Monday, 12 June 2017

**Temporary Changes**


GOOD morning from Dublin.
Yes, you are at This Funny Irish Life. And yes, there should be a column awaiting you this morning.

However, due to other commitments, my column will go from fortnightly to monthly for a little while.

This change is temporary.

My next column, therefore, will be on Monday, June 26.

I hope you'll check back then - and I look forward to restoring the normal schedule as soon as I can!

Have a wonderful week,
Hugs & xx,
Sharon.

Monday, 29 May 2017

THE TROUBLE WITH SMART PHONES.


                                                 Mobile phones: smokers are losing out.



THERE'S a major flaw in the design of smart phones. And it's one I spotted very recently, as I passed a busy restaurant on a Friday night.

Inside the restaurant, people were eating, talking, snap-chatting their food and keeping their children quiet by letting them play on their phones.

Outside, was a small group of smokers. They chatted in that way strangers chat, when they know they will only share a few minutes of conversation, but are linked, and somehow bonded, by their mutual habit.

Smokers already have one hand occupied - holding the cigarette.

Because of the public places indoor smoking ban in Ireland, our smokers congregate in designated areas, to indulge their craving. In the workplace, this tends to be in an outside 'shelter'. For bars, restaurants and cafés, it's simply on the pavement.

And here's the problem with the modern smart phone: it's not designed to use with one hand. Smokers already have one hand occupied - holding the cigarette. It's simply not practical to try to negotiate all that swiping and scrolling and social media posting, with the other.

Which means they're left with nothing to do, except smoke their cigarette and talk to each other! Sometimes, they even make eye contact. Somebody might crack a joke and others will laugh.

A new person to the group might introduce himself. A bit of hand shaking has even been known to happen. Because that's still something you can do with one free hand.

Nothing quite so archaic happens amongst the non-smokers. A friend of mine has lunch every day in her staff canteen. And every day she notices two twenty-something women who lunch together. At least, they sit opposite each other at the same table. They could be friends. She's not sure.

She's never actually seen them talk. She has waited, patiently, trying to catch them at it. But so far, nothing. Sometimes, they pick at the food in front of them. But mostly they take pictures of it.

Rarely do they lift their heads from their smart phones. Clearly, there's no need. The phones provide everything the two women want.

They barely look up from their phones when she is serving their food.

Another friend works in a restaurant. She regularly serves a family of five. The couple have young children. All have smart phones. Apparently, it works brilliantly for everyone involved, as nobody has to engage in conversation.

The parents don't talk to each other. Nor do they talk to their children. They barely look up, when she serves their food.

Neither of the parents seems to smoke, she tells me. Which must be a relief, as one can't imagine how they'd manage, for however long it takes to smoke a cigarette.

As I said, a flaw. One IT solution that has so far eluded all the brains in Silicone Valley.

Because right now, on any given day, and through no fault of their own, smokers enjoy the most sociable breaks of us all.

If that isn't discrimination, what is?

                                                        *



Dear reader,

Hello from my corner of Dublin! I'd be delighted if you'd 
SHARE this column via the sharing buttons below.


If you'd like to get THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE FREE via email every fortnight, go to the Follow by Email box at the top right of the page.
   1. NEVER MISS my fun, fortnightly personal column + updates/guest author posts!
   2. Your email address will NEVER be shared or misused.
No spamming - I promise.

Check out the witty Irish romantic comedy, Going Against Type. See sample chapters/buy links @ Tirgearr Publishing

Have a lovely week, 
Hugs & xx
Sharon.


                                                                             

#smartphones #design #socialmedia #humour #ThisFunnyIrishLife

Monday, 15 May 2017

SPIDERS 'n RODENTS 'n SNAKES: OH NO!


   







Hamsters: small, cute and not a bit scary.




I AM afraid of spiders.

Correction: I am really, really afraid of spiders.

Irrationally so, of course, because as I live in Ireland, the only dangerous spiders to be found, are in the tropical house in the zoo.


It's a long time since I've been there. We used to take the offspring a lot when they were younger. They were fascinated. So was I, in a slightly horrified but trying-not-to-be-in-front-of-my-kids kind of way.


I'm not sure if there's a deep, psychological reason for my fear of spiders. Obviously, I'm not an arachnophobe. I can actually walk into a room where there's a spider. Once the spider is on the far side of the room. And it's no bigger than the tip of my little finger. And one of us is leaving the room soon.


They're usually an OMG-he's-so-cute-what's-he-called?!

