Saturday, 25 April 2009

ANZAC Day - Northern Ireland

From the BBC and as such is copyright:

Ballance House, the birthplace of one of New Zealand's premiers, John Ballance, near Glenavy, was the location of an Anzac Day service.

On 25 April 1915, troops began the bloody fight for the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey.

More than 100,000 soldiers died - about 11,000 were Anzacs, but Irish and other troops also took part.

Many men from the Royal Irish Fusiliers - now the Royal Irish Regiment - were wounded or died during the unsuccessful attempt to open a second front in the Mediterranean.

About 200 people were expected to attend the remembrance event, organised by the Ulster-New Zealand Trust.

In Dublin, the Australian Embassy,held an Anzac Dawn Service at 0630 on Saturday at Grangegorman Military Cemetery.

Here is the link to the original article:


Cutting the grass

Wednesday 22nd April.

Here I am in the present tense. It is Wednesday, I am cutting the grass. I believe, hopelessly, that this will be the last cut before Spring. Of course it doesn't work that way here. The grass grows long all year long. Not like the land of my birth: Northern Ireland where everything goes to sleep in the winter and then bursts forth in multiplication with a colourful Spring display of Daffodils and crocus (plural of crocus required here). Oh, how interesting! Crocuses or croci. Oh, more interesting it can be crocus as both singular and plural like deer. Now I'm wondering if crocus is a zeromorph: deer not deers; sheep not sheeps (and yes I know 'the sheep's in the meadow').

So. I am not thinking of zeromorphs. As I finish the 'last cut' I feel a strange sensation deep within my lower lip. At first I think it is the warning tingle of the imminent arrival of the dreaded cold sore. But no. This is not a tingle it is more like an electric shock. I continue with my trimming.

Next morning I lie there with something that feels like a brick hanging off the side of my mouth. Arrrrggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh. It is a cold sore. A biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig one. I have never had one so large. That is why I did not recognise the warning in the lip. Could this be a super simplex of the herpes kind? Is it possible that my little herpes simplex lying dormant since last year has mutated due to global warming or climate change or whatever they are calling Nature these days. I know that out here in Warrington we are advised not to drink the water. Indeed we do not. We drink the water only in hot drinks. For refreshing drinks of water we drive into Dunedin and get a big cannister of water from Speight's Brewery. But when you shower or brush your teeth there is always the chance that water droplets from Warrington's toxic supply could be accidentally ingested. Yeuch.

Anyway that got me out of a trip to the dentist on Friday. No sense in exposing my dentist to vile viruses. A shame really as it took two years waiting for an appointment for Oral Rehabilitation as it is called now. Now before anyone thinks that there is a scarcity of dentists in Dunedin I'd better confess that I am a patient at the Otago Dental School. This is where I first went for emergency treatment on moving to Dunedin and this is where I stayed. I have been several times now for replacement fillings and on all occasions I have been treated well. The only difficulty is with the waiting time. There is a discrepancy between what they tell you at reception and what actually happens with with patients upstairs. I knew I needed more treatment and that is now about to happen.

My appointment has been remade for next Friday. If my Zovirax does its work - and there is no reason other than the extraordinary size of this cold sore to suspect it won't - I will be measured up for a new suit of teeth next week.

More later.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Before I forget

Last Sunday we went to Hampden to an Apple Day event. I saw a few people there I hadn't seen in a while. We had to remind one another of our names. We knew who we were - you dig? - just missing the names. (you're digressing earlier than usual - Ed)

Let us say, for the sake of argument, let us say that I had no idea what an apple day might consist of other than a fanciful notion that there might be piles of wonderful apple related produce like apple pies, dumplings, jars of jellies and mountains of apples to sort into bags and take away for a gold coin donation or suchlike.

Our hostess hadn't been before and I noticed she seemed disappointed. Good, that means it was OK for me to be disappointed as well.

That cheered us up no end and we all had some soup - no, no, no, not apple soup you silly reader you - it was pumpkin, vegetable and something else. The journalist without a note book's nightmare. What was that third soup. I can see it now, there, look, just floating in front of me out of reach ... scotch broth? ... chicken? ... tomato? .. sump oil? Ah, fuggit. I give up.

Advice to Hampden Apple Day organisers for next year (if there is one): try to do something interesting with apples or else call the day something else, like Apache Massacre Reenactment Day for that will have as much to do with apples as did last week's offering.

Curmudgeon signing off now.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Why I write

From an Interview with William Burroughs:

I met Alex [Alexander Trocchi] on a plane, going to the literary conference in Edinburgh in 1962. That was a conference organised by John Calder, who came over to Paris and persuaded me to go. We both got there and they handed us some money, you know, sort of spending money.

They handed us some money. Says it all really. And this, my friends, my chums, mes semblables, is what its all about. This is why we destroy our health breathing cold air in damp houses, develop hunches from bad postures over typewriters, keyboards, notebooks on knees in the low overhead light glow of aircraft passing over your house while you sleep well. For: ' ... you know, sort of spending money.'

I want the fame. I want to see the friend nudging her companion from the corner of my eye .. Isn't that? Yes, yes it is. And I'm gone. You saw me but you didn't get the autograph, you weren't quick enough.

But I will visit the sick, read passages to the halt, the lame and the demented. No charge. Speak inspirationally to young writers: My advice? Throw away your Strunk. (polite laughter)

But every now and again I wouldn't mind some spending money.