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From the kitchen table

From the kitchen table

Yoga’s a great stress-reliever – but it’s just not for me!

 

 

As I mentioned last week, we’re currently undergoing the painful process of moving house. As you can imagine readers, things are pretty stressful. Friends and family have been a great help, (offering advice, not offering to assist with the actual moving of our precious items, but that’s probably down to me being a pedantic aul bint). And while I know everyone has my best interests at heart – or maybe they’re just sick of listening to me moaning and whinging, (you’re feeling hubby’s pain aren’t you?) – if one more person suggests I take up yoga “ta help with all d’ stress an’ dat,” I’m going to get them a hugger mugger yoga mat and stick it where the sun don’t shine! And breathe.

  Many years ago, because my former work colleagues were shocked, horrified and bewildered I’d managed to avoid ever taking a class, I tried yoga. It was when I lived in Dublin, working five days a week on live TV; and, during a demanding six-week fitness strand I was producing, (in the interest of research), I dragged on my non-slip socks and headed for the RTE gym. Well, believe it or not folks, attending those yoga classes and exercising at such a snail’s pace actually stressed me out! Yes, I hated it; especially when the Yogi (teacher), who was clearly on a macho ego trip the day he informed me he wouldn’t take “I can’t” for an answer, smirked and instructed his spray tanned little pet, (a set of bones in a pair of impossibly skin tight yoga shorts and sports bra) to annoyingly demonstrate an Adho Mukha Vrksasana, before ordering me to do it in front of the entire class. It’s a handstand, or as those in the know might describe it, a downward facing tree pose; (I think). Either way, pulling myself up to my full 5’ height, I raised my head and looked Yogi straight in the eye and refused to do it. I mean, nobody has ever Instagrammed themselves wearing faded leggings and their husband’s old t-shirt while trying to stretch like a graceful kitty-cat but instead ending up looking as awkward and sweaty as Donald Trump attending a Miss Universe pageant, now have they? So, following a stand-off, myself  and the frustrated Yogi mutually agreed I was way too rigid – and incessantly irritating (well, my primary school teacher didn’t brand me ‘extremely vocal’ for nothing) for the rest of his students, and, when my fee was refunded, I colourfully Namaste’d myself out of his course and, I’d say, to his relief,  out of his life.

  Look, I’m certainly not slagging off yoga…I’ve got the greatest respect for it, because I believe it’s a wonderful exercise, and I understand it provides amazing health benefits for those who truly embrace and enjoy it. But, alas for me, a woman who is both time and patience poor, and who accepts that my true life’s calling is never to remain silent for an entire hour, petrified to sneeze for fear I’ll interrupt a dedicated fitness follower’s concentration as they search for their path to enlightenment, my de-stressing tool is to  meet with friends and have a loud laugh. I mean, is it so wrong that I prefer to realign my spiritual self by the only means that makes any sense to me whatsoever, and in the only language I fully understand, which is, to sit on a high barstool and order a few G&Ts from an understanding Roscommon bartender whilst having the craic with friends?

  So, to those readers who enjoy yoga, and to those who teach it, I doff my cap to you. To my well-meaning friends and family, thank you for having my welfare in mind, but while I know every yoga experience is different, and, while I did desperately (once, last week) try to clear my mind and focus on my breathing, it’s crystal clear to me that I’m just a woman who can’t sit still nor, sadly for you all, who won’t shut up. Namaste.

Rooskey is not racist!

Let me state here and now folks that Roscommon, and (as it has the misfortune to be profiled in the news for all the wrong reasons lately), Rooskey, is full to the brim of decent, hard-working, genuinely good people. As one unnamed resident rightly pointed out, and I believe her, the people who live in Rooskey are not racist. I’ll say that again, I believe Rooskey is not racist. And, while I’m no Miss Marple, I’d have to suggest that whatever calibre of individual is behind the attempts to allegedly sabotage the Shannon Key West Hotel, which, we all know, has been earmarked as a location for a direct provision centre, is not from the area, rather it’s some pathetic pyromaniac outsider(s) hell-bent on causing damage to both a building and to the good people of Rooskey’s reputation, and the rest of Ireland and the world needs to realise this.

  When I moved to Roscommon, the transition was extremely tough. I missed Dublin. I pined for it; and I’ve never made a secret of this. I was so upset by the whole move from my family in Dublin; I temporarily retreated from life here, while, on the other hand, my happy-go-lucky, used-to-uprooting-and-living-around-the-world hubby, thrived. However, it was through making friends with the warm, friendly Roscommon locals, and through writing for this family-friendly, and family-owned, community publication that softened me and made me realise that yes, I can not only live here, I can thrive too.

  Now, according to reports, last weekend’s protest saw a number of unsettling confrontations spring up between different, let’s say ‘factions’ among the protesters, which included unsavoury verbal insults being bandied about. However, even though I have absolutely zero links to Rooskey, I have full confidence that those who’re set to seek asylum there will not only be welcomed, they’ll also be safe and secure.

  Why? Because the locals are decent people who’ll show both sympathy and support to their visitors, receiving them and treating them as guests. However, in order to allow them do this, I’d suggest that so-called ‘outsiders’ and indeed those who have no links to the area… (yes Christy Moore I’m talking to you…you’re from Kildare, as far as I know), desist from adding their tuppence worth. Just don’t bother. I’d imagine the fair-minded, hard-working genuine people of Rooskey neither want, nor do they need, outside interference.

 

 

Yes, Liam Neeson was wrong – but politically correct culture is like an out of control weed

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are millions of reasons in the world for people to get offended. Now they can range from silly, insignificant little things, to big things…and, in some instances, I’ll bet many of us have had the misfortune to be in the company of some joyless, depressing individual who is so angry, they manage to suck the life out of you by being aggrieved by absolutely everything – with nothing, not even a humour transplant, being capable of saving them.

  It’s vitally important to be considerate and respectful of differences in this world. However, having witnessed the backlash visited upon actor Liam Neeson, right, last week, I’d have to worry we’re now living in a time where the politically correct culture has become so widespread, it’s almost like an out of control weed (you know, the kind of one the lovely garden designer Diarmuid Gavin would tell you to cut out because it’s infesting your entire rose garden). Or, to put it another way, we’re living in the presence of (some) irrational, angry and easily offended people who in my view are contaminating our society.

  But back to big Liam (by the way, a lovely human being, who in 2011 became the first Irish Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF) and what has become his publicist’s nightmare.

