Dia is Mhuire díobh go léir a chairde, and welcome to my report.
Say what you like, I pity the publicans. The Bar business is their livelihood and no community is complete without them. A well run bar can be a wonderful thing, a place where to meet a friend or have a party, or run a fundraiser, the list goes on. But their future has been dragged along, in an atmosphere of uncertainty for months. When they were told they could open on Monday July 20 they left no stone unturned to pave the way for their grand opening with public health a priority. With only days to go they stocked up with all the drinks etc. and then the ax fell again. It’s nobody’s fault. The powers that be had no option but to call a halt because of the many new outbreaks of Covid19 in the country. We look to them to protect us and if they didn’t there would be uproar all over the place. It’s just that the publicans are in that sort of business that isn’t easy to lay down rules which will be right for everybody.
The pubs are part of what we are and I hope it won’t be long before we will see them back in business again.
Staycation, another one of those new words that came into our vocabulary this year. It is almost the order of the day as people are asked not to go abroad. Thankfully the weather is reasonably good, nothing like the sunspots of Europe but good just the same and when people shop around they can find good value for their money and enjoy their own country like never before. They are spared the trauma of booking flights, enduring long delays at airports and staying safe against all the odds. Clara mountain was like an ant-hill at the weekend climbers in various colours could be seen snaking their way to the top and coming down again. Taking Holidays is relatively new. For country people anyway. It was always deemed that the environment in which they lived all year round was sufficient for them ,whereas the town dwellers were cooped up in the city, and needed a break at least once a year. Very often it involved coming to their rural homestead to stay with their parents or perhaps a kindly brother or sister. For those with children it was a trip to wonderland. Country places that time were hives with activity. Cows and calves, hens with chicks, sheep with lambs, sows with bonhams and the country youngsters loved showing off all these wonders to their city cousins. To be left hold a fluffy baby chick was sheer magic, searching for birds nests, rides on the donkey, going to the well for water and grazing on wild berries and nuts along the way, gave those little ones hours of fun and treasured memories to last them all their lives. Such places had their own dangers and pitfalls. The lordly gander was a lad to be avoided, he could give an unsuspecting youngster a nasty peck of his hard beak and the turkey cock was no better, when he left down his fan like wings and strutted in your direction then it was time to beat a hasty retreat. I remember one little fellow who came running in after seeing the churn of milk and he shouted that he had found a cow’s nest. Apart from the usual cuts and bruises, there were very few accidents. Youngsters born into country life were very knowing. They were very aware of the signs of the dangers around them. Every yard was full of live birds and animals, all roaming free and the skies were full predators ready to grab a fresh meal. From experience, there was a deep understanding between the people and things of the wild. The hawk, the magpie and the grey crow were the real enemies and often made off with a hard won little baby chick or a young turkey or duckling . The signs were there if you were lucky enough to be there at the time. The mother hen was on the lookout all the time and on spotting an oncoming predator she gave a warning cry which was different from all her other sounds and sent her little brood scurrying for shelter or in under her body where they remained in dead silence until they got the word from her that all was clear again. She had a different calls and if a surprise helping of food was thrown their way she used a different tone and they gathered round her for their share. The clever fox was never far away, he remained well hidden in the bushes until all was clear and then sneaked in to make his kill. Sometimes city children spent the entire Summer Holidays with the country cousins, after parents had returned to their jobs after their two weeks break. The Summer weeks rolled on and with them the changes that the passage of time demanded. Days in the bog, thinning turnips and mangolds, saving the hay. Cutting the corn which was the last one before the end of the summer Holidays. Children all tanned and brown from the weeks in the great out-of-doors never wanted it to end and when their parents came to take them home it was always a tearful occasion. They were great times in Ireland, there was plenty of everything. People were self sufficient and were always willing to share. The car that came to collect the children was loaded up with potatoes, cabbage and turnips . Eggs and milk ,home grown chickens, and a bag of turf if there was room. But it wasn’t all one way. In turn when the country dweller needed a favour from the person living in the city, the welcome was there for them. It could be the need for a place to stay while someone was in hospital or a bed for someone leaving on an early flight next morning. Again the list went on, and it was great. Still is.
It was the older people in the countryside who went on holidays. When the family were old enough to take care of the work at home, come the month of September ,they’d pack up to go to the ‘salt water’ for a week, travelling by bus or train the get there. They seemed to go to the same place every time and meet the same people year after year. They swore by the benefits of salt water and came home happy and refreshed every time full of stories about their annual holiday by the sea.
It is with great regret that we have to bid farewell to our morning Masses on Cork Music Station. Since the month of March we have tuned in four mornings a week as the wonderful Sean Radley relayed the Holy Mass from our own parish Church into our homes. We couldn’t see Canon John but the familiar sound of his voice was enough to make us feel that we were part of it all. To be able to bring us the great service required great skill, it was time consuming and must have been very stressful but still Sean persevered because he was aware of how we looked forward to our daily Mass from our own Chapel in Millstreet. How can we thanks you Sean for what you have done for us all those months since March. Please accept our sincere thanks and may the Good Lord reward you for your great work.
Don’t forget to tune in to CMS tonight from 9.30 to 11 for Sean’s weekly program of music and chat and dedications and lots more.
The children and their parents are still finding it difficult to pass the long weeks and months which have added so much turmoil to their young lives. But at least now the dates have been fixed for First Holy Communion . It will be held for Cloghoula and Cullen on Saturday September 12th and in Millstreet on Sept 19th. le cúnamh Dé
There was a nice gathering of siblings and friends at the 11.30 Mass on Sunday which was said in memory of the late Anne Keane. Any kind of customary get-together did not take place for obvious reasons and people just greeted one another through masks and elbow touching. Strange times.
The year is moving on and things of the garden are reminding us of it. Baby birds have got their wings and are celebrating by gleefully flying in batches around the place. And it a joy to watch them and their picking in the garden is surely keeping the green fly etc at bay. The cheeky robin seems to be very tame these times. I get lots of stories from friends saying how the little red breast comes picking almost at their feet or perch on the wheelbarrow while they work. The one here never fails to call for a few crumbs during the day. A tame pigeon makes the odd visit in the past week or so. Always keep an eye out for things in the garden, be it a beautiful bird or an ant or whatever, it’s all part of nature, and nature is beautiful.
By the way I read in yesterday’s paper that a swarm of ants is heading this way but don’t be alarmed, they pose no threat. It’s an annual event for them, it’s their mating season which they do it while aloft. So if ‘love is in the air’ was ever for real it will be when they arrive. My newly seeded lawn which was planted on May 19th got its first cutting last week and it is greening up nicely and now that the weeds etc are cutaway it looks beautiful especially as it sparkles in the early morning dew. The first of the peas which are growing in a bucket are ready to eat while others which I planted later are coming on fine in the grow bag. I still don’t know the name of that wonderful flower which grows at least three different colours on the one plant but it is wonderful. Planted in an urn or large pot it spreads out over the edges in a blaze of various colours for the whole season. I make sure to get a couple every year.
Sin a bhfuil, a chairde, please continue to take care and now that we have to wear a mask let us obey all the rules so that together we can beat this pandemic. Slán.