Christmas Stories: The Eighties and The Love

Myself and Babybro looked disdainfully at the 80’s tribute band and declared almost simultaneously that the singer was NOT Freddie Mercury, as much as he believed he was.  He might be able to hit some of the high notes for ”Under Pressure” but poncing about in a white vest did not a legend make.  Luckily the guitarist, with a giant blonde centre parting, sunglasses and a complete lack of dancing ability, was more approachable and did a complete guitar solo at our table, finding the time to prop himself up on one knee at a chair beside me, so I wrapped myself around the knee and thanked the universe that nobody in the family was sober enough to remember to take pictures.  It would NOT have been beautiful, which was confirmed a couple of days later when Mammy printed some pictures from her camera, showing myself and Lilsister and our double chins, allegedly dancing in a way that was so horrific it made my face bright red, and made Lilsister bang a Christmas Cracker off her head, and make a face that can only be described as ”grimmacing”.

A DJ followed the band, who sweated so much they slid off the stage once the Aha and Madonna numbers had been belted out (for both of these numbers I rang Trevor, whom I found out later was just finishing an 11 day in a row shift at work, and who did not appreciate our attempts to hit the falsetto parts of ”Take On Me” (the cheek) at half eleven at night.  She also did not recognise our version of ”Into the Groove”, something I found most insulting).

Once the DJ cracked on with ”Billie Jean” (the tribute band not being stupid enough to attempt it themselves) there followed a dance off between Babybro and the Baker, with my flesh and blood pulling out all his MJ steps, and The Baker making a fair fist of some 90’s moves, before doing a rousing rendition of a Worm on the floor, which stopped the entire family in its tracks.  Fabulous stuff, and it was followed by what has pretty much replaced the Irish national anthem at Christmas time – the Pogues singing ”Fairytale of New York” which requires all participants to wrap about each other and sing whichever version they know best – the aforementioned smash hit of the Pogues, or the amazing Christy Moore acoustic strumming piece.

This brought the DJ’s set to an end, but Sisinlaw, quite drunk after a couple of bottles of red, declared Christmas officially ON, and we continued belting out the classics to each other which left everyone out of breath and sitting down, except for Babybro and Sisinlaw who kept on singing to each other, and therefore created one of the most perfect Christmas images in my wandering mind’s eye – the two of them, in their Christmas finery, parents of my much beloved Little Niece N, singing Christmas songs into each other’s ears, drunk on wine, beer and love, being the best parents and happiest couple in the hotel that night, and in the world.   They spun around the table, and we all sighed because we were in the presence of something quite as lovely as roast potatoes cooked in goose fat on Christmas Day.

Niece Love

Starved of BOTH Irish nieces all week after moving back to my old pad, I contacted Sisinlaw about a folding clothes horse (the RUBBISH one must accumulate in order to live alone in a draughty house) and begged her to drop over the required item along with Little Niece N, so I could hug her, put her in between two slices of bread and eat her alive with adoration.

Both duly arrived this morning, and promises of my having more room in my (empty) three bedroomed house than their two bed apartment were taken very seriously, as a bunch of Little Niece N’s toys accompanied them – the noisy ones too, I noted.  There were lots of colours, and things that you could bang, which would make beeping sounds, and animal sounds, and alleged music sounds and flashing stuff – basically Sisinlaw was culling her apartment of anything that would delay the smooth transition of a massive hangover into a dull headache.  Luckily there were books too, as Little Niece N appears to, like her dad and aunt, have a flair for the words, and I am convinced I can teach her to read by three, as my own mother kindly did for me.  So as she grows, she will come to visit her aunt, not for fun times banging multi coloured plastic toys in order to make some weird sort of battery operated fusion of music and noise, but to strict rations of approved books, and beatings if new sentences are not learned by the end of every hour.  Tough love, and plenty of it, is my motto.

After second breakfast of scrambled eggs and tea and juice, myself and Sisinlaw gossiped whilst N, ignoring ALL the toys brought over for her, proceeded to run from the front door, through the hall, to the kitchen, past the dining room where we were seated, into the living room, out into the hall again, back into the kitchen and so on, whilst making a panting noise that sounded eerily like a little dog, flapping her hands, and generally just enjoying having space to be en eejit in.  This went on for about forty minutes, and only stopped because we told her she was making us dizzy, and not because her energy levels reduced in ANY way.

