Hi, just a quick introduction about me and what my site is about. I am a 50 something woman, a woman in my prime, some would say. I would say just a woman, getting on with life and learning and discovering along the way.
I like to write. I write about anything and everything. It all depends on my mood, on if I feel I have something to say or if something just pops into my head and turns out to be the first line of a new poem.
I like to write about my life, my experiences or my perceptions of things. I have no distinctive style or agenda, just thoughts, the good, the bad and the ugly and I like to relay them here. Whether it is a relationship with ourselves, our families, our friends, or the world and planet around us, we all have relationships and we all have an opinion, an observation or an impact in those relationships.
I hope you enjoy this journey with me and I hope you can relate with some of what I have to say or at least that you may get a bit of a giggle sometimes. I wish you all the best in all your Relay shun ships…….
Sometimes we just have to let go, feel the fear and do it anyway. When we let go it is exciting, exhilarating and liberating
It’s nearly completion date and that can only mean one thing….. time to start packing and sorting and selling off/giving away what I no longer need, the ‘stuff’ that is surplus to requirements.
We all have it,’stuff’ even if we don’t mean to have it, but the ‘stuff’ piles up, in our homes, our cars, our bags, everywhere.
We accumulate over the years. We change our cars, our furniture, our decor and style, and our homes.
Now I am changing my home, yet again, but this time, for a smaller home. I have lived in small before.
When I first left home at age 16, I lived in a bedsit, tiny room, shared bathroom and shared kitchen. I owned very little, as it was furnished. I owned easily removable things, like my record player and records. Some pictures and a few ornaments.
Over the years my properties have got bigger and bigger and so has the amount of stuff and furniture. This one is the biggest, the one that I am about to leave. This one I designed, on a piece of paper, handed it to an architect and then proceeded to build it. From start to finish, it was my project, my taste, my style, my design.
It has housed my husband and I and our children for 23 years. We have fostered 13 children and have 4 grand children who have all walked the floors of this house, slammed the doors, laughed and cried within the walls and played out in the garden.
The decor has been changed numerous times. The rooms have been re organised many times and we have ran a couple of businesses from it over the years.
We have accumulated a lot of stuff in the process and now I have to undo the doing, because now, we are going smaller again, but big enough to still be a down size….
Will I miss my house? yes of course. Do I feel emotional about it? certainly, but the time is right for our next adventure.
The only thing is, most of my stuff is too big for the new house, or the wrong style. I have a very eclectic taste and I have some wonderful pieces of furniture, from Edwardian to Victorian to very modern.
When we decorate rooms we always feel better about them and are pleased with the changes we made, but eventually, we tire of it, well, I do anyway, and so we change it again.
We do the same with cars and clothes and they seem much easier to shed and to move on without any major emotional distress, right?
That is what I keep telling myself now, about shedding this house, and all we have done here, with all the aforementioned people that were here with us.
I keep telling myself, ‘it is just stuff, you take the memories with you’. But I do feel a little bit attached to some of the stuff too.
Then I think, but someone else can get the pleasure out of that beautiful piece of furniture and I can get excited about sourcing a new piece for my new house. I get a buzz from finding ‘nice things’. A new project, a new beginning, a new style, a new neighbourhood. Exciting, daunting, liberating, all at the same time.
The sorting and packing and picking and choosing, now that is the real dilemma, but it has to be done and so today I made a start.
I cannot tell you how many times I changed my mind about things, but then said, just let it go, like Anna, in Frozen, time to let go.
My pictures, my paintings, my bits and bobs, they can be easily packed. My books, now that is a different matter, I would nearly need a small van for those alone, I cannot let go of them quite so easy….
The procrastination has come to an end and the ‘sorting’ has begun. It is with mixed feelings, but ultimately, happy and excited ones about the change that we are heading into as we progress to our downsizing.
Were going from 6 beds to 4 beds from 3000 square feet to 1600 square feet and from an acre garden to a quarter acre and can finally get rid of the ride on lawn mower and cut down on the mowing!
