Ten Years

Unbelievably, ridiculously, it has been ten years since my mum died. It’s a nonsense really. It can’t possibly be ten years.  And yet, Lucas is very nearly ten. So that all adds up then.

I dreamt about her a few nights ago. And yes I know that other people’s dreams are boring but bear with me.  We were in an airport, and I was putting her on a plane. This was never the actual way of it, it was always always her taking me to the airport. My whole life she’d been waving me off.  But in the dream, I was waving her off.

But as she was about to go, suddenly I realised that she wouldn’t be coming back and I panicked and tried to get her to stay. But she didn’t. And I woke up with the panic.

The absolute fucking icing on the cake is that if she hadn’t died she’d STILL only be 62.

Her number is still in my phone, I still think it’s her when the phone rings. And I am miserable on my birthday because she doesn’t call.

Five years ago, Emily wrote that she was missed ‘because it’s been five years and it still feels like a punch in the gut’. Now another five years on, it’s not any different.

She’s still gone.

But last night we went to see Guardians of the Galaxy. ‘Ooh Child’ by The Five Stairsteps features. I listened to that song every day after mum got sick until Lucas was born. Since then, I have never heard it in a movie or on tv, or on the radio. And there it was, on the night before her ten year anniversary.

It’s things like this that keep her with me always.



26/08/2014. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Belfast’s Best Parks

Mo Mowlam Park at Stormont was already top of my list as the best park in Belfast. Great range of play equipment, well maintained, big enough that even when its bunged it doesn’t feel it, picnic tables and, (crucially) toilets. We hadn’t been back this year (forshame!), and last week, when we finally returned, we saw this.

Best. Park. Ever.

16/01/2014. Tags: , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Belfast’s ugliest buildings

I am not known for only sweating the big stuff. I get irrationally angry about the little things all the time. But this building, oh this building drives me to new levels of useless rage.

Among the prettiest parts of Belfast are the area that includes the rather lovely Law Courts, the beautiful St George’s Market  and my beloved Waterfront Hall.

And some developer, in their infinite wisdom, has decided that what Belfast needs is another hideous office block to sit right in the middle of these. Great.

Here is a link to the developer’s website which gives an artist’s impression of the finished building. Doesn’t look QUITE the same does it?


Doesn’t look quite so dark and ugly in the impression does it? Not quite so ‘international centre for evil’.

What the hell happened?

And to add insult to injury, its been in construction for years. The pavement in front of the Waterfront (one of Belfast’s landmark building by the way) has therefore been closed, with some  seriously ugly boarding around the building, just to add an extra wee touch of eye sore.


19/08/2011. Tags: . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Book me

I’m looking for reading material folks. I spent my early teens reading Sweet Valley High and Jackie Collins, my late teens getting angry about the world reading Heroes and And the Band Played On and my twenties reading non fiction and ever more gruesome crime thrillers. I’ve stopped the crime books for the most part. I still have a soft spot for Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar novels, even if they have latterly succumbed to his obsession with a ludicrous twist. I adored Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole books which peaked magnificently with LA Requiem and have been slipping ever since.

In my thirties I’ve been trying to read more widely. I went back to crime for Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, though I did skim the more gruesome, disturbing bits (of which there were many). I find from looking at my shelves though that I still mostly read books by men about men. I did read The Private Lives of Pippa Lee and I loved it. I wonder whether there are women writers out there in the Nick Hornby mould writing about ordinary women. I can’t abide chicklit. The first chapter of Bridget Jones made me want to scream, and Sex and the City meant nothing to me. Don’t get me started on the yummy/slummy/scummy mummy novels.

Props to Leelee for the Pippa Lee tip, and Drama has promised me a Kate Atkinson. So, chums, any other pointers? I promise to report back on anything that takes my fancy.

10/01/2010. Uncategorized. 10 comments.

It’s a wonderful life

So. I haven’t watched It’s a Wonderful Life since Mum died. It was her favourite film. Her favourite line was the one about angels getting their wings but we found this when we were looking for words for the order of service at her funeral:

“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

When we got word from the doctor that there was no further treatment, and we were at best looking at months left with her, she tried to comfort me with the words “it could be worse, love”.

“How Mum, how could it be worse?”

She fixed me with a good, hard stare and said “it could be one of you”.

Even when she knew she would die soon, she was grateful that it wasn’t one of us.

The hole is so big.

18/12/2009. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

London Baby – Part Two

So, well fed, we hit the streets. A lovely walk along the South Bank (keep me right JBN) followed by a dander to Covent Garden. Man, there’s a lot of nice shoe shops there. I found some boots for Santa to put under the tree in Camper, JBN bought some downright Sasky booties for wee Seb and we both had a major drool in the Orla Kiely store. The Christmas decorations were out in full force (sparkly reindeer!) and it was mighty festive.

It had been at least an hour since we had eaten, and as JBN knows me so well, she decreed that it was Cake O’Clock (my favourite time of day). She took me to Primrose Bakery where we glowered at some Londonites until they left and gave us a table.  Cake heaven followed. I have no words, so here’s a picture:

And then. And then. The big goodbye. Made slightly difficult by the frequency with which JBN returns to Belfast (she’s addicted to our wee city, thank crunchie). J and S took off on the long walk home, and I tried to figure out how to walk to Oxford Street. I decided that I couldn’t handle map reading and trusted myself to the trusty tube. On entering Covent Garden tube station, I had a choice between stairs and lift. I took stairs. And went down and down and down, seemingly into the depths of the earth. About half way down, I saw some people staggering up, saying to each other ‘we’re nearly at the top’. You’re bloody not, says me. From memory, about 140 steps (can that be right?). I made it to Oxford Circus! Yay me. And once there, it would have been rude not to go to Gap (especially with my 30% discount). So I did. And it was top!

