Dreamin’ A Little Dream

I’ve been nominated!!!!!

I am very excited (you can always tell this by my inclusion of unnecessary exclamation marks). The nominations for the 2008 Irish Blog Awards have been announced and I’m in the running for Best Newcomer! I have no expectations of being on the final shortlist, but I admit to having had several pleasant daydreams throughout today. Obviously these have all involved switching on the computer, looking up the shortlist, and finding my blog there. I think I would cry!!!!

However, to put this dream into perspective, I must also point out that I had other daydreams over the past week or two about a rather cute (scruffily handsome) guy who actually seemed to take an interest in me. Unfortunately, he turned out to be a bit strange, and, to be perfectly honest, downright rude. So. Another one bites the dust. The moral of this story is that while it’s fun to dream about finding romance and being shortlisted for blog awards, real life more often than not involves staying on the longlist and waiting for Mr. Right. [That’s actually pretty good! Somebody make a note of that and remember I said it.]

This is why God made chocolate. And Brad Pitt. I am going to spend time appreciating both of these creations tonight, with the help of a box of Milk Tray and a DVD of Meet Joe Black. Thank you so much for voting for me, whoever took time to do so! I am honoured, delighted and flattered.

It’s like the Oscars!

Time’s Up

So I’m sitting talking to this guy last night. We’ve never met before, and he’s asking where I grew up.

“Did you go to school in the town?” he enquires. I nod, and he asks which school. “We might have been in the same year,” he adds, looking intently at me. “You must be about the same age as me.”

I look dubiously at him. “What age are you?”

“Thirty-one,” he replies cheerfully, as if he has not just delivered a tremendous insult to a total stranger.

“I’m twenty-six,” I reply in a carefully controlled voice, smiling painfully. He shrugs. “Probably wouldn’t have seen each other at school then,” he says dismissively. I do not hear any more of his conversation; instead, I worry obsessively about the fact that I apparently look five years older than the age that I was already slightly uncomfortable about having reached.

Woe. Woe. Am never, ever going to have interesting job, successful career, loving husband, or similar noteworthy life achievement. It is too late. I might as well buy the rocking chair and the rest of the cats now. There is no point in putting off the inevitable.

Woe.

The bells, the bells!

“I got you a present!” shrieks Sister excitedly, hopping from foot to foot as I wearily enter the house.

She gives me a box, and I look expectantly at it. It is a doorbell.

“It’s a doorbell!” she says rather unnecessarily. “Hooray!” I respond with genuine enthusiasm. No longer will my hordes of daily visitors stand beating on my door to no avail; no more will I receive irate phone calls from friends telling they’ve been standing outside hollering for the past ten minutes; never again will I experience the annoyance of the little postcard from the Royal Mail on a Saturday morning, informing me that We tried to deliver a parcel to you, but you weren’t in.

It is late, and I am badly in need of sleep, but my immediate priority in life is obviously now to set up my doorbell. We take to it with screwdrivers and eventually get it to ding-dong. As I am replacing the cover, I accidentally press another button, and the doorbell cheerfully begins to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. It is magical. We gaze at each other with a sense of awed wonder.

“Press it again,” urges Sister jumping up and down on the spot. I obediently push the button and a dog begins to bark from inside the doorbell. Kat leaps several feet in the air and disappears underneath the table, hissing. Like an addict returning for another fix, I push the button again, and again, and again. The doorbell performs several musical wonders, and we decide upon a cheerful, chirpy little jingle that makes us both do a happy dance when we hear it.

Dirk phones in the middle of the proceedings, and we play the happy tune at him. “Oh, sweet sassifrass,” he sighs, sounding disturbed. “Are you going to dance all the way to the door now every time I visit?” We inform him that this is indeed the case, and he seems to deal with it quite well.

“Wouldn’t it be funny,” he adds thoughtfully, “if someone was to come to your door at random intervals in the middle of the night and press the doorbell?”

My enthusiasm begins to die down a little bit. “No,” I say after careful consideration, “that would not be funny, Dirk. It would not be funny at all.” Sister sniggers. Apparently she thinks it might actually be quite amusing, being someone who is not so fiercely protective of a girl’s right to a night of uninterrupted sleep.

Boys can steal your innocent joy sometimes. Anyway, we go upstairs, having gone outside and pressed the doorbell several times. As I get ready for bed, I realise Sister is standing in the spare room, peering out into the darkness. “What are you doing?” I ask curiously. She doesn’t turn around. “I want someone to come to the door,” she says, a hopeful note to her voice. Good grief.

I go to bed.

Uh-huh…huh?

This year, I need to spend more time with my family. I have not been a dutiful daughter in recent years, and am feeling a little guilty. For this reason, I found myself sitting in the local Pensioners’ Pub on Saturday night, one of only four people under the age of 50, watching an Elvis impersonator with a comb-over and an alarming case of angina.

To give the man credit, he was absolutely fantastic as a soundalike of The King. Unfortunately, in terms of looks, he bore more of a resemblance to a used car salesman who wears fake leather jackets and spends Friday nights drinking pints and eating Scampi Fries in the Queen Vic/Rovers Return or similar before stopping in for a pasty supper on the way home. Once again though, great singer.

I must admit that despite my desire to be lofty and condescending about the event, I had a really good night. ‘Elvis’ was thankfully totally self-aware, and had no qualms about pointing out his lack of resemblance to The King. Following a particularly energetic dance routine, he paused to get his breath back and staggered, gasping, over to the railing behind which we were sitting. “I’m gettin’ too old for this,” he wheezed to one of the surprised-looking elderly ladies who made up the majority of the audience. “I was 73 last week ye know.”

