A Celtic Blessing

May the road rise to meet you,
may the wind be always at your back,
may the sun shine warm upon your face,
may the rains fall soft upon your fields.
Until we meet again,
may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

One hour

One hour makes such a difference. I do not know why the clocks going back should make such a difference, but it does. If someone can explain this phenomenon, I would love to hear the explanation. Let me expand...

I set my watch and alarm clock back before I go to sleep on Saturday night. I then try to sleep the same hours I would normally, even sometimes staying up a bit later. I wake at the normal time, and yet feel much more rested than I do normally. Is that peculiar or what?

Oh well - at elast it is a beautiful morning and I have my laundry on. We have had some mixed weather, but it is nice to see a bright sunny morning. The weather does lift you. I am convinced I am a SAD person (yes I am sure you all think I am!) Seriously, I am sure I suffer from SAD - and so in the winter when I am going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark, I get down and quiet and withdrawn. So, this blog may become sparse and inward looking. But that is me - what more can I offer you?

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Ever feel like this?

The Old Sailor

There was once an old sailor my grandfather knew
Who had so many things which he wanted to do
That, whenever he thought it was time to begin,
He couldn't because of the state he was in.

He was shipwrecked, and lived on a island for weeks,
And he wanted a hat, and he wanted some breeks;
And he wanted some nets, or a line and some hooks
For the turtles and things which you read of in books.

And, thinking of this, he remembered a thing
Which he wanted (for water) and that was a spring;
And he thought that to talk to he'd look for, and keep
(If he found it) a goat, or some chickens and sheep.

Then, because of the weather, he wanted a hut
With a door (to come in by) which opened and shut
(With a jerk, which was useful if snakes were about),
And a very strong lock to keep savages out.

He began on the fish-hooks, and when he'd begun
He decided he couldn't because of the sun.
So he knew what he ought to begin with, and that
Was to find, or to make, a large sun-stopping hat.

He was making the hat with some leaves from a tree,
When he thought, "I'm as hot as a body can be,
And I've nothing to take for my terrible thirst;
So I'll look for a spring, and I'll look for it first."

Then he thought as he started, "Oh, dear and oh, dear!
I'll be lonely tomorrow with nobody here!"
So he made in his note-book a couple of notes:
"I must first find some chickens" and "No, I mean goats."

He had just seen a goat (which he knew by the shape)
When he thought, "But I must have boat for escape.
But a boat means a sail, which means needles and thread;
So I'd better sit down and make needles instead."

He began on a needle, but thought as he worked,
That, if this was an island where savages lurked,
Sitting safe in his hut he'd have nothing to fear,
Whereas now they might suddenly breathe in his ear!

So he thought of his hut ... and he thought of his boat,
And his hat and his breeks, and his chickens and goat,
And the hooks (for his food) and the spring (for his thirst) ...
But he never could think which he ought to do first.

And so in the end he did nothing at all,
But basked on the shingle wrapped up in a shawl.
And I think it was dreadful the way he behaved -
He did nothing but bask until he was saved!

A A Milne

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Cloths of Heaven

He wishes for the cloths of heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.

W B Yeats

Sunday, 21 October 2007


What is it about beer? It makes you drunk and wrecks the following day. And yet, I find myself in the pub each Saturday drinking the stuff.

Well a lot of it is explicable. A survey of pub-going men found that drinking was quite a long way down the list of reasons that men go to the pub. The main reason was to socialize. I guess it is because it is still (mainly) a male dominated environment, where men can meet and relax. I know that the Whitehouse (my local) is somewhere I go to relax and enjoy myself. I do enjoy the beer, and sometimes I like a beer on my own. However, I generally find that if I am drinking alone, I will have a couple and then leave. When I am down on a Saturday night, I tend to stay longer and drink more, though I really will ahve to cut back a bit.

