Tuesday, 24 December 2013

That's A Wrap!

I have three daughters, who, once upon a time, were wee little things, and we (Mrs Maurcheen agus mé féin) used to spend into the early hours of Christmas morning wrapping their presents when we knew they were sound asleep.
They are 21, 19 & 15 now. And we still do the same thing.
This year the two older ones had a drink with us after dinner this evening, a sure sign Ma & Da are getting old!

I was going to record a lovely Christmas song for ye but I have been laid low, struck down as it were, had the rug pulled from under me, been cursed with an affliction worse than the worst of afflictions for a singer. I have a head cold and my singing voice is not at it's best, so I will not be singing for you. I know....,, tears and sobs all over the known world....so instead I offer you a video of my Christmas dancing skills as produced by one of my PR team. Thank you dear hope.

I have made many dear friends here in Blogland, and it is my deep honour to know you one and all. I would especially like to thank my Taller Pal for being the giant upon whose shoulders this wee singing fella has stood for many a year.

Nollaig Shona daoibh mo chairde go léir.

A very merry Christmas to each and every one of you. (From Atheist Maurcheen)

(Please click on the link below.)


http://host-d.oddcast.com/php/application_UI/doorId=1177/clientId=299/?mId=55830552.2  <<<<<

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Thoughts Trees & Tayto's

Oh the weather outside is frightful! (I sang this tonight.) It is. Though I have yet to experience weather inside!

Did a gig tonight with my smaller act 'TAT2' in a G.A.A. clubhouse. (GOOGLE it). We had a grand audience of four people when we started, though it rose to about 22 by the end of the evening.  The weather outside really was frightful! We kept the gig really mellow, all crooner like and christmas stuff.  The 22 were most pleased.

One of the audience members came up for a chat after the gig, she said she used to work with my late sister Helen, we had a good auld chat about her. It's a great feeling to be able to talk about my sister with a friend of hers without getting melancholy.

The tree is up, though I hated the thought of getting all the stuff out of the attic! My girls put it all together whilst I was out singing. It is just grand, and I shouldn't be such a Grinch!

It's almost 3am and I'm eating a bag of Tayto's (GOOGLE it!). And drinking a can of Green Joy (Heineken).

I can't express enough the amount of joy I get from singing. It makes my heart lighter, my heid stronger, and my whole being one hundred times better. I may not be everyone's cup of tea, but when even a small audience applaud it makes my day. I am a lucky man to get a wage for doing something that thrills me so.

Every now and then I get this overwhelming feeling of panic when I realise that I will one day cease to exist! That someday I will be on my deathbed. It frightens the bejasus out of me, it really does. But it makes me want to DO stuff NOW! It's what makes me do silly stuff on stage, take chances that I might otherwise have had second thoughts about because of what people might say or think about me. It makes me LIVE!

I'm having another bag of Tayto's!  :¬)

xxx

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Aye Aye Jimmy

A couple of posts back I posted a video of this song performed by the composer.

My good friend Cecil posted the following comment; 


"This could have been written for two oul scarred and gnarled pals who continually bob to the surface, regardless of what goes on behind the scenes, eh?

One small gripe. I'd rather hear you sing your version."




So here it is.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

For my friends and family in Glasgow, our thoughts are with you all today.

'Mother Glasgow's Succour Is Perpetual'

https://soundcloud.com/mapstew/02-mother-glasgow      < (Click To Listen)





Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Boy, The Bhoys.

Why is it that I, a 52yr old man, married with three daughters and a small garden, am still the boy while in the company of Ma? Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining.

Tonight she shall sit in her own chair, by her own fire, a glass of something golden in her hand and no doubt the odd puff of a John Player Blue. It's been a long 53 days for everybody, not least the Ma.

Tonight I shall be on a high stool by another fire, something golden in my hand (Easy Chef!) and a pal by my side. Let's hope it's a good day all round.

COYBIG!  :¬)

Saturday, 16 November 2013

The Voyage

Probably my favourite song, sung here by himself.
A grand Limerick poet.


