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Country Living

Learning to cope with all the vicissitudes of Autumn

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Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

We’re into the fading hours of September and although it was quite a benign month (well up until this week at least) with higher-than-average temperatures and not too much by way of rainfall, it always seems to leave a mark in terms of the transition from the season of light into the impending gloom of winter.

True, the swallows haven’t started to gather on the wires yet – probably delaying their journey south because of our warmer spell of weather during the first three weeks of the month – but they’ll too be soon ‘packing their bags’ before their epic flights to South Africa to enjoy a second Summer in the one year.

The ‘visitors’ have speckled parts of my sheds with their trademark droppings, but for all that, they are the most welcome of visitors each Spring, and their aerial manoeuvres through the summer months have been a wondrous sight.

The talk over a pint of plain in the local watering holes has been of the evenings closing in and certain little practicalities must be faced up to, like finding and recharging the torches, while tractor lights seem to mysteriously curl up and die when not in use during the season of sun.

Autumn, or The Fall as it’s known in America, has always seemed to inspire poets and scribes to come up with a mix of melancholia and creativity, that has left its mark on writing down through the centuries.

The English romantic poets like John Keats, who himself departed this world after just 25 autumns, famously wrote of the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, close bosom friend of the maturing sun; conspiring with him how to load and bless, with fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run’.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

It’s taken a while but it’s good to have the simple things back

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

It’s now over 20-months since the news broke in the run-up to Paddy’s Day in March 2020, that the pubs were closing down and that travel restrictions were coming into place while older people were being forced to cocoon at home.

Over the past week or so as I glanced through the paper, it was quite a jolt to read of cases where people were prosecuted for travelling outside their five-kilometre travel zone or for moving outside their own counties.

The fear even seemed to nurture a new breed of zealot who watched out for anyone even giving the impression of committing any minor travel misdemeanour.

It wasn’t uncommon to come across Garda checkpoints on roads big and small who asked the obvious questions of where we were going and how far away, we were from home.

In essence there was a real sense of fear out there. Residents dying alone in isolated nursing homes; elderly people living on their own having to confine any physical movement to their house and garden; those with long-standing chest ailments in living dread of meeting someone that might have the dreaded Covid.

Although it was before my era, it was probably reminiscent of what times were like in Ireland when TB or ‘The Consumption’ as it was known, back in the mid-part of the 20th century, claimed so many lives. As well as being deadly, there was also a kind of unfair stigma attached to the arrival of the disease to the doors of unfortunate families.

That fear and stigma was there too with Covid when talk of a vaccine back in the early months of 2020 only seemed like pie-in-the-sky, a kind of an aspirational hope that might never happen.

I’ve heard stories – and from pretty reliable sources – of elderly parents who passed away in nursing homes during the height of the crisis, in the full belief that their children had forgotten about them or deserted them in their hour of need. Not true of course, but they just weren’t allowed in to see them in their hour of need.

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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CITY TRIBUNE

Living with the ignominy of anonymity on social media

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

Technically, I am on Facebook and Twitter, but I can never seem to quite motivate myself to tell all my virtual friends that my dog has overeaten today; that the cat has disappeared again without a word of explanation; or that the neighbour down the road is driving out in a brand-new car.

At times, I imagine that I’m suffering from some type of serious personality disorder because of my failure to get excited about sharing the most boring details of my daily chores with a cohort of people, some of whose names I am familiar with, while others could have no possible connection to my existence on this planet.

Mind you, I bear no animosity towards those people who want to befriend me via the world of fibre optics and instant communication from any part of the globe, but neither do I harbour any great desire to start up conversations about the banalities of life.

It really is bad enough to have to endure and survive those tribulations every day without having to trouble my newly-acquired set of friends – that I don’t know – with the details of how good or bad my day has been.

I’m sure that there are super ‘shrinks’ out there who will make a case for the virtue of being able to share your daily woes and wonders with those in the world of cyber space, but a thousand Facebook communications (not that I’ll ever make them) just can never compensate me for a face-to-face interaction with an old friend or even a regular verbal sparring partner in the local watering hole, who can jibe me about some alleged minor transgression on my part over recent times.

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 time when Poc ar Buile gave a lift to ailing spirits

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Poc ar Buile

Country Living with Francis Farragher

There are phases of life when individuals seem to transcend the passage of time. In reality of course they don’t, and the Grim Reaper eventually catches up them, but when their lifetime spans through many decades, at times they do give an impressions of always having been around.

I remember when by children were small and there would be the occasional family visit to the local pub which of course at the time had the traditional ‘grocery’ attached to it at the time.

The proprietor, a kindly woman who always gave more than good value when dishing out the sweets to the kids, had been behind the counter through many decades. When the kids were small they used to ask in a kind of mischievous way: “Has Mary been around forever.”

Time does seem to go slower when the early school years are being enjoyed (ground out in my day) but Mary just seemed to have been an everlasting presence in their young lives. When she eventually passed away – very peacefully and quietly in keeping with her manner through life – the kids had of course grown up but the image of the sweet seller (more often a giver than a seller) has never left their mind’s eye.

A couple of weeks back as I watched an RTE Nationwide special on Seán Ó Riada, the same thought crossed my mind when I heard Seán Ó Sé’s rendition of An Poc ar Buile, a song that would put even the most depressed contrarian into a bout of good humour.

It reminded me of a time fadó, fadó (that line is getting increasingly more common in my rambles) during the 1960s when the radio, and most notably Raidió Éireann, were really the only provider of news, entertainment and the odd weather forecast that penetrated into the kitchens of Irish homes. While television had officially arrived in Ireland, in reality, it had only penetrated into a very small number of homes.

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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