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Apr 4

It’s been four years since your last confession…

Posted on Monday, April 4, 2016 in Jobs, Strange and Unusual, Taboo

… is what the bloke behind the counter said when I scanned my blood donation card. He wore a poker face, I could tell he had cracked this joke many times before. I giggled, and ran with it.

“Well, nobody can resist those cocaine parties, I’m a sucker for those!”

He didn’t flinch.

“No, seriously though, I’ve got a few babies under my belt since I last visited.” I meandered and mumbled the last bit, he eyeballed me and sent me onwards, but I could’ve sworn he winked as he did so.

At the next station, after filling out all the paperwork and ticking all the boxes, I met a very bored nurse who insisted on asking the full lot of 50 questions all over again even though I’d just filled in the form 5 minutes before.

“Have you ever been employed in the handling of monkeys?” she asked. (I’d ticked ‘no’.)

“No” I replied, “but I live with a few.” She gave me the BDI.

“If you are a man, have you ever engaged in sexual intercourse with another man?” she asked.

“Hold on,” I retorted, “what are you trying to imply?” She smiled and explained the force of habit, and we had a brief discussion about gender equality. Apparently not everybody knows who Caitlin Jenner is.

I passed the tests and quizzes and signed things a lot, then finally I was told that I was allowed to give blood. I was very relieved about this, as sometimes I suffer from low blood iron levels so tend to be refused frequently. In the case that I may have been refused, the Accidental Terrorist had supplied me with a long shopping list to organise afterwards, and in my opinion, having a nurse stab you with a large gauge needle and sap a whole pint of blood out of you is FAR preferable to going shopping.

They stabbed me in the right arm, and the vein collapsed pretty much straight away. There was much apologising which seems silly as it’s not their fault, my circulatory system often seems to have a mind of its own. They removed the needle, and asked me to put pressure on the bleed with my opposite hand, which I did.

Then they took blood from the other arm which all went swimmingly, as was my head as I walked away and stole several packets of crisps, pencils and bumper stickers on the way out.

Today I woke up to find this image embedded on my inner elbow:crotch

 

The imprint left by my index and middle finger, along with the needle mark itself doesn’t look unlike a person’s crotch and bellybutton.

I have porn on my arm now.

Sigh.

Nov 4

For Shame

Posted on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 in Fiction, Something to think about, Strange and Unusual, Taboo

I hadn’t reckoned it would wind up this way, my head on hard pillows with everyone looking at me funny like they are now. Most don’t know what to make of me, some think they have me all figured out and want me punished for my sins. But, I’m not really sure what I did wrong.

I’d always hated those dances Mammy made us go to, it was only because she’d made me a fancy dress which had ‘nearly broke her fingers’ she told me… I like the music they play for us, but the magical atmosphere they promise is always ruined by the strangers there. Especially that fella with the red cap. He’s always there, and looks at me strangely always grabbing that chance to whisper things I don’t understand into my ear. I would have been miserable at that dance that night if it wasn’t for Joe.

Joe knows me, he knows my moods and I know his. He doesn’t snatch hard work from me like most boys do, he hovers and helps and cracks jokes. He’s great at catching chickens. At dances like these he never asks me to do anything I don’t want to… we keep each other from being lonely is all. I don’t know how to explain it.

I escaped that night, the fog of heavy meaningless noise drove me away. That, and the fella with the red cap. Joe saw me leave and followed me to the barn where he listened to me cry and showed me how to make a Saint Bridget’s Cross with straw to distract me. I fell asleep with the noise of cackling music in my ears with him beside me and I felt safe.

The noise had gone when I woke, startled. All was calm and silent, but  when the glow appeared at my feet I started, desperately wondering where I was and where home was and wasn’t Joe here somewhere?

The glow brightened, it turned from wisps of gold and silver into a grey form with enormous wings and heated me up with its presence against the cold wind in the barn and it terrified me but I knew it was more like a firework in its overwhelming state, under its own control. It told me I was to have a baby, that this baby was to be the saviour of something… I was to look after it with every grasp of energy I had, my path ahead would surely be difficult. Saviour of what? The man in the red cap?  Difficult how? The apparition had dissipated before I thought to ask it questions.

