Archive for the 'time' Category

Long Time Coming

Walking home in the fog and on the ice tonight I thought again about how long it’s been since I wrote anything. And i got all nostalgic about a month ago and thought “you know I should write something when I get home”. And so I am.

I’ve been so used to having lots of time and stuff to write about that being on the blog was a normal routine part of my life, like my room or work or the Volvo. I’ve come to miss the blog, even though it’s only been two weeks.

Obviously the sheer volume of comment and mail I’ve been getting demanding more blogs has also prompted me somewhat.


img_01212.jpgI (and a large part of the Portadown massive – well 10 or so…) spent new years in a wee cottage in Donegal, staying up till 5am watching Die Hard and prolnged games of Trivial Pursuit. It was of course simply wonderful. My desire, some would say itch, for travelling has left me. I have no desire left in me to see many of the great sights of the world. I have a desire to go and live and work overseas, but mere travel seems unattractive to me now. My current ambition is Donegal for a few days with a fire and a few books. Weird.img_2277.jpg

And though I meant to I never really go round to a proper Dongal blog and now it seems a bit distant.

I have upped my intense work schedule to 3 days a week in the past month, and though this seems kind of minuscule it has really seemed quite busy to me. My main problem with work is that it leaves me sleepless. I generally get home late, with my mind buzzing, clearly set for “thinking” mode and not “sleeping mode”. There have been a number of 3ams seen as I run through resuscitations in my head and look up rare syndromes on UpToDate on my phone.

Work itself is generally 8 or 9 hrs of not sitting, eating or peeing while I run around like a mad eejit, my head stressing and buzzing. And the weird thing is I love it. I love the stress and I love the buzz. Will be the end of me no doubt.

Outside of work I’ve spent hours with the headphones on fiddling with GarageBand, recording and mixing a few songs for a mate. They’re really good songs, which is nice for a change from playing with the miserabilist dirges I tend to write. I have vague notions towards doing more music stuff, but it would mean selling a kidney (or even my soul…) and buying Logic Pro and a MacBook Pro and getting all excited about compressors. I’d love to be that person, just not quite sure whether I should.

My reading has gone to pot, somehow just not getting the time to wade through books the way I used to. All these darn people getting in the way.

I have a job interview next week. For a proper job, instead of my current Mickey-Mouse (but wonderful) current position of “work when I want”. I’m not sure I want a proper job.

That about brings us up to date. Not sure you missed out on much really.

Day 3 – Harbortown

Having sorted out the brief temporal disturbance, and realizing that we’d almost missed breakfast, we sat down to a feed of sausages, bacon, black and white pudding, eggs and lashings (yes Enid Blyton is alive and well…) of tea and coffee. Our fry in seems to be lacking in potato bread and soda bread, that which makes for the famed Ulster fry. Though I’m not sure I want to make breakfast into a political statement by asking for some. I did wear my Ireland rugby top, though I admit that of all our sports tops that’s the least likely to be politically offensive, unlike the Man United top, which although politically neutral generates a whole new brand of sectarian hatred in everyone’s hearts.

The drive to Westport was wet and bumpy and almost resulted in a serious car accident when some Muppet pulled out in front of the office.

We kept getting stuck in queues of traffic outside chapels in small towns, as legions of the faithful piled out from mass into the narrow streets to escape the rain.

Just as we approached the doo lough pass the skies began to clear giving us a vista over the hills of Connemara, transporting us from the cloudy damp west coast or Irelandglen.jpg to somewhere just outside Glencoe. If this is somewhere in Ireland you haven’t visited then make a point of visiting it.


The view did bring about a brief period of giddiness and some minor nudity (note – arses have been [poorly] altered to disguise identity) among the lads but this passed before it was drawn to the attention of the local Gardai (all one of them).


From there the road followed the river out to where it entered Kilary harbour, the only fjord in Ireland (said in a Father Ted “I hear t’is the largest launduret department in Ireland…” stylee). This is another place you need to see.

At the head of the harbour are the Aasleagh falls. Again worth seeing. In fact it’s all good and I’ll leave the Bord Failte stuff to … Well.. Bord Failte I suppose.