I do enjoy trying the guest beers at the Whitehouse. Last night, I was drinking one from Bolton. To many people, beer is beer. However, for lovers of real ale (such as myself), there is a lot of variety in beer. This one was light and didn't taste too strong. Another, such as the Spitting Feathers Old Wavertonian is a dark malty porter, and idea for a winter night (so why did the Creek have it on in the summer? I must find out) I like to try them all - some are one offs and some are regular beers. I like my variety.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007


Cooildarry is a nature reserve just a few miles from here. The lower part of the glen is a campsite, but the upper part is almost unknown. I think in all the times I have been there, I have only ever twice seen anyone else there. It seems virtually unknown, and not being a national glen, it is much wilder and less 'sanitized' (though the national glens can be pretty wild!)

Have you noticed that there are certain places that call to you? Well Cooildarry is a place that calls to me. I found out about it a few years ago, and went up there with my daughter. I intended to walk it right through, but we spent the whole time sitting on the stones in the middle of the river and just enjoying the place. Surely that says something about the place?

Anyway, on Sunday afternoon (after a somewhat over-indulgent night at the Whitehouse), I decided to go for a walk. I did not know where to go, but decided to go to Cooildarry for the peace. And I was right! It was so peaceful. Even the noise of cars on the TT course only served to emphasize the peace and quiet that was there. And it was deserted. Most of the time, the only sounds were of the river, the birds singing and the wind in the trees. I spent a lot of time by the river, just listening to it. I walked right through the glen, even climbing on a path I had not followed before which led me up to the top of the glen. The pictures were taken on Sunday, but they do not express the sense of peace.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Every (under)dog has his day

Ok - it wasn't expected.

There were 2 matches today that should have gone to the superior force. In the Grand Final, St Helens were expected to beat Leeds. And in the rugby world cup, France were expected to beat England.

And yet, after 4 hours of rugby, Saints had lost to Leeds. and France were playing on the 3rd place play-off. This is the second Saturday of the underdogs, since England beat Austa#ralia and France beat New zealand last Saturday. Will it last to next Saturday? I hope so.

Oh and by the way, I finished work early so I could relax and enjoy these games. Truly, the day of the underdog!


4:30. What is it about that time? I think someone must be getting up and shutting a door or something, because that is when I seem to be waking.

It was a heavy week this week. There was ticketing to do on Wednesday night, so I was in work until 9. Then I was in at 8 on Thursday. I finished at 3, but then had Tesco to do, so by the time I got home I was shattered. I went to bed early to try and sleep, but it took me ages to drop off. Then on Friday, 4:30 came and I was wide awake. So last night, I thought I would try to fool myself. I stayed up until 10:45, and read in bed until 11:15. Alas, it was to no purpose. 4:30 and I was wide awake. So I am now facing the prospect of a day in work with less than 12 hours sleep over the last 2 days.

And tiredness is cumulative. The less you sleep, the tireder you get. In my case, it sometimes seems that the tireder I get, the less I sleep, until I reach the point where I just crash comepletely. If I am lucky, it is during my weekend off.

Ok - so that is my moan. I am off to work now...

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Autumn has arrived

Yes autumn is here. How can I tell? When the sun no longer passes the chimney before going down behind the hill. You haven't a clue what I am talking about? Then let me explain...

At the back of my house, the land drops away steeply to the valley floor. About 300 yards away, the land rises steeply to form Peel Hill; an undulating ridge with a maximum height of about 500 feet. Since the hill is west of the house, it means the sun goes down behind it before it sets.

And the chimney? At the bottom of the valley is a small industrial estate and a large diesel-powered power station. The power station is a thing of ugliness and a misery to behold, and includes an almost unnoticeable 280 foot tall concrete chimney. During the summer, the sun clears this with ease, but as autumn progresses, the sun drops lower, and the point at which it goes behind the chimney seems to drop with almost unbelievable rapidity. I always count it as being autumn when the sun gores down behind the hill before getting round far enough to reach the chimney.

And by the way - in the depths of winter, the sun does not even get high enough to go down behind the top of the hill, but disappears behind the side - and that IS depressing!

Monday, 8 October 2007

The Drain

And for the benefit of any Londoners, I am not talking about the Waterloo and City line!

