Eily’s Report – 29th September

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

Have you noticed how the evenings are starting to draw in a little. Not so much when it’s sunny and bright but if it’s cloudy and dull then you notice it. That spat of frost one night during the week was rather a surprise and left some of our tender blossoms looking a little less than their best.  In fact it wiped out some of my succulent bizzy lizzies.  Thankfully mydahlias escaped.  They are the late flowering kind and last year as they were all set to adorn my autumn garden, one night of frost sent them back to sleep for another whole year. The worst thing about this early frost is that it can creep up on you and for just one night only.  When the mild weather returns you are left with that  sad feeling as you gaze on  your would be  flowering  plants returning to the earth. Joy of joys my little spud in the bucket escaped.  Mind you for safety sake I had moved it nearer the hedge a few days earlier.  Lawns  are still flourishing and still have to get their regular nine day trim and the smell of a new mowed lawn never loses it’s charm. Leaves are beginning to fall, though the autumn colours haven’t come yet. The Virginian Creeper is almost at the ready to light up every wall and hedge even along the ground in so many places.   If the weather treats it right it will stay that way for ages. During the long summer months it creeps along in the background in a dull green fitting in almost unnoticed amid all it’s  neighbours as they show off their glowing colours and multi coloured foliage,  but come the autumn the Virginian Creeper takes  over as if to say it’s my turn now and gives us  days or weeks of blood red bliss.  The blanket of wild raspberry canes/briers are turning the ditches and roadsides red at the moment with their massive crop of small bright red fruit and it’s great to see the birds feasting  of them.  Most of the corn and hay is safely stored by now and as we have no commercial potato growers around here, I’m not sure if that crop is in. It was always considered a September task, so I’m sure they are all in by now.  These are the things which got priority in my young days. The winter feed for the animals and the food and firing for the people was all important . There was no other way to get the necessities of life, only to provide them yourself. They weren’t selling in the shops that time.

From experience people knew or had a very good idea of how much they would need to get themselves and their dependents through the long winter and much of the produce was shared between man and beast.   The good provider always made sure he had a freshly-calved cow to provide milk for the winter months. Everything was done with a sense of prayer, a  dependence on God to send the right weather and so on because there was no other way. Nothing was achievable without ‘The Help of God’. So that some of the vegetables that we buy singly in the shops today were produced in abundance that time. For instance the turnips and spuds as well as being  used in the kitchen, they were fed to the cows and younger stock .Potatoes  had a multitude of uses. They were boiled in a huge pot over the turf fire ,and when strained they were turned out on to a coarse cloth on the kitchen table, families were big in those days and everybody tucked in and had their fill. Some had meat, others not, if  you had it.  It was always shared out sparingly. There was always plenty of vegetables and fresh milk, but amid the plenty the golden rule was, don’t waste.  The spuds should be peeled lightly, because the best was just inside the skin.  Dinner over, the leavings were rolled up in the cloth and taken outside the door and tossed on the ground to a variety of two legged and four legged creatures. The sow being the strongest and most aggressive wading in and swallowed up what she could in the shortest possible time, very often she would have her litter of bonhams squeezing in for a bite. All the time the more timid inhabitants of the yard would be picking away at the outer margins. The gander and co, the turkey cock and co, as well as the cockerel and hens. All fighting for even a morsel. And when all of these could get no more and went their way, the small birds arrived and feasted on what was too little for the others to scoop up. In those peaceful times, when the furore was over, how we loved to watch the beautiful small birds of every race and colour. The yellow hammer with its golden plumage, shining in the sun and the lady way tail, and the robin, sparrows. Sadly the  sneaky cat often saw his own opportunity to grab an unsuspecting little one who was too busy to keep an eye out.  At picking time potatoes were sorted and the very small ones were kept to feed the geese when they were housed and specially fed in the run up to Christmas.   We loved throwing a few to the ducks who would swallow them whole and we could see the little lump moving down along its long neck, till it dropped into its crop. It was all part of the workings of the country farm yard. They were times of plenty and there was always a free bag of potatoes etc to give to a city cousin who had no land of their own.

