Friday 31 October 2014

Mid-term Break Days 4 & 5

Wonder Water Pricks anyone?
MID-TERM Break Days 4 & 5.  In other words the last couple of days.

I am so happy, hear me roar.

Here it is.  The truth.  Cutting down to brass tax. No holds barred. 

It was a shite week.  An utterly shite week.  With poxy weather thrown in for good measure and I still didn’t get to take the dog to the vets for her booster shots.

Purely because I was very afraid the good people in the clinic might have felt it necessary to give my kids some shots too. 

Yes, it was that bad.  They were that bad.

I have nothing to report really.  I did hope to be in a position to delight you all with details about a trip to the Halloween Sensory Gardens in Carlow. 

We didn’t go.

We went to Tesco’s instead where I allowed them to pick out a treat each and then I took it from them and used it as a visual bribe in order to get them to behave for the half hour it took me to complete the grocery shop. Apologies to the staff member who finds a bumper pack of Spearmint flavoured Tic Tac’s in with the frozen peas.

I am worn out.  Absolutely worn out.  I feel completely overwhelmed after the week.  I have sensory overload.  I am disgusted with my inability not to sweat the small stuff.  I feel guilty over all the rows.  I feel like shite for all the threats and shouts and roars and walking away from them into another room and for shedding a small tear in Lidl car park this morning. 

It all just got too much for me.

I am glad it’s over.  It was a shite week.

The best thing from the last couple of days was when they got imaginative and drew with chalks on the floor.

They had amazing fun creating race tracks and Wonder Water Pricks (Prix!) before deciding to roll in the chalk dust and spread it all over the house.

I had a Donal Skehan day where I made Lemon Drizzle Slices and his Singapore Noodles for dinner. 

In any case, it’s over now.  All of it.  Back to school on Monday and I can’t say I won’t be sorry.

Apologies for such a moany, negative post but that’s how I’m rolling today.

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Mid-Term Days 2 & 3

I ALMOST broke Tuesday morning.  I did.  It was a close call.  So close in fact I ended up breaking out the make and do crap. 

But before I get onto that let’s do a run down.

Boredom levels?  Check.
Noise levels?  Double, triple check.
Fight break outs?  Check.
Endless demands for food due to boredom levels?  Check.
Flying toys?  Check.
Bad language?  (Possibly mine) Check.
Several people flipping the bird?  Check.

Oh my sweet jeebus.  In all of my romantic looking forward to the mid-term break I had forgotten about the Adjustment Period.  By the time we adjust to the break from school it will be time to go back there. 

“It’s like a little bit of summer without the weather, really.”  I can’t believe I uttered such shite of a Monday evening.

But I did.  I was chock full of good thoughts and feelings having had a lovely day in the zoo plus the half bottle of wine I imbibed probably didn’t help matters.

It was 10.00 on Day 2 and having been up for three whole hours, the boys were starting to get antsy.  So the make and do paints and sheets of paper made an appearance.

I uttered a silent prayer as I was setting up that they would spend more than ten minutes making a mess.

Of course they didn’t.

In very definite “bored now” mumblings they stood up from their painting and left the room to wreak havoc and scream elsewhere.

But at least I got my own Christmas cards finished!

inspired by
inspired by:

The afternoon wasn’t much better.

I blamed the weather which was poxy including rain of biblical proportions.  But in truth it was a good dash of laziness on my part.  I was loathe to leave the house.  Especially with them all.

In the wind up we needed to go to Lidl for provisions and true to form one of them kicked the other, Smallest Boy howled for a cookie and Lovely Liam ran off to climb up the toilet paper mountain.

I am not proud but I left them there and walked to the dairy section, grabbed my 6 purchases and decided if they wanted to follow me to the till, they could.

They did.  I got out of there in a lather of sweat with rage boiling inside me. 


It is safe to say Tuesday, Day 2, was a bit of a fail.

Moving swiftly onto Day 3.

It was only 11.00 and already the house was calmer.  Maybe the Adjustment Period won’t be as long as I thought.

Noise levels were not as crazy.  There were lots of little projects taking place; colouring in of competition pages and one boy wrote his Minecraft novel.