I look forward to a smaller house to clean, to paint, to decorate, to garden in and to have new walks, new views, new people to meet, new places to discover, a new place to make and call home, for our family to come and visit and enjoy with us.
So it’s full steam ahead and on the home stretch now, into completing the transaction for our new home! Watch this space……….
Itchy feet again…… Perspective is everything and as we develop and grow, what we didn’t like can change to what we do like and visa versa, but does that mean we have to stay still or is it good to keep moving, keep seeking and trying new things, including places to live……
‘We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.’ Anais Nin
Currently I am in the process of selling my house, which I built 23 years ago in this north Wexford village, called The Ballagh, I was 32 when I moved back to Ireland and subsequently built this house a couple of years later, on the outskirts of the village.
‘Not for a million pound a week would I live there again’, I said, when I left this village at aged 19.
I had first moved to the Ballagh in 1979 when I was 14 years old. Having come from a fairly large city in the UK it was a complete culture shock to me, leaving the hustle and bustle of a city life, my friends, and my independence of hopping on a bus anywhere, practically from outside my front door, for the deafening quiet of rural country living.
The Ballagh was a very sleepy village back then, with a shop which was also a bar attached and outside a petrol pump if you needed to fill your car. There was another pub down the road, a post office a church, a national school and a run-down community centre, with very little activity.
Outside of the post office was the iconic green and cream public phone box and it was my link to the outside world, out beyond the Ballagh. There was no bus service, except for the secondary school bus which passed through, twice a day, once to take us to school and the next to bring us home.
I had been known to miss the bus, on occasion, in the morning, knowing there was no other way to get to school….
Back then I felt totally trapped in this little village and the only way to get anywhere was to stick out my thumb and hitch a lift. This was a complete no no in the city from whence I had come, but here, in the country, it was an acceptable and encouraged part of everyday life.
I would love it when I would go into Wexford Town, 20 minutes away. There was more ‘life’ there down along the main street and the quay front, and the view looking out across the water filled me with joy. There were people, lots of them, just milling around doing ordinary things, shopping, browsing and crowds of kids hanging out. There was a good vibe about the town, and I longed to be a part of it.
Now and in the last 23 years, this little village, had expanded somewhat with new one off houses popping up everywhere and a few new housing estates. The post office completely renovated and expanded to give us a much needed supermarket, but alas the iconic phone box has long gone.
The shop with the bar has also been expanded, well the pub part of it, and it also gained a function room, but lost the petrol pump.
Back in the day, if it was a function room you were after, it was the Un Yoke, down the road, and everyone, from all over, flocked to it
Now that was a great place, and at the time, it was my saviour because every week-end I got to go there and enjoy the hustle and bustle again, dance to the local bands such as Theresa and the Stars or indeed the big bands like Joe Dolan and the Wolfe Tones.
Sadly, it burned down many years ago, but the car park is now used for the very popular Car Boot Sale, on a Sunday morning.
The national school has been extended twice in the last 23 years to accommodate the ever expanding population and the secondary school bus still comes but twice a day.
The Ballagh may be known more specifically for its GAA than anything else as it has produced some great hurling and camogie players over the years, even winning the All Ireland back in 1996, the year before I moved back here. It’s full title of course being Oulart the Ballagh, as our two half parish’s make a whole.
This village is more than GAA however, it has a good community spirit. The new and improved community centre has many uses, from running a boxing club, youth club, active retirement group and a preschool, to name but a few.
We have a lovely forest walk just outside the village at Kilbride and another up Ballyboy Hill. We have cool named roads to walk such as the Fairy Lane and Tea Pot lane. But do not dare to walk the Fairy Lane past midnight or you will be stuck there until Sunrise! After that enjoy the fairy lane walk to the village and back and your steps for the day will be covered.
