too and kind.

You taught me all these things Mum
Just by being you
By the way you live your life
                By the things you say and do.

You've been the light that guides me
   You've been the brightest star
If it wasn't for your love

  I never would have come this far.


So thank you from the heart Mum
  For your love and guidance too
No fortune could repay
   The debt I owe to you.

(from Loving thoughts by Carmen)

                                                 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


It was a good day to deliver the card and flowers. A day that saw her looking well, in wonderful form and knowing exactly who everyone was. A visit so precious that you hope it doesn't slip away with the sands of time. She may not be able to read the card, or to understand it's sentiments, but I know she'll carry both her Mother Day's cards around with her, in her infamous red handbag, for the weeks and months to come!

My Mam has been a wonderful Mother and thanks to her we are the people we are today.

If I do half as good a job with my boy I will be a very happy Mum indeed. Although, I may have to wait a very long time before I get a card like this. Or indeed any kind of card at all.

Mother's Day does not feature highly in the house of 'Hallmark Day' detractors and ASD-ness. It's a Sunday just like any other, when Gaming and Golfing trumps all. Or so it seems.

A Mum is many things you know; she is thoughtful and caring, worrying and fretting over issues of concern, all the while ensuring that her family is nourished, with both food and love.

She is also no fool and is always  resilient and well prepared.

And if Mother's Day doesn't come to the Mamma, then the Mamma will have to make it her own.

She can throw a bit of a strop - some revenge tantrumming maybe? - and gain herself a hastily picked bunch of tiny flowers from the garden in her favorite colour - yellow, just so you know; that currently sit prettily, in a very glamorous white egg cup!




And there is nothing wrong in pre-empting things by treating yourself to a little something from Marks and Spencers - a spot of Vichy products too perhaps? - in the week leading up to the day now, is there?

And a trip to a local restaurant on the day with your secret date of yore - who has grown up quite a bit since then - can't do any harm at all now, can it? The fact that they serve wine is just an added bonus.

Besides it's the unexpected showering of hugs, the impromptu moments of gratitude, the open and positive relationship you have, being trusted implicitly and being the one they turn to in their hour of need, on any day of any week, that makes it all worth while.

And the best gift of all today was seeing my mam in such good form.

Happy Mothers Day to all you wonderful Mums out there. 

I do hope that your day was special. Or that you found a way to make it special :-)


xx





Monday, March 24, 2014

#Listography: My Life in Books



Reading has always been a favourite pastime of mine, I was quite the bookworm as a child and was often found with my nose buried deep within the magical pages of a book. How wonderful to follow in the adventures of others, to travel to mystical faraway lands, all the while curled up under the comfy bedclothes or wrapped up in a favourite chair. My books of choice were not the genius, intellectual kind I'm afraid. Apologies if I offend your literary sensitivities! However I did persevere with some classics such as Louisa May Alcott's 'Little Women' and Charles Dicken's 'Oliver Twist' (the dancer in me preferred the musical!) and I  really was intrigued by 'What Katy Did'.... and what she did next too. 

These days I mainly immerse myself  in the dark, intriguing world of psychological thrillers, although I do steal myself away from this genre from time to time to enjoy other interesting reads. 

I will now attempt to list my 'Life in (5) Books' while steering away from my preferred genre....


 1. My life-long love of reading began with a present of a 'Rupert the Bear' annual when I was a very young child in hospital for a tonsillectomy. How I loved that book, I read it from cover-to-cover many, many times. It had a distinctive scent, a faint wisp of which still comes to mind whenever I think of it.


 And how I adored that yellow-tartan trousered bear, who ultimately led me to other literary wonders.

2. The wonders of the Enid Blyton kind to begin with, with The Famous Five being my absolute treasured favourite. I do believe that 'Five on a Treasure Island' was my first read, or one of the first anyway.


I was 'George', of course. Although I did like the girly 'Anne' too, mainly because I always wanted an older brother. The complete facts of the birds and the bees story hadn't quite registered with me back then!
As I grew older my interest switched to the Swallows and Amazons series.
Although my interest was to ultimately grow into the more gritty and psychological kind, I do believe that through both of these series the seeds of my love for thrillers was born. Like I say, the intellectual kind of reader I was not!