I am sure I am afraid of other creatures too. Snakes probably. I've never actually seen one that isn't behind reinforced glass. St Patrick had the right idea when he drove them out of Ireland. What we were thinking, when we decided to bring a few of them back in, is anyone's guess!


And obviously I wouldn't be all that keen on rodents. The wild ones. Although I know for a fact that I'm not as bad as some people.

I have a friend who is so terrified of mice, that she can't bear to say the word. Her friends are not allowed to mention it in her company. If they must be referred to, one says, 'the animal that rhymes with house'. I'm not kidding.


One year, Santa Claus brought her youngest child a hamster. I quite like hamsters. They respond well to being handled and they don't have a long tail. They have tiny ears, and a habit of storing food in their cheeks. On the cute scale, they're usually an OMG-he's-so-cute-what's-he-called?!


Hammy the Hamster was resident...the friend and I made a pact.

The friend was having none of it. The hamster lived in a very clean hutch in a corner of the youngest child's bedroom. During the whole time it lived there, the friend refused to go into her child's room, unless the hutch was first moved or covered.

As far as she was concerned, there was no difference between Hammy the Hamster (names have been changed to protect the rights of the rodent) and every mouse in existence.


Spiders, on the other hand, keep showing up in their web loads.

The same friend, however, is not afraid of spiders. And she lives right across the street.


For the two years that Hammy the Hamster was resident on our road, the friend and I made a pact: one initiated by her. The deal was that if Hammy managed to escape his hutch, the friend would come running across to me. I would go in, capture the mad hamster and return him safely to The Hutch, Corner of the Bedroom. 

If I in turn, encountered a spider, she would come straight over and return it to the garden. It was a deal which suited us both.


The only problem of course, is that Hammy has long since gone to hamster heaven. Spiders, on the other hand, keep showing up in their web loads. 

It's as if they've heard on the arachnid grapevine, that we're a spider-friendly house (they're delusional), or that there are lots of places to hide (it's an old house, so they're probably right), or that there's a plentiful food supply.

There could definitely be something to that last theory. Because the second I open a window or door, at least one fly joins us inside. It's as though they just circle, biding their time, until I cave. But I digress.

It hardly seems fair to the friend that I would call on her help these days. She doesn't need me, to deal with escaping hamsters. So I have to face my fears alone.


The friend's youngest child is no longer really a child. She's 17 now. Actually, she'll be 18 at the end of the summer.

The thing about 18 is that it's a very special birthday. Deserving of a party and wonderful, thoughtful gifts.

I wonder if she'd like a new hamster?

                                                     *



D
ear reader,

Hello from my corner of Dublin! I'd be delighted if you'd 
SHARE this column via the sharing buttons below.


If you'd like to get THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE FREE via email every fortnight, go to the Follow by Email box at the top right of the page.
   1. NEVER MISS my fun, fortnightly personal column + updates/guest author posts!
   2. Your email address will NEVER be shared or misused.
No spamming - I promise.

Check out the witty Irish romantic comedy, Going Against Type. See sample chapters/buy links @ Tirgearr Publishing

Have a lovely week, 
Hugs & xx
Sharon.

Monday, 1 May 2017

HAPPINESS IS...



                                      Happiness is....whatever you want.



GRAND statement of the day: we are obsessed with happiness.


Obviously, we are obsessed with lots of stuff. Climate change, karma, tidiness, relationships (specifically, 'relationship goals' according to the experts), animals, politics, religion...the list could fill this column.


Let's not do that. 


It's just that I've read a lot about happiness recently. There's a lot of it around. Not happiness per se. Although there could be a lot of that around too.

But there's a lot of talk about it. Articles, slogans, memes...witty one-liners. It's been trending on social media. Right along with clever-things-your-cat-can-do and climate change.


Start asking what we can do, to be happy today

They're all difficult concepts. Well, maybe not the clever cats thing - although have you seen that stuff, and are you suspicious that it might be photo-shopped? - but definitely happiness and climate change. 


There are, for example, the world's happiest countries. I can't remember exactly which ones they are. One or more of the Scandinavian countries are in there. Switzerland made the list. I can't recall the others.

They all have something in common. It might be extended, paid holidays, or free childcare, or equal rights for women. You'd think I'd remember something as important as that. That I wouldn't be quite so vague about the subject.


It's not that I'm dismissive of it. Far from it. It's just that as I flick through these particular posts on Facebook or Twitter, they tend to blur a bit.

Little cartoon child and the catchphrase: Happiness is...

