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Nov 26

Confessions of an Ambulance Driver

Posted on Thursday, November 26, 2015 in Hackney Cabbing, Jobs, Rantings, Taxi driving

I like driving. I always have. I remember watching my Dad driving as a nipper and looking at the gear-stick and wondering WHY? HOW does he know when to change the thing and what aren’t there more pedals? He tried to give me driving lessons when I came of age, and had a minor anxiety attack. I feel I’ll be in that seat, so to speak, soon with my own sproutlings.


The biggest thing I’ve driven is an aeroplane, but it was just little one, a Katana. The instructor let me take the wheel for a while and we did belly flips and anti-gravity tricks and things and I gave the instructor a minor anxiety attack and so he took control again. That was something I’ll never forget. But it’s expensive.

The next biggest thing I’ve driven is an LDV Convoy. That’s just a fancy way of saying ‘van’. It had a large water tank in the back of it though. When it was full it played havoc with turning on roundabouts what with your centrifugal forces and such nonsense. And, as every Irish person knows, you can’t sneeze without stumbling upon a roundabout in these parts. I have smelled several nervous farts dealt by passengers and co-workers on hectic days, but I didn’t say anything for I am a lady.

Now I’m an Emergency Medical Technician and I get to drive an ambulance. Ambulances are a lot like aeroplanes in that there is a lot of delicate cargo rattling around in the back. Explosive tanks.. metal things that can become dislodged… and obviously the odd delicate patient.

I hate ramps, by the way.

Getting to the point:

Being a female driver of a large vehicle, I find that the biggest novelty isn’t my own excitement, its the excitement of on-lookers. Recently I arrived at a job, and was required to reverse against the flow of two-lane traffic into a narrow junction. Instead of kindly assisting the traffic however, onlookers pointed and laughed and nudged each other. They were DYING for me to crash into something. Several of them had their phones out, recording my efforts.

No pressure.

When I successfully and safely reversed my baby into her place, and disembarked, I could literally smell the disappointment from the crowd. One bloke walked up to me and said:

‘I hope you don’t crash that thing on the way home, love!!’

So of course I replied:

‘I hope you don’t have a heart-attack, darling.’

Nov 20


Posted on Friday, November 20, 2015 in Family, Quickie


This is the Pixie, the fourth and last.

All that chubbiness is attributed to breastfeeding and I’m not giving that up any time soon. I’m so proud of her, and of myself. I love her and would do anything for her including enduring VERY SHARP TEETH.

At the same time, however, she is at the stage of crawling and the need for constant entertainment. She likes eating fluff off the carpet and dividing molecules with her extremely sharp fingernails. We are in the process of chewing on quarks right now to see if they can be divided further.

If a black hole develops in my house any time soon I shall let you know.

Nov 18


Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 in Family, Humourarse, Philosophy, Strange and Unusual

I have a new theory that I have been testing out for 18 days now. It is a prophylactic spider:


It is not a real spider.

But people sometimes think it is, and tend to stamp on it violently forgetting that this is not a country where large spiders tend to exist, hence its lack of legs. Poor inanimate thing.

Since Hallowe’en, I’ve noticed that laying large fake tarantulae around the place has led to a lack of spiders who would generally otherwise invite themselves into my home AND NOT PAY ANY RENT so I left them there presuming that spiders are innately carnivorous and would probably be terrified of large counterparts who might eat them. I’ve googled this theory intensely but have not come up with any answers other than anecdotal evidence so I am conducting this experiment alone, and will keep you updated.

There is one by the front door, one by the back door, one on our bedroom windowsill and one at the back of the house for extra measure. Since Hallowe’en I have not had one single spider enter my home. This is quite impressive considering the grand soft Irish weather we’ve been having lately. Not one single spider.

I’m not mucking about here, by the way. I’m very serious about this. I have regular dreams where cute little animals suddenly develop eight scuttly little legs…


… and given that I’m the only coal-fetcher in our house I can assure you that monster spiders are lurking for I have seen them. They are there.

In the dark.

Waiting to come in to my nice warm house.

And this is why my fake spider sentinels will remain in place, ready to not pounce, ready to not eat them.

Nov 12


Posted on Thursday, November 12, 2015 in Philosophy, Rantings, Something to think about

One of my favourite parts of anxiety and an over-active mind is the earworm phenomenon.

For two weeks, I had to put up with ‘I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden’ by Lynn Anderson, a hit in 1970. I wasn’t even born then which makes it even more frustrating. I don’t know any of the words, apart from those two lines. Over and over and over and over.

‘Are you with me’ by Lost Frequencies is a great song, but one line haunts me over and over and over and over and over and over: ‘Listen to the Mariachi play at Midnight, are you with me?’