Before Covid put a halt to things, our annual field day would be held in the school grounds and is always a winner and great day to be had by all, young and old, with the whole community coming together to donate, participate and confabulate.
The many fundraisers held by the local people, giving up and dedicating their time freely to help further on desperately needed projects, like improving the church, the community centre, the GAA or helping those that are sick.
We have builders, carpenters, hairdressers, beauty therapists and bakers to name but a few of the tradesmen and craftsmanship that goes on here. We have a community Facebook page to ask, advise and advertise anything and everything you wish.
The two pubs, Bob’s Bar and the Sawdust Inn, both family friendly and welcoming and not only can you get a good Céad Míle Fáilte there, you can eat drink and be merry. Dance the night away to the varied entertainment they put on, and you can also do so in the knowledge that at the end of the night, if you are stuck for a lift home, the owners are only too happy to oblige.
As much as I didn’t like living in this village when I was a 14-year-old ‘blow in’ and swore, I would not I live here again, I am glad that I did, with a renewed appreciation for country living.
I raised my family here, and was happy to do so. But now, I guess I am seeking another new life and meet other new souls, perhaps in a new state and maybe a bit more hustle and bustle.
It just feels like my time here has come to a natural end with the end of raising my children, who are off on their own discoveries.
I hope that the people that come to live in my house, not only appreciate and enjoy the house but the village that it is in and all it has to offer.
Who decides whether you are fat or thin, chunky or skinny. Are you influenced by what others perceive you to be, or do you decide?
I’m getting fat. Not fat, fat exactly, but fatter than I was. Having said that, what do people consider fat?
I was always skinny. The skinny bitch. I didn’t think I was skinny, but I didn’t think I was fat. I was just me and my size was just my size. I was lean, yes but I didn’t think anything about it because, like I said, I was just me.
So now, I am still me, just a bigger version of me than I was, when I was younger, so, am I fat?
No, not really, though I do have a spare tyre, my upper arms are definitely bigger and softer, my thighs are bigger too and they wobble, they didn’t used to wobble. My ass, well let’s say, now I have an ass, so before I had a small ass, never the less, it was still an ass. My face is rounder and I have more than one chin. When I was the skinny bitch, I could, if I tried hard enough and put my face down towards my neck, make myself have more than one chin,
It is called skin, lean with pockets of fat cells in it and maybe some muscle. I used to have muscle, when I was the skinny bitch. I did lots of hand stands and cart wheels and other gymnastic tricks. I loved gymnastics at school. My friend and I were both good at it. We were the skinny bitches.
We remained the skinny bitches even after we had children without even trying.
I went even thinner after my first baby, all that breastfeeding. It gave her colic. I thought it was what I was eating, so in the end I ate very little. She still had colic. I put her on the bottle as I had to eat and something had to give. She took the bottle and the colic went, but the constipation came. She still screamed in pain.
It was a lose-lose situation for her, and a win lose for me. Win because I could now eat again, the cabbage, potatoes, salad cream etc. that everyone said was probably giving her colic. I lost because she was still screaming and I felt it was my fault for putting her on the bottle and the poor child was still in pain….
I started to get fat when I was in my early 40’s. Actually I think I started to change, ever so slightly, from my early 30’s, I think I gained about 7 pound from when I was in my teens. I didn’t try to gain these pounds, they just arrived, slowly and without much encouragement or notice from me. I was still a skinny bitch you see.
By my early 40’s I had gained another 7 pound. Still I think I looked pretty good in the mirror, even though, that is a whole stone in a 10-year period. I was beginning to ‘fill out’. I was also noticing that my skin was changing, slightly. I was getting fine lines and the elasticity was beginning to loosen I suppose. That’s ok, it does that with age.
By my early 50’s I had gained another 14 pound and from 50 to 55 another 7 pound. So from my teens I had gained two and a half stone and like they say, it crept up on me.
