Friday, September 16, 2011

Waving, not drowning

So I took the plunge.


No more paddling with the under 5s in the shallow end of the pool for me, no siree -time to learn to swim like all the other grownups. I got myself a coach, optimistically invested in some goggles and turned up 45 minutes early to my local pool to hang around the changing rooms terrifying the other patrons.

Let me put this in context for you. My fear of the water is so great that even my monumental pride goes out the window. If you’ve ever seen a grown woman hovering at the edge of a pool/the sea/a puddle wearing arm bands, that was probably me. I don’t care how small the child is that stares and points, you can’t make me.


But then, in a moment of madness, I decided that I could make me and booked in a lesson before I chickened out. I also spent an awful lot of time congratulating myself about this initial phone call, not realising that the worst was yet to come. If I thought about it at all – and I tried not to, believe me – I pictured myself and a kindly butch woman who would stay by my side, keeping me afloat in serene waters and saying lots of soothing things. The lovely Liz is not like that. For a start, she never even got in the water! Now that’s just lazy. Although her sense of self-preservation may just have been particularly acute. I probably look like I would drown others just to keep myself afloat.

So she stood at the edge with a not-very-reassuring pole (with which to fish my drowned body out of the pool. Nice.) and told me to swim. Bizarrely her no nonsense attitude coupled with my desperate need to please strangers meant that after about 15 minutes, I was. A miracle! There was barely time to tell all the passersby about my swimming genius before I realised I then had to learn to stop. Luckily there are some very reassuring concrete walls which brutally did the job for me. It’s the stopping that’s dangerous, that’s where the gaspy, water up the nose, thrashing like a caught fish, comes in.

It’s a whole new fear.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hitting the Canvass

The much longed-for peace of an evening has been shattered. Firstly by the politicians shouting at each other on the gogglebox, then shouting through my letterbox, but much, much worse - now they have infiltrated my home.

Himself, previously only incensed by a disallowed goal on Sky Sports, has taken personal umbrage at the state of the nation and has decided to take - ahem - Positive Action.

Oh dear.

Luckily enough he's not choosing his 'best side' for election posters, but has nailed his colours to the mast and is shouting on behalf of someone else. It's only a matter of time before electioneering becomes a way of life at home - canvassers don't leave it at the door.

Imagine: protest signs at the bathroom door urging me to 'Get Out Now'... a party political broadcast live from my living room extolling the virtues of steak over spaghetti... who knows where it will all end?

Luckily my electoral vote is held in another county, so this girl is not for turning. Especially since I happen to like spaghetti.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Madness on a meter

Not that I'm famed for my affable nature, but there is one twisted breed of human that I truly cannot stand.... The taxi man. (I specify 'man' because I have only ever had two lady drivers and both were blissfully silent - and therefore, lovely). 

In case you think me one-sided, I did used to also hate their female counterparts, the hairdressers. Luckily, I've since discovered a massively overpriced and aggressive stylist who only speaks to me in clipped Polish to humiliate me over the state of my hair. I love her. 

I can grind my teeth and listen to thinly disguised racism, regulatory-induced self pity and even batted away blatant nosiness (I've been asked everything from how much I paid for my house to if I was laid the night before -needless to say I made a swift exit from that cab).

Yesterday, however, was a new low. 

Already not in great form, I hopped in a taxi to take me to a photo shoot in Finglas. I should have spotted the number one sign of the crazies, the twitch. Luckily, I was in the backseat and avoided the wild eyed stare. 

He tried to laser-eye me through the rear view mirror, but I've been in a cab or two before.

However, this guy was a pro. 
No amount of 'mmm hmmm' answers could put him off his diatribe. He muttered about Georgian doors, shouted about "the old village" and thought a woman on a bike was hilarious. I cowered in the back seat, shades on as a pathetic defense against his madness, and prayed for the journey to end. I even tried battling my inner politeness and outright ignoring him (hard thing when you're in a confined space with a mentaller), but to no avail. I was seconds away from writing SOS messages and flinging them out the window when we arrived. The streets of gangster riddled Dublin have never seemed so welcoming; I almost kissed the path that I alighted to. 