Then there’s that awful song, the Yellow Submarine by the Beatles. I can’t help but put weird lyrics in place of the original score. ‘We all live in a tub of margarine’… etc… it never becomes resolved.


I think that’s the whole point. I think our brains want to annoy us as much as possible because they’re frustrated at being underused. Or overused. Or overwhelmed. Our brains don’t really know what to do because civilization has overtaken our brain’s ability to evolve. That’s why we’re so anxious all the time, it doesn’t know where the grey area is with fight-or-flight is any more, that washing machine tendency to keep us as permanent insomniacs, I think it’s frustration because life has become too easy for us, handed to us on a plate which is good and bad… but I digress.


I love it when good earworms visit me. Like Pearl Jam: ‘Don’t call me daughter, not fit to, the picture kept will remind me.’ Those lyrics I held onto and made them drown out the rest of the washing machine noise in my mind. I love that song, so I will leave it for you at the end of this point if you like.

I think that when you get a really horrible earworm that won’t leave you alone, I think that all it wants to do is hear the last few bars of the song. It just wants to simplify things. Even if you make it up for your brain to be at peace, that seems to work sometimes. I remember doing this as a kid, with classical music. the ending never

seemed to


because there was that little bit


because drums.

and maybe a little bit of sad violin

and then A GRAND FINALE!

followed by a Viola

and then a low note Cello.

to finish.

But you’re never sure when exactly when it’s appropriate to clap. That’s what my brain feels like.



Nov 10


Posted on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 in Family

I think this blog has become somewhat of a phobia for me. I’m afraid that whatever I put on it becomes permanent. So, I mocked it. And made it say silly boring things, just to show it that I don’t care.

Which is silly.

And then I’d wake up the next morning and dread seeing comments to my typed diarrhoea and would feel guilty because there are still readers who visit me (thanks!), so I would not reply because I was ashamed.

Which is silly.

Truth is, I’ve lots to say. I write bits of things down every so often and think ‘I could write about that!’ but then a day later it seems silly. Three years ago my best friend Wouldye died, and I wanted to write about it but I couldn’t get past the fact that my words wouldn’t do him justice so I didn’t.

Then I had a baby, and I would love to write about her and her quirks, and the little journey she’s travelled so far and the inner goo that is my insecurity and fear of her growing up… describing in intimate detail my favourite two hours of every day in the morning, once the kids have gone to school and I am left with her snuggled up in bed, she cluster feeding from my breast and the blankets thick around us protected from the world. I’d love to describe that but it seems silly.

I have a friend who appeared out of the blue last week. She is one of those people who can see things. She laid some cards out for me (which I was initially cynical about) but declared some truths that hit home. She told me to stop over thinking things. She taught me to let go. Since her visit amazing things have happened, so I will grow up, and take her advice and stop the inner negative voice and tell it to go and sit in the corner.

So, I declare that from now on, I shall post a blog at least once a week, even if it’s pure pants… it’s better than nothing, and it’s really not silly at all.

Aug 17

Gnarly gardening

Posted on Monday, August 17, 2015 in Philosophy, Strange and Unusual

It planted itself by accident one day.

The seed just put itself there when I wasn’t looking

As they tend to do.

It sprouted and grew sideways and everyone told me it looked dead.

Compared to the other trees, its roots ran just as deep but the wind blew in the wrong direction that day maybe and so it is

My stunted tree.

I crouch by the roots some days in the shadows of branches that made their own success and I wonder if the underground tells stories that I can’t see.


My smallest tree grows slowly.


Sometimes I cry tears at its roots to see if that works and the sun shines between its leaves in mysterious ways to make me happy and sometimes my tears are not needed as nature takes its course without me and laughs at my effort

but that’s ok.

I know that some day this beautiful unusual tree will die like a weed deprived of sunlight, no chance for seed.

Like the most beautiful flowering thing above it, though it shines for a while it will wither and create mould eventually and create nurture for the soil beneath

and new seeds will fall

stronger and weaker as nature determines.

And that is the impossible truth.

Jun 19


Posted on Friday, June 19, 2015 in Family, Philosophy

I’m not a non-believer. I’ve seen too many coincidences in my time to deny any sort of higher power. There’s something funky going on out there outside our existence which I’m sure of. Even if we don’t exist at all.

I’m supposed to be a Roman Catholic. So are my kids. I can’t resist a sly snigger any time anyone asks me what my faith is. I’m all over the place, but for my children’s sake I remain stoic and do what I’m s’posed to. I’ve no choice really, it’s all about school availability.