To say I walked home in a daze would understate it. Joe caught up with me not long before I reached my front gate and commented on my paleness, he claimed I’d seen a ghost which maybe I had… I don’t know, I can’t remember. Either way it was why he held my hand as I reached my front door to confront Mammy, which was maybe our undoing.

I explained to her what had happened, every detail. Her face decreased into a state of scowl that eventually made me realise that I’d made a mistake in telling her the honest truth, especially when a few weeks later my blood didn’t appear. She told me For Shame. She asked me what my elder priest brother would think and cursed Joe’s parents. Then she sent me off to this place.

This is a place with endless laundry and meaningless power. I’m made to pray and work and confess things I didn’t do and meanwhile my stomach grows bigger with every passing week and still Joe visits me, but not Mammy. I keep thinking of that ghost, and what it meant by saviour. Even when those nuns beat me and tell me my child is not worthy of me,  even when this thing inside me, whatever it is… beats the inside of my navel and pushes my abdomen around like the demon they tell me it is, I know it’s pure. And it’s mine.

It kicks most when Joe is there at the gate, when I’m supposed to be picking weeds from the garden… he whistles to me and the bump in my tummy jumps in reply. Joe shows no remorse that he didn’t put it there and I don’t worry that the bump will have to go away someday, but because of him and the ghost I know that everything will be okay.

I’m not sure what that something is and I’m not certain what okay means, but that something is definitely not the nuns. Maybe it is these women my baby is to save?

I hope so, for the sake of the women around me and for the sake of mankind, I hope so.

 

Aug 13

Sheela-Na-Gig

Posted on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 in Philosophy, Something to think about, Strange and Unusual, Taboo, Wicklow walks

I write this for the consideration of those both owning a vagina (even albeit vicariously) and for those that do not. For those that do, I’m sure you’re aware of the phantasm that has been created regarding such a beautifully crafted phenomenon. Most seem to crave it and hate it at the same time… a lot of the worst curse words you can think of revolve around these four simple flaps and the strange secrets they hold between.  Those of us that have a vagina sometimes wonder at it, but we rarely curse it. Its mysteries just never seem to end. For those of you that don’t possess a vagina (even somewhat vicariously) it’s ok, but don’t be afraid to go and find it. It will be worth your efforts, so long as you treat it nicely.

This brings us to Sheela.

Sheela Na Gig

Sheela Na Gig

Síle Na Gigh (pronounced ‘sheela na gee’… GEE you say? Those of you in the Irish inner city working classes might relate to that word. It’s not a coincidence.) Isn’t she beautifully Fugly?

Now at this point, I could bore you with conjecture as I have just crawled my way out of the Wikipedia pit having gained very little information, purely because nobody really seems to know who she is. I could tell you where you could find these figures, and how far she dates back, and I could give you a fully descriptive bunch of theories as to why she exists, but I’d much rather be so arrogant as to let you find these facts out for yourself and in the meantime, give you my own theory.

I put it to you, that in the days of old Irish ancientness, the people were no less insecure than we are now. By proportion, there was just as much judgement, and violence. There was just as much of a likelihood  that those people had just as sharp a sense of humour too.

For example… let’s have a look at the Newgrange kerbstone markings:

k1-graphic

Our present archaeologists are pulling their hair out trying to interpret the meanings of those beautiful squiggles.

I say: What is the likelihood that a stoner was commissioned to do this? Did he get busy doodling on a big rock absolutely off his face? I wonder if he realised that 4,000 years later he would be costing researchers a load of cash and time trying to figure out exactly what he was at? I’d say he’d be absolutely delighted, and is laughing his ass off in whatever turf-pile he’s turning into right now.

Same with Sheela, I think.

