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Jan 5

Goddessing in its highest order

So. I believe I was telling you a story before I got distracted.

Once upon a time, not so long ago I was blessed with experience, an entirely different experience which is difficult to write about as most life-changing experiences tend to be. It was an adventure of the Goddessing sort of order.

I’m not a sort of Goddessy sort of person though, let’s just sort that out right now. If I had an altar, it would consist of several old birthday cards, a dead fly, a box of matches and an empty vodka bottle. My chalice would have coffee stains in it and my coven would be ignoring my texts. Nope, I’m not that sort that embraces Wiccan technology. I do love it though, when others bare their souls to me. I call it Goddessing here, because these souls just happened to be female, as a lot of souls tend to be whether they like it or not.

It happened during the Costa Rican adventure, which was an adventure within an adventure which is what happens when one is caught on-the-hop and one hopes that nobody is filming anything for fear that one would be caught in the act of being a gobshite: A fight-or-flight situation, if you will. They were quad-biking, these people. There were Minors. There were Majors there too but these Majors were highly trained in the ability to predict, prevent and warn against accidents so there was that element of false security because accidents always happen.

So, there was an accident.

The road was beyond bumpy, I had known this from my adventures the evening before and in my infinite wisdom I had thought ‘Ah sure they’ll be grand!’ in my Irish way. It was as though somebody had made a perfectly good path, then chewed it up, gotten drunk and spewed it back up and then poured acid all over the remains. Large pointed rocks stuck out at weird angles, scree and sandy pebbles made wheels spin, pot-holes the size of posh televisions threatened to pick up  the bikes and knock them into the ditch along side us. Total concentration was needed which was difficult given the view of the idyllic deserted beach to the left and a steep embankment of spooky wood with enormous Jurassic-leaved plants hiding alien forms with scuttly feet and eerie cries on the right. Distraction was everywhere, as was heat-exhaustion. If that doesn’t teach teenagers what rough is, I don’t know what will. I hadn’t accounted for the bravery of photographers though. Their angles escaped me, and it wasn’t the perilous road that was her peril. It was the slippery leaves, the things that were least likely to cause injury. It’s the innocent things that get you, in the end.


The posse stopped all of a sudden and voices of alarm could be heard above the throbbing engines of the strange unpredictable excitement.  I turned my head as the paramedic ran past, and in slow motion it dawned on me that an accident had occurred, and that I might be needed.

I baulked.

I don’t have much experience with medical emergencies bar those that have happened to my family. I didn’t want to get in the way, didn’t want to be useless, didn’t want to waste my training, didn’t want to make mistakes and have people scorn me. Nothing seemed quantifiable.

The confusion cleared as I saw what had happened.

Arawa was our mother, our earth. I and Curly were employed as mothers to the children on this trip, but Arawa was our guardian to keep us mothers grounded. We went to her if we wanted somebody we could trust, she was our person we could call Home. She is the all-understanding type, a worrier, a warrior, our sense of humour when we were out of our depth, she also had a love of photography so she was always there taking sneaky shots of weakness and heartfelt emotions and we were all secretly thankful for that, she had a way of hiding our flab. She was hurt.

She had slipped from the rising embankment while trying to climb above our sweaty heads for a panoramic view of bike and beach. She lay on her side clawing desperately with one arm at her leg, her face was ghastly as she wore an expression of horror. Our mother was in need of help and I didn’t know how to act.

I ran to the side of the experts and offered my help from a distance.

Paramedics  threw me a Sam-splint.

“Have you worked one of these before?” they asked.

“Sure!” I lied. But. I have the ability to speed-read and thankfully this shit comes with instructions.

A Sam-splint is a pliable structure with a foam exterior and a metal innard, it comes in a 36″ roll which can be formed into a rough support for a damaged limb. I folded it in half, moulded it and loved it to its fullest extent because I loved its recipient. I made a heel, and studied her calf like a sculptor and did the best that I could.

“Good Job!” they said. Afterwards they offered me a Cheers in a verbal sort of way, the sort was like the American High Five and not as cheesy maybe but still feels very, very nice.

We suffered a gruelling ride in a big 4×4, all expenses seemed a piss-take when it came to CostaRican back roads because she felt every miniscule. Rugged maybe could describe it, but to say that it was a hole that had a road in it, would say it best. She screamed with every bump and I held her and asked her to focus, like I had focussed at childbirth. At least childbirth gives you something at the end… this woman had nothing. We both blessed her with all the Goddessing we could manage and she felt our being but she was at a loss. Pain. PAIN. Indescribable. Focus. BREATHE. I was amazed that she didn’t pass out. Bravery in Goddessability.