And even if all the conditions are perfect for a happy life, surely it has to come down to the individual. I know lots of people who are always happy. At least, they always seem happy. And I know others who never seem to be happy.

One of the current theories about happiness is that we don't need self help books or therapy sessions, or anything very complicated, at all.

Apparently we just need to need to lower our expectations. There's a shocker!

Or maybe it is shocking. Maybe we've forgotten that is the secret. If there is a secret at all.

Should we stop asking ourselves what we need to make ourselves happy?
And start asking what we can do, to be happy today?

I remember those little cartoon figures from my childhood. You know the ones: little cartoon child, and the catchphrase: Happiness is...

Is what, though? But that's the beauty. It's whatever you want.
- A walk on the beach.
- A coffee with friends.
- A smile from a stranger.
- A hug.

Maybe happiness as an abstract concept, is too difficult to grasp...too difficult to achieve. Maybe we simply need to concentrate on the small stuff. The ordinary things.

So, from me to you: I hope you do something that makes you happy today.
And tomorrow.
And the day after...

                                                         *

Dear reader,

Big welcome from Dublin. 
Please SHARE this column via the sharing buttons below.

Why not become a FOLLOWER of this blog? When I get 50 followers, I'll draw out all the names from a hat, and gift an e-copy of my book, through Amazon, to 3 winners. Or you can nominate a friend to receive it instead.  


If you'd like to get THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE FREE via email every fortnight, go to the Follow by Email box at the top right of the page.

   1. NEVER MISS my fun, fortnightly personal column + updates/guest author posts!
   2. Your email address will NEVER be shared or misused.
No spamming - I promise.

Check out the witty Irish romantic comedy, Going Against Type. Sample chapters/buy links @ Tirgearr Publishing

Have a lovely week, 
Hugs & xx
Sharon.

Monday, 17 April 2017

EASTER: PLANT SOME NEW LIFE.



                             My bid to make Easter about more than the chocolate

I FEEL there must be quite a strong urban-rural divide when it comes to feasts like Christmas and Easter.

More so when you consider farming. Despite the fact that it's dying out a bit in Ireland, there's still a fair amount of farming on this island.

Because even though people, no matter what their background, usually have more in common than not, it's hard to imagine too many farmers, painstakingly hanging dozens of decorative eggs on the tree in their garden. I could be wrong.


Farming has changed, of course. As a child, I got to spend a fortnight each Summer, sharing a massive old farm house in Cork with two other families - one of whom owned the house and worked the farm.

They strut around the garden, bullying the dog

They were the days before health and safety regulations tied us all up in knots, and when I wasn't digging sandcastles on the local beach with brothers and cousins, I was messing about a farmyard with the farmer's children.


But it's the closest I've come to real rural living. Ever.

And as I was buying a shoulder of lamb for the meal this year, it struck me how much of a disconnect there is between the farmer breeding those animals, and somebody like me buying the cut of meat at my local butcher's.


I'm not sentimental. We don't eat huge amounts of meat, but we are all happy omnivores.


But despite my city background, I know enough to realise how little I know about the realities of life at the other end of the food chain.

Which is probably why, as I get a bit older, I find myself wondering if I should make a bit more effort to grow some food.

Note I said, grow some food. Not keep animals. Friends of ours keep laying hens in their suburban garden. They have names like Flossie and Henrietta, and when they are not in their enclosure, they strut around the garden, bullying the dog, or wander into the kitchen for a look around. I'm not quite ready for that.

I don't want to boast, but I am a brilliant dandelion grower

But in years gone past, we have grown tomatoes and strawberries and raspberries on our patio. We went a bit overboard with the tomatoes, and because they were all the same variety, they all ripened at the same time.

I grew very creative. Short of bottling them - I have my limits - we ate them with everything. I think of that year as my Italian Summer.

Another year we tried to grow potatoes down the end of the garden, and dubbed them surprise potatoes, because it was a surprise when we found one.

And I swore I'd never grow broccoli again, when the slugs grew fat on them.

It's tempting to imagine though, that with a bit of work, I could grow a few easy things. Onions, maybe. Lettuce.

I was thrilled to read that dandelions are completely edible. Packed with Vitamin C, they can be washed and scattered through your salad. I don't want to boast, but I am a brilliant dandelion grower. 

And we still have rocket growing wild on our doorstep, after we planted it two years ago!

I also thought I had mint, and chopped up a bunch of leaves to fragrance the jug of drinking water on the table, at a recent dinner with friends.

It was only afterwards that I discovered that the huge plant was actually a huge - though harmless - weed.