Only to remember that I also had to get a taxi back home...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rich, Richard, Dick

I always thought that I'd agree with the kindly, vaguely Grandad-looking Richard Dawkins. I mean, all the cool kids like him. He practices a unique kind of polite fearlessness in the face of some very nutty people. But last night I paid attention - properly - to one of his shows. 
'Faith School Menace?' depicted believers as people who deserve his smirking condescension and opened my eyes to the extremism associated not only with faith, but with atheism. Absolutists of any ilk scare me, and I had to switch off half way through due to blind fury at the arrogance of Dawkins. 
Sweeping statements, mockery and a complete absence of respect for those who do happen to - gasp! - believe in a higher power have put me off the hitherto respected scientist. 
I am certainly not preaching for creationism, and I avoid religion as much as the next Irish person, but woe betide anyone who is not 100% behind our Richard. 
So much for the cool kids.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Should've gone to... another opticians

I'm not exactly a committed glasses wearer. Without them I'm fully blind, but usually that suits me just fine. I see no-one I know on the street, spiders are black smudges and my reflection looks great no matter how bad I actually look. There is a downside, of course. Missed buses, having to pretend you can see things that people point out and that very attractive squinty look that is now my trademark. Eventually I have to concede and bite the bullet to replace the glasses that I'll inevitably lose again within three weeks. 


Off I trot to a well known opticians who promise me the world via their hard-to-miss (even for the visually impaired) adverts. It's been a while, so I am totally unprepared for the hard sell that hits me in the face the moment my appointment is confirmed. They have a crack team of ninjas who come at you from every angle, offering different frames, lenses that would work in space (or something) and blinding me with the science of eyewear. Before I know it, I'm back on the street outside the shop, dazed and confused, having spent a fortune on fecking glasses and not quite sure how.  

I don't need designer glasses. I wanted a 50p pair that I can happily lose and not give a rat's. If I'm going brand name, at least let it be something that people can admire: great shoes, a fancy guna or even a lipstick for God's sake. 


Not being brave enough to confront the ninjas when I awoke from my coma, I did it all over the phone. 50p glasses on the way, sanity restored. Kind of. I'm off to get something fancy with the money I recovered....

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bananas in Pyjamas

The massively entertaining 'Pyjama Girls' is coming back to the Irish Film Institute this week; I had meant to blog about this the last time around, but well, I'm just a bit rubbish. The title speaks for itself, but in case you have been under a rock - or in a more civilised town or city - this is the modern day equivalent of Wee Willie Winkie, but with girls who will "buuurst ya".

Wanna see? Just venture within screeching distance of certain streets around Dublin City centre and you'll doubtless encounter the unnerving trend of girls unable to part with their nightclothes during daylight hours. Or you could take the safe option (gawking at strangers is never advised) and pop along to the IFI instead. 

We were lucky enough to see it when the stars of the film did a Q&A afterwards, and despite the obvious questions ("But WHY don't you wear normal clothes??") it was a brilliant insight into the murky world of pyjamas. Even without this though, it's a fascinating peek into the split personality of Dublin's fair city, and the dichotomy of its residents. Go see. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

Oh look! A shiny thing....!

Immediacy has never been a major concern of mine. I have exceptionally long fingers with which to put things upon, and I'm not afraid to use them. I just have to do something else first....

So, in this grand spirit of procrastination, I have been doing the following instead of updating this blog: 
  1. Googling random and pointless trivia. With interesting results, mind*
  2. Running outside to catch each guerrilla attack of sunshine. I need all the vitamin D I can get. Slim pickings in Dublin in April.
  3. Undertaking a fruitless (chocolateless?) diet in the hopes of shifting my cigarette stone. Even Easter eggs were banned. It's been a sad month.
  4. Working. The scourge of the drinking classes.
  5. Finally reading the Twilight series and nurturing my inner 14 year old. She fancies Edward.
*who knew the Fortycoats is Ian Dempsey's dad, for example? Shocker!

I promise, I'll do better in future. Ray of sunshine or not.