November 20, 2013

March 23, 2012

  • Sad symmetry

    Ten years ago today Fintan came into my life - I walked into the Dog's Home in Birmingham and there he was.

    At around 12pm today he died.

February 29, 2012

  • Jumping The Broomstick

    Still  not sleeping - managing about an hour in bed then it's downstairs and dozing on the sofa. I'm not sure why it is that I have suddenly become a paid up member of the walking dead but it is beginning to become a pain! Recently I've been preparing for the second assignment in my first year MA studies and I know that that was a massive pain and stress but now that's over and I'm still not sleeping. I can only assume that my body is gearing itself up for the next deadline in April. sad

    other than that things are going ok here in Belfast. 

    Of course I haven't mentioned the Civil Partnership bus as nearly everyone I know has deserted Xanga in favour of Facebook. But, for posterity if nothing else... Patrick and I are getting hitched on 31 August 2011. We have over 250 guests coming - only 40 are exclusively mine by the way! It is exciting but not for perhaps the reason you might assume. I have invited people that I never dared to dream would actually be able to make it and have been surprised to see that they have accepted! So I have friends coming from the States, New Zealand and much of Europe. Some people are coming that I haven't seen for several years now so it's going to be a wonderful way to catch up with them and renew friendships. It occurred to me that the people coming from so far away might not get to actually see much of us on the 'big day' and even before and afterwards it would be potentially difficult to really enjoy their company so I have hit upon a plan. I have booked several bungalows here:  and the afternoon after the wedding we are off to the beautiful Antrim Coast - if you don't believe me then google the Giant's Causeway, The Antrim Coastal Route and the Antrim Coast generally. So we will all have three nights there to hang out, tour a little and hopefully have glorious evenings with barbecues and beers. 

    Don't get me wrong however; I'm very happy that Patrick and I are getting wed and the day itself will be wonderful - we're having the ceremony at City Hall in Belfast (beautiful building), then another ceremony in The Crescent Arts Centre and then a reception there till late. It's going to be great.

    So, we have some planning to do for that and both Patrick and I continue to be busy with our work, caring for lovely Fintan and also my very demanding MA studies but it's all good as they say and I can't really complain.

    More about the wedding as events transpire!

December 31, 2011

  • Happy New Year!

    2012... I remember sitting in school one day when I was about 10 years old and I worked out how old I'd be in the year 2000 and here we are in 2012. Though I couldn't have foretold the rise of the internet I can't say that the world has changed THAT much over the years. I do have a car now but it doesn't fly and the likelihood of my commuting to the moon and back is very unlikely.

    But here's to 2012. I hope you have a great year ahead and make the changes where they need to be made. happy

December 24, 2011

  • Merry Christmas!

    It's almost Christmas and for once in a while I'm here in the UK to celebrate it. I'm not upset about this even though I won't be uploading the customary picture of me on the beach in Gran Canaria on Xmas day. We decided that it was getting too difficult to find people to house and dog-sit for us over the Xmas period.

    So, here I am at 5.00am on Christmas Eve (I've been up since 3.00am as I'm still not sleeping) and have been watching movies online and enjoying the stillness of the house and indeed what seems like the whole world at this moment. I've got a busy couple of days ahead cooking for Patrick, Conor (who's over for a few days) and the odd guest or two who might reasonably expect to drop in and find some food ready for them. I love it! I'm always happy feeding people and as this is what we tend to do at this time of year I'm in my element.

    We decided to really go all out to celebrate Xmas this year and I bought and erected and then decorated my first tree in what must be at least ten years, It's a bit of a dog's dinner as I didn't realise it came with decorations and lights and went out and bought some lovely pieces with a 'Scandinavian' edge to them, but I love it!

    People always used to assume that because I went away for Xmas to a hot climate that I must hate Xmas but nothing is further from the truth. Due to my pushing for it we have mince pies, turkey, Xmas decorations etc.

    I'd better be off as it's time to start cooking some food for my partner and our guest.

    Merry Xmas to all my Xanga mates - so sad that there are so few of us left.

December 20, 2011

  • Can't get no sleep

    I don't know what's going on exactly but for weeks now I have not been sleeping at all well. I've never been what you might call a heavy sleeper but recently I've not gone past one hour before waking up. I try to go back to sleep but wake up again and so on. It's been so bad recently that I've taken to getting up and going downstairs - sometimes only two hours after I went to bed.

    I know that partly it is due to my diet which has been poor for a while now but alongside the sleepless nights have been some very involved 'stress dreams'. I will have these dreams that start out okay but then suddenly whatever is going on starts to unravel and I'm the only person around that can put whatever it is back together again. I had a dream the other night that I was organising traffic and just when everything seemed to start flowing well another road was opened and it got worse. I actually had to pull myself out of the dream and Patrick heard me saying "enough!" as I surfaced. The worse thing is that the dreams exhaust me and I end up falling asleep all over the place.

    I'm considering buying some natural sleep remedies to see if they work but I do have to try and figure out what's going on long term. sad




November 6, 2011

  • Still here!

    My it's been a very busy few months - I've been too rushed to blog anything and hardly said much on Facebook either (well hardly much for me!)

