Miriam’s Musings

I swear…there was no ‘linguistic snobbery’ when I was growing up!

Now book claims profanity is good for you!

As someone who’s pretty outspoken and who finds it extremely difficult to suppress the urge to unleash a string of obscenities, (much to hubby’s mortification), I was relieved to find out, courtesy of a book entitled ‘In Praise of Profanity’ by English Professor Michael Adams, that effing and blinding is good for you. Whew! Mind you, you’d think that given the amount of invectives I unleashed at our broadband provider last week – who informed me our line was ‘down’ and it’d take ‘three working days to fix’ – that I’d be feeling absolutely amazing…I’m not. I’m feeling pretty peed off! But I digress.

Swearing has always come easily to me; you could say I’m fluent in foulness. Now don’t get me wrong, as a convent-educated girl, the nuns did try hard to instill what they called a sense of purity and innocence into me; insisting I should tone down both my personality and my voice. Apparently, according to them, ‘good Catholic girls don’t swear’. In addition, I was warned that if my ‘coarseness’ continued I’d ‘never get a husband’. Well Sisters Columbiere and Cyprian, I got two…how’s that? Eh, but not at the same time!

Perhaps being born and raised between a large housing estate in Dublin’s north inner city, then moving to a sprawling concrete jungle in north Dublin has contributed to my ‘coarseness’ because swearing in public was the done thing. I mean, let’s just say that neither my family, nor the other families on our road were your typical Ned Flanders ‘Hi-Diddly-Ho-Neighbourinos’ types, therefore, when something needed to be said or when something needed to be sorted, people were more than capable of expressing – as opposed to suppressing – their feelings. I might add that I’m enormously proud of my north Dublin roots!

On a positive note, you could say there were no signs of any linguistic snobbery evident in our housing estate because we had an entire toolbox of swear words and we weren’t afraid to utilise them when we needed to have a ding-dong-diddly-chitty-chat with anyone who antagonised us. Indeed, not holding back shows how much we were proficient in communicating our emotions, something which is now perceived as being a highly positive and appropriate response. Don’t believe me? Perhaps you’ll believe the results of a study published by researchers at Maastricht University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Stanford, and the University of Cambridge who have found that those of us who swear a lot ‘lie less,’ and have ‘higher levels of integrity’.

Now while some may put an entirely different spin on these findings, for me, they show that those of us who swear are not unsavoury characters at all. Nay, rather we’re pretty much the flippin’ dependable, salt-of-the-earth types capable of explaining ourselves in an explicit manner without having to resort to any physical altercations whatsoever. So there you have it folks…scientific proof that swearing – so long as it’s not coupled with aggression – can help you find friends and influence people. By the way, our broadband was sorted within an hour!


My top tips for keeping your precious pooch safe

Regular readers will know that I’m an animal welfare advocate and animal lover. It’s a well-known fact that our dogs, all rescued from former abusive owners, are not just thought of as much-loved and much-valued family members; they’re treated as such, and in the case of some family members, (you know who you are…), they’re treated better. In short, our lives would not be the same without our darling fur-babies; and it goes without saying that we will do whatever it takes to keep them safe, sound and well.

It’s for this reason I’m delighted that a new campaign to address the very serious issue of dog theft happening right across the country is hopefully about to be rolled out over the coming weeks. Pinching pooches has become big business for criminal gangs, with sale prices for certain specific breeds often running to five figures. Mind you, those who buy from unscrupulous individuals and puppy farmers are also to blame, because they’re feeding this plague.

I’m someone who has campaigned for many years for stiffer sentencing for dog thieves and for the government to actually enforce the legislation put in place by the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013. Therefore, last week I was delighted when I learned that Junior Minister James Browne has decided to take notice and spearhead a cross-party initiative to stop treating the theft of an irreplaceable much-loved family member as if they were a replaceable mobile phone.

However, in the meantime, if you’re a dog parent, here are some of my own tips for keeping your pooch safe.

Never leave your dog tied up unattended outside a shop or in your car. Never allow a child under the age of sixteen to walk your dog. Remember, it’s against the law for a person less than sixteen years to be left in control of certain breeds of dogs. Indeed, when you’re walking your dog, keep him/her on a lead at all times, that way you’ve got effective control over them in the event they may bolt, which makes them prime targets for dog-nappers.

Never allow your dog to wander about alone, it only makes them more vulnerable to being stolen; and, if they are, their absence may often go unnoticed for hours. If your dog is not microchipped, have him/her done this week. It’s the law.

Oh, and if he/she’s not neutered/spayed, have a chat with your vet and discuss the possibility of having this procedure carried out. A dog that cannot produce designer puppies is less attractive and profitable to thieves. While you’re at it, make sure your garden/dog pen is properly secured.


I’m hoping for a safe and soft landing into 2021

This weekend, as the restrictions regarding travel are being eased, can I urge everyone to stay safe, and try their hardest not to go mad over the coming week.

I don’t want to sound like The Grinch, and while I will be making a single trip to Dublin to see my girls and my granddaughter next week, the scene will be literally like a smash-and-grab scenario.

I’ll drive up at the crack of dawn, deliver and collect gifts, and have a good whinge, because that’s what I do. Yep, I’ll be an emotional wreck, desperately sad that, due to cases of Covid continuing to soar – which is largely due to certain idiots refusing to respect the guidelines – I can’t be with my family for any length of time over the festivities. And neither can you!

Myself and my girls will enjoy mugs of hot chocolate and eat Christmas cake together, (which will also be in tiers…see what I did there), and, as we do every year, we’ll make our New Year’s bucket-list.

However as we excitedly plot, plan and dream, I’ll be adding a silent prayer of hope, as our nation steps off the edge of 2020, nervously gritting its teeth before abseiling down a perilous cliff-face into 2021, that every single one of us will experience a safe and soft landing.