Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah

Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah

As nearly heard on Radio 5 live.

If you have the facility to add some echo to this tune - perhaps by selecting the auditorium setting in your realtek audio manager- I reckon this sounds half decent! Until the singing kicks in.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I Found a dead body in the garden

I was just out bringing in the washing when I stumbled over a dead body lying in the garden. I went into the garage to get my inspection lamp and took a good look at him. It's an old fella in his 60s or 70s. He's wearing a pair of sweat pants and a old t-shirt, like he's just got up from bed or something. He's bald apart from a few wee tufts. Skinny old fella. He has no wallet or ID on him but I took an old fiver he had in his pocket.

He was lying on his side like he was sleeping, he looks peaceful, with his arm tucked under his head like a pillow. I swear he even has a wee smile on his face.

I called some of the neighbours over to have a juke but none of them know him. After they'd gone my mate Wee Rab from across the way hung around. We couldn't resist pulling his trackies down and having a juke at his wab, it's pretty shrivelled already or maybe it was always like that. He has a big old scar on his arse, looks like he ripped his cheeks at some point in his life.

Anyway, we got the football out of the shed and Rab and I took it in turns to hold him up & try and get him to do volleys & headers off the garage wall. It was good for a while but even a skinny old fella weighs your arms down after a few minutes. We got some good footage for youtube though.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, how can we tell if he died of natural causes? I know we should report it but if he died peaceful Rab & me thought we might as well take him down the back field beside the sheuch and bury him ourselves. Rab can get the lend of a bobcat digger from Decksy four doors down, and I can chisel an old stone for the top of it. It'll be like the grave of the unknown soldier, a wee local talking point.......

Here, Wee Rab just got a bee in his bonnet about organ donation. He's away to get a butcher's knife and plug in my old chest freezer. I've rummaged through the drawers and found some freezer bags.

With the help of an old GCSE biology book I reckon we can get the liver, heart, kidneys and that. Is there anything else we should go for? I suppose we should hurry while he's still warm. He hasn't got a donor card on him but I saw on the news that you don't need one to take people's insides any more.

So while we're getting the organs out we can have a look at them, what should we be looking for to see if he died of natural causes? If his heart is all full of chip fat or his lungs is all black that means he died of natural causes, aye? So it'll be OK to bury him? I've taken plenty of photos just in case his family come lookin him so they can identify him.

I've got that bit from the bible about 'ashes to ashes dust to dust' all lined up to say as Rab's backing the dirt over him in the bobcat................

Well, I managed to persuade Rab not to slice the old boy open to get at him. He just looked so peaceful lying there. Rab had a couple of beers in him anyway, I wouldn't trust him with a plastic fork nevermind a butchers knife.

We wrapped the old boy up in a tarpaulin and left him in the shed. Next morning he was sitting up, it fair freaked me out, his muscles mush have contracted. I tried pushing him back down but it was no good. So I called Fat Joesy from down the street, she came and sat on his chest. That did the trick, he went back dowwn but his back gave out a big snap, musst have broken it or something.

Anyway, word must have spread because most of the neighbour's came to take a wee juke at him and take a few photos. We dragged him up and draped his arm round us, put a lit ciggie in his mouth and stuf lol it was great crack altogether. Then some of the old wans told us off. Dexy's ma brought a nice old sheet or curtains or something. Then all the lads got together and whacked up an old coffin out of scrap wood and nailed him in it. It looked OK.

I got the big stone and wrote on "RIP OLD MAN GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN" in permanent marker. Then Kayso had a bright idea, instead of using the chisel he got a big power drill and we drilled into the letters on thee stone. It looked wile good but Flipper spoiled it by pouring gold paint in the letters.

A big crowd came down to the field to watch. Rab had got the hole dug already so me and the boys tipped him in. The coffin was a bit skew wiff but it was alright when Rab backed the soil over him. Then we put the big stone on top. Some people had printed out photos of the Old Man and wrapped them with clingfilm so we stuck them on the big stone. A few wee girls had candles so we put them on. I read my bit from the Bible and some of the girls were cryin, it was dead movin. Then Dexy's dad sang "dANNY bOY" and more people were gurnin, it was great crack.

