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Country Living

Each new day isn’t always same as the one before

Francis Farragher

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This image from Wikipedia, c. 1000AD, with two circular diagrams showing the days of the week and their division into 24 one hour periods. The hours were sub-divided into punctas (quarter hours), minuta (tenths of an hour) and momentas (40th parts of an hour).

Country Living with Francis Farragher

THERE have been so many cascades of collateral damage without our traumas over the past year that it’s hard to know where to start but I must admit to having taken a dislike to the way that one day seems to run into another.  If you’re lucky enough to have some kind of workplace to your life, I suppose it’s a help, but I always had a liking for those set piece events that seemed to define the week.

They might have been simple enough things like the local lotto on a Monday night; the match on a Sunday; Mass on a Saturday evening followed by a king of happy ‘penance’ in the local watering hole for an hour or two; and maybe a trip to the local swimming pool on a mid-week evening to clock up 20 or 30 lengths.

Now, apart from the natural distraction of what we call work, one day seems to be much the same as the next, with nothing in particular to look forward to over the weekends only the old reliables of the walk and cycle and maybe a bit of catching up with some of the regular farming chores.

Some time back, I can recall reading an article I think in The Guardian, which rated the days of the week in terms of a risk rating based loosely on insurance claims, accidents, and the general moods of people as they went through their usual weekly cycle.

Slightly unexpectedly, Friday came up with the highest danger rating – a straight 10 out of 10 – kind of strange, I thought, given that most of us tend to be winding down to some extent as the weekend approaches.

In terms of overall safety, Sunday topped the poll by a wide margin, not surprising I suppose given that large swathes of the population take it as their lazy day, sleeping on a bit, not driving too much, and generally minding their own business.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

Trying to eke out some of the positives from a wearying year

Francis Farragher

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Seeking out little shafts of light at the end of the tunnel.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

It’s not been an easy task, and maybe it’s case of the ‘whistling past the graveyard’ syndrome, but over recent days, I’ve been desperately scratching my head to come up with just 10 positive things that have arisen since ‘the plague’ descended upon us.                                            Maybe it has been the number of times over recent weeks that I’ve experienced spontaneous confessions from normally very stable colleagues that in the throes of what I could only describe as mild depression. Some aren’t sleeping properly . . . others are mildly hallucinating about just a few pints with friends in the locals . . . and others just want to go somewhere – anywhere.

So, my list of 10 positives out of Covid, is predicated on something of a myth. Like the rest of the population, I’m at my wits end to keep my conscious mind above the sanity survival level, but over the course of five or six hundred words, the aim is to somehow pretend, or even trick ourselves into believing, that there are some good things to be extracted from the pit of Covid despair. I’ll even try to ignore any mention of recent AstraZeneca problems.

  1. We are tending to have money in our pockets

Yes, the reality has hit home for most of us who enjoy a couple of pints in the local, that it is quite an expensive little pastime even if we can’t put a price on its therapeutic value. The overdraft limit in the days before pay-day now hasn’t been threatened with a breach for the best part of a year, but again I feel that I may be tempting fate. New furniture is arriving and a tractor clutch has decided to pack up as if to say to me, ‘that it you don’t spend the lucre one way, then you’ll spend it another’. But yes, there’s a lot less been spent on items like booze, diesel, the odd restaurant sojourn, shoes and clothes. As for the need for cash in your pocket, it seems to be a thing of the past.

  1. Less traffic and shorter journey times to work

I’m still one of those commuters making the daily trip into the city for work but instead of the normal 40 to 50 minutes, to complete the journey, this has now slipped down to almost half. This doesn’t mean I’m driving any faster – in fact the opposite – I’ve slowed down a lot. But the traffic snarl-ups are now few and far between, and there’s also a realisation that the ‘old road option’ – as distinct from the motorway – is a lot shorter and far more efficient as far as fuel consumption is concerned.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Country Living

When life was rough and tough for a generation of Irish navvies

Francis Farragher

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A photo, probably late 1800s, as navigators as they were called at the time – later shortened to navvies – dug out a trench during the construction of the canal network across the UK and Ireland. The navvy name ‘stuck’ when the transition was made to working on the tunnels, road projects and building sites across Britain during the 20th century.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

I remember as a small boy of the ’60s, some of the visits that would cause a bit of a stir in the household, or on occasion, even in the village. The times of the year were either midsummer, often coinciding with the Galway Races, or in the run-up to Christmas.

The setting would be ‘the return of the emigrant’ for a holiday from places like London, Birmingham or Manchester, and most times there would be quite a fuss before ‘the arrival’, with bits of touch-up being completed around kitchens and bedrooms.

An uncle of mine, long since gone to his eternal reward, always captured the mood and atmosphere of the occasion. Not a man to hide his light under a bushel, he would arrive in a flashy suit and shirts so bright that they almost had a dazzle effect.

The scenario seemed to be replicated in other houses across the village, not always with the same ostentation, but the message being delivered was that these people had done well . . . had found the pot of gold in Britannia. . . and were now back home to show off the trappings of their good fortune.

Sometimes though, the departure back to England tended to be a tad more inglorious. A week or two at the Races and in the local hostelries would often mean that the cash supply had run dry by the closing days of the visit and a little ‘sub’ might be required to get him back in one piece. In fairness though, this uncle was meticulous in paying back such temporary loans.

In later years, I found out that this relative – probably like a lot of other such visitors – would then spend months in his London flat without ever moving outside the door or even spending one ten shilling note on the demon drink. It was one extreme to the other.

Many decades ago, I remember a brother of mine (alas departed too for many, many years) who spent one summer holiday period working ‘across the water’ and his return was also marked by an element of flamboyance by way of a light pair of bellbottom trousers, white shoes, a bright corduroy jacket and even a small hint of an English accent. All a bit too much to absorb in one go – in a couple of days though, my mother had him deprogrammed with the help of a day or two on the farm.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Country Living

A joyous welcome for the arrival of that ‘happy day’

Francis Farragher

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A time to embrace the season of light. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

I’m pretty unashamed . . . and maybe a tad repetitive too . . . about what my favourite day of the year is, and has been, for many decades now. It’s always been that last Sunday in March when the clocks change and the evening sunset lazily stretches its reach. With just one turn of the clock handle, our sunset springs forward to around the 8pm mark, and the very real lure is there to go outside and do something in the open air of the late evening.

Like the rest of the population, I’ve found this to have been one long and hard Winter, even if our weather wasn’t particularly severe. True, it was a fair bit wetter than average since last October, but in terms of extreme events like raging storms or great freeze-ups, the past few months haven’t been so bad at all.

But yet, it’s a Winter that has seemed to go on forever. We no sooner had Christmas ‘promised to us’ by the powers that be, than we were roundly scolded for being too bold, leading to Surge 3 of the dreaded coronavirus. The inevitable lockdown followed and January – never my favourite month – just seemed to go on forever.

Like the story of the little boy trying to walk to school on the slippy road, going two steps backwards for every one forward, we just don’t seem to have gotten any breaks from our battle with ‘The Covid’.

We (Ireland and the EU) were months behind the Brits in getting the vaccines rolled out; deliveries never seemed to arrive on schedule and still don’t; and our mood seems to have worsened every time we hear that huge swathes of the population of Northern Ireland will be vaccinated while we lurch around the 5% to 10% mark. Not bedrudgery . . . just a sense that we’re being left behind. Without a shred of a doubt, the UK left the EU ‘sitting’ when it came to the vaccine strategy. Is it any wonder that there’s no humour on us?

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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