Dia is Mhuire díobh go léir a chairde, and welcome to my report.
The big news this week has to be that I was at Mass on Monday morning June 29. Following a lapse of about three and a half months, it did seem strange. Our beautiful St. Patrick’s Church has the capacity to hold several hundred people in comfort, but this time there were just 50 souls in attendance. Sanitised going in and coming out. A great deal of hard work went into arranging the seats in order to comply with the rules of social distancing and it was carried out to the letter. We were met outside the chapel door by a team of ushers, all looking very officious with their masks and perspex face covers. Their friendly and helpful attention made it easy for us to do the right thing. Having booked in advance our places were marked out for us and each one was escorted to their own particular place. Only the centre isles of the church were used and only two people per seat one at each end . It was indeed a strange sight to see. At ten on the dot, Canon John came on the alter and started Mass, it was the Feast Day of St. Peter and St. Paul. We all know that he has been saying Mass there all along and some people in the catchment area were lucky enough to be able to see him. Others like myself were glad to listen in on Cork Music Station, thanks to Sean Radley. At first it was a rather an alien experience, but as the weeks and months passed I got to love the clear words that were spoken and in my own little cocoon I made the daily Mass, all my own. With the result that when I went to Mass in the Church I found it very different. For months now I have been totally free to do the things I do. I didn’t have to be anywhere, attend anything, meet no one if I didn’t want to. Sit down, get up, job in the garden, cook a meal, etc. all in my own time, wander at will. At Mass this morning ,the first discipline that I encountered was to stand up at Mass or sit down at the right times join with the others in prayers. It wasn’t that I minded it but I was aware of it. Even at home before going I was fretful. What if the time slips me and I’ll be late, or if the car won’t start and I having a precious place booked. My seat would be empty and I after taking a seat that somebody else would be glad to have. But I needn’t have worried, it all went fine. TG.
At Holy Communion time it was so different to see the Priest coming to the people instead of the other way around. There was no bowl of water or towel for the Priest. Instead Canon John used wipes, before donning his mask and face cover to make his way down and criss crossed the chapel to reach each person where they were. He took the Holy Host and carefully dropped it into the palm of the recipient. On returning to the alter he removed his protective gear and proceeded to finish our lovely first Mass and Holy Communion in Months. For the moment those wishing to go the Mass are obliged to book in advance. By contacting Sharon at the Parish Office, 02970043. Bear in mind that the number of seats are strictly confined to 50. And that includes sacristan Julie Brady and Canon John. As we left the church Julie was already busy sanitising all the seats to have them ready for Mass next morning. Our lovely church choir will be on their Summer break from now and we must congratulate them for the way they worked so hard with the Fraser Family to perform at our Masses through the break. Thanks also to Deirdre Clancy who gave her lovely recitals on the organ. Our community Singers with Marie Twomey have been invited back to sing for the patients at Kanturk Hospital on July 6th.
It’s great to see so many places opening up and resuming business. My glory day is coming up this Thursday when my hairdresser informed me that she has a slot for me at 11 am. Must bring my own towel and protective gear. Should we keep the trimmings as a souvenir of the awful Covid19 and a lesson for the future, to be always prepared to expected the unexpected.
With more and more people working from home it is vital that they have good broadband. It would make their work so much easier as they save the country so much on pollution, parking, traffic etc. I hope the new government will see to their needs.
The changeable weather is giving our gardens a hard time at the moment. Over a week ago it was very muggy and mild and in olden days it was regarded as very blighty weather. I even found a sign of blight on one of my potato stalks which sent me running to the shop, for a fungus spray, I think they will recover, especially in this windy days which I hope will blow the fungus away. Since the time of the great famine when the dreadful blight destroyed the whole food chain of the 1840’s. People have been mindful of the onset of blight. Everybody planted enough of potatoes and vegetables for their own use in the past and people who had no land would borrow some and pay the landowner back in kind as they used to say. They would help at hay or harvest time or in the bog. The important thing was that everybody should have adequate supplies to see them from one season to the other. Potato gardens needed a lot of attention. When the stalks reached a certain height they had to be risen to. That was done with the help of the horse and plough. Carefully the caring animal would pull the plough along each furrow and pile the rich earth up around the base of each plant forming a cosy cover for the all important spuds . These jobs were mostly done in what they’d call the Heel of the evening, because plants stood taller and more erect at that time of day. Spraying for blight had to be done as least twice, maybe three times depending the weather. The liquid was made up of a mixture of Bluestone and washing soda. The soda had to be dissolved by boiling it in a big pot on the range, proportions had to be right and with a back sprayer the operator would have to proceed backwards along the furrows making sure that every bit of every plant got a supply. Going in reverse saved him from getting doused in the stuff while carrying out the tedious task. In time a ready to use spray came on the market and made life that bit easier. One thing in defense of the murky weather is that its good for growing wild mushrooms. To my surprise I found one in my lawn last week and relished it fried in the pan with a dip of salt. I’m after making my peace with the ants,(pismires). I’ve never seen them as plentiful as this year and they can give a very nasty sting . In desperation I Googled them only to find that they do great work in cleaning up our ground. Almost like the worms, among other things they churn up the soil and breakdown many harmful things in it. I even saw proof of their handiwork on my new lawn, so I think I’ll stay out of their way and let them get on with their great work.
It’s great to see so many places getting the go ahead but they need all the help that we can give them if they are going to survive. I’m sure we will see many changes in the future. For the likes of Pubs and Hotels especially, there are challenging times ahead as they make the effort to bring their businesses into line with the Covid19 regulations while at the same time knock out a decent living for themselves and their families. We have seen many examples of what people are doing. Some excellent others still needing a little more development. In one pub I noticed the social area all cordoned off with Perspex into cubicles that would hold about four people, perhaps two couples. The glance I got reminded me of the snug that was the norm in every pub in days gone by. The snug was a great little place and it’s many the deal that was done in its confines. On Fair days the seller and the buyer would meet in a snug and money would change hands. Matches were made there. Secrets leaked after a few drops, when the mind got relaxed. Women didn’t go into pubs that time but on occasion two old dears would slip into a snug and have a warming Sandeman Port when the Christmas turkeys were sold out in the cold street and indeed it wouldn’t be beyond them to have one suggest a match between one’s daughter and the other’s fine son. The power of drink often led to a bad row when someone would have enough in to tell the other what they really thought of her or him. The cosy snug saw it all, but like everything else, time caught up with it and it was swallowed up by the modern lounge bar. I wonder is it on the way back.
Please continue to obey the strict rules of Covid19. The last thing we want is another outbreak. Shop at home. Good luck to all who are opening up. Here comes July . Please God it will be a good one, for everyone. Slán.