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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

Drinky drink drink drink

29 September 2007
Last night, it was Mister Al's birthday. Mister Al sent out an invitation to all of his friends to come along to his birthday drinks which began "Dear Bastards", and degenerated from there. Mister Al reads this blog, and therefore I am forced through politeness to say that Mister Al, and his Lovely Wife Rosie, are both very nice people. But I'd say all of that anyway. Because they are.

All of which is beside the point. It just sets the scene for this set of photos. I am not, contrary to popular belief a little bit drunk on public transport here in London very often. In Dublin, yes, I was very commonly quite pissed and on a bus, but in London I tend to get legless in and around the general vacinity of the Nest'O'Love. Partially through sheer laziness, partially because London is so vastly and unnecessarily large that it seems daft to get tanked up and then have to travel any distance while needing a wee and feeling a bit pukey.

But when I am on public transport (particularly the tube) I feel the need to get all artistic with the camera on my mobile phone. This, ladies and gents, is two of the seven part set of photos that I took with my phone last night trying to get the perfect shot of me and He Who Only..'s reflection in the window. This is photo number one, in which I hold my mobile up unnecessarily high, as if looking through an actual camera that has an eye-piece through which you must look:


He Who Only... is not interested. He's been through this all before. He knows what way it will end up.

Photos Two to Six are not going to published here, mainly because they're basically exactly the same as this one, in varying different states of focus, but never actually any better focussed than the photo already displayed above.

Let's skip to Photo Seven, in the series of Seven:



He Who Only... fucks off. And rightly so.

BSc (Psych)

28 September 2007
I've got tons more photos to show everyone. Like this one, which makes me laugh every time I look at it:


but I'm going to leave off on the photos, at least for the moment, at least for this post. Because this post is ALL ABOUT ME, and seriously, there hasn't been enough of that around here lately. You people adore me, and want to hear about me, and I might be drunk right now, but I think you're absolutely right.

Last Tuesday night, after about two months (no exaggeration there) of planning and half-arsed writing of an essay about the relationship between emotional processing and cognitive processes, I handed in my very last ever essay that I will write towards achieving my second undergraduate degree, which will be a BSc in Psychology.

I'm fucking thrilled, I can't even begin to tell you. It's been five years in the coming, and the last three of those years has been a mite difficult in terms of finding time to study, firstly because Year Three of my degree was spent in a fog of valium and pain killers in Dublin, and Years Four and Five of my degree were spent in a fog of booze and better-things-to-do-with-my-time in London when my life started back up again. I'm not out of the woods yet, mind you, as the exam looms on 18 October, however, I've been asking around and I'd have to put quite an effort into failing it in order to fail the entire degree. Mind you, this is my only free weekend between now and the exam, and I've spent half of it swimming, tidying up the flat, watching DVDs, blogging and drinking wine.

Still. Let's all sit back for a moment and think about what I've achieved. The best part of it is, even within the relief of knowing I will never have to write an essay on any topic at undergraduate psychology level, I have already signed up for a post graduate course in Counselling, which will hopefully move through to a MSc in Psychodynamic Counselling, that starts ONE FULL WEEK before my exam.

Jesus.

Dogs

26 September 2007
I took about 7,000 photos while we were on holiday, so I'm just going to post them up in groups, with vague themes, and probably make some kind of smart arsed narrative to go with them. I've grown a very recent and very intense fascination for looking at other people's holiday photos (and thankfully blogger and facebook are here to feed my new fetish). I hope other people are interested in mine. If not, in about five posts, I'm bound to write something about wanting to kill a complete stranger with my bare hands, so hang on in there.

Below are about 6 or 7 updates. Please scroll down.

Little Sister Louise took a photo similar to this one, which I had blown up to poster size and which we have hanging on the wall of our sitting room. Every time we were on this beach during the holiday, the photo kept being reenacted over and over by the dogs, because Bobby is always running slightly in front of Kesh. This photo isn't as good as LSL's, but I love it as an action shot.

This photo I ADORE. I love that they're perfectly in step and both looking at the same thing. I love their reflections in the wet sand, and the fact that both their tails are raised so high. I'm getting this one blown up too. Our flat will soon be covered in poster-sized photos of other people's dogs.

This one just sums up their relationship - Bobby's doing something, Kesh is watching him do it, and blocking his exit from whatever he's doing, so that when he passes she can bite him on the nose and remind him who's boss. It's like me and He Who Only..., but furrier.

Flora

25 September 2007
When we were kids, Mum used to take millions of photos of plants around Galway, and when the photos came back from the printers, the ones of photos would be thrown aside by me with a muttered "...boring...". I have now started replicating my mother's behaviour. I'm not sure if I should be worried.