Sunday, 10 November 2013

Friday, 1 November 2013

Nuacht

Just in (3AM) from a wedding in Nenagh, grand crowd and they paid in cash!
I have to say, we do have a laugh in the van (an old Transit, what else?) on the way home.

Ma is still confined in ward 3B, four weeks now, not ideal at all. The longer she's there the worse the depression, for all of us. Latest news is that she will have at least one of her procedures done by Tuesday next.  We live in hope.

Our Rob (MY Rob) arrived in the hospital today after a three day journey from Australia. Ma was so happy to see him & Emily, as was I. They are here for two weeks this trip and will be coming back next July for two months during which they will celebrate their wedding. He has asked me to stand with him at the wedding. I am overjoyed. We will all (the men) be wearing traditional Scottish dress for the wedding.

Anna is back from her sojourn in Germany.

Helena had her braces removed today.

My godfather was buried today, three months after his wife, my godmother. Farewell Georgie & Helen.

I'm having a beer to wind down, and then off to the feathers.

Oíche mhaith mo chairde, agus chodladh sámh go léir.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Shoulders

And suddenly, without realising, without wanting, without warning, we have become a community. Complete strangers (except for Rosie*), nodding to each other at first, smiling, gentle waves. Then the odd few words, longer conversations, and eventually we are all on first name terms. All thrown together with one thing in common, our Mothers. And Hospital. That's two things.

Twice a day we meet on the stairs or on one of the long corridors and discuss how each of our loved ones is or isn't making progress. We have become a support group for each other, brothers and sisters in arms. Some of the others live quite a distance away and can only make one trip a day. I'm fortunate to live close to the hospital and can spend quite a bit of time there.

I have become the darling of the Acute Stroke Unit, the older ladies seem to love me, true, they have all suffered a stroke recently, (except Ma), still, despite the bald head, tattoos and hard-man strut (hahaha) the ladies all want a piece of me. I'm as yet not quite sure which piece. Nancy, from Co. Clare has taken quite the shine to me and waves frantically from her bed at the end of the ward as soon as she sees me.

Ma is still waiting to get her pacemaker. She picked up another infection in hospital which is causing the delay. The mood can be very low at times. But yesterday she had me in tears of laughter telling me of an incident earlier that morning. She had just come back from the X-Ray dept where they were checking her leg for possible causes of the infection. As she sat back on her bed a young doctor came to examine her foot. She said he seemed to be getting quite flustered and was saying stuff like "When did this lesion appear? No, this one here, this new strange lump on your foot?" Now, ma is quite blind and couldn't see what he was talking about and started to get upset. The doc hurried off and returned with a nurse and both of them again examined her foot. After a few minutes the nurse says "Sarah, have you been eating chocolates?" Yes, says the Ma, Maltesers. One of the chocolates had ended up in her slipper and had melted onto her foot!

(*Rosie's Ma is one of the other patients. I dated Rosie when we were about 14 or 15 yrs old and didn't think she'd remember me as I used to have quite the head of curls back then, but she did.)

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Hearts & Minds

So, we're doing this wedding in a week or so and the bride asks if we can sing 'A Rainy Night In Soho' for the first song? YES PLEASE!!  I quite like the Pogues  thank you miss bride to be.

But!! Then she sends a text... 'my cousin will be at the wedding, he plays the fiddle, would it be OK if he played with ye on the first song? You might have heard of him, John Sheahan?
Yes, that would be FUCKING OK!!!!!! (I didn't say that! BUT A member of the world famous Dubliners on the same stage with me???)

I phoned the Ma last night (from Letterkenny) to ask how she was getting on in hospital. She told me she was getting a heart transplant! I nearly dropped me pint! Turns out she's having a pacemaker fitted (at the age of 88!)

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Up North.

We're hoping Ma will be home before the weekend ends, Monday at the latest. Being in hospital is making her very depressed, and it's not exactly cheering up the rest of us!

