Tag Archives: friends

The Day I Met… James Nesbitt


This bonus entry in the The Day I Met… Competition comes from Emma, who lives in the northern Irish countryside. She blogs at Adventures of an Unfit Mother. Her story involves an encounter with a very fine actor who is also well known for his charm and twinkle – James Nesbitt.

Emma herself admits she’s cheating with her entry.  “I’m playing a bit fast and loose with the rules,” she says. “But felt it was worth sharing.” And she’s right. I’ll reveal her rule bending in a moment, but first here’s a reminder of James Nesbitt’s work for those who need it.


He hit the big time as one of the ensemble cast of Cold Feet – a bit like a British Friends. He was going out with Helen Baxendale, who later popped up in Friends to marry Ross. (Didn’t work out.) He was the menacing undercover cop in Murphy’s Law (based on stories by Colin Bateman) and appeared in various films including Waking Ned (Waking Ned Devine in America) and is in the forthcoming hairy-footed epic, The Hobbit.

Hobbit (Okay, not really a hobbit, but a dwarf called Bofur in The Hobbit)

He was just great in Bloody Sunday directed by Paul Greengrass (Bourne & United 93) as civil rights leader and MP Ivan Cooper – and great again as the bereaved brother in Five Minutes of Heaven who refuses to give a killer easy absolution for the sake of TV cameras and the “peace process”.

The catch in Emma’s story is that it wasn’t her, but her Mum who met this particular star. But that’s fine, because that’s why it works. So here is…

The day my Mum met… James Nesbitt.

At a family wedding a number of years ago, the guest list included none other than James Nesbitt, the Northern Irish actor. He had gone to school with the groom. At the time he was starring in BT [British Telecom – the main UK phone network] ads on TV, as well as being one of the leads in Cold Feet – a very popular drama at the time.

In other words, he was doing very well for himself, thank you very much.

There was a low hum of excitement as he entered the church, but in typical Irish fashion he was then pretty much nonchalantly ignored..

Later in the day my Mum happened to be placed next to him at the table. Too this day, I have no idea whether this was a clever orchestration or happy chance, because Continue reading



Filed under Guest Posts, The Day I Met... Competition

Why Lady Di is worse than Stalin…

It’s true. Lady Di is significantly worse than Stalin.

This may seem perverse – especially after what I said about Uncle Joe last time around. But last night was a revelation.

He may be a contender for the title of world’s worst butcher, but just to be clear – when it comes to a choice between Stalin, Lady Di and something like a peasant – Stalin is by far the preferred option, with Lady Di in second place.

As for third place – that’s just unthinkable undrinkable Continue reading


Filed under life

Rage v. despair

Somewhere on the spectrum between rage and despair, there’s a point where you can direct your energy to actually getting things done. At least I hope there is.

A good friend of mine has been trying to better himself. He was recently in the depths. But now he’s recovered. One of the benefits of his repeated dark times over the years, has been the building of an extensive experience of tough living. In the past he has used this experience and empathy to help others. But now he wants to get some proper paper qualifications.

For someone conditioned to expect disappointment, knock backs and general instability – applying for and commiting to a long term academic course is daunting. Not just financially (that’s a whole other issue), but also psychologically. Not a step to be taken lightly.

So the route goes via the Job Centre – then the Shaw Trust (which is contracted to help people like my mate) – who then direct him towards an appropriate course and help with the application. Great. It’s a course in counselling other people. Perfect.

So he applies. He completes an assessment test. He writes an excellent assignment. He waits. This morning he receives a response from the person in charge of adult learning for the area.

Rejected.  Not because his application failed. Not because he failed the assessment test. Not because of his written assignment.

It turns out the course was already full. And had been for months. Even better, it had already begun before he was directed to apply.

Maddening. It’s almost as if cunningly planned by the “advisor” to dredge up any remaining hopes from an individual just so they can be crushed.

Sure, you may think it’s up to people to sort themselves out. Don’t go looking for help in the first place. Rely on yourself so you can be sure of what you’re getting into.

Many of us can and do. Some of us, however, can achieve wonderful things and overcome great challenges with just a little help at the right time. But that little bit of help at the right time can be vital – especially if your life, from the earliest days, has been troubled. (No need for details on that just now.)

I’m angry. Angry at the blythe insouciance of those who toy with people’s lives in such a casual way. They hook on a smile, bounce you off, tick the box marked “job well done”, and are heedless as to the outcome.

Overreaction? Not the end of the world? Maybe and yes. It’s certainly not the first time. Far from it.

So now we’re looking for that place on the spectrum between rage and despair, to hook up  again our own smiles, to try again, to keep the head up, to perservere, all those sorts of things – and not sink back down to the depths.

Luckily my friend has something excellent going for him. His character. So I’m optimistic. As usual.

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Filed under friends

Blog inspiration

There are loads of good blogs out there. But these are a few I check in with pretty much every day.

Slugger O’Toole for (Northern) Irish politics. Mick Fealty is the main man behind it.

Cultural Snow by the prolific Tim Footman.  He’s just brought out a book summing up the past decade, The Noughties. He’s got another about Leonard Cohen coming out in October 2009 I think.

The Little Pinch of Salt is the up and down, here and there life and love of Annie.

In his blog Why That’s Delightful!, Graham Linehan waxes alternately whimsical and wrathful at the ways of the world. You never know when he’ll suddenly spark off a popular uprising – on the Scottish media and Dunblane survivors for instance, or his twitter campaign on the political football that the NHS has become in the United States. (You’ll remember Graham from Father Ted. Ah you will, you will, you will… Sorry.)

And Strange Maps is a by turns gentle and incisive exploration of the geography of the world and the mind, via unusual maps.

To all the above. Thanks for the inspiration. All eejitry here is, of course, my own fault.

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Filed under blogs, Influences