Dear Dundalk*, why do you hate children?

I am still shaken as I write this. I still see the nose of that car stopping no more than a metre from impact. I still hear my own angry voice shouting, swearing, gesturing to the green pedestrian signal, through which one car had already breezed, before this one, too, ignored traffic rules, and almost smashed into Adam.

As we walked on into the park, trying to process the shock, I knew probably those who witnessed the incident would be far more concerned that I dared shout and gesture like I did, it was just my dog that was almost run over, after all. Nobody would listen to my argument that the driver no doubt didn’t sit in her car, see me and my dog waiting to cross, and decide sure it was okay to run us over. No, she simply ignored the red light because she was careless, because she didn’t think. Nobody would think it could just as easily have been my child. Nobody would likely know how frighteningly often this kind of thing happens, because everybody who saw this happen was a driver, very unlikely to walk and cycle as much as I do, and see first hand how dangerous Dundalk’s cavalier approach to driving is.

I knew complaining would most likely garner nothing more than a shake of a head, tsk-tsk, it’s a disgrace, so it is, and then anyone who might have listened would carry on with their lives as before. Dundalkers would continue to claim to love their children, claim to put their children first, while driving with little regard for traffic rules, making cycling and walking dangerous. Parking their fat, lazy butts in cycle lanes. Smashing bottles in those same cycle lanes. Making parents fear for their children’s safety too much to let them walk or cycle, instead dropping them at school in their cars, poisoning the air those same children will breathe all day, depriving them of the most obvious chance to exercise and reap the near endless list of benefits that exercise will bring: move from home to school under your own steam.

Ah, we love our children, until we are asked to love them enough to sacrifice our convenience so they will have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, a planet remaining when they are our age which is still fit for human life. Until we are asked to suffer some inconvenience, show some patience, so infrastructure can be provided to make cycling a more attractive option. Until we are asked to sacrifice ten more minutes to walk or cycle with them to school instead of driving them as they sit passively in the back seat, getting fat, sick, and stupid.

When you strip away the bluff, we love our children, all right. But we love our cars much more.

*If you read this and go: “Hang on a minute, how dare you, I walk everywhere/cycle everywhere/walk my child to school/drive like a saint but am too scared to walk or cycle because of what you describe here,” you are obviously not the part of Dundalk I’m referring to. And you should join me in my outrage at the status quo.


Keys, please

I needed somewhere to hang keys, two sets of them though only one on the photo as Micky was at work when I took it. So, off I went to the charity shop, where I picked this up for I think either 50c or €1. Either way, it was well cheap. At home, I dusted it, then screwed in the hooks, and voila.

One thing: this picture has a thingie in the middle, behind it, to hang from. That means if you hang one set of keys from it, it will be pulled down on that side. To prevent this, I put two small nails in the wall just above the top left and top right corners of the picture. Because this is reasonably high up on the wall, it’s invisible. If it had been lower, I’d have made sure to do a neat job, perhaps with pretty nails.

Storeroom, children’s room

I have a small room on the middle level of my three-level terrace house. I recently rearranged things so this would be a room where the kids can sit and do homework or art, anything kind of quiet that you need a table for. Then we needed to find space for all Micky’s outdoor stuff, and initially it was all dumped in there. This was a problem, though, especially when we had younger visitors. We needed the space for both, but how?

Like this, that’s how:

I hung everything that could possibly be hung up, on the wall. Everything.

The weird thing is, when it was done, the room felt really cosy and the kids seem to love being there.

Call a spade a spade, call a chair a… shelf?

I had these old chairs I was about to throw away, and in the meantime I was in desperate need of some extra shelving space in my bedroom. When I went to stare at the darn chairs one day, inspiration struck.

That’s bolted to the wall with six very strong bolts on the chair-legs side, as I didn’t intend for much weight to go on the backrest side. I intend to put one more of these up, and may use a shelf bracket on the backrest side to support it if I think I’ll need more strength there.

You can’t really see it there, but the cat jumps onto the bed, from there onto a small shelf mounted on the cabinet you can just see the top of in the bottom left corner of the photo, then she jumps onto the green shelf, and from there onto her nest. I put a piece of white rubbery stuff that’s meant to keep rugs from slipping under the pillow so she doesn’t pull it off when jumping up there. Sometimes she leans over the side and catches the scarves for fun.