Comedy Concerts #100DaysOfOldDays

Day 85 #100DaysOfOldDays

We snaked off on a wee holiday so we’re a bit behind on our #100DayProject posts. I checked with the project police and they assured us that it’s not a punishable offence, so we’ll carry on where we left off!

The photos alone could tell today’s story, but I will explain. In the 80’s our concerts and comedy sketches were like no other. They were unusual, colourful, true to life, and best of all, hilarious!

If I remember rightly, the director of these shows was local man, Peter McConnell. We always called him Petesy. He was the chief organiser and wholly responsible for interviewing the extremely talented actors for all his shows. He went to great lengths to source the perfect cast for each sketch! His actors were so skilled at their job that forgetting their lines was never an issue…they just made up new lines as they went along!

The ladies in my first photo were the cast of the ‘Exercise Class’ comedy sketch. Back row; Ann Burmiston (Martin), Mary McCabe, Moira Tully, Ann McIntyre, Shirley Millar, Bertie Murtagh – the class instructor. Front row; Mary Burmiston, Veronica McEntee and Pauline Fox.

Next is a photo of ‘Snow White and the seven dwarfs’. It was difficult to find seven men with the specific qualities needed for the role of the dwarfs. But, Petesy found his men!

Back row; Martin Hannigan as Dopey, Phil Fox as Bashful, Hugh Tully as Happy, Josie Deignan as Sleepy, Micheál Bird as Sneezy. Missing from the photo; Bill Fisher as Grumpy and Jimmy Gilsenan as Doc. Front row; Me as Snow White, James McConnell as Prince Charming and Linda McCluskey (McDonald) as the fairy godmother.

I can’t remember the name of this sketch, but I do know that Phil Fox is on the toilet and Jimmy Gilsenan has his back to us. Veronica is in the bed.

The photo below is the same sketch – I think – but possibly played on a different night because there’s a different woman in the bed. (Although, maybe that was part of the story.)

Next on my list is a sketch I did a couple of times with Josey Deignan. This musical piece de resistance was called ‘A hole in the Bucket.’

We had as much fun – if not more – during rehearsals as we had on the nights of the concerts.

Behind the Stage Antics.

The concerts weren’t entirely made up of comical acts. There were musicians and singers performing, including the fantastic singer Teresa Cullivan. Teresa had a strong passionate singing voice and sang ‘Danny Boy’ and ‘Sweet Sixteen’ exceptionally well.

Lucy’s drawing of two friends enjoying an evening of comedy.

The Babby House #100DaysOfOldDays

Day 55 #100DaysOfOldDays

Did you have a babby house when you were a child? Do you know what I mean when I say babby house? It’s what we called our outdoor playhouse. The boys played in a fort and the girls played in a babby house. (Is this only in Ireland?) Occasionally the girls were allowed into the fort and very occasionally the boys were allowed into the babby house—and only certain boys at that! 

Here’s the babby house I remember.  

It’s built from planks of woods around the bottom of a big chestnut tree in the corner of a field. The roof is a sheet of rusty galvanise. There is one window, made from a panel of tough transparent plastic. The door is a sturdy rectangular flap, also made from hard plastic, hardly big enough for an adult to pass through.  

There is a little shuck between the field and the big chestnut tree. A plank of wood forms a bridge for access to the babby house. 

The hollows in the tree are shelves, to store old food tins and jars filled with shiny red and green haws. A broken clock hangs on the stub of a branch, and two rusty enamel mugs sit on their stove which is made of four red bricks stacked into a square. 

The babby house is well-equipped with chipped plates, warped saucepans with no handles, bent spoons, and empty bottles. 

Moldy dolls sleep on a layer of withered rushes that line the bottom of a wooden crate. Dinner is cooked in one of the bent saucepans; cabbage, peas, and potatoes (dandelion leaves, green haws, all sprinkled with white clover petals). Stones are used for potatoes and eggs. 

Spiders dangling from cobwebs and creepy crawlies inhabit the babby house and get brushed out regularly only to return in the middle of the night. It’s cold in the wintertime and smells of damp soil. It’s balmy in the summertime and smells of fresh moss and chestnuts.  

The babby house was our foxhole, a place for self-expression, a place to unleash our imaginations.

