Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Wolfman Cometh............

I felt twelve or thirteen again last night. I spotted and couldn’t resist buying a DVD called the WolfMan earlier on in the day. It was made in 1941 with a cast that included Lon Chaney Jnr and Claude Rains. I roared laughing watching it because the special effects and melodrama are now so dated and OTT. But it explains where my love of the dramatic comes from. I could never resist the old black and whites especially the horror and crime ones. It was hard not to laugh last night at the tears rolling down Lon Chany’s face as he sat in his vest and rolled up trousers to view with horror his increasingly hairy legs. The whole hoo-haw in the village after ‘the wolfman’ strikes and kills a second victim is more reminiscent now of the over amplification and exaggeration that is used by cartoon or panto characters for an increasingly tech savvy bunch of pre schoolers.

It didn’t scare me (well, not much). But by god it reminded me of baby-sitting in my uncle’s house in Swords aged about twelve. The kids would be long asleep and I sat on his couch – all lights off only the flicker of the telly for company munching through a bowl of rice krispies ( I thought they were so rich and sophisticated because they bought Rice Krispies!) and being absolutely scared shitless. When Tom and Margaret rambled in from wherever they had been I used to pretend that I fell asleep on the couch – the reality being I was too scared to go up the stairs. We lived in a bungalow ( another reason I thought they were rich!) and the shadows on the stairs were just too much to handle. Lon Chaney was a complete ham but I reckon Claude Rains was a great actor. Himself, Clark Gable and Charles Boyer. I was a sucker for those suave, intelligent and so-o-o-o- sophisticated - totally unattainable to a young wan from the Mun, which was great because if I had ever landed one like that I wouldn't have had the slightest idea how to behave. I am a complete romantic, love tales of people dying for love - of lovers being torn apart by circumstance and dying alone and lonely far apart from each other. Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Old Curiousity Shop - I don't care what Oscar Wilde thinks I bawled me eyes out at the death of Little Nell. Precious Bane, David Copperfield I could go on all night. I wallow happily in the sentimental. Sure look at the title of me blog – still one of my favourite movies Bette Davis and Charles Boyer. ‘ Oh Gerry – why wish for the moon when we already have the stars – as he lights two fags and hands one to her.

How on earth did I end up with Jemser? Although he did record a song for me for one of my birthdays. 'I'm gonna love you forever, forever and ever amen. As long as old men sit and talk about the weather as long as old women sit and talk about old men.' Aaah! Mebbe he is a closet romantic.

Friday, August 26, 2011

On being hirsute in Funtasia

Took son#2 and pals on their end of the holidays day out yesterday. It was meant to be the day before but the Waterpark in Drogheda we wanted to go to was jam packed and thank the universe at ten and eleven they are now old enough to understand compromise .So I arranged to take a full day off work yesterday – thank you lovely employer about whom I constantly moan and we visited an almost empty Applegreen service station on the M1 for a snack (how on earth do they expect to make money on those?) and pretended we were in America and then went to our local swimming pool as a consolation prize.

So yesterday morning we set off for Co Louth. I love that Louth accent. People always sound as if they are about to burst into joyous Munchkin-like song. Anyway we were about the third or fourth car into the car park and only had to queue for about twenty minutes before the squad got access to the fun and games. Thank the universe I no longer have to shave and trim unsightly hair ( who ever said it was unsightly?- I think the odd stray pube can be a little –well…tantalising-at least until one is thirty five years of age) and pack my aging white flesh into a bathing suit and not embarrass myself or my children by parading my disgraceful lack of discipline and interest in my physical appearance for the world to sneer at. Now I can sit in the carpark of these ‘fun’ places and read my book, write or doze. All perfectly nice acceptable things for a Mammy to be doing.

It's a good day out for kids and at €11 each for an unlimited time it is reasonable. Be warned though it's popular and they reach saturation point at 400 so have to restrict access until some people leave. My lot spent three hours in it and would have spent longer only hunger drove them out to me. There is a huge Tesco and Lidl nearby and an outlet shopping mall if you wanted to sit and have a coffee and felt comfortable enough leaving them in the waterpark. They do an online deal where you can get a reduced access price to their sister amusement park in nearby Bettystown. As I queued I was chatting to a family from Kerry who were on a midweek break availing of a nice four star hotel nearby and doing the run of things in the area. Much easier than hauling all the smallies onto a plane for a tiny apartment and worrying about sun burn for two weeks.I'm getting old. Deffo. When I see the advantages of a holiday at home over a sun holiday. Mind you most of the holidays I've had in my lifetime have been at home and I always enjoyed them - well, almost always!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Now comes the Winter of my pen's content

Ok, bad pun for a blog title - but it is almost the end of the school holidays and once my sons settle back into their routine I can get back into mine. I wondered why I was so edgy and irritable the last few weeks. It's because me writing has gone to pot. The only real writing I did over the past ten weeks was a rough draft of a new story and some scribbled ideas for children's books. And the rough draft of the story was written in the middle of one night. I did a lot of proof reading and organising re my book launch done but no serious work.