She was planted in a foreign room. They demanded an extortionate amount of money (tens of thousands!) for her to be treated but of course she had not got that money straight to hand. She was a film executive but even film executives would not ordinarily have that many digits at her disposal. I was fairly disgusted. Helicopters are expensive I suppose. Thank goodness for fortunate friends at the end of embarrassing phone conversations. I say embarrassing, but I have a feeling that the person on the other end of that bank balance would be only to glad to help because Arawa is that sort of person.  If it had been me, I would have probably lost that limb. Such is extortionism.

Broken Tibia and Fibula in a foreign country.  Imagine that you fell in a way that BOTH bones in your lower leg were fractured. How much pain would you feel? Imagine that the muscles in that leg contracted in response to this trauma, pulling the limb into a strange contortion so that every motion brought you into a fucked-upededness pain that you had never thought imaginable before? This is pain at its worst, and you are all alone, no insurance, no help. You pay thousands or you remain alone, you lose a limb. Forseeable thwartapossability and thousands of dollars for release. I didn’t know Costa Rica (America?) was Third World. “Gimme Money or you’re fucked”. I was suddenly glad of Irish Health Insurance and so was Arawa but she had no access to it because it was out of hours. Nobody seemed to care. She was so apologetic, disgustingly apologetic. Such is the irony.

You’d want help in the way of immediate medication, pain relief, if you can’t breathe and your leg was all fucked up?

What if you didn’t have medication? What if you couldn’t afford it? How long could you scream?

What if you only had two women. Me, and a scantily clad yoga instructor to help you?

Breathe” How useless did we feel?

“FUCK OFF AND FIND ME MEDICATION! I love you” That was what she felt. Dichotomy. Can you imagine?

We were all she had. And she is overly thankful to us in hindsight as we are to her but she can’t see this because SHE WAS IN EXTREME PAIN AND MEDICATION IS EXPENSIVE. Birth is nice because you get a baby out of it, but could you deal with PAIN OF AN EXTREME NATURE BECAUSE YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO PAY FOR TREATMENT AND YOU GET NOTHING BUT ABNORMALITY AT THE END? She felt embarrassed, but it was the healthcare system that should be embarrassed, not her. America is pretty, but it seems backward to me.

These things happen to teach us. We all learned from this. And we all became better people because of it. And there is no shame in that. Some things are not our fault.

There is no shame in pain. We all feel pain. Every one of us. Nobody needs to feel sorry, apart from the crappy system.

We all learned something, through our nakedness, because we had to beg in out darkest hour such is the nature of life, each and every one of us. Truthfulness speaks: In a strange country it is bad that in strange places you need money to pay for accident. Arawa deserved more than what she got.

When we are naked, may there always be one who will always spread her arms and shield us and make light and tell the world to mind its own fucking business. That will be our friend and wherever we all have friends may we have the strength to find them and not be afraid to ask.

Stick with it.

We’re all broken in some way or another.

Every system will someday be healed.




Dec 16

Useful advice on de-bugging

Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 in Family, Jobs, Rantings, Taboo


I lay awake, frustrated as I usually do of a night, wondering what should have been said or what could have been done or what needs to be corrected in what way and why not. This night however, there was popping. My ear itched. I rubbed it haphazardly with my thumb and tried to get on with it.

I flipped sides. Rolling the blanket into a cozy position clock ticking and continuing random thoughts from the other side, disturbed worrying trying to ignore the itch. There was a noise though. It was a very nearby noise, as though gremlins were building lego in my pillow. Pop. Scritch. Flullowing.

I flipped to the other side, and suddenly worries of a psychological nature became secondary to the pain in my fucking ear.

Bastard. Bloody hell. Fuck sake Jesus etc… the tiny end of my baby finger rooted and mooched but the pain would not go away, nor would the sound of the gremlins scratchy scritching around in my ear.

I got up, and went to the bathroom and did exactly what one is not supposed to do but I’m entirely glad that I did it… a cotton bud tip found itself rooted into the depths of my ear canal and when I pulled it out, LO! a small creature found itself on the tip. Bleurgh.

I did a dance, a squirmy dance that was very silent lest it waken the rest of the household but by God did I make sure to wake my husband to let him know because it is his job to listen to the pains in my proverbial arse at any given day no matter what the cause because it’s in the vows in the smallprint so shut up.

“Dude wake up I found a bug in my ear!! How disgusting is that? How are you still married to me? I’m the most revolting person ALIVE! It’s laid eggs in there. Jesus. Yeaauch. What if I’m brain injured?! I want to go to hospital!!!”

That was when I fell asleep purely out of lack of attention and tiredness, but only because it was 4am and I’d trapped the suspect in a specimen jar for future inspection. No more itching occurred that night but you can be damned sure there were nightmares.

See, the young wan had had head lice two weeks before. She’d caught them at school and I’d combed and washed the bollix out of her hair on two separate occasions but there still were eggs two weeks later. It didn’t occur to me that the product I was using was inferior. I thought that this was just the hazard of having long hair. So I treated her and left it, and then during a bonding evening when she sat on my lap and snuggled me with her head next to mine I considered contamination but at the time it didn’t matter because love can be careless that way.

