A published writer and avid reader, who likes to take a quirky look at the world about her. Bob is the steady anchor in a house governed by the mayhem of two parents and two grown children who have left home but frequently drop by to either check out the fridge or check in with Bob and Ellie.
Maria's free time is divided between family, work, writing and volunteering.
Unfortunately there are some similarities to July 2020. Bars and Restaurants are operating only if they can provide outside dining and drinking facilities. Sounds easy but if you consider that the Irish Summer is tempremental at best and at worst just wet, this is not an easy task for those in the catering industry.
Weddings and Funerals are still being limited to small numbers. Weddings have just been allowed to double in size which means 50 guests can attend. Socialising is limited by most of us to walking, talking, meeting in small groups and all outdoors because most of us are still not convinced by the experts words telling us that the new mutations of the virus will not be as severe.
To the group of animals (four legged) under my care and who are currently training me in search work, this means absolutely nothing. Once they are fed, worked and get to swim and play life is good. And I think we should take a leaf out of their book. Live for the moment, enjoy what we have.
When your tough has vanished, how do you get it back?
This Level 5 is beating all who live in Ireland into the ground. Smiles are hard to find, teenagers (and we understand ) are pushing the boundaries, even us grandparents are about to jump fences, just to get to see and hug a grandchild. But we are told to be positive and some of us are, some are so positive it makes the rest of us envious.
These guys help, as we have to feed, walk and yes pet them.
How is the rest of civilisation doing? Any response alien or otherwise would be appreciated.
I always believed, when I was a teenager that anyone aged over 50 was “ancient!” Now that I have passed that flagship age plus another eventful ten years. I have discovered it was another idea of mine that was wrong. Completely wrong.
In the past ten years life really kicked off. I gained confidence, changed job direction again, changed volunteer direction again, been fitter and healthier than I have ever been (touch wood) and found a way to use my passion (dogs) to help others whenever I am asked to help.
So at what age did you discover your confidence and start to switch things around?
Constance Claus stepped outside the workshop and frowned. The courtyard was full of elves walking about examining the ground, with magnifying glasses! In the centre of the huge space, Enda was begging Bob (The Norwegian Elkhound)) to behave like a dog and sniff out the problem. Bob sat and stared at Enda who was jumping up and down. The effort caused steam to pour from his ears and nose.
Constance hurried over to Enda. “What is going on? Is it a new game?”
“No. No game. We have a mystery. Someone left a weird order at the workshop door.” He pushed up his sleeves and sat on the ground beside their favourite and only dog.
“And the order is for?”
“Fifteen million black steel-capped boots in size 001, and black studded jackets. The note said further items to follow.” He shook his head, “Black sized 001 boots!”
“Oh.” Was all Constance could manage.
“Exactly, you and I know that the only ones in the world who wear that size is..” He bit his lip and shook his head in disbelief. “The Christmas Fairy Troop. Santa is not happy.”
“Why didn’t you tell me this earlier? I will talk to Belle.” Constance declared and pulled herself so tall she almost looked svelte like.
Enda watched her walk away, “Good luck Mrs C. I have a feeling you will need it.”
Constance didn’t relish facing an army of fairies so she invited their chief, Belle to come and have tea with Santa. This she knew would take a lot of cajoling. Santa hated having to sit and eat dainty sandwishes and cupcakes. But when she explained the problem he agreed,
They sat waiting for Belle. On top of Santa and Constance’s table, sat a tiny table decked out in pink and white cloth, with a matching rose-patterned tea set and tiny fairy sized portions of fairies favourite foods. The clock ticked in the background. Time dragged on and just when they decided she was a no show, with a puff of purple smoke Belle arrived.
Constance gasped, Santa shouted, “What happened Belle? Were you run over by a herd of wild reindeer?”
The reply was not delivered sweetly. “No. And please call me Buffy.”
