Sunday, 25 December 2011

Happy Christmas! (This is KateNap's post today!)

This is what Kate was doing while I was cooking Christmas dindins today.
(I'm blessed 'cos I get to hear her every day!)

(And that's two of my paintings you can glimpse on the wall behind her!)

Nollaig Shona Dhuit Go Léir!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

'My Week-end' - Discuss.

'It's Christmas time, there's no need to be afraid'!

But there is! THERE IS!!

Friday night we were the band at a wedding on the top floor of a hotel with fantastic views over the city. (Sorry, no pics!)
The top floor has a balcony running it's entire circumference (I nearly typed 'circumcision' there??). And for the finale of the gig the crowd were treated to the vision of Freddie (of Mercury), complete with crown and ermine-trimmed red velvet cape, running around said balcony before entering through a window and performing a medley of Queen hits! (Oui, c'est moi, and mais non, sans pics!)
Jeezuz but I can camp it up with the best of 'em! Ya gets to a certain age and ya don'ts give a fuck no more!
Though I should warn the rest of the band before I do these stunts, the bass player nearly had a stroke! Spontaneity eh? Ya can't really plan for it. I wonder about meself sometimes, but only sometimes. Rest of the time I'm havin' the craic and makin' folk smile!

A happy bride, a happy groom, a happy wallet, ba-da-boom!

Saturday night I was booked to do one of my favourite bars (in another hotel) with Tat2 (the 2-piece outfit). But turns out they put us entertaining a Christmas party in the function room! This pissed me off 'cos they should really have booked a full band for this, cheapskates, and not only did they get us for WAY CHEAPER, but the 2 piece is more of a pub gig, and we really had to pull out all the stops to keep a dance set going for the whole night. Then again, just shows what a lad can do under pressure, and still smile and make folk laugh, and dance.

Sunday was spent with a bottle of bleach, rubber gloves and sore knees! DON'T ASK!!
I still smell like a swimming pool!

Went to visit Ma later in the evening, she also had a great night out on Friday, got home at 3A.M! (Later than me.) :¬)

Almost Monday, have a good week y'all!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Rehearsals (In the 'Stewdio')

The rest of the band call here to my house every Monday night at 19:00hrs for rehearsals. We have a room at the back of the house which was built on as part of an extension about 7 years ago, originally supposed to be another sittingroom/TV room, it has evolved into a multi-purpose area. Pupils are given music lessons here, yoga is done here, teenagers do sleepovers here, Paul (the plumber) drinks my beer here, but mostly it is used as a music space. It houses about eight or nine guitars, a couple of drum machines, many whistles, ukeleles, a didgereedoo, amps, mics, speakers, a digital piano, and a little recording studio.

This is my fist attempt at trying to record, on camera, one of our rehearsals, I didn't get the levels right for the camera so excuse the poor sound quality.

(I'm sure I'll get better as I get older, and more experienced!)

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Raglan Road

I have no idea why, for I have never sung this song in public, but it has been stuck in my head for over a week now! It's the first thing that comes into the 'Hee Haw' that doubles for my grey matter each morning, and the last thing on my mind at night!

I think I will have to do my own version.
Though this song is 'Owned' by Luke!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Monday, 28 November 2011

Away


Tis away I am with Herself, back to the City Of The Tribes (Galway) for a few days on our own.

Mind the shop while we're gone, and keep an eye in on the young'uns for me.

See ya soon. :¬)

Friday, 25 November 2011

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Spamming Bollix!

Some bastard in China hijacked my email account this morning and sent emails (in my name) to all my contacts!

If you received any mail from me with the title 'What's new today?' I apologise!

I have spent most of my free time today trying to sort this.

To quote a fellow blogger, "Spa**ing *unts"!

I'm with you there sir!

(Sorry in advance Pat! I know, 'Language Timothy'!) :¬)

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Sunday Night.

Pint?
Ya, why not.
The Locke?
Grand.

Me and herself, quite happy in our own company.
Nice music, guitar and fiddle.
We like.

Looking out the window,
See Sis and Don (her patner) & Caroline (my fave cousin).
They come in.
And the night STARTS!

Had great craic with the band,
Lots of danncing!

'Let's go to The Gate' says sis, so we do.

And the band recognise me, and I end up being the 'Guest Star'!
I did four songs, and a tune on the whistle!
And I loved it!

And a good night was had by all.
A quite unexpected night.
Aren't they always the best?

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Ma.

Sunday morn,
And worn
Is Sis,
As again
Ma will not rise.
No surprise
Is this,
For 'tis her pattern now,
And how
We can predict
The bitter tongue
And pain she may inflict
On those who only try
To make her days go by
With ease.
And though we try to please
And so much we love her,
She has become our child.
Our Mother.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Happy Birthday Annette



You've been putting up with me for more than half your life (so far!).
And there's a long way to go yet!

Love you. :¬)

Friday, 4 November 2011

Driving His Baby.

Early.
Cold.
Dark.
Damp and foggy.
Driving my baby.
Quiet.
Declan O'Rourke singing.
'Bye hon, be safe'.
'Bye Daddy'.
Flashback 19 years.
Driving alone.
Declan O'Rourke singing.
Fog lifting.
Sun rising.
Home.
Warm bed.
Warm hands.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Gone


He woke up with a jolt, bolt upright in the bed, alone, too early, too quiet.
He listened for the usual sounds, nothing! Something is wrong, everything is wrong. A strange feeling of foreboding.

He jumped out of the bed, pulled on this track-suit bottoms and ran to check the other bedrooms. All empty.

His heart was thumping in his chest as he took the stairs three at a time.
Silence.
Through every room downstairs, all empty. Something was very wrong.
That's all that kept going round in his head, 'something is wrong', on a loop.

His phone. He found in on the bedside locker. Hers was the last number he had dialled, he hit the redial button, almost convinced there would be no answer.

'Hi hon', she said, 'how are you?'

'Is everything..... alright' he could barely speak, 'is everyone ok?'