I enjoyed a second cup of coffee as my own stress levels were being kept to a minimum.
I feel guilty because I had lots and lots of plans to do lots and lots of stuff with them but sometimes adults get tired too but enough about me. 

Today was a good day.  At the time of typing there was a roast chicken in the oven, they watched The Adventures of TinTin and what’s more, did it very very quietly, all sitting lined up on the couch.

Today was good.  Today was very very good.


Happy family picture images copyright:  itsliketheyknowus 


Monday 27 October 2014

Mid-Term: Day 1

OH, HOW I have changed and grown.  This is not my first mid-term break hence the fact I will not be found sobbing somewhere.

Fact is I was really looking forward to the break.  Couldn’t wait in fact.  A whole week off school which means we are not tied to the clock.

Okay there is one appointment that we have to keep but I can live with that.  The rest of the time we are free as birds!

And today was a bank holiday.  Where the clocks went back.

The clocks changing would have thrown me into a frenzy a couple of years back.  I lived in fear and absolute dread of that extra hour.  Let’s face it; only those in their 20’s and 60’s benefit from those three thousand six hundred seconds. 

 I had to Google that. 

Anyone else *read those with kids* are forced out of the scratcher at the ungodly hour of 4am because their anti-sleep toddler is usually up at 5am.

I was that parent.  I still have not managed to gather the words that come even close to describing the horror and upset I experienced during those dark mornings.

Anyway I am not there anymore.  Thanks be to god.

This morning I was gently woken at 9am.    9am on a bank holiday Monday morning.  I’ll take that.

The boys were downstairs; possibly watered and fed.  Probably not but I didn’t care.


It was 9am.

By the time 10am rolled round I was up and dressed, the boys were fed, a picnic was packed and the kennels down the road contacted to see if they had doggy day care room for Juno. 

They did. 

Lovely Liam felt it necessary to leave strict instructions and roared out the window “don’t torture her!” before we scorched off towards the M9 in the direction of Dublin Zoo.

Because the Dublin City Marathon was taking place we thought it best to park in the Red Cow and take the Luas as far as Heuston Station and then *don’t tell the kids* walk to the Phoenix Park and the zoo.

There was a near miss in the car park where one of the boys declined to heed the “no running!  We’re in fast car territory” warning.

It was a lesson learned for all of about 5 minutes but we have to go with what we’ve got. 

It was great.  We were jammed into the Luas like sardines complete with buggy and spent the next 10 stops telling the kids to mind the door, hang on and we’re not there yet.  Our kids are bolters and an open space or door to them is a signal to run.

It was a great day and if I were to do a monetary breakdown it would look something like this:

Picnic supplies in Lidl €16
Parking in Red Cow (for the day) €4
Luas into the zoo (return) for 4 kids and 2 adults €16
Admission into the zoo €55
Coffees & ice cream in the zoo €12
Doggy day care €10
Gift shop (pocket money from nana) €24

What‘s this Carlsberg says:  A fun family day out where we are guaranteed exhaustion at the end of it?  Priceless.

Mid-term break:  you haven’t broken me yet and I’m not about to let you!!

Friday 24 October 2014

Friday I'm in Love
THIS FRIDAY I’m in Love with……..

The mid-term break.  Good golly Miss Molly it could not get here quick enough for me over the last while.  Life is busy.  It is busy for everyone, I get that, but sweet baby Jesus, it’s not worth it.  Since they went back to school at the end of August it has been one long, boring road trip after another.  After school activities, health appointments also after school, swimming with school, endless birthday parties.  I’m a wreck and so is my wallet!  The boys are also banjaxed with the five year old throwing tantrums a two year old would sit back to take notes on.  I plan to enjoy the next week of having nothing planned and just going with the flow.

Shameless Fripperies.  Recently I treated myself to a few non-essential bits and pieces of make-up because I Felt Like It and I’m Worth It.  Goddammit!   I want the entire Catrice make-up stand out of Penneys.   Sleek make-up eye shadow palettes are a wonderful investment with gorgeously pigmented shades and little fallout.  *Do I sound like I know what I’m talking about?* Whatever, go get some and prove me wrong.  Cheap as chips too!!! 