It's not the only weed I haven't tackled: we have giant planters that once sported shrubs and flowers. They are currently a mess, but perfect for small-scale herb and vegetable growing, and less daunting than a full vegetable patch.  

So as I nibble on a chocolate egg this Easter, I know this year, I will again strive, in my own small way, to connect at a very basic level, with our food.

Cáisc shona dhiabh.*

                                                     *



*Happy Easter.

Dear reader,

Warm welcome from Dublin this Easter. 
Please SHARE this column via the sharing buttons below.

Why not become a FOLLOWER of this blog? When I get 50 followers, I'll draw out all the names from a hat, and gift an e-copy of my book, through Amazon, to 3 winners. Or you can nominate a friend to receive it instead.  


If you'd like to get THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE FREE via email every fortnight, go to the Follow by Email box at the top right of the page.

   1. NEVER MISS my fun, fortnightly personal column + updates/guest author posts!
   2. Your email address will NEVER be shared or misused.
No spamming - I promise.

Check out the witty Irish romantic comedy, Going Against Type. Sample chapters/buy links @ Tirgearr Publishing

Have a lovely week, 
Hugs & xx
Sharon.

Monday, 3 April 2017

TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH: INSTRUCTIONS INCLUDED



                                           The big day: couples have a catalogue of choice.                                 



AN IRISH couple recently exchanged their wedding vows in Dublin's Ikea.

There, in that vast cathedral of beautiful beds, colourful couches and flat-packed bookshelves, they stood in front of their closest family and friends, the store staff and a vast TV audience, and professed their love, devotion and promises, to assemble forever, together.

The venue for such a special occasion is the ultimate expression of reality TV, not to mention the result of leaving a vastly important decision entirely to the groom.

The Ikea couple were contestants on Don't Tell The Bride


And before everyone jumps up and down in indignation, at my apparent sexism, let me point out a couple of things.

1. Most men, are to my mind, fabulous, wonderful, caring, strong, problem-solving, supportive people. I am married to one.

2. In a million years, I would not have let him choose where and how we exchanged our wedding vows. It has to be a joint decision.

The Ikea couple were contestants on the popular Irish reality TV show, Don't Tell The Bride. The bride in question (I feel so bad, calling her the Ikea bride), apparently expressed a long-held wish to wed in a castle. Enough said.

I'm trying not to be too prescriptive. When I married 24 years ago (what can I say? I married VERY young ;) it was a traditional church wedding.

The kind of wedding that most couples in Ireland had at that time. Those who didn't want a church wedding, got married in a registry office.

What we don't do...is hand over control for our big day to the groom


Now, thanks to more relaxed rules, state ceremonies don't have to be in an office. They can be in beautiful places like castles and public gardens.

We're still not at the stage where couples can marry in their own garden, or on a beach. Although admittedly, it's hard to see many opting for an Irish beach. Which are beautiful in a kind of wild and wind-swept way.  

But what we don't do - and I'm talking about women - is hand over complete control for our big day to the groom.

Apart from the fact that he has splendid speeches and mad moves on the dance floor to worry about, the Ikea wedding proves that men are not entirely clued into romantic venues.

I'm open to the possibility that the Ikea bride really likes Ikea

Probably because until most men actually decide to marry, they haven't given their wedding a single thought.

Most women, on the other hand - and certainly once they've decided to marry - give it a lot of thought.


They want it to be special. And generally not in an oh-my-God-they've-an-amazing-special-on-cushions-and-throws, as they walk up the aisle.


Let's leave the whole life-long walking-up-the-aisle-in-a-castle-dream, aside for now. I'm open to the possibility that the Ikea bride really likes Ikea. And you know, maybe the lovely Ikea people threw in those fab Swedish meatballs for their wedding feast.

Ikea is unlike most other big stores: it's a destination. When the Dublin store opened a few years ago, I paid a visit. Maybe two. I loved what they sell. What's not to love? You can furnish your whole house and buy cool Swedish food all under the one roof.

But once you're there, it's hard to leave. I was there for half a day: that's how long it took me to find my way out of the place.

Yes, I do have an appalling sense of direction. But I digress. 

If I were that gorgeous Ikea bride, I'd be planning my first wedding anniversary now: a romantic weekend away in a beautiful Irish castle.

My advice, for what it's worth: Don't tell the groom.


                                                                                    *

 Dear reader,

Big welcome from Dublin, and thanks a million for popping by.
Please SHARE this column via the sharing buttons below.

