Tuesday 29 April 2008

They have arrived

After much procrastination we finally sent in the application forms for the kids Irish passports. We went to the Garda office and had everything signed, of course there was one section which I thought had to be filled out by Kirstin's principal, and the Garda could have done it, but Malcolm had no identification on him. So after the Garda it was off to the principal and then the post office. Money changed hands. Promises were made, and kept and now i am sitting looking at a pretty maroon book with a lovely gold harp on it, passport to Europe and all its pleasures, woohoo!!! No applying for visas, so no forward planning required, just the way I LIKE it...aha aha!!! Oh just in case....Garda = Police...

Thursday 24 April 2008


I received this email from my aunt and I decided to share it with everyone out there who happens upon my blog. It is so sad, I have friends whose parents farm in Zimbabwe and they have been struggling to keep their farm since 1999. I obviously do not know John Winter, his family or his plight but have no doubt that the words he writes are sincere and true.

Letter from Zimbabwe by John Winter
Guys, if for no other reason than we pray it does not happen here, hold Zimbabwe and it's people in your thoughts and prayers until a just and compassionate government can be set up. Remember, "all it takes for evil to prosper is for good men (and women) to do nothing" - Winston Churchill. I reckon that these are the last days of TKM and ZPF. The darkest hour is always before dawn. We are all terrified at what they are going to destroy next........I mean they are actually ploughing down brick and mortar houses and one white family with twin boys of 10 had no chance of salvaging anything when100 riot police came in with AK47's and bulldozers and demolished their beautiful house - 5 bedrooms and pine ceilings - because it was "too close to the airport", so we are feeling extremely insecure right now. You know - I am aware that this does not help you sleep at night, but if you do not know - how can you help? Even if you put us in your own mental ring of light and send your guardian angels to be with us - that is a help but>I feel so cut off from you all knowing I cannot tell you what's going on here simply because you will feel uncomfortable. There is no ways we can leave here so that is not an option. I ask that you all pray for us in the way that you know how, and let me know that you are thinking of us and sending out positive vibes... that's all. You can't just be in denial and pretend/believe it's not going on. To be frank with you, it's genocide in the making and if you do not believe me, read the Genocide Report by Amnesty International which says we are IN level 7 - (level 8 is after it's happened and everyone is in denial). If you don't want me to tell you these things-how bad it is-then it means you have not dealt with your own fear, but it does not help me to think you are turning your back on our situation. We need you, please, to get the news OUT that we are all in a fearfully dangerous situation here. Too many people turn their backs and say - oh well, that's what happens in Africa. This Government has GONE MAD and you need to help us publicize our plight or how can we be rescued? It's a reality! The petrol queues are a reality, the pall of smoke all around our city is a reality, the thousands of homeless people sleeping outside in 0 Celsius with no food, water, shelter and bedding are a reality. Today a family approached me, brother of the gardener's wife with two small children. Their home was trashed and they will have to sleep outside. We already support 8 adult people and a child on this property, and electricity is going up next month by 250% as is water. How can I take on another family of 4 - and yet how can I turn them away to sleep out in the open? I am not asking you for money or a ticket out of here - I am asking you to FACE the fact that we are in deep and terrible danger and want you please to pass on our news and pictures. So PLEASE don't just press the delete button! Help best in the way that you know how. Do face the reality of what is going on here and help us SEND OUT THE WORD.. The more people who know about it, the more chance we have of the United Nations coming to our aid. Please don't ignore or deny what's happening. Some would like to be protected from the truth BUT then, if we are eliminated, how would you feel? "If only we knew how bad it really was we could have helped in some way". [I know we chose to stay here and that some feel we deserve what's coming to us] For now,--- we ourselves have food, shelter, a little fuel and a bit of money for the next meal - but what is going to happen next? Will they start on our houses? All property is going to belong to the State now. I want to send out my Title Deeds to one of you because if they get a hold of those, I can't fight for my rights. Censorship!----We no longer have SW radio [which told us everything that was happening] because the Government jammed it out of existence- we don't have any reporters, and no one is allowed to photograph. If we had reporters here, they would have an absolute field day. Even the pro-Government Herald has written that people are shocked, stunned, bewildered and blown mindless by the wanton destruction of many folks homes, which are supposed to be 'illegal' but for which a huge percentage actually do have licenses. Please! - do have some compassion and HELP by sending out the articles and personal reports so that something can/may be done. "I am one. I cannot do everything, ---but I can do something.. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do." - Edward Everett Hale

