Monday, March 27, 2006


Pot o' gold.
Feared lost in sea of life-certainties.
Possibly dressed in red tape bearing tax-man's insignia.
Reward offered!
(Valuable four-leaf clover will be delivered by the first available leprachaun.)

It's Monday, the sky looks like the photo but the rainbow is gone and there's a lot of water falling out of it now. The sound of the wind blowing amongst the yacht masts outside has gone from being a pleasant tinkling - not unlike a pretty wind-chime - to a howling akin to a pack of werewolves.

And if you haven't had enough of my burbling yet, feel free to
read my latest Flash Fiction attempt. You'll find it over at Terristories.

Friday, March 24, 2006

yesterday and today

Yesterday I remembered why it is sometimes worthwhile getting up in the morning:

Today I remembered why it is sometimes better to rather stay in bed:

If you look closely you will see that I took these two photos from almost exactly the same spot. They were taken at the same time of the morning, one day apart.

How quickly things change, eh?

Who knows what tomorrow holds...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

A break in Cork

On Friday we drove down to County Cork and only got stuck in 2 traffic jams on the way caused by St Patrick's Day parades. After a good home-cooked meal on Friday night the men retired to watch goodness-knows-what on TV and us 2 gals got stuck into a couple of bottles of wine in the kitchen. Just the way it should be :-)

The weather on Saturday was miserable - foul gale-force winds sent icy needles through whatever protective clothing we wore and heavy clouds dimmed whatever sun might have made an attempt to get through.
Nonetheless, we drove off to a little town called Kinsale, along the south coast, and ate ourselves silly on huge helpings of fresh seafood.

Hubby had mussells...
...but I couldn't say no to the prawns.

I managed to get in a few photos on our drive on Saturday, braving sub-zero temperatures and howling gales to bring you these from in and around the Kinsale area.
You can take a peek at the best of them on Flickr.

In the South of the land is a place called Kinsale,
a quaint seaside village where one can drink ale
in a pub just like this one, away from the storm
that rages outside, till the wee hours of morn.

Of course the sun came out today, the day we left. Murphy's law eh? Well, this is Ireland after all!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Let the festivities begin!

St Patrick's Day is upon us - in honour of the man who supposedly drove all the snakes out of Ireland. I don't know so much about that - there are still a few to be found on a Friday night in the Temple Bar district in Dublin!

Nonetheless, it's the time of year when the skies go grey and dump loads of rain, but despite this thousands of people turn out to watch the spectacle of the Parade in the city centre. Maybe one eightth of them actually see the parade - the rest are lucky to catch a glimpse of the occasional giant paper maché head atop one of the floats. Crowds line the streets, ten deep or more, kids clutching balloons, adults clutching umbrellas. OK that sounds a little unrealistic - surely it doesn't rain every St Patrick's Day? Well, no, I do have photos from one year when there was actual sunshine. But let's face it: it's March in Ireland!
So most adult Irish people pack into the pubs instead. After all, what better way to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland but with a Guinness or twelve?

This year we're giving the parade a miss in favour of driving down to Cork to visit our friends. Hubby will want to leave at the crack of dawn. I will want to sleep in a bit first. We'll have the same 'discussion' we have every time we're about to embark on a 'long' drive (it's not terribly far by South African standards, by it will take a good few hours) and in the end we'll agree to leave early and we'll end up leaving about half an hour later than planned. I may just have to agree with him this time, though, about leaving early. Someone reminded me that the St Patrick's Day festivities are not confined to Dublin... there are bound to be other, smaller, yet no less disruptive parades at any number of the towns and villages we have to drive through to get to Cork.

Does the term National Gridlock mean anything to you?

Anyway, I probably won't post again till next week - tomorrow night I have to re-colour my hair (what, you thought this beauty came naturally?!) and then we're away for the few days.
So Happy St Paddy's Day, my little blog-bunnies.

May the wind alway be at your back.. yadayadayada... you know the rest :-)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Another FFF from Purgatorian

The rules are here.
(Thanks Purgatorian for providing the opening line.)

