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


'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


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.