Brain Implosions and Celebrity Spotting....

It was one of those weeks when there was a lot to be done, when there was so much to remember that one's brain was in danger of meltdown, complete implosion. Or explosion. Neither option a pretty sight and to be avoided at all costs.

It was  therefore a week requiring a lot of wine.

I've been so busy that I did not have the time to read my own mind, let alone your blogs, however that is something I hope to remedy very soon.

This was preparing-for-secondary-school week you see, and involved finishing a golf camp, clearing out a bedroom (furniture included), getting in fitted furniture, covering school books, buying more school stuff, tending to kittens, budgie, goldfish, visiting ailing mother and dealing with any unexpected disasters events which might occur etc;etc.

When your brain is overloaded trying to schedule all these activities a person can easily forget things, can't they? I mean it's not that hard to believe that someone could leave the house, having remembered everything required for a pre-teen's golf camp, only to later realise that they forgot their handbag containing such crucial items as mobile phone and money, is it? Money that could buy things like a cup of tea, or diesel if your car was running out of fuel, for example. It would be totally acceptable in such a situation for a person to have a mild panic attack as they drove on zero fuel level to a remote service station, wouldn't it? And you would close your eyes and ears if you saw such a person taking the walk of shame into said service station and subsequently making the call of shame to he-who-has-credit-card, wouldn't you? I knew you would, you're reasonable people, you understand.

 I get the rolling of eyes in this house if I counter my regular forgetfulness by declaring that if I didn't have to remember everyone else's stuff then I'd have less to forget. In my world that last sentence makes perfect sense.

Following this latest transgression I distractedly replied to something my boy asked me and couldn't remember the exact words I'd used. Oh boy. I was subsequently regaled in another car journey about how I always forget everything etc; etc; seguing nicely (as I ignored him) into such delights as 'where did the name Santa come from, even though I know he's fake' .... *'I can't wait for halo 4 to come out mum!' and, to ensure he had my complete attention 'penis insurance' in defiance at the real words on the car radio!! Sigh....

*Dear Xbox please bring this game out before November 6th...I'm a Desperate Housewife in danger of a brain implosion!

As this was clear-out week I got to thinking .... what if I had a clear out of my brain? A brain dump, so to speak, I mean there wouldn't be much recyclable material there or anything. It would simply be me disposing of all the things that I don't need to remember. I mean, I don't need an iTouch, Nintendo DS, change of this or a just-in-case that whenever I leave the house, now do I? There will be changes around here, mark my words.

So, on to the real clear-out which felt SO good and resulted in lots of bags of recyclable and dump-able stuff AND a room fit for a secondary school attending teen....

                                 Designed by Enigma Design

Of course, one never knows what one will find when under taking a clear-out, does one?!

I was treated to an hilarious moment when my boy donned a pair of child's white leggings (a panto costume I think) and delivered a scarily accurate impression of '' , from the TV ad, with accompanying poses of course!!

And then I came across two photos from many moons ago and rolled around the floor in fits of laughter!! Oh, the embarrassment!

I deliberated long and hard as to whether or not I'd share them with you.

But then I thought, everyone deserves a laugh, right?

So here they are (can't believe I'm actually doing this!) can you spot the celebrity.....and me?!

                                    At a Miss Ireland Heat (for a friend!) early 1980s

                                     An' event' for Aer Lingus' 50th Anniversary 

Enjoy....while I go back to the ironing and covering school books!




Waterfall thundering
Trickling brook,
Son curled up
In a stony nook.

Rain is falling
In misty strands,
Forming rain circles
As it lands.

An ancient tree
With spreading boughs,
Embraces me
In my peaceful repose.

Son then joins me
Beneath my tree,
We are happy to sit here
And just, be

Knobbly roots
Lie all around,
Through the green leafy net
A sombre sky is found.

Then the spell is broken
He's on the move,
I follow his cheerful chatter
And get into his groove.

I am loathe to leave
This peaceful place,
But off we must go
To the woods apace

We walk, we talk
Have fun on the go,
We will find this serenity again
We will, I know.




The Fighting Irish and The Olympics

I don't purport to know anything about sport, truly I don't, but when Ireland takes to the international stage I tend to think I know more than I actually do. However I do become more of an armchair cheerer than an armchair critic.

And so it was when it came to Team Ireland's campaign in the boxing arena in this year's London Olympics. Now, whatever mediocre knowledge I've managed to glean about our Irish soccer team's  international dalliances over the years, I know absolutely nothing about the sport of boxing. To be honest I don't even like watching it.

But you see the Irish Boxing team were tipped to do well in this year's Olympics and to give us our best shot at an Olympic Gold medal. That opportunity was expected to come courtesy of our wonderful Katie Taylor, who is responsible for bringing women's boxing to the Olympics for the first time this year. Sure I had to watch, whether I liked the sport or not!

I watched most of the Irish Boxing bouts and while I still know nothing about it I have gained a little more respect for the discipline of this sport,

While the men's fights were exciting nothing could beat the Katie Taylor fight yesterday, when she was fighting for her lifelong goal of an Olympic Gold medal. Nothing was going to get in her way. Although something did try to get in our way of watching her fight to glory! Knowing that if Katie was to be successful in her fight for gold it would be a truly memorable day, I took my boy to our local pub for an hour, to see the fight and soak up the atmosphere. We live close to Katie's hometown in Bray where approx 10,000 people converged to watch the fight on a ginormous screen. If there was ever a very bad time for a power cut to hit then this was it.

