Christmas

I love Christmas. But do we have to start the preparations in September? Every time I step inside Penneys- and that's a fairly regular event - I get annoyed by the sight of the santas being sold.

Now its not like there's a huge display but there shouldn't be any - not even a sale of last year's tainted goods.

How are we meant to experience any magic in December if we're being subjected to the sight of Santa so early? We'll be shopped out and jaded of the whole event by November.

There used to be an unwritten law - or at least it seemed that way -that no Christmas stuff would go up until after Halloween. Where and why did that go? I say bring it back- now!

Niamh

I Don't Like Tuesdays

I think I would work Sundays if I could have Tuesday off.

In case you haven't already guessed- I'm not a Tuesday lover. Occasionally you'll get Mondays that aren't that bad or even Fridays that are shite. But Tuesday is unfailingly depressing. Its Monday part two- and as is the case with all sequels its worse than the first time round.The only time its a happy Tuesday is when I'm on holidays.

Realistically you'd probably get more work done in three hours on a Sunday because the office would be quiet and there's no one else working you can email or call. Also the coffee shops are closed so there's no chance of skipping out for a sneaky cappuccino.

Then on a Tuesday you can beat the blues by snuggling up in bed while the rest of the world fights for a place on the bus, get up in time for Phil and Fern and go dress shopping without having to fight through the crowds and queue forever for a changing room.

It'd give you a buzz for Wednesday too, thus increasing work output ... well in theory.

I reckon employers should give us the option anyway - so long as the work is done who cares when it gets done?

Niamh

Your Digger

Hey Ray and gang.

I hear you have a digger sitting idly in your office.

Any chance you could send it my way? You won't need an address, just follow the smell of crap in Dublin and it'll bring you to my pit - I'm in deep shit and could do with a hand to get out.

So you know the way it goes. Five o clock rolls round on a Friday and the office stampedes towards the door for a pint to start the weekend off.

Some, with sense, will go home after three drinks, pleasantly tipsy. Some, with no sense who are trying to avoid packing up their apartment, will stay out drinking until they start swaying while sitting and tell their boss that they can be a right bitch at times.

Thats right. In a moment of candour and extreme stupidity I told my boss- who you'll understand dictates my every move every day - that if she'd just lighten up once in a little while people might like her. That I personally didn't think she was a complete cow, but I could see why some people would think that. And - the cherry on the cake - that making the effort with your appearance and putting on the odd bit of lippie can really lift your spirits and no one would think her less managerial if she did.

So please. If you could. Send your digger round to me and pull me out of the black hole I find myself in.

Many thanks.

A desperate Niamh.

Moving

Am I the only person in the world who hates packing?

I hate it. Not a strong dislike. Not an aversion to it. I absolutely fucking hate it.

Its just so much hassle. You have to get all things out of the places you've managed to wedge them into. You have to decide what you're keeping. Make a pile for the things going with you and another for the charity shop. You have to pack it all up. Then you've got to get the stuff from your old place to your new place where you unpack it all over again and wedge into new spaces, you have a fit because you think you've given all your good stuff to the local oxfam, then have another fit when you realise the tat you've unpacked is the good stuff and its all you have to show for 28 years on this earth. I'm exhausted - and angry - just thinking about it.

Last night I went to sleep on a bed that was piled high with clothes I'd managed to get out of my wardrobe but not into the suitcases and cardboard boxes I had ready for them. It was just too much like hard work. As it turned out they made the bed fairly comfy - apart from the jeans that ended up on my pillow and left a button mark on my face. Its gone down a bit now but until around nine this morning I had a diesel indentation on my right cheek.

So the big move has begun. Noelle and I have to be out of our apartment by the end of the month - which is Sunday - and I really don't know how such a small place can contain so much crap. Its not even like we've a huge amount of storage space. Apart from some wardrobes in our bedrooms, a few shelves and some kitchen presses, there doesn't seem to be anywhere else to put things. But there must be. Because every time I open the front door more rubbish has appeared in our living room and the presses still aren't empty. I'm thinking of leaving it all behind to let the landlord deal with. I swear I've never seen half the stuff before. Anyone in the market for an M people cd, a pair of roller blades or a pair of sparkley trousers popular circa 2001?

And here's the other thing. Why do landlords get so fecking shitty about their precious apartments when you're leaving. When you're living in them they couldn't care less if the shower isn't working, the toilet is blocked or the washing machine has flooded. They'll take their sweet time about sending out someone to sort it - normally after you've made ten nice calls before threatening to stop the direct debit for the rent. (I may be generalising a tad here - I've only rented the one place and lived at home - my mum's a right bitch.) But you know what I mean.

All of a sudden because the place is being vacated the landlord suddenly starts issueing a load of essential jobs that have to be carried out if you want your deposit back. Its imperative the presses are cleaned inside and out, not to mention getting the stain out of the carpet - that was there when you moved in! Yeah. I should have taken a picture of the stain three years ago because it looks like its going to cost us a hundred euro or so. It seems to me he just doesn't want to pay for cleaners to do the place up for the next tenants he'll be overcharging.

Anyway I'm just venting because I drank a bottle of wine as a distraction method before falling asleep on the clothes which I still have to pack- not to mention the fact I lost the toss and have to clean the oven. First time for everything!

I'm really getting to enjoy our Friday sessions lads - and Adelle - I feel like we're bonding. It also gets me through the slump between coffee break and lunch.

