keresaspa: (Default)
2017-03-06 10:25 pm


*Insert weak joke about visiting Edinburgh lots before waffling for ages about most recent visit*

Therefore )
keresaspa: (Nina looking a tad pertubed)
2016-03-17 08:58 pm

Come into the parlour

I rather fear I say this every year but it wants repeating - St Patrick's Day can take a flying leap as far as I'm concerned. Despite my Irish republican tendencies I'm no patriot and as such a day given over to displays of nationalistic fervour is never going to sit too well with me. Still, for the most part I can generally ignore it, pull up the covers and let the mayhem take place but today that certainly wasn't the case.

I have a severely disabled uncle who lives a couple of miles down the road from me. No longer able to walk, his place has fell into severe disrepair to the point where the Fold has ordered a big overhaul or else he's out on his arse. My auld doll is his next of kin so much of it has been dumped in her lap and, in turn, been passed on to me as his only other relative (ignoring all his other nieces, nephews and their offspring, none of whom can be arsed) so these last lot of weeks have involved a load of fannying about on my part, sorting, rearranging, humping heavy loads and various other bits of donkey work that invariably get dumped on you when you are huge like me.

Today however - a three hour wait for a delivery from Argos. Of a bin.

A fucking bin!

I might not care for donkey work but carrying a bin a few streets would have taken me about ten minutes instead of three hours of sitting with sod all to do, having had to battle my way through scenes of unmitigated carnage on the Ormeau Road where seemingly the entire under-25 population of rural Northern Ireland had descended to get royally pissed. Beyond repeating five or six phrases, more or less at random, my uncle (who has had several strokes, the first of which was in 1989) is more or less unable to communicate and I had already done all the sorting I could so there was literally nothing to do for those three hours other than wait for a doorbell to ring. Ordinarily it would have been the responsibility of the person in charge to let the delivery man in but she's wangled herself a few days off so yours truly was in the firing line once again.

It was well after five by the time I got out of there and the buses were running on a skeleton service so once again I was forced to walk up the Ormeau Road, where all the bais had a day's solid drinking behind them and were all the more obnoxious for it. Put it this way, when I first went down the road at just after 1 there were chaps whipping their knobs out on the main road for a pish so four hours later things were a lot worse. One house appeared to be on fire, which was a source of amusement to the assembled morons, some idiot was doing cartwheels before one of his number did us all a favour and belted him and the harassment of the female population had begun in earnest, again to the amusement of the assembled morons (the rabid misogyny of so many young - and not so young - men these days is really disturbing). Hell, that was just the tip of the iceberg as I didn't stick around but suffice to say days like this make the fact that haemochromatosis severely restricts my alcohol intake seem like a blessing rather than a "Celtic curse".

So St. Patrick's Day - you can keep it. Vulgar, drunken idiots supposedly celebrating an accident of birth by living down to every negative stereotype about their kind, the sort so blind with sectarian hatred that they wrap themselves in a made-up green, white and yellow tricolour flag because they're too bigoted to don the colour orange that makes up one third of Thomas Francis Meagher's banner. Future Sinn Fein leaders in other words. The only day of the year that kind of makes me wish I had been born a loyalist, this might have to join the Twelfth as an excuse to quit this backwards dump for a while in future.
keresaspa: (Jabberjaw)
2013-11-25 08:04 pm

Well, stone me

You'll all remember the whole garden lark that I waffled about in the summer. Silence on that score was due to the entire thing grinding to a premature halt not long afterwards. There was a lot of fuss about getting cement to plug gaps that delayed things, a lot of fuss about getting a new back fence that delayed things, my being sidetracked into taking on a rather major project at the house of my severely disabled uncle, problems getting the required stones, poor weather, haemochromatosis and a general lack of being arsed that saw the whole thing grind to a halt.

Involves pictures and length )
keresaspa: (J Wellington Wimpy)
2013-07-08 08:44 pm

The garden of delights

Sunday was not only the hottest day of the year so far but it also saw me finish phase one of operation back garden. Given that even in Arctic conditions I sweat more than a cow's hooter choosing that day on which to tackle the miss was ill-advised at best but nevertheless I soldiered on. At this point I think it is expedient to break in order to illustrate the task I've undertaken.

