Tag Archives: life’s good

A Nice Goodbye

Not every post that I write this year will follow suggestions by The Daily Post. Nor will every one of them try to be funny.

Today’s is short, because we got up this morning and drove through the ice and snow to Trim, Co Meath, to go to a funeral.

Our sister-in-law’s mother has died. Our sister-in-law, Mrs Tin’s brother’s wife, is a sweet, gentle girl and her mum was just the same.

We’re just home. The service was lovely and, like the funerals of most good people, it was a good day. I know that sounds odd, but people remembered her, people supported each other, people laughed a lot.

It was a nice goodbye.

Morning Passes

On my way from the bus stop to my office each morning I pass a small coffee shop. It’s one of the many who have catered for smokers by placing a couple of tables & chairs in a small corral outside, and these mornings there are small heaters above these tables.

A while ago I noticed that on most mornings there was a gentleman sitting there drinking coffee, a man a few years older than me, always impeccably dressed and wearing one of those hats that I don’t know the name of, one that is somewhere between a trilby and a fedora (as I said here recently, I don’t do hattitude). He too must have noticed that I passed him regularly (can’t help it, I’m gorgeous) because after a few weeks we started to acknowledge each other with a brief nod. Then we moved on to raising one hand and smiling as I’d pass by, and these days give each other a loud, cheerful “good morning”.

After greeting him each morning there’s a slight skip to my step, a feeling of well-being in my blood, a song in my heart (well, a muttered hum at least, it is 7.30 a.m after all).

I don’t know much about him. I don’t even know his name. But this virtual stranger makes each day a little bit happier, and I hope that I do the same for him.

It’s a bit like blogging.

Well, There He Is

I know that many of you are already familiar with Matt.

For those of you who aren’t, Matt is a young American guy who was travelling in Hanoi when his friend persuaded him to do the one – terrible – dance that Matt knows, and filmed him doing it. This became such a hit on You-Tube that a company, Stride Chewing-Gum, sponsored him to travel the world filming his dance in different places. He put the resulting film on his website, wherethehellismatt.com, and got so much feedback that the company sponsored him to go again, this time inviting people to join him.

To watch the resulting video, set to wonderful music, click the link above and prepare to be enchanted.

And why have I decided to bring Matt up today? Well, it’s because of this photo, the gobsmacking highlight of my trip to New York:

That’s Matt’s video, being played on a giant screen. In Times Square.

Even though I’ve never met him, I felt so proud of him and for him.

Life goes in strange directions. I bet when Matt was growing up he never foresaw himself making a short film that would delight the world. But his video has been watched over 30 million times now. That’s 30 million brief bursts of joy that he has given to people.

Not many other people get to do as much good with their lives.

Almost There

At 7.30 this morning I headed from my bus-stop across the Millennium Bridge over the River Liffey and walked along the delightfully soulless street on which we are lucky enough to have our office. The streets I have to cross are tiny, the buildings are square, brown and come right out to the footpath and, while it was a sunny morning, the sun wasn’t high enough to shine over these buildings, so I was in a sort of dusk, with sunshine tantalisingly close above.

Suddenly, and quite without intending to, I pictured myself on a wider street, still with square, brown buildings, and again with the promise of sunshine above, but this time unable to shine upon me simply because the buildings were so very, very tall.

We’ve three days to go before we head for New York and this morning, for the first time, I got really excited about it.

I’m in a New York state of mind.

Friday Night, Saturday Morning

Why do we Irish insist on running onto the pitch at the end of hurling or football matches, no matter how often we’re asked not to? Will the Greens win any seats at all in any of the next five general elections? Did Hitler think “oh shit, we’re fucked now” when he heard Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor? Was Peter Schmeichel the greatest goalkeeper of all time? Did Maggie Thatcher being British PM for so long help or hinder women’s rights? Have house prices fallen as low as they can, or is there still a long way to go? Is Toy Story 3 any good? Do Southern Irish people support Northern Ireland at football? Why do we get threatened with being thrown out of the EU if we vote against something like the Lisbon treaty, but when France voted against the EU Constitution it was just abandoned? Why haven’t the Government held the by-elections for the three vacant seats? Why aren’t the UN tougher on countries with bad human rights records? How were Iraq meant to give up their WMDs when they didn’t have any? Have you ever seen The Princess Bride? What was it like watching the Iron Curtain governments fall one by one? When are you two going to bed?