They only itched after I asked my husband to examine my scalp. When he jumped back with a yelp and a declaration of ‘JESUS THEY’RE HUGE!!!’… only then did they begin to really irritate. Funny that.

So there I sat with nits. Long hair, and nobody to treat me.

Google was of no help whatsoever. It just showed me disgusting pictures and made it worse and put me off my food. So now I am a stressed out mother, malnourished with a strong desire to shave her head.


(Go on, scratch your scalp, I know you’re feeling it. It’s psychosomatic, I wouldn’t blame you.)

Here is where I unashamedly advertise a product: Lyclear

In this sceptical age where blogs are all about making money and links are golden and all that, I would love to state here and now that this advertisement is purely borne out of relief. It was on the golden glowing shelf of the pharmacy that normal people don’t need to look at. The pharmacist took pity on me and showed it to me without any requests of passwords or big brown envelopes, I think it was the look of desperation that did it.

It’s an oily sort of crap. But it smells nice. And there was a bitchin’ comb that came in the packaging with long prongs that made the eggs really stand out.

I put the oily goo in my hair and waited for the advised ten minutes. There are a lot of things one can do in ten minutes but I would advise against baking because at this stage there was a lot of squirming. I could feel the nits panicking, they were jumping from a burning building so instead I chose to crouch in the corner of my bedroom and rock silently and cry and wait.

When the ten minutes were up, I rinsed. I piled the top half of my hair into a bun and carefully brushed every inch of the lower quarters with the ‘special’ comb and laughed OUT LOUD at the corpses that presented themselves. The upper quarters of my hair were less troublesome because the bastards seem to like the dorsal side of the scalp and not the upper side.

Two weeks later and they’re gone.

But I’m still itchy.

I ask my husband to examine me every now and then and he tells me I’m clear, and I’ve used the same product on my daughter and she’s still clear.

And yet I still can’t sleep.

I keep dreaming of lice babies infiltrating my brain.

But there are always worse things in life I suppose.


Oct 27

The post in which K8 becomes a martyr

Posted on Sunday, October 27, 2013 in Family, Jobs, Philosophy, Rantings

If there’s anything I’ve learned from this EMT course so far, it’s to keep information short and sweet.

This in itself is difficult, because every situation is different and holds its own compromises.

So, my situation is thus: I have my eldest who has global development delay. My next is nine years old and is getting a good grasp on life, fair play to her, she’s goth and I take that as a compliment (now is the good time to get it out of her system?). My youngest has playschool sussed and is ready for life to come. My husband has his own special needs, his spine is compromised so he can’t work, he suffers pain and all of those emotional difficulties that go with that. I have my own ways of dealing with this, alcohol as funny as it is in this society, being one.


We cannot work, he or me.

We sap from the community and take our fair share of Irish taxes because we live in social housing and cannot get out of the rut. We have no money yet we are to raise a respectable family right? Poor us, right? We have an excuse to raise hopeless anti-social luddites, don’t we?


We are not poor.

We have a roof, and a car (even if we can’t afford car tax… shhhhh don’t tell anyone!), and vegetables and meat and cereal.

We are LUCKY.

I’ve been unsure of the right path to take thus far. Yes, it’s very easy to slump into the regime of daytime TV. I’ve been there, I know every episode of ‘Friends’ by heart. It killed me. That was when I was too sober.

Then I decided to take life by the horns and to defy anything that kept me under the blankets.

I joined a First Aid organisation. I’m now its chief fundraiser and am employed to raise at least €30,000 within the next two years to sort a new ambulance. I worked at kiddo’s local school and helped them raise €22,000 over the last two years. I’ve just become secretary for an organisation that will care for cardiac compromise in my neighbourhood and I’m in the middle of a really intensive course that might even get me a job if I’m optimistic enough.

I’m working damn hard with this state, the same state that cut all my earnings, FOR FREE. I just want you to know that. Yes I get free money, but I work hard to pay it off voluntarily. I fail left, right and centre with the people I love. I forget things. I leave things behind and hope to eventually catch up to them but in the meantime I feel guilty and sad. Very very sad.

Why, when other people are so financially stable, won’t people help out with organisations that are struggling? Why are people so eager to slag off the government and yet give nothing by return just because they feel secure by the fact that they’re paying their taxes? Why don’t they feel very very sad like me?

Who are the people that are holding this state together? What are the Irish people doing to uphold their part? Are they just a bitchy alcoholic entity with a random funny opinion with the urge to do nothing but rant via bullshit internet, or have they the balls to take part in the real course of events that will make this country somewhere worthwhile to live in?

I am a random person who loves everyone.  But it feels like too much to handle because one person alone cannot do this all alone or they will be overcome and die. So, I anaesthetize with alcohol because it is less lonely. But!

