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Country Living

Just the humblest of wishes to be allowed splash again

Francis Farragher

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Did Covid really require the shutting down of every swimming pool across the country?

Country Living with Francis Farragher

I seem to be freewheeling into that world of the old curmudgeon and contrarian as the years pass by and feel that I could have a part to play in any future series of that wonderful little BBC series, Grumpy Old Men.

There’s a kind of a limit or ceiling that I’ve hit in relation to Covid restrictions and the way that they have so obtrusively intruded into every aspect of our daily lives.

At the start, I bemoaned things like the closing of the local watering hole and the absence of a couple of pints when a day’s toil was completed, but gradually we’ve become accustomed to those minor disruptions.

Now, if I could only go out and buy a pair of shoes – and don’t tell me to purchase online because the size would surely be wrong – or even a few summer T-shirts without having to be looking over my shoulder, that would be close enough to some kind of humble happiness.

Over the years, I’ve become a fan of swimming, ever since a Mullingar consultant advised me to take up the practice, after a lot of lingering, football-related back problems had begun to take their toll.

Since then, over the years, I’ve been able to grind out 30, 40 or maybe even 50 lengths of the local pool – not at any great pace mind you – made all the more noticeable by the young ‘dolphins’ gliding by at high speed without raising a splash.

So, back to the contrarian theme. One of the truly inestimable benefits of regular swimming has been the therapuetic impact it has on joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons.

The magic of water-based exercises is that you stretch out and loosen all those tightening parts of the body without putting them under any undue friction stresses, as one might do when jogging on a hard road surface.

Swimming, I’ve always found too, has been good for that space between the ears. It’s a mind settler and once the hassle of togging-out and togging-in has been overcome, the exercise, and its aftermath feeling of wellbeing, does have a settling impact on the mind.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
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Country Living

Benjy’s passing breaks a link with far more innocent times

Francis Farragher

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Moira Deady (Mary Riordan), Tom Hickey (son Benjy) and Biddy White Lennon (Maggie, wife of Benjy) at a Riordans' reunion in 2009. All three are now deceased.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

For those of us of a certain generation the news earlier this month wasn’t of actor Tom Hickey having passed away, rather it was ‘that Benjy was dead’.

A most accomplished thespian he was acclaimed on all of the theatrical platforms – television, stage and film – but for those of us who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, Tom Hickey would always be the young, ambitious and sometimes amorous farmer from the village of Leestown in The Riordans.

It all started out in the era of black-and-white television in the mid-1960s, that’s if your house was lucky enough to have an old Philips, Bush or Pye set in the corner of the kitchen, whether it be bought or rented. (Remember the jingle – ‘oldies only’: “RTV have the sets and the service, so rent from RTV.”

If not, of course, there was always the option of the visit to a house down the road, where people of a friendly disposition, didn’t mind, regular weekly gatherings of young and old to watch a match or their favourite programme on ‘the box’.

Benjy Riordan’s travails ranged from trying to establish some kind of influence in the running of the family farm which was firmly under the control of his father Tom, aka John Cowley, to seducing his long-time romantic interest, namely Maggie Nael, played by Biddy White Lennon.

It goes without saying that it was a very different Ireland back then with Benjy’s often clumsy moves at ‘stealing a kiss’ from Maggie likely to be the subject of an outcry from Church, State or even local councillors.

I remember one particular episode – if memory serves me right, it involved a ‘bit of kissing’ between Benjy and Maggie in the bushes – where the incident took up a major chunk of time at a meeting of Tuam Town Commissioners.

This was still an era of so-called high morals when even the remotest hint of any sexual advances towards a female of the species from a bubbly male on Irish TV was quite certain to spark off an outcry from the usual suspects.

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

The perils and pitfalls of asking for that first dance

Francis Farragher

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

I’m told by those of a different generation that there are many innovative ways in today’s technological world to meet ‘the one’ whether it be on Facebook, Twitter or dating sites like Tinder, but some of the more old-fashioned contact methods are still surviving.

Here and there – and I hope it’s not out of any serious sense of voyeurism – I’m inclined to glance at the Getting in Touch page of the Irish Farmers Journal, where for the princely sum of €25, you can state your case to the world in terms of locating that perfect partner.

The fact that someone is willing to fork out €25 – the rates go up substantially if you want to be included in the response category – must mean that the contributors are essentially genuine, and it probably goes to show that there are quite a lot of lonely people out there. And this, despite all our gadgets that keep us in touch with all corners of the globe.

I just love the little abbreviations used in the ‘come and get me’ ads like N/S, S/D, GSOH and WLTM which I think that I have figured out. N/S is non-smoker, S/D is social drinker (I think), GSOH is good sense of humour and WLTM is would like to meet.

Last week, there was a lady (41) from Laois who ‘stated her case’ on the basis that she was re-evaluating her life’s priorities due to the impact of the Covid-19 situation.

She was a bit worried about her height (5 foot) but had no dependents – apart from her dog – and she wanted a man with a good work ethic who ‘is self-sufficient, good at conversations and knows his way around the house’.

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

Tough task of keeping that rusty wheelbarrow on the go

Francis Farragher

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In memory of a rusty old wheelbarrow.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

It’s kind of strange at times the things we have fond memories of. I remember an old wheelbarrow that we had on the farm that didn’t even have a pumped tyre, just a hard core of rubber that of course had the advantage of being non-deflatable: the downside though was a distinct lack of flexibility, especially noticeable if a heavier load had to be wheeled along bumpy tracks.

Every four or five years at home, there might be a mention of getting a new wheelbarrow, as bit by bit, the old one gradually began to fall asunder – in the end being held together by a maze of rusty wires and binder twine. It put up a great battle though, before eventually having to be scrapped, giving way to a gleaming pump wheel model bought straight out of the box. The equivalent of a new iPhone arriving nowadays!

Here and there, when some old stay in the wheelbarrow would sunder, my father would remark: “Sure what can you expect, it’s as ould as the hills.” That wry observation still didn’t put any great hurry on him to buy a new one but still we all lamented greatly the passing of the old workhorse.

As we move on in life, we’re probably all a bit like the old wheelbarrow, in need of more bits of string and wire, as we try to keep the old wheel turning, but one of the gifts – and nightmares – of the times we live, is the great world of instant information.

If we’re waiting in a doctor’s surgery, or worse still, lying in a hospital bed all we have to do is to click a few buttons on our mobiles and come up with the most technical of self-diagnoses. From sore heels to dodgy knees to temperamental hips and moody gall bladders, all the information is there at our fingertips. After a while, we all get to know the more reliable websites so by the time we sit on the doctor’s couch we are armed with a wealth of medical knowledge . . . well sort of.

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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