One of the thousands of tattoo ideas I have had involved getting a couple of fuscias tattooed onto my wrist. This started because a certain shade of tattoo ink is named "fuscia" and sort of spiraled from there. This is basically exactly the kind of image I had in mind:


This picture disappointingly goes nowhere close to capturing the different shades of purple and orange the countryside had turned with the onset of autumn. This is part of the walk back up from the beach, and I had to keep stopping to look around just to try and keep the image fresh in my mind for when I was back in London. This has worked, but unfortunately when I'm standing on a tube platform and bring this image to mind, it only works to depress:



Some honeysuckle, another flower I'm tempted to get tattooed somewhere:


Pretty. I took this on the way back from our 7-mile hike around the peninsula. I believe my thoughts at this very moment were something akin to a constant cheering.


This is taken on our last day, when the wind got back up and we went down to the beach with half a mind to swim despite the cold, but couldn't work up the courage. I love these daisies that grow right beside the sea, they're incredibly hardy plants who seem to be able to survive the salt winds better than anything else, and still remain looking so delicate and beautiful.



The Cottage

23 September 2007
The Cottage has been in our family for the last 35 years. I had no idea how fortunate we were to have it. Every time I'm there, I decide I'm never actually going to leave again. I'm well aware that every other member of my extended family feel exactly the same way.


I love the shrimping nets with no actual nets in this photo, along with the Size 7 wellies that I wore most of the week, even though they were so big it was like being 10 years old again and being forced to wear my big brother's boots down to the beach.


He Who Only... loves making fire in the cottage almost more than anything else, and so I didn't get the chance to build them from scratch myself. The wonderful thing about having the open turf fire in the sitting room is the fact that you can lose literal hours just staring at the thing, and telling each other about how much heat is coming out of it, how good a fire it is, how it might need propping up on one side or another, and even begin to consider boiling the kettle above the fire, JUST BECAUSE WE MIGHT BE ABLE TO.

My actual idea of actual heaven:

Things we found on the beach:

22 September 2007
None of this is made up or planted.

1. A half-burned, hand written guide to the basic guitar chords to Whisky In The Jar:


2. A vast array of brightly coloured shells which appeared on only one section of the beach, in a group barely bigger than that which you can see in this photo, and which couldn't be see anywhere else on the beach:


3. A massive pair of pants:

Views

21 September 2007
These photos, and the ones in the post below, should each individually be clicked on so you can see the full extent of the breath-taking fabulousness. If you've never been to the West of Ireland before, this is what you're missing. If you have, this is what you're missing. Let's all move there. Come on, we'll make a commune and live off the land. Fuck it.


Seriously, we'll get one of these little cottages and forage for food. We could keep chickens and sheep and barter with the civilised people. It'll be brilliant.


I mean, seriously, at what point of your day-to-day life do you get to look at a view like this? COME ON, PEOPLE.


I'd live in that rusted-roofed hut, given half a chance. Who's with me?

Views (Continued)

20 September 2007
I mean, we could probably all survive living in a small house together, considering how much time we'd spend working on the land:


Plus, you know, all that fresh air is bound to be good for our health. We'd probably live a lot longer, and who doesn't want to live longer?


Just, you know, think about it. Let me know your thoughts. Picture, if it helps, being here every fucking day:


You can probably get Sky Digital here too, so it wouldn't be all back to the 70s, or whatever. C'mon. Seriously. I've got more views to show you.

Views (Continued) (Part 2)

19 September 2007
Just think about it, yeah? Imagine waking up and seeing this on your walk down to your letter box, or on the way to yoga, or whatever it is you people do in the morning:


Because, seriously, you're never going to get a better fucking offer. Look at this! LOOK AT IT! Places like this exist! Imagine! Fucking hell.


All I'm saying is, give it some thought. Just let me know your feelings. You, me, some chickens, milking cows, and a lifetime supply of whiskey. We could make it happen, people! Who's with me?



I'm your number one fan

17 September 2007
He Who Only... made two very best friends this holiday.

The first one was our hire car, who is called Mister Connor O'Samuels. This is because the hire car we got to bring us to ATP a few months ago was called Mister Samuels, and this was his Irish cousin. If you have lived with He Who Only... for two and a half years, you, like me, will have learned not to question these things.

This is He Who Only... and Mister Connor O'Samuels having a manly hug at the top of a very scenic roadway. If you look over Mister Connor O'Samuels' right shoulder, you'll be able to catch a glimpse of Clifden.