  Last week, the Ballymena man sparked a major scandal by publicly recalling what would be construed to be a ‘racist’ incident from his past, (it happened 40 years ago), while chatting to a journalist at a celebrity press junket to promote his latest movie (Cold Pursuit) – which is a revenge movie. This week, he is suffering the damaging effects of the fall-out. The highly respected journo in question, (Clémence Michallon), who is reported to be ‘a (US) culture writer with The Independent,’ (the UK one, not the Irish Indo), says she felt a “strong responsibility” to share Liam’s comments (and she had every right to do this), while the much-loved actor is now fighting to save his career and his reputation. Me? I’m wondering if perhaps, (and I’m not apportioning any blame here on the publication involved, they were, as the journo says, ‘telling the story as fully as possible’), given the obvious outrage that would ensue, maybe, just maybe, a teeny bit of extra professional and ethical practice could have been employed here?

  Of course nobody prompted Neeson to disclose this highly personal experience. (Motivated by desire for revenge after a close friend had “been raped by a black man,” Neeson roamed the streets, cosh in hand, in search of a “black b***ard,” so that he “could kill him”). As a journalist myself, who has been to many a celebrity junket in the past, I’d have exercised both my professional and my personal judgement, and in this instance I really do wonder if I would have taken the decision to disclose the actor’s controversial and hurtful comments. Again, they had every right to do so.

  But I raise this, because many years ago, in the course of an interview I was conducting, a high-ranking minister, (now former minister), made an incredibly controversial and shockingly discriminatory comment to me. I wrestled with my conscience at the time. The minister was an odious creep and his comments were repulsive, but, given he’d downed a few lemonades, (of the alcoholic variety), I decided that it would serve nobody any good – neither himself nor his voters – to make public his pathetic schoolboy remarks. He clearly regretted his words, later sending me a text…I told him never to contact me again and blocked his number from my phone.

  So, while we know Liam is human, and he was rightly enraged by his friend’s violation, and while the majority of us can understand the strong urge for revenge he had burning inside him when his loved one had been attacked, I’d comment that, given he’s an influential figure and a father, what he said was pretty much nauseating and worrying. It was also very stupid, and due to this I’m wondering if perhaps Liam was playing up to his ‘tough guy actor’ persona, deciding to get into character and drive home his movie’s point? Maybe? Maybe not? In any event, the only ones who have the right to act in a law enforcement capacity are the police authorities, who should be contacted in order that justice, (and not revenge) is carried out.

 

On the road again…

 

Myself and himself would like to wish all you fabulous romantic Rossies a wonderful Valentine’s weekend. As we’re currently undergoing the stressful process of moving house, (again), and living out of boxes, I’d imagine, for us, given this week we’ve spent more time hissing insults at each other, than we did holding hands, the entire process of writing down that loving gesture on a card will be put on hold for a week or two. I mean, there is absolutely nothing in the entire universe guaranteed to create conflict, and, in addition, test a relationship between what is normally a very close-knit couple to its very limits, than a home move.

  You see, as a no-clutter-allowed freak, I have scant time for anyone who keeps, and has attachments to, what I would deem to be meaningless objects, so, as you can imagine, the pre-move arguments, and the currently-moving arguments are, let’s just say, not pretty. Especially given that, as I write, hubby is actually retrieving items from the bin!!! Add to that, I’m unable to locate my toothbrush…and the TV, which I like to listen to in the background as I work, was accidentally totalled last night, yep, it’s technically fecked, and needs to be urgently replaced before the Sky engineer arrives to re-connect us. I tell you readers, right now I want to sit in a corner, coiled in the fetal position and howl at the top of my voice while my darling, desperate-to-stay-out-of-my-line-of-fire hubby, calm as ever, seems to take it all in his stride!

  Look, we’ll survive this move. We’ve been through worse, as my step-mother keeps reminding me, and, next week, hopefully when things are a bit easier, we’ll get into the Valentine’s mood with a nice celebratory ‘new home’ toast to ourselves. Have a great one folks.

 

 

 

No blanket defence for this carry-on…

 

If someone tells me they’ve developed a deep attachment to a certain object, such as a piece of jewellery, an old photograph, a treasured ornament/keepsake, or even a poem or a book, etc., I can fully understand, and empathise with them. In fact, I have several objects that are so dear to me, I find it extremely comforting just to hold them. However, if someone tells me they have an emotional attachment so intense, running to a fixation so powerful their commitment to an object spirals into a scenario where they plan to marry it, then I’d certainly, and very gently, suggest they seek expert help.

  You see, while I’m no professional psychologist, I do know that the expression of love, commitment, (and sometimes a sexual preference) for certain inanimate objects has become so common, the condition has now been given the label ‘objectophile’.  

  Now I’ll bet everyone reading this column knew at least one kid in school who had a weird rock collection, (am I right?), but did that kid marry an entire wall? No, of course they didn’t. However, for Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer, the woman who not only married the Berlin Wall, she took her ‘husband’s’ name, (Berliner-Mauer is German for Berlin Wall), and went on to coin the term ‘Objectum Sexuality’ (OS) – setting up a support network called ‘OS Internationale – it was a match made in heaven.    

  However, before I go on, let me set the record straight, because I don’t want anyone panicking here. You see, being married to someone who never gets out of the leaba, or who never moves from in front of the sports channel, doesn’t make you an ‘objectophile,’ rather it makes you saddled with a lazy fecker; so don’t go running off to the doctor, you’re fine; hubby’s got the problem.

  Nevertheless, while Mrs. Berliner-Mauer, (or should I say the widow, because they tore down her hubby, sorry the wall, may he RIP), married her one true love decades ago, making her old news, last week, Exeter artist, Pascale Sellick, (now known as Duvet Lady), decided to reveal to the world that she, despite having a human partner, is planning to marry her duvet cover. Yes, according to the delightfully eccentric Ms. Sellick, when she and duvet met, it was, “love at first sight,” with their overwhelming ‘whirlwind’ romance now stretching to a public exchanging of their vows with the nation being invited along for the big party. Seriously folks, forget ‘say yes to the dress,’ this is ‘say yes to the duvet’. 