I should point out at this juncture that the path up the middle was cemented into place and out of view there was an old aluminium bin filled to bursting point with unused bricks. Well, systematically these last lot of weekends all of that has changed. Paving slabs, bricks, stones, roof tiles, breeze blocks and (most bastardly of all) those big heavy things on the edge of pavements cemented to breeze blocks have all been cleared, the latter being so heavy (and pointless) that carrying them over to the rubble pile saw that red veil descend over my field of vision, a sensation one only ever gets when carrying something just that little bit too weighty for comfort. Alongside that all the green crap had to come up from the roots all the while making sure that a specific bush and a tree had to remain untouched. Going under a tree when you are bald means only one thing - one's sunburnt head being torn to shreds by low lying branches. As you can imagine the tree is now on my enemies list and the bush and me aren't exactly on speaking terms either. Bloody nuisance things.

With all that done odd black carpet stuff had to be laid down in order to cover the entirety of the bare soil with the intention of stopping regrowth. It remains to be seen whether or not it will work but that bit has been done as well now:

Yesterday saw the odyssey come to an end (in between filling in gaps in my gaff due to yet another invasion by the bastard bastard bees) and now all that remains to be done is to arrange delivery of a ton/tonne of small stones and to spread them all over the blackened land. This being me I'm sure there are plenty of things that can go tits up between now and then but for now I'm rather pleased that the weeding, stoning and carpet-laying are all done and the final bit can wait until I return from London. Inevitably my back and shoulders are aching like the man who pushed the cart and the horses but at least it's done. For now anyway.
keresaspa: (Piggy Banks)
2013-06-16 09:39 pm

Garden leave

Yeah, still alive, just not very much to tell you. Operation back garden continues apace but is nowhere near reaching its climax for a number of reasons. For one I didn't realise just how much of a forest the place had become, meaning that the clear-up operation is proving a massive task for a lone chap without any mechanical tools. Suffice it to when you start discovering unexplained tree roots you know you have a bloody big job on your hands. There's also the issue that seemingly as much as one third of the garden is composed of unwanted bricks, paving slabs and stones, all of which have to be cleared without a skip as well as my generally low energy levels (a combination of haemochromatosis giving me its usual kicking and all that extra weight I insist on sporting) and a sudden turn for the worse in the weather to be taken into consideration. That and recent jaunts to Bangor, Ballymena and Dublin eating away at my time, as well as a general weariness of gardening as a whole. I'll get there in the end of course but for the minute I do believe I've had enough for a little and will, at least temporarily, put the bent spade, the 89p hand trowel and the child's rake into cold storage.

Meanwhile outside my door we have the G8 turning back the clock to the days of the Troubles by placing Northern Ireland under virtual martial law. It's in Fermanagh, which is nowhere near me, but on Saturday there was all manner of sundry protests against their presence, notably in Belfast city centre where a big rally was held at City Hall alongside the standard fleg mobs (yup, they're still going on). There was a time I might have gone along but I gave it a miss this time. It's not that I don't detest the G8 simply that the days of demos making any difference are long gone, if they even existed in the first place. Governments are corrupt and always will be and people power won't change that as Egypt has so starkly shown. People power may have gotten rid of Mubarak but his replacements are just as sleazy and repressive and if they go too whoever replaces them will be as well. It's true communism or nothing for me, folks - ethical capitalism is an oxymoron and social democratic governments still involve a small elite group having their fingers in the till. That and the fact that the protests were organised under the aegis of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, an organisation that is frankly about as radical as the Women's Institute and was until very recently in the pockets of successive conservative governments down south. And it was pishing rain, but we'll not mention that reason.

Still, I suppose we should enjoy it whilst we can. With an EU withdrawal probably looming large, China already well in front of them and India and Brazil not far behind the nonsense of calling Britain one of the eight richest countries in the world will be over and done with soon enough and all this sort of old rubbish will be a distant memory. The sooner the better.
keresaspa: (Piggy Banks)
2013-02-05 06:02 pm

The Kingdom of Elmet

In a diversion from the norm I found myself heading eastwards this weekend for a spell in Yorkshire. As those of you who also subscribe to the Winter Palace will already be aware [ profile] queenmartina has bade farewell to the delights of Glencairn, Ligoniel, Turf Lodge and the Village and swapped it for the delights of Otley, Gildersome, Potternewton and Morley by swapping Belfast for Leeds. With this in mind yours truly was roped in to add rippling muscle/sagging flab (delete as applicable) to proceedings by accompanying her over for the Big MoveTM.

