Thursday, November 30, 2006
Big news today is that the tree outside my window got a trim - it's a whole new world.
We're at the Codebreakers this evening. Mrs C said it would be "light fare, with plenty of booze and conversation".
Great, that'll be a shocking change.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Anyhoo, the cool bit was that Mom was spotted, like a genuine celebrity. We went in to a café to order beer & brandy, and she asked if they had any Courvoisier or Hennessey and the owner piped up "No, and we've no campari either".
She figured it was a normal thing to say to anyone over the age of twelve, but I reckon otherwise. I think she's becoming 'the Campari lady'...
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Shona's rarely happier than when she can have a good "root" around MUJI, her favourite "no brand IS our brand" store. In Hong Kong, they have a big one, and the news of the day is that Shona found new pens. You may be lucky enough to get one in the Chimney, but I wouldn't count on it.
In case anyone's feeling sorry for Michael and Maria and the childer, stuck out here in HK far away from the freezing rain at home, here's the view they wake up to every day.
Just out the window and to the left is the outdoor pool, where Sean has passed an hour or two this morning. Although its about 24 degrees here, its too cold for the locals to be swimming in the outdoor pool, so Sean is a happy camper!
Bye for now.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Apologies, but the usual service is now being interrupted by Sean (Orlaith's brother) and Shona (Orlaith's friend and Sean's girlfriend of many a year). Orlaith asked us to blog - as we're on a trip to Hong Kong to celebrate Shona's Special Birthday (she turned 40 with some style and pizazz last weekend, Go Shona!) .
Anyway, Shona got a surprise present of a trip to Hong Kong to spend a week and a bit with Michael, Maria, Finn and Milo. Michael's her brother, married to Maria, with two delightful small people that they made.
We arrived here last Friday, and stayed in a luvly hotel Friday and Saturday night. If we uploaded this properly, then you should see the big round bath they gave us in our room!!
We went sailing on Sunday. Absolutely fan-tastic -thanks to Michael for organising and Peter for taking us out on his boat and being a top host.
Now we're staying with MMF&M, and are chilling out and enjoying HK. I think that's enough for an initial Hello!!
More anon. Thanks for listening.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Friday, November 24, 2006
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
In other news, Mom has found the perfect consulate substitute. Cigarettes are so cheap here it would tempt anyone to take up smoking just to save money!
We spent much of the afternoon chatting over wine in a local restaurant. When they came to close up the owner said we could stay as long as we liked, which we did. Then home for a nap, followed by the arrival of Mrs Codebreaker bearing avocados. I am so spoiled...
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Geez, the things Martha Stewart doesn't tell you about...
In other news, the codebreakers popped in to meet mom. Mr C wanted to take his rubbish downstairs before he got settled, and asked if he'd take ours. Well I said "no no don't be silly", but mom eagerly pushed me into the kitchen to get the bagged rubbish. So when I gave the eighty-something year old man a single small bag, mom chirped up with "the kitchen bin needs emptying too" and pushed me back in to prepare a second bag for him.
It could only have been worse if he'd suffered a heart attack on the way.
Needless to say, I quickly opened a bottle of vinho verde for us all and ensured everyone was well rested before they made any further movements!
Monday, November 20, 2006
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
Mom was especially excited. She plays it cool though...
Thursday, November 16, 2006
And so, in that vein...
The pawny was down all afternoon, and the place was fierce shlowny. The old wan is a dooshie little thing, but had a great lip on her for drink, so we had a gwall of wine, and then had wagons more. It's fair to say she wasn't far off rotto. We razzed each other loads, and then she had a good stroke so we vamped across the road for dinner. We had great taspy on us, and caused ructions in the restaurant - it was great hack. She's getting used to having her steamers indoors here, which is a change from Dublin. Anyway, she was flahed-out pretty early. Today she's had a gander around doing her traditional knawvshawling. She's cut the tripes out of me already regarding a variety of transgressions, involving the fridge, towels, coffee, bed, hangers etc., and she gave me down the banks for not having an extractor fan.
Still, it's me daza to have her here!
Pawny = rain; shlowny = slippery; old wan = mother; dooshie = small & neat; have a great lip for = desire; gwall = large quantity; wagons = loads; rotto = intoxicated; razzed = teased; good stroke = appetite; vamped = walked; taspy = high spirits; ructions = uproar; hack = fun; steamers = cigarettes; flahed-out = exhausted; gander = inspection; knawvshawling = fault-finding; cut the tripes = criticise severly; gave me down the banks = reprimanded; me daza = very pleasant!!
I couldn't work in 'scuttling' which means to smoke the butt-ends of cigarrettes, but what a verb!
So basically, all's going extremely well. Mom's somewhere around doing her famous Gollum impersonation. Adorable!
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
90 minutes is coincidentally the amount of 'tidy up' time I figured I needed.
There's a certain symmetry to that...
Apparently it would have contained something about ovicide, genocide (he's finishing a book on Rwanda) and being hungover (the kind of hangover where as a hostess, all you can do is put plenty of food within reach throughout the day and leave them to it). It was a very laid back day, ending with a spectacular lightning storm.
Ovicide - that's the killing of sheep. I didn't ask too many questions...