Why not become a FOLLOWER of this blog? When I get 50 followers, I'll draw out all the names from a hat, and gift an e-copy of my book, through Amazon, to 3 winners. Or you can nominate a friend to receive it instead.  
Feel free to drop by NIUME where my blog is syndicated.

If you'd like to get THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE FREE via email every fortnight, go to the Follow by Email box at the top right of the page.

   1. NEVER MISS my fun, fortnightly personal column + updates/guest author posts!
   2. Your email address will NEVER be shared or misused.
No spamming - I promise.

Check out the witty Irish romantic comedy, Going Against Type. Sample chapters/buy links @ Tirgearr Publishing

Have a lovely week, 
Hugs & xx
Sharon.

Monday, 20 March 2017

A Saint by any other name


                                Confirmation: The one time children get to choose their own name.


WHAT'S in a name?

What about Ignatious or Gertrude, Scholastica or Hubert? Strange? Old-fashioned? Slightly religious sounding? Check.

All saints' names: none of them commonly used. Yet still chosen by Catholics for one of the defining days in their young lives: Confirmation. 

This is the season for it: a time when the majority of children aged 11 or 12, in their final year of primary school, receive the Catholic sacrament.

Earlier this month, a friend's 12 year old daughter chose the name Agnes.


It is - in this country at least - considered a very old-fashioned name. In the last 50 years, you won't find it in the top 10 baby names for girls.

But despite the fact that the average 12 year old has strong views about everything from outfits for the day, to how they'd like to celebrate this milestone, their chosen names are sweetly out of touch with modern times.

By May, lots of our boys will boast the name Francis

Popes' names tend to be popular for boys. A few years ago, there was a fair smattering of Benedicts. By May - the end of Confirmation season - lots of our young boys will boast the name Francis.


Traditionally, devotion to saints was as important in Ireland as devotion to God. Or Guinness. Our national saint, Patrick, is celebrated on March 17th, all around the world. Apparently he married a woman called Sheelagh. Another saint's name, as it happens. 

Most of the...schools are still under the influence of the religious orders

Of course, in past generations, everyone had their own special saint. If you were worried about anything, it was straight to the church to light a candle.

St Anthony: the patron saint of lost things. I have a feeling that he's a massively busy saint. St Jude: the patron saint of lost causes. Ditto, St Jude! St Gerard Majella: the patron saint of pregnant women. Far as I know, there's a patron saint for just about everything.

Devotions always seemed to matter more to women. Likely because in a society run by men, particularly by men in the Catholic Church, they probably figured they had a better chance of sorting their problems with a bit of divine intervention. 


And in 2017, the reason so many Irish children are confirmed, may have less to do with faith and devotion, and more to do with the fact that most of the secondary schools are still under the influence of the religious orders.

Whilst we have some of the most highly educated youngsters in the world, many of our schools require children to have been baptised and confirmed before admission. 


Part of the celebration is money

The right or wrong of this is a debate for another day. And don't get me wrong: we have choices. More multi-denominational and secular schools means increasing freedom for families.


Yet Confirmation continues to be hugely important in the lives of young Irish people. Not least because it's considered a day of celebration.

And there's money involved. Most children who make their Confirmation, also make a few hundred euros, thanks to godparents, grandparents and various generous well-wishers.

That saint's name is rarely used in ordinary life after that. A birth cert or a passport will have a first and middle name. Nobody will ever know the person's own chosen name, unless they are told.

The Dad delights in telling people his Confirmation name: Tarsisious. But he put a huge amount of thought into his choice.

As did the child who chose Agnes. The early Roman is the patron saint of amongst other things, chastity, girls, engaged couples and rape survivors. The 12 year old who took her name, is well read and highly articulate. She describes herself as a feminist.

Whatever your beliefs, in a world where pre-teens are under increasing social, economic and peer pressures, the act of choosing a saint's name is, if nothing else, a perfect excuse for self-reflection.


                                                                               *

Dear reader,

Big welcome from Dublin, and thanks a million for popping by.
Please SHARE this column via the sharing buttons below.

Why not become a FOLLOWER of this blog? When I get 50 followers, I'll draw out all the names from a hat, and gift an e-copy of my book, through Amazon, to 3 winners. If you've already read it, you can nominate a friend to receive it instead.  


If you'd like to get THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE FREE via email every fortnight, go to the Follow by Email box at the top right of the page.

   1. NEVER MISS my fun, fortnightly personal column + updates/guest author posts!
   2. Your email address will NEVER be shared or misused.
No spamming - I promise.