Friday started with a minimum of fuss. A taxi ride to the Middle of Sodding Nowhere Airport (Belfast International to you, Sunny Jim) saw the driver take a tortuous route through the mountains beyond the Glen Road (where GAA grounds abound for some reason) although ultimately it proved a fairly sensible option, avoiding as it did the worst of the traffic. The flight itself was equally painless, being virtually empty, leaving on time and arriving early. Leaving Leeds Bradford Airport, another taxi hauled us to leafy Headingly, the location of the new homestead, where [ profile] burkesworks and a load of boxes awaited. A session of my speciality - donkey work - followed, trailing the boxes upstairs and decanting the contents from therein. Too knackered for owt after that so a jaunt out locally for a bite of pizza was all that could be done that night. Were I only a fan of either cricket or rugby league I would have been laughing as the flat overlooks the Carnegie Stadium but neither the sound of leather willow nor portly northern gentlemen twisting each other's ears appeals.

Loathe as I was to miss my weekly dose of live football [ profile] burkesworks and myself took our leave on Saturday afternoon to go and watch the famous Bradford Park Avenue (their words, not mine) taking on the might of Solihull Moors in the Conference North. It was a new experience for yours truly, as I had never experienced the English game at this level before, but I found the Horsfall Stadium to be a decent ground that would not have looked out of place in our own Irish League. The action too was of a decidedly Irish League standard, with Avenue (or "Aven-yooooh" as the elderly chap close behind us was wont to howl at irregular intervals) very much in ascendancy for the vast majority of the match, particularly down the flanks. Unfortunately for BPA, who seemed unsure whether their club colours were green and white or red, yellow and black, they were well short of quality upfront and what should have been a thumping win ended up only a 1-0 triumph. Still, good larf and a worthy substitute for my usual fayre, whilst the mini-museum in their clubhouse was fascinating to the point where I reckon I could do a decent job on Mastermind answering questions on Len Shackleton following my visit.

I spent the Sunday in the city centre, although the shorter opening hours meant that I didn't get to see everything as I would have liked. A tip of the hat to the St John's Centre, a small shopping centre which contains two music shops and sundry discount retailers, a combination that I can only presume was designed specifically in anticipation of my visit, given my well documented love of buying CDs and discount tat. Smashing. I've been informed there is a market I should visit and a doll's shop that is likely to weird me out and be darling in equal measures but they will have to wait for another time as they were closed. Boo.

Monday was when I took my leave. After a scout round the local hokeys to see what could be seen we caught the bus out to a slummy area that resembled our own Harryville, from where I bade goodbye to [ profile] queenmartina and [ profile] burkesworks to get on my way back to the airport. With the weather having taken a sudden and unexpected turn to the apocalyptic the journey home was inevitably more of an ordeal with the plane delayed (only for a while admittedly), my stomach taking a boo-boo near the end of the flight and a long wait in the lashing rain for the bus back to Belfast from Middle of Sodding Nowhere Airport. Still, I made it in the end as this post demonstrates.

All in all a decent break from the norm. I'm feeling a might unwell today, due to a lack of sleep, the general pains from the donkey work and kipping on a settee, not to mention the fact that the snow made a brief return last night, chilling me to the bone but doing my bit and seeing new places was a fine way to spend my time.
keresaspa: (Scrubber Daley)
2011-09-05 06:38 pm

(no subject)

Yesterday was a day of shifting and hauling umpteen bits of furniture in an ultimately futile attempt to squeeze three newly acquired pieces into our already packed house (two made the cut, one has had to be sent on its merry way). Inevitably today is a day of nagging pains in the shoulders and arms, with the right shoulder pain that my recent bouts of physio alleviated (for a day or two) making a comeback. Let's face it if physio actually worked, rather than serving as a cut-price quick fix, the government would withdraw it immediately and make it only available through Bupa. So ouch then.