His humour and ability to sing salvaged what could have been a completely disastrous evening, all circumstances taken into consideration. I was suitably amused by his occasional references to Northern Irish politics throughout the performance. “Won’t you please surrender…” he crooned beautifully. “NEVER!” he concluded in a sudden unexpected roar. Sister, Becs and myself got into the swing of things, and sang along heartily, arms waving etc. There was something quite ironic about being caught singing “Just one Cornetto…” to the tune of “It’s now or never”, and being caught on by, erm, Elvis.

Things were equally hilarious when I found myself in the queue in the Ladies’ at the interval listening to a completely unscripted but Oscar-worthy dialogue between several batty oul’ weemin. One old dear was slightly annoyed that the random stranger she threw her arms around couldn’t quite remember the solitary occasion on which they had previously met, 32 years ago. After lots of “Wullie’s aunt’s best friend’s sister-in-law” type of descriptions (“No, no, no! That’s Wullie Greer the postman, I mean Wullie Greer the plumber, Elsie’s daughter’s second husband!”), realisation finally dawned. “Aye, ye remember me now! I’m the one that ate the whole pavalova at thon party at Vera’s house in 1976!”. I bit my lip and stared desperately at a small stain on the ceiling. “Och, aye!” came the priceless reply, “Is that how ye got the nickname Pav?”

Speechless, I looked around for anyone else who might find this remotely funny, and caught the eye of the only other Under 50 (besides Becs, Sister and myself) in the building, a young girl with goth-style clothing and scarlet streaks in her hair, who looked about as at home at this event as a gospel hall member at a death metal concert. She looked at me in utter confusion and I felt a sense of solidarity as we made eye contact in the mirror. It took me a good 10 minutes to regain my composure when I returned to the table.

Best £7.50 I ever spent.

Cattiness

Have just returned home from a night out with the family, about which I shall no doubt be blogging when I’m more awake. I do, however, just have time now to remark upon the fact that when I arrived back home I realised that in my absence, Jay had been in the house checking his email or something. I knew this because of the additions to a shopping list I’d started and left on the kitchen table.

Under the heading THINGS NEEDED, I’d started to note down a few items as I remembered them. The last one, at the time I left the house, was Cat Litter. There are now a couple of helpful additions, so my list now reads like this:

Cat Litter.

Cat Headstone.

Doghouse.

Dog.

To be fair, he did try to call a truce with Kat when he returned to Ballymena after Christmas, and she promptly attacked him as if he were a small, disease-ridden rodent. And earlier today I accidentally hit him in the eye with a cat toy, which I honestly only intended to throw gently at him.

I fear I haven’t done much to improve their relationship.

Crime Wave

My sheep has no head.

It’s one thing to break into someone’s house and steal from it; it’s quite another thing to break in and decapitate their sheep. I mean, really. How do I go about reporting such a crime to the police? Yes, Officer, here’s how it happened:

Sister and I left for work as usual yesterday morning. We locked the door, leaving the house safe and all fridge magnets intact. We had no reason to fear for their safety – it was just like any other morning. Imagine my horror when I returned at around 5.20pm to find my Mark Owen picture lying magnetless on the worktop, next to a very sad and helpless little figure (I nearly said sheepish, there, quite unintentionally). Sister arrived home as I was holding the headless sheep (and his head) in my hand, a stricken expression on my face. She, too, expressed her grief at such an unnecessary, unprovoked attack. Together, we documented the crime scene in case the police should require photographic evidence.

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I don’t want to point any fingers, but I gave Dirk a key to my house the other day so he can use my computer while I’m at work, as their internet’s not up and running yet. However. It would be wrong for me to accuse him of decapitating my sheep. Just because he’s the only other person with a key.

The Joker

Betsy and I had dinner in town last night. Having not done this for a number of months, we had a lot of catching up to do. So it was that we were deep in conversation at our table in the corner, when some oul’ boy came over and sat down with us.

“Hello ladies!” he said politely.

“Hello!” we said back, equally politely, for we are well-bred and have sparkling manners.

“Would you like to hear a wee joke?” he asked hopefully. We did not want to hear a joke; we wanted to eat our dinner and continue with our conversation.

“OK!” we chorused pleasantly. He told us a joke so memorable that I’ve completely forgotten it, and left. We recommenced our conversation. Ten minutes later, he was back. “Here,” he said seriously, “did you like that joke? Like, really?” Kindly, we assured him that it was the best joke we had ever heard. “Oh, good!” he said happily, “Here’s another one, then.”

He told us about a Cullybackey man who only tied the left shoelace on each of his shoes, and, when questioned about it, pointed to the stamp on the sole, which read “Taiwan” (we did actually like that one). Then he walked away in the manner of one who has just completed an important task, looking very proud of himself.

“So,” said Betsy, “you were saying you thought – ”

Joker Man was suddenly back at the table. “These two prostitutes -” he began exuberantly. “Here, this’d better not be crude!” I said warningly, all of a sudden fearing that he was going to start propositioning us at the dinner table.  He assured me it wasn’t, and went on to prove that in actual fact, it was. “I don’t get it,” said Betsy dubiously as he was getting up to leave. “Shh! Just wave goodbye!” I urged, panicking that he would feel the need to sit down and explain the whole thing in graphic detail. He left us alone after that, but had to shake hands with us when we tried to sneak past him on the way out; for a horrible moment I thought he was going to tell us another joke. Or kiss us.

Some day I would just love to go out for dinner. Just dinner. No Joker Men, no Scary Waitresses, no Angry Women, no Drugged Strangers. S’pose it would be quite boring, though.