Tell me, did you play in a babby house? If you had, what was it called? 

The Discos in the Hall #100DaysOfOldDays

Day 28 #100DaysOfOldDays

Once you reached fourteen, you were allowed out to the disco in the Community Centre. Compared to the youngsters nowadays, it didn’t take us very long at all to get ready for a night out.

Our make-up was minimal. Blue eyeshadow, black eyeliner, and a touch of cream blush. Sometimes a bit of lip shiner. That’s all we needed. None of this contouring and fake eyebrows.

We spent more time on our hair than we did on our faces. Perms needed attention. Gel on the roots and loads of hairspray to get those curls sitting as high as possible.

You strutted off to the disco; your friend wearing her luminous pink jacket, while you were going through your phase of bleach streaked denim, pinned with metal badges.

When you walked through the double doors, cigarette smoke and the scent of Panache and Impulse filled your senses. On one side of the hall, the boys sat on long wooden seats and the girls mingled in their little groups on the opposite side.

Jaws moved nineteen to the dozen as they chewed on Wrigley’s spearmint gum. Fresh breath was of the utmost importance when the chance of the shift with your crush was on the cards.

Image Courtesy of Victoria Borodinova

Courage didn’t come from alcohol or recreational drugs in 1981—it came from your friends. You encouraged each other and you looked after each other. You danced together, you went to the toilets together, and you went home together.

When a lad asked you to dance, it was manners to accept. When you were only interested in one dance, you said thank you at the end of the song and you left the dance floor. It was important not to look at his face because if you were in any way soft, you might feel sorry for him with his sad expression and end up staying with him for the rest of the night out of pity. So the rule was; don’t look him in the eye.

But if you liked him, by all means look into his eyes and stay with him ‘till home time.  

Often you had to wait until the slow set to get asked out for a dance. The lights would dim as Ultravox filled the air with Vienna, and you prayed to all the saints in Heaven that your crush would ask you out to dance. Your world fell apart as you watched him taking some other girl out instead. Bridie! It was always Bridie who got to dance with your fella!

Then, the lad who had yet to discover deodorant strutted towards you.

‘Aw, God…please don’t let him come near me,’ you mumbled under your breath. But as Vienna vibrated every ditch from Cavan to Donegal, God hadn’t a hope of hearing your prayers.

The poor chap approached with a red face and a shaky voice. ‘D’wanna dance?’

Sure you couldn’t refuse. (Mammy said it was bad manners to refuse) And Bridie was clinging tight to your crush so you had nothing to lose anyway.

His hot breath in your ear, his father’s Old Spice snaking up your nostrils, trying to convince you that this lad was a great catch!

But Status Quo put an end to the slow set and to the galloping beat of What You’re Proposing, you unleashed yourself from Bucko’s clutches and whipped out your air guitar. With your big perm swinging from side to side, Bucko slowly retreated back to his seat!

Your friends surrounded you and you all had a great night.  

Aw…they just don’t do discos like they used to!

Lucy’s drawing today.

Our Friend From Spain #SoCs

The prompt for Linda G Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday (#SoCS) is ‘Trip’. Use it any way you’d like. Part one.

We had a Spanish exchange student staying with us last year from the end of August until mid-December. It was a wonderful experience for our family, especially Little Miss Ten. She and Alicia got on so well together.

Lucy struggled to settle back into school after lockdown and suffered from low confidence and a little bit of anxiety.

This was the reason why we decided to accept an exchange student. Not so that they’d be firm friends, but to have another young person in the house, getting up for school each morning, coming home full of tales—some of woe, some of wow—and then sitting down to do homework.

Lucy’s three siblings are independent young adults who live about three hours away, so she’s a lot like an only child. Don’t feel sorry for her—it has its perks!

Our plan went much better than we expected. From the first day, Alicia and Lucy connected. Her English was excellent too. And she could do a great Cork accent. “Me nerves George…me nerves.”

As the days went on, Lucy became more like her old self. Funny, talkative and confident. Alicia was kind to Lucy and spent a lot of quality time with her. They had lots of chats and Alicia listened to all Lucy’s little concerns. She advised her, she told her about her own struggles of being a 14-year-old teenager. She talked about her dreams and ambitions. Thank goodness Alicia has realistic goals and appealing dreams.