Mouse traps.  And not the game.  I know.  It’s not very animal friendly but trust me, I’ve got good traps.  The mouse never knew what slammed down on the back of its neck.  Seriously.  I’ve got a scar on my finger to prove how dangerous those things are.  The cull has slowed down with one mouse every other day now instead of three every few hours.  Yes.  That’s how bad my house was.   

Rockin’ Joe’s.  I’m a fussy bint when it comes to fast food.  I wouldn’t be a fan of greasy chips and burgers at all.  Except Eddie Rockets.  I love Eddie Rockets.  All of those glorious hedonistic nights when I fell out of Whelan’s on Camden Street and into Eddie Rockets across the road for an original burger and delicious vanilla malt.  And another for the wobbly walk on the way home.  So I was thrilled when a wanna-be Eddie’s opened its doors last Sunday in Athy.  The boys were too.  We went in tonight to sample the food.  It’s good folks.  It’s good.  A pretty good dupe for the Rocket!   

Not bad for a party of 6

Marian Keyes.    Holy feathery stroker!  I arrived home this morning to find her latest novel The Woman Who Stole My Life waiting for me.  For. Me!   I heart Marian.  I think she is a real madzer and I have loved her stuff from day one which was back in 1995, Watermelon, if you’re interested and she is only deadly altogether and has a real knack for inventing words like jiggery pokery and feathery stroker and madzers.  Whew!  I had to draw breath too when I saw her new book.  Waiting.  For me!   My boys went into a bit of a loud panic when they saw me stock piling the Brennan’s bread and Batchelor’s beans and they all went, “Oh oh.  Mammy’s got a new book.”  I told them not to worry; that I will be back in one day and two nights and not to burn themselves on the toaster.    

As an aside would it be completely predictable if I stuck Wine in here?  Perhaps it would.  Especially as a relative posted this on my Facebook page during the week.

Whatever you are doing this mid-term and bank holiday weekend, enjoy and keep safe.  Happy Friday peeps!

Friday 17 October 2014

Keep Out of My Room

I CAN remember it as if it were yesterday; coming home from school, going to leave my coat and schoolbag in my bedroom and discovering through that sixth sense of mine that someone had been in there touching my stuff.

That someone was one of my younger sisters who liked to rearrange the Famous Five books and knick knacks on my bookshelf.  It was only when I noticed the oddly pristine cover on my Fame cassette tape did I suspect something was amiss.  I confronted my mother and she revealed my younger sister had unravelled the tape. In an effort to prevent me from killing my sibling, she bought me a new one.

So I had a perfectly new Fame tape to sing along to and no harm was done but it didn’t stop me bawling my eyes out with the sheer frustration of it all.  The lack of control over the situation – how to keep my trespassing sister out of my bedroom – was overwhelming.

These days Oldest Boy reacts in a similar way when his youngest brother ventures into his lair.  To give him his due, Smallest Boy does not do this very often.  He tends to reserve it for Changing the Bed Linen Days and to be honest, because I am in his company, I tend to let him have free reign over the place.

When I was younger I would also be raging angry at my mother for her complete, as it appeared to me, absence of concern about my feelings on the matter.  Didn’t she care about my privacy?  (I was very young and had no idea what privacy meant but I still wanted some)  She was at home all day doing nothing!  There was absolutely no excuse for her allowing my sister into my domain to wreck it. 

I had flashbacks of this recently when I was in Oldest Boy’s room and Smallest Boy was with me.  Having a ball with Hex Bugs, Lego creations and several light up Halloween decorations.

I let him play with whatever he wanted to, issuing the odd reminder to be careful and not to break anything.  In my head I finished each time with “or he’ll kill me.”

To give him his due, he was very careful and we remembered to turn off everything that was switched on and left the room in excellent condition.

Or so I thought.

Home time and Oldest Boy raced upstairs to get a book. 

Almost immediately there came a howl of outrage.

“Who was in my room?  Breeeeeennnnnddddaaaaannn!”

No way!  How?  What? Why?  We were so careful.

But not careful enough it seemed.