  Look peeps, we know that both Brexit and Valentine’s Day are looming and, let’s just say a select few are getting stressed out, (I know I get the shakes every time I hear the term backstop), and understandably, some are acting the eejit by making questionable commitments, and while I’ve personally known some extremely mis-matched, odd couples in my time, marrying an inanimate object such as a dividing wall, a duvet, (who said he was previously in a steady relationship with a pillow case for years…only jokin’), the Eiffel Tower, or a rollercoaster, because they can apparently offer you something nobody else on earth can, or because it is an item you want to cross off your ‘to-do’ list, is, in my view, just plain bonkers. Of course I’m sure a mental health expert would disagree with me, and would certainly have a more sensitive and politically correct term for the condition; as well as, ahem, a long list of prescribed medications.

Editor’s note: I am imposing a blanket ban on columnists’ commentary on this issue – Frank Brandon was moved to write about it last week too. Dan Dooner and Seamus Duke have been notified!

 

Why I liked ‘First Dates’ James from Roscommon

 

I really liked Roscommon man, (now living in Galway), James Kilmartin on last week’s First Dates Ireland. What a well-mannered, handsome bloke he is. He has obviously been raised in a loving home, by honest-to-goodness decent people. As for his mother, once he’d officially ‘come out’, James revealed she immediately took down the picture of the Pope, due to him being ‘anti-gay’. Love this Roscommon mammy…fair play to you Mrs. Kilmartin; you’re a legend.

  However, while cutie James made me smile, (I mean how is this gorgeous man still single?), it was his date Serdzan’s (pronounced Sir-John) revelation that he was “homoflexible,” that made me realise that, finally, RTE, instead of manipulating the licence fee paying public by skirting round certain ‘issues’ and ‘topics’ they once believed to be taboo, are now, in 2019, prepared to allow producers make ‘fly-on-the-wall’ reality shows where participants can openly voice their sexual orientations. To be honest, I wasn’t a bit surprised when this lovely, and what was in my opinion, a well-matched pair, said “yes” in unison to a second date.

  And for those of you who are now scratching your heads screaming…what is she talking about? What is homoflexible? Let me try to explain. Homoflexible is when a person is emotionally and physically attracted to the same sex, but can, at some point, on occasion, be attracted to the opposite sex. Now personally, I think that’s very equal opportunities of them!

 

 

Cancer survivors had me crying tears of joy and admiration

 

We’re practically a reality TV free household; in so much as we only tend to watch a select few shows. Mind you, I’ll personally give up that badge of honour the day someone produces a reality show that sees the entire Irish and British Governments, without prior warning or preparation, being dropped into a remote desert, along with their pathetic excuses for failing to sort out this whole Brexit c**p and attempt survival; while, at all times, being placed under the scrutiny of the voting public’s eyes! Now that I’d watch.

  So, last weekend, due to not being able to locate the TV remote control, and being too tired to go searching for it, I tuned into Ireland’s Got Talent. Yes…I tuned into what is probably the most over-hyped, home-produced, manipulated-for-drama TV show of them all. Mind you, when the inspirational ladies from Sea of Change, a choir made up of cancer-surviving heroines from across Ireland – who looked spectacular in black sparkly dresses – came on stage and sang This Is Me from the movie The Greatest Showman, their body-positive message had me crying tears of joy and well as admiration. Well done girls. Respect!

 

Ring the cliché police – there’s a ‘cougar’ on the loose!

 

 

I’m always surprised that, in this era of so-called gender equality, (unless of course you’re a woman being paid 14 per cent less than your male colleague…but hey, aren’t the government working to address this imbalance?), it appears to have become a legitimate form of entertainment to slag off any woman who is dating a younger man. Now call me cynical, but for me, this b**chy stereotyping, which sadly, not only raises the issue of societal inequality, has, this week, generated a shed-load of condemnation from those who’re clearly jealous of any woman who dares to step outside of her conventional gender norms!

  Let’s take UK TV presenter Caroline Flack (39), as an example. Flack’s alleged ‘clinch,’ (yes clinch! Wow, was she snogging him back in 1975? Far out man!) with Strictly star AJ Pritchard (24), during the National Television Awards (NTAs) has some judgmental columnists surfing on a wave of self-justification salaciously labelling the poor woman ‘a serial cougar’ – and that’s a disgrace. I mean, isn’t a mature woman entitled to develop an erotic portfolio consisting only of eye candy young enough to be classed as himbos if she wants to? Or is this younger-partner trend still a pleasure reserved only for mature men? Quick…ring the cliché police!

  Look, as someone who is quite bossy and who likes to be in control, from a young age my own dating (and later my matrimonial) mantra was never to have a partner who is younger than me, for the simple reason despite the fact I have kids, and I adore them, I never actually  wanted to marry one! Besides, if I had, my vows would probably have had to include ‘till homicide do us part,’ because a younger partner would have irritated me to such an extent I’d probably have harbored felonious thoughts. But that’s just my personal choice and each to their own, and if a mature woman is attracted to a younger man, she shouldn’t be demonised for it; she should be congratulated on her new relationship. You see, I’m sick of those dour nitpickers, (you know the sort, they’re cursed with that recently sucked-on-a-lemon look),  who criticise any woman who does enjoy the company of a younger man, and whom, due to their resentful nature, see the whole cougar phenomenon as being ‘unnatural’. 

  You see girls, despite the fact it’s 2019, there are those who still believe ‘cougars’ are violating some sort of basic doctrine of evolution whereby it’s fine for a big strong financially secure male to be attracted to a beautiful younger woman because, in his eyes, she’s clearly fertile eye candy who is desperately in need of him providing for her every whim. On the other hand, it appears that older women are expected to ditch their ‘She-agra,’ allow their libido to sink to Titanic depths, swap high-rise heels for sensible comfy flats and sit at home of a weekend tweezing stray facial hairs whilst reading Pulitzer prize winning novels so at least they’ll look intelligent and fulfilled if they happen to die alone in the middle of one!

  So watch out ladies, it’s a judgmental jungle out there! However, for those of you who enjoy the company of a younger man, (providing he’s above the age of consent), my advice is to ignore the insensitivity of the begrudgers, they’re only jealous, and allow your own self-confidence to rise to the top.

 

Suffering from centre-of-the-universe syndrome, Azealia?

 

Well readers, if you’re to believe rapper Azealia Banks, we’re “a bunch of prideful inbred leprechauns” and the rest of the world’s white folk don’t want to associate with us at all “and it’s because you are barbarians”. Classy or wha?

  Well, as Ms. Banks is clearly the type of prat who skips the queue at the supermarket, overtakes you on dangerous bends and refuses to give up their seat to someone who needs it more than them on the bus, I’m going to guess she’s suffering from a serious case of ‘centre of the universe’ syndrome and suggest she gets some help…perhaps a personality transplant would suffice!