So. What I really like about Roman Catholic society is that their masses get people together as a community. There are a very few other entities out there that can do that. They’re damn good at holding funerals. Even if you didn’t know the poor chap that died, but maybe you used to queue behind him at the post office for your pension fund or what have you, you still nodded and doffed your cap, so that’s you at the funeral paying your respects and scoffing free sangwidges, telling nice stories to the deceased’s family because that’s really all they want to hear and that’s a nice thing, it’s what I’d want in the eventuality of having something awful happen to me or someone I loved with all my heart.

Here comes the Catholic Guilt… when Puppychild was making her Communion I made a concerted effort to bring her to Sunday Mass every week. She remained in the back pews making bored noises while I became hooked on the choir. It’s a good choir. It has four parts. I was a middly sort of singer but I’m damn good at picking up tones and reading music so they liked me.

Then Puppychild finished her Communion thing and I got lazy. She had no interest, no motivation, and I can’t say I blame her. All that chanting. Stand up. Sit down. Baskets of money and people looking at you strangely because you forgot to load up on change that morning or your jumper has dog hair on it. So, I lost motivation too and I feel SO GUILTY.

Morning. Yaawwwn.

Why do interesting things have to always take place in the morning? Especially a SUNDAY morning when you’ve been working hard all week and deserve a lie-in?

I don’t miss Mass. Well I do sort of. I miss the stories.

I miss the choir though most of all.

Can’t they have a lunchtime mass for layabouts and messers? We’re part of the congregation too, you know. We’d even bring coffee and hummous crackers and cactus plants. Probably a guitar too.

Numbers are dropping, they tell me. Not just Mass-goers, but priests and nuns too.

It’s Puppychild’s Confirmation next year, and it was supposed to be Laughingboy’s last May. I’m lumping them together, like a 2-for-1 offer. That’s how it feels. It’s more convenient for a family day out I suppose.

It’s depressing though, how MEH it all feels.

I wish there was more relaxation, more passion, more of a family feel to Sunday Mass. More of an open-ness to individual preferences instead of a fixed regime of closed doors and silent sadness. The Lord is with Thee every day, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Or maybe He’s a She. Or maybe She’s an It. It might not exist at all.

My poor Grandmothers must be turning in their graves.

Mar 27

The baby’s ringing

Posted on Friday, March 27, 2015 in Family, Quickie

This evening I went to a fundraising salsa dance. I was apprehensive and nervous all week thinking about it but as always with anxiety, it was better than I’d expected. I was sad to leave.

I got the call to come home to feed baby Pixie but by the time I’d arrived, wasn’t she asleep?

I strung around with Baby Daddy, watching Netflix and playing MarioKart as you do, until he fell asleep. I cleaned the kitchen and then sneezed several times. I took this to be a sign. Husband began snoring loudly as he mostly does.

So, I practiced my midnight piano. Very gently on the keys did I press and loved every minute oh so quietly until I heard the baby cry.

I stopped mid-stanza and ran into the baby bedroom which I share with the Accidental Terrorist who exclaimed:

“Would ya ever fckin turn off your phone!?!

I wasn’t sure if he was referring to my piano playing, or the baby crying.

My phone remains as ever, on mute.

I took her into my arms and breast-fed her while practicing Clair De Lune. It’s one of the best memories I’ll ever keep… her falling asleep like that on my pedaling knee while the rest of the house dozes.

Not that I can play it so well yet! But we’re getting there, my baby and me.

Jan 28

Keep the head down

Posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 in Family

I had a baby, did I tell yiz?

Ever since that first moment I knew I was pregnant I hid her, even before I took the test. I knew she was there and I didn’t want her to be. Isn’t that awful? I felt guilty for introducing a new life into this already over-burdened world, into my already over-burdened family, an over-stretched entity that seems due to explode at any second. And yet, part of me relished her as my girl, my secret, I loved her from the start like nothing else. It just felt like she was premature, it wasn’t her time to be here yet. I hid her bump under baggy clothing, willed her to be small so that nobody could see her. Counselors didn’t really understand, when I tried to bite that bullet.

And then, after too short a time, she was born.

She was so tiny, way smaller than my other kids were at birth. I did that. I willed her to be tiny. They looked at me with sideways looks and made me stay in that awful hospital for an extra night. She was having none of it though, she fought, and fed, and fed and cried and wanted nothing but to be held. I wanted nothing but to hold her, and that still remains. I give her my everything, my breast, my heart, my almost neverending gaze when I can spare it.

Within one month, she’s already almost twice the size she was when she was born, out of sheer stubbornness and willingness to overcome the awful spell I put upon her. She also shits like a sailor, to put the icing on the proverbial revenge cake.

But there is so much to be done!

I ignore the messages reminding me that my EMT skills are eagerly awaited.

