Wednesday, March 30, 2011

April Makeup Giveaway

Dear all,

Every so often (that's once a month) Nea, who's blog you can find here does a fantastic makeup giveaway. This month up for grabs is nail polish, lip gloss and eyeshadow. Who doesn't love a freebie, eh? Plus, anyone can enter so clickety click, people!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


A man driving a huge big Jeep banged on my door on Sunday evening. He was my Census Enumerator (sounds like a rubbish superhero, doesn't it?). He handed me the census form and told me that I should use a black pen when filling it in and to mark the boxes with a horizontal line. He then moved his finger on the paper from left to right, to demonstrate the concept of a horizontal line. I'm glad the instructions are clear, could you imagine the horror at the CSO when they find that people have been using vertical lines or, worse yet *gasp* a cross!! 

Comedy gold
This man must've been a comedian in the making, when, after me spelling my unmistakeably non-irish first and last names to him, he asked me if I preferred the Irish or the English language version of the form. Everyone's a bloody joker around here. I did ask him for a Finnish one, which he didn't have but he did tell me that by filling in my form correctly (I can only imagine this meant using horizontal lines drawn with a black pen) I would be providing valuable information, and who knows, come next census, there may be a Finnish language form available. Yup. I'm on the edge of my seat here, waiting for that to happen.

My Census Enumerator shall return in a couple of week's time to collect the form. In the meantime, I'm left wondering whether or not he gave me the piss-take version of the form seeing as some of the questions and the answer options are pure comedy gold. Under "Marital status" you can be "separated (including deserted)". What an odd turn of phrase. Surely if you're alone, separated, recovering from a break-up, you don't need people at the CSO wondering whether or not you kicked the useless partner you had to the curb, or maybe they just told you they were going out for some fags and a lotto ticket and never returned.

When they're asking "How well do you speak English?" one of your answer options is, indeed "Not at all". Surely if I mark that option (with a horizontal, black line of course) I'm indicating that I have not understood the question, in which case the whole form would prove null and void. Yes? I'm disappointed that the question "How do you usually travel to work, school or college?" doesn't offer "On horseback" as an answer option, seeing as the petrol prices around here are making me seriously considering going the Rubberbandits way of transport.

These kind of oversights are unforgivable, especially when they've though to add that the question "How many children have you given birth to?" is "for women only".

And I'm supposed to take this thing seriously...

Thursday, March 24, 2011


The weather. We never seem to stop talking about it. I often wonder did our ancestors spend as much time commenting on the amount of rain or the temperatures or the wind speed as we seem to do. Probably yes. It is amazing how vulnerable we are to changes in weather, really. No matter how sturdy your house, given the right (or in the house owner's case, wrong) circumstances, you'll find yourself homeless faster than you can say tornado. Or tsunami.

Instead of the usual moaning we've been blessing the weather here for the last couple of days. It's sunny. And warm. Going to work on Monday I was wearing my scarf and a jacket. Walking from my car to the kitchen door at work I realised I was wearing way too many clothes. It made me smile. Yesterday I had coffee outside! In the morning. First thing. And I wasn't wearing a jacket. Amazing, isn't it? We did the same today and plan to spend the rest of the day outside. We are being spoiled.

But despite the uplifting mood, some people can't seem to stop moaning. "Yes, it is lovely now but I bet this is our summer." "Wait until June and we're back with the rain, mark my words." Oh shut up! No, this isn't our summer, it's March. Summer starts in May. And it's going to be lovely and warm and sunny and a proper summer. Why? Because I said so.

View from our front window
Lovely, eh?

Monday, March 21, 2011


Did you see that? No? I suppose you blinked and missed it. Well if you must know, that was my St Patrick's weekend. It passed in a blur, work was slightly mentally busy. I didn't get to go and drown the shamrock, I was working the whole weekend, in fact as I'm writing this I've just finished day 6 of 7 before I get my two days off.

I didn't feel left out or felt like I was missing something awesome by not heading out on Thursday night decked out in green and downing pints of Guinness. I think I was out on Paddy's night only once and decided it was more that enough to last me a lifetime. I think I would enjoy it more outside of Ireland, the Yanks seem to know how to throw a good St Patrick's party (even though some of them still call it St Patty's which really annoys me but on that maybe another time, eh?). A Finnish blogger who lives in Amsterdam tells me they have the best night out of the year on Paddy's night.

So what it is about St Patrick's celebrations in Ireland that I find so hard to get swept away with? It's the general messiness of it all really. It seems like nothing more than an excuse to act like a total eejit (one of my favourite irish-isms there), getting too drunk and generally not knowing where you're coming from, where you're going to and shouting how proud you are of being Irish before getting sick on your own shoes. Even driving through our local village on the morning after made me depressed; half-drunk pint glasses of Guinness and Bulmers left on walls and windowsills, broken glass, plastic Irish flags and shamrock hats littering the ground. And this is only a small village we're talking about here. I can only imagine the dread filling the street sweepers' minds on the morning after Paddy's day before heading into work.