“No-one was in your room.” I assured him.  Recent studies claim if you don’t practise every day you’ll forget how to lie.  “Brendan didn’t touch anything.”

“Well someone did.  And who else could it be?  My Lego pizza man doesn’t have his pizza anymore!”

His Lego pizza man is one of more than 15 Lego men.  How did he know?

“He was in my room.  I know he was.  It’s so unfair!”

“Con, I can promise you,” a bit more practise, “Brendan didn’t touch your Lego man.  Maybe it was Juno.  Did you close your bedroom door?”

And just like that I had him. 

“You know if you leave the door open, the dog sometimes goes in to look out the window.  She could have knocked over your Lego man.”

“I suppose.” 

“And it’s only a pizza.  It’s probably on the floor.”

“I suppose.”

Maybe my mother should have blamed the dog for re-arranging my Famous Five books all those years ago.

If our dog could read.

If we had a dog.


Wednesday 15 October 2014

I See Mice Everywhere

AS I type there is the most satisfying sound of a mousetrap going SNAP! somewhere in the house. 

There are no less than 7 of them set in various places all baited with different tit bits.

In case you are wondering they are partial to chocolate, peanut butter, regular butter and one of my Mouse Busters recommended using a KP Skip.  All were met with much appreciation. So much so they cleaned their plates and asked for more.

What I’ve learned so far:  it’s not what’s in the trap, it’s the trap itself.  Three out of my seven traps are of the old fashioned wooden variety.  The other four are fancy already baited plastic gizmos that take ages to set and then go off as soon as you slide them carefully onto the ground, yet withstand the weight of a mouse nibbling at the bait.

Stick with the wooden variety.

There have been mice in every house I lived in. Except Dublin.  10 years in Dublin and I never saw a mouse.  Everywhere else there have been mice running about as I watched TV.  There were droppings and mice caught in traps baited with chocolate and peanut butter.  And up until now no odours.

What I have learned so far:  Mice don’t have to be dead and rotting underneath your floorboards to stink.  They manage this very nicely as they live and breathe.  This is down to the male of the rotten species by all accounts.   The little bastards are fond of marking their pathways apparently.  My house stinks.

I know someone who once had a mouse live in their car.  They can and will get in anywhere.  A week since we set the first traps and I see mice everywhere.  They are still running over our feet and up the stairs.  Mister Husband admitted he reckons there is a nest in his tool room as he can hear “lots of them.”

What I have learned so far:  let’s say the trap doesn’t get them.  Then a mouse can look forward to a lifespan of anything from 9 - 12 months.  They are ready to reproduce at four months old. A female mouse can have 60 offspring in her lifetime.  They are an evolutionary marvel in that water is not essential to their survival (mores the pity).  Their hydration needs are met solely through the foods they eat. Even dry stuff.

Plenty of people have told me to get a cat. I don’t want a cat.  Even one that lives outside.  I have no truck with cats.  Cats are not for me.  It looks like I am stuck with the traps for the moment. 

What I have learned so far:  Don’t share your delight over that morning’s mice cull (three!) with your kids when they come home from school and subsequently serve up sweet and sour pork.

Monday 13 October 2014

Happy Athy Wellness Week

WORLD Mental Health Day was recognised on 11th October and from 13th to 17th October we are celebrating Athy Wellness Week.   Which is now.  This week.

I was having a little think today about how busy life seems to be.  Okay, not seems to be, is, how busy life is.  

Let’s face it, we’re all busy.  We all have jobs to get to, some of us possibly getting there on less than 6 hours sleep the night before.  We all have errands to run, some of us are on the school run.  Then there’s housework and homework to do.  Health appointments, after school activities with the kids, meal times and then the dreaded bedtime.

It’s been a 12 hour day and you realise you’ve been fuelling off several coffees, a handful of Haribo jellies and the core of an apple your toddler didn’t want to finish.

Everyone else is watered and fed and your sugar levels are so low the comedown is horrendous.

It’s hard.  It is bloody hard.

On days like this, and I have many, I struggle over my kids’ names.  I mix up the lunches.  I get my words confused and resort to issuing orders like “You in the blue top.  Take that thing off the yoke and put it in the place.”