I mean, there she is, all bald and ugly with her bulbous eyes and weird titties exposing her vulva so gratuitously like she does. The most confusing thing is, if you want to find her, she’s most likely hanging around Churches. CHURCHES no less. Given our Catholic stoicism she’s somewhat of a contra-indication, is she not?

So. Is she really there to ward off evil spirits? Is she a blatant warning, or has she a deeper meaning? Perhaps it was just for the craic…

Here’s what I wonder. I wonder if she isn’t a warning at all, but instead of Buddhist intent. This works for both women and church. Stay with me for a moment…

02 Kilpeck

Sheela seems to be ‘all that glitters is not gold‘, carved into rock. Perhaps the fact that she is so vulgar, so uninviting… maybe that’s her thing. Maybe she’s trying to teach us something.

So, going back to those of you who do not have a vagina but would dearly love one, what is the wisest course of action on your part? Do you go for the most beautifully obvious specimen, that one that will drain you of energy and credit card capability and probably never put out that much in the end because she is too completely caught up with her own face-value, or do you choose that lady who is the supposed frog? Once smitten she has the potential to realise all of your wildest dreams because she sees the ugly that is in you too and loves it and is not concerned with material value. Maybe she is pretty, but not in the conventional sense. She might have crooked teeth, say, but she sure can play a mean game of darts.

Because Sheela of the Gee sits in Churches above their doors and in courtyards, maybe she was informing infidels of the same theory. Pagans would see her, and wander indoors maybe in the seduction that maybe what lay within has hidden interests, not just surface value. Scrolls and filigree are nice and all, but isn’t honesty more intriguing?

After all, she isn’t scary, she isn’t a threat. She’s smiley and beautiful in her way, with her saggy boobs and labia all over the place like that. She looks friendly, someone you could have over for a cup of tea, and maybe a few rounds of cards. She wouldn’t judge you, or show you catalogs of fancy clothes that might better suit your figure. She would drink out of dirty cups and suggest funny things to do.

She is the most beautiful woman of all, and it is in my honest opinion that we should all have at least one Sheela Na Gig in our lives. If you are not one already, you might look more deeply into her ethos, it’s not like she’s hiding it. If you are, fair play to you, and may God Bless all who sail in you.

 

Dec 16

Useful advice on de-bugging

Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 in Family, Jobs, Rantings, Taboo

So.

I lay awake, frustrated as I usually do of a night, wondering what should have been said or what could have been done or what needs to be corrected in what way and why not. This night however, there was popping. My ear itched. I rubbed it haphazardly with my thumb and tried to get on with it.

I flipped sides. Rolling the blanket into a cozy position clock ticking and continuing random thoughts from the other side, disturbed worrying trying to ignore the itch. There was a noise though. It was a very nearby noise, as though gremlins were building lego in my pillow. Pop. Scritch. Flullowing.

I flipped to the other side, and suddenly worries of a psychological nature became secondary to the pain in my fucking ear.

Bastard. Bloody hell. Fuck sake Jesus etc… the tiny end of my baby finger rooted and mooched but the pain would not go away, nor would the sound of the gremlins scratchy scritching around in my ear.

I got up, and went to the bathroom and did exactly what one is not supposed to do but I’m entirely glad that I did it… a cotton bud tip found itself rooted into the depths of my ear canal and when I pulled it out, LO! a small creature found itself on the tip. Bleurgh.

I did a dance, a squirmy dance that was very silent lest it waken the rest of the household but by God did I make sure to wake my husband to let him know because it is his job to listen to the pains in my proverbial arse at any given day no matter what the cause because it’s in the vows in the smallprint so shut up.

“Dude wake up I found a bug in my ear!! How disgusting is that? How are you still married to me? I’m the most revolting person ALIVE! It’s laid eggs in there. Jesus. Yeaauch. What if I’m brain injured?! I want to go to hospital!!!”

That was when I fell asleep purely out of lack of attention and tiredness, but only because it was 4am and I’d trapped the suspect in a specimen jar for future inspection. No more itching occurred that night but you can be damned sure there were nightmares.

