About Me

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Typical Piscean, dreamer, story teller in the tradition of my country, I love to write. I'm not sure that I'm any good at it, but getting the words down has its reward.

30 January 2017

Confused? I'll say I am

😏So, my PC decides to upgrade itself; fine, but it could have told me it was going to do that, and then it could have made a nice cup of tea for me and told me of the changes it would make.  Add to that the mischief it got up to - great for rising the blood pressure - and the changes that wrought is it any wonder that I'm not at my best and that confusion has set in.   

So, here I am, warm in the study with new wood burning log stove burning wood warmly...cuppa to hand, stack of books ready to topple over in a bid to attract my attention [coming darlings, just let Bossy Boots upgrade something else and then we can start] and...Oh! God NO! Sheena Kickthecat is coming up the garden path, trailing various quantities of scarves, of various hues and what looks like a file containing every sheet of paper ever written on, anywhere, at anytime in the world.

Sheena, don't get me wrong, is a lovely woman.  She moved into the village about ten years ago, drove Mum mad when she discovered that Mum was a veritable enclycopedia on the history of the village. She would just show up at random times, and, as Mum taught music up to a month before she passed away aged 80 and was a member of everything going on locally and not so local, Mum was usually in a rush out the door. The family joke was you had to make an appointment to see her.

Sheena, darling girl turning 68 next birthday, usually opened conversations with "Now, I know you're probably very busy with your wee students but I just wanted to ask..."  Initially it was alright, a bit mystifying with the "wee" bit as Sheena came from Drimnagh originally, and that is not in Bonny Scotland.  Sheena worked during the week so she would usually call on Saturday afternoon; and initially Mum was quite happy to tell her the local folklore. But...

Sheena takes copious notes, edits them and then contradicts everyone who has an ancestry greater than 80 years in the village; all contradictions ended with - back then - "...and Mary told me so and she should know!".  She once told a neighbour that she felt she could be called the "Jane Marple of the village".  He's still howling with laughter.  He put his own nickname on her "Biddy Butt" and it took.  Refer to her as Sheena and you get a blank look, Biddy Butt and "the look" passes from eye to eye.  We'll say nothing about the soft chuckles.

When Mum passed away, Sheena arrived up at the wake.  Neither of my two girls had met her before, and I had only seen her in passing [Mum putting the accelerator to the floor and hitting 60+ in 40 mph zones] so she...well I don't quite know whether to say "swanned" or "sauntered" so take your pick, into the house, and proceeded in a leisurely manner to go into all the rooms in the house.  Meeting her coming out of what had been my room as a child, Eldest asked her was she lost.  Eyeing Eldest up and down she asked her "and who are you then?" which, given how much Eldest adored her Grandmother, was the proverbial red rag to the bull. 

An enraged "MAAAAAAAM" hollered down the hall, I came out from the sitting room where Mum was being waked and in a mood to swing anything that came to hand out the door [the Parish Priest having been telling me all about my Mother, me being a total stranger to her it seems, and that he would do the eulogy and not her lifelong pal who knew her better than anyone - besides her only child] and there was Sheena.  Smiling politely [alright, so those that know me well would say "smiling like a wolf about to devour a juicy rabbit] I asked her who she was and could I assist her.  "I'm Sheena Kickthecat, I was Mary's closest friend and I am looking for her notes on village history".  AHA!

At this juncture, I should mention that her surname is Irish and she pronounces it in such a way that ~"Kickthecat"~ is what it sounds like.  I still haven't worked it out yet.

"Well, Sheena [safest option] you see Mum never kept notes, all the history and family lineages were in her head.  There is a tradition of seanachai in our family and so..."  My reward was a huge smile and an inquiring eyebrow raised.  "...and you of course will follow in her steps..." a quick glower over her shoulder at Eldest warning her not to say I already do, I replied "no, regrettably I never succeeded in that.  I take after the other side of the family".  A quick prayer to all deceased ancestors at that point, seanachai comes in from both parents.  Eventually, an hour and two cups of tea later both she and the Parish Priest were last seen wandering down the garden path in mutual empathy. 

I managed to avoid her until the Village History Festival a couple of years ago, but when a neighbour [a mere 56 years residency] told her that I was the go-to for information, she started haunting me.  Eventually, Himself, with retirement on the horizon and a strong dislike for the lady in question, told her in polite language one Saturday afternoon that she should ring before coming up and that he didn't like people just popping in.  He said it with a straight face too. 

I think it's beginning to wear off, I'll have to set him on her again.  Two weeks ago she arrived as I was about go to keep a hospital appointment.  I managed to deal civilly with her, but it really has to stop.  She has the whole place driven mad, and now that the last of Mum's generation has passed away, there are now only five of us who fill the category of "Old Village". [wherein our families arrived 1865, 1874 and two in 1900 and one in 1917.  '65 was a good year for our family]. 

Needless to remark all five have their own histories off pat, handed down from Mother to daughter, and I have both mine and all of theirs off as well.  Useful tool actually, when it comes to living in a small village.  When you know the history you'll never fall out with anyone once you keep the facts to yourself.  There's no point is starting a feud by coming out with the juicy news that in 1910 X's Grandfather threw a rusty horseshoe at Y's Great Grandmother's herd of goats and scattered them for miles around the area.  That must have been some temper he had...

1 comment:

Frances said...

Dear Irish Eyes, from reading this post, I think I'd be able to recognize Sheena should I ever be anywhere in her vicinity, or even in the vicinity of her voice. What a portrait you've presented. And, may I also say that I loved reading this remembrance of your Mother, whom I wish I could have met.

I wish you great times along with your newly refreshed computer. It's so comforting when you have the impression that you and It are on the same wave length.

Lots of love to you and yours, xo