Monday 12th March 2012

Absolutely gorgeous day here today, as was yesterday. Spring has arrived in all its splendour. The sun is shining, it’s warm and the garden is full of flowers. All the bulbs and bedding I planted are coming into their own now. The garden is a cornucopia of daffs, tulips, crocus and primula.  Buds are beginning to appear on the trees. Nature is coming awake. (Welcome to Spring Watch with Gillibran Brown)

I’ve done a ton of laundry this morning and got it hung out on the line to dry. I’m having a well-earned coffee break plus a slice of homemade carrot cake, not homemade by me, but by Eileen. It’s delicious. Last time I tried making a carrot cake I overdid the carrot and it was a bit soggy and altogether too carroty, even Bugs Bunny would have rejected it.

So, Gilli, I hear you say, where have you been lately? Answer: I’ve been knee deep in shit, well, not quite knee deep, he said, making a valiant attempt to curb his hyperbolic tendencies, maybe ankle deep, in a metaphorical sense, I’m not talking actual paddling in poo. I’m not into scat games and I tend to avoid people who are, it’s easy, you can smell them coming from a mile away, that and you can hear the flies buzzing around their heads.

A couple of weeks ago, on a Saturday morning, self and men folk were breakfasting together in the kitchen. Shane suddenly set down his coffee cup and sniffed the air, as if he’d scented another bear invading his territory. I was about to ask if he was starting a cold when a waft of something unpleasant also crept up my nostrils. Shane and I exchanged glances and then, as one, turned accusing eyes on Dick. He’s usually responsible for any silent, but deadly expulsions in our house. He’s too posh and polite to fart aloud. They slip from his back door with unspoken intensity, whereas Shane and I have more vocal farts that have the decency to announce their presence and give folks the chance to grab a gas mask or make a run for it. Though let me make clear, neither of us fart in polite company or in public, though I must confess to once blasting one out during a quiet moment in church. It was really embarrassing, but I couldn’t help it. I’d have exploded if I hadn’t let it go. I tried to ease it out a bit at a time, but it insisted on bursting out of my bottom in one almighty whoosh. It then ricocheted around the hallowed rafters like a comet trailing a foul reek with it.

In my own defence I was only about eleven at the time and my mum had made me eat sprouts for lunch. My fellow choirboys collapsed with loud and raucous laughter, as small boys are wont to do when it comes to farting and general bodily functions. Father O’ Gormon spoke stern words after the service. One did not ‘pump’ in church, especially not during reflective moments after Sunday evening Holy Communion. I did consider offering the opinion that Jesus probably farted, but didn’t dare in case I got excommunicated.

Anyway, getting back on track, Dick denied all responsibility for the pong wreathing around the kitchen and took himself off upstairs in a huff. The smell remained. Shane also vacated the kitchen, leaving me alone with the escalating stink. I twisted round to look at my arse in case it was slipping out something noxious on the sly, but all appeared normal and unstained. I sniffed around the sink, put bleach down the plughole, cleaned out the waste bin, but the smell stayed and got worse. It was truly revolting.

By later that afternoon the kitchen was virtually a no go area because the smell was so bad it was making us gag. Try as we might we could not find its source within the house. Shane thought it was probably coming from under the house. He reckoned a sewage pipe leading to the main drain was either blocked or had cracked and was seeping. He called environmental services and ordered them to come and investigate.  It turned out to be a ruptured sewage pipe. It was a nightmare to fix and it cost a fortune. The council said it was our responsibility because the pipe ran directly under our property and it was up to us to maintain it. We had to have the kitchen floor ripped up and new pipes put in. The kitchen was a mess afterwards. I’ve been busy putting it to rights, redecorating and having the floor redone. It looks nice again and is now filled only with respectable and pleasant odours…barring those moments when windiness gets the better of one or other of us.

Other news is that I’ve made a good start on compiling my 2008 diary into a book. I seem to be getting back into the writing zone at long last, touch wood!


Tuesday 13th March 2012


Spring might have sprung for a day or two, but alas, fickle sprite, it has deserted us today leaving cool cloudy weather and a hint of melancholy in its place. Even the flowers in the garden have lost some of their vivacity and are inclined to dip their head towards the ground instead of the sky.

The men folk emulated the weather by also being cool and cloudy this morning.  They had words last night. Dick is working on a new project and not enjoying it because of constant interference and pressure on the part of whoever contracted him. He was grumbling about it last night at dinner, but Shane wasn’t sympathetic. He more or less told Dick to shut up and get on with it. He told him he ought to be grateful for whatever work came his way in these tough economic times, adding that if him and Reny had been more on the ball with running their company they could afford to be more picky about what projects they took on. Dick didn’t like being reminded of past folly and fell silent after that. After dinner he opted to spend the evening in his workroom. He was up at the same time as Shane this morning, but didn’t breakfast with us. He said he wanted to get into work early and would grab something to eat on the way. He left without giving Shane a kiss. I hate it when my men folk are at odds with each other. I hope they kiss and make up soon.

I’m not looking forward to this afternoon. I’ve got myself involved in the Marie Curie March daffodil fund raising appeal. I’ll be spending several hours smiling at customers in our local Sainsbury’s while holding a tray of little fabric daffodil pins and shaking a can in the hope they’ll buy one for a quid or at least donate a few coins. I’ll be wearing a bright yellow t-shirt and tabard plus a yellow top hat and I know I’ll feel totally self-conscious. It’s a good cause though. Marie Curie, in case you don’t know, is a charity that provides care and support for terminally ill cancer patients. So should you see a yellow clad person selling daffodil pins somewhere in your locality then I hope you’ll buy one.


Wednesday 28th March 2012


The weather is glorious here at the moment. We’ve had days of summer like sunshine and heat. I’ve been working in the gardens in just my shorts. My shoulders actually suffered a bit of sunburn - in MARCH! Amazing. What makes it more amazing is that I’m busy collating my 2008 diary and in March of that year we had some freezing temperatures bringing snow blizzards. Weather eh? Funny stuff.  It’s also funny how you forget things. I thought 2010 was a difficult year for me, but going back over the diary I realise that in its way 2008 was also a hard year, posing some difficult challenges to come to terms with, for me personally. I’m not saying it was imbued with tragedy on a shattering scale, because it wasn’t. There were just some things I found hard to deal with on a personal level. In particular there was tumult between my men folk and me around Easter, which had repercussions throughout the year.

I’m not sure when I’ll complete it as a book, never if this warm weather keeps up. It’s nicer to be outside than hunched over a computer when the sun is shining. I had an arty-farty moment and did the cover for it (in a moment of optimism that I might actually get it written) I designed it myself, drew the picture by hand and coloured it in and everything. (Lie detector says NO) Okay, I admit it, I didn’t hand draw it I photo drew it. It’s on the newly fiddled with book page. I do enjoy having a fiddle from time to time, we all do. Fiddling is part of the human experience. I know you’ve all fiddled in one way or another. Fiddle while you can, say I, before this rotten government puts a tax on it and only the richest in society are allowed to fiddle...oh of course, they already are. (The houseboy gets political)

I made almost eighty quid for the Marie Curie charity during my stint in Sainsbury’s. Not bad for a two hour shift. I quite enjoyed it in the end. 

The men folk are as one again, joined at the…well we won’t go into where they’re joined at, but they’re sweet again.

I must shift my arse. Shane will be home for lunch today. He’s got a meeting with Frederick, his solicitor. I’ll be providing the lunch and given the weather I’m going for a youth theme: salad days. I’m slinging a chicken salad together followed by a fruit salad. They’ll get their five a day in one sitting. Health kudos to the houseboy!


April 2012


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