After the peelers came but we told them it was just a movie for a project, they believed us, nobody squealed. They wouldn't dare anyways after what Dexy did last time! It was after he broke into that wee girls house and the dog saw him & chased him onto the carriageway. He ran in front of a car and the car hit the dog and killed it stone dead. Dexy was so out of it he brought the dog back to the girl. He wrapped in his T-shirt all covered in blood. The wee girl was Ok about it I think she liked Dexy or something. But the wee girls brother squealed on Dexy to the peelers and he was locked up for a bit. So when Dexy got out, he caught the brother and made him eat one his pet mice, he kept them in the garage. Then he glued his neck to a lamppost......

After we put orange and lemon peel on the grave, that keeps away dogs & cats and stops them shittin in the grave. Somebody said Tiger shite is good for that so if i AM AT BELLEVUE I will ask for some.

Late on when the schools were out I saw wee Poke and Hughsy go down there with a spade, they were going to dig the Old Man up but we see them and chased them off. Some people have no respect.....


Put on 17th Quaker costume, load musket

Kill a magpie, hang it from tree

Chop down hawthorn tree, burnt it

Crawl through a ditch and slither in mud

Take magpie from tree

Go home, roast magpie, with stones

Throw in bin

Ring every taxi firm, no answer, cycle into town

Break into Woolworths, take 4 good sweets from pick and mix

Knock on random doors begging for wishbone & sprouts

Go to town hall, wank in letterbox

kill another magpie, while cycling, with good shot from musket

Cycle home

Wax moustache

Watch queen's speech on youtube, fall in love with her all over again, write usual erotic fantasy involving me and the queen in purple ink, sign and seal

Think very hard about Jesus, wish him bon anniversaire, apologise to him for that cross business

Start preparing for next years Christmas

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dear Blog

Dear Blog,

Sorry I have been neglecting you. I have been Java programming, Java programming, going to the gym and Java programming and that is too boring to write about.

I went to Belfast and drank last Friday with my collegiate chums but although I had fun I don't really want to write about that. You wouldn't be interested. I spent another £60 on alcohol.

I will write more when something interesting happens.

Oh, here's something interesting:

I had fish and chips for tea. Yesterday I had stew. On Sunday it was roast pork. On Saturday I just nibbled bread all day. On Friday I had a pizza from Little Italy beside Robinsons. That is as far back as I can remember.

Bresker xoxox

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Africa is giving nothing to anyone -- apart from AIDS

According to Kevin Myers that is in an article here

Something the article doesn't mention is that our forebears went into Africa and ripped the bejesus out of it - colonised it, enslaved the inhabitants, took away all the natural resources etc.

Now we've cleared off, but we still rip off the oil and the precious metals and give AK47s in return. We preach democracy but deal with dictators. We don't just give aid - we 'loan' money through the world bank and then demand that Africa imports our products. Often, that's stuff like sugar and cocoa which has been grown and processed there and repackaged in he West. We've even started buying up African state water and electricity companies to try and squeeze out more profit. Google 'ACTIS' for more information on how the UK government is helping corporations profit from African desperation.

I agree that giving aid isn't a permanent solution. But Myers 'let them die' attitude isn't acceptable to a lot of decent folk. And as for his assertion that Ireland's famine was different because 30% of the population was cut - surely that's the point of aid? If Myers had a time machine and a whole load of food wouldn't he go back in time and help those starving in the great hunger? I know I would.

Writes Myers:

How much morality is there in saving an Ethiopian child from starvation today, for it to survive to a life of brutal circumcision, poverty, hunger, violence and sexual abuse, resulting in another half-dozen such wide-eyed children, with comparably jolly little lives ahead of them? Of course, it might make you feel better, which is a prime reason for so much charity. But that is not good enough.

Change the word 'Ethiopian' to 'Irish' and Myers be an establishment Tory writing about the 'Irish Problem' 150 years ago. That might not bother him, I suppose.

I don't know where Myers got his crystal ball from to predict this ongoing misery. Times change. Civilsations fall and new ones spring up, often in a generation. Ethiopia was the cradle of an advanced, powerful empire centuries ago. Why can't it rise again, with a little help?

Aid is a choice anyway, Myers doesn't have to give if he doesn't want to. I rarely give to charities myself, partly because I live on £120 a week & partly because these days I'm never sure where the money is going. But it grieves me to see people dying of hunger while I watch fatties stagger out of McDonalds with their veins full of lard. Maybe they could do an exchange scheme with an Ethiopian for a month.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Portavoe 1/12/08

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Some views around the reservoir at Portavoe, near Groomsport & Donaghadee.

