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Forlorn search for that first jogger wearing a big smile

Francis Farragher

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Country Matters with Francis Farragher

FOR starters, I have nothing against joggers, walkers, cyclists or swimmers, and I’m still managing to tick about three of those boxes myself, but I am a little perplexed, at never through the course of my lifetime, having witnessed a jogger ever wearing a smile on their faces.

Come to think of it, in a time when I used to take on the Saturday morning Park Runs at Rinville, there was never even the remotest inclination on my part to attempt a grin, as one grim effort after another was made to beat the 30 minute ‘Berlin Wall’ barrier for the five kilometre trek.

Joggers don’t really smile because during the course of their five, eight- or ten-kilometre circuits, they tend to be consumed with absorbing that rather harsh meeting of feet with a hard surface that seems to apply a rigorous test of endurance to ankle, knee and hip joints – and particularly so if the birthdays are beginning to mount up.

A number of years back, a very competent but quietly spoken surgeon at the Bons, who, to use to his own words, ‘cleaned out’ one of my knee cartilages, said that his general advice was for over-50s not to jog or run regularly on hard surfaces. “Walk, swim and cycle – at least one of them every day if you can,” was his advice, and I’m inclined to think that those were solid enough words.

Everywhere I go though, I can’t seem to escape those addicts of the road who boast about how fast they can complete a 10k or on how they plan to run in one of the national marathon events.

The last time, I had to walk the 2.5km from the local tavern, every step seemed pained and ponderously slow. By the time, I had reached home the warmth and mirth of the inn, had been completely obliterated by a cantankerous knee, little armpits of sweat, and the inevitable West of Ireland rain shower. And I didn’t feel even the remotest inclination to smile either.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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.

Country Living

Coming to terms with the new normal of our daily workplaces

Francis Farragher

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The pros and cons of working from home!

Country Living with Francis Farragher

ON the greater scale of problems that we all have to face, it should never be too high up on the list, but yet when one moves house or workplace, there does tend to be little tinges of sadness with the transition, regardless of how hard-hearted we can all pretend to be.

Putting the bits and pieces of mostly materially worthless trivia into boxes for the move to the next home can still evoke memories of times good and bad; happy and sad; serious and comic — but all of which do evoke some little tug of the heartstrings.

We all age so gradually that at times we think haven’t changed at all over the past 30 years but then as a picture is resurrected from an old drawer, the realisation dawns that the world of youth has long passed us by.

Of course, there is absolutely no point in getting melancholic about what is, after all, the natural way of the world, and the overarching philosophy has to be, to live one day at a time and give it our best shot.

Whatever about a workplace shift, there are countless surveys and psychological studies that puts moving house high up there in the stress graph of life.

Buying or selling a house is, by all accounts, an absolute cesspit of traumas and is rated by most psychologists as well up there in the top-10 of ‘times in your life’ when you really feel under pressure.

Last year, UK property website Real Homes cited a survey of 2,000 homeowners, 40% of whom voted moving house as the ‘most nerve-wracking’ life-changing assignment that they had ever experienced . . .  even ahead of divorce, having a baby, or starting a new job.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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 step back in time to a day of unmitigated joy on Jones’ Road

Francis Farragher

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HIGH STEPPERS: Grown men in suits . . . women in high-heels . . . young lads with maroon hats . . . all seemingly floating on air after Galway's famous All-Ireland hurling victory in September, 1980.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

Like three people I spoke to last week – Cyril Farrell, Joe Connolly and Mike Conneely – I too was taken aback somewhat by the fact that it was 40 years ago last weekend, since Galway made their massive hurling breakthrough in the first Sunday of September, 1980.

There’s no point living in the past or fretting about how quickly the flywheel of time is passing but it’s only when you glance back, the realisation dawns that decades have passed by almost in the blink of an eye.

Those were very different times in Ireland and for someone just armed with a BA and the ‘H. Dip’ – eked out after four years of less than hard toil at the then UCG – there was another recession upon us and there was a lot scratching about to be done to get a bit of work.

The papal visit of John Paul II was still fresh in everyone’s memory, and in more superstitious minds, his trip to Galway Racecourse on September’s last day in 1979 was credited with eventually banishing the curse that had prevented the men in maroon from winning an All-Ireland title. (Folklore attributed the curse to a group of Galway players leaving Mass early many decades before that!).

For the previous eight years, Galway hurling had been knocking on the recovery door, winning All-Ireland under-21 titles in 1972 and 1978, before making an historic National League breakthrough in 1975 when defeating Tipperary in the final.

Everyone knew in Galway though that one final bridge had to be crossed before the county would be back as a hurling force – the winning of a second All-Ireland senior title, to eventually make that link between ‘the present’ and that year of 1923. 57 years was an awful long time to wait.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

No man is an island as we try to survive the 2020 jinx

Francis Farragher

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

I’m always a little loathe to wish that a particular day, week, month or year would pass – on the basis that time is already freewheeling out of control – but 2020 seems to be a jinxed number in all our lives, to which we’d all like to say: good riddance.  I don’t know how many people have said to me over the past couple of weeks, that the only thing left to happen us was the inevitable arrival of the plague of locusts.

The Egyptians – who to my mind got some horribly bad press in the early days of the Bible – had 10 disasters inflicted upon them by God in an effort to get the Pharaoh to free the Israelites from slavery.

The most famous of those 10 ‘inflictions’ was the plague of locusts that would cover the face of the ground so that it couldn’t be seen and, in the process, devour everything in their path.

Those Plagues of Egypt also included water turning to blood, a plague of frogs and lice, livestock disease, an epidemic of festering boils, thunderstorms of hail and fire, three days of darkness, and the deaths of every first-born son.

And, getting back to the dreaded locusts, I also recall reading an article recently about several countries in East Africa and South Asia, who earlier this year, had hundreds of thousands of acres of crops devoured by billions of the dreaded insects.

All this is by way of putting a context of what we’ve been going through in 2020 which just mightn’t seem so bad when compared to the Book of Exodus, but by any more contemporary barometer, these are pretty miserable times.

We all started out in 2020 looking forward to a spectacular year of artistic endeavour with Galway’s Capital of Culture designation but the jinx wasn’t long getting to work here either.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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