'Of course, are you ok? Did something happen?'

Silence. The emotion was choking him.

'Are you still there? Can you hear me? I'm coming home', she said, 'I'll be there in 15 minutes'.

'No', he eventually got a word out. 'I'll be ok, it must have been a bad dream, stay at work. I thought you were all gone!'

'I thought I was all alone.'

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Usual Thursday Night Shite.

It's Thursday, you know the score.
Map & Paul (the plumber) go for pints.
Talk shite.

I was telling him 'bout how I put a picture of a certain presidential canditate on FB and how I was mocking him and how some people didn't like such!

Paul is, well, very, how do we say, Nationilist!(That's not even a word, is it?) And wasn't a bit upset about my joshing of this other canditate. He did however get quite irate when I set the same jocularity on his fave choice as our first person. (I love 'rising him' as we say here!)

To be honest, I think this election is a joke, as are ALL the candidates. The Irish President has absoloutely NO power. The Irish President is no more than a symbol.

Even so, we don't want an asshole representing us abroad, so we gotta vote, and whadda we got?

Well, one of them won the Eurovision Song Contest, and the rest???

Saturday, 15 October 2011

I Know Where You Live


I was a quiet lad, music my only interest.
It seemed to me, looking back, that it was his lifes purpose to make mine a misery.

I recognised him immediately he walked in the bar, the very air changed. Even Herself noticed. He was a teenager the last time I layed my vengeful eyes on him, a younger, bigger lad than I, with a wont for proving his manliness by lording power over the slighter lads on the street, always accompanied of course by his band of followers, a cackle of weak upstarts, afraid of said power, afraid of him, and so surrendered to their master, always at his back, his army of pawns.

He however did not know me from the proverbial Adam as he sat his fat arse and rotund middle, not to mention a skull that was never designed , (unlike my own), to be bald, six inches from where I was having my usual Sunday night date with Herself. He had done well for himself (I later learned from my brother), making a small fortune in a local tackle & bait company. I presume his first marriage had failed as I'm quite sure the young girl with the eastern European accent was definitely not the girl he married thirty years ago.

Though I kept my back to him, I could feel his cold cowardly voice go through my brain, as it had done all those years ago. I stuck it out for a couple of hours, but I could not settle, could not even take in the words coming from the mouth of my love. It was time to leave.

"I'm off to the gents" says I to Herself, "and we'll be off".

I knew he recognised me when I walked back into the bar.
I ignored him.
Wouldn't catch his eye.

He actually poked me in the back to get my attention!

"You're Stewart, aren't you?" he smiled, "You don't know me do you?"

I buttoned my coat as I looked him in the face.

"I know exactly who you are" I said as I put out my hand to shake his.

His girlfriend smiled back as I said goodnight.

I turned back as we left to see him read the note I had slipped into his hand.

Friday, 14 October 2011

The End Is.........

Nigh?

It's up to you.

LET ME MAKE THIS CLEAR

Martin Anthony Patrick Stewart.
This is who I am.

I might be a little naive at times, and maybe too trusting, perhaps even foolish to put my real name out there.

But this is who I am. And besides a little foolery on my previous post, I have never claimed nor pretended to be anyone else, real or make-believe. (Though I am honoured to know this 'other'!)

Nor would I ever, as some believe, purposely use anothers feelings for 'fun'!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Food, Friends, Family & Fun.

Saturday night and no gig! And though I would prefer to be working (and earning!) it was a Saturday night off so I invited baby bro Eddie and his lovely Val over for dinner. They are, apart from meself & Annette, probably two of the most easy-going people we know, so dinner is always casual, and fun.

I had the main course cooked (Thai red curry with chicken & vegetables on basmati rice with a sprinkling of lime juice), but cooked the starter (King prawns, pan fried in butter with sweet chilli sauce, served on a rocket & cherry tomato salad) when they arrived, whilst we were all having drinks in the kitchen.
Dessert was Eton Mess (with organic strawberry yoghurt instead of cream).

Drinks followed, except for our Eddie, who is on meds for a back injury! I introduced Val to Lime Vodka, I think she like!

I cook every day, I do almost all of the cooking for the family, it's something I love doing, and I love it when I see bare (or almost bare) plates at my table of an evening! And I was pleased tonight.

But apart from the food, the four of us get on so well, we laugh, chat (no subject is out of bounds!) sing, be merry. At one stage we all had tears of laughter recalling an old story of a mutual friend, a story that may never be told on a blog! (Let's just say the story is about a 'shit-stick'!) The two younger daughters were watching 'X-Factor' in the adjoining living room and even had the sound turned down so as to listen to our stories!

A good night was had by all. ( I should have taken some photies of the food?!)

Enjoy the rest of the weekend my friends.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

I'm Here, I've Beer, Get Used to It!

I'm watchin' Amy Winehouse on one of the music channels, 'Rehab'.
And only yesterday saw the vid for her duet with Tony Bennett. Exquisite!

I remember being a young teenager, thinking I would never be 21.
Why would I think that?
I sure as hell don't remember why I had such thoughts back then, I just remember that I did.
And I remember it was not a good feeling.

I also remember being a happy teenager, but mostly, well, I would not like to re-live those years.

I remember when I split with my fiance (at the ripe old age of 21!) feeling like someone had stuck their big pointy finger right into my heart and twisted and twisted...

And then I remember rediscovering music, via some of my (now) oldest friends.
And I became me.

We were making (in our opinion) some fantastic music.
We were gonna be huge! (This was before Simon GOWL!)

We never did become huge, but we did keep doing what we loved.
And some of us still make quite a decent living doing just that!

Fame?
I'm gonna live forever?

I love what I do, where I am, so maybe this is where I'm meant to be right now.

Unlike every other kid these days, I never craved fame, especially not the instant fame glorified today in shows like X-Factor/Idol. I truly believe these shows screw with the minds of so many kids!

As for Amy, I believe she was a true talent, fucked up, but a talent none the less.
And she will be remembered for quite a long time.

