Dia is Mhuire díobh go léir a chairde, and welcome to my last report for 2020.
How we have longed for this Christmas to come in order that we could put all our ability into making it a good one, so as to make up for all that we have endured during the year. They say be careful of what you wish for. Little did we know that our plans would be skewed at the eleventh hour. But like everything else in life, we’ll have to grin and bear it. As we’ve said so many times, we’re all in it together, when we have digested the situation and find that there is no way out of it. We will move up another gear and make the best we can of it. The scary accounts they are giving us about how rapidly it can spread will drive us into a state of determination and self-survival that will give us new strengths that we never knew we had. We will make sacrifices because we know we must. Being flippant or blaze about it will not do. So our last few days in the run up to Christmas Day on Friday, will be different in every sense of the word. How I can recall those heady days when my own children were small. It was not the same world then. Winter time on the farm was very demanding cattle being housed during the long winter months had to be tended every day. Tended only by man power and indeed helped by woman power. There was no press button solution to anything then. But the trip to Cork on Christmas Eve or maybe the day before it was a must, an annual day out .That morning the cows were left out to water earlier than usual and were given their daily supply of hay .Pigs ,Hens , and any other livestock all got an early breakfast while the children ,fussed around indoors ,getting their own things done ,by way of dressing and invading their piggy banks and their lists of ‘Must Haves’ , from the big city. The last thing anybody wanted to hear was that there was a cow due to calve, or a sow due to farrow. Devastation , utter devastation, panic, tears , tantrums. Disappointment if there was. In such case there was the inevitable delay, the waiting for the new life to make its way into the world, prayers, curses anything to hurry the process up. But eventually we’d all pack into the little Anglia and head off. Parking didn’t seem to be a problem in the 60s. And in a little over an hour our off springs were released to the wild which was Cork City on Christmas Eve. I find it hard to believe how primitive it all was ,compared to today. It was the early days of toys having movements, How we marvelled at them ourselves ,and gloried at the joy that the little children got out of staring at them. It was easy to impress ,children then, and indeed parents also. Sore feet were ignored as we traipsed from shop to shop, street to street, looking at all the wonders of the big city ,as the world prepared for the birth of Christ. We’d go into any chapel along the way, where the massive crib would be all at the ready . The children all amazed ,and asking countless questions about this and that. Finally after having some food on the hoof ,and seen all the lovely things, it was time to make our purchases, it was often hard to make a secret purchase , to have as a surprise ,or Santa Gift for the stockings by the fire on Christmas morning. And then the spending of ‘their own’ money. The little something that made it for them . We never missed the trip down the Coal Quay, with its numerous bright stands ,and sales women shouting out the lists of their wares. How we loved their funny use of words, two-and –sixpence all the dolls. The last few boxes of train sets, give this free with it, holding up a rag doll or an orange–. The place would be packed ,and people in festive mood , saluting one another , shouting out bits of news and Christmas cheer. As night fell, a heavenly atmosphere fell down and gave the Coal Quay an out of this world feeling ,the darkness ,brightening every lamp and bulb ,reflecting off the shiny wrappings and toys and boxes strewn around the place. As we all chewed on the wonderful goodies that were to be had in abundance in the stalls and the children drank their lemonade from the bottle which they held firmly by the neck , it was time to bid our annual Christmas Eve Day in Cork to a close. Children tired and maybe cranky with fatigue ,we once again piled into the reliable Anglia and headed out the Carrigrohane Straight. We all sang together, our Christmas songs with all ours hearts, Dan driving R.I.P. me holding the youngest, John D, on my lap and the Girls Geraldine & Nora in the back. No seatbelts . In no time our tired little charges were fast asleep, still clutching the favourite purchases.
[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 22nd December”