One other thing - has anybody else found Google to be almost unusable recently? Every time I try to load the bloody thing it takes forever and often freezes my computer. Or is this another of those things like Internet Explorer that all the cool people have stopped using leaving only idiots like me behind? Either way Google crap or laptop crap?
keresaspa: (Ivy the Terrible)
2011-04-25 08:06 pm


Bored. Earlier futile attempts to discover the source of a rotten smell in the kitchen cannot disguise the fact that I am as bored as bored can be. Good lord but bank holidays are pigging! They may be the definition of excitement and freedom in proper cities but in my neck of the woods everything comes to a standstill and you are left only with a crushing, interminable ennui. None of which is helped by our internet connection being as weak a malaria victim on hunger strike and cutting out every lot of minutes for some reason. Blasted Virgin Media and their slapdash service. Even the telly is no release as it seems determined to serve up a choice between God-awful film versions of ropey 70s sitcoms and fluffy nonsense about two over-cosseted shits who happen to be getting married. I get it, some geezer from Bahrain can't come but please stop telling me every five minutes in excruciatingly boring detail.

So in summary - bored.
keresaspa: (Professor Stanley Unwin)
2009-10-29 07:02 pm
Entry tags:

For me this is an achievement

So my Ikea-bought Billy bookcase, the very model of conformity, is now up and running. Ordinarily I am useless at these sort of things (long term readers, if such a thing still exists, might remember the CD tower debacle) but this time it was a doddle - specifically because a guy I know who is good at things did it for me. Still it was me who shifted it out so I take some credit, especially as the low ceilings in my house mean that it was quite a squeeze. The inevitable photo now follows:

A camera is an excuse to record the most meaningless parts of one's life )

A welcome addition and no mistake as my previous arrangement of piling books high on an old table and leaving the rest cluttering up the floor in bags was somewhat less than satisfactory. Yup, I do live like a pig. Not only that but there is a little space left over so I needn't feel any guilt the next few times I add to the collection. Jolly good.

Cripes, middle age really must have arrived if I am getting excited about a blooming piece of furniture!
keresaspa: (Arthur Atkinson)
2009-09-02 06:24 pm


Once again pain is the order of the day. Not this time one of my sundry annoyances that comes on from nowhere, but rather a pain caused by a specific, and really quite disgusting, activity. No, nothing like that, you dirty gits!

Yesterday a gloak came round to fix some minor stuff in our house that wants fixing and then left. All very good except that no sooner had said gloak left than, as often happens, the drains in our backyard started spewing forth rancid water. Had this happened an hour or two earlier the gloak in question would have been pressed into service once more and probably earned himself an extra few quid. Alas and alack it was not to be. The upshot was that a blockage was diagnosed and muggins here was pressed into action to remove it. Not how I was hoping to spend the day but I am cursed with a pair of monkey arms that practically reach down to my knees so any stretch and grab work is always dumped on my plate as a result.

There are many better ways to spend one's afternoon than with your arm down a drain trying to grab hold of big lumps of soggy silt, dead insects, worms, stale yackum and God only knows what else (tweezing out the nasal hairs or self-dentistry spring to mind) but that was my lot in life. When all was said and done the difficulty in accessing said gunk as well as the narrowness of the drain and the width of my arm caused me to wrench my shoulder out of whack and I am now nursing a considerable ache that not only interfered with my sleep but is also making typing this masterpiece a bit of a strain. I also have some delightful red welts on both of my arms which, for some reason, I felt the need to photograph but even I wouldn't inflict such trivia on my millions and millions of readers. That and the ghastly smell that still lingers made the whole experience quite horrific, although even worse is the fact that the bloody thing is still blocked and some tool called a worm is apparently needed to complete the job. God knows there were plenty of worms down there already but I suspect that worm means something else in this context. No, really?!

So anyway to sum up this post - ow.
keresaspa: (Lorraine)
2009-08-20 05:58 pm
Entry tags:

