Archive for November, 2008


My son, the radio star…

Ricky was on the radio this morning!! ๐Ÿ˜€

I mentioned how a programme was being made at my Dad’s house for Radio Ulster last weekend, and it was broadcast this morning.

The British Trust for Ornothology were doing a garden bird catch at my Dad’s house- they weigh and ring the birds to enable them to track populations and learn more about how many well known birds operate in the wild. It’s a really worthwhile project.

Anyhow, if you’d like to know more (and listen to my son making his radio debut) here is the link to the programme. Ricky is about 35 minutes in. ๐Ÿ™‚

Your Place or Mine- Radio Ulster



These workmen are installing bollards to stop people from parking onย the pavement outside the Royal Hospital in Belfast.ย ย 

ย They are cleaning up at the end of the day.ย ย 

How long do you think it will be before they realise that they can’t get the van out to go home?ย ย 

This is a real photograph…!



Some stories

My friend Welsh Purple Tree has tagged me for another meme. This time, I am supposed to tell you six interesting things about myself. I am not at all sure that you want to hear about my World Champion status as a yodeller, or about my ability to speak Ancient Yemenese, so decided in true Coping with Chaos style to change the rules and tell you six stories from my past instead.

Edited to add- OK, so the first twoย stories got longer than I thought. I’ll save the other stories for another day! ๐Ÿ™‚

ย I also don’t do the tagging thing, so play along if you like, but if you don’t, that’s okay too. ๐Ÿ™‚

Prepare for randomness.

1. A Story of Manipulation

When we were children, we spent all our holidays in the house in Dunfanaghy. It’s a great house, though fairly basic (which is how we like it!!). When we were children, it belonged to my Mum’s aunt and uncle, though it has since passed to my Mum and now to my Dad. Me and my youngest brother Brian used to share the upstairs back bedroom, whilst my middle brother Marty slept downstairs. Marty and Brian used to fight at the drop of a hat, to the point where I always had to sit in the middle in the back of the car, and the thought of them sharing a bedroom was, I think, enough to bring my parents out in a cold sweat.

ANYHOW- Brian, being the youngest, was always considered the “pure one” (believe me, it’s all changed now… ๐Ÿ˜€ ) who was always believed without question…so I am going to dump him in it in spectacular style now.

There was this dresser in the bedroom we shared. It is one of the few antiques in the house. I don’t think it’s valuable or anything, but it’s a good, solid piece of furniture. Well, with the house not belonging to my parents at the time, it came as something of a shock to my mother one day to find the names “Susan, Martin, Brian” carved into the side of the aforementioned dresser.

A family pow-wow was called, the kind where the kids sit, squirming and resentful, whilst the parents give a moralistic, more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger lecture and wait for someone to ‘fess up. On the (highly mistaken) assumption that Brian was too little to have correctly spelled all the names, he was released without charge a short time later.

Marty and I were then shut in the room with the dresser until one of us would own up to having committed this heinous crime- with the one small problem that, actually, we were every bit as clueless about it as our parents. Brian went out with his friends and played all afternoon. Marty and I had a furious row, each blaming the other, until we both got grounded for a week.

It should really have occured to my parents that, not only was Brian more than capable of spelling all of our names, but he also was probably the only one young enough and stupid enough to carve his own name on there… ๐Ÿ˜€

2. A Story of Love

As a teenager, I was very close to my maternal grandparents. They were two of the world’s great eccentrics, and much the better for it. My grandfather was a Church of Ireland minister, my grandmother a school teacher. In their latter years, they lived in a house near us in Belfast, which my grandmother told me meant more to them than any house they’d ever lived in before, because it belonged to them. All their previous homes had been rectories.

By the time I was sixteen, I was completely horse mad, and was competing a lot with my gorgeous pony, Morning. However, she got an injury which was going to mean she’d be out of action for a while, so we decided to breed from her. I was a bit desolate at the thought of not being able to ride for so long, but my grandparents kindly helped my parents to buy Carly, who was four years old at the time and very pretty. I still have her now- though she’s an old girl. She and Morning are retired and spend their days bickering in the field like a pair of old ladies.

My grandfather was very ill by this point- nothing specific, but he was in his mid eighties, and could no longer eat enough to keep well. He had become thin to the point of emaciation, and was very weak.

They were delighted to see Carly and I getting on so well. She was very young and I was very much enjoying schooling her. About a month after we got her, I took her to her first show, and was delighted when we won the working hunter class (the competition wasn’t very stiff, but still!).

My grandfather was pretty much bedbound by this point, but as soon as we got home, my Mum and I rushed around to show him and my grandmother the red rosette which we’d been given for winning.

It meant so much to him- he was absolutely delighted, despite his terribly weakened condition, and he wanted to hear all about it- a jump-by-jump account of the afternoon.

When I got up to leave, I kissed him and he said “you look beautiful”.

It was the last time I saw him. He died a few days later.

A few weeks after his death, I was looking for a pair of gloves in our own house, and was astonished to find an ancient letter, addressed to me in my grandfather’s hand, in a drawer. Pulling it out, I was amazed to find a very long letter inside. The letter had been written when I was only a month or two old, and presumably sent to my mother who had kept it and forgotten about it over the years.

The letter was full of love- an outpouring of his feelings for his first grandchild. He told me that he prayed he could be allowed to live long enough to see my grow to adulthood. He told me how much hope he had for my future and how much he and my grandmother loved me. It was very, very moving, especially so close to his death, and I sat in the kitchen sobbing as I read it.