I am not blind. I could see my body changing shape. My face, rounder, my boobs fuller, my belly definitely fatter, my arms, my legs, my whole body. Still, I was me. I am not fat. I am fatter than my skinny bitch days, yes, but I am not fat. I don’t know when I will consider myself fat but I know this. Some people, thinner than me, will look at me and say that I am fat.
Some people, bigger than me, will look at me and say that I am skinny.
I will say, I have more fat on me than when I was skinny, but, I am still me and I am happy with who I am. Like my skin that is ageing, my hair that is greying, my body is changing as it naturally does with age.
I am glad to be ageing, it means that I am alive and that I can chose, every day, what I do with my day. I can choose to look in the mirror and say ‘hey, you are fifty something and still fabulous’ or I could criticise how I look and feel bad about myself. I chose the former not the latter.
The moral of this story is, just because you are the size that you are, you have to decide whether or not, you are happy with you. So long as you are healthy and have a healthy view of yourself in your own mind and can embrace your own body, wobbly bits and all, or bones and all, don’t let it consume you.
Other people will always have their opinions, it’s either colic or constipation, skinny bitch or fatty. You decide, yourself, what label you want to put on you……
Big boys don’t cry…… This to me is a damaging statement, because boys have feeling too and like us girls should be able to be free to express how they feel…. right?
I collected my grandson from school last week. He thought he was staying in after-school club because his mother was working, but I rang and told her that I would collect him early and bring him over to his aunts house, so he could see and play with his cousins. He hadn’t seen them in a few weeks as both my daughters have been busy with work and other commitments.
When he was in the car I asked him if he was surprised that he was being collected early and he said he was, because he thought he would have to stay in all day. He is only 6 years old, I might add. He also had to be dropped to school early for breakfast club, so that his mother could get to work on time, so it can be a long day for him.
As I looked at him through the rear view mirror, I thought he looked pale, tired and also he looked like he had been crying. I asked him if he had been crying to which he replied no. I said ‘oh you look tired, maybe that is it’. He confirmed yes he was a bit tired as he had been in school for breakfast club.
I asked him how he felt when the teacher told him that ‘nanny’ was collecting him early. He then said that he was happy and excited and that he remembers now that he did cry then, ‘happy tears’ and that he could feel the tears coming again now because we were going to see his cousins and he was happy about that.
This made me feel both happy and sad. I know lots and lots of working mothers have to avail of child care so they can work, before school and after school. I had to do it myself when my girls were little. It’s not easy to do, to juggle, but it is the life for many working mothers. I couldn’t help but feel sad a little because it is a long day for him. I also felt happy that he could express himself. He is very good at articulating what he thinks and feels.
I told him it was OK to cry, whether they are happy or sad tears, as that is the Emotion, he was feeling at that time. ‘What’s emotion’ he asked me, looking back at me in the mirror. I explained that when we feel happy or sad, angry, excited or frightened for example, our body reacts somehow to that emotion.
‘So when you were told you were leaving early you felt happy and excited and your body reacted by your eyes welling up and having happy tears. Likewise, sometimes when you feel angry, you might shout and your body might also want to slam a door, punch the pillow or throw the toy’ I said, eyeing him carefully in the mirror as we drove.
‘You might also cry because you feel angry because you are frustrated, same as when you feel sad and upset you may cry. That is your body’s way of dealing with the feeling and that is what ’emotion’ is.
I explained how the body also reacts when hungry, in that it lets us know by our tummy growing and rumbling, that it is your body telling you it needs food.
‘oh, he said, so sometimes I get ‘hangry’ when I want food and so does mammy’ he said, matter of fact. ‘ Yes I said, that’s right, when you are hungry you very well may get a little agitated and angry, because it’s your bodies way of saying ‘feed me’.
I explained that emotions are good to have as it helps people see or read how another person is feeling by the way the person looks or by the way a person is acting and that lets us help, if any help is needed.
I asked him to think of his mother and how that makes him feel. He closed his eyes, his face softened and he smiled saying ‘I love my mammy’ as he opened his eyes looking at me in the mirror.