  Look, I hate to poke holes in your little ego-bucket Azealia, but, as a ‘rapper’ you’re hardly the next Nicki Minaj now are ya love? You see, prior to her foot-stamping tantrum on an Aer Lingus flight last week, I have to say I’d never heard of this brash, disrespectful, opinionated little madam, and furthermore, I won’t be disappointed if I never hear about her again. After all, readers, when an enfant terrible (with only one decent album to her name) is experiencing such disturbing lapses in judgement, the humane and adult part of me immediately morphs into generous mode, and, instead of denigrating her, I’m going to sympathetically label her as some sort of ‘tortured artiste,’ who knows no better! Bless her!

 

Jail low-life who posted graphic fatal crash images

 

I must have missed the memo informing me that society has became so brutally uncivilised and disrespectful that it’s okay to post (what I’m led to believe because I haven’t viewed them, nor do I wish to), were graphic images/video of a recently deceased person on social media sites.

  Then again, as this was allegedly the actions of one remorseless, merciless low-life degenerate voyeur who felt it was newsworthy to make public the tragic fate of a young Dublin woman who lost her life in a multi-vehicle collision on a stretch of the M50, (which I’ve travelled multiple times), we can sincerely hope it was an isolated incident.

  Now while I agree that social media platforms should block and prevent the uploading/sharing of a fellow human being’s, (who is, let’s remember, a beloved family member, a cherished partner, a friend, and a colleague, etc.,) horrific circumstances, I believe that those sick cretins who stopped to take footage, and who didn’t try to assist, are clearly defective in the socially accepted norms department. Anyone who is toxic enough to do this, should not only be fined for using their mobile phone when behind the wheel, they, and those who share such material, should be jailed for being a menace to society. My deepest and my most sincere sympathies go out to everyone who loved and cared for the young lady who lost her life in last week’s tragic incident. I also extend my deepest condolences to the family of the deceased Ballinagare gentleman who passed away last weekend. May both their souls rest in peace.

I’m no lazy, listless vegan, Danny!

 

 

 

I’d imagine the Dunkirk evacuation was easier to organise than Danny Healy-Rae, pictured right, collecting his thoughts together and getting himself into the Dáil of a morning! Look readers, I’m sorry to have to say this, but, while I’m sure the aforementioned Danny is really a lovely man, it does seem to me that every time he opens his mouth to air his convoluted ideas regarding, well, almost everything, the sound of his voice not only cleaves through my cranium like an axe, rather his view of life in general appears to be so skewed I’m now wondering why David Attenborough hasn’t made a documentary about him…half-man, half-eejit! Only jokin’, Danny!

  Last week, straight from scaling the cliff-face of denouncing climate change, the man who never misses a perfectly good opportunity to keep his gob shut accused us non-meat eaters of being lazy! Can you believe it? Standing tall on his soapbox, head up, chin stuck into, well another chin, and, with all the depth of a car park puddle, the Kerry TD declared in what appeared to be every ounce of sincerity he could muster, that those of us who don’t eat meat have ‘never worked hard,’ before helpfully providing us with some much-needed dietary advice, by adding that a hearty helping of ‘bacon and cabbage,’ or a ‘beef or mutton stew,’ is likely all us weak vegans need to help us face the rigors of daily life.

  Now, while some dairy-deprived, non-bikini-waxing, non-parmesan shaving religious vegan zealots out there may have got their sensible hemp knickers into a twist over Healy Rae’s comments, I have to say, as someone who has refused to eat meat, fish or poultry since I was a small child, then choosing to convert to veganism, (no eggs or dairy either), 12 years ago, I think the man, (who is, by the way, a democratically elected TD) has a right to his views. Mind you, I would like to question the IQ of those who elected him, but sin scéal eile.

  Look, as someone who adores all animals and who believes, with all of my heart, that they are sentient beings who feel fear, feel pain, feel love and are self-aware, etc., and, as someone who rescues animals, I cannot, and I will not consume them…end of. I’m also someone who works very hard. In fact, I’ve been grafting since I was 15 years old, earning my professional degrees while working by day, raising a family and attending college by night. So there, Danny; we’re not all listless, work-shy sloths!

  Now, to be honest, as a vegan, I’m sick of being apologetic to people, mainly some restaurant staff who seem to panic when they realise my food choices are beyond their capacity to offer a meat free/dairy free option on their menu. But I get round that by, well,  smiling sweetly and mollycoddling them a little by offering simple tips around how they could quickly adapt their set menu to accommodate me without going to too much trouble. I do this because I do not, and never will, buy into those insufferable whack job archetypes adopted by many uncompromising, butt-clenching vegans who, quite frankly are joyless cranks whose only purpose in life is to serve as a warning sign to others. Look folks, I believe that as humans, we all have a right to decide what life choices we make and that means I will never judge anyone for eating meat; in fact my family consumes meat and I cook it for them.   

  You see, I view veganism as my personal dietary/life choice, and, even though I would question how our country treats our animals, and, in particular the livestock raised for human consumption – because, let’s face it, we all have a moral as well as a legal obligation to provide the highest standards of humane and compassionate care and conditions for our animals – but while veganism is growing, and I support that, I do acknowledge that meat/fish/poultry/dairy are a fundamental part of the majority of people’s diets, and that’s that! At this point I want to say, that, in general, (and going only on what I’ve personally experienced), Roscommon farmers do, to their credit, go that extra mile in taking care of their animals, with welfare being their priority, and well done to them.

 

Celtic Cru…bringing ballads back to life

 

Last Saturday, following what has been an extremely upsetting start to our New Year, myself and himself decided we needed a bit of a distraction and took ourselves off to The Forge in Castlerea to see Roscommon sensations Celtic Cru.

  The lads, who’re all so friendly and great craic, expertly performed an impressive ensemble of the best of Irish ballads and other hits, and, punctuated by their good old-fashioned Roscommon charm, charisma and electrifying stage presence, they not only dedicated a song to me, they also thought it’d be a good idea to invite me up on stage to sing with them. Of course I obliged, much to poor hubby’s mortification. Well done lads, we had a great night.

