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Country Living

Hoping that ‘soft landing’ can ease us into Winter

Francis Farragher

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More unsettled weather days seem to be on the way as Callum prepares to roll in.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

Our soft landing from our beautiful Summer of 2018 into the darker days of Winter has been jolted a little bit this week with the prospect of wetter and windier days, but I suppose it is October, and on the law of averages we were due to get a bit of a lash.

Up until this week, our only ‘falling out’ with Mother Nature came on the Wednesday morning of September 19 when Storm Ali blew into town with quite a vengeance, claiming two lives and also forcing the cancellation of the Ploughing Championships that day.

September is of course the big hurricane month in the Northern Hemisphere and the power of the ‘original’ Debbie back on the 16th day of that month in 1961 still lives on in the lore of Irish weather and strange tales of the wind.

One of the little similarities between Debbie and Ali, that a number of people have brought to my attention, was the ‘burning’ impact of both weather events on hedges, weeds and vegetation.

Debbie wreaked havoc on late crops of corn that had yet to be harvested back in 1961, and in the aftermath of Ali last month, the sight of burnt docks leaves and the charred westward side of hedges, has been commonplace, even many miles inland from our Atlantic shores.

Now, Callum could be next up, and given the warm South Atlantic origins of that weather system, it’s worth keeping a close eye too. Where there’s heat and volatility, there can also be a lot of energy too, so it’s a time to keep the forecasts monitored quite diligently.

Apart from the short but very powerful fusillade fired by Ali, September delivered quite a decent mix of weather with a good sprinkling of rainfall well spread out over a number of days.

A fairly dry start to the month also allowed the harvest brigade to get their corn cut in relatively dry conditions although our drought periods during June and July did impact quite adversely on the length of the straw crop, and consequently on its volume as well.

Abbeyknockmoy weather man Brendan Geraghty observed this week, that compared to other parts of the country – most notably in the East, South-East and parts of Munster – Galway and the West of Ireland had enjoyed quite a charmed existence in terms of our weather mix over recent months.

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

Being part of the herd still trumps merits of isolation

Francis Farragher

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

Okay, so I’m not a frontline worker or even close to having ‘a proper job’ but newspapers crept under the umbrella of workplace locations where it was legal to be able to operate from the normal place of employment.  If I had a euro for every time someone said to me: “Sure, you’re sound, you can work from home,” then I’d have enough of cash put away to enjoy a weekend in the sun at places like Roundstone, Bundoran or Killarney.

So, technology and such things as Zoom, have given us the methodology to be able to sit down at some quiet corner of the house where all alone, we can poke away at a keyboard, far removed from the world of real human contact.

There’s even learned studies to show us that by working from home — where this is practical — can lead to a more efficient and productive out from the human unit, where the drudgery of the daily commute is eliminated and office distractions are minimised.

Some employees of modern social media goblins like Twitter will have no choice but to work from home so little nooks and crannies will have to be found for all the service points to find a home such as broadband, hard-drives and maybe even the odd printer.

I’ve been told that this is such an obvious ‘no-brainer’ that I should jump at the opportunity of clicking away from home with the same enthusiasm as a cat pouncing on a mouse who has lost his way. By working from home, there’s no need for the big personal tidy-up each morning or in putting on a shirt and pants that looks vaguely respectable . .  you can potter about the house in your slippers (don’t have any) or your wellies or even in your bare feet if the house is warm and the carpet is new.

Well over five million Americans are now estimated to be working from the so-called comfort of their own homes supposedly saving money every day by not having to buy lunches or coffees or to fork out loads of dollars on gasoline to fuel their previous daily commutes.

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

The strangest of summers takes another curious twist

Francis Farragher

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The late James Last’s Jagerlatein . . . the anthem of an Irish Summer.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

It’s stranger that things seem to be getting this year. There I was on a June Wednesday evening last week having a bit of grub after work when the TV was flicked on and amidst great contrived excitement the first English Premier League match for months was unveiled on Sky.

The feeling was more than a little unusual, something akin to listening to White Christmas or Frosty the Snowman on Midsummer’s Day, but for want of something better to do while the food was being consumed, an eye was thrown on the TV.

The rival combatants were Aston Villa and Sheffield United but for the best part of an hour this was the match where nothing happened . . . well apart that is from the Villa keeper carrying the ball over his own line only for Hawkeye to miss out on the goal because the post and a couple of bodies got in the way.

Playing in front of an empty stadium is probably not easy but on one of the channels, there was the option of adding in sound effects which were plyed with great gusto if the ball came even remotely close to either six-yard box. Here and there though, the producer didn’t get it right, with a massive ‘roar’ from the crowd as the ball trickled harmlessly wide.

I’ve nothing against soccer and for many years soldiered valiantly for my local club St. Bernard’s United but I do have lingering memories of how long – and at times how dreadfully boring – a bad game could be, a cause not helped by playing in goal and especially if your team was on top.

Those damn matches used to seem to go on forever. There was always a half-hour in getting ready when invariably a bootlace would break or a glove would be missing . . . each half always lasted 50 minutes with added-on time . . . while the interval breaks, especially on a cold winter’s day seemed to go for about 10 minutes too long.

But that was us. Junior journeymen in the great world of soccer and no one really expected us to be a Gordon Banks, a Bobby Charlton, a George Best or a Johan Cruyff. We pedalled our wares, did our best, and enjoyed a few scoops after the match.

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 time when many of us just miss saying that last goodbye

Francis Farragher

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

Maybe it’s an age thing, but for want of a better expression, I’m more into funerals than weddings.

We mightn’t do everything right in Ireland but in terms of giving a send-off to our loved ones, I think we tick a lot of the boxes.

Only in the last couple of months has this really hit home to me when the great Irish funeral tradition also fell victim to the coronavirus.

Friends and neighbours who I had known back the years just slipped away from us almost silently and without a hand being shook or a graveyard visited.

Once or twice, I’ve attended funerals in places like England where I always thought there was a coldness and lack of feeling about the final goodbye that was just . . . well pretty bleak.

There is of course no way of dressing up the Grim Reaper in bright clothes but yet there is something consoling for family and friends when a loved one gets a tender and loving send-off.

We all have to stop for death and even if we don’t, as Emily Dickinson put it, he will ‘kindly stop for you’.

Back the years, at the death beds of elderly relatives, I’ve been one of the group that recited Hail Mary after Hail Mary, and it’s a little prayer – even in my less than fertile spiritual periods – that does bring its own solace.

Maybe it goes back to that infant and early childhood link we all had with our mothers but there always seems to be just a little feeling of warmth and consolation in the second half of the prayer: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.”

There’s a sincerity of spirit and solidarity at Irish funerals with a poignant oscillation between joy and utter sadness as the event runs its course.

The playing of a favourite song at the church or graveyard can ignite an explosion of memories, and while the human finality of the occasion can never be overcome, the droplets of consolation from the fountains of friendship most of us can draw from, can be a help.

Over recent weeks – and indeed months now – there have been funerals of neighbours and friends that I (like everyone else) have missed because of the health restrictions.

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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