Eily’s Report – 2nd March

Welcome to the month of March, they used to say that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Time will tell and we shall see. The fierce flooding last week brought torrents the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long time. Fields were turned into oceans and roads into rivers but thankfully no lives were lost. As far as we can recall the year 1986 was the last time we’ve seen such extreme weather conditions, around here anyway. Heavy rainfalls don’t be the same everywhere and I believe that the latest  did not affect other parts of the country as they did here in the south. Nineteen eighty six stands out, for the memories that it left us of hoards of people being stranded in their cars, along the Macroom road for miles outside of  Millstreet. As floods often do it struck in late afternoon when people were making their way home, some from work, others from a day shopping in Cork City, or a Doctor’s appointment, others tourists visiting  the Green Isle to see the sights. Like most people in flash floods, some people tell themselves that they can make it through but it doesn’t always work, and while most people that evening yielded to the situation and accepted local hospitality on that mid summer evening, others forged ahead, to their peril. The area around the Grotto at Liscahane,was noted that time for flooding, but not to a dangerous degree however on that particular evening at nightfall, the ditch gave way to the power of water as an elderly couple were passing and their car was washed in. Luckily for them their car came to a halt with the front facing up to the edge of the road and the floods were torrential over it.  He was shouting to get his wife out, she had been at a specialist in Cork that day as she had cancer, but because his very modern car was electric it could not be opened as the engine was stopped. A tractor was soon brought on the scene, but the pumped wheels  enabled the volume of water to raise it off the ground and the attempt had to be abandoned. In due course the Macroom fire brigade arrived and rescued to terror stricken couple. Our two houses here took in over fifty people that night, many had food in the cars and they brought it in and shared it around .  John D was in the Chip business at the time, he started up and supplied the multitude with hot takeaway on the house. When all were safe and fed a rousing singsong broke out and friendships were forged that still last to this day.  So there was a happy ending after all.

Thanks to many changes made by the County Council the area at the Grotto no longer poses a threat to life  but last week it still raised water levels high enough to hold up traffic for many hours.

So I got the Jab, the long awaited injection that we have been reading about and waiting for since Covid began. I believe there are many different brands, I got the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid Vaccine at Dr. Casey’s . I got my appointed time of 2.30 pm and made sure to arrive on time, not knowing what I’d have to do when I got there, but I needn’t have worried. It was all beautifully managed, with usher, Paudie Healy on duty to take you every step of the way. He would find a place for you to park and stay in the car till the masked lady came to the window to take your name and sign in  and wait there until called. I was waiting about ten minutes before I was asked to go to Dr. Michael. I saw him take stuff from two little bottles which he injected into my left arm, almost unknown to me, never felt it at all. Then he wrote some details in a little card, my name, the batch that my injection came from and the date for my booster which is 25.3.21,  gave it to me and asked me to keep to safe for the record.  Next he wrote the time of day on sticky tab a put it on my lapel, telling me to go to the waiting room where I would stay for twenty minutes and a lady would tell me when it was time to go. Which she did. Since then I’ve had no effect whatsoever from the experience and look forward to March 25th for my booster.