Meanwhile, if you're looking for a different read this week, why not try a witty, Irish romantic comedy? Check sample chapters/buy links @ Tirgearr Publishing

Have a lovely week, 
Hugs & xx
Sharon.

Monday, 6 March 2017

BED-IN WITH A NEW WORKPLACE PRACTICE




                             Work breaks: whatever happened to coffee?



THE SWEDES have done it again.

The Swedish people, that is. Not the rather underrated vegetable: that is a column for another day.


In a bid to keep their workers happy and productive, they recently proposed that all gainfully employed adults should take an hour during the working day to, ahem...get together with their spouse or partner.


I remember a time when the height of indulgence was an office kettle.

It's all very scientific, of course. Isn't everything? Studies have shown that a good um, relationship with one's partner is vital for one's health and well-being, and the longevity of said relationship. And happier people make happier workers.

Let's face it, it doesn't take science to convince us of that. But I'm not convinced the middle of the working day is the right time.

Don't get me wrong. I remember a time in Ireland when it was perfectly acceptable to smoke in the workplace, and the height of indulgence was an office kettle.  

But whatever about Sweden (where much is done differently), I can't really see the whole idea catching on here.

To begin with, it all seems rather unmanageable. I know people who commute two hours a day for work. No calculator needed for that maths.

I could imagine a lot of people pretending to be single.

Not to mention the fact that it's a bit unfair to anyone who's not in a relationship. Although presumably they would still get the hour off to do whatever they want.

Like go for a walk. Or a run. Maybe do a bit of shopping, or meet a friend for coffee. Given those arguably civilised alternatives, I could imagine a lot of people who might pretend to be single.

And then there's the other problem. We Irish generally don't discuss that aspect of our lives. Not with our parents or our children. Usually not even with our doctor. And certainly not with people at work.

It's not that we have any hang ups. The only reason I'm dancing around the subject here, is because this is a family friendly column. Ahem. 

But no self-respecting Irish person wants to arrive back to work for the afternoon, knowing that everyone else knows about their shenanigans during the previous hour. And knowing that their colleagues were up to the same shenanigans.

No matter that it might make everyone happier and kinder and more relaxed. Which is the thinking behind this Swedish idea.

Skiving off for a bit of personal relations is a sticky wicket.

We'd prefer our boss to see us standing on a table, screeching tunelessly at the Christmas party, thanks to seven glasses of spiked punch, than suffer the mortification of him/her knowing that we have an er, active love life.

Besides, there's far cooler workplace initiatives that we could embrace: better biscuits, hand lotion in the loos, lots of plants...we could lose the run of ourselves!

But skiving off for a bit of personal relations is a sticky wicket.
The next thing we'd know, we'd all be expecting flexi-time for young parents, or bring-your-child-to-work days.

Or bring-your-pet-to-work days, for that matter.

There's no need for any of it. Here in Ireland, we excel at drinking away our tensions and work anxieties in the pub every weekend. With the bonus of a weekend that can begin any day of the week.

Why we'd ever need to swap this, for improving our personal relationship with our life partner, is a complete mystery.

                                                       *


Dear reader,
Big welcome from Dublin, and thanks a million for popping by.
Please SHARE this column via the sharing buttons below.

Why not become a FOLLOWER of this blog? When I get 50 followers, I'll draw out all the names from a hat, and gift an e-copy of my book, through Amazon, to 3 winners. If you've already read it, you can nominate a friend to receive it instead.  


To celebrate my Tirgearr Publishing's 5th Anniversary, their SALE and GIVEAWAY runs through March 8th. My Irish romantic comedy, GOING AGAINST TYPE is one of the many fabulous books reduced at Tirgearr Publishing.

Amazon USA
 99cAmazon UK   99p


***For your chance to win a #KindleFire and lots of other prizes and bargains, join in the fun at #TirgearrPublishing's Birthday Bash: www.tirpub.com/birthday.***


If you'd like to get THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE FREE via email every fortnight, go to the Follow by Email box at the top right of the page.

   1. NEVER MISS my fun, fortnightly personal column + updates/guest author posts!
   2. Your email address will NEVER be shared or misused.
No spamming - I promise.

Have a lovely week, 
Hugs & xx
Sharon.

Monday, 20 February 2017

WHY HOLIDAYS ARE PLANE SAILING!


                      February: dreams of blue skies and sandy beaches


I HAVE absolutely no scientific evidence to back up this next statement, but anyone who reads this fortnightly column knows that's never stopped me before.

Here goes: February is the month when most people book sun holidays.