See, the young wan had had head lice two weeks before. She’d caught them at school and I’d combed and washed the bollix out of her hair on two separate occasions but there still were eggs two weeks later. It didn’t occur to me that the product I was using was inferior. I thought that this was just the hazard of having long hair. So I treated her and left it, and then during a bonding evening when she sat on my lap and snuggled me with her head next to mine I considered contamination but at the time it didn’t matter because love can be careless that way.

They only itched after I asked my husband to examine my scalp. When he jumped back with a yelp and a declaration of ‘JESUS THEY’RE HUGE!!!’… only then did they begin to really irritate. Funny that.

So there I sat with nits. Long hair, and nobody to treat me.

Google was of no help whatsoever. It just showed me disgusting pictures and made it worse and put me off my food. So now I am a stressed out mother, malnourished with a strong desire to shave her head.

yuk

(Go on, scratch your scalp, I know you’re feeling it. It’s psychosomatic, I wouldn’t blame you.)

Here is where I unashamedly advertise a product: Lyclear

In this sceptical age where blogs are all about making money and links are golden and all that, I would love to state here and now that this advertisement is purely borne out of relief. It was on the golden glowing shelf of the pharmacy that normal people don’t need to look at. The pharmacist took pity on me and showed it to me without any requests of passwords or big brown envelopes, I think it was the look of desperation that did it.

It’s an oily sort of crap. But it smells nice. And there was a bitchin’ comb that came in the packaging with long prongs that made the eggs really stand out.

I put the oily goo in my hair and waited for the advised ten minutes. There are a lot of things one can do in ten minutes but I would advise against baking because at this stage there was a lot of squirming. I could feel the nits panicking, they were jumping from a burning building so instead I chose to crouch in the corner of my bedroom and rock silently and cry and wait.

When the ten minutes were up, I rinsed. I piled the top half of my hair into a bun and carefully brushed every inch of the lower quarters with the ‘special’ comb and laughed OUT LOUD at the corpses that presented themselves. The upper quarters of my hair were less troublesome because the bastards seem to like the dorsal side of the scalp and not the upper side.

Two weeks later and they’re gone.

But I’m still itchy.

I ask my husband to examine me every now and then and he tells me I’m clear, and I’ve used the same product on my daughter and she’s still clear.

And yet I still can’t sleep.

I keep dreaming of lice babies infiltrating my brain.

But there are always worse things in life I suppose.

 

Apr 21

The Wild West – the endurance test.

Posted on Sunday, April 21, 2013 in Jobs, Philosophy, Strange and Unusual, Taboo, The Asylum Experience

I didn’t know a whole lot when I entered into this. I knew that a documentary was being filmed about eight transition-year kids (all aged 16/17); four of whom were disabled, the other four able-bodied. One needed regular medication doses, and one needed a wheelchair.

None of the children knew where they were going, but they knew they were going somewhere.

I was employed as a chaperone, along with another lady, let’s call her Curly.

As an introduction weekend, we all were to spend a day or two in Connemara, Co Galway. Curly phoned me the night before, nervous as I was… when I met her on the platform I knew everything would be okay. She has a way about her that I probably don’t need to describe, I don’t think I could anyway, she fell into that category of people that you seem to have known for years.

We yakked together on the train all the way in, and met everybody else at a hotel in Dublin. Worried mothers grasping arms and whispering secrets into out ears. I felt so overwhelmed all of a sudden, at the vastness of my responsibilities.

I went from having three children, to eight. Thank God for Curly.

We rode into the West and had the craic and some sangwiches and a bit of an auld sing-song, as you do. I couldn’t believe how quickly the kids bonded together. They were a well chosen bunch.

At a pit-stop, the kid in the wheelchair, let’s call him Joel… he hinted that he needed to pee. I brought him to the jacks and we did our best with the narrow walls of the petrol-station bog. I hadn’t realised that he needed help with everything, so when he asked for my help I was honoured that he could be so comfortable with me so quickly. There’s something about exposing yourself to others, trust is a huge thing, and to be trusted so quickly is a wonderful compliment. We made distracting conversation and I found out that he was an avid reader with a love of Xbox.