These cold harsh days calls us to put more “turf” on the fire.  As I no longer have turf I am very pleased with the performance that I get in my  open grate with smokeless coal  even though I have oil heating, which suffices most of the time, when the cold wind blows there you can’t beat the heat of the fire. Smokeless  coal is a fairly new thing, well it wasn’t there in my young days or for a long time after. I suppose the fight against global warming could be responsible for it’s development. I love it in that it’s not dusty and there is so little ashes in its wake, no cinders, no residue only a small amount of pepperlike ashes. The open fire was a source of comfort not just for the heat that it gives out but there is something magical about watching the flames dancing, changing colours. Takes me back to  days and nights long gone. Times when people lived together, not just in one house, but lived together in their hearts and their minds. Looked out for one another. Country living meant that you alerted a neighbour if his cows were in  his cornfield, or his pigs at the potato pit. Folks talked at length and openly in groups or one to one. There was no education only to learn from each other. Women having babies turned to each other and things like having babies and hush hush things like that were  considered, not for men, so all forms of female backup was shared.  People needed people, I need you today and if you need me tomorrow I’ll be there for you. Where did it all go wrong, why did we let it happen?  How did we let it all go in the name of progress?  I still love to recall the closeness of the way people lived. They cut each others hair, cut one another’s corns and corns were big trouble that time on account of the rough hobnailed boots and all the walking that had to be done in the long working hours. There may be only one hair clippers in an area of several houses and you’d hear someone saying ,bring the chippers with you the night you’re coming , I’d want to get my hair cut. In all of this interaction people confided in each another, shared opinions, grievances, worries and advise about every aspect of their lives. They had a drink in the pub on a Fair Day when they had their business done and ‘twas many a problem was solved over a frothy pint.  It kept them going ,steered them through trying times, sleepless nights. Nobody was alone. Well not until now. Now when we have education, beautiful homes, conveniences of every ilk, except love and companionship and trust. We have come across many changes down the years, lots of them we didn’t like but they were heaped upon us as the ‘New norm’ and agreed. The events of the past six months seems to have introduced us to a events that are beyond our reckoning  the unbelievable happening  on our doorstep are we supposed to accept that as the ‘new norm’ from now on  or will there be anything done to open our country to its people again when Covid 19 is gone . ‘How many times can a man turn his head, pretending he just doesn’t see, ‘The answer my friend is blowing in the wind’, ‘the Answer is blowing in the wind.’

In spite of all the floods and storms, the countryside is greening up and I even saw one lawn getting it’s first  cut at the weekend. In another week the bluebells and wild garlic and  daffodils will be fighting for places in the garden and all over the place.  It’s great in the out-of-doors at the moment, listening to the little birds twittering away to their hearts content as they gather stuff to make their nests. I have spotted  two or more where I can enjoy their progress as the year moves on. I won’t do any early planting this year. We all made a mad drive last year ,too early, but I think we were trying to prove to ourselves that the onset of covid was not going to make any difference to our everyday lives, dream on. March the first always marks the day for our annual March Fair . This year is comprised of just one brave stall holder who set up shop at the monument in the town Square and was blessed with fine weather. How he fared financially, I do not know.

Please give your best support to the local GAA who are putting all their efforts into upgrading the pitch at the Station Rd. which is open the Camogie and GAA games. To help finance the project they have  launched a grand draw, details of which can be sourced on line or ring Con  0862638320.

Mass today Tuesday is at 7.30 pm. and at 10 on Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday there will be Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 7 pm  followed by Mass at 7.30. Make a note of it and take part from the comfort of your own home, thanks to the wonders of streaming    Our beautiful Church is open every day for all those who like to visit, do the Stations of the Cross, and sanitizers are widely available.   The picture of a group of our Presentations nuns  including Fr. Corridan on the web this week is creating great interest and brought back great memories and stories of the past. I was able to tell my grandchildren who are going to the Presentation National school at the moment, that when I started there as a beginner all those years ago, the nuns told me that they had taught my Mother  when she was a little girl, so my connections with the Presentation Convent goes back a long way.

Marie Twomey made a brave start to get her popular singing group up and running  on line last Thursday night with enough success to continue. Anybody who would like to take part can give Marie a ring at 0876863887. Keep spirits up at all costs.

And talking of spirits, spirits were high on Monday March 1st with some children returning to school leaving siblings in floods of tears at home because they could not go also. The long months away from friends and routine and games have made a big dent in the lives of both children and parents.  By all accounts the first day back  went well for  the youngsters, few got homework and they were rearing for road again next morning. The long-suffering parents won’t get their full reprieve until all children are back, their days are split now between taking one age group and returning home to home school the others.  Many teachers in higher schools are finding it challenging while working in class with  leaving Cert students and on line with other grades.

Our sincere prayer  of course is that there will be no outbreak of covid 19 as a result.

Slán agus Beannacht libh go léir.


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