Niamh

My Decision

Well its funny you should ask but I have made a decision.

Three things happened to me since Friday that forced my hand.

One. I went and saw five outrageously priced shoeboxes which- despite my strong belief otherwise- were within the requirements of advertising standards and could be described as studio apartments. Shoebox number five had an ironing board that was cleverly mounted in the wall. The landlord was especially proud of this feature and demonstrated its convienance - and easy use - by pulling it down three times. Despite its fabulous selling point I had to say I'd hang onto my 850 euro a month and look elsewhere for somewhere to live.

Two. I saw my fifty year old single aunt impersonate Tina Turner - alacpehello style - after ten too many vodkas at a family 21st. She later cornered me to re tell how she'd lived a life of regret since turning down an engagement at the age of 25. Mind you she also asked me to go on tour with her and then got sick.

And three. John promised me he would clean the bathroom without being asked and make me pancakes once a month if I moved in.

So I said yes. And if I'm a bad person for wanting to spend less money on staying in a spacious - clean - two bed apartment, even if I'm not too sure of the relationship's future, then fine. I think I'd go do lally in a studio by myself. And I like pancakes - a lot.

Auntie Tina didn't upset me with her mills and boon saga - to be honest the ages and the man and the engagement ring tend to change dependent on the quantity of alcohol taken- but watching her I thought it might be good to at least give John a chance.

Anyway as loads of people said on Friday who knows? I may as well give it a shot, it could be fun. I really do like John so maybe its inevitable and we're just speeding it along a little.

So there you have it. I'm going to be moving in. I'm going to be co habiting with my partner.Growing up. Its deeply disturbing but now the decision is made I'm getting kind of excited. I even loitered around Dunnes homeware on Sunday. It'll be like a social experiment.

Niamh

Hi Guys

Hi guys,

How are things?

I'm a bit embarrassed to be writing this email - I've never even texted in for a competition - but I really need to get some decent unbiased opinions.

My name is Niamh. I'm 28 and I've got a bit of a problem.

Basically it boils down to this. I lived at home until a few years ago - I'm from Limerick - I went to college locally and never did any Summers away and although my life wasn't boring, it certainly wasn't varied.

When I hit 25 my best friend was moving up to Dublin so I decided to make a break and move as well. And its been great. In a way its like been back in college except I don't have my mum checking my timetable and waiting up to make sure I get in safely at night.

The thing is, the closer I get to 30, the more my friends are settling down. Engagement rings are flashing, some wedding invites have been sent and Noelle - the girl I've been sharing a flat with for the last three years - is moving in with her boyfriend. They've been together two years and I'm delighted for them- honestly - before you start to think it, let me tell you this isn't a letter from a desperate single. I too have a boyfriend.

Its the boyfriend thats the problem. I've been seeing John about eight months now and I really like him. I do. He's funny, he's got a good job, he's got his own place, he ticks all the right boxes on the boyfriend checklist. I don't even have to look for commitment from him. He's offering it up on a plate!

John thinks I should move in with him instead of looking for a new place by myself when our lease is up next month.My friends think its a great idea - they love him!-, the single girls in my office say I should snap him up and there aren't that many men for the taking, let alone good looking ones that you actually like. My mother is even happy to bypass the living in sin dilemma to see her daughter settling down at last.

I'm not so sure. Its not that I don't like him, because I do. But I don't know if its forever. How can anyone know that after eight months? As well as that I like my life. I like being free to go off drinking after work and not worry about someone waiting at home. John and I have a really good time together too but how long will that last. No matter how good the sex, eventually we're going to start fighting over stuff like who didn't replace the toilet roll. Where's the romance in that?

The other thing is - if I do move in- how do I know it won't be a waste of time. If I'm living with him we could just get in a rut and accept it because thats what psuedo married and married couples seem to do?

Am I crazy to even consider his proposal or crazy not to?

I don't know if I'm just in a state of arrested development, stuck in my early twenties, or if I'm thinking like a logical 28 year old. The consesus among my friends seems to be the former.

Would you read this out and see if anyone else out there is in - or has been in - the same position. I'd love to know what they did, or even what they think.

Thanks,

Niamh

*** I have changed the text in bold to protect "Niamh's" identity - Ray ***

Introduction

I'm setting up this blog for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I don't want to have to explain who Niamh is all the time. Every time we read a new email from her, we need to give you the back story on who she is. In future, you can just read it here.

Second, I want to get her to start a blog. I'll give her a username and password for this one, and hopefully she'll update it as she wants, and we'll read the stuff we like on the radio.

So, who is she?

It all started with an email from this girl, asking for advice about her relationship. Should she move in with him, even though they were only going out a very short time? The listeners said she should go for it. She took that advice and is living with him now.

We changed her name and her boyfriend's, along with other information that might give away her identity. So, she became "Niamh" and her boyfriend is "John". So you know, if you see anything written in bold print, it means I've edited it to protect her identity.

What struck me about her emails was her turn of phrase and sense of humour, and didn't want to say goodbye to our Niamh too soon, so I asked her on the air to keep in touch with us. She's been doing that, and her emails to date are collected on this website - I'll be cutting and pasting the old ones now, and hopefully she can start writing direct to here in future.

Provided she keeps writing, we'll keep reading, and we've put aside a slot on the show on Tuesday afternoons for her.

So Niamh, if you're reading this, please keep writing - if not, Tuesdays shows will be pretty dull.

Ray