 

Make up your mind Josepha

 

Some politicians are so boring they can’t even entertain a thought, never mind a tweet, so perhaps that’s why our Culture Minister Josepha Madigan has reportedly decided to hire a social media expert to manage her online image. Now, as we – taxpayers – are apparently paying this ‘expert’s’ salary, I’d like to request they advise their boss that she’s being a little naïve if she thinks that one week she can lecture us women, telling us that if we wish to get ahead we must first “get a good husband,” and then the following week, while speaking at the Fem Fest, declare she’s really a “dedicated feminist”. So, which is it Josepha? Honestly love, before you open your mouth again, do some soul-searching…you never know, you may find one!

 

Are we facing a health crisis Armageddon?

 

 

 

 

Up until last week, I’d have considered meningitis to be one of those rare infections you come across. However, the HSE has revealed that 11 cases of this condition, which affects the delicate membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, were reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), since the last week of December, resulting in three patients losing their lives. Now, while I hate to catastrophise, these stats clearly indicate a major and worrying spike, leading me to be concerned that, along with a possible Brexit ruination, we’re also set to become victims of some kind of health crisis Armageddon.

  And so readers, as this is a family-run newspaper with community very much at its heart, (and, as several parents and some senior readers have told me they are somewhat confused regarding the signs and symptoms of meningitis, especially as some can resemble the flu), even though I’m no medical expert, I thought I’d touch upon this emotive subject. But before I go any further, do bear in mind that the best person to address all medical concerns is your local family doctor; and, if you feel that something is not right with either yourself, your child or any family member, seek his/her advice without delay because the HSE’s data is indicating that different strains of the disease are circulating with all age groups being affected.

  My own personal encounter with meningitis occurred when, while at work, I got a call from my then 10-month-old granddaughter’s crèche to say her mammy, (my eldest) uncharacteristically hadn’t turned up to collect her and was uncontactable by phone. I dropped everything, and, while myself and hubby rushed across the city to get our granddaughter, my ex-hubby and our youngest went searching for her mother. Long story short; unbeknownst to us, two hours earlier, my eldest had collapsed at work and had been rushed to Beaumont Hospital suffering from what was eventually diagnosed as being viral meningitis. None of her colleagues had thought to ring us when she’d collapsed, (they got a right earful from me, and my daughter later said she was mortified returning to work following her recovery). Understandably, as she was unconscious, hospital personnel, quite rightly, were more concerned with saving my child’s life than they were of going through her handbag/phone to find her ‘in case of emergency’ contact, or ICE, which were myself and her dad.

  Now, while my daughter’s diagnosis struck fear into the very heart of me as we stood outside of her isolation unit speaking with her medical team, I also breathed a huge sigh of relief because I knew that the viral strain of this disease, although very serious, and requiring swift intervention, is, thank God, rarely ever life-threatening, and we are forever grateful she pulled through without suffering any after-affects. We were lucky. I remember praying to every saint I could think of; at one stage going so far as promising my soul to Satan if only he’d allow her to survive.

  Now, as there is, (and it seems always has been), a health crisis when it comes to our A&E departments, it’s understandable that if a child, an adult or a senior relative is feeling unwell with what appears to be flu-like symptoms, that bed rest with a hot water bottle and an over-the-counter remedy would likely be the sensible thing to do in order to avoid making things worse by presenting at overcrowded A&Es. However, while it has been reported that the HSE has ‘declined to say what counties are affected on the grounds of patient confidentiality,’ and, as we don’t have an A&E facility in Roscommon, a call to your doctor, even though he/she God love them, are probably inundated at this stage, is absolutely vital. In addition, readers could also contact the charity ACT for Meningitis and speak with a family support officer. Their number is Ph: 091 380058. Or ring the Meningitis Research Foundation whose helpline is Ph: 1800 41 33 44.

  In the meantime parents, I’d urge you to check your kids’ schedule of vaccinations and make sure they’re up to date. Remember readers, while viral meningitis is rarely life threatening, urgent medical attention is essential. As for bacterial meningitis, well, if untreated, this is almost always fatal, so, if you’re concerned, don’t delay and consult your doctor for professional, medical advice.

 

Love a woman over 50? Quelle horreur!

 

Well ladies, it seems we’ve been sexually gazumped by a younger, firmer, thinner and more interesting new model, i.e. the under 50 year old nymphet!

  It’s true. Last week,  as if dissecting us mature girlies with a scalpel and holding us aloft like some medical experiment gone horribly wrong; French author and TV presenter Yann Moix publicly declared that women ‘over 50 are too old to love’. And, what has prompted the misogynist monsieur to make this statement? Well, presumably the creepy lothario perceives our age-related lack of pliability has resulted in our bodies becoming ‘not extraordinary at all’. His words, not mine!

  Now while I’m no Kendall Jenner, and, at no time in my life have any of my body-parts been as taut as Angelina Jolie’s inner thigh, however, as a woman who falls into the smart-assed chauvinist’s too-old-to-love category, I’d say that, along with every other fabulous mature Roscommon woman,  I’m defo not ready to sit in a corner covered in a shawl crocheting doilies just because some homme horrible who doesn’t even possess the IQ to become a contestant on Big Brother thinks I’m past it!

  Then again, let’s not be too harsh on Moix, who is, by the way ladies, himself a 51 year old; and assume that, despite the fact he’s balding and his visage resembles an unmade bed, (I mean, he’s hardly a knight in shining Armani now is he mes chers?), that he is, like some egotistical men, experiencing a mid-life crisis. Mind you, I could be wrong, but personally, I don’t think this imbécile has even left puberty yet!

 

 

Are you successful and single? Wow…what’s your secret?

 

 

You’ve got a spectacular CV, a good job that affords you a decent standard of living, you drive a nice car, have a wide circle of friends, a pretty hectic social life and you go on foreign holidays, etc., but wait…something’s clearly missing here ladies…I wonder what it is? Oh yeah, a good husband!

  Now, before you get your control top tights in a tangle girls, this whole ya-gotta’-get-a-man-to-get-ahead idea is not mine…no waaaay; rather it’s (allegedly) culture minister Josepha Madigan’s opinion. Yep, according to reports, the multi-talented Minister Madigan, (aka mother of two, Mrs. Hayes), who is not only capable of saying Mass, and whose impressive rapid rise through the ranks made her the 19th woman to be appointed to a senior ministerial role since the foundation of the State, (for the record readers, that’s a bit of trivia I discovered without the help of my good husband),  has, it appears, now become somewhat of a relationship/career guidance counsellor, encouraging aspiring female politicians to “get a good husband”. In fact, as a bonus bit of advice for those slackers among us who believe the secret to a successful marriage/parenting/working outside of the home combo means keeping our kids alive, Ms. Madigan enthuses that we should make sure to “get good childcare,” as well.

