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Country Living

Pessimistic vibes about trying to be an optimist

Francis Farragher

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

I’m kind of worn out with every Tom, Dick and Harry telling me that I should have a more positive and optimistic outlook on life’s travails. This optimism ‘kick’ is kind of hard work especially on days like we had last Friday when the lashing rain reduced by motorway by at least 20km/h to 100km/h such was the intensity of the rainfall.

We did get a bit of a raw deal this August. All of the meteorology buffs tell us that out eighth month is the last one of the Summer, but this time around August made it very clear to us all that it wanted nothing whatsoever to do with the Summer season. By the middle of the month it had plunged into the midst, and mists, of the Autumn season.

Despite a reasonably settled routine of sleep, it is that little bit harder to maintain the same ‘get-up’ time when the mornings start to close in and when a 6.15 curtain pull reveals a very grey and gloomy backdrop on an eastern sky. As the saying goes: “it’s probably all in the head”, but once the change in the seasons arrive, the snooze button on the phone alarm clock tends to get pressed that bit more often.

Of course, there is a medically well documented condition known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which is now estimated to affect one out of every 15 people to different degrees, or something that we might more commonly refer to as the ‘Winter blues’.

This condition is practically non-existent in what we might call ‘Middle-Earth’ namely those latitudes with 30 degrees of the Equator, where daylight hours are long, constant and bright. But as you push further north and south, the prevalence of the SAD syndrome increases dramatically during the Autumn and Winter periods of the southern and northern hemispheres.

The trick is of course is to bottle this thing they call optimism and we can all help to do this by listing out all the things that are good in our lives like family, health, a modest level of income over expenditure (now that’s a tricky one), and probably not worrying too much about the things that we will never be able to change.

We have the old health rhyme well off by this stage: don’t smoke, drink less alcohol, eat healthy food, take regular exercise, laught a bit more, and don’t get into a tizzy when a driver hogs the outside lane of the motorway while never passing 100km/h. All kind of basic stuff. For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

A fair deal is needed to help save rural Ireland

Francis Farragher

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Rural isolation remains a huge challenge.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

Maybe it goes back to the old terminology that prevailed when I first set foot in a pre-fabricated classroom in Tuam CBS many moons ago. Back then there were two classes of people – the townies and the buffs, the latter being those of us who travelled in from rural areas to further our education.

There was many’s the initial scrape – even scrap – between the country urchins and the townies, some of whom refused to believe that a world existed past the railway bridge on the Athenry Road edge of the town.

After a while though, we all settled down to a large extent with our little and mostly imaginary barriers between our two classes eventually broken down. The townies and the buffs even became good friends in many cases.

And yet, there are those of us who love to live in the country where that feeling of space and freedom can never be replaced by the services and facilities of a larger town or city.

Conversely, there are city folk who could never contemplate that sense of isolation and being away from the bus-stop around the corner; the supermarket that just a few minutes away; or the choice of restaurants that’s within a stone’s throw of their house.

Both ways of life have their intrinsic merits but probably the one that’s now facing the greatest challenge is the rural way of life as more and more post offices, local shops, Garda stations and pubs close their doors.

There’s also the influence of online shopping where practically anything can be bought without leaving your computer screen as compared to traipsing into your local town and village and purchasing from your local shop.

The demise of the rural pub has also had a hugely negative impact on the social interchange that used to occur on a weekend and often nightly basis as farmers and neighbours enjoyed a chat and banter while consuming a pint or two.

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

Can the printed word survive in tech world of instant news?

Francis Farragher

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A Titanic newspaper story of the early 20th century.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

I suppose that I am from an era where newspapers were always part of the weekly literary diet in our house. As a child the Tuam Herald could never be missed; the Connacht Tribune would have been a more intermittent purchase; while my father had a little penchant for the Evening Herald during the 1960s when it often opted for the quirkier type of news items.

There used to be talk of the odd heathen here and there who had access to The News of the World and very occasionally a second-hand copy of that publication would find its way into our kitchen, hidden away but not well enough to avoid the curious eyes of a 10-year-old on the verge of prurience.

The News of the World did have coverage of all the big soccer matches across the water but of course all the saucy stuff was contained in the front and inside pages where the low morals and the fetish ways of our UK cousins were exposed in ‘glorious’ black and white.

Now and then, there was even talk of the local Parish Priest having got word of this ‘rag’ being sent by post to a particular house and having a ‘little chat’ with the purchaser about the moral error of his ways. Maybe it was the postman who ‘spilled the beans’ but at least in one instance, word had it, that the clerical intervention did not work and was robustly fended off.

One way or another since the time of the French Revolution (and before), newspapers – or the Fourth Estate – have been part of our lives, and for some of us, who ply our trade in the printed word – and made a half-decent living out of it – there are of course growing concerns over whether newspapers can survive the technology avalanche of instant news, information and images.

Old-fogies like myself would like to believe that newspapers can survive into the future, and when I have the time, there is nothing more I enjoy than sitting down and enjoying reading a good story, a decent gripe, a column that stirs the senses, or maybe a descriptive piece about a great sporting occasion.

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

Nothing like a good storm to focus the minds of a country

Francis Farragher

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Eyre Square, Galway city, in the aftermath of Hurricane Debbie (Sept. 16, 1961).

Country Living with Francis Farragher

There is probably nothing to compare with a major weather event when it comes to focusing the minds of a nation on a single topic. Up until two weeks ago, the name Lorenzo wouldn’t have meant much to the vast majority of the Irish population but within a matter of days, it was the most uttered word on the lips of the country’s population. And then it blew off in the middle of the night with barely a whimper when most of us were solidly in the world of nod!

Great storms are nothing to new of course but ironically one of the reasons that they stick in our minds so much is that broadly speaking they are a relatively infrequent event, which is not the case with our friends in the Caribbean or along the east coast of the USA. Thankfully we do tend to avoid the extremes in terms of weather events, and only very infrequently, do we find ourselves on the hurricane trail. Winter storms are of course a different matter but on the whole, they lack the punch of the hurricanes, who have souped-up engines due to their high energy origins in warm sea water off the West African coastline.

The hurricane path during the early Autumn season in the Northern Hemisphere is determined by the trade winds that blow east to west across the Atlantic, sweeping the tropical storms with them until they tend to blow out over land when reaching the Caribbean islands or the south-eastern coast of the USA. Here and there – but thankfully not too often – the hurricanes do something of a U-turn in the mid-Atlantic and instead of proceeding westward, take aim for our shores. This is exactly what happened with Lorenzo last week and probably the most famous – or should that be infamous – U-turn of all, was Hurricane Debbie, which hit our shores on the Saturday of September 16, 1961.

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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