The fool’s guide to New Year survival

Country Living with Francis Farragher

It’s that time of year again for those seasonal tips about all the right things in life that we should be doing for the coming 12 months, from being the most abstentious of mortals as regards all temptations of ‘the drink and the flesh’ to befriending our most despised enemies. To make it easy, we’ll stick with the alphabetical version of the guide, but as we’d see in all the more serious lifestyle ’bibles’, the author takes no responsibility for anybody foolish to adhere to the strategies outlined below.

A is for all those foolish people who listen to lifestyle gurus, fitness fanatics, wellness people, moderation counsellors and dieticians, advising them to change their ways in life. Worse still, many of them fork out half decent money for the advice, but by February 1, everything is back to normal.

B is bearing up stoically to all catastrophes in life such as the sudden disappearances of the small items in our lives like keys, glasses, mobile phones, remote controls and pocket torches. It’s not that they’re ever really lost . . . but we just can’t find them when we want them.

C is for cattle in yards and pens who will always go the wrong way when the right way is entirely obvious to us humans. Impromptu outpourings of bad language from ‘the man in charge’ achieve absolutely nothing, apart from providing the farmer with a release valve for his frustrations.

D is for deadlines that all of us in newspaper have the most intense love/hate relationships with. Without them, we’d probably never get a word written or a column finished but yet they instil the most disturbing sense of fear into the innermost caverns of our minds in front of a blank screen.

E is for all the exotic and erotic things in life that we’re never going to experience, either because we’re running out of time or money or courage . . . or all three. As one decade just slips into the next, ‘being here and healthy’ is pretty much as good as it gets.

F is for Francis, no not me, but our great Papa in Rome who just makes me feel at times that there is an ordinary, humble person in charge of our church who’s more at home meeting poor people than having his nose stuck in a weighty book of theology.

G is for all the gaffers of the world – the good, the bad and the ugly – who keep on guiding our paths with such assiduousness in moments of trouble and strife and good times as well. Refer back to D and deadlines – gaffers too are necessary, if disturbing at times.

H is for all the people of the world who have never lost their sense of humour and who at most times can have a little laugh at themselves when things haven’t quite worked out according to plan.

I is for all the Indians that I shot as a young cowboy ‘doing the rounds’ between the bushes following the arrival many years ago, of Santa Claus with a toy six-shooter and a box of caps. The old Westerns had a lot to answer for, back the years.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.