The other kids were quiet with us at the start, but we made ourselves as accessible as possible with smiles and funny faces like eejits on crack. They hadn’t realised that we’d be there for the whole adventure, I realise in hind-sight. When they figured this out, they accepted us wholeheartedly as mammies. They even named us ‘Charlie’s Angels’.

Connemara was HARSH.

There was a storm, shortly after we arrived. Our comfortable hotel was completely isolated from phone or wifi for our entire trip. Joel commented that a re-make of ‘The Shining’ could be filmed here and I agreed. It was a sort of side-ways rain that pelts your skin like pins and needles. Bleak slamming and howling noises were to be heard at night, early starts for water activities came all too soon.

landscapeboom

I was impressed by the participant kids and their commitment to effort, I mean really impressed.

There were two ‘mentors’ employed on the trip… one I’ll name Fawn, because her eyes reminded me of one. When she was sixteen, she got meningitis and had to be put in to a coma. While she was under, she contracted the MRSA bug and was given her last rites. She now survives as an amazing woman, presenting and researching for TV. She wears prosthetics, but you can’t really tell. The other mentor was Mr Out of This World (so dubbed by the teenagers). A handsome chappie, I couldn’t get a grasp on him at the start (that’s what she said).

I got to have a drink with the crew at the end of the day, I’m glad they accepted me so quickly… their histories and biographies extremely impressive. They were lovely people with dry wit and funny stories and I couldn’t wait for the next chapter.

The kids found out about our destination at the end of the Galway trip, on camera. They were going to Costa Rica… their woops and screams tingled the hairs on my arms. Of course we had to try to re-shoot that moment several times which you’d think might dilute their enthusiasm, but it didn’t.

I couldn’t believe it either.

I went home, helped to host an Easter Bonanza, and then moved house two days before the air-plane for Costa Rica took off.

 

Jun 21

Syntax Error

Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 in Family, Rantings, Taboo

-Your brother’s a retard!

The second those words left my lips, I felt the scarlet rise. It just slipped out. To a room full of parents of kids with special needs too, no less.

Cringe. The flush burned my cheeks and made the capillaries on the tip of my nose tingle. My heart skittered like a ball of grease on a hot frying pan while the clock ticked a silence of undefinable length.

-Yes it’s true.
Somebody else nodded.
-You need to show them what words to use in self defence!
*nodding*
-True, true…

I was at a meeting to discuss Sibling Workshops, an initiative ‘they’ have set up to help families with disabled children. See? ‘They’ aren’t all bad! Brothers and sisters of kids with special needs have all sorts of issues that I had never even considered. Like… when a special needs kid passes a milestone it’s an amazing feat worth certificates and rounds of endless applause, yet nobody says a bippy when his younger brother passes the same milestone. From small droplets big waterfalls grow.

My question was about teaching some sort of self-defence mechanism to kids prone to bullying in the street… but it kind of came out funny.

I think my filter needs replacing.

Jan 5

Screwed the pooch?

Posted on Wednesday, January 5, 2011 in Arty Farty, Something to think about, Strange and Unusual, Taboo

Whenever anybody I know gets a goo on them for a puppy, I always tell them to try ASH Animal Rescue Centre first . It’s in Kiltegan, not far from Baltinglass (one of the prettier towns in this here county of Wicklow), and is one of those companies that operates strictly by the ‘never put a good dog down’ book. They currently home 20 dogs (though numbers rise to 60-ish), 23 cats, one donkey, one horse, 2 pigs, 3 foxes and two rabbits.

Melissa Hayward, a model with an eye for funk recently adopted a Basset Hound from this crowd and was so impressed, she took it upon herself to create a charity calendar to raise funds for the rescue centre.

And create one she did! It’s so stylish… flourishes of retro flood the pages in high intensity colours that demand a first glance, then a second as the quirky sense of humour sneaked into the pictures hits you.