Afterwards, Sisinlaw popped out and we put N to bed in the spare room, with her teddy and a blanket, and I watched Only Fools and Horses for the two hundredth time, and laughed myself silly.  Hearing noises, I ventured upstairs to make sure nobody was dead or being murdered, but my fears subsided when I realised it was N, woken up now, and singing to Ted.  I picked her up, and was informed that it was ”bounce time” meaning she gets to jump on the bed in the other spare room (bouncing strictly forbidden on my own, by children and adults alike as I am a sad old spinster who never brings men back to the house).  After literally throwing, bouncing, pulling, pushing and tickling N for about half an hour, I was fit to collapse, and nearly cried when Sisinlaw walked back in, and took over bouncing duties.  They left, and I ran up to Mammy for tea, and to go on a kettle buying excursion, and when we returned, there was Sisinlaw and N at Mammy’s house, for another visit – which was fabulous, as I then got to play football with N, then see saw (where I am the actual see saw) and chasing, which has caused early onset heart attacks.

Sisinlaw left to pick up Babybro from work, leaving N with me, Mammy and Papabear, the latter making fart noises and causing hysterical giggles from everybody.  We received a text half an hour later, from Babybro, advising us that Sisinlaw had collapsed in a heap in bed, and he would be available to receive his daughter should we wish to deposit her back at his home.

An overdose of niece love and affection, and to add to my lovely warm glow, Panties has just texted to say she has bought a giant Avoca scone for me at her yummymummyladieswholunch thing (bleurgh) and can I come over to eat it soon.  Yes I can Pants, yes I bloody can.

We Talk to God and Receive the Delaney Cup

A glorious sunny day, a rarity in Dublin, with light winds, bright rays, the Boys in Blue aka the Dublin Gaelic football team, beating the hell out of arch rivals Meath at the truly amazing Croke Park – and a couple of rows from the front in the Cusack stand, four very hungover and crimson-faced supporters, all hating the sun for making the alcohol, still in their systems from the night before, sweat and drip out of them.

First in the row was myself, constantly turning my arms over as I had NO sunblock on and my goth skin was beginning to burn, and how.  My sunglasses sliding off my nose, my makeup refusing to keep my rosy cheeks pale.  Next to me an equally beetroot Lilsister, panting in her Dublin top, fighting with me over our fourth bottle of water bought since getting off the tram in the city centre mere moments before.  Next to her, Scarydancer, equally dripping, and praying for rain, and splendidly at the end, Papabear, with an actual wet face, loving the heat, but cursing its intensity in our unprotected area.

Two halves later and as Dublin lift the Delaney cup, as proud Leinster champions, we continue to insult and argue with the lame Meath supporters around us who tell us that we might have beaten them but not by much, to which we reply look over there lads, there’s the cup, being lifted over a blue shirt – and get back to your farms, your sheep are missing you.  Hmmpf.

So it was a long weekend, with Little Star’s christening taking place on the Saturday, and promises of coming over for a couple of drinks afterwards, and a couple of drinks only, quickly falling by the wayside as the pints flowed and my little water bottle that held no water, but gin, started to go down a treat (firstly tested for its authenticy by myself and Papabear outside the church – burning chests meant that yes, it was definitely gin in there).   Little Star was christened, with Lilsister as Godmother, and Preggers and Firstbrother at the top of the church silently mumbling their allegiance to a God Firstbrother doesn’t believe in, much to my delight (being of similar persuasion myself).  I then interrupted a Catholic Church rant by Papabear, and advised him that whilst he may believe religion to be the root of all evil, we were guests in a house and should behave accordingly.

Straight over to the pub afterwards, no mean feat as I was wearing a DRESS, yes, one of THOSE, and some shoes – so walking was slow, and awkward.  Bottles of beer flowed (the three for a tenner routine being used as an excuse), followed by gin, followed by extra gin from my little bottle, followed by pints.  Platters of unhealthy but amazing food came out, and rather than queuing with the mortals to get some, Mammy grabbed a whole platter for our table, Sisinlaw took a whole plate and dumped garlic mayo on it, we topped up our beers, and feasted.   Mammy left early with Little Niece N and Little Star, using their tiredness as an excuse to get away from the madness.   A man came on and sang about six songs on his guitar, and was roundly declared to be ”crap” by all of us.  I begged Sisinlaw and Babybro to leave as I was supposed to be sharing a taxi with them, and instead left them all merrily (till 3.30am I later found out) chatting away as I hitched a taxi with The Baker and Middlebro, who brought me home in the complete opposite direction to their flat so Middlebro could come into the apartment and locate some partysmokes that Scarydancer may have left behind (he left empty-handed, and dejected, and practically sober).