“No! Why? What did you do wrong?” Santa asked and removed his glasses to wipe them clean. There was nothing sweet and delightful about the fairy who stood before them. She looked like a badass in a gangster film. Her sparkling joyful look was gone. Her dress was black lace with red and purple sparkles glaring from it, her black jacket was studded with red studs and her boots were jet black, even her wand, which peeked from a pocket was black.
“I did nothing wrong. That present you gave us last year was great, enlightening. We watched some amazing tv and learnt that we should update our look.”
Unfortunately, Enda appeared with a pot of tea and another tray of gingerbread. He looked at the three people before him and the tray crashed to the ground. “Oh no, you don’t twinkle Belle, who did this who turned you into a monster?”
“Hi Enda do you like my makeover? It is modern isn’t it?”
No, We can’t have a chief fairy who looks like a ..monster.”He shuddered, “what will happen to the Christmas trees all over the world?” He blinked at them. “They will go on fire “Enda wailed.
Constance and Santa groaned. “Do something Constance, this is beyond me, what happened to sweetness and light Belle… sorry Buffy?”
“It is so last century. We need to get more modern, put a little spark of unpredictability into peoples lives, don’t you agree? Oh I forgot something be back in a jiffy.”“With that, she vanished.
Constance noted her husband’s white face and gasp of horror as the full reality hit him. Enda was marching around the room proclaiming doom for all who adored Christmas.
Santa turned to Constance, “all is lost if the fairies do this. Christmas is about sweetness, light, hope and most of all happiness that comes from the act of giving. We can’t have angry fairies.” He shook his head and stared at his stomach, as it was many years since he could see his feet from this position. “Next they will want weapons instead of wands, it would be the end of Christmas and all on my watch, oh my.”
“My thoughts exactly Santa, exploding snowflakes, fire eating teddy bears, no more ballerina slippers just hard nasty boots, candy canes without any free wishes. Oh dear, oh dear” Enda plopped to the floor and sat.
Constance sighed. “I’ll deal with her, you two scoot and don’t come back till I call for you.” She hoped she had enough tact and patience to deal with this unforeseen disaster.
Belle appeared in a puff of purple and black smoke. She was carrying a rolled sheet of paper. She thrust it at Constance and sat on the edge of a teacup. “You understand don’t you Mrs Claus? It’s not much really. The first change …ever.”
Constance began to read. When she finished, she put it on the table and turned to Belle. “So, you are tired of your appearance and wish to update the fairy look?” At Belle’s nod of agreement. Constance sat drumming her fingers on the tabletop.She didn’t want to refuse but she needed to change their minds, just a little change might work.
“Come with me and we will see what we can do.” She tried not to smile as she noticed Belle’s surprise, no doubt she expected a fight not a weary acceptance. Let her think she has won the fight, Constance thought. She led the way to her own workroom. When they entered she heard a “wow” escape Belle’s lips.
“This is pretty,”Belle said as she fingered a softly draped fabric that had a slight wash of peach in it. Would it suit me?”
“Possibly but it is not the black and purple you say you need.” Noticing Belle’s wistful glance about the room she added, “ If you like I could redesign a whole outfit for your team in different styles and different colours, shoes to match. We could vary from the usual style and add some leggings underneath the filmy light dress and make some very trendy looking trainers. What do you think?” Constance noted the dreamy look on Belle’s face , Constance, you are about to lose a truckful of sleep. As it turned out Constance was correct, Belle threw herself into the task with abandon, picking colours that would raise a smile instead of a groan from Santa.
If Santa and Enda thought it strange that the dining room now boasted a endless line of fairies who came for a day and then left, they said nothing. Though Enda did wonder, “They are laughing, a lot, that has to be good. I hope?”
Everyone was on edge. Especially when they heard that the fairies were fighting amongst themselves. Sam and Noel, hadn’t sang a tune for days. They didn’t want to be noticed, just in case any angry fairy magic was thrown their way. Bob too was not his normal self, proof was the dishful of jelly babies that sat inside his kennel.