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I would personally love to hang this calendar in my livingroom, but if I did, I have a feeling that my husband might object despite all the scantily clad women knocking about.

Photobucket

“Why on earth would he object to scantily clad women?!?” I hear you ask? Well, he’s not the only one. Pet shops have refused to stock it, and twelve of its backers have pulled out of the project in disgust. Even local TV vet Pete Wedderburn appeared to have difficulty holding his cereal down, labelling the calendar ‘distasteful’ and ‘entirely wrong’.

March. Marching orders, more like…:

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There. You’ve seen it. Are you all okay? Anyone in need of defibrillators out there? Jeez. Yes, the puppy is apparently suckling the model’s boob. But isn’t it cute and yet confusingly sexy?!? Doesn’t that show overtones of nurturing associated with the rescue centre, or is this just plain old animal torture? The model doesn’t think so, Agata’s a follower of PETA and is well used to their extreme advertising… apparently the Irish just aren’t ready for it yet though. (Down with this sort of thing!!!) The Daily Mail had a field-day with it, but still published all the pictures, hey.

Co-creator Adelheid Walsh is quoted as saying: ‘We were left really frustrated and in floods of tears because we had all worked for hundreds of hours on this and for free because we wanted to help an animal charity. Then we have people dropping off from the campaign and feminists telling us we are degrading women – we are not.’

Ash themselves refuse to apologise, their spokeswoman Helena Le Mahieu states: ‘The cause is more important. It’s a beautiful calendar and the picture is very tasteful. People should get over the minor details like this and get behind this calendar.’

It leads me to wonder… is it animal cruelty that’s taboo here, or breastfeeding? Either way I find it pretty fascinating and encourage all animal-loving, quirk-searching charity enthusiasts out there to buy a copy. It’s such an excellent cause, not to mention a pretty excellent conversation starter. What do you think?

Click here to buy :)

Aug 10

Schmidt happens

Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2010 in Family, Something to think about, Taboo

Reward the good, ignore the bad. That’s the advice I got where child discipline is concerned, harvested from many hours scanning blogs and rollercoaster forums. It’s good advice, it seems to work, with a bit of naughty corner thrown in occasionally and the odd zap from a cattleprod.

It works too well though. Puppychild is a good kid. She listens, does what she’s told, has confidence and is always eager to please. This is because I reward her good behaviour with heartfelt thanks and trinkets… many many trinkets and comics that pile up in corners and Kinder Surprises jamming doorways. It feels like I’ve messed it up, like I’m pushing the idea that materialism is the best reward. Her trinkets are starting to own her, I’m teaching her to be owned by clutter, just like I am.

Photobucket

I want to show her what appreciation at its most base level feels like, to feel that vast connectivity with life itself in its carbon-based efficiency and appreciate the fact that we’re not Blobfish, but that’s very difficult for a kid who can’t see past her own curly straw.

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How I felt after my first bikini wax

Then I found the link to Plan Ireland floating around Irish Taxi’s blog.

Sponsor a chiseller

I remember the bleakness of Jack Nicholson’s character in About Schmidt, how throughout the film he fails to create a single connection with somebody, even his own daughter…anybody.  It’s painful to watch. The bleakness thickens and threatens to envelop the character entirely towards the end of the film and it seems that he’s plummeting towards the edge of nothingness, but then Schmidt gets a letter… a kiddie colouredin picture from Ndugu, a child he’s been writing months of emotional diarrhea to in faraway lands, and it evokes a beautiful reaction. Such a profound thing, to touch a soul thousands of miles away with a waft of a well-timed token.

Our letter arrived today. I showed Puppychild a picture of a little girl in Malawi who is the same age as her. Her mum is the same age as me. They smiled at us from printed photographs and we connected and Puppychild thought it was nice that she didn’t have to walk for a kilometre every day before school to get water for her ma.