The reason is simple. It's still cold and rainy outside and here in Northern climes, we are pale-faced and seriously lacking in Vitamin D. In theory, Spring is here. In reality, every bone in our body aches for warm sun and sandy beaches.

And the holiday catalogues, slyly slipped between the pages of national newspapers or delivered weekly through letterboxes, become our favourite reading.

We pore over those perfect photos of exotic places, mentally placing ourselves in the picture, holding a fruit punch and our Kindle, sun-kissed under a straw hat.

At some stage you have to cross a huge expanse of water

That's for those of us who like to travel, of course.


And anyone living on a smallish island hanging off the far western tip of Europe, knows how important that is.


Because the problem with island-living, is that you can't just hop in a car and drive to a different country to experience their wonderful culture/food/people. At some stage you have to cross a huge expanse of water.

And for many, herein lies the problem. Loads of people hate ferries. They get sea-sick, or nervous - or they hate the length of time it takes to travel. Whatever it is, crossing the sea by ship is out of the question.

Decanted all your liquids into poly-pocket-sized bottles

Flying is a different matter.

Anyone experience the annual joy of leaving the country, via airplane, with a family?

You've spent a week rolling the minimum of clothes into the tiniest of suitcases, decanted all your liquids into poly-pocket sized bottles, only to disrobe in front of half the country's population, because even though you are wearing NO METAL, the metal detector at the airport has other ideas!

Those treats aside, many people don't like to fly. Quite astounding, but there you go.

When our offspring were little, we spent two weeks one Summer on the beautiful island of Jersey, off the English coast.

It's everything you might imagine: quaint old villages, beautiful beaches, lovely people, wonderful weather. When we were there, the speed limit for the whole island was about 40 mph.*


Most interesting, the whole island is just under 45 square miles.


Which made it more astonishing when we met one resident who had never been off the island. Ever. He was a young man, about to be married. His bride-to-be was also from Jersey.

He was persuaded to attend a one-day Fear of Flying course

As he had a phobia about travelling over water, they would spend their honeymoon on the island. And set up home there.

The Dad (my dad) also harbours a life-long fear of flying. This, despite the fact that he worked for years in an industry which meant regular trips abroad. 

A few years ago, he was persuaded to attend a one-day Fear of Flying course, given by one of our biggest airlines.

He found himself in a room with a group of people, all ages and backgrounds. All with one thing in common.

It was all going splendidly, until The Dad began to ask questions.

"Do you know that you have a far greater chance of dying in a road crash, than you have of dying in a plane crash?" the instructor said. The Dad stuck up his hand.


"Wouldn't you also stand a far greater chance of walking away from a road crash, than a plane crash?"

The thing is, I can swim, but I can't fly

The instructor smiled patiently.
"Well, did you also know that you have a far greater chance of being on a sinking ferry, than being in a plane crash?"

"I think I'd prefer to take my chances with the ferry," said The Dad. "The thing is, I can swim, but I can't fly."

All of this must have had some effect on me. I travel by plane, but I'm never too happy about it.


One year, pre-holiday, I mentioned my nerves to the sales person in my local health shop. She produced a mild, natural remedy for relaxation.

I figured it probably wouldn't help, but it wouldn't do any harm. I took it an hour before we boarded the plane.

Within twenty minutes of boarding, I was fast asleep. I woke up just as we were landing, helped to organise the offspring, collect the bags and find our rented car. We had a two hour drive ahead of us. And I was the map reader.

The husband later told me that The Eldest, who was about eleven at the time, read the map from the back seat. I snored the whole way there. He was baffled that I was so tired.

In hindsight, I should have foreseen what would happen. I can barely manage a half glass of wine WITH FOOD, and more than one painkiller gives me a disconcerting high.

When it comes to sedatives - natural or not - I am clearly a light-weight.


I still fly.

But these days, I just brace myself.

                                                             *

* I am not being paid to promote Jersey!


Dear reader,
Big welcome from Dublin, and thanks a million for popping by.
Please SHARE this column via the sharing buttons below.

My new competition continues: simply become a FOLLOWER of this blog. When I get 50 followers, I will put the names into a hat and gift an e-copy of my book, through Amazon, to 3 winners. 


To celebrate my publisher's 5th Anniversary, their Birthday SALE and GIVEAWAY continues through MARCH 8th. My Irish romantic comedy, GOING AGAINST TYPE is one of the many fabulous books reduced at Tirgearr Publishing.