The other New Best Friend Forever He Who Only... made on our holiday is Mister Bobby. Bobby, regular readers will know, is the dog that me and my Mum adopted a couple of months before I gave up my life in Ireland to annoy and irritate He Who Only... full time by living in London. I named this small-headed dog, and loved him as though he were my own hairy son. This small-headed dog has paid me back by, merely two and half years later, preferring my boyfriend to me:


He simply never left He Who Only...'s side for the duration of the time we were there. At one stage, we met up with a very large, very square, very male and very stupid labrador called Max, who was about seven times the size of Bobby and very nearly the same size as me, and Bobby still stood between him and He Who Only... and would not let the two of them get anywhere near each other. During the ten minutes or so when Max and Bobby were in the same location as each other, Bobby even went so far as to lunge for Max's jugular. Thankfully, Max was too gleeful and stupid to notice that Bobby, the tiny, tiny dog in the periphery of his vision, was attempting actual physical bodily harm on him because, if he'd wanted to, Max could have squashed him like the tiny-headed dog Bobby is. But that's the love that Bobby developed for He Who Only... in the time they spent together. He would give up his life for him, absolutely and immediately and without question or a moment's hesitation.


Look at them together. Honestly. It just seems wrong that they're not together all the time.

The Perfect Week

16 September 2007
So many brilliant things to talk about on our holiday, one week in Galway in peace and quiet. It all started so badly, when we arrived at the cottage and both of us were so excited about being there that we wanted to go straight down to the beach, even before we unpacked the car (which was called Mister Connor O'Samuels - I will post a photo of him tomorrow) but when I looked in my suitcase, I couldn't see my runners (my special, expensive, specially tested out for me, and fitted with the thing what makes my legs the same length runners) and I immediately remembered that they were in the sitting room of the house in Dublin, the house which was now six hours drive behind us, and I had such a temper tantrum that I screamed FUUUUUCK so loudly people in America could hear me and I thumped my hand off the side of Mister Connor O'Samuels so hard that I thought for a moment I'd broken my little finger.

He Who Only... was so fantastic, even in that moment of despair and petulance, grabbing me and hugging me and telling me it would all be okay. And I was all okay. To hell with the fitted thing what makes my legs the same length, we decided, and I stuck on a pair of wellies that were two sizes too big for me and we tramped down to the beach, and from that point onward everything was perfect.

I even managed to achieve what might (after the completion of my BSc) be my greatest achievement this year: I walked the circuit of the peninsula. This legendary feat of endurance is a challenge held by my family for almost all of the years since the cottage was bought by our Granny in 1963. It's basically a seven mile walk of stunning scenery, little chance of meeting anyone other than cattle and virtually no traffic to negotiate other than a tricky five minutes on the main Roundstone to Clifden road. It should be done by two healthy adults in just over two hours, with stoppage time for the taking of photographs of aforementioned stunning scenery counted in. We did it in two and a half.

This is He Who Only..., setting the pace quite early and looking every part like he was auditioning for the role of Johnny Cash three years too late to appear in the film:

You'll note that Kesh is also striding confidently ahead, while Bobby keeps a close eye on He Who Only...'s every move (more on that tomorrow too).

This is the half way point, where I came to terms with the fact that turning back is literally not an option, since it would be entirely pointless, and also, the rest of the way is downhill. He Who Only... is taking a momentary break to sit on the memorial to Alcock and Brown (a name which caused him all kinds of amusement) and being gazed upon by his Number One Greatest Fan, The Bobby:

And this is the last stretch of the walk, where I let myself stride on confidently ahead, safe in the knowledge that the valium that I thought would be necessary by the end of the walk was now within grasping distance. It was, I'll hasten to add, not necessary, because (a) my back is being nice to me this week and (b) I'm the queen of fucking everything and so don't need drugs to help me live.


All swearing aside for a moment though, I'm really astonished and grateful and proud and slightly emotional even now that I was able to do this walk. It may seem like a retardly easy thing for the rest of you non-slipped-disc members of the public to understand, but me and my four slipped discs have spent so long battling against each other, and I've begun to expect that my lower back will ruin everything I've ever wanted to do, that when I manage to slip one past while it's looking the other way, I'll celebrate wholeheartedly, and then earnestly practice my yoga until the next time it decides to spite me.

Babies and that

15 September 2007
Yes, I've been on holiday. In Galway, in fact. It was incredibly beautiful, incredibly peaceful, incredibly relaxing, and people, you're going to bored over the next week by the tales I have to tell you and the photos I have to show you. It's all very beautiful and incredible.

However.

Today, my brother's wife gave me a new word to bandy about the place for the next 18 years or so, while I get used to the idea: "nephew".

I've got a nephew.

(It's all about me)

My nephew was born in Dublin today just after midday, weighing in at 7lbs 3ounces, and almost three weeks early, and I'm absolutely thrilled. This is me (and his Mummy) looking thrilled:



I'm the one with the child, holding him like a bag of sugar. I'm not a natural. This is his foot (taken by his mother, who insisted on showing me his feet, since as she put it "I've spent the last 9 months making them"):



This picture made me want to cry - three generations of men in my family:



There's no name as yet, although there are a few being bandied about. Tomorrow evening we fly back to London, and I'm absolutely thrilled (I may have already mentioned) that I got to see my nephew on his first day here. Brilliant.

Welcome to the family, little man.