Sunday morning drew over me with my head coming out of my eye, so I quickly rose, closed all the blinds in the apartment to keep the sun out, and feasted on headache tablets and my delicious scrambled eggs.  Exhausted by the effort I took back to the bed, and begged the universe for the strength to face Meath at Croke Park later.  Lilsister and Scarydancer arrived home, looking horrific, and we three soldiers made it in to join our men in the Great Fight.

It was an early night but it didn’t make getting up for my horrific job any easier.  I woke to find I had not bought my fruit for my breakfast, meaning I had to go into work EARLY, buy fruit and yoghurt at the supermarket and eat it in our horrible canteen, which has no actual dishes, but plastic bowls and spoons UGH.  Happily, I noticed that as I left work and went to collect my things from the fridge, some IDIOT had knocked over my yoghurt and left it spilling away in the door of the fridge, sans lid, so I threw it out, stuck my tongue out at the mess left behind, and closed the door.  We had no teabags in our kitchen today, and no spoons to take the tea bags out with – you want to treat me like an animal I shall bloody behave like one.

I am currently at Mammy’s where I have received chicken and cake, in that order, and am mellowed and ready for bed once again.  We have just re-watched the match and are more impressed with our team than ever.

Up the Dubs!

Work, Beer, Tea – it’s Friday

I’ve followed up my beer buzz with a cup of tea…not rock of all ages material, and it’s made me feel bloated, alone and ugly, as it’s Friday night and here I am sucking beers and then falling at the last hurdle and succumbing to tea.  The shame of being 37 and nine tenths!!!

It’s been a long week, for no other reason than it just HAS, and it’s rained every day.   Work continues to be awful, with no respite from the abuse, hatred and general rudeness that is the Irish population when dealing with their bank.  Ah, we truly are scumbags, raised in the back of toilets, judging by some of the language and colourful death threats I receive on an hourly basis.

I’ve moved seats and am currently surrounded by a group of girls, which horrified me initially, but seems to actually have turned out okay.  The girl beside me has a make up bag the size of my actual handbag, despite being at least 18 years younger than me, thin and not requiring much maintenance, but there you go.  Bear in mind my handbag needs to accommodate my book (hardback), my giant purse, umbrella, hat, various notes that I write to myself, my pens, phone, keys, sunglasses and my net for catching potential husbandvictims, so you can imagine it’s size.  So that should convince you that there is a SERIOUS AMOUNT of making up going on.  However, myself and the Glamorous One seem to have forged something of a friendship, based on our love of food and our raging hormones.  I may have secret crushes every five seconds but I don’t wander around the staff canteen trying to take sneaky photos of unsuspecting males, like my friend there, or walk around a nightclub in a circle trying to catch someones eye.  FOR AN ENTIRE NIGHT.  Good tips for me though, should I find my eye wandering over lunch or ever end up in a nightclub again.

The girl behind me is actually worse, and even has a creepy ”I’m coming for you, boy” look, which makes me squeal like a girl every time I catch her doing it.  It involves a trout pout, one eye closing and one opening, and a vigorous nodding of the head, to ensure the victim knows she’s a-coming, and she’s ready.  She is also obsessed with my ex-team leader’s arse, which she insists is like ”two eggs in a hanky” despite my protestations that it is flat, and ugly, and he is a pigperson anyway so he cannot be fancied. 

Aside from this it has been an uneventful week, broken up only by Ireland being hammered in the European football matches, a fabulous evening eating Babybro’s stew with little Niece N and Sisinlaw, and the departure of Scarydancer and Lilsister from the apartment as they mind Scarydancer’s parent’s tiny dog whilst they have their jollidays.  This has meant many beers for me, with my music playing while I dance about and try not to fall over every time I try to lift Scarydancer’s new weights.   Sigh.  My flabby arms beg me to reconvene, and soon.

Freddie Mercury sings to me in the background, and advises me to be free with my tango, and on that note, I will drain my cup, tidy up and hit my lonely bed for what I hope will be a deep, beer induced sleep.