I, on the other hand, at 50 years of age, one who could never dream of having a gift such as hers, am still here.

And I intend on being here for quite a while! Slainte! :¬)

xxx

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Phavorite Photies.

This is one of my favourite photies.

Me, three of my brothers, my younger sis, my mad cousin Caroline, and my favourite nephew Robert. (He's the one with THE eyebrows!)
That was a good night.
I always have fun with my family.


Thursday, 22 September 2011

Mapstew Mandate

It's Thursday.
Meet Paul (the Plumber) for pints.
That's my ManDate.
Discuss the world's problems over a few.

'The person you are calling may be out of reach or may have their device switched off'!

Stop ignoring me! Says I!

Got a gobbledegook text message at 8:30.

Paul (the Plumber) as I later found out, was having a bad day, packed up shop, and headed for the pub at 5:30.

Needless to say he was in fierce form by the time I arrived, (8:50).

"Don't give out to me" says he, sitting all alone in the beer garden, big puppy dog eyes, feeling sorry for himself, all 19 stone of his big sad sorry self, like a drunk overweight teenage boy (with a plumbers arse pushin' out of his low slung cheap jeans) meeting his first girlfriend after having had one too many for 'Dutch Courage'!

I managed to get two pints in before it was time to take himself home (2 hours before closing time!) in a cab!

Tells me they are having their third baby early in 2012.
No, that's good news.
He's feeling sorry 'cos he's getting TOO much work!

I think he's hoping for a son this time!

Telpis! (God help us!) (Bubba?)

Can't help but love him! :¬)

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Nothing To Write (Home About).

Mr. & Mrs. Map seem to have become taxi drivers.

My friends told me they hope I make too much food for dinner so they can have the leftovers!

Sometimes a song is just a song, don't over analyse it.

I had to turn the heat on every evening this week.

No limes in the house, what was I thinking?!

Singing is therapy.

I wish I could afford to knock all the internal walls downstairs in our house and make it into one big room.

The Gazebo literally weathered the storm, so my smoker pals still have someplace to smoke when they visit.

The chrysanthemums are dying.

But so are the ants. (Or at least they've gone into hibernation!)

I hate shaving, is there a tablet one can take?

I've washed my hands of my OCD, over and over and over.

I bought new boots, they have steel toecaps. Don't make me angry.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg mayonnaise? (I was in the bathroom when the waiter arrived!)

My pal often gives me bread (wheat free) as a gift.

My pal often drinks (a lot) of my beer when he brings me bread (wheat free) as a gift!

'Time for bed' said Zebedee!


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Wet & Windy

'It's fuckin' miserable out'!

That's how we say it's bad, weatherwise! You'd think we'd be used to it by now?!
But no, ever hopeful us Irish, where's that feckin' climate change we were promised! :¬)

So, today's menu.

Boiled bacon & Cabbage
Spuds
Mashed parsnips (With butter & Black pepper)
Parsley sauce

Blackberry & Apple Crumble (With fresh cream)

Tea/Coffee

Blazing Fire

Comfort.

Come on over! :¬)

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Oh The Days Of The Kerry Dances

I could sit here at the keyboard and write 'til the cows come home about my Da, but not tonight.



You left us 25 years ago today Dad.

There was so much we never got to do.

But you taught me so much.

And you made me who I am.

Love you and still miss you every day.



Your favourite tune.



Wednesday, 31 August 2011

31st August.

Two daughters started college today.

And baby daughter started secondary school.



And Daddy sang at his first ever same-sex wedding!

What a day!



Congrats to all of my babies.



And congrats to Derek & Dennis, old friends of mine.

I wish you both a long and happy life together.

Only one word for your wedding.



FABULOUS! (Dahling!) :¬)



xxx

Sunday, 28 August 2011

It Was twenty Years Ago Today (not exactly!)

Some people are trying to persuade me to start playing the pipes again!



After seeing these guys I'm tempted!



Sunday, 21 August 2011

Three Teens



As of today I am the parent of three teenagers.

Three teenage girls.

I am the father of three teenage girls.



Please send lots of money.

And some light refreshments for the parents.

And by 'light' I mean STRONG!



Happy Birthday to our baby Helena! :¬)



xxxxxxxxxxxxx





(Tú go maith a Shéamais?)

Normal Service Will Resume



Thursday, 18 August 2011

Friend

When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the "nay" in your own mind, nor do you withhold the "aye."

And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;

For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.

When you part from your friend, you grieve not;

For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.

And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.




Gibran Kahlil Gibran.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Bleach, Jimmy, Sandwiches, Gazebo, Debs, Guests, Heineken, Vodka.

My middle daughter Anna on her Debs tonight. (Sorta like 'Prom')



Ya, she got MY hair!



(And people heard me sing!)



What a day. :¬)





What a day!



F.U.N.



Thursday, 4 August 2011

Lines & Lines & Lines.

Thursday August 4th.
Yesterday.
That's when I got it.
On the toilet of all places!
Death.
There's been just too much of it in my recent life.
Death scared me.
Not just my own, but the deaths of loved ones, people I care for.
The deaths of people I have never met.
I've struggled with it, who hasn't?
And then, an acceptance.
An epiphany, on the toilet.
Ironic?
Now, I feel like a chronic arachnophobic who suddenly feels quite at ease watching the TV while gently stroking a mammoth Tarantula.
Is it age? Probably.
Or experience? Maybe..
Wisdom? A combination of life & experience.
Whatever caused it, I am a more peaceful man today.
A man full of life.

March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life's path.

Khalil Gibran

Saturday, 30 July 2011

For Pony-Doll

I know, you've all seen this a million times already, but it still make me laugh out loud every time I see it! (I'm easily amused!)

Hope this makes you smile through the pain Pon!

Do.

Do good.
Do happy.
Do lunch.
Do you hair.
Do floss.
Do eat.
Do drink.
Do merriment.
Do me a favour.
Do sing.
Do dance.
Do up yer fly.
Do a hand-stand.
Do smile.
Do you know the way to San José?
Do be do be do!