    After the summer school I've been doing the classes I was offered at BMC and I'm very happy with them both' nice Pre-intermediate classes with polite 
    and well behaved students. happy I miss my CPE students from last year but we keep in touch and meet up for the odd meal or trip to the pub so that's ok. 
    There have been a lot of changes at the college with a lot of staff leaving and a move to an amazing building in the 'Titanic Quarter' of Belfast but at the 
    end of the day it's all about the teaching and that's the reason I'm still hanging in there because I love to teach.

    With that in mind I have enrolled in an MA course in Education (Applied Linguistics) through the Open University. I've wanted to extend my teaching qualifications 
    for some years but never had the luck to find an employer to fund me - some said they would but never did. So, I've taken a chance and invested in myself! 
    I have to be honest though; I am finding it tough going - the first year is Educational Research and I'm finding it very dry and dull. I'm not interested in the subject 
    but I have to do it to get onto the next year. I will do my best but I'm finding it difficult to motivate myself to pick up my books.

    In addition to teaching and learning too I am still working in therapies and finding it good. It's been a quiet year for this type of work but then all the service 
    industries suffer in the current economic climate. I will keep going though as it pleases me to help other people when I can.

    Patrick and I are off to Gran Canaria in a week or so, we decided that with the care needs of Fintan it would be unfair to leave him over Xmas if we could help it as
     so many people who would normally jump to look after him are away or can't commit to a full week. We both need this holiday - P has been working seven days 
    a week on one project or another and with my timetable and his we've not had a full day that we can spend together. That causes strains of course but we are still 
    solid and still planning to have our civil ceremony - some time soon! Quite when that will be I'm not sure but it's pressure of work more than anything else that 
    keeps pushing it back.

    So, still happy, still healthy(ish) and rolling on!

September 9, 2011

  • Summer's gone...

    Typically I spent the whole of the summer teaching English at the college - BMC is undergoing many changes in funding and many of the staff have left so there was no way I was going to turn down the chance of earning some much needed cash as there is never a guarantee that there will be work for the part time tutors like me come September.

    Summer school was good fun though - it usually is to be honest. The two classes I took were great fun and a nice mix of nationalities - if only I could have this mix of students all year round. happy 

    Come the end of the summer school I flew to Birmingham to check out Desmond's resting place and to catch up with a few friends. It was a pleasant enough three days but the city still bore some of the scars of the recent rioting and even without them I have to say that I am glad I don't live there anymore. It was lovely to see people though. My ex partner came down from Runcorn (or 'Funcorn' as he sarcastically calls it) and the few people that I know who still live in the city came into the centre to meet me for drinks, meals and a good old session of catching up.

    After three nights though I was more than ready to leave and I headed out on almost the first train on the the Tuesday after the bank holiday to Wales and my family. My parents and my aunt are living happily it seems just outside Aberystwyth and my sister and her four children were visiting too so I got to surprise my sister who wasn't expecting me at all. I adore this part of Wales and as I'm sure I've said before the place resonates with memories of Desmond and all the trips we took into the Mid Wales region over the years. I thought about him a lot and even sat in the beer garden at "our" bench once more to take in the view which is unchanged from our time there and that is a comfort. 

    The two nights went all too quickly and I was soon on the train heading back to Birmingham and the airport to fly home to Belfast. I was happy to be going home to Patrick and Fintan but sorta wishing I was going home to scoop them up and carry them back with me to a beautiful valley near the Dovey estuary. happy


    Latest news: Last weekend I signed up to do an Open University Masters of Arts Degree in Education (Applied Linguistics) it's a three year course so I have plenty of time to tear my hair out and ask myself why I was so stupid as to do this! 

July 21, 2011

  • Five years on...

    I can't believe that five years have passed since Desmond died, I've not had a single day that I haven't thought about him, 'spoken' to him or spoken about him to someone else. I suppose that it's always going to be this way and that's okay by me. I remember in a blog about this time a year or so ago saying that I thought that the unfair-est thing about death is that you can't just speak to the deceased any more. I mean, we have friends all over the world that we can't see every day and for that matter can't talk to any time but we know if we want to, or need to then we can. Sometimes it's not enough to just think about or talk about the one you love who is no longer alive and talking to them in your head isn't quite enough either... but they are dead and the rules are that when they die that's it on the conversation front.

    I do something from time to time that you might think a little strange - I email Desmond. I still have him in my address folder in my Hotmail account and every now and then I spot it and I just send him a message! It's a wonderful feeling being able to write down what I'm thinking, impart my news etc and for just a split second between hitting 'send' and getting the notification that me email has been returned there is a moment of perfect  happiness with the idea that just perhaps, this time, it won't bounce back.

    I wonder if you think it's strange that I still have him so close to me after all these years? If you look back over the blogs from around this day for the last five years you'll realise I'm sure that there is nothing else that I can do. Sure I've moved on; I've made some amazing changes in my life and achieved things that many others have not and I greet (mostly) each day with something like happiness and an eagerness to embrace the chaos all around and wring some kind of joy from the little things, the important things ultimately, but always with the thought at the back of my mind that I really, honestly would not be here if it wasn't for that man.

    So, it's not really so strange that I keep him close to me, that I send him the occasional email and that I talk about him all the time - I'm just so grateful for the TWENTY-FIVE years I got to live on the same planet as him. 

    God bless you Desmond, wherever you are and thank you, thank you, thank you. xxx

July 20, 2011