All of these questions were addressed by Tinson1 and I during a wide-ranging conversation last night. Well, not all of them. The last question was actually asked by Mrs Tin when she came down to the kitchen to find us chatting. Because at that stage it was 5.25 am.

I got home around midnight, he had apparently arrived a few minutes earlier. He was in the kitchen getting himself something to eat when I arrived in to make tea, and we started to talk. And then talk. At some stage I made more tea. Still we continued to talk, just standing there. We saw the dawn come up, and still talked, still standing there. That was the thing, neither of us sat, we just continued to stand, he with his back against the cooker, me leaning against the back door, as if we both realised that if either of us sat down or looked tired then the spell would be broken and this remarkable conversation would end.

Neither of us were up too early this morning.

Oh BTW: I think it’s because disobedience to authority is part of our psyche, not a chance, I would have if I was him, yes of course, probably helped on balance, still have a long way to fall, brilliant, most of them, because France are more important than we are, because they’ve no balls, because they’ve no balls, search me (since searching them didn’t work), well you should, really astonishing, we’re just off now.

Hi Ho Silver

Another milestone today, one that’s been far harder to achieve than giving up the fags a piece of piss (she does sometimes read this).

And quite a short post, because I’m in a hurry. It’s 5.45 a.m. as I write this, as I need to be at work at half past seven. This is because today is the deadline for the reports that we have to produce at the end of each month, and if at all possible I want to have them finished as quickly as possible so that I don’t have to work late (I spent from 7.30a.m. to 8.30 p.m. in the office yesterday trying to make sure I achieve this).

The reason that I want to get out early is that the Tinkids, Mrs Tin and I are going out for dinner, and the reason for that is that today’s our wedding anniversary.

Our 25th.

It’s really more a milestone of achievement for Mrs Tin than it is for me, as she’s had to put up with my mental and physical issues,as well as just me being me, while all that time she’s just been her – a great, kind girl.

It’s hard to believe that a quarter of a century (to put it into perpsective, it was the Saturday before Live Aid) has passed since two very young people stood side by side taking the first step that has led to today. How quickly time passes.

Sorry, that last phrase sounded melancholic (did I mention that it’s not six o’clock yet?) and today’s not a day for that. Today’s a day to celebrate our day, our children, our life.

Happy Anniversary Mrs Tin.

Tinman x

Tinman the Quitter

The title of today’s post is an attempt to fool you all into believing that this is another post where I have a go at myself, whereas in fact it’s one of the ones where I brag myself silly.

Unfortunately it’s another milestone post, but for once I make no apology for this, because it’s a milestone I’m very, very proud of.

On July 5th 2000 I gave up cigarettes.

I’d done it before. In 1978 I gave them up, and was off them for a year. In 1983 I got hypnotised, and stayed off them for three and a half years. Each time, though, I went back. I’d have  just one some day at a party or something, then another about six weeks later, then one just four weeks later, and gradually I’d be back to my normal quota.

Which was about 40 a day. I didn’t realise how bad I was until I gave them up on that wonderful day ten years ago, because every time I told someone I was off them they would stare at me and say “You‘re off cigarettes?”. Apparently I was a legend among smokers, an Olympian superman, a role-model whose smoking achievements made them gasp (and then cough wildly and lung-churningly).

I did it by reading “Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking” and found that, to my surprise, it was an easy way to stop smoking. He tells you to continue smoking while you’rer reading the book, and late on July 4th 2000 I read the last page, stubbed out the last fag, and went overnight from 40 to zero, rather like several cars that I’ve owned.

And of course it would have been useless if I hadn’t been really ready to give them up, and of course it wasn’t all beer and skittles (though it was a lot more beer, I found myself drinking much quicker when I didn’ t keep stopping to smoke), and of course I dreamt a lot that I was back on them (which was one of the reasons I’d gone back on them in the 80s, but this time when I dreamt I was back on them, which was always at a football match for some reason, I’d burst awake in horror shouting “no, wait, that doesn’t count”), and of course I realise that this sentence has gone on nearly as long as I’ve been off cigarettes, so I’m going to stop it now.