Friday, 29 July 2011

No!

No Faeries
No Leprechauns
No Spirits
No Mediums
No Boogie Men
No Gods
No Banshees
No Devils
No Unicorns
No Hauntings
No Priests
No Gods
No Gods
No
No!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Mrs. Map & Mrs. Mac (About A Ring)


Many moons ago, in a another lifetime, (on a faraway planet?). The Map was bethrothed to another (Not Mrs. Map!). But it was not meant to be, and she did marry another. But, like all good tales, there was a happy ending. For if the one who would not be my missus back then hadn't changed her mind I would never have met my true love.

And today we celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary!

But I did get the ring back. (From the other wan!)

And for reasons I will tell of another day, my dear friend Mrs. Mac has worn that ring on her finger for the past quarter of a century. And I had forgotten about that ring completely until a couple of days ago when I saw her twirling it 'round her finger when I went to visit her in the hospice.

"Look" says she, "I told you I would never take it off"! And we had a good laugh remembering how she came to be the owner!

She was still wearing it last night when I gave her a final kiss as she lay peacefully in her coffin. And as I hugged her two daughters and four sons they each whispered into my ear "She's still got that ring on her finger"!

We will lay her in the ground later on today, and celebrate her life.
On the same day Mrs. Map and myself celebrate the life we have together.
A life we would not have if that ring was still on the finger it was bought for.

Farewell my dear friend.

Annette (Mrs. Map), I love you more each and every day, Happy Anniversary.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

'Abroad'

Jimmy's post about London reminded me of the song 'Missing You' by Jimmy Mac Carthy, (a song about emigration in the 1980's), and of the friends and family who have recently left for foreign shores in search of work and a better life. And of another generation, including Da, who did the same in the 1950's. There seems to be a thirty year pattern here.

In the author's own words from his book 'Ride On';

'Missing You' is a song that highlights the plight of those who left Ireland in search of work in the building trade in the mid-1980's. In my time in England, and especially when I lived in Arlington Road, Camden Town, I heard many stories of those who came to make big money, hoping to return in glory only to find themselvs at the butt end of Paddy jokes, and the suspicion engendered by the fallout from the troubles. With big wages, came big drinking; and with big drinking came destitution. I would know them at a glance, I found them everywhere and it broke my heart.

I hope with all my heart that the weather stays fair for the current wave of emigrants from this country.

I have reproduced the lyrics of 'Missing You' rather than just put up the video.
(These are the original lyrics which differ slightly from the version used by Christy Moore.)

Missing You.

In nineteen hundred and eighty six
Not much work for a chippie or swinging the pick
And you can't live on love, and on love alone
So you sail o'er the ocean, away cross the foam

To where you're a Paddy, and where you're a Mick
Not much use at all bar stacking a brick
And your mate was a spade and he carried the hod
Two old heavy horses, heavily shod

Oh I'm missing you
I'd give all for the price of the flight
Oh I'm missing you under Picadilly's neon

And who did you murder, and are you a spy?
I'm just fond of the drink helps me laugh, helps me cry
And I took to the port for a permanent high
Now I laugh a lot less, and I'll cry till I die

Now the summer is fine, but the winter's a fridge
Wrapped up in old cardboard under Charing Cross Bridge
And I'll never go home, It's because of the shame
Of a misfit's reflection in a shop window pane.

So all you young people take an advice
Before crossing the ocean you'd better think twice
Cause you can't live without love, without love alone
Here's the proof 'round the West End in the nobody zone

Oh I'm missing you
I'd give all for the price of the flight
Oh I'm missing you under Piccadilly's neon

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Followers? (Still no sign from here!)

???



Update; Right, you're back, all except one. Which little fecker jumped ship?

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Fear, Da, Love, D'Island.

As a kid, growing up in d'island, not the most salubrious area in the city, my biggest fear was not the 'big boys' who hung out on every corner, it was not the gangs who would stop you and take whatever pennies you had in your pocket. It wasn't even the Christian Brothers with their leather straps and their haunty eyes. It wasn't even the fear of Father xxx in the confessional box of a Friday and telling him of the terrible sin I had been doing with myself!
No, my biggest fear was of the Ma telling the Da of my misbehaviour!
Not that the Da was goin' to punish us, for he never would.
It was just for the look of disappointment in his face.
It killed me.
I would rather he gave me a slap.
But he never did slap any of his kids.
Except for his firstborn, Helen.
And that is the one single thing he MOST regretted in his life.
He told the story many times, to all of us as we grew up, that the most guilt he had ever felt was hitting his own child in a moment of anger. It was just the one time, but he so regretted it, and he told us of the many hours he cried because of it.
My dear departed sister never remembered the incident, but Da always did.
And he never did physically punish any of us. Ever.
And that is why my biggest fear was always of my Ma telling us that she would tell Da if we had been 'bold'!
Not because we thought he would punish us physically,
But because of the look of disappointment in his face.
That hurt so much more than a slap.
And that's why we all tried so hard to never see that look.
And it worked.
Miss you Da.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

R&RRRRRRRRRRR!



Mrs. Map is taking me away for a few days to my favourite city, Galway.
5 star luxury no less! ( I DO hope the paparazzi give me a break!)
Mind the shop while I'm away.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Unexpected Thursday Night Out.


My good pal Paul (the Plumber) has not been well the past few weeks, and what with that and the fact that our local shut up shop well we haven't been out!
So, text this evening from him, 'Pint?'! Red rag tae a bull!
Different pub, 'twas grand, not the same though, don't think it'll ever be my local, but nice crowd, good barman (only the one, and we had to keep telling him what we wanted!) so we live in hope of someone taking over our old place!
I did meet some people there though that I haven't seen in a while, some I could do without seeing again for quite another while!
Anyhoo, Paul (the Plumber) and meself had a good night out and he has promised to take me to 'Paradise' soon! (Hey Jimmy!)
Watch out Glasgow!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Brother

Meself & the brother Noelie went for a few the neet.
And we realised, it's the first time, ever, that we've been out drinking, together, on our own, just the two of us!
We've been out with the brothers, the sisters, the Ma, friends, relations, at weddings, funerals, kids parties, debs, christenings, ........