I get heart palpitations.  My chest tightens and I feel like a tightly coiled spring because I haven’t done anything nice for myself.  And I get pissed off.  I turn into this screaming banshee of a wild woman and I have cried.  The frustration of it all has reduced me to tears and my cry face ain’t pretty.

We all need to take time out and do something nice for ourselves.  Even if it’s just 10 minutes and you chose to spend it staring out the window, chewing your hangnail, so be it. 
A break is a break.  Try to have a cup of tea while you’re at it though, or treat yourself to a glass of wine.

*Note.  If it’s ten o’clock in the morning don’t stand at the window if you opt for the wine.  Big brother is everywhere. 

I’ve compiled a list of things that, if you are feeling the pressure, should help take down the boil. Some of these are tried and tested and others are just nice to do.

Fake it till you make it.  Apparently even the act of plastering a smile to your face can cheer you up.  Not immediately, give it a second or two.  But just as your facial muscles are starting to ache, you’ll feel better and be smiling for real.  It’s worth a shot. 

Stroke a pet.  It’s been scientifically documented (somewhere) that stroking a furry friend can raise your serotonin levels no end and it is these little happy darts that lift our mood.  The furry friend benefits too so it’s all good.

Have a cup of tea.  Coz you know, it solves everything.  And it’s even better if there is a biscuit to dunk.  Try to sit down as you enjoy it.  Not in the car on a school run though.  Remember, you’re trying to take time out.

Go for a walk.  Sometimes it’s the last thing you want to do but this really works.  Clip on those earphones, wrap up warmly and walk.  Remember that furry friend mentioned above?  Take them along for the company.

Turn off and shut down.  Everything.  Ignore Facebook, Instagram and whatever else is on the go because we all know there isn’t a single person alive who would post a “first thing in the morning” selfie.  Social media can be so fake and it places most of us under immense pressure to have the life everyone else seems to be living.   Turn that magazine face down for another time. Pick up that book you bought a week ago and read that instead. 

Say no. It’s not selfish to say, “I can’t do that today,” or “I don’t want to.”   Saying “yes” all of the time is what’s making your heart race and pissing you off.  

Dance.  What do they say?  Dance like no-one’s watching.  Your kitchen is the best place for a disco.  Crank it up and go for it!  Just make sure anything on the cooker is turned down first.  Lesson learned!

Breathe.  Sounds daft but slow, deep breathing really works.  For those of you who have had a baby, think of your birth breathing.  Same thing.  In through the nose, pull it down to your toes and exhale slowly.  Take five such breaths and if you’re still fizzing, open the door and pop outside for five minutes.  Breathe in the fresh air and remind yourself that’s life giving stuff you’re inhaling.

I hope none of the above come across as condescending or preachy; I’m only an expert on myself and those are some of the things or actions that have worked for me.

In conjunction with Wellness Week Athy 2014.  Let me know what your favourite Stress Busters are.

Friday 10 October 2014

I Have NCT Fear

I have NCT Fear.  Good and hearty.  Read on.

Mister Husband and I used to share a car back in the BC TM  (Before Childer) days.  When I say “share” it was really his car.  For work you see.

I used to drive it on weekends, Miss Daisy style, down country roads where I was never in danger of meeting anything more threatening than a rabbit or a cow.

This car we shared was a green Citroen Xantia.  And it was deadly.  Absolutely deadly.  A textbook baby of a car.  It never gave us an ounce of trouble; in the ten years we had it, it behaved impeccably.

Then Old Age hit.   Do you remember those two back to back winters where everything in Ireland came to a standstill because of the snow?

Yeah, so did the car.

The first thing to go was the heating. I can still hear a small child screaming with the cold so I filled hot water bottles for him to sit on.  I couldn’t feel the steering wheel my hands were so numb. 

My knowledge of cars extends to the colour of them and how many doors they have so when the radiator went, this was a big deal by all accounts.  I was collecting Oldest Boy from crèche one freezing cold winter day and almost gave birth in fright when I saw smoke coming up through the floor on the passenger side.