See, that is emotion I said, and your face, your voice and your body all reacted to that feeling, so don’t be afraid to cry, whether happy or sad or angry tears because that is just your body reacting to your feeling and that shows other people how you are.
It made me think about boys and crying and how they are sometimes told ‘big boys don’t cry’ or man up as they get older, especially into their teen years. This in particular concerns me. Why is it viewed that it is OK for girls to cry, but not boys.
I am quite the feminist and all for strong independent women and for equality and parity , but I also believe it is OK for girls/women to cry, AND also for boys/men.
They say that women can ‘cope’ a lot better with life’s stresses because they talk to their female friends and ‘offload’ about how they are feeling. A problem shared and all that.
Shouldn’t we be teaching our boys that not only is it OK to cry, it is essential, so as not to suppress that natural emotion that they are feeling, for to do so, they are denying a fundamental biological process. If they denied themselves food, when they are hungry, they would starve.
With so many mental health problems, especially amongst young men, isn’t it crucial that, from a very young age, we not only say it is OK to cry, WHETHER happy or sad tears, but it is essential and normal, as it is the body’s way of dealing with the feeling?
I would hate to think that my grandsons, when they are going through the rigours of the teenage years, when they are trying to navigate puberty, emotions, fitting in and identity, that they would feel that they cannot openly cry, without fear of being called a ‘sissy’ a ‘girl’ a ‘whimp’ for example, by their peers. It makes me want to cry!
Why is is OK for girls and not boys? What is wrong with showing emotion. In my mind, it is a sign of strength, not weakness to be able to express oneself, in order to be true to oneself and to feel whole. To suppress any emotion is damaging and the last thing we want to do to ourselves, to our children, is to damage them, right?
So, I say to all the boys out there, when your body wants to cry, whether they are happy or sad tears, go ahead and cry the same as you would laugh, if you saw something funny, the same as you would feed your body, when it is hungry. Not only does it give you a release to cry, it allows someone close to you to try to help and share the burden/problem with you in the sad tears as well as the joy in the happy tears.
There is pure strength in being in touch with your feelings and in my mind any boy/man than can openly cry and express or try to express how he is feeling, is a man I would want in my life, because it lets me know he is honest, open and compassionate.
If anything I prefer dogs over cats. Having said that, I wouldn’t be cruel or leave them out. So what do you do with a stray???
We always had dogs, growing up, in our our house. Most of them your usual mongrel or mixed breed, whichever you prefer to call them. We loved them and they loved us.
When my eldest girl was 8 years old I promised her I would get her a dog. We were moving to Ireland and I intended to be home more, taking a part time job, instead of working full time. This would be a factor in getting a dog, so it wouldn’t be on its own all day.
We go a lovely mixed breed dog and called her Sally. Half sheep dog half collie and she looked like an old English Sheep dog. She was such a loyal and friendly dog and we had her for 10 years. It was pure heart break when she died. So much so I swore I would never get another.
People often say that after drinking too much and getting so drunk. They swear they will never touch the drink again. Like the drunk, with his self promised promises, I did indeed relent and get another dog a few years after Sally died.
This time it was at the begging of my other children (twins) who at the time were 14. We got a little miniature Yorkshire terrier and called her Indiana. She was cute. Not very smart, but cute and she was loved. Sadly, she came to a very sad end and was hit by a car after getting out of the drive. It was torture and we were all devastated…. again
‘Never again’ I said, and I meant it. It is too heartbreaking.
Again, I relented. A year or so after Indiana died, my eldest asked me if I would take a little west highland terrier, who would face certain death if I didn’t….. Well that isn’t blackmail….. much!
I took the said little Westie, Jack, and he too became part of the family and stole our hearts. He was 6 months old when we got him, but by the time he was 12, he was quite ill and deteriorated very quickly. We prepared ourselves to be heartbroken again. Indeed, we were. That was 15 months ago now, and I can categorically say, I will not have another dog. It is too too sad knowing, that they will pass before you and I don’t want to set myself up again for heartache. However, watch this space!