I still get this shit done.

Let ye who are without sin cast the first stone. Tell me I’m wrong.

Go on, I dare you.



Oct 21

Emergency Medical Technician Homework

Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 in Jobs

This blog entry is a rough description of the obstacles an E.M.T. might face when questioning a patient about the level of pain that they’re experiencing.

Pain is a very personal experience, and is only known to those who are suffering. We can’t read minds, so communication skills are nice to know.

Pain comes in three parts:

1- Sensory: Location, intensity and nature of pain

2- Affective: Emotional response to pain (urge to escape the unpleasantness)

3- Impact: On functioning levels and awareness of the situation.

The following is a rough list of the various people you might have the honour to treat, and the level of disability that they might present:

1. The ‘normal’ dude:

Experience of pain can be described at many levels using many descriptive words so therefore our ideal patient is someone who can articulate the type of pain they’re feeling using words and gestures, and (neurosis aside) can, when prompted indicate a level of pain between 0 and 10 accurately. Above the age of 3 or 4, usually people can generally relate to your description of this scale and can answer appropriately.

There are reasons why people of sound mind might consciously adapt this pain score however: there are opportunists, or people who might not understand the scale properly, or may not have experienced extremely bad pain in their lives (perhaps a mild kick to the shin is the worst thing this person has experienced in the case of your average 9 year old?) thus this scale of measurement can prove to be inaccurate.

In summary. there will always be people who will intentionally manipulate their score either to receive attention (notably when parents are around), or to receive free medication.

2. The teeny people

Below the age of toddlerhood (≤ 3) when language hasn’t developed yet, you have your group of people who are very honest and can detect lies at 100 paces.

These people can best relate to pictures, but most importantly their facial expressions are very easy to read because they haven’t yet learned how to manipulate either by exaggeration, or suppression of feelings. Very young people are exactly as they present. Therefore the Wong-Baker facial grimace scale can be useful here.

Wong-Baker pain scale

Children are highly intuitive and can recognise facial expressions pretty well by pointing if you have this image ready but as an accessory to this, you can gauge children’s pain levels from their facial expressions which might look like the following on the 1 -10 level:

0 – 1: Alert and smiling (babies are content)

1 – 3: No humour, facial expression is flat.

3 – 5: Furrowed brows, pursed lips, holding breath (babies are anxious and unsettled)

5 – 7: The child’s nose wrinkles, upper lip is raised, patient is breathing rapidly or puffing (babies are crying urgently but may be settled slightly with parental intervention)

7 – 9: The child will have an obvious expression of pain. Their mouths will be open, they’ll blink slowly. (Babies will have a high pitched cry and will be unconsolable.)

10: Eyes closed. Moaning or loud crying. Babies will be screaming at decibels louder than a jumbo-jet.

3. Activity tolerance scale: this is something you can observe at most levels:

0-1: No pain

1-3: Pain can be ignored

3-5: Pain interferes with tasks.

5-7: Pain interferes with concentration (sentences will be completed with difficulty)

7-9:  Pain interferes with basic needs!

10: Bedrest required

4: Patients with communication difficulties:

There are obviously a lot of situations where people may not be in the position to verbalise the nature and type of pain they’re experiencing, but you might be able to prompt the person using body language to point to the area which is hurting, and recognise the extremity of the pain from their physical expression. For example, the patient might ‘guard’ an area. Withdrawn socail behaviour might suggest extreme pain, as will moaning with movement and limitation with range of movement of body parts.

If someone shows aggression or shows confusion or agitation, especially in those with dementia or those who can’t express themselves properly… this could be an indication of acute pain.

5: People who might be in pain but not report it:

Ageing patients might be on medication that might blunt pain. They also might not be as receptive to pain because of neuron failure. Indications of pain might be a recent decrease in things like dressing, excercising, grooming etc.) OR they might be afraid of the fact that if they report pain they might be hospitalized or put on medications they don’t want to be on.

Some cultural beliefs might lead a patient to understand that they don’t deserve pain relief, some are afraid of body contamination, some are too stoic and feel that they deserve any pain that may come to them.

Annnnd that’s all I have to say about that. Are there any other pain score recognition structures out there? Help a gal out with her homework hey?

Sep 17

Guest Post: Puppychild writes.

Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

I first wrote about Puppychild here. She was three years old then. Now she is nearly nine. It is about time that she began her own blog, because I’ve seen her writing and I think that it is excellent, and weird, and wonderful. This is a guest blog so you can see for yourself.


Hello my name is Puppychild and I am in third class. I love monsters, I wish I was a monster my self, well I kind of am. The way I always talk about monsters.

The vampire who survived the sun.