Wednesday 23 April 2008

Walking on sunshine

Life is just so bloody marvelous at the moment. On Friday night I went to my dreaded hockey tournament, had an absolute ball (tee hee) and scored my very first goal, then I went on to assist in another one so I was on top of my meatballs! After the game Meriel and I drove around looking for an in service A.T.M which just added to the fun of the evening in some bizarre sort of way, and then we had drinks and dinner at the hockey club with all the other teams.
On Tuesday we woke to the sun streaming through all the windows and a beautiful day. I decided to get out there and make hay so I called a friend, Kelly and we went down to Avoca in Wicklow for lunch and wondered around the nursery. I then picked Kirstin up at school, hunted Tracy down in the car park and we all set off with the kids to Airfield Farm. We were scraping all our cents together to pay the admission for the kids and then scraped some more to have a coffee at the restaurant. It was an awesome afternoon, we sat outside in the sun and I actually....wait for it....got too hot!!! In true Dublin fashion though my jersey/jumper came in handy about an hour later when the sun finally disappeared behind the clouds.
To top it all off I have actually managed to stick to my healthy eating plan for about 54 hours and the temptations that I have faced....the food at Avoca is begging to be eaten and then I was faced with it a second time at Airfield, which was worse because we even managed to scrape together money for scones for the kids and I had to butter and jam them.....and they looked sooo very good. Of course it fuelled my resolve and I am hoping to get through all the temptations at work today too. Ooohhh oohhhh ooohhh I also did some running yesterday morning, now that is one for the history books!!!!!
This morning I woke to magnificent weather again, and I had to walk through the cobbled streets of Dublin with my sunglasses on! Bliss I tell you, pure bliss.

Monday 21 April 2008

Birthdays and stuff....

I have not even told you about my birthday…ages ago really, but anyhooo. I worked which was better than sitting at home I guess, and we did not go out for dinner because I had a hockey meeting,and as it was a week night and the girls had school I decided to save it for the weekend. I got a fantastic surprise when Lizette called from SA to wish me, we worked together at http://www.oldparks.co.za/ and became good friends so it was great to here from her.
So back to the hockey meeting...I went and drank lots of wine with the hockey ladies (good thing about birthdays - hubby dropped me off AND picked me up) and Wendy even baked me a DIVINE cake, with rhubarb in the middle of it, made with half flour and half ground almonds it was so very very yum and I was enormously touched by her efforts. I even got to blow out my candles!!!
I only got my present on the Monday after my birthday and we went out to lunch on the Sunday as a birthday treat, perhaps it is a good thing as I got to enjoy my birthday over a few days. The lunch was pretty cool, we went to the Gastro Pub and they do a school boy lunch on a Sunday, roast chicken and vegetables for 4 people, the whole chicken gets put down at your table and carving knife and fork are supplied for your slicing/hacking pleasure. We had roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips, butternut, peas, gravy AND stuffing all served in different dishes, the kind that granny always has on the table. It was well worth the €30 and I am sure we could have filled at least another 2 tummies with the left over’s.
Okay, I am getting to the present….my husband in all his wisdom (and lots of hints, nudges and flat out telling) got me a Garmin for my birthday, and not just any old talk out loud maps, but the PINK one, beautiful metallic pale pink. I have the freedom of the city now and I zip around without a care in the world. I have driven into Dublin, gone to City West, managed to take Kirstin to drama practice at a new destination all without getting the least bit worried about taking the wrong road. Of course taking the wrong road still happens, I mean what is turn left in 150 metres between friends, it really is so much further than I ever imagine but this is no problem for my clever friend, she just recalculates, sends me around some block or other and puts me back on track. Of course with all the road works it can be a tad frustrating when you get to a non-existent traffic circle expecting to take the third exit and find yourself faced with a highway off ramp. This is not a mere around the block correction but at least I know she will get me back on track somehow.
My girls also bought me some more Australian Women’s weekly cook books to add to my collection, I have a lot of replacement requirements after foolishly selling at least half of the evidence of my nasty little habit. They wisely chose healthy food option ones after carefully going through them to make sure that I would not be able to put a plate of something they considered foul and distasteful in front of them at dinnertime.