I'm away for a wee while the day, off north to Letterkenny with the missus.
Back soon folks. Love ya'all.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Ma

Very upsetting day.
Went to visit Ma and was stopped enroute by neighbours who were asking after her.
I have missed a couple of days, what with my own wee problems.
Ma has become delirious, suddenly. She greeted me as if I was my grandfather. Very upsetting.
After a few minutes she realised who I was, and then started mumbling about the people in the wardrobe.
My dear sister hasn't had a decent sleep in a couple of days.
We all tried (including the doctor) to get her to agree to go to hospital.
She became very angry and upset, started throwing things around the room, things she would not normally be able to lift, where she got the strength from ???
Ma is in the hospital now.
My younger brother (for whom she will agree to anything) persuaded her so.
Very upsetting.

UPDATE

Ma is a bit better today. The delirium was possibly caused by an infection, and is hopefully temporary. Thank you all for your kindness.  xxx

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Gulp! or - Ya Don't Want That Shoved Down Yer Throat Every Day!


I can't honestly say it was the most pleasant experience I have ever had. It being my first time, having a long foreign object shoved down my gob was painful, messy, noisy and embarrassing for all involved, but thankfully it was all over very quickly and we shall probably (hopefully) never meet again.
(And before you start Chef, no, that was not also a comment from my first girlfriend!)

I had a gastroscopy procedure done this morning.

I had it done in one of the smaller hospitals (for smaller people?) and was in and out before I knew it. (Easy Chef!)
Because I had the procedure without sedation I was able to leave immediately afterwards and drive meself home.

Thankfully nothing 'sinister' was found and the doctor was most reassuring. I will have the complete results next week, but all is looking good.

The staff, from start to finish were just (pure dead) brilliant. Though I wasn't quite sure if one of the lovely nurses was actually stroking me head or trying to keep me pinned to the pillow!



Sunday, 29 September 2013

Sebastian Update

Straight from FaceBook!


Mark Stewart

Day 15,16 & 17 : NEWSFLASH Sebastians chest drains have finally come out this afternoon thank God, Sebs been out of his mind on drugs which was quite funny  we got to hug him properly for the first time in over 2 weeks which was AMAZING and wheel him around the ward which he thought was hilarious !!! I think we can see a home light at the end of this tunnel but when the time is right we'll be home ...

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Sebastian

Ladies and Men, my dear friends, and folk who might not know me so well, I ask of you a favour.
Those of you who have a god, and those of you who love the universe, take a moment to think of the youngest of my clan, wee Sebastian Stewart, he had open heart surgery 9 days ago, he is a wee nine months old, and he needs a lot of good thoughts right  now. He is a fighter, and needs a lot of us in his corner right now. I know ye won't let me down.



Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Pains, Terrains And 'On-The-Go' Meals

Picture if you will five of the healthiest, fittest, most robust examples of manhood (between the ages of 30 and 49) you are ever likely to set your lamps on.
Now picture the exact opposite.
These are the five gentlemen we (The Plumber & I) had the pleasure to accompany last weekend on a sponsored cycle around the heaven on earth that is The Ring Of Kerry!
The Plumber & I were the support team, following behind from the comfort of the van with drinks, sandwiches, spare tyres and cheers.

7AM Saturday morning was the intended start-off time, so we all arrived in Killorglin on Friday evening, about 8ish. And as you do the night before an epic cycle we all headed for the bar. I lie, we headed for many bars. It was fun.

We arrived back at Dan's house (Dan is the organiser and lead cyclist) about 2:30AM where everyone continued drinking. I'm sure I could also smell some strange herb burning but it could just have been the Plumber trying get some wood to light in the grate with an industrial size blowtorch! It's hard to tell when one is looking at the ceiling from the bed I made where I had fallen down on the floor.

Somebody woke sometime shortly after 7 and eventually, after a breakfast of coffee, porridge and cigarettes, our famous five plonked their arses on their respective saddles.

It was a long day, even with the weather being most perfect. Two of our five managed to do the whole circuit without assistance, the other three spent most of the time alternating between the saddle and the back of our van. But even so, all raised a ton of money for our local cancer charity.