Once upon a time there was a vampire, her name was Mavis.  Mavis wanted to go into the sun. Mavis went to the smartest Vampire in the world. His name was Count Smartula. Mavis knocked on the door. Count Smartula told her to come in. When Mavis came in, count Smartula asked her why she interrupted  his work, Mavis said that she didn’t know, and that she was sorry. Mavis asked if there was ever a vampire who went in the sun. Count Smartula  just  started shouting (out out get out!). Then Mavis flew back home, and she searched on the computer. Mavis searched a story about that somewhere in the world there is a Vampire that can go into the sun. Mavis thought maybe she was that vampire.

so Mavis went into the sun.

and survived the sun.

riannastorythe end

Sep 15

Child protection policy overkill

Posted on Sunday, September 15, 2013 in Family, Jobs, Philosophy, Rantings

I’ll start by going off on a tangent. They made child-proof caps on medicine bottles so that children can’t open them, right? I was on duty recently where an Emergency Medical Technician who is all of 25 years old couldn’t open a bottle of Calpol. My own kid, who is all of 3.5 years old, has no problem with this whatsoever.

Some rules can be very intelligent but not very bright at all.

When children are involved with an organisation and you are in charge of them (i.e. their parents aren’t around) these days you must be very careful. You must not take photographs of them, even though a rare opportunity my present itself where a butterfly suddenly decides to a-light on their baseball cap and you itch to capture a moment of rarity.

You must make sure that if a child is going somewhere, they must be accompanied by two adults of each sex. You cannot drive anywhere with a kid on your own, even if the parent gives you verbal consent. You must not be on your own with a child at any time under any circumstances which is weird for me because I prefer the company of kids. They have a lovely energy. Does that sound creepy or is this over-sensitisation?

This rule presents problems on First Aid duties.

“OMG look! It’s a candy floss stand! I’m there! Can I go?” and.. then… she’s gone.

Is a child on its own in a wilderness of people worse than a child with a responsible adult in a wilderness of people? No, apparently not…but I broke the rules when I ran after her anyway for I had no time to find a random man. I accompanied her to the floss stand, and chastised her for running away, and told her she couldn’t buy floss even if it was with her own money.

How much of a bitch am I?

It’s the skill of putting yourself in their parent’s shoes I guess. Maybe she had a dinner to go home to… either way she was here to work and not enjoy herself, and act responsibly for the sake of the uniform. I wish times were different. I would have acted differently if that were the case, but that’s probably my inner child speaking.

Like, for instance; last month I went on an Emergency First Responder course. Another member from my division went with me, but his eighteenth birthday isn’t until November so he is still very much a minor. I gave him a lift to and from the course which is miles away and definitely not accessible by public transport so his parents were very glad to have me take the ache from their back of having to separately transport him, and gave me a lovely ‘thank-you!’ card to express this.

However, what I did was to break the law entirely according to my company’s policies.


So now, let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a grey-haired man with fuzzy beard and steel-rimmed glasses. He was a quiet man, who loved hard work especially if it was to be carried-on outside. He disliked working with others, those lazy people who loved more than anything to lean on their shovels and speak nasty of others while dragging out days and wasting time. So, he requested every job to be his own, and this was granted to him because he always performed dutifully and put love into every job he did.

One day, this man was pulling weeds from a wilderness beside a playground. He had been working for five hours but he wasn’t tired, he was only just beginning.

The playground in question was a playground frequented by special needs children, from a special needs school just up the road. I know it well, for I bring Laughingboy there sometimes.

A child had wandered.

It had found itself in the adjacent carpark and when its teachers cottoned on to this and raised a fuss, the child locked down. It floored, and would not budge from said floor for love nor money. It lay, and it screamed if anyone should come close.

The gray-haired man with fuzzy beard and steel-rimmed glasses approached said kid with his wheelbarrow.

“Are yeh hopping in, or what?”

The child obliged. It climbed in, and allowed our gardener friend to transport him effortlessly back to the bus. The teachers were thankful. The kid’s friends were thankful. I’m pretty sure that the kid’s parents would have been thankful too, knowing that they couldn’t be there to help and that thankfully there was someone with a bit of brightness to him that helped out on their behalf.

However, what he did broke the law entirely because it wasn’t policy. He could get sacked for it.


There are too many loopholes and scenarios to comprehend. I know that there are monsters out there, and so does ‘the man’… but how far does child protection have to go? Will future babysitters need to babysit in pairs? Will teachers need to teach in pairs even though the school budget doesn’t allow?? I know there’s a happy medium, I fear that we hit that happy medium about ten years ago, but now it’s just gotten silly and I’ve a feeling it’s about to become a whole lot sillier yet.

Please help me to understand?

Aug 31

Planes, Trains, and Deloreans.

Posted on Saturday, August 31, 2013 in Jobs

The following is a bunch of photographs I took at a recent duty. The duty involved taking care of the first-aid needs of a bunch of Model Train enthusiasts. What could possibly go wrong at a model train exhibition you ask? Nothing, really. Sweeeet. I am, however very easily amused so had myself possibly a little bit more fun than is socially acceptable.