Friday 18 April 2008

Best laid plans...

Okay, so the weather is L - O - U - S - Y and I mean lousy. The wind is whipping my hair all over the place, at one point it actually felt rather dramatic, I swear I could just about here lights, camera action, unfortunately I could not be 100% sure because of the howling wind at my ears.
Perfect weather for a cozy evening by the fire, a great book, hot chocolate, all manner of things bad for you and smiling to yourself as you here the wind rip through the top of the chimney. Bliss, but alas not for me. That's right folks I will be enjoying that icy whippy wind tugging at my shirt, getting up my nose, teasing up my skirt and freezing off my ears while I run around with a stick chasing a ball, yep 7 a side hockey tournament tonight. I happily signed up, Spring was in the air, the sun is with us for so much longer, or at least the LIGHT and I was in great anticipation for our little run around this evening. Now it does not look nearly as appealing so I have eaten some ginger biscuits, consumed some pasta and masticated on a chocolate I found lurking in my bag from my last visit to Butler's. Now I have a bloody good reason to go out in this crappy weather, a couple of hundred calories are waiting to be annihilated before they turn into lovely layers of marbling on my thighs.

Tuesday 15 April 2008

Interesting history lesson...


The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone
in it. Hence the saying, Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water.. YUK

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying . It's raining cats and dogs.

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house.. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, Dirt poor. The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance way. Hence the saying a thresh hold.

(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old..

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, bring home the bacon. They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat..

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the
family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realised they had been burying people alive . So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would
have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a ...dead ringer..

And that's the truth...Now, whoever said History was boring ! ! ! Now off you go, there are MANY more where these cam from...

To comment or not to comment...

I love getting comments, I don’t get a lot yet still I do not prescribe to the “beggars can’t be choosers” philosophy. Why do I keep getting these messages starting with…I am on my way to the airport…and a link to I do not know what. There is no way I am clicking the link, (I did click on the name and it took me to a rather bare blogger profile) to see where it goes so I delete and move on. The other day I got one and it seemed a bit more reasonable, I clicked on the link and hoped that Avast would scream a warning if I encountered potential trouble. Well it didn’t and I landed neatly at a website/blog for Dell…bloody hell, now instead of a happy feeling when I have a comment I cautiously click, hold my breath and peep from behind my fingers…

Friday 11 April 2008

A lick and a promise

I have not heard that saying in years and it just popped into my head when I was surveying my house cleaning efforts today. Could have done more but I will get by and when Rose popped in for tea I could sit her in the lounge without removing all manner of things from sofas and floor.

So the "anniversary" of my second born's birth arrived and in true Kirstin style we got to spend the day at home. We were supposed to go into town, have breakfast at Lemon and then do a horse and carriage ride from Stephen's Green but alas the weather would not cooperate. As it is the day of "anything your heart desires" as long as it does not entail the loss of too much cash we turned to Kirstin for plan B. And so it was that I found myself in front of the stove making crepes with bananas, Nutella and marshmallows....FOR BREAKFAST. Kirstin also decided that she wanted to stay home (yay!) so we spent the morning obeying her command. Derrick, Rose and Emily arrived for tea with Kathy hot on their heels.
Malcolm was getting back from the USA and I could not get hold of him, the weather was revolting and I had heard that some flights had been grounded in London so things were not looking too good. he was due to land at 14h00 so when I had not heard from him by 16h00 I was ever so mildly worried. This was assuaged shortly thereafter with a call to pick him up outside a pub in Stillorgan. So I left everyone to their own devices, coffee, tea and cake provided and went dashing off to fetch the father of my offspring. Dinner was a piece of cake - ha ha - Kirstin has a standing order for macaroni cheese on her birthday so it was easy as pie (sorry) to whip up (oops sorry again), helped along by a packet of M&S ready cooked crispy streaky bacon, one of our finest discoveries in Ireland thus far ;) Bacon without the splatter is a big + in my book, although if it is a big breakfast fry up the splatter of bacon is still a necessity.
12th birthday done and dusted, holy schmoly my BABY is 12...

Whale of a day

Phew life is suddenly enormously hectic. My once a week for 4 hour job has turned into 3 days a week and even though 2 of them are half days I still only get home at 3PM. No complaints though, because at the moment I am thoroughly enjoying the interaction with people, and as it is all new there is much to learn. In a couple of months I know I will be bored but this is only part-time so it’s grand.