Dastardly Inefficacious Yarborough

Painting - is there anything that is more hard work for such scant reward? "It'll look nice when it is finished" they claim but you know full well that, given that it starts off as a wall, continues to be a wall whilst you paint the blasted thing and will remain a wall once you have finished and in perpetuity thereafter that, far from looking "nice", it will look as dull as walls do. By their nature they are boring things and paint doesn't change that. Faron Young didn't sing "Hello Walls" because he was suffering from a rare mania that caused him to talk to inanimate objects but rather because they are proverbially boring. Add the fact that our landing (which was where the painting was apparently required) is about as narrow as I am wide and my total lack of a head for heights and the whole ghastly tableau becomes even worse. To put a cap on the whole thing I was then forced to have yet another attempt at fixing the now mythical bouncing blind in my house which, suffice to say, went tits up as usual. I am now reaching the point where the wall in my house is in too poor a state of repair for me to go on and so if and when the blind comes tumbling down again I will have to forget about it and let the world gaze in on me as it sees fit. If you ask me DIY really should stand for "damned inconvenient yellowhammers" (he said, falling back on the Every Villain is Lemons school of initials and acronym). I now require sweeties and something to take away all those little horrible bits of paint that will infest my skin for the next six weeks or so.
keresaspa: (Gus Goose)
2009-03-28 12:40 am

File under s for stupid

Pain, agony, ouch, etc. Or to put it another way, I'm a bit on the sore side right now. Today I decided would be a good day in which to do something I had been thinking about for a while now - moving a filing cabinet from my old bedroom upstairs to my newer place outside apropos of ensuring some new reading material for the long hours of insomnia. Unfortunately since I vacated my old bedroom it has become what is technically known as a midden, to wit a dumping ground for suitcases, clothes, exercise equipment, tins of paint and various other stuff that nobody really wants but that equally nobody wants to get rid of. So before anything could be done a path needed clearing amongst the rubbish. A terribly fiddly job involving lots of things falling, indeed the sort of hateful little slice of life that makes you miss the smokes (because no minor irritant happened to me as a smoker, you see). Once that was done the contents of the cabinet had to be emptied and dumped in my auld doll's room. Again fiddly with things falling.

Plain sailing from here on, I thought, not reckoning with the fact that our landing is narrower than Kate Moss on a hunger strike. As a consequence the clothes horse and clothes press that inhabit that area had to be moved temporarily to the bathroom. More things falling, more seething from my good self. I also hadn't reckoned with just how bloody heavy the cabinet was, even having been emptied. After just about managing to walk the bugger to the top of the stairs I was struck with the realisation that somehow it had to go down the bloody things. With a bit of thought it was decided that the only way would be for it to be laid flat and slid down the stairs, with me in front of it to ensure that it didn't go flying down and crash straight through the front door. That was the killer part! The weight of the bloody thing was immense, as I realised whilst trying to support it with my hands, to the extent that I only avoided a handful of notices in the Irish News through a sudden rush of adrenaline that allowed me to stop it braining me at the last second. Then, just as I suspected, as soon as it was on its back it took off with sudden velocity and I was forced to tilt it back up a bit in order to move it down more slowly. By this point it was crushing my chest somewhat severely and for once I was glad to be a fat man as, thinking on my feet, I took a page out of the weightlifting handbook and rested the load on my ample breadbasket. Having convinced myself I had a Terry Hollands physique I pressed on, although in fairness it stopped my ribs from cracking and my lungs from being punctured, so score one to the spare tyre (for a monster truck) which would be amply awarded with a fish supper later. Eventually I managed to get the cabinet down the stairs with just a bunch of bruises and a complete lack of breath for my trouble. The ordeal was not over as the back step still had to be negotiated as well as the raised part in front of my door but compared to the Gehenna that was the stairs they were easier than falling off a tightrope made of soap.

So as I said earlier, a bit on the sore side right now would be the crux of this story. Still a bunch of old football magazines, Dandy annuals and republican newspapers should keep me amused for a while so it's not all bad. Just mostly!
keresaspa: (Seagull)
2004-10-18 03:43 pm
Entry tags:

How's your Bert's lumbago?

I knew it had been too long since my back popped out. Decorating is the order of the day at my gaffe (yet again!) and so furniture had to be humped around. No problem at the time. Come Sunday night as I was reaching to get a book from a table near my sofa (but not so near that I didnt have to stretch) the wrenching sound kicked in followed by the dull explosion of pain. Just my luck when I'm off on me jolly-days again on Friday. Being a bit phobic of painkillers that give a couple of hours relief only to bring pain back worse I'm sticking to [ profile] vulcanlolita's Deep Heat soap (not sure what it is really called), Willem II cigars (dont kill pain but I like them) and what can only be described as a homemade truss consisting of a series of bandages wrapped round my torso. Essay demands (as well as e-bay successes) mean that I've had to limp down here humped over like a veteran uncle. What a naffing world!