(Click pictures to embiggen them)

South end of O'Connell street

South end of O’Connell street, photo-bombed by a dubious overseer.

This is a view towards the north end of O’Connell street, with the GPO and Nelson’s Column and some more floaty heads.

Here is a St John Ambulance First Aid station on O’Connell street, circa 1949. How cute the little crashed bicycle is!

Part of a very elaborate Lego city complete with Delorean, Doc and McFly.

I’m guessing this is Rosslare harbour judging by the diesel train zooming past. I could be wrong… any ideas?

Is this Wexford? Again, I’m open to corrections. Bowled over by the tiny details though, I’m sure it’s accurate to the last blade of grass.

What amused me the most, was a little stand selling tiny people for tiny villages. In one pack was a ‘porn’ set of characters complete with five naked ladies, and a couple having sex on a bench. Because who says you can’t be a model train enthusiast and be kinky at the same time? Nobody, that’s who.

Aug 27

‘The eight year old’

Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 in Family, Humourarse, Jobs, Strange and Unusual

Normally in my line of work, they would refer to a missing child by its name which is in my opinion a very stupid idea because there could be journalists listening, but that’s beside the point.

I was bored. I was staring at a monkey and wondering if I could induce it into yawning (which I couldn’t… only wolves are susceptible to this from my experience) so when a rather distressed lady approached me, she found me wearing a really stupid expression but I suppose in hindsight, that doesn’t really matter to anybody.

She had lost her child.

I have children. I have three of them. I lost one of them once, so I appreciate the panic. If you have children, maybe you can close your eyes now and bring yourself back (or forward) to a time when losing them could probably be the most catastrophic thing you can ever experience. You’re responsible for that child. You’re most likely failing them, your imagination goes wild and you’re thinking of the worst possible thing that could happen… the imagination can be a horrible thing sometimes, especially where wolves and monkeys are involved.

She had a wild look in her eyes, wilder than those of a lion. I recognised it immediately.

“Do you work here?” she asked.

“Yyyyyyesss.” I replied. I sort of did, and I sort of didn’t.

“Maybe you can help me?” She implored; “I’ve lost my son! I don’t know what to do! I was looking at this map here and I was wondering where the elephants were and next thing I knew he was gone and I told him before not to wander off but he wouldn’t listen and now he’s gone and I told him but he wouldn’t listen but I told him and now I don’t know….” this line of thought trailed off.

“Don’t worry!” I says. “This is what I do.” I put my hand on her shoulder. “If I can’t find your son in fifteen minutes I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.” She relaxed, and smiled, but still bit her nails nonetheless.

I sat her down. And I sat beside her and I took my radio into my hand and I pressed the big red button.

“First aid to control? Over.” I hate cellular band radios.

(no answer)

“FIRST AID TO CONTROL, OVER!” I said. I felt silly now.

(no answer)

“FIRST AID TO CONT.. ” fuck this.

“FIRST AID TO STEVE, DO YOU READ ME? OVER!” Did I mention that I hate cellular band radios?

Steve read me. He picked me up and he heard my voice and I loved him right there and then on the spot for that.

“Steve I have reports of a missing child. He’s eight years old, he’s wearing a blue t-shirt, yellow shorts and black trainers. He has brown hair and is carrying a black back-pack. Can you watch out for him and alert security please? Over!”

“Will do, first aider. Have you got a name for this kid? Over.”

Now… the mother had already given me a description and a name, but this is where it got complicated.

“First Aid to Steve… yes, the name is Penis. Over.”

“Penniz!” The kid’s mother shouted at me. Jesus. Fuck. She had told me, too. I had heard her pronouncing the kid’s name and something in my dirty mind had deliberately instructed me to mispronounce it. How unprofessional am I?


Fuck. I forgot to give my call sign and forgot to sign out with ‘over’. My world was falling apart. Firstly because I’d forgotten to say ‘over’ at the end of the message, secondly because I’d said the word ‘Penis’ over CB radio which at least twenty people were listening to. Thirdly because the mother of a child named ‘Penis’ was standing beside me glowering because I’d undoubtedly cemented an error that countless people had already errored before and she was entrusting me to find same. Semantics can be cruel sometimes.

(Let that be a lesson to all ye parents naming your children odd names in the future!)

But this is not for me to judge.

I didn’t care, to be honest. I saw the panic in her eyes and it reflected in my own and I understood. The kid could have been called Vagina for all I cared, I wouldn’t have cared what word was blasted over the radio as long as the child was found.

“Security to first aid? Over.” Came the call after an eternity (thankfully only three minutes, they’re THAT good here).

“First aid receiving, go ahead! Over.”

“Security to first aid, I have an eight year old here matching that description… blue t-shirt, yellow shorts and black trainers. He has brown hair and is carrying a black back-pack. Over.”