When I had closed the atlas and finished explaining how basic our lives could be, kiddo set about drawing a picture for her little African counterpart of herself and herself holding hands in a savannah.

They shall grow up together and teach each other many things, two souls learning from parallel worlds.

I long to share a bottle with her mother by a roaring fire and have her tell me of stories of dancing and sisters and daughters who are stolen by Gulu Wamkulu people, how she bails her kids out with offerings of chickens and money, how fearful she is of her people’s traditions. Fearful of traditions. That sounds familiar!

So we post back. And we wait.

I hope they don’t find each other on Facebook first.

May 24

The one that got away

Posted on Monday, May 24, 2010 in Family, Philosophy, Taboo

People get really disturbed when I curse in front of my n00b kid. I mean, it’s not like I’m corrupting his innocence… babies have a perpetual orb of purity around them until they’re old enough to understand their first episode of Tom and Jerry and besides! curse words are very beautiful phonetically speaking.

Fuck. It’s lovely the way the f slides so neatly into the k like that, like the sound a golf ball connecting with a perfect 9 Iron swing would make, or the noise made by the bonnet of a very expensive car when you try to slam it shut. I reckon I’m doing the kid a favour by including as many sounds and words as possible while his brain’s developing as it is. That’s why my standard reply to scorning parents is ‘Ask me bollix’. It’s in the name of education.

Here be photos of d’holliers. No animal was harmed in their making.

Swingish

Joey

Pushme

Nuns

Jameson Distillery

Giraffish

Burd

Photobucket

TAT got very excited when Barney arrived on the scene. He wanted a photograph of him decking the big purple freak right on the jaw, but Barney caught wind of this and ran like fuck. It’s impressive how fast that dinosaur can run what with all that stuffing and stuff.

Mar 30

I put a spell on you…

Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 in Little known facts, Strange and Unusual, Taboo

One of the biggest things I missed about my next door neighbour when she moved away were the snippets of eyebrow-raising advice she used to dole out.  Given that witches never really speak about being witches, especially to relative strangers, I felt honoured that she’d envelop me into her circle of trust and tell me of her voodoo shenanigans.  After all, there’s a fine line between an open-minded person and someone who’s all too willing to go behind your back and bitch about what a weirdo you are, especially in Ireland.

She loaned me books about rituals.  She taught me how to make altars so that I’d have my own personal space to meditate in, a space that meant something only to me.  I learned amazing things. 

How to get rid of an unwanted live-in houseguest:

Place a witch’s broomstick in the hallway beside the door, and stick a fork into the bristles.  Within two weeks, the unwanted guest should be a thing of the past.  I may be rough on specifics… maybe the fork needs to be made of a certain type of metal, maybe the broom should be upside-down – it’s not really something I’d try, but her story amused me.  A friend of hers did this trick, and within two weeks was separated from her husband.  Turns out that she herself was the disruptive influence in the house and her leaving was the best thing that happened for everyone involved.  Eerie.

How to nab the house of your dreams:

Whether you’re bidding for a house, or hoping to inherit and battling with siblings, or maybe you just fancy the look of someone else’s gaff (I keep thinking of The War of the Roses for some reason), apparently there’s a fail-safe trick you can do to assure that pile of bricks will someday be yours.

Once a month, given obviously that you’re a female, you need to sneak onto the property, squat, and leak a few droplets of your own menstrual blood onto the soil surrounding the house.  I’m not sure what your alternatives are if you’re post menopausal, perhaps crones in covens stockpile menstrual blood in their freezers?  It’s an awfully personal question to ask.

I would seriously love to know if this actually works.  There’s a beautiful house nearby, a stone-walled three-storey haven surrounded by mysterious woody hinterland with an elaborate tree house just about visible to plebs like me who gaze wistfully from behind a steeringwheel as I pass by every day.  If I was caught mid-squat, I’d be scarleh, it’s not like I could pretend I had dropped a contact lens or something.  If anything I’d be looking at a two-to-five stretch inside. 

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It would be kind of worth it if not for scientific experimentation though.  Any takers?