The House


Breaking news:

  • My poor, forlorn, lonelyheart socks have progressed as far as a detention centre on the top of a bench, where they await their fate. Shall their One True Partner come and bail them out, miraculously? Shall they? Or shall they be imprisoned in a plastic bag in the middle of the spare room, to be thrown out into the actual bin, in as soon as - oh! - anytime in the next year or two.

    Edge-of-your-seat stuff, I am sure you'll agree.
  • In other news, and speaking of The Spare Room: we did finally get our declaration from the Adoption Authority. It came on paper headed solemnly with the harp symbol that signifies officialdom in Ireland. (If it's got a harp on it, it's serious and may be even worth something. DON'TFECKINGLOSEITYOUBIGEEJIT, MammyIreland might be presumed to be telling us with it. ) Some people have described this as an empowering moment, akin to being pregnant, but I just thought: Oh, there you go when the JB opened it. Since then, though, there has been a general glow of satisfaction, interpersed with the odd chilly moment of GAAHJAYSTHISISREALLYREALLYREAL.

  • Since that day, we have been up to our elbows in paperwork. EVERYTHING has to be negotiated for, awaited, copied, scanned, signed, notarised, apostilled. It's like the Bureaucracy Olympics. We are getting more and more friendly with our solicitor, a floppy-haired, good-hearted fusspot of a young fellow who hangs out in Dublin 1.

  • I admit the JB has done A Large Part of This Mental Power-lifting/Bureaucratising. Good husband! He is coming up in the polls, as I regularly tell him.

  • It does seem wrong that we are required to survive this long battle of wits, which seems more like the psychological equivalent of an IronMan competition, and less like anything remotely to do with parenting, and must surely mean less bloody-minded people - who none the less might be really good parents - fall by the wayside and give up?

  • Life continues to be packed to bursting. Whywhywhy is that, tell me? Don't you remember the hours and hours in your youth, where there was nothing to do, only loll around and watch The Multicoloured Swapshop? And it was good? Why is life so franticfranticfrantic? I am that harrassed state of mind where you miss your stop on the Luas, and only raise your head when the name Fortunestown is called out. Fortunestown? You've never even heard of such a place. Or where you say to yourself: Ooh, look, if the knife slips now, it could easily (but keep cutting) - OW! Or narrowly avoid being run over by another bus not the one you really wanted to catch, or sundry other unforced errors, as they say in tennis. The poor kitty nearly got an iron in the head this morning. I could have killed the kitty! With a flying iron! That fell as I was foolishly moving the board without removing it first!

I need to take a sabbatical from my own life. How about you? Tell me the secret of calmness. Kittalo will thank you for it.




A phenomenon has occurred. Previously perfectly content to live in my own grime, I showing signs of being, well, the only expression is: house proud.
It started with the discovery of a microfibre cloth and a single tile and now, I find I really, really like the gleaming! I know! Odd as it seems, it makes me happy when things shine. I spent a long happy time sorting out our bookshelves last weekend:


It was just so much fun.

I can only conclude this is a new type of nesting. Previously my nesting activity took the form of painting and decorating but now it seems that in some deep part of my subconscious I believe that our child may arrive next Tuesday, complete with white gloves to test the surfaces with, and a preference for novels being stacked with other novels, not comic books, nor travel books, for instance.

Be that as it may, I have been feeling a bit glum off and on. This time last year I was pregnant, and I don't even know how to describe it, but the way the air smells reminds me so much of how I felt last year at this time. A natural anniversary, I suppose.

Sigh. Sigh. It's not a deep gloom, I have to say, it's the kind where you can be jollied out of it by a joke or a coffee with a friend. Or a piece of cake, that would do it. But I do hate the way it seeps into my general attitude, and I start to have gloomy thoughts about work, and related (in)eptitude, and wake up in wee small hours to feel crap and straight-faced about things.