Normally, security wouldn’t have that good a memory. They would normally use the kid’s name, but they didn’t now.

Funny, that.

It reminded me of a song that I love…

Sometimes a long day can be relieved by a good deed and a funny name. Y’know?

Over and out.

Aug 19

An embarrassing post about abscesses that I probably shouldn’t post.

Posted on Monday, August 19, 2013 in Jobs, Little known facts, Strange and Unusual

This is an hiatus.

I realise that blog posts here are thin on the ground, that’s because they’re all on scraps of paper in drawers and in notebooks in random handbags. I write better in hand-writing, but can never seem to find them when I finally get a chance to sit at a laptop. Scraps of paper everywhere… scraps that friends find and can make head nor tail of… scraps that end up in the bin, or in pockets that get washed to be found in shreds, they just end up as silly words that I’m kind of glad were never published.

I was on a roll, of sorts, about a TV documentary I was lucky enough to be involved in, but the next phase was washed and tumble-dried… please be patient with me.

This is different. This is from the soul. I have a spare few minutes here with you and I’ve been meaning to talk to you about this for a long time but obviously it’s a squeamish subject and you might not want to read about it but given the subject line perhaps you have an interest, I’m not sure. Either way, please be sure you don’t read this with a full stomach, for it is quite gruesome.

When I was seventeen I found a lump on the base of my spine, at the tailbone. Of course I thought it was Cancer and it stopped my life, in so far as I found it hard to walk, or sit, or lie down. And of course, because I thought it was the end of my life.

But, it wasn’t. Eventually it burst as the doctor said that it would. After a month or so of extreme pain it erupted into a predictable goo of built-up unreasonableness and then I could live my life again.

I wondered if this meant something for me. Maybe my immune system was to blame, maybe it was something to do with the illnesses my great-great-great-great grandparents had passed on to me, who knows? Either way, of course when nasty things go away, you forget about them.

Until it came back.

And come back it did, time and time again. Sometimes these abscesses appear in the same tailbone area, sometimes they appear in the groin, and disappear. Sometimes dangerously close to the anal zone which means ultimate discomfort for obvious reasons, sometimes it appears in random other groinal areas. Groinal. Did I just coin a new word? How happy am I to be the inventor! Not much, I can tell you. It does make yoga somewhat challenging though, and I’ve told my instructor and she is ever-loving and ever understanding even though the gorey details weren’t shared and I love her for that. I’m sharing them here with you though because maybe you understand, maybe you’re here because of gruesome fascination… that’s good too.

Either way, I wonder why I was chosen for such things.

Obviously abscesses in these sensitive areas are much better than cancer, but I wonder still if the two aren’t related.

Because sometimes when you have a headache you wonder if it’s a tumour.

We all do it.


It begins as a solid lump that hurts. That’s what I shall begin with.

Cancer lumps rarely hurt. This is comforting to most.

Abscess hurting solid mass grows. And grows. It will form eventually into a sort of bubble that is unbearable to touch. Then it will grow bigger. Then it will REALLY start to hurt. From zero to ten, you’re talking about an eight.

Nature seems to be a cruel being. These things never seem to appear on one’s midriff, or on one’s arm. They usually appear in vulnerable areas that are either on show to the public, or in places where sitting is involved. The face. The anus. The armpit. PLACES WHERE IT MATTERS MOST.

Abscesses are a cruel invention no matter where they are.


Obviously you can have an operation. This involves you going under the knife… scary procedures that are the advised way to go, more power to you if you can brave it. I’ve never done this. I think that the underlying problem rarely wants to be cut away.

I went the homoeopathy route, several years ago. If you go by homoeopathy, you’re addressing the problem at its base. This is by all means by personal opinion the BEST way to go, if you can afford it. This is the healing method that figures out why your body is doing this in the first place, and it fixes you at the core. When I went the homoeopathic route, my abscesses stopped evolving into horrible golf-balls, and remained passive.

When I say passive, I mean the abscesses were manageable… they don’t interrupt day-to-day life, but they’re still there. This is because I haven’t followed up on the holistic healing.

Maybe I should have surgery.

Maybe I could get more homoeopathic help, seeing as it was so helpful in the first place.

I’m leaning towards the latter.

People don’t give holistic healing the time it deserves. When I mean people, I mean me. Cut it out, or heal it at its source?

Either way, if you have abscesses, you’re not alone, my dear.


Yours, undecided





Jun 16

How to ride a Quad-Bike

Posted on Sunday, June 16, 2013 in Jobs, Strange and Unusual, The Asylum Experience

I must admit a huge weakness of mine.

I don’t like to tell people that I can’t do something new. I’d rather give something a go, fail miserably, then and ONLY THEN tell people that maybe this isn’t the thing for me. Pride can be a terrible and dangerous thing.

So, when Billy asked me if I’d like to map a Quad-Bike course with him, of course I said yes, immediately.