Amazon USA
 99cAmazon UK   99p


***For your chance to win a #KindleFire and lots of other prizes and bargains, join in the fun at #TirgearrPublishing's Birthday Bash: www.tirpub.com/birthday.***


If you'd like to get THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE FREE via email every fortnight, go to the Follow by Email box to the top right of this post.

What does that mean?
   1. You'll NEVER MISS my fun, fortnightly personal column + updates/guest author posts!
   2. Your email address will NEVER be shared or misused.
No spamming - I promise.

Have a lovely week, 
Hugs & xx
Sharon.

Monday, 6 February 2017

SPRING FEVERS




                                        Artistic endeavours always seem possible in Spring.


FEBRUARY 1st marked St Bridget's Day in Ireland. It also marked the first day of Spring.

By anyone's standards, it wasn't a bad start to the new season. It might have drizzled rain all day, but it was warm.

The fact that February 2nd was cold and stormy, is neither here nor there. It's Springtime in Ireland. And that's a cause for celebration.

It's also a time for Spring fevers. And I don't mean the type that send you crawling back to bed with hot drinks and painkillers. I experienced that particular joy for half of January!

Looking back, I know I was delusional

But with new year resolutions already a distant memory, Spring lends itself to new projects. 

No matter how mad.

One February I decided that decluttering the house AND painting all the pine furniture would be a perfect 28 day job.

Looking back, I know I was delusional. At the time, I wondered how I'd never thought of it before.

The first day was fantastic: a whole room got decluttered.

And even though nobody noticed how minimalist the bathroom was, I didn't mind.

By day four, I despaired of the whole throwing-stuff-out part of the project. It's not something I do well. I turned my attentions instead, to the painting bit.

When people enquire, I tell them it's a special paint technique

To this day, we have a strangely painted, blue mirror in the guest loo. It sports a giant, white silk flower in the top corner. The Middle One, who's very artistic, is deeply embarrassed by it. When people enquire, I tell them that it's a special paint technique.

It isn't. It's simply that I used the wrong sort of paint, and wasn't able to get the cover I needed on the wood.

I abandoned that particular project after that, much to my family's relief.

Then there was the year I thought growing mushrooms in my laundry room, was the pinnacle of self sufficiency. The kit came via a mail order company.

My excitement, when it arrived, was almost too much: the Styrofoam box filled with soil and the beginnings of a year's supply of mushrooms.

Clearly, it was a slow month.

But it got more exciting about a week later.

     "Where's those batteries I bought?" the husband asked.
     "What batteries?"
     "Pretty sure I left them in the laundry room."
     "Did you look?"
     "Of course I did. By the way, I found an old box of dirt out there."
     "You didn't do anything awful with it, did you?"
     "I scattered it around the flower beds in the garden. I wouldn't just throw it out, obviously."

Imagine her horror when thousands of small, white maggots spilled out

The best Spring project I ever heard about, also involved gardening. Although on a grander scale than growing mushrooms in a box.

A friend's husband announced that he was planning a decent-sized vegetable plot. It would be done properly. The first thing needed, apparently, was a good compost bin.

The friend paid no attention to any of this. It was the husband's project. And he was happy not to share too many details.

So when a box arrived in the post a couple of weeks later, she brought it in to the kitchen and opened it. I can only imagine her horror, when thousands of small, white maggots spilled out onto her table and all over the floor: the starter kit for the compost bin.

That evening, her husband arrived home to a spotlessly clean kitchen and a note from his wife to say she was spending the night on her own in a local hotel.

He got a week in the spare room.

Spring fevers? Like any kind, you're best to let them run their course.

And hope you'll come through the other side.

                                                          *


Dear reader,
Big welcome from Dublin, and thanks a million for popping by.


Please SHARE this column via the sharing buttons below. Or feel free to leave a comment :)

This month, I'm starting a little competition. Simply become a FOLLOWER of this blog. When I get 50 followers, I will put the names into a hat and gift an e-copy of my book, through Amazon, to 3 winners. 



If you'd like to get THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE FREE via email every fortnight, go to the Follow by Email box to the top right of this post.

What does that mean?
   1. You'll NEVER MISS my fun, fortnightly personal column + updates/guest author posts!
   2. Your email address will NEVER be shared or misused.
No spamming - I promise.


Meanwhile, with Valentine's Day around the corner, why not treat yourself to an Irish romantic comedy, 'Going Against Type'?

The link below will bring you to Tirgearr Publishing, where you can enjoy some free sample chapters, and buy links for every e-reader.

Tirgearr Publishing
 


Have a lovely week, 
Hugs & xx
Sharon.