How about you? How are you sleeping? Tell your aunty Twangy.

on the butler

There's a nice man putting insulation in our kitchen walls so we won't be perishing any more. He is called Marcel, most wonderfully. The JB can't resist doing a mime artist routine whenever he mentions him, which is quite often.
Oh, Marcel [waves arms around in vague mime of mime] is working really quickly!
I gave Marcel [doing something approximating charade-like actions] some coffee!

He's a bit excitable at the moment, and yet, lives to serve:

(Have you seen the waiter in The Belleville Rendezvous? Brilliant, that film.)

At first I found this a bit really annoying and would roll my eyes so much they could easily have rolled out of my head, but then I read May's comment, and remembered her brilliant description of H making her pre-work tea in the morning, and the two notions clunked together like magnets, and I thought, this could be good. Mmm, I like hot drinks. Since then, we are getting on like the proverbial house on fire, (though why a burning house should be an appropriate simile, I do not know).
He is able to express his lovely kindly nature, and I am able to express my latent dictatorial tendencies have a nice rest.

I do have a stinky cold (most unusual for me. The last time I had one, was due to post-wedding heebeejeebies, practically four years ago. Immune system of steel, I have), and feel just sick enough to sit around in my friend's house (2 mins slow walk from ours) while Marcel mimes being a builder in mine, but not really sick enough to actually suffer - which is the ideal amount of sickness. I feel much better today so work tomorrow and no excuses.

The EPU rang me back telling me they had received the fax from my GP asking for an early scan, but when they heard my history, they told me it was probably "just for reassurance" and have put me in for 10 week one. In a way this is okay. I am not as nervous as time progresses, and I don't know, am strangely okay.
On the other hand, I could get a scan privately, next week. I suppose I'll wait for the 10-week, unless anyone thinks otherwise?

You know many things, friends, and for this I am very grateful.



(Oh dear. The thing is, I can't seem to stop blogging. It's become a displacement activity. There are so many things I should be doing instead, like working on my show, or quoting for a job, laundry, house-work, such-like. We have instituted Date Night on Wednesday evenings, in an effort to avoid the Home for the Bewildered, so I should probably be plucking my eyebrows or something. You know, real world stuff. 

But never mind that, on with the blogging!)


People are funny. 

I was inspired to do a bit of weeding in the front, last week, before Kerry. (Though, in truth, part of me feels this is discriminating against the weeds. I mean, you know, just because a plant isn't as pretty as the other plants, and is good at growing, must it really be executed by strangulation? After all, I suffered an unattractive, gawky phase in my childhood, where I was the tallest in the class, by at least 6 inches. I was 5 foot tall when I was 8. Very weedy, but no one even attempted my execution. I was thinking about this, as I weeded, in my conflicted way.)

A grey-haired woman came along and we exchanged a "hello!" all friendly-like. She paused.

"Now, please say no, if you don't want to", she said, "but I was wondering if you'd like to collect for the church."

In my new-found honesty, I felt compelled to confide in her as follows:
"Oh! Well, you see, I am not actually a member of it."
And she was all nice and reasonable and said:
"Oh that's fine, even if you were, you still wouldn't have to! I just thought I'd ask as I saw you there."

Beguiled by this lovely respectful way of going about things that the nice lady had, I gaily confessed:
"Actually I'm not even a Catholic!" (not forgetting to slip in, perfidiously) "Though my husband is." (Har! Poor JB)

"Oh well," she said. "Great day for weeding!"

"Indeed!" I agreed, (a word that only ever comes out of my mouth when conversing with vicars and older people) and I go back to the weeds, thinking what a beautiful thing ecumenical relations really are, how we join together in a peaceful reconciliation, each respecting the other, living in harmony.

But as my new friend moved off, her parting shot across the bows was:

"And you have plenty of them!"