And the Plumber and I have enough laughs in the bag to keep us going through many long winter nights in the local.

(Photies to follow as soon as I remember where I put the camera!)

(Here's one of Ladies View from the phone.)



Thursday, 5 September 2013

Love Is All You Need

Peadar was a fellow piper in the CBS Pipe Band when we were kids. I haven't seen him since he left for the shores of Americkay 23 years ago.
Tonight I had the pleasure of having pints with him and his new husband (on their honeymoon) and many other old friends back here in Limerick.
Love is all you need.
Love Is All You Need!

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Five Get Back Together Again. (Nothing To Do With Enid!)

Fourteen weeks ago daughter #2 moved out of home into her first apartment. Just for the summer.
She's 19 and wanted to experience independence.
And she did.
And loved it.
And it was with our blessing.
She returned home today, and I expected her to be a bit sad at doing so, having had 'a life' for the past three months.
But she was so happy being 'back in the fold' as she called it.
She is the liveliest of our three (and by that I mean 'wilder', takes after her da some say!), and I had forgotten how noisy our house used to be when all three were here together.
And I missed that.
And I missed setting the table for five.
So once again we are a full house.
And we love it!  :¬)

xxx

Friday, 30 August 2013

Seamus Heaney 1939 - 2013


Digging

BY SEAMUS HEANEY
Between my finger and my thumb   
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound   
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:   
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds   
Bends low, comes up twenty years away   
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills   
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft   
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.   
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.

(Brings to mind a good friend!)


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Aye Gym Me

My pal's wife dropped in for a visit after tea this evening with the kids, two girls (6 & 4) and the one year old youngfella. (I miss having wee ones about the place!) I tried to play a bit of footie with him in the back garden but he hasn't quite got the hang of it yet. Keeps running around in circles as if one foot is nailed to the ground. Takes after his auldfella in that respect, especially after we've been to the pub, (which is where we'll be tonight to watch the game! COYBIG!!)

Man I forgot how much energy little 'uns have, and how little I have!
It's time to get that energy back before the grandkids start appearing!
So, started setting up me home gym today, I was knackered just getting the stuff outa the boxes!
Wish me well, and The Bhoys tonight!

Friday, 23 August 2013

Reddy


                                          Saw this and thought of you Ms. Quotes!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

15

Fifteen years and five months ago my wife, four months pregnant was rushed to hospital.
I was told she would need immediate surgery.
As I signed the consent forms I was told that the baby she was carrying would not survive.
Against all odds the baby did survive, but I was told not to hold out too much hope.
Today, Fifteen years and five months later our dear baby Helena celebrates her 15th birthday.
The house is alive with her teenage friends.


Saturday, 10 August 2013

Mapless

So, here's the story, time to re-invent.
You will know me when I call.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Go Raibh Maith Agaibh.

The dark skin of a sunny summer is starting to fade, as is my love of this blog.
I think the time has come to bid farewell.
Not today, but soon dear friends.
A man is bored.
Time to start anew, yeah?

Thursday, 8 August 2013

17

He gave me one of those first ever cassette recorders on the proviso that I would tape the 'Top 30' every Sunday afternoon. I would hover over the Play & Pause buttons in between the ads, waiting for the start of the next song and trying to miss the last second of the DJ's voice. That's when I knew I would have to be in a band! I was 12 years old, he was my brother in law, he was in a band.

A year later I was in a band, although it was a marching band, a pipe band, and I loved it. And still he encouraged me to learn a more modern instrument, or learn to sing.
When I did become a singer, in my early twenties, he would come along to gigs with my sis, and give me tips afterwards about sound, levels, projection, how to be more confident.

He had a reputation for being a ladies man, a flirt, something I have been accused of many times since I entered this world of show. And yes, I do find flirting with the audience to be part of the job. Sadly he took it further.

And unfortunately, one of the 'ladies' he chose to have a dalliance with was the estranged wife of a not very nice scumbag.

17 years ago today he was shot a number of times on his doorstep as he returned home from one of his gigs. He died in the arms of his youngest son.