I am talking about the way energy can seep out of you. I had a reasonable (for me) night's sleep - getting to sleep at a reasonable time and waking up not too early. But oh, the effort to get through the day. Have you ever had a day when every effort feels like you are moving through tracle, and your mind seems so slow that you make mistakes while knowing that what you are doing is an error, yet you keep on until the mistake is complete? Well, that was my day. From mishandling a refund to allowing people to get my back up, it was a dismal day. Even selling a suit to our revered leader did not brighten my day. If I was to say that the high spot was going out to buy little coloured stickers, you will understand what a day it was. And the bus home? I was nearly asleep not once but 4 times. I got home and found my daughter was more interested in the TV and her new phone than in me (aren't teenagers wonderful? If anyone wants to find out, I can let you have her for a few quid (I can't afford to give much more with her - sorry (I love brackets))).

Actually, she is not too bad. I sometimes think that the teenager bit is a role that she thinks she has to play in front of her mother. Often when I get her alone, she seems much more attentive. She is working hard and also rehearsing for the pantomime, in which she has a speaking part (which part, she will not tell). The performance is in 5 weeks, so she is working hard at it.

Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow! I always have so much to do on my day off, but I would like to get out and take some pictures if the weather is decent. There are some lovely autumn colours, and I would like to capture them for the website.

Sunday, 7 October 2007


So tomorrow is the start of it for my dad. After 77 years of not being in hospital, he has his pre-op appointment. We are all hoping it goes well. With his Alzheimer's, hew gets very confused, so mum is really worried about how he will be. If he passes the pre-op, his operation is scheduled for a week Tuesday. The surgeon has agreed to try and get him done first thing in the morning, so he can recuperate during the day and come home in the evening. One of my brothers will be there with mum to make sure he is ok.

The Mhelliah

For those of you without 'yn Gaelg' (the Gaelic), this is the Manx harvest home. Now it has become a fund-raiser. Tonight's was for the football club. As the advert goes

Bushmills Irish rugby shirt - £10
Manx Electric Railway picture - £21
Cordless electric screwdriver - £10
Watching England beat Australia - priceless

Yes, I spent a lot tonight. I got some bargains (the picture was priced at £25). And the rugby shirt is a heavy one - will do me through the winter. But the real shocks of the day were the line-up for the semi final in the rugby. I think this is the firt time that both Australia and New Zealand have been going home after the quarter-final stages. England face France next weekend. If this continues, it will be a Scotland v Fiji semi-final as well! What a day for the underdogs!

And the best part of the night? Walking home at nearly midnight and seeing all the stars. it was a perfect night for star-gazing - crisp, clear and still. Not only were the constellations clear and easy to identify (Ursa Major and Cassiopeia were the clearest) but it was also possible to see the opalescence of the Milky Way, which is very rare to see in a built up area. Alas, there will soon be street lights in that part opf the road, as the relentless urge of local developers to build on any piece of land they can find continues, but it was lovely to enjoy it while I could.

Saturday, 6 October 2007


Well it is over. Saturday has been reached, more or less in one piece. And the silly thing is, it should not have been such a hard week. All it was was my standard Monday to Friday 37 1/2 hours. No late nights, no missed days off, no big events; just a standard week (in as much as any week there is standard)

Well, maybe there were a few things that affected it. The cold that I picked up last week has been dragging me down, as a result I have felt very under par for the first few days. When I was pocket searched on my way to the sales floor (they do random security checks), I had paracetamol in my pocket. What I didn't know was that I was supposed to have the ok from my section manager to carry it. Fortunately, she came downstairs after me and agreed that I was ok to carry tham. Thank goodness for management support!

Well that dragged me down for the start of the week. The rest of the week was just getting through each day. I felt better by Thursday, apart from being worn out. Put it this way, I was nearly asleep on the bus home a couple of nights. it is a good thing I don't drive in!

So now it is a sunny Saturday morning. My towels are already washed and out drying, my uniform is in the wash and I am looking at a relaxing day. Nothing to do except watch England lose at rugby. It should be all over by 4 as I cannot see them beating Australia in their current form. I was surprised they qualified from the pool stages! Oh well.