In other words, I can’t pretend to smokers that giving them up is dead simple (Mrs Tin reckons that my first, biggest, bout of depression the following February was a last desperate attempt by my mind to get me back on them, which is possible, the addiction is much more mental than physical). What I can say, though, is that it’s easier that you’re afraid it’s going to be.

Anyway, there you go. Ten years today, and I’ve just realised that I’ve been smiling most of the time I’ve been typing this.

Three cheers for Tinman, I deserve it.

Sight Unseen

Tingirl & I sat watching the second Eurovision Semi-final tonight (well done, Ireland, by the way). RTE commentator Marty Whelan explained that this year voting opened from the very beginning, so that you could vote for Song 1, say, as soon as you heard it (apparently under the old system the later songs were doing better, as people couldn’t remember the earlier songs by the time the voting opened). After Song 4 he reminded us again: “don’t forget, you don’t have to wait, you can vote for any of the songs you’ve heard right now.”

“Or, of course, songs that haven’t been on yet,” I said. “you could vote now for, say, Song 9.”

“Why, who’s Song 9?” asked Tingirl.

“Don’t know,” I said, “I’m just saying you could vote at random for anything, before you’d even heard it, if you felt like it.”

We looked at each other for a moment, my wonderful daughter and I, and then we both smiled.

We voted for Song 9.

It turned out to be the Netherlands, and anyone who’s ever watched the Eurovision knows that since it was the Netherlands, it certainly wasn’t dull. It was called “Ik Ben Verliefd” (Mwa?), the guy responsible for the Smurfs was involved in it in some way (I’m not making that up), and it featured a girl who seemed to be clockwork, a huge hurdy-gurdy and lyrics that included the words “Sha-la-la” an awful lot. 

When it ended Marty laughed and said “well, they certainly sounded as if they don’t want to bother with hosting it next year.”

“Shut up, Marty,” shouted Tingirl and I in unison.

And sadly he was right, they got absolutely nowhere. But it kept Tingirl and I interested, even after Ireland had been read out early as one of the ten qualifiers, hoping that what Tingirl kept referring to as “our song” would get one of the last few places.

When it ended we shrugged, looked at one another, and smiled again.

We’re looking forward to the Final on Saturday. As soon as the voting opens, we’re voting for Song 9 again.

Birthday Girl, Baby Boy

Happy Birthday Jo!!!

I’ve just come back from meeting Jo & some of her friends in Avoca Handweavers, where we sat outside with our sunglasses on like people on the Riviera and stuffed ourselves full of chocolate birthday cake.

Hope the rest of your day is fun too, Jo.

And another of my blogmates, K8 the Gr8, had a baby boy this morning, her third child (three is a great number, K8, though believe me there will be times when you and TAT will feel totally outnumbered).

All in all, a great day for two great girls.


Tingirl is going to a sleepover tonight, in a town a couple of miles away, in her schoolfriend Shannon’s house (no, Shannon is her real name, this blogname stuff is confusing enough already).

It’s Shannon’s first sleepover, and her mother is treating it very responsibly, ringing the parents of each of the girls who are going to assure us they they’ll be well looked after and to make sure that we’d given our permission in the first place.

She rang me last night. We talked for a few minutes, then she said “sorry, what is your own name?”. I told her, and she said “I thought it was you. We used to live near you, my name is Such-and-such”.

I thought for a second, and the mists rolled back, to about ten years ago. I remembered a young woman who didn’t drink, but who on freezing November Saturday afternoons would meet her sister to sit in front of the blazing fire in our local after their shopping trips. It was at a time when I would sometimes bring the Tinkids in for crisps, and we’d sit for an hour while I had a pint or two (well, we weren’t getting out at night-time, and I do realise my parenting isn’t coming very well out of this story, but ignore that).

I remembered that this young woman had a small daughter, a very quiet, shy girl who sat and never made a sound, but whose face would light up if I had Tingirl with me. They would sit happily drawing, two little heads bent side-by-side. I remembered that the little girl’s name was Shannon.

And now, ten years later, two teenage girls who have no memory of any of this have become close friends.

I’ve written here before that Ireland really is ridiculously small. Sometimes that’s what’s so great about it.