So, I spent my Paddy's weekend safely at work getting into the festivities in another way. Here's a few photos of what we got up to.
Larry the Leprechaun

Mmm, green sponge

Yup. It's a leprechaun sitting on a pineapple

Larry was very popular among italian girls and nuns

Monday, March 14, 2011

Apocalypse. Now?

Freaky weather.
Snow storms.
Political upheaval.

Looking back on the last few years or so, there has been an awful lot of natural disasters. Even only in the last year there's been volcanic eruptions, unseasonal weather across the globe and more recently earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, the latter being followed by the massive tsunami. Throw in the mix the recent unrest and rioting in Egypt, Libya and Iran and you have the modern day soothsayers rubbing their hands together in glee while ringing their bells and carrying wearing their "The End Is Nigh" -sandwich boards.

When you look at all the badness and horrific news stories as a whole I suppose you can't help but look around you and check for fire and brimstone in the sky and the approaching four horsemen of the apocalypse fast galloping towards you. The signs seem to be there, if you're inclined to read them as the signs of the apocalypse. Just to make sure; I'm not that way inclined. But it's fun to pretend, isn't it?

I've heard enough to last me a lifetime about how the world is going to end next year. I've heard of galactic alignments, Mayan calendars, solar activity, black holes and timewave zero. All of which, if to be believed, are enough to bring an end to the world as we know it. To me, it seems like pick-and-mix sort of view to something that is actually happening out there in the universe, just one example can be found here. To all those predicting the end of the world in the next year, I have one question: If you truly believe the world is ending, have you neglected all of your financial commitments, safe in the knowledge you won't be held to account because there will be nobody left to collect your massive debt? Have you? Go on, max out your credit card, the world is ending, you might as well have a blast waiting for it.

But I was thinking (dangerous activity, I know) that maybe the crisis in North Africa and the Middle East is only a human reflection on the devastation handed down to us by Mother Nature? What I mean by that, is a bit along the lines of how animals can "predict" earthquakes, thunder storms and other natural disasters. Maybe we as human beings aren't as far removed from the natural world as we'd sometimes like to think. Perhaps on some subconscious level we are acting on a deep-seated primal reaction to tectonic activity beneath our feet?

Maybe it's nature reminding us how fragile life is even at the best of times and to do something to preserve it. As far as I can understand, the protests happening all over the world are all people demanding an improvement on their current lives, and not just for themselves but for others as well. In the UK, ukuncut is organising protests all over the country to express discontent(putting it very mildly there) over recent government action over budget cuts and current policies enabling tax evasion and protecting banks while the taxpayer continues to pay the price for someone else's mistakes. Similar protests are happening in the USA as well.

Are we collectively feeling the trembling beneath our feet and deciding it's time for a change before it's too late? Duly frightened by the awesome destructive power of the world we live in, are we crying out to our leaders to do something to make the world a better, safer place to live in?

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Okay, I can officially declare that it is spring. Here's why:

- I have daffodils in the house
- I went outside without my coat
- I have been stuck behind a rental car on five separate occasions
- Despite working late, I still see daylight
- The rain is no longer horizontal

I'm looking forward to longer evenings, maybe even bring out the sunlounger and the nice two-seater round the side of the house. I'm thinking barbecues, beach and suncream. I'm fully aware that I am getting way ahead of time here but a girl can dream, can't she?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

They're Back

Can you smell that, people? It's getting warmer, days are getting longer and it's actually sunny outside. I have some daffodils starting to bloom out the front of our house. It's starting to feel like spring. But it's not the daffodils, the longer, sunnier days, my cats chasing flies or even the urge to do a bit of spring cleaning that has me convinced that it is, in fact springtime.

It's the return of the rental cars on the road. I was driving into work, rushing just a little bit as I had to go into town for an appointment with my doctor before making it into work. I found myself slowed down by a 8-seater minibus in front of me. I carried on with a little, niggling feeling at the back of my mind. There was a small voice inside my head telling me there was something wrong. Then I saw it; that little, round yellow sticker with a black "i" in the middle. Rental car! Rental car! Overtake now! Overtake now!

As I told you before, I don't have a great track record with rental cars. A certain model of Nissan is a particular pain in my bottom every summer. It seems now that the Micras are back, and this time they have brought reinforcements. There seem to be quite a few minibuses about with those stickers on their back windows. And, by the way, I really do think those stickers are there as a public service, to warn the vehicle behind them that the car in front is indeed liable to pull to an unexpected stop when encountered with something typically Irish anywhere in the distance.

But I can only deduce that the season is upon us. I will try and remain calm and zen, but nonetheless will reserve an extra 15minutes for every 10 miles or driving from now until the end of September. But the daffodils are nice, aren't they?