I have this unforgettable places to see before you die book. Which is a bit of morbid and strange title but anyhow… And Kilary harbour is in there, along with the Giant’s Causeway. So I suppose that’s two done. The idea of box-ticking travelling now repels me – even though it didn’t only 2 years ago. Funny how you don’t notice things change in you.

library-5388.jpgWe stopped briefly at Kylemore abbey – a big kick ass 19th century mansion place that was taken over (though not in the military sense) by a bunch of nuns from Ypres who lost their convent (in the military sense) in France during WW2 and were given refuge in Ireland. To be fair they could have done worse, ending up in a mansion running an exclusive boarding school. Vows of poverty eh? Who needs em?

library-5301.jpgAnd so eventually we come to Clifden, a nice wee village that’s seen the benefit of some N6 Euros from Dublin, and now sports a spanking new hotel complex with a mini shopping arcade below.

We get the last room in the place. And while more pricey than a room above a pub in Newport it does give us access to a jacuzzi.

Of note this has been a bit of a soft, southern shandy drinking road trip for Nelly. Yes I do like sleeping in my car, yes I do enjoy not washing for several days in a row and eating cold noodles off a trangia. But I suppose road trip is more about the collective than the individual. And the collective isn’t up for the back of the Volvo (in any sense!!!) or cold noodles or not washing. And well to argue would just be rude wouldn’t it. Yes, rude, wouldn’t dare… Oh yes could you fluff another pillow for my back please… Ahhh…

Diamonds on the soles of her shoes


Of my many, and ever increasing number of neuroses, is my fear of boredom. Of mental, physical or spiritual inactivity. That somehow I will read, work or spiritualise my way into heaven. I’ve tried this. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t stop me trying.

So one of my many, and ever increasing list of problems, is dealing with an empty diary. I keep my appointments on my calendar function on my phone. Because I like digital order and the nerdish satisfaction I have from it. Usually this consists of work rotas, gigs, practices and meeting up with various folk. I like when each day has a little blue square of happily occupied bliss. I like it even better when one little blue square runs into the next and then the appointments get highlighted in red as a clash, like some kind of James Bond doomsday device countdown read-out.

These little things give my self-justifying soul a warm and fuzzy feeling.

The last little blue square of bliss I had was a wedding a month ago. And that was it. When I look at my phone it greets me with no ‘upcoming appointments’. A constant reminder of the uncertain mornings, afternoons and evenings that lies before me.

This no longer scares me. In fact I’ve grown to quite like the idea. Like new shoes that feel odd and uncomfortable, almost constricting compared to your beloved and smelly trainers that have finally made a final demand for holiday entitlements and a pension fund. These new and, almost brutal new shoes slowly worm their way into your life till you try on the old trainers one day when they’ve just popped back from the golf course and you realise that you’ve grown used to the new ones.

I promise to refrain from shoe metaphors for the remainder of our time together.

I’m getting used to the idea of waiting. I’m getting used to the idea of not justifying myself by what I do. I’m getting used to the idea of having nothing in the diary for the next 3 months.  I’m getting used to the idea of not being happy about it.

The worm hole

Time flies. Usually with the addition, ‘when you’re having fun’. I find it generally always flies. Maybe I’m always having fun. It was always more as a kid that I thought time dragged. Like in the back of a car travelling to Cork with the endless ‘are we there yet?’ I must have been (past tense naturally) an annoying wee twerp.

The worst job I ever worked in, not that there have been that many, was in a garlic bread factory. Not pleasant as you can imagine. It was just after I finished my A-levels and there were threats of laundry not being done and food not being served if I didn’t get off my bum. Kind of justified.

So I ended up in this place through the wonders of a recruitment agency. I had a glowing CV and I’m sure it was my beating heart and lack of criminal record that landed me the job. And there was me naively thinking they might take brain surgeons just after their A-levels.

The place sucked. It was a noisy, conveyor belt thing, where little slices of frozen garlic bread came through a window from some other room (in fact I never found out where they came from, maybe they just appeared in the room through some worm-hole from another, more galricky universe, I doubt it though…) and my task was to put 5 (not 6 mind you) slices in a little plastic tray before it entered from cellophane wrapping machine.

I remember the same summer one of my mates, who worked in Moy Park, told me that he’d seen a guy lose a finger in one of their machines. I felt bad for the guy’s finger, but worse for the fact that I didn’t have any cool stories to tell. Except that guy who fell in the worm-hole but no one believed me…

You had to wear lovely white overalls, a hair net and lovely shiny gloves that didn’t fit. It was freezing so generally you had to wear a few layers even under the overalls. It was so noisy that you couldn’t even speak to folk beside you. Given the boredom of the job, a conversation would have been a pleasant way to pass the time.  But no joy, you could try shouting above the conveyor belt, but you would have to repeat yourself so many times that you’d lose concentration on your slices, and all of a sudden there’s be 7 slices in a tray and the cellophane machine would jam and then you’d have scary, facially challenged, Margaret (I’ve no idea if she was called Margaret, I had that little contact with her on a human level that she left no impact on my life) shouting at you.