3. 'Cry Freedom' by John Briley. As much of my young adulthood was spent dancing in many shows on many stages, there wasn't much time for reading. However, this book really broke through the myriad of rehearsals and dance bags of lycra and legwarmers to grab my attention.  I was totally absorbed by this inspirational story of Steve Biko and it really sparked my interest in Nelson Mandela too. Of course the movie had to be watched also. This book came to mind recently when the Nelson Mandela movie 'Long Walk To Freedom' was released and I was delighted to see that finally a copy of the book of the same name had miraculously found its way into my Christmas stocking this year! I absolutely devoured that book too. It gave such insight into the fascinating character of that legendary man.



4. 'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini. This was such a wonderful read. The thought provoking and powerful tale of two young friends in Afghanistan, beautifully written and interwoven with historical facts. I struggled with the betrayal of one of the boys, yet ultimately felt sorry for him too.





5. 'The Dancer Upstairs' by Nicholas Shakespeare. This wonder I found quite by accident. One of my 'lucky dip' choices when I go to the library and  pick a book that is outside my thriller comfort zone. I guess it was the title that appealed to me, although the blurb on the cover left me in no doubt that it was more than just about a dancer. The story is woven around the capture of the elusive Peruvian guerilla leader Ezekiel by a determined policeman. It is an intriguing tale of subversion, betrayal and adultery laced with horror and...... ballet. Fantastic read.
And a far cry from 'Rupert the Bear'!

This is for Kate Takes 5 Listography . I really enjoyed doing it; the memories it has sparked and the determination to read more from Khaled, Nicholas and many others. I am definitely off to check some others choices in this week's Listography.

Happy reading.....

xx




Monday, March 17, 2014

St Patrick's Day 2014


As a child, attending the Dublin St Patrick's Day Parade was an annual rite of passage. Like consuming cabbage and bacon as our National Day's feast. 

I quite liked the parade - the waiting around wasn't too bad and it was quite fun despite the cold - but the bacon and cabbage? Not so much.

It's been many years since I've been to a parade in our Capital city and it's changed a lot. From the snippets I've seen on TV it's become more glamorous, culturally inclusive, vibrant and spectacular. It's also attracted many more visitors! It's a shame that my child has never been, but with all that waiting around for hours and the crowd being 20 deep at the barriers, it's just too uncomfortable.

Over the years we've had alternative ways to view the parade and have attended other local ones too.

The local St Patrick's Day Parades can be quite 'entertaining'!  It's been a while since we've been to one of those either and today we decided to see what Bray had to offer us this year.

There was a bit of waiting around and the crowd only built up at the last minute, so far so good. 

It began with the great fanfare ...... of emergency vehicle sirens! Lead by the army and followed by the Civil Defense.






And of course it's not a parade without a tractor...


But it wasn't  a load of bull...


There were some very cool vintage cars too 




There followed the usual mix of sport and various youth activity groups etc., .... out for a nice walk.

It was lovely to see the children joining in but I was missing the music. And some...... pizazz!

Some groups made the effort to perform. Like the first group of Irish Dancers and the Bray Twirlers


The Tallaght Band were great!


And the Junior Musicals group added some colour with their costume and performance



The  Brittania Coconut Dancers were..... 'interesting'!!!


There was also of course a mix of charity groups like Bray Lakers, The Open Door and Bray Cancer (for example) using the parade as an opportunity to highlight their organisations. Precisely as they should and great to see them there. Some groups also put some effort into highlighting their upcoming fund raising events.

There is quite a community of Chinese and Filipino people living in Bray and it's environs, and they have added some colour and spectacle with their performances in previous parades. I do hope they bring that along next year because I did miss it.

The parade was brought to a fiery finale with 2 fire-eating females!



And the float containing road barriers that followed them was the damp squib of a cue that the parade had come to an end!! 

It felt like an hour's wait for 20 minutes of a parade but it was actually 45 minutes long.

I'd love there to have been more music and performance from the groups taking part. Even the local radio station wheeled on by without a tune playing! There may have course been an MC on the seafront but something was needed on the main street too, to give the proceedings a lift.

It was good to get out of the house for the first time this weekend though!

Happy  St Patrick's Day to you all :-)

Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit go léir.

And may the road rise with you....and all that 'jazz'!

xx


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