  Honestly Josepha, you’re amazing, I mean, do daffodils  curtsy before you when you float across Merrion Square?

  Look ladies, while I’m not taking a swipe at Josepha, and while I’m sure her advice was well meant, I’m also sure that there is not one successful single lady out there sitting on a designer handbag full of (her own) money, crying bitter tears into her G&T because, due to the scarcity of ‘a few good men’ her only consolation is she has a big brood of rescue cats to console her. 

  Full disclosure girls; I am no relationship expert, but I’ve always told my daughters that no woman needs a man to be a success, and, may I add, neither does any man need a woman or a ‘good wife’ to be a success, because being single is not a drawback, and I for one am sick of those cloying and annoying perfect cake-baking goddesses who appear to be more judgemental than the High Court, dishing out lifestyle advice.

  Now, while I have a lot of respect for those women who believe their marital status and the love and help of a good man has made them what they are today, I have to say that when someone as intelligent and as influential as Ms. Madigan makes such a statement, I would worry that those of us applying for jobs may feel that, in the ‘any distinguishing characteristics’ section of our application forms, we are compelled to disclose we’re tragically bereft of a ‘good husband,’ and have instead, in some cases, been lumbered with a specimen who is only barely capable of keeping up with the relentless pace of our professional lives!  So, before Roscommon county becomes a generation of barren, husband-less single career women, my (tongue in cheek) suggestion is to let the hand-wringing and the race to dive into that pool of available and, let’s not forget, suitable mates, begin this weekend ladies, because, if the lovely Josepha is right, it’s probably our only option to security and stability while climbing that career (and that political) ladder. May the best ‘good husband’ hunting woman win!

 

Nobody is entitled to fat-shame us ladies

 

I was shocked, and, I have to say, annoyed when I read that curvaceous and absolutely stunning British model Kelly Brook revealed she had ‘dropped two dress sizes’ after her boyfriend called her ‘a balloon’.  

  Look ladies, if you’re in a relationship with a man, and he fails to shower you with love and treat you with the respect you so richly deserve, then I’m afraid he no longer fits the category of being labelled a ‘man’ anymore! So, if any of my  breathtakingly gorgeous readers…(in which case, that describes every woman in Roscommon), have sadly been faced with the grim reality of their husband/partner inappropriately and cruelly body-shaming them, then I suggest you start thinking of him as an arrogant, cold-blooded pot plant, and, at warp five speed, head straight for the fridge and your emergency stash of luxurious Green &  Black’s dark chocolate bars, and, instead of dropping a single dress size, (never mind two like Kelly), drop the callous arrogant creep instead!

  It’s really hard to get my head round the idea of someone who is meant to love you feeling they are entitled to fat-shame you; however, it’s clear these individuals exist and, if we are unlucky enough to have one of them in our lives, we must remember that our bodies are our own.

            We were not created for anyone else’s pleasure, meaning nobody has a right to touch us, criticise us or to judge how we look. If we gain or indeed lose weight, or if we develop wrinkles or scars, etc., our bodies will still be beautiful and the only one who genuinely needs to love us is ourselves.

 

 

 

Privileged Spencer needs a lesson in parenting, 2019-style…

 

 

 

 

Apparently the Edmund Hillary of social climbing, (he’s related to royalty don’t ya know), and smitten-kitten new dad, (he’s been parenting for all of five minutes), Spencer Matthews is such a dab hand at raising his baby son, he’s been sharing his new-found skills with us mere mortals via Hello! Magazine, saying: “So far, it hasn’t been a particularly stressful experience. If your child is screaming his head off, he’s either too hot, too cold, tired or hungry. People make it sound like rocket science and it’s not”. Wow, thanks Spence love…and, while I really do hate the shrewish tone in my voice right now, as you gaze down upon us less stinkin’ rich parents from your cloud nine throne to impart this well-meant insightful little nugget pet, I’m going to tell you that your guidance is probably about as puerile as privileged Leo Varadkar pledging that he’s going to do something to prevent Irish people being forcibly thrown out of their homes in 2019!

  Look, call me cynical readers, but if you’re a new parent, or indeed, are about to welcome that glorious little bundle into your life in 2019, as an experienced, (imperfect) mother myself, I’m going to tell you that anyone who thinks parenting is a breeze, (a la Spencer), is not only faking it…they’re failing it; or rather, they’re totally out of touch with the highs, lows, joyous wonders and, sometimes the overwhelming woes and anxieties that welcoming a precious new life can bring.

  You see, here’s the reality folks…until you’ve spent hours gnawing at the inside of your cheek as you try to soothe your adored newborn infant as her  gut-wrenching colicky screams penetrate your very heart, while at the same time make a nutritious dinner from scratch and prepare a PowerPoint presentation for your husband explaining why empty milk cartons belong in the bin instead of the fridge, and scream that just once, you’d like to go into the bathroom and sit on a dry toilet seat, (all of which I’ve done), then I’m afraid you should not be taking advice from some rich molly-coddled, socialite/reality star.

  It stands to reason that only those parents who’re mega-minted enough to have the spondulicks to hire a housekeeper and a nanny who can be on hand to tackle the night feeds and the dirty nappy changes, will, a week following their child’s birth, be capable of stepping out looking like a male model to attend a luxury car launch, a la ‘childcare expert’ daddy Spencer. And didn’t he look buff!

  Yes, rich parents with means, royal connections and personal trainers/stylists, don’t suffer from sleep deprivation; nor are they (like me), forced to hyperventilate to the point of collapse while trying to suck my post baby-belly out through my ass while I struggled to drag on a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans, which were pinned together beneath a baggy jam-stained jumper just so I could feel ‘normal’ again! 

  However, I will give Spencer some credit for the way he praises wifey Vogue Williams, saying she’s an “exceptional mother,” adding how he’s “always been in awe of my wife, in many aspects, and being a mother is certainly her finest achievement”. Ah, now fair play to him. And, while, following my children’s births, I wasn’t exactly rushing to take out a membership of martyredmothers.ie, I was a bit (okay a lot) annoyed that nobody (okay their dad), didn’t declare how gloriously wonderful I was following my very difficult labours. Now while I know that I, and every other exceptional Roscommon mammy out there realises that, deep in our hearts, (and rooted in our stretch-marks), we’re all just as flawlessly fabulous as the superhuman, Instagram-posting model Goddess that is Spencer’s wife Vogue Williams, an aul declaration of appreciation emblazoned on a light aircraft sky-writing message would suffice and earn all you daddies a few brownie points in 2019! I wish the Williams-Matthews’, and all new parents, a glorious new year.

