Eily’s Report – 7th April

Dia is Mhuire díobh go léir a chairde, and welcome to my report.
I hope you are all doing well following the first week of our more intensive isolating and social distancing. For people of my vintage the order was clear cut, stay at home. For others it wasn’t so plain. It’s easier to be something, rather than to be a borderline case. For those who were given a certain amount of freedom, there was always the concern when going to the shops or Post office etc.  Bringing  stuff to people, as to whether they were observing the rules to the full degree of safety, but in the three weeks since our isolation, be it partial or full, we are grateful that no case of the dreaded Virus has broken out amongst us. So we face the future with determination and hope. Even in total isolation we can still learn a lot. Things we miss, things we can do something about, and things we can’t.  I am a great believer in doing  something about the things we can changed and improved. For three weeks now lots of those in total isolation have spent most of their time sitting inside the window looking out. The weather was great and there was lots to see. So it is of vital importance that  that window should be kept perfectly clean. The dry windy weather blew a lot of dust on to the panes and bit by bit the vision became dull. It is amazing the difference it makes when a window is cleaned. The whole house looks cleaner and the views  outside become suddenly clearer. The moral being, if you love your Mom/Dad, clean their windows. There is no need to make a big deal of it, most windows have fine big panes now and the long handled  model, combining a mop and blade can brighten the view in minutes. Another important thing  is their specs. Few people get them done right. A Specsavers expert told me once  that specs cannot be properly cleaned without the use of a good lens spray with an alcohol content. Forget the rub of a towel, or toilet paper, or the tail of your gown. Alcohol content is the answer, so if you don’t  have some a dip into your bottle of Paddy or Powers will suffice.

Palm Sunday passed away with a difference like everything else. But there was no shortage of Masses and devotions and blessing of Palm. The all important little branch that will keep us safe from harm for another year. It was said that it prevents the house from being burned. Getting up at about nine that morning, I went out to the garden and took a few cuttings  from my palm tree. Then turned on the TV and surfed around the screen, idly looking for a Palm Sunday Mass. On getting to EWTN, 588.

I happened to come across the Vatican and the Pope just about to start . Like everything else in the world, the attendance at Mass consisted of a few clerics and canters  with the required distances between , and Pope Francis making his own comment on the situation before  blessing the palm in honour of the day that was in it.  The entire ceremony was long of course because of Palm Sunday but so meaningful and familiar. The Pontiff, limping slightly was  gently assisted  on steps and walkways, by his aide. He gave a loving  and encouraging messages to the world, especially for the young.   He said that next day, Monday was World Sports Day and sympathised with them because of all the events that had to be cancelled  because of  the Virus.

Palm Sunday was wet and windy which held us all imprisoned indoors. The soft rains were great for the garden and when Monday dawned bright and sunny we soon forgot the long  wet hours of Palm Sunday and made for the out of doors. The planting season goes on. It was lovely to hear from so many people last week  and to be able to unite a few people in their quest to  find the plants they needed. Many thanks to all.
There is no need really to go to great lengths to get genuine seed potatoes unless you have some reason to. The spuds that you buy in the supermarket bring a fine yield.  I had a few of the likes and planted them today  and when I harvest a fine result in the Autumn, I’ll tell myself the my planting was not in vane.  Some people go to great lengths to kill off the moss in their gardens, with very little success. One dressing of the stuff failed to rid my patch of it so I have resigned myself to the prospect of having it beat me and just go and enjoy walking on it as a lovely carpet. Please enjoy your garden. I’m a garden person, but others who are housebound at the moment have their ways of passing the time. Some spend hours going through all the photographs that she has accumulated over the years. On the phone one told me she was going to throw a lot of them away but I talked her out of it. On a down day it’s very easy to do something that you will regret later and the images that she would discard could be the very link that one of her family would treasure in years to come. Others take to having a fitting session. Try on some outfits  and decide will it be the bin or if I could lose a couple of pounds, maybe not, and put it back in the press. Appearances are
changing  too.  Three weeks, going on four, can do little for tinted hair, hair trims, painted nails, neglected make-up. Which has led to a big drop in the number of ‘girls’, using Skype on the phone. At the same time phone calls  have become much longer, with nobody in a hurry to hang up.  Unfortunately there is very little to talk about because there is nothing happening but we seem to have a need to be in contact. Further to that a lot more people are ringing people whom they rarely or ever contact, again maybe they need to talk to someone or visa versa. Others read books and watch TV.  But we still strive to keep up some standards, it does nothing for the ego to pass a mirror and get a shock at the sight of the person looking out at you. I suppose that’s being human. We are told to look to the night sky from Wednesday for the Super Moon. It will nearer to the earth and bigger than it has been in years.They say it’s going to be spectacular. So look up.
This is Holy Week, a very solemn time in our Church Calendar. In our youth we called Wednesday, Spy Wednesday, then Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Very prayerful days in the run up to the Crucifixion of Our Lord. People held out faithfully for the last few days of the six weeks Lenten Fast. Crowds attended the devotions on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. As children we’d be dressed up and sent (walking) off on Good Friday to do the Stations of the Cross and go to Confession.   By this time we’d be counting the days to Easter Sunday to break into the store sweets etc that we had hoarded during our Lenten Fast. Easter Sunday morning found us up bright and early to see the sun dancing. I’m not sure if it did but we made believe that it did anyway. We all went to early Mass after the milking of the cows and all the other chores of the farmyard. and then home for a feast of sweets and goodies while our older siblings counted the hours to go to their first dance in six weeks.
There will be many sites on the media where you can get our Easter devotions. Easter was Magic. Easter Eggs are big business now.  They come in many shapes and sizes and at  prices to suit every pocket. Years ago Easter was always connected with real eggs. Maybe it was because it was the hatching season, I don’t know.  There was a challenge for the men on Easter Sunday morning to see how many boiled eggs a fellow could eat and there was great rivalry to see who would win. It happened year after year  and like any other contest there was always a champion.In our area, he was a local man and his limit was twelve eggs (I think), and at every place where people met, he was hailed as the best again this year. I suppose there is little use in talking about litter or anti-litter at the moment with so few people on the move. But a local family who took a walk to the lovely Comeenatrush Lake (Gneeves) lately were disgusted to see the amount of litter thrown around that beauty spot. This terrible situation with the Virus will pass and when it’s over we want our country and countrysides to be clean and beautiful as they always were. Have a Very Holy, Happy & Safe Easter.

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