Dia is Mhuire díobh go léir a chairde, and welcome to my report.
This past week took us into another lockdown and on Saturday night our clocks went back one hour. In each case leading into no small number of changes that we will have to make. Neither of the two changes were very welcome, but as there is no way around them we may as well start by finding how we are going to plan our way forward. The first shock is always the worst, be when we give it time for the dust to settle then we can come up with plans. The first long evening is always terrible. The mind races to find some way of whiling away those long hours of darkness. Some people I know have resolved to get up an hour earlier in the morning and put in the hours so that by the time evening comes they are satisfied to call it a day, anytime from five o’clock on. Rising early of course is a wonderful thing regardless of any time change. Early risers have told us, over and over that we are missing the best part of the day and I couldn’t agree more. The world is a different place at the tail end of the night. It is then that all nocturnal creatures are retiring to their nests and burrows. You’d be forgiven for thinking that we haven’t much wildlife in our district but because they are night-time creatures we don’t see them. We occupy the land at different times. The badger, the hedge hog, hares, foxes, rats, mice,minks, bats, they are all here but politely give us our shift without interruption until we retire. So maybe our early morning people have the right idea and have the pleasure of seeing little animals popping into their warm places of rest while we take over for the day.
To rise early to counteract the dark hour of the evening is a wonderful idea but one that will fade into the background by people of my ilk anyway. I think we owe it to ourselves to stay put till eight or nine. It doesn’t take long to adjust to the change of time and the longer nights. I lit my fire in the grate last night, the first of this winter and I must say it has a nice settling effect. Looking at the flames dancing, changing colours and sending out wafts of beautiful warmth gives a feeling that is hard to beat. Games such as cards, scrabble, snakes and ladders and so on are getting very familiar in family homes. There are those who love knitting, doing crochet and woodwork, the list goes on. Personally I love reading a good book and for a break I turn to my jig saw. I have just finished a 1,000 piece which I started as far back as last June.It has been my constant companion, in no way demanding. Just there when I needed it. Did you ever notice that if you started something new, or maybe got your ears pierced, that all your friends will give you some for your next birthday or perhaps Christmas. I’m beginning to feel like that now because of all the jig saws that I’ve been given in recent times. For which I want to say a profound word of thanks. I opened a new one this week of 500 pieces that was sent to me by a very dear friend from London. Now that we are into another lockdown, people are discovering new ways of making a bad situation seem not very bad. It is of vital importance that we keep busy and active and happy. Being able to go 5 kms from home is giving us freedom to go to town, get our food, visit the church, walk in the Park, talk to friends at the given distance doesn’t sound too bad.
Prayer of course is important and can play it’s own part is our daily lives. I know of one couple whose children are grown up and have left the nest. A nest where the Family Rosary was said without fail every night when all the children were at home. Some are gone to America and many places in between but the Family Rosary still brings them all together every night/day depending on the time where they are and the folks at home using the wonderful method of streaming relate the decades and they all join in as they did when they were all under one blanket.They say that the Family that prays together stays together. How well we can still recall the Family Rosary, which was said without fail every night. In the years before TV children played their games out of doors and how we hated to be called in at nine O’Clock for the Rosary. But rules were rules and we had to obey. The trimmings at the end were long and tedious. I being the youngest would be thought extras like the prayer to my guardian Angel and told that God gives one to everybody to keep them safe.
‘Oh Angel of God my guardian Dear to whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this day be at my side to light and guard to rule and guide and sometimes when we recall some of the near misses that we had and the chances that we took in life, you’d say he had his hands full.
Then the last one as we were tucked in, ‘and now I lay me down to sleep, I pray thee Lord my soul to keep, and if I die before I wake, I pray thee Lord my soul to take. ‘ We loved these little prayers which are still with us today, because they made us feel very safe as we floated away into dreamland.
I did something this week that I haven’t done for years, I bought half a leg of lamb and I boiled it. Shopping for one is not easy. I hate it when I see two things going for the price of one. Nobody of my circumstances needs two of anything. Other things are too big. We have to give a miss to the tempting cooked chickens steaming in the bag even though we’d love it, but not having help to finish it while it’s hot, forget it. The one chop, or chicken Kiev or mince is about our limit. Having admired it over and over this week the look of the half leg of lamb beat me. I bought it, too big of course, but what the heck. I put in the pot covered it with water added onion, carrot, turnip, pepper and salt and in under two hours I took it up , it was done , and while it was resting ,I blended the soup. Added nothing only what I’ve mentioned.. which gave it a nice creamy texture. I took a little of the soup, thickened it with cornflour to make a tasty pouring sauce. Along with vegetables and floury potatoes and slices of tender lamb it made a wonderful meal. The soup had a flavour that I haven’t tasted in years. The taste of pure meat soup, nothing added to destroy the meaty flavour. Lamb is often very fat and any liquid has to be allowed to go cold in order to skim it off but the piece I chose was not. There was plenty again for next day and when I was discarding the bone it looked arid and white, all the goodness and nutrients boiled into the soup. How often we see meat bones that have been roasted being binned still holding on to the nourishing goodness trapped in them. I wouldn’t have this every day, but it was worth the one splash, in order to get the taste of olden days and it did live up to my expectations.
Halloween is full topic at the moment and it’s great to see both parents and children making the effort to make it good in spite of the present situation. Many shops in the town that didn’t normally stock the Halloween stuff are carrying it this time and the word is being passed around at a fierce rate, everybody telling everybody else where things can be got. Modern methods are letting the young people stay in contact with each other and it’s working. Children are said to be resilient and they never proved more than now. They are upbeat and even though they can’t have their traditional spooky weekend, they’re still going to have a good time.
Litter is a problem that never goes away, so we are asking everybody to be vigilant, don’t throw litter around and have as little as possible by cutting down on bags and packaging give used toys away. Rather than taking them to the recycling centre. Children out grow their toys, bikes, tractors etc very fast pass them on. Most shops are open for business and they are all willing to take orders on the phone and handing them over at the door. John and Mary Lehane ,want you to know that their partly open in this way and their important key-cutting service is always available. We must help our traders in every way we can. Food outlets are doing very well as many people choose the take-away above cooking at home.
Here are the results of our weekly lotto draw. Numbers drawn were 8,9,11,26 and the Jackpot was not won. €100 went to Fanny O’Connor, West End. The seller was Pat Randals and she got €50 sellers prize, €50 went to Eamon Sheehan, Mallow, c/o Colemans. €20 each to Killian O’Riordan, c/o Reens, Pat McAuliffe, Macroom c/o Colemans, Donna OReilly, c/o Rita OReilly, Ester O’Keeffe, Clonmeen. Maura Cronin, Main St, John Corbett, Gurrane, Marie Murphy, West End, Pamela Brophy c/o the Camogie Club. Jackpot for next week €10.600. The draw on Sunday November 1st.
That’s about it from me for this week. In light of the recent tragic events over the weekend, it’s not easy to be joyful. But perhaps once again reminds us of the importance of staying close to people, helping others to rise above their difficulties, letting them know that no matter what, that you are there for them. Slán agus Beannacht libh go léir.