But tonight, just me & him.

First time I've kissed my brother Noelie.
(Actually, he kissed me, but that's even better, he's such a macho rugby playin' type, but we love each other, whadddya gonna do?)

xxx

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Helen.


I was just going to do a re-post, being the lazy bastard that I am, but I spent so much time reading my old posts, remembering too much (and NOT finding the one I wanted to post again!) that I decided it's gonna be much easier to write a new one!




(She OWNED this song!!)


It's 1:45am, the 23rd of June 2011, and exactly two years ago at this time I was sat in a room in a hospice with all of my family, some sitting, some standing, some crouched on the floor, all gathered around my dear sister Helen. It was probably the most surreal and real moment of my life. Almost 50 of the closest people in my life, all gathered together to witness, and share in the final moments of one we all loved so dearly.

Two years seems so long ago, and yet, seems like yesterday.

I still hear her laugh, see her smile, feel her love.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Jimmy (My Big Brother) Is 60

Had a great night out again tonight with Ma and my siblings.
My brother Jimmy is 60 today, and we had a grand night.
Ma is havin' a great few weeks celebrating the birthdays of her wee kids!
Hope I'm up to staying out 'til 2am when I'm almost 86!!
Gwan the Ma! :¬)

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Mrs. Mac

Mrs. Mac and meself go back a long way.

I first met and instantly loved this woman sometime in 1975.
I was a young spotty teen, a friend of her equally spotty teen son Noelie, who had brought me home for tea one day. For some reason I suddenly became friends with a whole family. Mother, father, two sisters and his four brothers became lifelong friends of mine!

Over the years I lost touch with Noelie, my friend, but always kept in contact one way or another with most of his family. His youngest brother Donough, who suffered from Cystic Fybrosis, was one of my favourites. Many the hour I spent banging my fists on his back to release phlegm from his lungs, and we would often laugh about it when he was old enough to have a drink with us in the pub. He died before he was thirty, but not before falling in love and getting married. (Strangely, but nicely, I bumped into, and had coffee with his widow today!)

I went to visit Mrs. Mac two weeks ago to invite herself and her husband to my birthday party. It was early evening but she was in bed. She insisted I come upstairs to spend some time with her, and indeed we spent a good while yappin'! (Even though she has been suffering from chronic lung disease for a while now, and breathing can be quite taxing for her at times.)

I got a message from her daughter yesterday to say that she was in hospital and things weren't looking good. So I went to see her tonight. She is in and out of consciousness, but knew me immediately I walked in the room. We had a laugh again together, and she said she was "so sorrry love for misssing your big day"!

Two days ago her family were told that she is in the late stages of a very aggressive cancer. Though they have told her that she has yet another bout of pneumonia.

Her son, my friend who first introduced me to his family many years ago, has not spoken to his family for many years, for reasons I neither know nor care about. Tonight Mrs. Mac took my hand and whispered to me that yes, he has been to visit every day since she's been in hospital. She squeezed my hand tightly and gave me a sad wink as she told me this.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Good Night And Goodnight!

Saturday night was the best 50th birthday party ever in my local! All my family and best friends dressed up in the bestest costumes, my pal Noel playing the best music, great food by Eamonn, and some drink being served by Mags, Andrew, Mark & Nichola! A super fantastic night enjoyed by all, I couldn't have asked for more!

'Cept for the end of the night. Mags, the owner of my favourite bar/community center/therapy clinic for middle-aged men/refuge for the bewildered, told me that for 'many reasons' she was closing the bar tonight! So, even though we had no intention of going out tonight well we just couldn't miss the last hoolie. And what a night. Just all the regulars, drinking, remembering, singing, drinking, more singing and drinking. There were tears (sad to see big hairy men cry!) There were cheers, and MANY beers! Tomorrow is Monday (of the Monday Madness, when all pints are (were) 3.50 euros), but alas the lights will not be on, the stools will be upturned, and the doors will be closed on my favourite pub! A community (for that is what we are, us barfly's) has been left homeless.

End of an era. Sad.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Buddy

Meself and Jimmy N. (The Drummer) have been in bands together now for nigh on thirty years!
And remain best of friends.
Can we still be having fun in this business?






Oh aye! :¬)

Friday, 3 June 2011

Come On Over To My Place.

A certain baldy man is celebrating a certain significant milestone next weekend.
A party is being thrown to honour this milestone.
A lot of celebs are attending.
A certain BOY by the name of GEORGE, Sir FREDDIE of MERCURY, perhaps PHIL of the LYNOTT clan, a Little Red Riding Hood, Cleopatra, Darth Vader, Spiderman, Superman, the Man from Atlantis, a Man about a Dog, and just a man. Superwoman, Catwoman, Crazycatwomanfromthesimpsons, A woman in love (Barbara Streisand!) Snow White, Cilla Black, Lara Croft, Two of the Three Little Pigs, and a handfull of the 7 Dwarves! (Grumpy ain't invited!) A Miss Monroe, two Charlie Chaplins, one R2D2 and a Dr. Who! There may even be a certain Bastard!
OK, it's a Fancy Dress, or, as you peeps from yonder say, a Costume party!
If any of y'all are in the vinicity, drop me an email and I will give directions to the hoolie! You are ALL most welcome.
Stools are reserved at the Whiskey bar for anyone who has been to Paradise.
If you cannot make it please forward your credit card details to my bar!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Norwegian Would!

Got to our wedding tonight, more than 60% of our punters were from Norway!

Would they be a strange crowd to please?
Would they get what we do?
Would they have fun?

They weren't strange.
They got us.
They had fun.

Norwegian Would!

La Norvége; Douze Points!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Very Nice Surprise!