I have been so fortunate to have been surrounded by so much love all my life.

It’s no wonder I named my son Robert, after the grandfather who meant so much to me.


Can you SAY inappropriate!!

I don’t think my dear Aunt can… ๐Ÿ˜€

She reminded me in a comment she left here about something funny over the weekend.

She presented me with a bag of gifts for me and the boys. One element of this was a bottle of mixed berry smoothie for each boy, and a couple of knitted boiled egg warmers. This may sound innocent enough, until you see photographic evidence of how they were presented.

**shakes head** Disgraceful, Auntie Rosalind. The corruption of children is something I will never take lightly. Hang your head in shame!!!!!!!


She really didn’t get it until I pointed it out…also she isn’t a giant and I am not a dwarf (no really, I am little, but not THAT little), so I have no clue why she appears to be at least seven feet tall in this picture… ๐Ÿ˜€


Spoiled, spoiled, spoiled…

I have been such a spoiled girl this weekend!

Firstly, I am still reeling from the generousity of my online community for their beautiful quiltย which still makes me teary every time I look at it!

I was invited to stay with my Aunt over the weekend, which I did like a shot- she’s a wonderful host, and treats me like visiting royalty!

She had bought me THE most beautiful Radley handbag as a belated birthday present. I love it so much that I think Ian thinks he is being cuckolded… ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s one of the poshest things I have ever owned! She also bought me a gorgeous new outfit which I am wearing to work today.

We had a lovely relaxing weekend. Her friends Liz and Desmond, and their daughter Lisa, came for lunch, and it’s always lovely to see them- they are great people. We ate a yummy dinner in front of the tv with all the bad tv that Ian hates me watching- the X Factor, and Strictly Come Dancing… ๐Ÿ˜€

Then, my Dad had me and the boys down for lunch yesterday and I think the boys consumed more than their own body weight…HOW can such small kids eat so much without bursting?!

Oh, and on Saturday morning, when me and the boys went to muck out my horses at Dad’s house, some of Dad’s friends were there doing a catch of the small birds that live in his garden. They do this (I think) twice a year, to weigh them and tag their legs. It’s a very interesting project. They catch the birds in nets which they put up around the garden- it doesn’t hurt the birds and enables them to monitor populations too. Radio Ulster were at Dad’s to interview the folk who were doing the catch, and they interviewed Ricky, who was “helping” (cough)…so Ricky might be famous come the weekend! ๐Ÿ˜€

So, a pretty productive weekend! Thanks to everyone who helped make it so special for me (and there are MANY of you who did). I am also SO relieved that I didn’t end up in hospital again as this was the dreaded “middle of chemo” weekend where I have got so sick before.

Also, thanks everyone for your recent comments! I am woefully behind both on answering comments and in reading other people’s blogs, but will catch up over the next day or so. MTAE, I see you have another installment in your fascinating story up, and I am desparate for a few quiet minutes to read it!!!


The most moving gift I will ever receive

On Friday, I got a letter from customs asking me to collect a parcel they were holding. When I opened it, I could not believe my eyes and started to cry my eyes out!

My online friends in the States and Canada have been such a massive support to me since my diagnosis, but what they have done this time is beyond simple friendship, and has been the most wonderful surprise.

Each of them designed and decorated a square of fabric, which they then posted to my talented friend Stephanie, who brought it all together in the form of the most fabulous quilt.

This was a massive undertaking, which must have taken weeks or months to organise. I am in awe of the love these amazing women have demonstrated for me and can never, ever thank them adequately.

This is a family heirloom, something I am convinced will be handed down through generations. My great-great grandchildren will know what these wonderful friends have done for me.

Thank you, my dear, dear friends.










Wee on the Wii

Brian, before you read this and have heart failure, it’s all OK now…. ๐Ÿ˜€

My brother (see above) very kindly lent us his Wii and Wii Fit recently as he hasn’t been using them so much. We’ve been using the Wii but didn’t get the Wii Fit hooked up until last night. Ricky was SO excited about it. Regrettably, excitement overcame bladder control, and within about three minutes of him getting on the board, he had a little accident…thankfully, Nintendo must have been prepared for this eventuality and the sturdy contraption has lived to fight another day. Brian called me earlier and I couldn’t screw up the courage to tell him. So, hey, why not tell the world instead! ๐Ÿ˜€

The Wii Fit is brilliant!! We had so much fun playing with it last night! I was surprised to find that I was good at the ski jumping and downhill skiing and successfully managed to kick the ass of every previous player. Now, from what I can see, my brother and friends have mainly played it when under the influence of alcohol, so this may not be saying much. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We did our Wii ages too- Ricky came out at 23, Ian came out at 41 (ha ha!!) and mine came out at a not-too-shabby 32, a year younger than my actual age. However it keeps trying to give me healthy eating tips.

My biggest bug bear is that, once it’s weighed you and done your height, it fattens up your Mii character. This is deeply unfair. My foxy looking Mii had sported slanty brown eyes and a nice ‘do, but now she also has a fat arse and love handles. How come it doesn’t AGE you when you’re Wii age comes out higher than you’d like?? That would even the stakes a little.

Anyhow, that’s it from me until Monday or so- my aunt is having me to stay (health permitting) tomorrow night so I will be off getting spoiled rotten and having a great time. Plus a full night’s sleep is always very welcome! ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a great weekend, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing!

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