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Country Living

Trying to eke out some of the positives from a wearying year

Francis Farragher

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Seeking out little shafts of light at the end of the tunnel.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

It’s not been an easy task, and maybe it’s case of the ‘whistling past the graveyard’ syndrome, but over recent days, I’ve been desperately scratching my head to come up with just 10 positive things that have arisen since ‘the plague’ descended upon us.                                            Maybe it has been the number of times over recent weeks that I’ve experienced spontaneous confessions from normally very stable colleagues that in the throes of what I could only describe as mild depression. Some aren’t sleeping properly . . . others are mildly hallucinating about just a few pints with friends in the locals . . . and others just want to go somewhere – anywhere.

So, my list of 10 positives out of Covid, is predicated on something of a myth. Like the rest of the population, I’m at my wits end to keep my conscious mind above the sanity survival level, but over the course of five or six hundred words, the aim is to somehow pretend, or even trick ourselves into believing, that there are some good things to be extracted from the pit of Covid despair. I’ll even try to ignore any mention of recent AstraZeneca problems.

  1. We are tending to have money in our pockets

Yes, the reality has hit home for most of us who enjoy a couple of pints in the local, that it is quite an expensive little pastime even if we can’t put a price on its therapeutic value. The overdraft limit in the days before pay-day now hasn’t been threatened with a breach for the best part of a year, but again I feel that I may be tempting fate. New furniture is arriving and a tractor clutch has decided to pack up as if to say to me, ‘that it you don’t spend the lucre one way, then you’ll spend it another’. But yes, there’s a lot less been spent on items like booze, diesel, the odd restaurant sojourn, shoes and clothes. As for the need for cash in your pocket, it seems to be a thing of the past.

  1. Less traffic and shorter journey times to work

I’m still one of those commuters making the daily trip into the city for work but instead of the normal 40 to 50 minutes, to complete the journey, this has now slipped down to almost half. This doesn’t mean I’m driving any faster – in fact the opposite – I’ve slowed down a lot. But the traffic snarl-ups are now few and far between, and there’s also a realisation that the ‘old road option’ – as distinct from the motorway – is a lot shorter and far more efficient as far as fuel consumption is concerned.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

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.

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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