Eily’s Report – 25th August

Dia is Mhuire díobh go léir a chairde, and welcome to my report.

I ate some of my very own potatoes today. The little spud that I took from the bottom of the bag in March grew up between the flowers and shrubs on the bed and produced some lovely tubers for me to enjoy. I have some more scattered around the garden amongst the flowers that I will call on whenever I need some lovely flowery spuds for my dinner. It was a beautiful day, warm, calm  and so inviting to sit out with a friend and admire the flowers and the greenness of the lawn and the fields beyond to watch the birds swirling high and low and playing bird games with one another. I don’t feed the birds in summer but I like to give them any leftover breadcrumbs and it’s great to watch them gobble them up. The weather forecast is for another  storm this time called Francis and that made me all the more determined to make the best possible use of the present. There was no use in I dwelling on the peril to come  maybe I’ll sleep through it and my worry would have been a waste of something lovely. Having taken a tip from TV gardening expert Diarmuid Gavin I planted a couple of potatoes in a bed of compost in a bucket and if all he says is true I’ll have a new tubers for Christmas. Even if I don’t  the anticipation will keep me going over the weeks ahead. I finished the last of my peas today and took down the wire and stakes that kept tall and unbending against wind and rain while I relished their product  when passing their way. None of them reached the pot they are so sweet and wholesome when eaten  fresh off the mother  plant.  Most fruits  have done whatever  they were going to do  by now. The yields were good, but the weather not so kind, but still those who caught the ball on the hop and picked lots of blackberries, raspberries,  strawberries and gooseberries  I’m not a jam maker myself and there’s no nicer gift  than a jar of succulent new seasons jam. The strong winds over the past week put many a plant to the test, especially tall plants. I found it a wonderful season for roses. The blossoms just kept coming on after deadheading.  Sunflowers which can reach over six feet succumbed miserably to the force of the elements. But the smaller more compact little varieties lived to fight another day and are there in full colour to prove it. Buíochas le Dia.   It’s better to light a candle than curse the dark, so instead of moaning about the floods swilling through my yard I bought a large box of cheap detergent and spread around and left the torrents to do the rest. And now I have a lovely clean yard instead of a slippery slimy  dangerous one.

Our town is in line for some lovely enhancing murals and the first on the Garda Barrack yard wall looks bright and cheery already. We look forward to the next one which will be on a gable in Minor Row.  Further to that Church Street is next in line and we look forward to them all as they become a reality.  Our wonderful Museum /Website is full of promise following the great response to Sean’s Go-Fund-Me appeal. Even  the Museum Teddy Bear is fitted with a protective mask.

Our Lotto Draw was held at the Wallis Arms Hotel on Sunday night. Hotels are very structured places now because of Covid19. Apart from the Lotto crew on Sunday night, there were small groups of customers enjoying a meal and a drink while having the chat, all very  orderly and strictly following the guidelines. I have to say it was lovely to see couples or friends smartly dressed and visibly relaxed, making the effort to carve out a good quality social life for themselves in spite of all. Funerals are getting bigger as is the number of people going into the chapel for Mass.  Both Ballydaly and Cullen are allowed 50 each while the figure in Millstreet has grown to 150, it’s vast size being an obvious factor.  Christenings were held   following the eleven thirty  Mass on Sunday. .                                                                   There was a very large crowd in town on Saturday for the funeral of the popular Tade John ORiordan. Well known for his  support of GAA, especially the young  and the Knocknagree  Club held a guard of honour at St.Mary’s Cemetery as his courtage went by. It was all carried out with social distancing a priority.   We’d like to send Tade John’s wife Joan and family our sincere sympathy, may his soul rest in  peace.                                                                The gentle Judy Cronin of Church Street passed away at the weekend as did her Brother Denis in England.  Judy was well known for her kindness to her needy neighbours. So much so that  some years ago the Community Council presented her with the Service to the Community Award in recognition of her great work, something which she treasured for the rest of her life. An impressive guard of honour from the Millstreet vintage Club attended her funeral.  Her Mother  Molly (Butler) Healy who lived in Church Street was a talented dressmaker and always very busy. She made our school uniforms and this time of year especially  she would be very busy. The box pleated navy serge gymslips  that Molly made were our pride and joy rounded off with a red jumper with a collar and three buttons. The gentle Molly would be on her knees, seeing to every detail and she’d hold the pins in her mouth  as she worked. I found that very strange because at home we were severely warned about the danger of putting needles or pins into our mouth. The lecture was the same every time, if you swallow that ‘twill travel to your heart and you’ll die. The mention of death sending shock waves through us urging us to take extra care. Sometimes as we grew so fast, we’d go to Molly to get a dress left down.  God forbid, if our knees were exposed and we going to a convent school. Summer dresses, wedding outfits and new dresses for the Stations were all within her range.  Judy’s funeral was attended by her large family and extended family and many friends and neighbours who knew her in all the years  she lived in her Church Street home. Our fondest sympathy goes to the Cronin Family on the passing of their beloved Mother Judy. May her gentle soul rest in peace.