Our family was shot that night.

Monday, 5 August 2013

The Ma, Mam, Mama, Maaaaaaaaaaam!

She doesn't like it.
Being called 'Ma'!
We do it just to annoy her.
She prefers 'Mam', or 'Mama'.
So we call her 'Ma'!
Cos she annoys the fuck out of us.
Always has, always will!
Ma is 88 today.
I offered to have a party in my gaff for her, but she said "Why would I want a party? I don't drink whiskey anymore!"
I said "OK, but WE DO!!"
She (who must be obeyed!) may or may not let us know if she will have a party!
I love her anyhoo!

Happy Birthday Ma, I LOVE YOU!  :)

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Aye Waukin-O - Eddi Reader

I Could Listen To This For All My Days

Quiet, Quiet House

The Maps are all over the place, Mrs. is away on a mission of mercy, Youngest went to dinner and a sleepover with friends, Middle is at the beach with friends, just me & Firstborn, (who has work in the morn,) at home the night. I say home but I was at the pub. I take a drink the odd time. It's strange going ta bed alone. Me & Mrs. have never been apart for more than five days (just the once!) in 23 years.

Friday, 19 July 2013

I Love You Mrs. Map

23 years ago on this day Miss Annette Hogan walked up the aisle of Raheen Church to a very nervous groom, she said 'I Do' I said 'I Do'.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Wednesday In Hot Mapland

Took meself and the two youngest daughters off to the Kingdom (County Kerry) for a wee swim. After a few beach 'no-no's' (Beal strand 'the water was too far away', and Ballybunion - 'less said..') we arrived at Ballyheigue. I haven't been there since I was a young teen and jeebus knows why! The beach goes on forever, and the Atlantic was.. wait for it... WARM!! A tepid ocean is the friend of a Stew called Map! We swam for what seemed like three days (it was a couple of hours) and it was glorious, GLORIOUS I tell ya. Me heid is browner than usual  (yes, miss Pony-doll, I did have slap on it!) and as for the rest of my toned and bronzed bod...:¬)

I went for a pint or two with the plumber on my return and bumped into an old friend, Jon Mon. I was his best man at his wedding many moons ago. We lost touch and haven't seen each other in donkey's years. It was his wife Chris that I instantly recognised, she hasn't aged a day, though Jon hasn't changed that much either. Seemingly the Map HAS! It took Jon a few moments to get me, it was my voice he recognised!
Anyhoo, they have relocated to our neighbourhood in the past month and it looks like we may be seeing more of them. He's a grandfather now, which makes me a grand-uncle (again!) seeing as I'm his daughters' Godfather. (I used to be Catholic. Shhsshh!)

Between coming back from the beach and going to the pub I spent almost four hours with an electronics guy (along with me drummer) trying to figure out the problem with our sound system that has been plaguing us for the past month. We think we have found the problem (fingers crossed) and it can (hopefully) be fixed, though at a (high) cost!

Plan for the morrow? Speedo (white) in the back yard. YES we are overlooked, NO I don't care, they can swoon to their hearts content, as can their wives!  :¬)

xxx

Monday, 8 July 2013

The Sun Has Got His Hat On

I really could get used to this fine weather, sunshiny days and balmy evenings, salads and chilled Pinot, little (or no) clothes (look AWAY children!)

I do hope it's all good in yer neighbourhood.

Friday, 5 July 2013

home

I got a new(ish) PC!
Yay!
Thank you Eddie. (My baby Bro!)
I'm back online.
It's 4am.
Just back from a wedding.
It were good.
As am I.
The  forecast is for sun.
I like.
I miss Jimmy.
I am a few shades darker.
I am a few kg's heavier.
Tomorrow
Tomorrow
I love you.....

Monday, 1 July 2013

Back To Life, Back To Reality

A man can 'run away'
And by day forget
The missing and the dead
And have fun
But at night
When the sun sleeps
And a man lay his head
The pillow awakens the depths
And into the fading light
Darkness creeps.

mapstew.