Monday, November 13, 2006
The weekend was gorgeous, filled with wine and conversation (shock horror). I still managed to get some writing done, although my 'daily word count target' is at an all-time high. Need to churn out a couple of scenes and bring it back down again.
But first some yoga. I often wonder if it's deliberately orchestrated to suck you in to practicing for life; you stop doing it for a week and joints and bones start creaking. Well, at least the session ends with a nap - er, I mean a meditative relaxation period.
And then Reid's for cocktails this evening. It certainly is a tough life :)
Friday, November 10, 2006
You may have heard about the main industries of Madeira being wine, wicker baskets, or as hosts for massive cruise ships. Whilst no doubt important contributors to the island's GNP, they appear to have forgotten the massive work being undertaken by the population in gearing up for Christmas - especially the light decorations. I can only imagine the countless unswept streets, poorly maintained Levadas and the general lack of untidyness that is currently being endured by the proud Madeiran nation as they attempt to outdo last year's light extravaganza. In this noble aim, every available hand - and let's be clear, only male hands are deemed safe enough for this important job, for this onerous task is too important to be left to the weaker sex. And no one with even an elementary knowledge of Madeiran history needs to be reminded of the great light disaster of 1972, when the fair maidens of Madeira electrocuted all single men between the ages of 18-35, a disaster from which the island is still recovering - has been called upon to wear yellow safety jackets, receive basic health and safety training in ladded ascending/descending techniques and complete a course in the subtleties of colour co-ordinattion kindly sponsored by the Dulux corporation, this year's generous sponsor of the newly named "Dulux Festival of Colour and Light".
It will be a spectacular to beold!
(Copyright Martin Samuel 2006)
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Great day - wrote for much of the morning, caught up with my sister, then went into Funchal with Martin. We pretty much just sat around chatting for hours, which was heavenly.
Funny moment was when we got on to the subject of scabbard fish: he happened to mention that the boat in Baywatch was called The Scabbard. He insisted he wasn't a fan of the show or anything, you know, he just picked up the information along the way.
Doth protest too much methinks...
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Meanwhile Landlady couldn't help herself from straightening things up - you can see it's an overwhelming unconscious urge in her. She checked over the plants, removed dead leaves, tidied the kitchen surfaces, arranged the fridge magnets - it was a haven of activity! I could see relief wash over her when she saw the pantry - it truly looks like something Doris Day put together. I love pantries :)
I made some Lady Grey tea in the background, then through a clever rationalisation whereby I 'deserved' a treat, went out and bought wine and cake.
Anyhoo, I got it all done this morning - and his plane doesn't land for seven minutes! Landlady just phoned from the police station (about the cheque fraudy thing) to say they may need to come over and look at the machine.
Good thing I tidied!
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
And what am I doing? Getting stuck into a big bowl of fresh pineapple, and writing away. I'm still in 18th century Dublin. There was a guy who used to go around Oxmantown called Billy in the Bowl, "having been introduced into the world with only a head, body, and arms". The historical account is worth sharing:
When he grew up he conveyed himself along in a large bowl fortified by iron, in which he was embedded. This man was the original "Billy in the Bowl," for though many other personages who got along in various ways were honoured with the same sobriquet, yet this fellow was the king of them all.
He soon ingratiated himself with the simple servant maids from Meath in the respectable houses of Oxmantown. "It's only Billy in the Bowl, ma'am." "Oh, very well," and Billy's bowl was filled with beef, bread, etc. Nature had compensated for his curtailment by giving him fine dark eyes, an aquiline nose, and a well-formed mouth, with dark curling locks, and a body and arms of herculean power.
It turned out that this favourite of the ladies was also a thief and murderer, who took on two women at a time - he'd grab one while turning the iron bowl over the other one to knock them out!
Sufficeth to say I'm engrossed. I can probably distract my visitor with the sea view as I hoover quietly tomorrow...
Monday, November 06, 2006
Sunday, November 05, 2006
My favourite celebration is in Sticklepath, where a massive stage is built in a little paddock in Finch Foundry. A surreal play ensues, with huge papier mache figures, maybe some Abba music, and a plot that no-one can really follow. Now, the year I went the stage was an ice palace; the play featured flying horses, some disco divas, and a Mommy and baby dragon. It ended with a firework display, so everyone gazed upwards for a bit. When I looked down I noticed that baby dragon had caught on fire. In fact, the whole stage was going up in flames.
And that's the point. They build this fabulous set, and it becomes the bonfire at the end of the night. No better place to have a bonfire than in a teeny paddock, surrounded by ancient protected trees - and eighty fire officers.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
I don't challenge this. What I ask is, how would anyone know that?
What was the idea, tease someone and when they're embarrassed enough slice them open???
Sounds like the work of the Pinkindindies to me...
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Listening to RTE and BBC radios this morning - everyone's talking about security on flights - I was reminded of the Eddie Izzard unattended bag sketch from the early 1990s. Don’t watch it if you’re travelling soon, because giggling when the safety announcements come on just makes everybody else nervous.
In other news, it's a stunning day here :)
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
The job for the afternoon was to write a stormy scene, so all is ordered for the best!
And the mermaid on the terrace is happily drenched.