Turned out it was water from the burst radiator.  I managed to drive a few miles before the radio died.  The car did a splutter, then it jerked and stopped.  I had no choice other than steer it into the hedge where it stayed until my rescuers came and towed it away.

This was a big, freakin’, shitty, we-can-do-without-this situation.  Two kids and another on the way and our car went to the car park in the sky.

We emptied what was left in the boys’ credit union accounts, I found another few bob hidden in various handbags around the house and we sourced our new car. 

A pre-loved seven seater Ford Galaxy.  Green, coincidentally.

It is now 14 years old and rattles so much I want to get out and push it over pedestrian crossings, ramps and the like such is my fear that something will fall off and break the car behind us.

It goes into a “slow mode” type crawl when we reach the main road and I have to hug the hard shoulder as everything under 10 years old zooms past us.

The NCT is next week. 

I am shitting it.  I am fully prepared for a large sticker with the words “DEATH TRAP - DRIVE AT YOUR PERIL” to be slapped on the windscreen.  That is if they let me drive it out of the centre after it fails.

There is no question it will fail.  It has never passed an NCT.  Never. 

And this time I already know there are repairs/parts to the value of about two grand needed so we haven’t a hope in hell of passing. 

Basically we need a new car. 

Did I say I’m shitting it?  Well, I am. 

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Hissy Fittin'
A RECENT blog post by the lovely Elizabeth who lives on Hushabye Farm got me thinking about the tantrums our kids can throw in public. 

I can quite honestly claim that between all four of mine, there haven’t been many. In public I hasten to add.  The ones inside the four walls of our home are too many to mention.

But when a public one was thrown, let’s say it was worthy of an Oscar statuette!

There was the time when one of them threw an epic wobbler in a café for some unknown reason.  Mister Husband removed him and he was so loud coming across the square in the middle of the town, the lovely lady in the newsagents at the traffic lights, came out to him with a lollipop.  The screaming boy took one look at it and his screams grew louder, his face red and snot streaked with his fists rigid by his side. 

That one lasted for over two hours.  I had to drive home with Mister Husband in the back, holding the struggling, screaming exorcist child on his lap because he attempted to open the car door as we were driving out of the car park.

He cried himself into a three hour sleep and his parents spent an age in the kitchen wondering and agonising over the reasons for such a powerful performance.  Like a bad smell, the atmosphere lingered for the rest of the day.

I was 6 weeks post-partum in the supermarket for the next one.  The baby decided to air his lungs at the check-out at the same time the three year old with a dodgy tummy lost control of his bowels.   His screams for someone to “help me!  Help me!” reduced his mother, that would be me, to her own snotty tears.  I still avoid that check out girl whenever I see her!

Those were the worst ones.  These days my lot like to stand back in wondrous awe and watch another child losing it down the dairy aisle. 

Sometimes they even ask, “What’s wrong with them?” and turn wide, innocent eyes up in my direction.

We’ve moved on from the tantrums but I can’t seem to outrun the antics that happen every time we enter the supermarket.  Or Penneys.  Or the café for our Saturday family breakfast.

I can be heard stressing/begging/pleading before we go in to “have manners,” and “please, no fighting,” with “don’t touch anything,” and frequently “stay right beside me!”

At this stage I reckon my boys view every supermarket as a massive playground.  The shiny floors?  Perfect for sliding up and down.  On their knees.

The tall piles of toilet tissue and cereal boxes?  A mountain to climb.

The plastic wrapped trays of vegetables?  Those are for sticking fingers through and mushrooms are for squeezing.

A couple of weeks ago one of them took a fancy to the tall fridges in the frozen food section.  He used the handle as his grip and proceeded to climb, Spiderman like, up the door.  He was halfway up before I spotted him.

You know that expression boys will be boys?  Does it apply in situations like these?  How about when one of them is climbing onto the bonnet of your car in the school car park?  Or trying to remove your windshield wipers?  Your car.  Not mine.

I glanced out the window the other day and noticed a lovely piece of art work on the bonnet of our own car.  The medium used by the artist was a stone!

I can handle their total inability to sit still for even five minutes.  Oh who am I kidding?  That drives me insane too and I am usually too busy hissing at the four of them to notice if anyone is giving me the evils.  But if I am to be completely honest it is the pure and utter mortification that I might look like a parent who has absolutely no control over her kids that bothers me most.