 

From obscurity to household names…let’s get ready to rumba!

 

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t quite reached my quota of formulaic-celebrity-based-reality-shows just yet, (must be my age), so I’ll likely tune into this season’s Dancing with the Staff, sorry Stars. However, I’m disappointed with what the meeja is calling ‘the full celebrity line-up,’ because, well, I don’t wish to be impolite, but I’d hardly label any of them as ‘stars’. 

  I mean, who cares how former Today FM radio DJ, sorry broadcaster, Mairead Ronan fares with the foxtrot? Not me! And, while you’re probably booing and hissing at me panto-style, as a licence payer, I want to ask if the show’s guest bookers/producers have all sunk to a previously unexplored ‘scraping-the-bottom-of-the-barrel’ level, and, instead of securing the likes of such gems as Anne Doyle or Bryan Dobson, or to even look past the RTE canteen and see if my former TV3 colleague Mark Cagney is up for the challenge, they seem to be excelling in promoting the mundane! Mind you, I congratulate them on their remarkable ability to advertise Clelia Murphy, Peter Stringer, Darren Kennedy, Johnny Ward, Fred Cooke, Demi Isaac Oviawe, Eilish O’Carroll, Denis Bastick, Cliona Hagan and Holly Carpenter as household names; (that’s a marketing merit that can never be undersold). Let’s hope these, er, top-dog supremoes can keep us dazzled, (cue healthy dose of scepticism), with their fancy footwork.

  It’s safe to say readers, despite the fact I’ll likely tune into this year’s series, my expectations for the entertainment value of the entire offering is probably now as low as the status of the ‘celebrities’ taking part in it.

 

Happy New Year…

Happy New Year to you all.
I’ve no doubt 2019 will not only bring you thousands of reasons to pick up the Roscommon People, but also good health and lots of happiness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stay safe during the season of joy

 

 

As we’re breaking up for the festivities and there’ll be parties galore to attend, if I may, I’d like to give you some advice. It’s the same advice I’ve given to my grown-up daughters, although they’ve called it a lecture, and it’s this…when you’re out and about enjoying the ceoil, craic, bia agus deoch (responsibly), please stay alert and please stay safe!

  Now, while I’m not trying to wreck anyone’s buzz, I’m sure you’ll agree the news that three young women reported alleged sexual assaults/rapes while innocently out enjoying the festive season last week is enough to make anyone worry. These alleged assaults occurred in Dublin, but that’s not the point. One allegation was made against a ‘taxi’ driver, another allegation was made against ‘a high-profile sports star’, and the third alleged attack happened to a German lady. So, despite the festive joy that’s in the air, despite it being the season of goodwill to all, there are clearly some scumbags who’ll take advantage of the dark nights and the fact that party-goers tend to relax a bit more, which affords the attacker the perfect opportunity to strike.  

  In fact, on Sunday last, having thoroughly enjoyed seeing Les Miserables, my daughters and I stood for ages in the biting cold trying to get a taxi. Now we know Christmas is a busy time for taxi drivers, and, such is the demand, it’s possible that, among the decent, hard-working, legitimate ones who’re on the road, there may be some, let’s say, rogue ‘taxi’ drivers out there, (giving honest ones a bad name)…and I suspect the vehicle we got into may have contained an iffy driver. I may be wrong, but I’m basing my suspicions, (and that’s all they are), on the fact that a few minutes into the journey, ‘taxi’ man became brash, to the point of aggressiveness, and, while he resembled, (kinda) the pic on his ID, he had absolutely no knowledge of Dublin city and, as my eldest directed him to a well-known landmark, he ignored her and instead scrolled through Sky Sports on his phone, while, in his earpiece, he shouted to someone in a language we couldn’t understand. This relentless footie-results scrolling – and what I perceived to be quarrelsome conversation, (remember I didn’t understand this person’s native tongue) – continued throughout our journey. 

   I also noticed, without ever once indicating, ‘taxi’ driver zig-zagged through traffic at speed in a car that rattled – and he smelled absolutely vile. I whispered my concerns to my daughter who felt that as we were in a rough part of the city, getting out may prove even more precarious. It was at this point I raised my phone, took a picture of ‘taxi’ driver’s ID, and, sending them to my husband, who was, admittedly back in Roscommon but hey, ‘taxi’ man didn’t know that, I smiled sweetly and informed the now strangely attentive individual, (who suddenly shut up, ceased scrolling and focused his eyes on me), that hubby’s over-protective and likes me to check in with him. Now, while myself and my daughters are strong women, all capable of delivering a swift kick to the family jewels in the event of a physical attack – as I’m sure are most feisty Roscommon lovelies – had I been alone, I’d have been terrified and I’d have exited that particular vehicle at my first opportunity because I did genuinely feel we were in a vulnerable situation.

  At this point, let me state that our ‘experience’ occurred in Dublin, and not here in Roscommon, and I believe the majority of taxi drivers across Ireland are polite, decent human beings who take enormous pride in their work and who only want to get their passengers home safe and sound. In fact members of my family are taxi drivers. However readers, taking a few precautions like pre-booking your taxi from a local licensed operator or even hopping into one at any of the many designated ranks across the county is the key to enjoying a fab night out and a safe journey home. In addition, before entering any vehicle, please check it has a permit displayed in the front windscreen, and tell someone where you’re going and what time to expect you home. Remember, a decent taxi driver will not mind you checking his/her credentials; in fact, they may welcome it.

 

 

Charlie Flanagan must examine the licensing laws around evictions

 

The shocking events that occurred in Falsk last week had me questioning whether I was living in 2018 or indeed, had been transported back to 1740 – a time of famine, mass starvation and mass evictions!

  I could hardly believe my eyes and ears, yet, in an operation filmed and shown widely across social media, a family of two brothers and their sister, who have farmed the land for generations, were aggressively evicted from their home. 

  In fact, the shocking footage shows local people being wrestled into submission in what can only be described as being both forcible as well as heart-breaking scenes, as this family were left helpless and homeless a week before Christmas. This horrendous turn of events resulted in a group of individuals taking retaliatory measures – and may I stress, I will never, ever condone violence in any form, either against another human being or indeed against any animal, because nobody has the right to take the law into their own hands – it has to be said that, understandably, tensions were clearly high, as were the depth and strength of the emotions, which run strong in this proud and beautiful county of ours; a county I am proud to call home. But again, violence is not the way forward!

