Lock, stock and barrel

We’ve all heard of someone who vanished into thin air without a trace left behind.  They just up and left,  and took all with them, lock stock and barrel – the whole shebang.    They left nothing behind.

Just like those nomads in Mangolia, who, every autumn leave the mountainous regions for sunnier pastures below before winter sets in.  They take everything with them, not an iota stays behind, not even their houses, and least of all, their animals.  Lock and stock and barrel in hand, they head off on this massive journey where they will find longer grass for their animals and warmer temperatures in the sheltered valley below.

I can’t help it but this expression leaves me thinking that we are in the wild west of America, back in the 19th century, heading out west to better prospects, in search of gold perhaps.  We carry with us our entire possessions and they come with us everywhere.  One day we’re in Illinois, the next day Kansas,  and the following day we fold up camp and move on to Colorado bringing lock, stock and barrel with us.

And the barrel?  Does that refer to a gun?  Well, yes, it does, and so do the lock and the stock. These are all parts of, and together make up, the entire gun.  That is where this expression is believed to have come from.

America, the land of the free and the brave.  The country where everyone is entitled to go around with their lock, stock and barrel in hand, defending what is rightfully theirs.  Now I digress and take to ranting so I’ll take my leave and go on my merry way with my own lock, stock and barrel (which is not a gun)  and I’ll bid you adieu.





Tit For Tat

With the term “tit for tat” in mind one thinks of serious things like personal  vendettas, where one goes out on a mission and kills all before him just to satisfy his need for revenge,  or family feuds, where every single member of the families in question are either killed or maimed or living in fear of their lives, or gangland crime, where it’s not safe to go out in the street lest you be hit in the crossfire.  Or, on a smaller scale, two teenage girls offending each other in public “She bad mouthed me so I’ll bad mouth her back. I’ll tell everyone what she told me in secret, the bitch.  That’ll learn her”.  Or, yet another image – too little tiny weeny tots, one pulling the other’s hair and the other pulling hers even harder, neither of them letting go so as to prove that “you pull my hair, I’ll pull yours”

None of this “turning the other cheek”.  No…. it’s “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”  “you did me wrong so I’ll do you a similar disfavour”.   He  has hurt you bad and you’re not letting him away with it.  You’ll lash out with all you’ve got and hurt him right back.

“Tit for tat”, “tip for tap”, “this for that” and, in dutch, “dit voor dat”.  Whatever its origins are, we all get its meaning!


Red Rag to a Bull

We’ve all heard the term before; Red rag to a bull, and we know its meaning (or do we?).  Today, for some reason, it popped into my mind and I have a strong urge to write something in connection with it.

When you think about this term, your mind conjures up the image of that of a mad lunatic (let’s say it’s you) approaching a bull and shaking frantically a red piece of clothing.  It might be the t-shirt you had on or a bag you’re carrying or a red blanket (or rag).  The thing is, you’re feeling a bit unstable today, slightly unhinged, you got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning, you want to have “words” with someone,  you’re looking for trouble, you want to ruin someone’s day today because you own isn’t going too nicely, you might have tried to pick a fight with someone you know earlier on, like your boyfriend or your sister and that didn’t work out, as they didn’t take the bait.  So there’s only one thing for it and that is to find a bull and try and get some sparks flying from him, rile him up a bit, ruffle his feathers, make him bloody angry, make that blood boil.  And then go for the jugular?

But what you don’t realise is that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.  You haven’t factored in that this bull is a formidable creature.  Like you, he’s raring to go, beligerent and feisty.  Unlike you, he’s genuinely strong and mean and can do a whole lot of damage.  Who are you kidding?  Who’s going to come out unscathed the other side, you or him?

You should have stuck to that fight you were picking with your boyfriend or sister or whoever it was and kept niggling at them, tormenting them with your verbal attacks, getting under their skin, taunting them with your insults and insinuations.  Or you should have gotten back into bed and either stayed there or gotten out the right side

That bull is coming at you at a fierce rate and it sees RED.  His target is you, you who is frenziedly waving your arms and body, and he’s coming for you so you’d better get out of the way or else!!!