With forty minutes to go that's exactly what happened - in Bray and in our village! Luckily Bray had generators to work the screens but we did not. Many prayers were said to many saints, real or imaginary, and rte player was being frantically downloaded to many phones. We imagined many electricity workers manically running around, tripping over each other, frantically switching plugs and flicking multiple switches all over the place. And then that magic moment, five minutes before the fight when the lights suddenly came back on: silence then rippling wild applause when realisation hit! There is a god it seems!

Many more silent prayers were said during the course of Katie's fight, it sure was close at times! Like I say I don't like boxing but yet again I found myself screaming at the screen 'get in there... get stuck in', then wincing and looking away when a punch actually connected! Katie fought valiantly and earned her precious gold Olympic medal and presented us with another magical moment and more rapturous applause by all present. I made sure my boy watched her receive her Gold medal too, not that I'm a pessimist or anything but it may a long time before he sees an Irish gold medal again!

We have done well in the London Olympics 2012, for a small nation of 4 million people. The medal count is currently at 5, which might not seem a lot but the the last time we achieved that was in 1956!

As most of the medals earned come from the sport of boxing I couldn't help but wonder what they're doing that other sports aren't ?

I know our Government has invested money in their training, but not I'm told in local boxing clubs. I believe some money has been invested in other sports too, e.g. Athletics but the results are really coming from boxing.

How are they better investing their funding then?

Can we bottle what they're doing in boxing, patent it and inject in to other sports I wonder?

Can we try to get to the local clubs and the young talent in all disciplines?

 What about the Martial Arts for example? Tons of talent there waiting to be invested in.

Oh, but we are in financial straits I hear. However I'm sure there's some National Lottery money or maybe some corporate sponsorship that could be tapped into. And if I have to pay a 2% levy I'd rather it go to this cause than to bail out Quinn Family Insurance! It would provide a great return: a nation's happiness.

Then again, we could just do what Katie Taylor's Russian opponent claims we're doing anyway and bribe all the referrees/judges :-P

Well done Team Ireland and all who sail in her and well done to the Irish fans once more proving what good sports us Irish are.


Note: Image credit: &



Tops of the Town - The Revival!

It's about two and a half years since the John Player Tops of the Town facebook page was set up. Around the same time I wrote my original John Player Tops of the Town blog post  sharing and inviting some wonderful, cherished memories from that era. I ended the piece by jokingly suggesting that maybe there'd be 'a campaign to bring back a new format..' I wasn't really joking though, I was secretly hoping it would happen, in any format at all!

Although Tops has continued in the Wexford and Carlow area, the last official and televised Tops of the Town final was in 1996, when both Greenhills and Moate Variety Groups valiantly battled it out on the Gaiety stage for that much coveted Tops of the Town title.

It's been a long 17 years since that final. Is the interest still out there for a Tops revival? Is it even possible in this current economic climate?

Well, Mr Variety Ireland himself, Gerry Quinn, certainly thinks so! The seed of a revival was planted in his brain about 9 months ago, he says. He shared that thought with others and the interest levels just went from strength to strength. As for our current economic woes? Sure didn't the years from 1962 to 1996 contain many, many deep recessionary ones? A Tops revival is precisely what this country needs, he reckons. I'm inclined to agree with him. Something for communities and groups from all around the country,  to actively immerse themselves in, involving many people with many talents both on and off  the stage. A Tops revival is also a not-to-be-under-estimated spring board for talent in this country and will help provide continued employment in the entertainment industry.

Gerry Quinn has 30 years theatre experience under his belt and was also the producer of  a show in the last John Player Tops  in 1996. So who better to spearhead a Tops revival then?

Gerry has worked tremendously hard thus far in selecting and securing multiple venues around the country, in order for the first Tops of the Town amateur variety competition, in 17 years to take place in 2013.  He has  also managed to locate the original Tops of the Town clocks and is working on a version of the original theme music. I have goosebumps just typing this! Gerry tells me that new groups are entering every week and that he is being offered unbelievable support from many people in the industry, many with links to Tops in it's previous incarnation.This competition is still open to groups from all across Ireland so please enter your group now, while there's still time, and help make this a hugely successful first year!

The details of the venues and dates are as follows:



The Helix, Dublin - Friday 11th and Saturday 12th of January 2013

The University Concert Hall Limerick - Friday 15th and Saurday 
16th of February 2013

The Wexford Opera House -Friday 22th and Saturday 23th of 
March 2013

The T.L.T Theatre Drogheda - Friday 19th and Saturday 20th of
April 2013.

The 4 Top Marked Shows and the top 2 runners up in each region Go Forward To The Royal Theatre Castlebar on Friday the 17th and Saturday the 18th of May 2013.

The National Final will be held over the June Bank Holiday Weekend Venue to be announced at a later date.

If we have interest in other areas of the country we will look at running further heats.

Please call Gerry on 0871928177 or email with any queries.

With this exciting venture Gerry is endeavouring to keep the successful Tops of the Town concept alive whilst bringing it back to it's original roots - the communities of Ireland. He tells me that each group will use the same lighting and sound companies, stage crew and the same basic set in every venue, thereby making it affordable for all. There will also  be a projector available for any group who wishes to use it.

Gerry deserves our support with this wonderful venture.

Please come join him on facebook  by clicking here and you can keep up with all his exciting updates. Including a very exciting and  imminent announcement, when the names of  new sponsors for this Tops of the Town revival and the all important adjudicators will be revealed. Stay tuned!              

There are those of us who wanted this Tops Revival to happen and then there's Gerry who's making it happen.

Well done Gerry, I wish you every success in bringing Tops of the Town back home. May cherished memories be created anew for a whole other generation.