I’m not sure what that says about me and my confidence, or lack thereof, in my ability to parent but I know what my boys are like.  I know what they are capable of.  So that means not taking my eye off the ball for even a second. 

One thing that does manage to keep us all quiet is food.  If we’re busy eating we can’t be talking or making noise now, can we?

So I’m off now to bake something I saw on Facebook. 


Donal Skehan's chocolate hazelnut cake

Friday 3 October 2014

Howiya October

I AM resisting the strong urge to add “you fucker” to the end of that greeting because strictly speaking, I am not down with the cool that goes hand in hand with October.

I am firmly of the opinion, however, that October and all of the other autumn months are the most beautiful of the seasons.  They are simply out on their own for their ability to take my breath away. I love the gold, oranges, fiery reds and yellows that are everywhere.  Some of those colours are just beginning whereas others have been around for a while.

I crave a garden that is bursting with colour at this time of year – ripe berries and danger colours hanging off the trees.  I admit to wallowing a little in melancholy at the smell of death in the air.  The smell, the feel of nature dying, or really hibernating and recharging her batteries for spring.

This year we have been lucky with our weather so we really cannot complain.  Not that we Irish ever let anything stop us from having a good old moan.  We have enjoyed a wonderfully hot summer followed by an Indian one.  But now the cold is here biting at our noses, cheeks and feet without socks.

I am loathe to wear a coat.  I keep it on the passenger seat of the car and settle for a scarf at the school gate instead.  I refuse to give in just yet.    

The shops are beginning to sell Halloween paraphernalia and whether I like it or not, there is even some Christmas stuff making an appearance.

Here’s the moan.  I dislike the dark mornings.  Intensely.  It is hard getting up in the dark and I am not at my best at this time normally so throw pitch black at me and I’m just a mad tantrum waiting to happen.

I take great umbrage to not being able to use the clothes line.  I do possess a dryer but it turns all of the clothes into clobber for dolls.  Don’t tell me yours doesn’t.  It tightens and shrinks clothes not to mention costing a bloody fortune to use.  I make great use of my large hot press and hang up all of the clothes to dry on a rail and on the clothes horse.  It takes days this way but needs must.

I detest, actually there is not a word strong enough to impart how much I fucking hate paying for oil over the winter.  It absolutely sickens me! I always feel so suckered by the sheer expense of home heating.

I suffer with cabin fever and a generous dose of the winter blues usually.  SAD is my enemy.  I probably don’t work hard enough to combat it.  I jump up and down in front of a work out DVD the odd time to rid myself of the frustration of not being able to get out for a run in the fresh air.  But it is not the same thing.  By a mile. 

I hate and become quite anxious about driving in the dark.  I will not do it if I can avoid it.      

So what do I like?  Let me see.

I really really like the way I can see my breath on a cold morning.  I also love the bite of that cold and how it feels in my lungs.  Good, clean, alive air.

I love robin song at this time of year.  I get a kick out of spotting where the bird is, marking their territory for the winter.  There is one across the way and most mornings on the school run, I see him on the lowest bar of the gate.

Tomato soup.  Who doesn’t enjoy a hearty bowl of soup with some crusty bread on a brown day?  A warming stew anyone?  Comfort food can attract a lot of criticism but we all need it.

The mid-term break from school.  A whole glorious week off to relax and do nothing.  Except go to the zoo, swim, take the kids to the cinema, collect conkers and acorns and plant them.

And the best thing of all?  Probably January.  The most miserable of months.  It is.  It really is.  Christmas is over.  Everyone is broke, spitting with the injustice of a 5 week month till payday.  The weather seems to get worse and everyone is in a fouler.

But once January is over the promise of spring is around the corner.  So when you think about it, there is really only four short months till we start saying “great stretch in the evenings” again.

So examining it from all of those angles I suppose it’s not too bad really.  And you know what?  I am long overdue a decent coat and I also wouldn’t say no to a pair of boots that don’t let in the wet.

I’ll give it to you:  Howiya October.  You pretty fucker!