At your precious, 15min break times, you’d sit alone in a changing room, eating garlic flavoured sandwhiches (everything tasted of garlic) while everyone else went to smoke in a dingy smoke room. Maybe that was the only way to get away from the smell of garlic.

After my first day, I knew things would have to change. I brought a book (Sophie’s World – brief, narritive history of philosophy, great book) of my brothers and sat in the car, eating my lunch and listening to the same Delirious tape over and over and again (King of fools incidentally, now always brings back bad memories. Unfortunate, not a bad album).

There’d be occasional brilliant moments when the supervisor would send you on some task, like to bring the pallet truck into the cold store. A job like that was a joy, freedom, in whatever limited capacity, for a few minutes. The coldness of the cold store would take your breath away. I would wonder how long I could stay there before anyone noticed, or indeed, before I would freeze to death. Guilt always got the better of me and i’d go back to the worm-hole.

I had planned to blog about how time has flown since I’ve arrived but I’ve digressed so far that it’s now quicker to go on than go back. Sorry. Though not sure what for.

Where the garlic bread thing leads is this. Because I was reading Sophie’s World, I would philosophise my time away between each break, musing over what I’d just read. Is the garlic bread really there, or is it all an illusion. Are these people a figment of my imagination. If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a noise? Real Phd type stuff.

But I got thinking about memory and came up with this – which would be worse:

a) to have to work a full 12 hr (6am to 6pm, that job sucked) shift packing garlic bread, and experience the fullness of the cold, garlic and boredom of it all BUT at the end of the shift the memory would be wiped from your head, as if the previous 12 hrs of your life did not exist.

b)To spend a day at home, doing lots of fun stuff, having a great time, getting paid for it BUT come 6pm to have 12 hrs of the full garlic bread experience implanted into your head as a memory.

I never decided either way. I edged towards b) cause I didn’t actually have any work to do in that one. But then in philosophy the answer is hardly the point. Kind of the whole problem with philosophy isn’t it.

Four weeks later I spilled my bottle of juice over Sophie’s World while I was eating my lunch in the car listening to ‘King or Cripple’ and that was the end of that. Well that and I quit work and spent the next week in the shower with various industrial agents (cleaning agents, not the ‘hi I’m agent Smith of the association of industrialists’ type agent) trying to get rid of the smell of garlic.


I’m not known for patience. Perhaps it’s a family thing. My da will usually sneak back out to the garage arfter dinner to do more work to avoid the 90 secs he might have to wait for his cup of tea to be ready. He has this little ‘manic, obsessive’ trait that comes out from time to time. I use those words cause that’s how he describes me when i’m in one of those moods.

This impatience extends to everything, be it making food (what do you mean microwave for 60 secs, I could be dead by then!), exams (no, I’m not checking the answers to the MCQs, once they’re done they’re done), conversation (get to the flippin point!), technology (if a device has a standby that I don’t have to turn it fully off i’ll use it), and work (i used to triage, examine, treat and dispense my own drugs, and discharge patients in A&E before nursing staff even got near them).

And so i’ve been in NZ (from now on, new zealand will be referred to as NZ, so get used to it) for the grand total of 1 week. And I still don’t feel settled, or at home. Now to most people this would be perfectly normal, i’m not meant to be settled yet. I’m still meant to be recovering from jet lag.

Yet I, expected to arrive as a fully-fledged Kiwi, where everyone knew me and I knew them and we were all a wonderful happy family and I knew where the forms were and how the phones worked and the price of cheese and somewhere to live and the silly rule where someone turning across the lane of traffic has right of way and people wouldn’t think I was called andrè when I say andrew and this is a very long sentence with minimal punctuation so i’ll stop and we can have a collective indrawing of breath.

And so I need to stop. And ‘chill’ so to speak and give things a bit of time and stop chomping at the bit at everything.

Funny, i’ve been here only a week and i’ve learnt stuff about myself that I didn’t even realise was there. Kind of cool.

Now da would argue that he’s known all this for years and there’d be a mighty ‘i told you so’ and a ‘you should listen to me more often’ but then he probably lost patience during the very long sentence earlier and is off in the shed categorising all his screws and nails.


July 2022