I wonder what the people who lived in the house would think if they returned today and saw the dilapitated state of it, and the lake pooling around their front door?

I'm sure that there used to be many such houses around this area, but they've been dismantled and the foundations ploughed back into the fields. There was even a national school on the coast road near here; no trace of it remains.

These days, there are large farms covering many acres in the district, run by a single farming family. However, back in the 19th Century there was a thriving community at Portavoe. Most of the inhabitants were tenant farmers, scratching a living from the land and paying rent to a landlord. The Ker family of Portavoe lived in the 'Big House' next to the reservoir, though the latter is manmade and dates from sometime in the later 20th century.

Whether the Kers are still there I cannot say; I know there is a Portavoe house in the land adjacent where these pictures were taken, but I have never seen it & know not who lives there. There is a massive book called 'Portavoe' in Bangor library that I must read; it is a comprehensive history of the area.

There's some information about them in the Northern Ireland Record Office:

The family is descended from David Ker, a merchant of Ballymena, Co. Antrim, who
had taken a lease of the first fall on Sir Robert Adair's mill-race at Ballymena, c.1710.
He married Jean Boyd of Clontfinnan near Clough, Co. Antrim, and had a family of
eleven children of whom three were prominent merchants: William in Ballymena,
Hugh in Dublin, and David in London. David Ker settled in London and traded at
Cateaton Street, first as Ker & Elmes, then after 1755 as Ker, Elmes & Priest, and
later after 1758 as David Ker & Co. In 1765 he purchased the Portavoe estate near
Groomsport, in the Ards. He died in 1770 and was succeeded by his son, David,
during whose lifetime the firm traded as Ker, Pope & Dyson and later as Ker,
Brookland & Priest.

Anyway, the tenant families were often large, and only the eldest son could inherit the land. Many younger sons and daughters had to emigrate or move to the towns and cities. There wasn't the land to go round.

Portavoe 1/12/08

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The landscape over the fields beyond Ballymacormack and Groomsport.

I walked up Gooch's lane, as I believe it is called. Then along the Springwell road, past a Fairy Fort. That's the gorse-covered mound in the second picture down. Apparently, some farmers won't touch them for fear of disturbing the little people, who'll come and snatch your children off to the land of Tir na Nog. In reality, they are often the sites of ancient homesteads. Maybe the farmer just can't be bothered cutting the rough ground on the crest of the hill. Some fairy mounds are covered in ancient blackthorn trees that no farmer would dare remove for fear of angering the sprites.

The other views are of the Lower Balloo and Kylestone roads. Taken on a bitterly cold, windswept 1st December, with buzzards and kestrels swooping overhead.

Portavoe 1/12/08

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More views of Portavoe reservoir and the road towards it.

The sign at the bottom was placed there by the water service when the lake was a fully functioning reservoir; now it's used only by dog walkers and fishermen. I'm sure the sign must put off some potential visitors, which is a shame. I don't know why the water service would want to discourage visitors to this lovely local amenity.

Portavoe 1/12/08

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More views of Portavoe and surrounds.

The water tower beside the lake presumably fed the pipes to the mains; the reservoir itself is low lying and gravity is needed to establish pressure in the water system. These days, all our water comes from high up the Mourne Mountains. There's no need for water towers at that height.

The first picture is of an abandoned stone house at Portavoe. It contains empty drink cans and tins of sweetcorn, oddly.

The second abandoned house still contains some furniture. It's on a little hidden street called McIlwaine's lane off the Groomsport bypass. Wooden bungalows were surprisingly common around Groomsport - you usually see that style of housing in warmer climes, like Australia or the US. There's still a few wooden homes in Orlock and Andrew's Shorefield in Groomsport. Most of them are disappearing to make way for new developments. There were a few round Ballymacormack when I was a boy but they've all been knocked down to make way for large brick homes.


It's 5.14am

I fell asleep at 8.15 and woke up after 2am

It's cold

I ate a bowl of cold porridge with raisins & semi-skimmed, an apple, a cold leftover leg of lamb, a pancake, some natural yogurt mixed with pineapple juice, two mugs of tea and some camembert cheese.

I was hungry after cycling and pounding the machines in the gym this afternoon.

I have lost two kilos, suddenly. Must be stress. And cycling.

Now, should I go back to sleep or just fight the tiredness till this evening?

An afternoon nap would mean I can't sleep tonight.