My story is here.
(I've decided to post these things on my terristories blog since they're fiction and well, that's what it's there for.)

Thanks to all of you for reading yet more of my drivel. Or not, tee hee, the choice is yours and last time I looked it was still a free world :-)

I'll be back with a regular post sometime soon.
Meanwhile feel free to browse my photos on Flickr (did you not see the big flashy box thingy to the right here???!). Or not...

Friday, March 10, 2006

random thoughts...

that made my Friday what it was...

* It's my 5th Wedding Anniversary today.

* I'm wearing my favourite green work top and sparkly green ear-rings. I like green a lot.

* It's a lot colder outside than it looks - but at least the sun is shining, yay!

* I thought I'd treat myself to a Blueberry Muffin for breakfast, mmmmm......!

* I've just opened an account on Flickr so I can post more photos and leave comments for people like Kyknoord who was kind enough to post a pic of my very favourite flower in the whole world for me. Pity he couldn't make it scratch 'n sniff ;-) But Thanks, KN!

* Aargh! I just phoned a toll free number for something called the Employee Assistance Program. Their spiel is they're there for any problems you might have, personal or otherwise, and our HR dept suggested I speak with them about our little tax problem. I've now left 3 messages over the past week, each time someone promises to phone back. It's worse than trying to get hold of the Revenue Office. Good thing I'm not phoning them 'cos I'm suicidal.

* Ooh, a great big bouquet of flowers was just delivered to me at work - a Happy Anniversary from hubby. Aw! Trying very hard to ignore the inevitable comments from my colleagues. Beautiful!

* It's gonna be a bitch trying to get them home on the train though.

* Somebody pass me a shotgun so I can put the-guy-who-is-constantly-hocking-up-goodness-knows-what
-from-the-back-of-his-throat out of his misery! It Is Disgusting!!!

* Yay! The script I've been working on for 2 days finally works!

* Ah, home at last, my flowers look lovely and in a few minutes I'm being taken out for a romantic dinner. Weekend is here at last :-)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Wicked Stepmother Diaries #4

Turns out young Cinderella* enjoys cooking. And baking. Especially baking - which is good because hubby loves home baking. Or rather, he loves eating home baking.
The last time I baked anything was scones about 15 years ago. My sister walked into the kitchen when they were cooling and asked, "Oh goodie, who made shortbread biscuits?"

That was the last time I baked anything.
Even when Cinderella was really small she seemed to want to bake stuff - I remember buying a cake mix at her insistence once but I think she eventually got tired of waiting for me to help her make it so one Saturday she just took it upon herself and voila! She made a chocolate cake all by herself. Well, mostly - I think I helped with the measuring.

All of which brings me to the present time. About 2 weekends ago she decided she wanted to bake something and decided to attempt Hubby's all-time favourite: Milk Tart.
It was a roaring success, and needless to say baking your father's favourite sweet thing does wonders for a girl's 'shares'!

But wait, it doesn't stop there. Cinderella has now gone one step further. She found the recipe, did the shopping and successfully made Koeksisters all by herself, from scratch, last night. Again, the South Africans will know what I'm talking about; and since this is MY favourite sweet-thing, I'll take the time to describe: Imagine a light dough, plaited and deep-fried and then soaked in a home-made syrupy sauce, then refrigerated... imagine biting in through a crispy gooey outside, into the soft inside and an explosion of sweet syrup infusing your mouth... mmmmm....

I don't like lots of sweet stuff but these things are to die for...!

And you can't get them here in Ireland. Yes, I know, I could probably try & make them myself but I'm just not that way inclined. Besides, now I don't need to - there are 3 containers full of Koeksisters in the freezer today and they taste just divine!

How to make your Stepmother happy in one easy step :-)

Yep, I definitely think we'll keep this one.

*For those of you who haven't a clue who I'm talking about, Cinderella is my 15-year-old stepdaughter who has been living with us for a total of 3 months now.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Flash Fiction Friday

This is a little exercise in scratch fiction. The rules & stuff are over at Purgatorian. I figured I'd give it a try...