The Charm and Disarm strategy seems to have done the trick! Hurray for nice-iosity.
I was in the back today in the bright and chilly sunshine, doing some clipping of the jungle and standing on of a snail, (sorry, snail. I did not enjoy the sudden underfoot crunch, and actually gazed at you for a minute after your untimely demise on the paving, (ironically I had just "saved" you from being thrown amongst the rubble) wandering if 1) you could be saved, by cleverly throwing off your shell and becoming a slug or 2) I should put you out of your misery by pouring salt on you and watching you shrivel up), when I was distracted by my neighbour's cordial salute, all friendly-like, from the fence. We had a slightly awkward conversation through the fence. It is not designed for inter-neighbour communication, in truth, the lathes being laid in such a way to be either covering the eyes of the person to whom you are speaking, or the mouth. So I was forced into a kind of solicitous bobbing dance to catch the drift of what Nuala was saying. Which was: they are not going to do anything with the fence - it's fine. And when I tried to apologise for the fact that our extension takes light from their garden, she said "ah sure, it gives us a bit of shelter!" And then, after the ritual complaining about the weather, we smiled cheerily and bobbingly at each other and bid our farewells. I am really happy. I hate to be on bad terms with people, especially those with whom I live so very cheek-by-jowl. Nuala, too, redeemed herself - and will now be characterised in a more favourable light when I write my graphic novel about the neighbourhood - Cheek by Jowl, which was to be a murder mystery with her as the rotten-hearted culprit, and much skulduggery and fleet of foot around of the back lanes at night time (Well. I just made that up, but I think the point is made). It was a stunning transformation and I am a bit pleased with myself, I have to admit. My relief is out of proportion with the reality, because in some deep unlit part of me, I now see I perceive it as some sort of omen. (I wouldn't have thought of myself up till now, as a superstitious person, really, but in fact it seems that I am, really. Might as well admit it. Time to get on with it, in fact. Although I draw the line at joining a coven). I mean, how else to make sense of the way life runs in great loops of bad luck and good? I feel we've been loitering in the dark these last 18 months - I haven't felt my usual doesn't-bear-thinking-about luckiness (Lord this is truly middle-class angst. I do realise. I realise. Apologies to those with Real Problems)  - like:
the 2 penalty points I got for the one and only time I ever answered the mobile while driving (in bumper to bumper traffic too).
See: pregnancy, lack thereof
See: purchase of house the very second before the boom ended
See: being ripped off by builders big time
See also: gratuitous violence done to car x 2, and husband x 1
But now, with our lovely builder, Peter the Great, his beautiful job on my shed, (he wouldn't even take the money for the roof he fixed for us months ago - I mean I had to press the payment on him! extraordinary, it was) and JB's thumbs up from the doctors wrt to his "boys", with the fact my neighbour Came Around, my show which was a success, and the fact we are well, and healthy, and it's Spring, there is so much to celebrate.
JB came back from Kerry, all giddy and rested and back in 15 year old gear. (Whenever he goes home (it is my contention that) he regresses to his teenage years and forgets to bathe and goes around on his bike with his little legs going like pistons.) And we seem to be on a better track, too. I rang the Italian Police for my clearance last week and was told by a kind man with an all but unintelligible (to me) thick Roman accent that it must have been lost and he would send it again. He even asked me to ring him to confirm that it arrived safely) I could just imagine him sitting in a dusty office in Rome, surrounded by metal filing cabinets, planning his pensionable years, with the marble statues outside, keeping their relentless watch.

And so it is that a ray of sunlight slants into my young/old heart. And today is good, and that is enough for me.

Your grateful

"Bobby builder gone!"

Spike announced to his maternal grandmother last week - who also happens to be our landlady. (NB, self: watch mouth when Spike is around. He may be staring vacantly out of the window or busily doing his jigsaw, but don't be fooled. The child has ears).
He is right, anyway. Our builder, having done about 2 days work since Christmas has actually done a runner, and abandoned ship. Or house, in this case. We made the mistake of - well first of employing him at all - making the final payment insufficiently big to "motivate" him to finish the job - you know, since he is a rat with no morals. (Sorry, rats. I don't mean to insult you). He can't be reached on the phone - in fact at one point there was an AT&T answer message on his mobile which gave us to think he was hiding out in Florida where we happen to know he has a house. Hmm, I wonder if I'll post the rat's name? I shall think about it.
ANYWAY, moving on, trying to maintain a zen attitude, we have found a highly recommended Lithuanian builder called Vytas, who is going to start on Monday.
These things are sent to try us, you know. Sigh..

no 6

oh yay! we got our keys at last. Had fun yesterday looking around and having fantasies about wet rooms and dining tables. In addition to our little house and garden we have a treasure trove of objects to play with: a dishwasher, a washing machine, a flymo and a lot of old paint tins and boxes of mystery things.