Constance remained calm. She was tired. She and the sewing department had spent many nights without sleep. The sewing elves fingers were aching. They were starting to complain about the amount of sparkling studs they had to fix to trainers. Constance kept everyone’s spirits high by providing extra marshmallows in their hot chocolate drinks.
Finally they were finished. The fairies decided to say thank you in their own way. They said farewell to Constance and thanked her. A few minutes after their departure, Slim raced to find Santa and Constance. “You’ve got to come and see this. We think it is those aliens Noel is always talking about.”
Alarmed they ran outside and looked before them. Just beyond Santa’s village there appeared to be a rainbow sitting close to the ground. It shimmered and glowed, as it edged closer. Sam was shaking.
Enda roared, “Behind Santa, now everyone.”
“Why me?” Santa asked and stared at the rainbow then chuckled. “Wow” Leaning closer to Constance he said, “Well done Mrs C. You have indeed saved the day and it is the most important day, again.!
It was becoming apparent to everyone that the image before them was the fairy troop. They were dressed in shimmering soft colours and as they danced and sang large baskets of strawberry, blueberry and cranberry ice cream landed in the middle of the workshop. The elves smiled and relaxed, we love it when you rescue Christmas Mrs C.”
Noel agreed with a smile, “much better than the year Santa tried to alter the climate.” Everyone nodded in agreement. Santa glared at them.
“Why are we hiding behind Santa?” Noel asked.
“Because, he is the biggest thing we have here in the North Pole” Enda answered.
“Hoi, less of the big, please, you could put best in place of big.” Santa shouted as he made his way to the kitchen to see if he and Bob could have a midnight snack.He heard Constance was trying for the largest cookie record. .
Everyone watched him walk away and together they sang. “No, no, no.”
Like 99% of the people I know our life is busy, despite Covid 19.
Level 5 has been tough for everyone with our daily social contacts limited, smiles are few and all the cheery hello’s of summer have faded. Pat is recovering from a major operation on his shoulder so we have been cautious
So it is not surprising that we sometimes struggle. But our infusion of smiles comes from phone calls, facetime and the occasional visit from granddaughter number one.
Meabh brings a reminder that life is for living and we need to get on with it. She loves all the animals about her but has learnt to navigate through them without any falls or bumps. She has turned the greenhouse into her playhouse and generally calls the shots.
I relised I had not posted on this site in a while. No excuse just like many others, getting to grips with our new normal, though I believe there is no such thing as a normal routine, not any more.
However September is here which should mean, slow lazy gardening days, collecting, gathering an generally enjoying the fruits of our busy summer in the garden. It was going well until the brocoli incident.
You would think we had learnt to be a bit more watchful. But we don’t do anything easy or simple in this house. The Garden was looking good until we learnt that Doug loves …
Brocoli, Peas, Beans, Courgettes, Carrots, Tomatoes (red and green) in fact Doug just likes to eat! The result was flattened areas where he harvested his greens, and reds.
Having 4 dogs pottering around the garden does create a challenge in itself. For various reasons, the main ones being:
Odd things grow in Irish Gardens
Ellie, loves to dig, and hide tennis balls. We believe she does this as a – in case of accidents policy. (In other words some kid accidentally enter the garden and they do not have a tennis or football with them.) She buries them in the ground in odd places, hides them in the hawthorne hedge and even carefully places them in the branches of a thick shrub at the far corner of the garden.
Doug; loves to ramble and eat. He will eat, nasturtiums, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, courgette and any fruit. He is currently eyeing up the apple tree.
Brook – energetic greyhound will lie down on any part of the garden or just anywhere.
Bell will eat her way through any tall shrub or plant just to create a short cut.
So all in all I think we are doing ok.
This is the new wildflower area of the garden, seeds and weeds flourish as do ocassional children who decide to be a gardener for a while.
How about you guys and ladies and your gardening exploits during the past few months, any success stories?
There was only one Bob, but we did meet a lot of dogs in the past few years, some came to visit, some to stay awhile (including 2 kittens) and today, has me looking at images of some of those we met, and had fun with..