Now the question of whether a bull goes berserk when he sees red arises.  And upon researching this (a few minutes ago) I found out that bulls are, in fact, colour blind.  So it makes no odds to him whether that rag is red or blue.  He’s a bull and you’re in a china shop!!

glimmer of hope for humanity

I really did see a glimmer of hope recently while down in East County Clare. Along the side of the road, (not a main road, mind you, but a road nonetheless), there was a little sheebeen and inside there were vegtables in small bags with prices on them and along side these vegtables was a box called an honesty box. The idea was to chose what vegtables you wanted and leave the money in the honesty Box; No shopkeeper, no one looking over your shoulder to make sure you didn’t do a runner, no policing of the situation at all. Pure anarchy at its finest and best. By the way all these vegtables were homegrown and organic and cheap.

What struck me was how much goodwill these people were spreading by being brave enough to run this “shop” in such manner, entrusting the general public with paying for what they took, trusting them to do the right thing. It And from all accounts it works. Fair dues to those people and long may it last is what I say

in the here and now

I notice myself slipping off all the time into my own little world.  I can be having a chat with someone and suddenly I’ m thinking of something not at all related, gone like the wind into another realm.   For example, I might be chatting to my friend about her father and suddenly my thoughts race off and arrive at some flashback of what happened the other day.  At moments like this, I get a little embarassed because I will come back to the friend, who is still chatting about her father, and have to pretend that I didn’t miss out on half of what she already said and will have to read between the rather scant lines that I did hear and guess the rest.  And she will have noticed the slight vacant look on my face, the shame in my eyes, the uneasiness about me as I struggle to keep up with her story.  Now isn’t that shocking.


I remember once or twice when I was running in the woods and suddenly I fell, simply tripped and toppled over, and found myself sprawled on the muddy ground.  And I asked myself how the hell that happened and  the answer was simply that I got too  into my own little world and was very absent from the task at hand, running.   Whenever I fall or trip,  it usually implies that I have  become unconscious of the here and now.


And the moral of the story is  to always stay in the here and now and not to wander off in your head.  Easier said than done!!!  I’m off now to have a little daydream about candied borage flower and purple butterflies with pink spots and yellow and orange grass and balmy breezes and………….. there I go again!!

Down this country lane

“How are you, young yarrow?”

“Fine, thank you, Mr Sparrow.

And how are you today.

With that look of dismay?”

“I’m in need of a shower,

My beautiful Flower.

Waiting for the rain

Down this country lane”


“What I need is sunshine

for my complexion so divine.

To get wet does no good.

If it rains I’ll need a hood.

“Oh, just one little shower

My beautiful Flower.

My feathers need a wetting

in a puddle.  Don’t be fretting!”


“Well, hold off for a day

Or there’ll be hell to pay.

If the farmers cant get

the sunshine for their hay.

It’ll be raining soon enough

So don’t go off in a huff.

Wait for a while.

Give me a smile!

Down this country lane

You will have your rain”






a tap on the shoulder, a whisper in the ear

Did you ever feel that somebody or something was trying to whisper in your ear and was sort of tapping on your shoulders, standing immediate behind you?  Perhaps an angel, or a spirit?  And this thing that they are whispering is quite inaudible and leaves you guessing what was said?  And then  you try to put meaning on all this and start to work  out the intended message?  Then you come up with a whole new way of thinking like as if the message was telling you to shift your attitude ever so slightly, to make some little adjustment to your thought process, to see things in a different light, to understand the possitive side of the situation and not to dwell on the negative and then everything will be alright.  Well this is what’s happening to me recently.  There is a message coming through and I believe it is not an angel nor a spirit but rather my own consciousness helping me to become aware of some shift that needs to happen.  The good thing here is that this little shift won’t be too upsetting.  It’s only a minor adjustment.


So, little man, or  guardian angel, or ghost, or whoever or whatever you are, don’t you worry!!!  Point taken.  I have made the necessary steps.  You can now tap on someone else’s shoulder and whisper in their ear.  I’d say there are quite a few candidates out there that need adjusting and could do with an awareness boosting!!!