Our house is lovely.

Mrs H*gan I presume

Just cycled back through bluster and unseasonable cold from L’s house where I have been looking after her 2 terriers. They are sweet little things when curled up asleep:

but Lor! that isn’t very often and the rest of the time they are so extremely busy, play-fighting, and play-growling and rushing about pulling your arms out on a walk. It’s like they live on speeded up time. They're on Terrier Time.

I was rather out of sorts. I was on Nauseated Sloth Time. My ear was blocked and my sinuses shot, and my Time is not yet with us, and I thus was demoralised so was happy to sit on the comfortable sofa and watch hours of Will and Grace and American Idol as well as – yes – both entire omnibus editions of Home and Away. (My poison of choice. I confess it freely, bots. Of course you are robots and not a priest, which makes it easier).

At one point I had the brilliant idea of going to the new house to clear out the old post and put it in the recycling. And so it was. Except when I was there, I left the back doors open and the wind! it blew through! and slammed shut the rubbishy flimsy porch door which is normally very hard to shut at all. Who could have forseen such a thing!

I had one of those NOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooo! moments, while my thoughts flailed like dying fish and a voice in my head robotically intoned: This is a disaster. Now what are you going to do?

I thought quickly. On my feet! as it were! And went to the neighbour’s house proposing to jump over the low wall between our gardens at the back. Of course at this point they had no idea of the half-wit that is their new neighbour. I introduce myself and as it happens don’t even have to be charming, since they themselves are so charming. (it was as if the Charm Quota for the few square metres around them was already fulfilled. There could be no more charm. All excess charm was simply dissolved, vaporised, and neutralised.)

Larry asked me if I could climb and brought me through to his wife (Actually, now I think of it, I am presuming this wifely role. For all I know, she is a live-in wild animal handler), who shook my hand most sincerely (a long long shake, I noticed. I had to extricate myself gently in the end, bots. I could hold hands no more. I was stared down in the shake, know what I mean?). I managed to leap over the wall to cries of “Well, you’re young! It would have taken me hours to get over that!” and they offered any other help we might need.

And for the final proof that, yes, the new neighbour was definitely a half-wit, I told them my surname was: J*nkinson, but my husband’s name is H*gan, we’re not married that long! Ha ha! (inane, ingratiating laughter).

So that’ll be Hog*n then, said Nuala.

(Illustrations to follow)

massive deposit

made on house, now we are committed, subject to survey. JB had a bit of a wobble, but this is normal (for him). Pretty exciting.. have to make sure there is no asbestos in it, so must not get too excited.

Can't get very excited anyway. It's really cold (rigid, frigid conditions suitable for Christian mystics). And I am suffering a bit from post hacking cough symptoms. I feel a bit ropey. I seem to remember I never felt poorly when I was in my teens, when (ironically) I had a horrendous diet with no actual food in it.

Sam (our Erasmus student from Norway) gave himself a birthday party. Yes, not one to hide his light under a bushell or feel sad because he was far from home and no one knew it was his birthday, he went to Mannings and bought a huge cream cake (with sporadic fruit bits) and some candles, along with a small bottle of Hennessy and some shot glasses and we all stood around and had some. It was fun.

You can't argue with that.

Then we had a look at After effects and Isadora.

so many things

Oh crap, I am demoralised. I just wrote a long long document on the Generic Johnny, Spike, and no 6, the house. And lost it, due to incompetence.


Well, in the spirit of a photo being worth a 1000 words, here you go. Spike with requisite paraphernalia and equipment.

On the other hand, YIKES! our offer on the lovely no 6 has been accepted! I am excited. Oooo errrr. OOOOoooooooooooooo eeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!