I ignore the calls from friends who want to shoot the breeze because I can’t foresee any time in the future when a single coherent sentence could possibly escape my lips. Sleep deprivation is something I’d laugh about but is really not all that funny.

Laughingboy is being managed mostly by The Accidental Terrorist whose back is already under strain; he gave way this evening and finally collapsed in pain. Laughingboy is 48kg dead weight now so that’s hardly surprising even with the hoist system we have. Both will have to remain bedridden until I can figure out what to do.

Sir Fartsalot is four years old now, and has taken to peeing himself at weird times, exorcist style. Not being a child psychologist, I can’t figure out what to do about that other than mop him up and hug him and send him on his way.

Puppychild is ten years old. She figures out how to socially manipulate people and is very good at it. So, whereas she would normally be torturing and wise-cracking members of her family, this evening she has been following me around asking me what she can do to help even though she has a real cracker of a strep-throat infection on her right now. I fought with her to go to bed through her stubborn insistence, she knows too early the definition of a parent’s lot.

Through this crazy evening I’ve been itching to write a fictional story through which I can vent this inability to tear-up and scream. It would have been an amazing story in which our heroine admits her weakness and becomes stronger through some unbelievable and unexpected entity and would leave you, the reader, breathless.

There isn’t such a story however there is only this, a vague stop-gap of an apology of a story. The truth, that’s all.

My first born for a song by BellX1 performed at the Olympia

Nov 18

Canis Canem Edit

Posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 in Family, munchies


is how this post might start off, but not being a fan of sensationalism, I shall lead you into the story gently:


I have a very select attire when dropping the kids off to school… or even being in public generally. I’m not a pyjama wearer, merely a grade above that. Converse runners, tracksuit bottoms or jeans if I REALLY want to impress a crowd. Hoodies, floppy tee-shirts. I never brush my hair in the morning, I don’t own a vanity station and most of my makeup products have gone-off.

Back straight, head up, shoulders back (hood up) is the way I would normally present myself in front of other parents at the school. I get my usual ‘See ya later Mom!’ from the elder, and a leg-hug and hip-kiss from the younger who has only just begun in Junior Elephants and then they’re gone. Other ‘Moms’ in their jogging attire go off to jog and invite me along in a well-meaning sort of way, but I usually go back home to bed because sleep is a right, not a privilege.

The odd time, I’ll become engaged in ‘Mom’ conversation but other ‘Moms’ know by now that I don’t do weather speeches, or talk about husband’s cars or golf lessons… I like talking about designing posters for upcoming fundraisers, logistics of marketing same, or maybe Yoga and how to breathe through your day when you’ve had sod-all sleep the night before. These are rare occasions. Fake smiles and nods are what I’m used to, before we all crumble back into our tarmacadam’d lives.

If I could post my children to and from school, I would.


This morning was different. I was chatting to aforementioned Yoga-person when I noted that most usual ‘Moms’ were acknowledging me more than usual, and unusually less towards my Yoga friend. She was getting very dirty looks indeed… in fact, she was hanging on to me for longer than she usually would. Instinct told me to keep quiet, wait for the lull, wait for the moment of confession for there are usually scandalous confessions in times like these.

There were tears in her eyes before she’d even begun her story.

She brings her 11 year old dog to school while dropping her child off as a norm… she’s been doing that for as long as I’ve known her, about six years give or take. It’s a golden Labrador named Ploppy. I know it well, it wet-noses the palm of my hand when I visit and benignly settles at my feet, all but offering a fluffy back to place my teacup while I talk to its owner. She’s an old girl set in her ways, just like me.

Last week, a small child teased the dog while on its lead. He circled her, stared her in the eyes and growled and mocked but didn’t touch her. She snapped, and bit him under the eye, he now has an impressive scar which I try not to stare at. I’m not sure how long this process took, nor what was involved.

This happened in a school playground with every other mother (apart from me as I was on my way home to bed) watching.

She received eleven phonecalls and text messages that night,

‘The sooner that dog is put down the better’

‘You shouldn’t have let your dog do that, what were you thinking?’

‘I want to be visiting that dog’s grave by next week so I can spit on it’

These were the comments she was getting about an old family dog who reacted to a stimulus. I have a dog. I warn my children about other dogs, about how they should be respected. Stray dogs should never be approached. Dogs on leads should only be petted with their owner’s permission, if a dog tries to attack you, NEVER run away… play dead, curl up. The usual stuff that EVERY parent should teach their kid.


What do you think? Have you ever been in a situation like this? If a dog bites should it automatically be put to death or should the circumstances be examined?

I feel sorry for Yoga friend. If the jury decides that her dog is to be killed, her kids would be gutted. But rules are rules, a child is scarred.

If you were the local vet and you knew this dog, what would you say?