During the years of the dogs we have also been frequented by stray cats…. It started with the farmer at the bottom of our garden. He had cats, but they would wander down to us and of course, we began to feed them as they always seemed hungry and anyway, they are good to keep the mice and rats away.
After the farmer died the cats were taken by the WSPCA to be re-homed. However the odd stray would still come and hang around our house. As we live in the Country I would feed them as they are a good deterrent for the mice and rats.
Rusty has been coming to us now for a few years. We feed him daily and tend to his medical needs when he has gotten into a scrape, but he is feral and goes away after feeding, grateful for his daily nosh. Sometimes he hangs about in the yard, but he is a bit of a loner.
About 6 months ago or so, a black cat appeared. Quite a friendly cat with a lovely shiny coat. I advertised on all the local platforms trying to find its owner but to no avail. he would come, around the same time as Rusty and then off he would trot, back down the drive and to, well I am guessing, his own home.
Cats are like that aren’t they, they like to wander off.
Anyway, not only was he coming ‘at feeding time’, he would now push rusty out of the way and start eating his food. Well, I couldn’t have that, so reluctantly, I would also put a plate out for him. I couldn’t let him watch on, and not give him anything.
Black cat, affectionately named Blacky, how original, is cheeky though and if we leave open a window, will climb in and lay up on a bed or a sofa like he is King of the hill. What a cheek!
Rusty, wouldn’t have the same amount of cheek or nerve, he is far more ‘reserved’ and not so presumptuous or impertinent as Blacky.
This morning, I went to go out the door to feed them. Both of them on the step, waiting and the black cat, actually had the nerve to slap poor old rusty in the face to get him out of the way, so he could get the lion’s share. I was utterly gobsmacked!
Because of this I wrote a little ditty….. I hope you enjoy it!
I feed these cats
They are not my cats
But aside from that, which is a fact
I feed these cats
I don’t like cats
But they are good scare the rats
So I feed the cats
So they can do that
1st came the ginger one
Feral, shy, coy
I’m only grateful, that he is a boy
Takes his food then off he goes
To where I wonder,
Then came blacky
He is black
He is a more forward cat
He is not at all shy, not one little bit
In fact, I would say, he is a cheeky little git
He pushes in first when I open the door
Knocks rusty out the way
Hoping he will get more
He is quite a greedy black cat
I cannot say much more than that
Soon as he’s fed off he goes, strutting
Wagging his tail, and swaging his but
In all the style like a cat walk model
Unlike rusty with his old man waddle
Sits on the bench like he is the boss
Licking his fur and shakes off the dross
Sits all day, til he gets a more peckish
And scratches at the door like it’s some sort of fetish
I looked out once and guess what I saw
Roland rat scurrying on all fours
Blacky the cat, didn’t even blink an eye
Let old Roland just strut on by
Am I too soft or feeding these too much
Cos I’m sure it’s nature they should hunt their lunch
Off he goes not even a hissing sermon
Coming from the cat to this passing vermin
Rusty plods back late in the evening
Head hung low, as if he’s been grieving
Jumps up on the window sill
Patiently waiting for me to give in
Black cat though has no such reserve
Can’t even open a window, cos in he will swerve
He has no shame nor decent good manners
I do protest and I don’t mean with banners
I chase him out like a cat and mouse game
I’m sure he’s laughing cos he has no shame
He’s quite cunning that little black cat
But he won’t best me you can be sure of that
Rusty comes like a big drowned rat
When the heavens open, but I let this cat
Come in side and eat his grub
He seems so grateful and I give him a rub
Mr black cat I swear has a home
He’s Just so greedy he comes here to roam
Costing me a fortune, cos I couldn’t leave him out
When I’m buying all the cat food to share it about.