Who would want to be Phil Hogan?  We can all have days when we wish we never got out of bed, and I’m sure Phil Hogan had one last week when everything he touched spelt disaster. He broke every rule in the book, travelling without going into quarantine, going through shutdown counties and got caught talking on his phone while driving through a locked down County and all that before going to the Golf ball, pardon the pun, the Oireachtas Golf Society event, in Clifden.  It will be interesting to see how it will all pan out for him and indeed for the other politicians who were there too. Awaiting the outcome will keep our minds off Covid for a few days.

Here are the results of this week’s Lotto draw which was held at the Wallis Arms Hotel on Sunday night. Numbers drawn were 2,4,15,32 and the Jackpot was not won. €100 went Colm O’Leary. The seller was James O’Leary and he got €50 sellers prize. €50 went Linda Coleman. €20 each to Mary Buckley, Ballinatona, Denny O’Connell  c/o Lehane. Mary O’Keeffe Tanyard Wood, The Hickey Family, Mount Leader, P O’Connor c/o Grace’s Salon. Noreen Dennehy Knockdrish, Sandra and Hailey Enright, Station Road, Tricia and CJ ,c/o PJ Creedon. Jackpot for next week €8800. The draw again at the Wallis Arms.Please be reminded that tickets for the lotto are available at many outlets in the town, hairdressers, Centra stores both Colemans and Herlihy’s, chemists, to name but a few. Please support your local lotto, So many voluntary services in the town depends on it The Jackpot of €8,800 is an attraction in itself. In the absence of the pubs supporters are invited to join for a given period, by the year, the half year, or less. Contact any member.

Back to school is the main talking point this week. It is a brand new departure with everybody both students and teachers feeling their way into the unknown. From the outside, all the likes of me can do is to keep them in our prayers, and hope that  they will keep safe while meeting up with their old friends and making new ones, even at a distance. Strange times.

It takes a lot longer now even to get out of the car and it’s not all down to old age or a disability. By the time you’ve checked your handbag, your message bag, your shopping list open your seat belt and put on your mask and get out and lock the car, secure the keys, it’s a chore in itself.To remember the mask is the hardest. You’re often half way to the shop when you think of it  and have to go back, unlock the car get the mask, lock up again. Masks are strictly compulsory now. Somebody not wearing one stands out in the shops now when it used to be the other way around.

 It’s morning and Storm Francis came like a thief in the  night. T.G. without disturbing my sleep, but the signs are there to show that the floods were the highest in recent times and it isn’t over yet so please take care,in case of thunder dog owners would be well advised to bring in their pets. So many dogs go astray during thunder storms, it terrifies them.  It isn’t fair to leave man’s best friend to the mercy of the elements, they don’t ask for much. Personally, it looks like a day under cover for me  which can be spent happily working on my jig saw.

  Have a good week, see you in September, Slán.

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