My Home…

May 4, 2011 at 11:18 pm 2 comments

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

I wanted to post about my home, Northern Ireland; also known as Norn Iron. Just say that quickly and you have the beginnings of the accent. Alternatively, Jennifer Sanders is the key, when she does Norn Iron it is done right…

Back to the topic. Many things have been written about my home country and we all know there are reasons for this. We have taken the headlines for the worst of reasons over the years. I grew up through these headlines and confess many of my generation developed a strange ‘skin’ that eventually covered many of the shocked emotions that should arise from sudden and random violence. When the water-cooler conversation in an office starts with ‘The Europa was bombed again last night’ and follows with ‘Ah, they’ll be open again in a week’, you can tell that people have developed a certain sad immunity. Don’t get me wrong, when people were hurt and killed we were still shocked and saddened but life still had to go on with some normality. We went to work and lived our lives, what choice was there?

Then, in the late 90s we saw a change. There were ‘dialogues’, the word and actions were given gravitas and allowed small kernels of hope to build in my country. This culminated in the Good Friday Agreement of May 1998 where we began the process of bringing peace. Some thought this the end of the peace discussions, for myself I consider it the start, especially when we still had horrific events like the Omagh bombing that brought turmoil back. This was a blow to our hope, not the only one, we also saw riots on the infamous Garvaghy Road and the deaths of 3 young children when their house was petrol-bombed; all this added to the tension of these times. I have picked events here to reflect the actions of ‘both sides’ as I want everyone to understand that no-one was blameless at this time; I for one never forget that atrocities were committed byall  the violent factions.

However, these events were also pivotal in that the levels of disgust amongst the general population prompted the strongest desire for peace to build up; this momentum has allowed us to develop a more normal society where the disagreements are generally resolved via political discussion. We are not yet fully there, the last couple of years have seen awful events from those who believe that violence is the only way to fulfill their aims. What upsets me most about this is that my children have been sheltered from the news that I grew up with and their horror is all the more shocking to me. My happiness with our new and peaceful society was heightened by the fact that my children would have a different experience to mine, I still hope for that and will continue to support all those who will stop those who think violence is an answer. Violence is not the answer, I know this. Please bear in mind that my blog is my opinion and viewpoint on our history and current situation but I believe that my opinion reflects the hopes and desires of most of my countrymen.

So, why should we love Northern Ireland, why do I love Northern Ireland? I did one of my occasional twitter-polls to get some feedback from both locals and those who have visited this lovely place. I have included a few selections below:-

  • From the lovely piglet who has relatives here – Beautiful windswept beaches and fresh, bracing sea air.
  • From Jane, a visitor on the #Twelfast tweetup! Because the people are so wonderful and full of spirit and Belfast is a wonderful city to visit!
  • From Jacques – I love the accent on a lady, a lilting song. (This was a quote that was always going to be included!).
  • From Mel – People in Norn Iron are lovely and the scenery is pretty. Plus I experienced snow on a blue-sky day! My hosts said it was Irish snow.
  • From Andrew – I have never been but the people are pretty amazing if the ones I know are anything to go by. Andrew has great taste, needless to say….
  • From Iain – When we all arrived for #Twelfast, everyone from the taxi driver to folk in the bars was friendly and great fun. Loved it.
  • From the Fat Councillor – Belfast, food, the people. Epic place.
  • From Neill –Belfast #tweetup was the best weekend jolly ..EVER. everyone we met was a gem
  • From Elizabeth – Norn Iron folks are the most welcoming friendly people you will ever meet

So, my twitter-poll shows the loveliness. As for me, there are so many reasons I love this place and I will give you a few of my own:-

  • Bread! I am a carb girl and our choice of bread is rather spectacular. There aren’t many places where you get to choose between a Pan loaf, a Plain loaf, Veda, Wheaten Bread, Soda Bread, Potato Bread. Honest, these are all options in any corner shop.
  • Covered above but worth a mention are potatoes. They provide me with two things of loveliness, Tayto crisps, not only are the Cheese ‘n’ Onion scrummy but the rest of their flavours ain’t half bad. The other thing is champ. Champ is a local dish made with mashed potato into which you add milk, butter and scallions. Scallions are what many of you call spring onions but they are scallions to us. Try it, warm the milk, butter and scallions slowly and then add to smooth mash, you will find out what I mean
  • The people. There are so many things I could say about the people but I will keep it short. They are kind, warm, funny, bonkers and love to have a good time. Part of their good time is making sure others have a good time too. I know most of you will say this is true of your home too, I am sure this is the case but I like to state it for us.
  • The words. We have a wild and wonderful vocabulary that is descriptive and quite mad. A normal greeting will be ‘Bout ye’, the shortform of ‘What About Ye’, meaning ‘How are you?’. Then there are the hallions. Hallions is not a term of endearment, a hallion is someone who has irked you. However, I have one personal favourite that my poor father used a lot as his many children were growing up. When Dad said, ‘You are as lazy as shugh water’ you knew you were in trouble, you hadn’t done your chores. Then my mother would ask why we were standing there with our two arms the one length, you knew more chores were on their way.
  • The beauty. Northern Ireland is full of breath-taking scenery everywhere you go. All that rain we get does mean it stays green and lush but there is wild beauty in the coastal regions and mountains. If you want a look please check out the ‘Discover Northern Ireland’ website, just google and you will see.
  • A certain mad genius. Northern Ireland has produced it’s fair share of famous people but some have had a sad something which means that their genius becomes overshadowed by their weaknesses. The two best examples are George Best and Alex Hurricane Higgins, both amazing talents where the talent was lost to alcohol.
  • It is my home. We may be a slightly peculiar people living in our little bubble of Norn Iron but we are proud and happy to live here. The fact that so many of us stay or leave and return shows the hold it has over our hearts……

So, there we are, a little slice of Norn Iron, I hope you like it and remember, try the crisps!

I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity. Donate a present to a family or child that will not have the holiday season that you might expect and plan for.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.



Entry filed under: Childhood, Children, Donating, George Best, Life, Northern Ireland, Twitter, wheniwas8, words. Tags: , , , , , , .

A Little Slice of Life, travel….. It’s Back – The Agggggg-pprentice!

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. @LadyMaryan  |  May 5, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Dear Lesley,

    I’ve been to your country only once and merely for a few hours and that wasn’t enough to develop an opinion about anything, except maybe the beautiful landscape.

    My daughter and I are planning a trip to Belfast in 2012 or 2013 – and then we’ll speak again. 🙂

    I wish all the people in your country peace so that the children can grow up without getting used to awful news.

    Maryan xx

    • 2. when i was 8 i wanted to be....  |  May 5, 2011 at 10:44 pm

      Oh lovely LadyMaryan,

      Thank you for your comment and my wish is much like yours. We can’t appreciate the loveliness while any horror continues. I hope when you get to my place we will get the chance to chat:)

      Lesley xx


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