I got the word from Em that she was on the approach with the fam. No more wonderful sight than that band of lovely maniacs approaching. A big feed in Nandos, and then we headed to the theatah to see Hairspray starring Phil Jupitus and Belinda Carlisle (sorry Rich). I’m not much of a musical connoisseur, so I have little frame of reference, but it was great. Although I spent most of the show watching Rachael watching the show. Best view in the house.

A long walk back to the tube, a jolly tube ride and a wee dander back to Em’s pad. A G&T, some chitchat with me Julie and bed. Bliss bliss.

The next morning we took a ludicrous walk (well worth it) to see the mighty Tobe play rugby. For the Firsts! It was very exciting (not only because we got to meet T’s dad who is super posh, and we wanted to curtsey) although Julie and I couldn’t watch most of it without flinching and squealing. It was a rather sobering vision of Saturdays to come in a decade or so, when one or both of my boys will be rolling around in the mud (pray for us please).

Homeward bound. Furious to discover that the Krispy Kreme in Gatwick is now a bureau de change.  Traditional buying of books for the boys. Short delay due to bad weather. Touchdown. Hugs with my lads in the airport. The best part of any trip.

29/11/2009. Uncategorized. 2 comments.

London Baby (featuring an actual London baby)!

So, the wonderful mister granted me 48 hours flying solo in the big smoke to catch up with some  of the very important women in my life (and also my very important nephew and a very important baby). Flew into Gatwick on Thursday evening, got the train to Victoria (NOT the Gatwick Express, Em was very clear about this). Home to Em’s gorgeous, cosy pad in Herne Hill for a curry feast fit for a king (props to The Tobe). Got a very luxurious 8.30 lie in on Friday morning (stop laughing in the back, 8.30 is a bloody lie in!) and then set off to work with Em. Got the tube to Stockwell where I parted ways with my little Londoner with clear instructions how to get to Waterloo. Disaster, the tube I was told to get wasn’t running. I would have to get another tube, and change (I know, the horror, right?). So, there I was standing on the platform, obviously looking Northern Irish, when a very nice Tube worker said ‘do you need some help Miss?’ Who says Londoners aren’t friendly? And I only felt a tiny bit patronised when, after I got on the tube he called after me ‘you can take a seat anywhere’.

So I made it to Waterloo 10 minutes early. Props to me. Called the very darling JBN (forever Drama to me) for directions to her place and within 5 minutes was waiting to cross the road, and waving like a loon at she and Sebadeedoodah on the other side. After a tour of their lovely new place, and a quick catch up with The Stu , we loaded up the buggy and hit the streets. First stop, Tate Modern.   Loved it, but have to be honest and say it made me feel uncultured. I just did not get a good deal of it. Gonna have to go with an expert next time (Carsonist, I mean you…). Drama and I both loved this piece. It was just magical.

Seb (the Dream) slept for half the visit and then he and his mom totally rocked the Bjorn look. Good as gold that boy, not to mention the most cultured baby in the land. After a good four or five (or one and a half) hours, a tea break was required. Inconveniently, the Tate cafe has a policy requiring the purchase of food if you want to sit in. What were we to do? You’ll understand then that we HAD to share a sticky toffee pudding. Had to.

Thus fortified we hit the streets again. We had a lovely walk round Borough Market (very difficult not to eat again but we were saving ourselves for Wagamama), with a quick stop to get some produce from Monmouth for the coffee lover in my life. And then. And then. Wagamama! Yaki Soba, with chicken gyoza (I know it was wrong to email the Stu a pic but it was payback!). I dream of the day when Waga come to Belfast (I email and email, but they don’t come). Someday…

During our glorious lunch, Julianne took this photo of me.

I want to say I’m embarrassed but the truth is I squealed with delight when I saw it later that night on the mighty Facebook (I loves my iPhone).

Part two coming soon.

26/11/2009. Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Okay okay

Okay, okay, Couples Retreat looks horrible. But this? Tina Fey and Steve Carell? Much more hopeful…


12/11/2009. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Go Sweden

See? This drives me CRAZY.

Where are the toys for kids? Not for boys, or for girls. Just toys for kids. Why is Lego gendered? Why are baby’s first bikes gendered? We wanted a plain red trike for L’s second Christmas, rather than a boy’s trike. You know, one with diggers or police badges, one with flames (although…awesome).  We had to order one from England from a site called classic toys or some such.

Tried to buy a nice ride on for D’s first birthday. We could get a plastic fantastic one that looked like a quad bike (nice). One that looked like a motorbike. Any number with bloody CBeebies characters on. But to get a plain wooden one? Brio from Amazon.

Flicking trough the Mothercare catalogue, things are pretty similar. Boys with mega blocks and girls with babies. They do have a couple of boys standing with girls at kitchens (never just boys alone in kitchens, that would be ludicrous), not so much of the girls with racing cars.

As I said, drives me crazy.

09/10/2009. Uncategorized. 3 comments.


More funny bad parenting. Actually probably just funny funny parenting.

A guy cycled past me, with a chippie take away hanging off his handlebars. A boy aged 6 or 7 was running behind the bike, with the guy (presumably/hopefully his dad) shouting “run for your dinner”. The boy was laughing.

It made me smile a lot. Perhaps I am unusual.

08/10/2009. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

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