  Now, while I don’t know the details of this situation, I do know people get into financial difficulties for all sorts of reasons, (and it’s nobody’s business but their own, and there for the grace of God go I); however, it’s alleged the property was taken into possession after KBC bank won a court order against the family. But I have to ask if surely some sort of arrangement could have been amicably reached in order to avoid such a forced eviction…something which would have allowed this family, and other families in dire situations, remain in their homes while discharging their debt?

   If the Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan has any mettle in him, my advice would be that he’d use it wisely and act now to examine the licensing laws around evictions because we simply cannot have a repeat of the horrific scenes that unfolded last week…not here…not in this Republic, and not in our peaceful and proud county of Roscommon.

 

When the right to privacy clashes with the right to investigate crime

 

 

It was the trial that gripped the nation, when, back in 2015, architect Graham Dwyer was sentenced to life imprisonment after a jury found him guilty of the murder of Elaine O’Hara.

  Last week Dwyer made headlines again when the convicted murderer won his legal action against the State and the Garda Commissioner over the use of his mobile phone data, something which formed a vital part of the case against him.

  Now, as several readers approached me over the weekend, asking if I’d explain exactly what this latest turn of events means, I said I’d touch on it this week, so here goes…

  For the sake of balance, let me say that Dwyer denies murdering Elaine O’Hara back in 2012 and claims that data gathered from his phone should not have been used in his trial and was a breach of his privacy. Let me also say that Dwyer wasn’t actually appealing his conviction last week; in fact what he was doing was looking at a particular law as it relates to data retention and access to it. Ya with me so far?

  The judgement reached is a complex legal one which is highly important and significant – not just due to the implications it could have around Dwyer’s murder case, but also in relation to other cases where this type of data may have been used. It’s also a lengthy one, (running to 101 pages), and I’d imagine legal experts are wondering if this strengthens Dwyer’s appeal regarding his murder conviction.

  In addition, (as I understand) one of the issues challenged focused around the general and indiscriminate retention of data, and it appears (and I could be wrong here), that the issue the Judge had was that there were no safeguards in place for the general public, i.e. ordinary, law-abiding people like you and me as to how our data is being used, retained and harvested. So, while this has now been addressed and rectified – and remember, it does not mean that Dwyer has got away with murder, (he’s still in prison) – he could potentially use this important ruling in the event he does appeal his conviction, and it could work in his favour.

  So, after all that I suppose we’re now left in a situation where the right to privacy is ‘clashing’ with the right of the Gardaí to investigate crime. And while we cannot have the indiscriminate use of citizens’ data, and I’m personally glad this situation was rectified, I have to say, it will certainly make things very difficult for detectives when they’re looking at data in relation to criminal activity in the future.

 

RIP Superwoman: It seems Gwyneth Paltrow’s mortal after all

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m still gobsmacked following holier-than-thou, know-it-all, kale-juice obsessive Gwyneth Paltrow’s recommendation that…wait for it, women should, (and I apologise for being blunt, but it can’t be helped), ‘steam out their vaginas in order to deliver an energy boost and powerful internal cleanse’. 

  OMG, how gut-churning is that image? I mean girls, imagine, somewhere in the world, there are probably thousands of neurotic eejits squatting over basins enduring the Paltrow-endorsed vag-steam…and that, for me, is both sinister and hilarious!

  However, just when I thought the so-called health guru was an over-privileged, insufferable alien sent from Mars to test our upper detestation levels, it’s emerged she’s actually quite human, probably very nice, and, it appears, full of self-doubt! All together now…aaaww!

  Let me explain! The woman whom, bless her bravery, often degrades herself by flying commercial, (imagine), admitting to finding “a sauna to sit in for 20 minutes to help me sweat out all the germs from the plane” when she lands – no doubt to cleanse her sacred feminine self of all the parasites we peasants emit – has this week revealed she doesn’t know it all!

  Yes folks, in order to grab a few column inches, therefore no longer languishing in the washed-up-hack archives of actors who’ve ruined their credibility by droning on and on about c**p, well GOOP in Gwynne’s case, rendering them to become box-office kryptonite, the recently married, (or consciously coupled) Paltrow has admitted her nurturing skills are questionable, divulging “I’ve never been a stepmother before. I don’t know how to do it”. Wow! RIP Superwoman!

  But hey, let’s give the poor little fearmonger, who does sterling work in lowering the world’s healthcare IQ, a bit of credit and say that yes dearest, it can of course be difficult to be a step-parent. You see, I know, because myself and he-who-refuses-to-panic-over-Christmas shopping, both have adult kids with former spouses. He has four. I have two. And while we’re definitely not a blended family, as in we all don’t live together (buíochas le Dia) – sure we’re not all even in the same country –  you’d need the diplomatic skills of Mahatma Gandhi to steer the egos of our combined adult diva daughters…and don’t get me started on hubby’s adult sons…I said don’t…I can tell you that step-parenting is not for the meek and mild, nor indeed, for the week-willed. So I empathise with you Gwynnie.

  You see readers, it may seem obvious, (it may not), but a parent will always have a higher tolerance level as well as a greater love for their own children. I’m holding my hand up here and admitting that I certainly do. Don’t get me wrong, my step-adults are wonderful but they have a fantastic mother, and don’t need me butting in…nosey aul bint that I am. And, as smart-aleck Gwyneth, who’s mum to 14-year-old daughter (Apple…I know), and 12-year-old son Moses…I hear ya), with ex Christ Martin, has now become a stepmother to new hubby Brad Falchuk’s two kids, she’s feeling the pinch. Serves her right! Sorry, I meant poor thing.

  Therefore, despite being ‘coupled’ in September, it transpires the Paltrow-Falchucks don’t live together because, according to step-mommy dearest, “It’s pretty intense, the teenage thing”. Wow, so I’m guessing Gwynnie now no longer believes that, “to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set,” and is now acknowledging that us ‘regular’ mortal mothers who aren’t pampered, stinkin’ rich movie stars like her snippy, snootiness actually do a pretty fantastic job raising our kids, and, for those saints who’re doing it…their step-kids. If that’s what she’s saying, then there’s hope for us planks, and I for one wish the fearless champion of women’s vaginal imbalance healthcare issues a bundle of happiness in her new blended, modern-family style adventure.

 

 

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