The transom. I forgot the transom…

It was all going so well. The stains on the carpet were gone. Most of them, anyway - there was still a small one that I couldn't get out but I'd moved the bookcase over a few inches to cover it. The rest of the mess had been cleaned up and I had taken the trash out and thrown it away in a dumpster a couple of blocks away. There was nothing I could do about the broken lamp, but I had balanced the shade precariously and could always blame Rosie. She was known to be careless with the feather duster.

By the time they had returned everything looked completely normal, including me. Not a hair out of place, an angelic smile on my face welcoming them back.

But now, as I stood with my arms around my mother, hugging her and telling her how I'd missed her, my eyes sweeping the room just in case I had missed something, it hit me like a blow to the stomach.

I forgot the damn transom!

A huge spidery crack split the smooth surface. It wouldn't be long before one of them saw it. I couldn't very well blame that one on Rosie, could I? She was only 4ft tall, there's no way they would believe she had broken it. I had to keep my parents out of the room until I could figure out what to do. Who could I get to fix it at such short notice?
Alan would know.
Alan. Would he even want to talk to me after what had happened?
Never mind that now, I would deal with it later.
I had to get my parents out of the room.

"Here, let me help you get these bags upstairs," I said with a bright smile, leading my mother by the hand, carefully trying to keep eye contact with both my parents in an attempt to stop them from looking up.

I would have made it too, except my mother went and made some comment that made my father roll his eyes. That was when he saw it.
His eyes stopped mid-roll and his brow furrowed in puzzlement.

"What happened there?" he asked and my mother turned to follow his gaze.

Like a deer caught in headlights I froze, unable to come up with a reasonable explanation.

An image flashed through my mind: the flash of a blade as it caught a shaft of moonlight streaming in through the pane of glass above the front door. It struck me that it looked different in the light of day, with birds twittering sweetly outside. Two nights ago it had been the only source of light in the house. The memory
of the shadows playing on the wall ran like a film in my head. Alan's shadow, as he had held down the silly pizza-delivery man, and my shadow as I had plunged the knife deep into his chest, again and again, until he lay perfectly still, like a child at rest.
The shadows had all stopped moving then as Alan and I had looked at each other with a mixture of horror and exhileration. Alan's horror and my exhileration. My pulse quickened and my breathing became shallow.

"Caroline, are you alright?" My mother's voice broke through and I returned to the moment.

I plastered a smile on my face and lied.
"I'm fine. I was just trying to figure out where that crack came from."

Certainly not from someone flinging a heavy bunch of keys across the room in a blind panic, I thought and the movie in my head continued as if uninterrupted.

Our moment of bonding had quickly turned to something else. Alan had panicked. He had wanted to call the police. It had taken all my guile to convince him otherwise. Of course, he was still under the mistaken belief that the pizza-delivery guy had tried to attack me. I was not about to enlighten him. Eventually I had convinced him that it would be best if he left, and I promised to contact the authorities as soon as he was gone. There was no need for him to be involved, I explained. It would only damage his chances of getting his scholarship.
So he had left.
And I had cleaned up the mess by myself.
But I couldn't bring myself to make the call. The cops always found out the truth in the end, didn't they? I had read enough books to know that. I couldn't take the risk of being found out. I had only just started, only just discovered the secret to the ultimate high. The feeling of power over another human being, over life and death, was intoxicating. I wasn't ready to let that go.

"It looks as if something banged into it," my father was shaking his head and stroking his beard the way he always did when he was trying to solve a problem.
The twittering birds outside began to get on my already strung-out nerves.

And then I smiled for real. The birds!

"You know, Rosie mentioned that a pigeon flew into the house the other day - perhaps that's what caused it? Maybe she used a broom to try and shoo it out? You know how clumsy she is - she must have been knocking the broom around and broken the transom in the process."

My father's hand dropped to his side and my mother laughed.
"That's quite possible," she chuckled. "I've seen her run around the kitchen screaming because of a little field mouse. Oh dear, poor little woman. Not to worry dear, I'll call the handyman to come and repair it tomorrow."

I picked up her suitcase again and began heading upstairs, eager to distract them from discussing it further. I would have to be more careful next time. No more games at home. And next time I would have to figure out a way to do it on my own.

