Sunday, October 31, 2010


And she's up, she's off, she's sleepwalking again...
Our 8 year old daughter is a nervous wee thing, highly strung and over wrought. A sprinter, not a long distance runner. When she's over tired she sleepwalks. And even though she's as silent as death we usually catch her upstairs on the landing...
But to-night she gave us both the slip. She floated past me reading in bed, and Nick downstairs watching the news on the television. She got out of the house in her long sleeved white nightdress and down the path, as far as the gate. And only that it slammed really loudly she'd have been out on the road and away...
Nick caught her, glass eyed and muttering furiously, clutching a book to her chest.
Just as well he caught her or she might have made the headline in tomorrow's local paper: 'Ghost spotted on Hallowe'en night'

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I was attracted to the movie Possession by the crush I suffer for Jeremy Northam (see above). Helped along by fact the storyline is adapted from a Booker Prize winning novel. Bound to be a winner I thought. Except OMG it is simply awful. It is the worst sort of Barbara Cartland. The central character of cold repressed Maud is utterly unconvincing. Her love interest, the pretty research assistant, has dirty hair and dirty stubble. When they finally kiss I felt faintly sick.
It took Jeremy and Jennifer Ehle to set the screen on fire - and they were electric together, while naked and fully clothed - except they didn't appear often enough to rescue such a ridiculous movie.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wayne and Coleen

Wayne and Coleen are in Dubai this week, soaking up Middle East sun. They’re celebrating Wayne’s 25th birthday and his new five year contract with Manchester United. They are staying at the Burj Al Arab – each room has its own butler, and the hotel spa serves up caviar facials; I don’t need to tell you the price; if you’re comfortable paying £25 for chicken nuggets and chips you’ll not quibble about the price of the caviar facial.
I can’t really blame Wayne and Coleen for choosing to visit Dubai instead of humble Bahrain where I live. Dubai is a rich person’s paradise, a fantasy island where the shopping is legendary: Dubai Mall is the size of fifty football pitches – it has 1200 shops and an ice rink and the biggest sweetshop in the world.
Burj Al Arab can provide a Rolls Royce to take the lucky pair shopping; they won’t even have to dress modestly for Dubai is tolerant and cosmopolitan; no one will tut tut at Coleen’s bare shoulders or Wayne’s exposed injured ankle.
With service like that why would anyone choose to visit Bahrain?
I can think of only one thing the Rooney’s are perhaps unaware of – Bahrain has a barber’s shop on Budayia Highway called the Manchester United Men’s Hair Salon. The painted bill board above the door features Wayne with Eric and Ryan and Alex. And even though the shop pin-up is Ryan Giggs (as a very young man) I know for a fact that should Wayne join the queue and wait his turn for a trim and a shave and a complimentary Indian head massage the barber won’t charge him much more than 75p for the privilege. He might even allow him to autograph his portrait over the door.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Years ago, when I was student, I shopped in a second hand bookshop in Rathmines Dublin 6. The stuff I bought there was legendary - my literary education. (I was reading Agricultural Science not English at university).
Today feels like deja vu. A trip to the BSPCA thrift shop, and this is what I bought, and everyone one of them cost less than a pound:
On Cesil Beach - Ian McEwan
Brooklyn - Colm Toibin
The Good Terrorist - Doris Lessing
The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole - Sue Townsend
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Which shall I read first?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightdress

So this is affluent Ireland, wealthy South-sider Dublin with private school education and rich kids wearing rich clothes? Oh dear.
Allow me to introduce Ross our narrator. He claims to be 'West Brit' elite - that's middle class Irish to you and me. But in Ross's wee world this simply means he's got more cash than the CHV he so scathingly ridicules (CHV: Council House Vermin)
Except it's Ross who is the vermin. Somehow he has managed to miss the private school polish - he has no manners, no charm and no social skills. He doesn't even have a job - he's 23 and shamelessly lives on handouts from his parents. His friends are one dimensional; the girls he meets shallow and sluttish...
Of course Ross is only a caricature. A work of dark comic genius. A distillation of arrogance and ignorance; he's grotesque and shocking and terrifically funny....
And I shall continue to disbelieve the hair raising (real life) stories that occasionally filter through from affluent South sider friends - about 'blow job' parties amongst private school teenagers who don't wear knickers at rugby club discos...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Last September

They talk funny in The Last September. It's almost a different language. Just about English. Here's an interchange between Marda and Lois, who barely know each other: (Marda is writing to Leslie Lawe, her fiance, Lois is looking on):
Marda: "What was the name of the man at lunch - surname?"
Lois: "Lesworth. Gerald. Is very social. He smiles all the time like a dog. Do you think that is good in a man?"
Marda: "I am telling Leslie he wants to marry you. May I?"
Lois: "Will it give Mr Lawe a good impression?"
Marda: "Well it furnishes you rather."
'Furnish' - isn't that marvellous - as if empty headed introspective Lois needed wallpaper, a rug and a couple of armchairs to give her a bit of personality. Poor lost little Lois. She utterly lacks passion for smiling Gerald Lesworth yet she seems determined to marry him. Probably just as well Gerald is murdered before they make each other miserable.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bravo Chile!

The Catholic Church has been taking a hammering with clerical sex abuse cases and cover ups.
"I don't think we'll ever recover," said Nick. "This is the end of the Church."
Until this miraculous story of 33 miners trapped underground in Chile. Did you notice how many of them, when they got out, dropped to their knees and prayed and crossed themselves? How many said if it hadn't been for their staunch Catholic faith they'd never have survived the ordeal?
"I was with God and the devil. I took God's hand and He saved me."
Not that I would ever presume to advise the Pontiff on anything - but a swift trip to Chile to meet those brave men wouldn't do Pope Benedict's ratings any harm....

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What Doesn't Kill You

I was jumping Waif at the show. But Waif has only two gears. Gentle Waif who will stop at the very least provocation and Mad Waif who gallops and always jumps early and always jumps over the moon. Earlier this week he jumped from the canter pole 3 metres in front of the jump and I was up in the air for so long I had time to look down and to think 'Oh dear I shouldn't have done that' for of course when you look down that's exactly where you're heading - head first into the ground. My head still hurts from the thump. "We've four little children and I'm on the wrong side of 40 to be taking a risk on Waif," I told Nick. "Time to take up knitting?" said Nick. Easy for him to say. At the show Waif took the decision from me. He jumped the first three jumps as Gentle Waif, and knocked a pole. There was a big stretch to No. 4. Somewhere during the stretch Gentle Waif morphed into Mad Waif and I forgot that I'm an old dear with four little children dependent on me and Waif and myself stormed the rest of the jumps and when he jumped over the moon I jumped with him. It took about five hours for the adrenalin rush to die away.