In my head I wondered a number of things. I wondered if he meant the Royal We, where I would listen to him speak at length about the toils and setbacks of the Costa Rican countryside while we poured over a map at a table with a cup of tea and pencil a route in theory. I wondered if he meant to ride one Quad with me on the back  hugging him for dear life, with me providing a running commentary. Or, maybe he wanted me to have a Quad-Bike of my own to ride with him on a proposed route. Eep! to the latter. I both hoped, and hoped not at the same time… oh, the dangerous responsibility… PLEASE! let it be the latter, I wished.

‘All right,’ says he… ‘grab a key!’

The excited panic slowly roiled in my belly. I hadn’t the heart to tell him that it was shamefully over twenty years since I’d even looked at one of these things. I remembered someone telling me that Bono’s wife had been here just a while ago and scuppered herself slightly in a Quad Bike adventure. I wondered if I’d be of any use to my children dead, and sauntered casually away until Billy couldn’t see me any more.

See, large vehicles are no problem to me. I love driving. I’ve driven large cars, both manual and automatic, I’ve driven vans… hell I’ve even flown an aeroplane once. The bigger the vehicle, the more secure it feels. Give me something small like a moped or a quad-bike however, and I crap myself. They’re too flimsy, too jerky, and their controls are altogether too spurious and unpredictable.

I ran with teenaged animation to the table which displayed an array of keys numbered from 1 to 20. Number 9 was missing. I chose Key 13, just for the craic of it. I don’t like inanimate objects to feel left out.

I found quad-bike number 13. It was RED. They all were, but mine seemed more RED than most.

Billy nodded me a rather masculine nod, then sped away. I asked God to bless his optimism.



Step 1: Insert key into ignition. Congratulate yourself for finding the key-slot.

Step 2: Find your left hand.

Step 3: Congratulate yourself on finding your left hand and remind yourself to calm down, that this could possibly be just a dream.

Step 4: Find the clutch. Realise that there is no clutch. Be bummed out by the fact that there is no clutch, and panic. Find two buttons at your left hand and find that by pressing the lower button, you can shift down to Neutral. Celebrate your cleverness by turning on the engine. Let your thighs enjoy the throb of the engine and be scared, be very scared.

Step 5: Shift upwards with left hand to first gear, and with your right hand’s thumb, press gently on tiny lever.

Step 6: Enjoy whiplash.

Step 7: Realise that it’s probably ok to start these damn things in third gear.

Step 8: Find brakes, but remember that they are for pussies.


I zoomed after Billy after a few minutes of figuring the above out, and began a dirt-path of rocks and stones and dust. I knew where my leader was despite numerous turns and forks by the plumes he’d left behind and caught up with him quickly enough, and my neck was pretty sore by then… Quads are not friends of the cervical spine.

He led me to a beach with flat sand and petrified wood. We zoomed and dodged and accelerated at stupid rates to 80kmph… the dangerousness of these machines amazed me and I wondered if they weren’t entirely safe for teenagers but then again, that was sort of the point of the documentary. We slowed down all too soon, and climbed out of the beach and into cowboy country.

cow1 (1)

To this day I can’t figure out why their ears need to be so big, then I wondered if these aren’t in fact their eyes… very very sad eyes. (Image courtesy of

Groups of ancient people smiled toothless smiles at us and every stranger waved. The sense of well-being was alive. This is a good country to live in, your odds are good here and the freshness of every living thing shamed our exhaust fumes and cursed their modern-day interruption. We smiled apologetic smiles and down-shifted out of courteousness.

We stopped at a shack with a dusty Pepsi sign outside and asked if it would be okay for a bunch of teenagers to pop by the following day with a film crew. They seemed more than happy, they seemed to hold themselves back with enthusiasm which made me feel sad about the possibility that perhaps our crew wouldn’t make it this far the next day. I feared we’d lost the run of ourselves, that we’d overestimated the journey through which our teenagers could stand in this heat, with those gears, and the danger of it all. I as a mother feared that I was failing them, felt that my enthusiasm could possibly kill them. A toddler spoke English to me and overwhelmed me. Her mother smiled proudly, and I was homesick again.

It was at this point I realised that I had no idea how to reverse and thus embarrassed myself in front of several Spanish strangers while I got my act together.

We turned around and went home over the mountains.

There were seas of green below, billions of leaves and crickets chirping, the humidity had died down by now so the dust was clinging to the drying drips of sweat on my skin and I saw the sea with envy, never wanting to swim so much. The sun set to our right as we climbed and dipped, finally bringing us home.

Billy went for a shower and recommended that I did the same. I should have, but I didn’t.

And then I got into trouble for getting carried-away.

I’ll leave that up to your imagination I think, for the truth is always far stranger and I think some things are better confined to the special room in my brain’s reference library that is my cringing memory whose bolts are far stronger than your curiosity could ever be.