During the war in the forties we had compulsory tillage which meant that all land owners had to grow a lot more than what they needed so as to feed those involved in the war effort. We had food rationing. Flour was scarce, so we had to take our own wheat to the mill in Brogeen near Kanturk where it was made into  coarse brown flour.Not everybody’s favourite, but there was no choice. Then a bag of our oats was taken to Horgan’s Mills in Macroom and made into the renowned Macroom oaten meal. Everything transported by horse and cart. All surplus grain had to be sold into storage and we all felt that we were playing our part in the national interest.

The first week of the open pubs is down,  we’ve heard nothing but praise for it. It’s great to see their doors opened again and everybody be they drinkers or not want to wish them well and drop in to see the changes they have made.  It has brought back an air of new life and brightness to the scene.  In general the town continues to look better. Sold signs appearing in a couple of places, while renovations continue here and there. Improvements have recently been made by the Co. Council on the Millers Bridge on the Macroom Road. Further to that our popular Thrift Shop is getting ready to re-open in Minor Row. Closed since March it was greatly missed both by those who buy there and those who contribute to it. The Thrift Shop is run in aid of the Canon O’Donovan Centre and raises much needed support for that vital facility on an ongoing basis.   Ring them at 029 70926 if you want to order some of their lovely Meals on Wheels.

Our Wallis Arms Hotel are breaking new ground by opening a first in the town a  suave Tea Room called the “The Tea Rooms on the Square”. The Bar on the left has been completely altered and is now furnished with colourful  decor, tables and chairs, well distanced and very different. It is open daily from 9 am – 5 pm.  Do call in for a cup and a slice of something nice.  They will have an official opening at some stage. We wish them well.

The lovely mural on the western Wall at Centra in the West End is very eye catching. And creates a welcome air as one enters the town from the West. Well done.

A million congratulations to Mrs.Sheila Daly, The Island ,who celebrated her 100th birthday recently. Her deceased husband John was formerly from Tullig. We wish Sheila many more years of good luck and good health.

Our weekly Lotto Draw was held at the Wallis Arms Hotel on Sunday night. by kind permission.Numbers drawn were, 4,8,12,25 and the Jackpot was not won. €100 went to Katie Healy, Murphys Tce. The seller was Paula and she got €50 sellers prize. €50 went to Connie O’Sullivan. Rylane, €20 each to Chris Egan, Irish Rail, The Bourke Family, 10 Murphys Tce, Kitty Cronin, The Rectory, Jack O’Riordan, Old Coach Road. Kathryn O Sullivan, Crinaloo, Cullen GAA, c/o Jerry Lehane. K. Tegan Walsh, Gneeveguilla and Gerard O’Sullivan, Liscahane.  Jackpot for next week €9,800.  The draw at the Wallis Arms Hotel on Sunday night. Please be reminded that tickets at €2 each are on sale in many outlets in the Town, at Guerin’s Shop in Ballydaly also now at O’Regans Mills. Tickets are also available in our pubs since their re-opening.  The organisers would like to thank the public for their encouraging support since their return.  All monies raised are spent for the betterment of our community.

With the evenings drawing in, it’s more important than ever that we engage in many interests and activities. The Walk in the Park continues to be the number one place for your long or not so long walk.  Tubrid Well ,is always a joy and a blessing for a visit.  Sean Radley will give you the royal welcome if you decide to pay a visit to his Museum during open hours, it’s open Monday – Wednesday from 9.30 to 2.30,  Thursday 9.30 to 2. Our popular library is in the same building again worth a visit.  Maybe start you off reading books from now on. Meet a friend for coffee or a full meal now and then. There is a wide range of things to do and games to play. Scrabble is a great game and social distancing needn’t be a problem. I’m still browsing over one of my Jig Saw  of a 1000 pieces.  I call to it when I feel like it so there’s no pressure. The Guestbook on our Millstreet website is a great place to read about all those who are trying to trace relations. You may find that you can link somebody up with a long lost family member.

Every Good Wish and God’s Blessing on the little Children of Derrinagree National School who are about to get their first Holy Communion on Saturday, 3rd October.

Don’t forget to join Sean Radley tonight from 9.30 to 11  and on Sundays after 11.30 Mass on CMS. His programs are gone global  and bring a wonderful feeling of ‘togetherness’ to people  who cannot come home at the moment. Please keep up the prayers that a vaccine will be found soon for the Virus and pray for all those who are sick at this time.

Sin a bhfuil, a chairde. Keep safe.  Have a good week, Slán .

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