Accidentally discovered today that my kids had bought me an early birthday pressie of two tickets to see the wonderful Imelda May in The Big Top (Limerick's newest music venue) on June 5th!

I have an early gig meself nearby (6pm/8pm). Sorry folks but there will be NO encores from me that evening!

Thank you kiddies!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Friday, 20 May 2011

Ernie. Con Te Partiro.

Ernesto Rocca.

My little Italian friend.
A gentleman of the highest order.
A lovely man, who had a smile so big.
And had a heart that was even bigger.

Addio per ora, il mio caro fratello.
Io saró sempre vedere il tuo sorriso.

When I think of you I will always see that big smile!

Farewell my friend.
Your pain is gone.
I will miss you dearly, as will 'Mamma'!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Dear Mrs. Map

'Being yourself', and not allowing oneself to be changed into someone else, by someone else, specifically your significant other, is, according to my significant other, the recipe for a true, happy and long relationship.

Thank you Mrs. Map for not only allowing me to be myself, but for actively encouraging it and downright insisting on it!

Where (who) would I be without you? :¬)

xxx

Friday, 13 May 2011

Coats On Many Brothers

The big double bed seemed enormous to us, even though there were four of us in it. Two at the head, two at the foot. Ma would plug in the iron and when it was hot enough she would take it upstairs and run it over the sheets before we got in. Heaven!

On colder nights the Da's overcoats were our extra blankets, and woe but we felt the sudden loss of their warming weight when he took them off the bed to shield himself from the bitter wind and rain before he set off on his long walk to work in the morning!

The warmth of brothers. I can still feel it now. The youngest may be in his mid forties, but my little brother still 'clings' to me at times. And I still try to give him as much 'warmth' as I can.

I remember so well picking him up from junior school on my way home from 'big' school, what was I, 8 or 9? We are often mistaken for each other now, what with the bald heads, and the odd scars! Peas in a pod.

If I could save time in a bottle? I might have seen things, but I was a kid too. Might have worked for Mr. Croce, but time goes on, and we get older, and our baby brothers get older. But they are still our baby brothers. And we still give them warmth. Still watch out for them.

Da's overcoats on our bed.
Ma sitting on the bed, singing us to sleep in that cold bedroom.

Monday, 9 May 2011

London Calling

Just in from the tropics, quick change of jocks & socks, 4 hours sleep and off to London.

Do come up and say hello if you see me.

Back soon.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Stone Me!


We're off to sunny climes early on Monday.
Was sorting out some summer clothes today to pack in me bag for the trip.
It's been two years since our last sun holiday.
It's been two years since I was twelve and a half stone!
The shorts that once fitted a trim twelve and a half stone Mapster do not fit a fourteen stone Mapster!
Thing is, the fourteen stone Mapster is not as much concerned about his weight as the twelve and a half stone Mapster used to be!
Roll on Monday, and good times! :¬)

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Jimmy's

'Tis just in from a mid-week wedding I am, unusual here in Ireland, but getting more common since civil ceremonies and same sex partnerships became legal. (We're also available most Tuesdays, Mondays, and other days with 'day' at the end!)

The thing about 'non weekend' weddings is the fact that most people have to get up for work the next day so they tend not to let themselves 'GO', get wild, as it were. Suffice to say it was a good wedding, but not a feckin wild hoolie! Fun was had, people danced, we got paid. (Cash!)

Jimmy, one of my big brothers, was at said wedding. A quiet man, loves dancing, and singing! He is a wonderful tenor, but lacks the confidence of his younger balder brother, who in turn lacks the true talent of the elder!

Soon I will be 50 years old, exactly a week later he turns 60. There are no other kids in between. When I was a wee lad he was my hero. I would wait for him to come home from his job as a messenger boy (for the local butcher), and sit on his lap as he taught me to sing the songs of the day! He was a little bit of a hippie back then (1967 ish) long hair, flared jeans, grandpa shirt. And I wanted to be just like him!

Today we look quite like each other, though he still has more hair. And his wife says that I am Jimmy, but with attitude'!

As I sang tonight, I could see him watching me, and I could see him smiling with pride, and I was hoping he could see that I would not have been up on that stage if it were not for him!

Jimmy. A name that keeps coming up on my journey.
My Da was Jimmy.
Big brother is Jimmy.
My best man at my wedding (and still my drummer) was Jimmy.
And there's the shandy drinkin' ten and a half stone ginger from Glasgow. Another Jimmy!

Four men I am honoured to know!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Fool Me Once


Da used to tell us to always do something good for folk if the opportunity should present itself. Be a gentleman, open doors, give up yer seat to a lady or someone older. "Always do a good turn if you can" were the words he used. And I have always tried to do that.

Sometimes though, a lad can be taken advantage of, and sometimes it takes other friends to point this out. You know what I mean, when you do a favour for someone so many times that eventually they expect you to do it all the time!

I've been told I can be too nice to some people. I don't mind that. But I DO mind being taken for a sucker!

I'll always hold true to my Da's teachings, but I am getting harder!
Some people say it's about time!

Monday, 18 April 2011

When I Get Drunk, Who Gonna Carry Me Home?

What am I like with the drink on me?
I suppose it all depends.
How much I've drunk, where I am, the company I keep.
Sometimes maudlin, but mostly I'm a happy drunk!

The Maps went to a great blues gig last night, the kinda stuff in the video below. And then we went to a rock gig!

Happy times!

(And it's usually Herself that carries (drives) me home!)

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Piano Man. Oh Brother.


Half past three.

I climbed the metal staircase on the outside of the building, the only means by which to get to the upstairs classrooms. All the other boys had left for home, all except for the privileged four, we were the 'talented ones', the four who would get free piano lessons with the 'music brother' after school finished.

He always had treats for us, oranges or bananas, what luxuries for kids from 'the island', exotic wonders to seven year olds from probably the poorest area in a drab 60's Limerick.