I write very little in the summer. I suppose we get so little decent weather in Ireland that I feel I should be out and about in it, gardening or walking or just sitting in my garden reading. I try to persuade myself that reading is a neccessary part of writing ( which it is) but not the psychological thrillers and murder mysteries I favour as back garden reading material.

Anyway when this last week of entertaining the troops is over - we have our annual Zoo visit and a trip to Fantasia - the waterpark in Bettystown- planned. I'm on half-days all week so we might fit in a trip to Butlers chocolate factory as well - now that I'll DEFINITELY enjoy. I have the schoolbooks and uniforms sorted. Imagine I now have one child going into his final year of primary education and one into his final year of secondary. So come this day next week all my excuses and procrastinating must cease and I must adhere to my two hours a day six days a week, and five hours of a Sunday with my bum on the seat and my fingers on the keyboard rule.

I'm looking forward to it - no messing about idly flicking onto Facebook every half hour or going from one link to another on Wikepedia or watching endless ridiculous clips on YouTube. Here's hoping I produce something of worth over winter 11/12. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I'm gone a bit odd............

No smart comments about the title of this post please. Ok, maybe I should have said odder. I've been incarcerated in the basement of the office building since mid May computerising a stationery stores system and doing the work of the storeman who is off enjoying himself having a hip relacement (joke Michael!). At one stage in my thirty years with this organisation I worked in Building Facilities and used to joke that I had control of toilets and canteens and was therefore all powerful. Now I have control of bog-roll and photocopy/print paper so I have ABSOLUTE control of the place, which appears to run on both items judging by the amounts I have to buy and distribute.

Nobody likes me in this job. They told me so. 'Michael's so nice - you're an aul' wagon' they cry when I query their use of any item. One gormless young one had the misfortune to tell me she needed rubber bands urgently to which I replied 'Brain surgery is urgent dear. Rubber bands are not'. It never ceases to amaze me how excited people get about stationery. They label everything they requisition as personal to themselves. If there is one thing I cannot bear it is a stapler with someones name tippexed on it. The stapler belongs to the employer not the indiviual employee - the employee is merely allowed use the stapler whilst they work for the employer. It's the same with rulers, notebooks - anything that can be labelled is labelled.

I think it's a regression to childhood. You know, when you got all your new school books copies, pencils erasers etc and laboriously put your name on every item and felt all pleased and grown up with yourself. On top of these childish souls there are a number of 'serial' shoppers. Some people think it quite alright to leave their own office and disappear to Stores twice or three times a week looking for one or two items. The new computerised system will put a halt to that particular gallop as in future all orders must be e mailed . So I'll have even fewer visitors.

I can't even have the radio on as there is no reception in the basement. The storeman won't be back until the end of October - at which stage I will quite definitely be do-lalley. I like to gab and gabbing to yourself is no fun because you never know the answers to your own questions, well I don't. Am I making sense? Probably not. See, I told you I was losing it.

I didn't think this particular job would bother me because as a writer I often spend hours at a time staring at a computer screen lost in the world of my characters. However I like that work and often have to drag myself back to the real world. Keying in and counting stock items of rubber bands, tabbed folders, staple extractors, sellotape, stamp pads, paper, notebooks, envelopes and their prices is, to say the least, mind-numbingly boring. A redundant turnip could do it. So yes I can be happy working alone, but only when I'm doing something I'm passionate about. It's difficult to get excited over the advantages of a finetipped pen over a ballpoint biro.

I can't believe I have written a blog about my incredibly boring employment.

To counteract the hacking away at my soul I throw my energies into the Story Queen and the fiction writer when I get home. The Queen's reputation is growing and I even have business cards for her now! The fiction writer is getting nervous about her book launch next month - she hopes she doesn't lose too much money on it (so does her husband!). The Queen and the author keep the storekeeper relatively for the mother,wife and housekeeper, well, that's another days blog.