Also, I would have to get rid of the little memento that I had kept. The lock of hair in the little wooden box in my room was unremarkable, apart from its colour. I didn't know anybody with red hair and it was too obvious.
If someone discovered it...

I heard the sirens at the same time as the doorbell rang. A confusion of voices floated upstairs behind me - my father, who had answered the door, and another that I didn't recognise.
And... w
as that Alan?

"Caroline," my father called.
"Caroline? There's a detective at the door who wants to speak with you."

In a daze I moved to the top of the stairs and as I peered over the banister I saw the reflection of the flashing blue lights of half a dozen police cars outside.

Alan was standing next to a large man sporting a crew cut. Our eyes locked and I searched his for some clue, some confirmation of solidarity. I sensed trouble and I needed an ally. But all I got was accusation.
And in that instant I knew only one thing for certain. If I managed to get out of this, I had found my next victim.

And the drums rolled!

Yep, like the drum inside a washing machine that comes adrift from its axis in the midst of a spin cycle - that's what my head feels like at the moment. That is in addition to the pounding headache that makes me think someone is standing on my right shoulder driving a 12-inch nail in through the top of my skull.
Looks like I'm in for a fun Friday night, eh?
Ah, but sure I'm not looking for sympathy. Shit happens.

I have the house to myself tonight - Hubby has gone off to Prague on a fun weekend with 300 of his closest friends from work, and young Cinderella is off to the ball with her new best mates. OK it's not really a ball, as such, more like a 'disco' for under-18's at the local GAA club. Minor detail; it's close enough.
Meanwhile I've been invited to a party over at Lori's - should be plenty of booze and hot men there, since it's a kind of a Ladies Night. Of course it's all happening in cyberspace, but again, let us not get bogged down with the details, lol!
So I have the radio on (this will change to a CD just as soon as the 'Psychic Helpline' program begins) and I'm now off to visit all the blogs I've missed out on this week 'cos I've been so busy what with working overtime, and missing trains and such.

I gotta say I'm quite happy to be inside my cosy house tonight - it's been really cold today and I'm pretty sure we haven't seen the last of the snow showers that have been putting in an appearance the last few days. I think I'll leave the running around town in skimpy outfits to the rest. I'm off to
Lori for her party now.

Happy 100th post to me!

PS I just had to add this in - I found the link on Beadinggal's blog. mwahahahaha!

The University of Blogging

Presents to

An Honorary
Bachelor of
Psychotic Ranting

Majoring in
Self Deprication


Blogging Degree

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Hypothetically speaking

You know how sometimes you see someone - a work colleague, for example - during the day and the first thing that pops into your head is the memory of an erotic dream you had about them the night before that you'd totally forgotten about until the second you saw them in the flesh?
No, me neither, because of course I don't have erotic dreams... certainly not about anyone other than Hubby.
But if I did, I'm sure I would find it really difficult to not blush, and I can't help wondering would I get an odd look on my face at the 'memory' of seeing them naked in my dream?
It could be quite embarrassing.
Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Does anyone know what I'm talking about? No? Well then, I'll move along.

Some of you may remember I went on a little excursion to Paris last October with my mother and two sisters. Normally what happens after I go away somewhere is that I write a nice long story about it. For some reason I had some trouble with this trip - perhaps because it was such a special one for me, or perhaps because I really wanted the story to be a good one, considering some of my most important 'critics' were actually along for the ride, so there was just a teensy bit of pressure on me there.
Either way, I finally finished it.
In truth, I don't think it's my best work at all. In fact, I'll probably go back to it after a while and change a whole bunch of stuff.
Nonetheless, I sent it on to the gals and they seemed to enjoy it, so I figured since you guys have so much time on your hands, I'd post it here for you to read in your hours of leisure and sweet repose.

I should warn you: it's Very Long. But if you've nothing better to do, then you can click here to have a read.

Well that's it for now, from me.
The brilliant, super-duper entertaining post I should put up this week in order to win over your votes in these last 2 days seems to have escaped somehow, so I'm afraid this will have to do for now.