So rewind time….28 March

The day before Kirstin’s birthday…. In traditional style she got to choose a cake and alas I discovered that she still wanted to turn to my children’s birthday cake books for her choice, she has made some very challenging cake decisions in the past, I have made a horse carousel, a teletubbie cake, with all 4 hand made plastic icing teletubbies lolling about on a hill, a fairy toadstool…I am sure you get the picture and some of you even remember the cakes!
A whale was the choice of the day, sigh of relief, but of course I did not have a big enough tin so I had to downscale the template, luckily it did not require too much skill as it was fairly basic.
Blue icing (Yuk) was called for so a trip to SuperValu was necessary.
When I walked out the door I bumped into my neighbour who insisted I come in for a QUICK coffee. Her grandson is working in South Africa so she loves to chat and over an hour later (no complaints, the cake and the company was excellent) I left only to discover that it was pouring down and I had to change my walk to a drive.
Of course I was now ever so slightly stressed as I had a cake to bake and I had foolishly booked movie tickets too. Luckily Kirstin wanted a chocolate cake (with blue icing mmmm) so I could make Nigellas cake which is THE BEST because you just bung everything in the food processor and whiz. Needless to say I did manage to get the cake done in time and we meandered down to Dundrum to do a bit of shopping before the movie, the kids had bought themselves each a Nintendo DS Lite so they needed games…
We went to see 27 Dresses, a sweet romantic comedy if you have nothing better to do. Then it was home to ice the cake and lots of food colouring was required mmmmm.
More about the big day another day...because I need to do a spot of cleaning today.

Thursday 3 April 2008

Ahhhhh Lee Ann...

A BRILLIANT birthday poem just for me from Lee...


HIP HIP ……………… HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
HIP HIP ……………… HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
NOG ‘N PIEP……….. HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday 2 April 2008

A letter from home that made me laugh...

Yes I have permission from the authour to publish, I decided that as she is battling to comment on my blog and would like to I would give her a whole post!!! Also I love the way her mind works and the things she says.

Hello Nats.

First of all, in case you read this tomorrow - HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Hope you have an awesome day and get very spoilt.
I assume your husband is back in the country??????? If this is not the case he will have to be bringing you a LARGE gift. (hopefully not rotting fish).

All ok on this end. Missing you like crazy. I am reading your blog which helps. You are such a scream, makes me miss you even more. I tried to add some comments but it refuses to let me. I keep forgetting to ask Dave to have a look.
We are having Irish weather at the moment. Trying to get washing dry is a nightmare and most things are not suitable for the dryer. I know this from experience - Dave's jeans are all a tad short thanks to me.
Glad you survived Easter. I on the other hand did not. The worst thing is that I don’t even particularly like chocolate, however...... PMS and Easter are not a great combo. I ate all my chocks and consumed most of the kids. I keep telling myself I want to be kind and save them from all the cavities' My butt however is in disagreement and has increased a few sizes. Things are now back to "normal" and the only sugar I take in is every night from all the wine. Sorry. Not gonna give that up, I would rather have my jaw wired. I am not saying I am and alcoholic, just that as long as I am Matt's mother the vat of Drostdy Hof (wine) is my best friend. (Yes we are trying to stick to our budget - I bought so many bottles of Tall Horse (wine again) I could have started my own game farm).

I still love the little darling............... most of the time and Hannah is still as sweet as honey. Shame she does try and get cheeky and rebellious at times - does not get it right though. She is still afraid of "the death stare" long may it last.

YES!!!!! we are still wanting to move to Auckland. Dave will start actively looking from July. We have resigned ourselves to the fact that we will not have millions in the bank when we leave and will most probably have to live on bake beans for a year. However we are STILL looking forward to our adventure. I do keep praying that a company will want to pay all our relocation costs........ but I am a realist. Don’t suppose you know anyone over there with a large home?????

OOOHH did get 4 numbers in the lotto this weekend. OK it is probably about R200 but hey it’s a start. That million could be round the corner.

The kids are starting to demand their tea and biscuits so I had better go.

Send us some pictures when you can. I will do the same (just that most of mine land up on Facebook.)

Give the girls a big hug and say howdy to MAC-A-LUM for us

Lots of love