There’s a hawthorn tree in there. No really.
Coincidentally, I was feeling cheerful this time last year. This is why I’m in a good mood now.
1. I planted a hawthorn tree. Few things are better than planting a tree. Putting down roots. Engaging with nature. Creating a legacy that will last till… Well, I hope it’s still there. I haven’t looked since the weekend. Better check it tomorrow. It’s tucked away in a corner between the village recreation ground and the allotments.
2. I encountered someone who has changed her mind and admitted she was wrong. She’s discovered she can’t wipe away what she wrote. But she’s apologising and rejecting the wrong. I find that refreshing. Good on you Nadia.
OK, I admit it. Some people’s hole digging productivity was a lot higher than mine. But surely that’s what Scouts are good at?
3. It may take a while, but given time and a fair wind, even a writer who it seemed had been written off, can get a publishing deal Continue reading
Not at all like my own Mum. There'd be a tea cosy on that pot for a start. Sunglasses in the house? No way. That colour hair? No. And more importantly, she has no need to pretend on either of the two days in question. OK, end of excessive schmaltziness.
If only all festivals could be this cooperative.
St Patrick’s Day only starts after midday in my English village – in the pub whose owner is married to a Mayo woman, which is run by a Leitrim man and which is frequented by the denizens of Clare, Tipperary and Antrim. Some British people manage to squeeze in too.
The delay is to accommodate Mothers’ Day in the morning. (American mothers are even more accommodating, they mark it on another day altogether.)
So if you’re an Irish mother, you’re welcome all day. On the downside, you may have to put up with plastic Shamrock-tinted tat.
I may drop in myself – just out of politeness… to Mothers.
But beforehand, as is traditional, I’ll link to my all -time favourite St Patrick’s Day joke.
And leave you with this I Spartacus-type short Patrick-themed film Continue reading
Firm-Rump – Lean Thighs – Great Tongue.
Bit cheeky putting that on a recruitment noticeboard, isn’t it?
Especially in Continue reading
I never sampled this one. Should I? Can anyone speak from experience on this brew? Or do you have... wait for for it... wait for it... no eye deer.
“Don’t you go getting any ideas now, d’ye hear?” Who said that to me? Teachers, girlfriends, police officers…. Er… my mind has suddenly gone conveniently blank.
But I can’t help it. Something will occur and I’ll seem to drift off for a moment. Here’s what happened earlier:
Scene – at the bar. A neighbour (by which I mean a fellow villager, not the fellas on either side of my house) leaves his lively table and arrives beside me at the bar to pay his tab. He looks at the printed out bill.
Neighbour: (Quietly) “How much is that? I can’t read it.”
Neighbour: (loudly) “Is it? Right…” (digs out his cash card)
Another drinker from my neighbour’s table: (shouting) “How much is it?”
Neighbour: “£200. And I only came in for a half.”
Laughter from the table. The barman puts the PIN machine on the bar top and my neighbour slots in his card. And then pauses.
Neighbour: (to barman) “I can’t see the numbers. You’ll have to put them in.”
Bar landlord: “Don’t worry, he knows the PIN numbers of half the people in the village.” Continue reading
I’d been dreading this moment – yet also girding my loins for the encounter.
Remember how this The Day I Met… business all began? The incident involving the little girl, her hat, the bestselling writer and his eye for a pretty lady? Well… As the weeks and months passed, and summer danced into autumn, I knew that some day I would have to face him once again…
My nemesis Continue reading
Is your dog ready for Hallowe'en?
Hallowe’en is coming and the goose is getting fat… That was what we sang door to door at Hallowe’en back in Belfast. Tuneful? No. A seasonal song? No. On the scrounge? Yes.
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat… At some houses my mates and I were listened to once, then other residents would be summoned to the door for a repeat of our odd performance.
If you haven’t got a penny, a pound will do… And at many doors we were Continue reading
James McDougall photographing a set at the Royal Opera House, London
My neighbour James McDougall was a gifted photographer. He recorded for posterity the nearly all the sets used by the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera between 1962 or ’63 and the early 2000s Continue reading
Just imagine, you finally get to meet your idol, only for it all to go terribly badly wrong?
Perhaps they disappoint you and disillusion sets in? Perhaps you throw up in their cumberbund? Or perhaps – like me – you manage to make an awful first impression.
I’ve received some great entries for this blog’s The Day I Met… competition. Some funny. Some poignant. All you need to do is email me your story – doesn’t have to be long – and I’ll publish it on this blog – a new one each Wednesday as long as it lasts. The competition details are here. But really, it’s as simple as emailing me at paulwaters99 @ hotmail.com (just remove the spaces in that email address). If it’s a funny story – all the better. And you’ll get a prize – the book of your choice from the list I’ll send you. But never mind that – just think of the prestige. Aaah.
Anyway – I need more entries – so please email.
And – just like junior army officers leading the charge on World War One trenches – I wouldn’t ask you to do something I wasn’t willing to do myself. So I’ll kick off with…
The Day I Met… Frederick Forsyth.
This was not how I had imagined things would go. Since internationally famous best-selling writer Frederick Forsyth popped up on the local scene, I’ve been secretly nurturing the hope that we’d have a chance meeting – over a pint in the local perhaps, followed by a quiet chat and erudite conversation about commonly held interests – the BBC, Africa, writing and local goings on.
Millinery maestro (huh!) Frederick Forsyth
Who knows where it might lead? Not to the disastrous encounter of the other day Continue reading
The wedding invitation had two photos.
On the front were a boy and a girl sitting together on the grass. She’s Su. He’s Wink. Both wearing cowboy hats. Both with whistles. Arms round each other. She’s holding a bunch of flowers and from the way she’s looking at the boy, clearly thinks he’s the best thing since soda bread (or whatever people round here like for breakfast). At the age of, I dunno, six? It’s obvious that they’re best buddies.
But it couldn’t last, could it? Continue reading
Do you get calls from school like this?
SCHOOL: Is it ok for your son to hold a duck egg, while wearing gloves?
I’ve lived in shared houses where the phone only received calls – a precaution by the landlord to prevent large bills being run up. Sometimes I wish my own home phone only made outgoing calls and couldn’t receive them. It would mean the end of phone spam, courtesy calls, “we’re doing a survey in your area” and… calls from the children’s school.
I’m not talking about the call every parent dreads – serious accident or injury or worse. I’m talking about the call every parent resents – the call that masquerades as serious. This phone call came just after a school trip, before the parent’s son had reached home.
TEACHER: Mrs Morrow, this is Mr E, I have some very grave news about your son.
MUM (panicking): What? What? Is he ok?
TEACHER: Oh yes, but on the school trip at the weekend I lent him 50p and he has not as yet paid me back.
MUM (trying to recover heart rate): Oh you stupid man. <hangs up>
It seems like life or death summons. The truth is teasingly delayed until you race to the rescue. Like with the mother who was told over the phone that her child was “doing as well as can be expected” after being hit in the face with a brick Continue reading