He sat me on his lap while 'Muddy McCarthy' did his scales, peeling the orange and teasing me with the segments. I misheard his question as "are you wearing other pants". Why would I be wearing 'other pants'? It was only years later, when the memory of those lessons raised it's ugly head, a memory I must have pushed, wrapped, tied with the string of childhood guilt and hidden in the far reaches of my mind, that I realised he was talking about underpants.

I loved that piano. Loved playing the scales, loved it when I played my first simple tune for the other Brothers who came to see how his pupils were progressing.

'See the monkey on a stick, he can do a clever trick'.

"He really loves his piano pupils" one brother would always say. And I think we really believed that he did.

'Muddy' committed suicide before he was twenty.

To this day I cannot put a finger to the keys without seeing his face, his thick black wavy hair, the dandruff on his soutane, the hairy knuckles.

"Are you wearing other pants?"

Thursday, 14 April 2011

A Good Tip


I have enjoyed being busy this week. It has all come back to me so quickly, the driving, the loading and unloading, the customers, the suppliers, interacting with so many different people every day, wonderful.

And it's the meeting and chatting with all those different, mostly nice, sometimes not, people that I miss most about my last job.

I had to work a long day yesterday, my last delivery, a load of wood, to a cabinet maker in Kenmare in county Kerry. He and his family live up the side of a mountain in a caravan beside his workshop. It wasn't easy to get there, uphill in first gear on a track more suitable to donkey than diesel! (They have two donkeys!)

A wonderful, happy and chatty man, who loves his work and loves his lifestyle. We had a great auld chin-wag about this, that, and the other whilst we were unloading the wood into his workshop. His wife (who seemed to appear from nowhere) overheard me telling him that I was looking forward to getting home and eating the stew that I had prepared the night before and we got chatting about cooking and healthy food and ingredients etc. Before I left them she gathered up a dozen duck eggs and some hen eggs from their free range poultry and gave them to me as a tip! Best tip I've been given in quite a while.

I did enjoy my stew (pork, smokey bacon, sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, spuds, tomatoes, basil, oregano, garlic, barley, lentils, split peas, stock. All put in a big pot and cooked slowly for many hours, let to cool, to be eaten the next day!) when I got home almost 2 hours later at 9pm. And what a breakfast of duck eggs I did enjoy this morning before hitting the road again!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Custom Kitchen Deliverieeeeeeees!


Little Brother is off to Disneyland Paris with his family for a wee break. So I'm looking after business while he's away, my annual little bit of real work, as it were. And yes, as the title states, I will be delivering custom kitchens up and down this fair land. And garden furniture. The odd fridge. I ain't gotta install no microwave ovens though!

And, like every other year, by the time he returns I will be sore, tired and bruised! (This body was meant for entertaining, not straining!) But I will enjoy being back on the road again, for a little while. And I get to spend the week with a very entertaining nephew!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Don't Upset Map.

The landlady of my local mithered me tonight.

She won't get the chance to do it twice.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Walk

After a lot of rain overnight the morning looked promising, and the weather got better and brighter as the day progressed. Today was Mrs. Map's day off and we spent most of the day together on our own. A grand day indeed!

In the evening, after feeding all the Maplets, helping with homework, chatting and sharing everybody's news, it seemed a sin to loll on the couch so Mr. & Mrs. Map put on the trackies & tackies and went for an evening walk. Plassey (our walking route for this evening) is an area full of wonderful walks, it's also where the University of Limerick is situated. It's always busy with strollers, runners, fisherman (it's by the river) and obviously lots of students.

One of the first things we passed on our walk was the ruins of Plassey Castle (see pic below). It has very vivid memories for me. As a young teenager I, along with friends would often take this walk by the river, sometimes spending the whole day, during the school summer holidays. (This was before the college gained university status, and hadn't even begun to expand to take up as much space as it does now.) It was our 'Riveria'! Youngfellas jumpin' in the river, auldfellas fishin', wonderful.

That was 35 years ago. It's only recently I've started coming back to the area, and only this week that I started using the river walks again. 35 years ago three friends of mine took shelter from a sudden thunder storm in the castle ruins. A bolt of lightning struck the castle and Killian was killed instantly. The other two lads survived. They were all, like me, 15 at the time. I recently became friendly with Killian's uncle who told me his parents never recovered from their loss.

.

In the following pics the large buildings are 'on-campus' student accommodation, the smaller ones are fishermen's huts.












Sunday, 3 April 2011

Sad news.

1. Some bastards in this country think they are doing the country proud by killing policemen. Some Bastards are pure SCUM! SCUM!

2. Belfast Taxi died yesterday. I never met the man, but his blog always cheered me! RIP 'R', your blog was a joy, my sincere condolences to Mrs. Belfast Taxi, and your young son.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Come.

And what you might have been my son
And what you might have seen
And love indeed you would receive
And loved you would have been
And if your lovely face could see
And if our eyes had seen....


Wednesday, 30 March 2011

My Old Man (or Da 2) :¬)

I don't know why he is so much more in my thoughts this week, and things keep popping up, pictures, people, places, smells.

I happened upon this video by accident tonight, and though I know the song from The Furey Brothers, I had never heard this version, or even heard of this wonderful singer, and it is too beautiful not to share. I don't think I could ever manage to sing this song, not the whole way through anyway.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Barfly (s)


I love my bar.

Contrary to what many of you may think, it's not an old traditional typical 'Oirish' bar.
It's fairly new, about 15 years old, and built in the middle of a 'new village'!

But it is a community bar, as such, and everybody knows each other, and so, I suppose we have started our own 'traditional bar'!

It's a small pub, owned by the sister of a famous Irish rugby player, and is as such mostly a sports bar. That is not to say it is just a sports bar, meaning, though most sports bars are 'traditionaly' the mainstay of men, 'CLAWS' (as our bar is known) has many the female sports fan!

And we have music most Saturday nights, often supplied by mesel!Though most of my favourite neets are when the wee Jonathan do be playin', and he gets me up to sing a few, these are the times when I can be 'one of the crowd' and not the main act. Have fun, and not worry about makin' a show of meself!