Last week in school, Lucy had to draw a picture of a person who inspires her. I was so happy that she drew Alicia.

Alicia was very honest. She said it as it was! This turned out to be a good thing because we all knew where we stood with each other. We had one or two very minor issues, but once we mastered the task of keeping the lines of communication running smoothly, everyone was happy.

She was tidy, reliable, trustworthy and she ate everything she was given. A lot of it! We joked a lot about how much food a small person could eat.

‘Where do you put it?’ Stephano would ask. ‘How do you stay thin?’

‘Genetics Stephan.’

She had a good answer for everything.

It was great that she ate well because I must admit, the food was the one thing I worried about. Teens can be fussy eaters at the best of times, and in a foreign country, it could be a problem.

We cried when Alicia was leaving. We missed her so much. Her smiles, her upbeat attitude and her chats. But that was not the last we heard from her. She calls Lucy a lot, we chat on WhatsApp.

And the best thing of all—we’re taking a trip to Santander where Alicia is from. We will stay for four nights and visit Alicia and her family while we’re there. We’re all very excited.

Alicia gave me permission to use her image on my blog.

Alicia told us some very important news a couple of days ago. About a special trip her dad is taking. You can read all about that HERE in part two of #SoCS

Last #SoCS

Near the end they said

Not long left now

I rubbed my chest

I furrowed my brow

Somewhere else I’d rather be

Other folk I’d rather see

I looked ahead and saw them there

My faithful friends waiting for me

My legs like jelly

They couldn’t move fast

But I crossed the line

Even though I came last

Marathons are not for me

I find them quite bizarre

Will I ever run another one

Maybe I will—if it’s not too far

For Linda G Hill’s Stream of Conscious Saturday #SoCS

Use “near/far.” Use “near,” use “far,” use them both if you’d like. In fact, if you start your post with one and end with the other, you get bonus points!

Guggy Egg #SoCS

This post is part of Linda G Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS. This week’s prompt is butter!

There was a discussion on the radio yesterday about guggy egg. What on earth is that?….I hear some of you ask.

It’s a boiled egg mashed up in a cup with a generous sprinkling of salt and a good big dollop of butter. Not the pretend stuff now…it has to be the real butter!

I never called it guggy egg though. It was just ‘egg in a cup’ in our house.

The first time I heard it being called guggy egg was from my friend Mohotma. I told her, ‘Okayyyyy Mohot, whatever you think’. I assumed it was a word she made up for her children. Y’know…thinking it would make the egg more appetising for them.

It’s surprising the number of parents who are of the belief that giving foods new (weird) names will make their children like them better. (Well, it does work sometimes)

So, I have to say I was surprised when I heard on the radio that hundreds of people eat guggy egg!

girl coming out of an egg

 

How to Cope With the Teetotaller in Your Life.

I was once guilty of teetotaller shaming. Yes, there is such a thing. I’m sorry all you mineral drinkers out there who were victims of my ignorant past.

In the last few years I’ve gone through spells of eliminating alcohol from my diet. Not for any one reason, more for a combination of reasons. And don’t blame Glo for this. We’re singing off the same hymn sheet today. 

During my spells of sobriety, I unearthed all sorts of truths about living an alcohol-free life. The lies I was led to believe by…people…I don’t even know who exactly told me these lies…but I believed them. Myths and misconceptions about the alcohol-free people. 

Are you one of those people who feel intimidated by a person who doesn’t drink alcohol? Are you scared of them? There’s no need to be afraid anymore. None of what you’ve been told is true. Trust me, you’re gonna love me for this!

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Thanks for the Invite Shirley.

We got invited round to Terence and Shirley’s for drinkies; to wish each other a happy new year. I was slightly nervous because Terence passed on the invitation verbally to Stephano and there were no specifics mentioned. Do we bring Little Miss Eight? Or get a babysitter? Will there be food or should we eat before we leave? Dress up, or stay casual? Terence did say that a few close neighbours were also invited.

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Dumping Friend A and Friend B

You can’t beat having good friends. Two of my reliables, Friend A and Friend B, invited me to Donegal for the weekend. They said I needed a wee break. Aw, they’re just lovely…so they are. When I told them I couldn’t afford to take the time off from my writing they were very understanding, and offered to spend the weekend helping me. Continue reading