Just home now, no music of a Sunday eve, just lots of friends chilling, men on the bar stools, couples at tables, barstaff chillin' on a sunday, a big beer filled family, getting ready for a new Monday!

I love my bar! :¬)

xxx

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Da.

I have written about him before. He is often on my mind, even 25 years after his death. I cannot put on my shoes in the morn without hearing him say "do ye want me to polish them properly for ya?"

Everytime I look at my face in the shaving mirror, I see him shaving his face, though having inherited Ma's family's features I look nothing like him.

It was he, and not the Ma, who taught me how to iron a shirt properly, how to press a suit, and how to get the pleats in my kilt just right! (It takes a long time to iron a kilt, stitch all the pleats together, and only take out the stitching just before a competition!)

He taught me how to knot a tie, how to wear a tie, when to wear a tie, when it was acceptable not to wear a tie. (I have a VAST collection of ties, still collect them.)

And yet, we were never that close. He was, as some people might say, very English! Very 'stiff upper lip', though you couldn't get a more patriotic Irish man! He was never one for hugging, kissing or cuddling. Never one for a slap on the back. But we knew he loved us. And though Ma was never affeared of givin' us a good slap, Da never once raised his hand in anger to us. And Ma would use this to her advantage. "Do ye want me to tell yer father how bold ye've been, do ye want him to slap ye?" (He never did!)

Da would have a pint every night on the way home from work, in Mr. Halpin's bar.
Mr. Halpin would give working men ONLY one pint each working night. He would then send them home to their families.

But on a Friday he would give them one pint, tell them go home with their wages, and come back for a few more if their wives would let them! There are not many Mr. Halpins around these days!

Da always stopped off at Monica's shop of a Friday, for the 'Bag Of Sweets'!
The bag was different every Friday, but one of us always had to answer a question to get the prize 'CRUNCHIE' each week! It didn't really matter 'cos all the 'sweets' were a treat for us!

I often wonder what memories my girls will have of me. I know I spend a lot of time with them, more time, I know, than my own Da was privileged to have with me. And I am priviliged to be in a position, because of my job, to spend so much time with them.

My Da was a 'worker' in the old fashioned sense. He got up early each day, worked a labouring slog, and was proud to do so to provide for his family. I know my lifestyle is so different from Da's, but I like to think I am carrying on his tradition.

I love you Dada, and I miss you every day.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

300

Yep! 300.
And what's I got?
Fuck all!

Come back tomorrow.

:¬)

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

17th March.

Ladies & Men, the day is upon us.
The day that St. Patrick decreed (on his deathbed!) that every man, woman, child (and larger breeds of dog) should go forth, to their nearest pub, and drink their weight in a black liquid, henceforth to be known as Guinness (Gaelic for 'Blood of St. Patrick!)

I may be back tomorrow.
I may not.
You know the drill, don't let HIM down!

********************************************************************************

Replicas of St. Patrick's shoes.
(Laced for work, slip-on for leisure.)
A church he built on a mad weekend in NYC!
A mountain he made. (Out of a molehill!)

Artist's impression of Mrs. St. Patrick.

Recently found fossilised remains of 'Yer Man'!

Lovely shot of Mick & Mary, (Patrick's Da and Stepmother.)
Himself watchin' a snake orgy, alas no more in Ireland!
Typical gay St. Patrick's Day party.
Last known urine sample of St. Patrick.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Sets & Drums & Rotten Rolls!

So, 'twas a great gig!
The guitarist suffered through, like a trouper.
We had to medicate him every 30 mins, in between sets, much to the amusement of the crowd.
But he played to the last note!
And we got him back to the ward before Matron noticed.
Looks like he gonna be there for the rest of the week though, at least!

Meself and the drummer stopped at a truck-stop for food on the way home.
Hot dogs? Me arse!
Let's just say, bad tummies the next day!

Meanwhile, I had a gig tonight with the duo (me & the unwell one!) so KateNap filled in for him.
Her first full gig with the Da!
And they loved her, sure why wouldn't they!
(And she was payed, cash, in the hand!)

It's been a stressful weekend, musically.
But an adventure.
It's what keeps a baldy ouldfella on his toes!

I'm off tomorrow night.

Off to the pub!

Sláinte!

Friday, 11 March 2011

Jailbreak

Our guitarist is in hospital.
We have a gig tonight.
We could get a replacement.
But it's always been the four of us since the start.

We break him out at 20:50.
We break him back in at 01:10.

Oooh Matron!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Too Much?


Rob was supposed to do another tattoo for me before he went to Oz, we had finalised the design and placement, but I was ill at the time ('twasn't the hoor drink!) so I'm gonna wait 'til he takes a trip back home, maybe in about a year.

I think this lad has taken it a bit too far though, d'ya agree? As Bock said to me, 'he's gonna feel a right twat if he makes it to his seventies!'

Nice jacket and trews though.

And belt.

Maybe he has a lovely smile.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Just Can't Get Enough

I got a feeling a Bastardised version of this is gonna be sung many many times today in a certain part of Glesga!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

I Miss

I haven't been gigging with the band for the past three weeks.
That's a long time for me.
I miss being on the stage.
I miss being in front of an audience.
I miss the fun I have when I sing.
But most of all I miss THIS!



I am back next Friday!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Bad Daddy!

I am a bad daddy.
I forgot that my baby was being confirmed on the 3rd of March.

(My pal 'Paul the Plumber' says "lets go ta Glasgow on the 2nd of March for the game", booked the flights, tickets, hotel!)

"Aye" says I! (I might even meet a PAL!)

Gonna have to miss the game. (Sadly!)

But my baby comes FIRST!

(mapstew@yahoo.ie) (If a lad wants to email a lad!)

Listen & Learn With Uncle Map


Now, are we all seated? Yes?
Ok.
Today's lesson.

Never EVER wash your dirty hubcaps in the bath!

NEVER!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011