Old Fashioned Shopping

I am beginning to think I am a complete freak in this crazy world as I don’t engage in online shopping. I would prefer to do without than buy stuff online and haven’t brought a stitch of clothing for months and months since the Covid issue became such a thing.

I love small shops where the owners and assistants know how to talk and be helpful without being over-bearing. And, how can anywhere beat a real, live bookshop or sports shop?

I only ever shopped for groceries online once and hated the fact that I had to deal with someone else’s idea of a ‘greenish’ banana and a ‘hard’ pear.

Yes, I’m old-fashioned but mind you I passed an online computer exam today that has been part of my Covid projects.

Are you an onliner or a real shopper?

Dear Co. Waterford …

Dear Co. Waterford,

You deserve a thank you letter because you have been incredibly kind to me throughout my life.

I know I left you for longish periods and had love affairs with Co. Louth and Dublin but you never left my heart.

Those first years of my life that I spent here were magical and you introduced me to the sea and the mountains as well as places full of history and antiquity. You also taught me the meaning of belonging and having a sense of identity as a person from this most stunning county that has remained relatively unspoiled.

The Copper Coast

Your allure meant that we never lost touch and came back on holidays every year to make sure our connection was never lost.

I fought hard to persuade hubby to move here when we got married because I knew that you brought me a greater level of health and happiness than anywhere else in the world.

Garrarus, Co. Waterford

Some people long to travel the world but my joy is in travelling your country roads, especially those high above the sea for all the miles and miles of coastline you offer. And how lovely it is to climb into the mountains and take in the vistas all around.

Mahon Falls

Your jewels, for me, include Mount Congreve Gardens, Lord Waterford’s, Curraghmore, and the picturesque villages and towns like Dunmore East, Annestown, Lismore, Stradbally and, of course, my beloved Tramore.

Tramore Beach

You are a county that has lots of pride but humility. You love your sport and sportspeople as well as musicians and creative people from all genres.

I’m glad you haven’t changed too much since I was a child as I love the continuity you bring.

Viaduct, Kilmacthomas

Thanks again for being such a support all these years and I am really looking forward to being able to travel your length and breadth from Wednesday on after the 5km Covid restriction.

Love you always,

River Blackwater, Lismore

Jx

One Puck at a Time

As some of you may know, I am a staunch Waterford hurling supporter – hurling is one of Ireland’s national games and is arguably the fastest team sport in the world.

Anyway, last night Waterford beat our neighbors, Kilkenny, to make it to the All-Ireland Final in two weeks time.

It was a game of two halves. Waterford were dire in the first half and then got into full flow in the second half, playing like men possessed.

Kilkenny are the masters in this sport over the decades and Waterford haven’t won an All-Ireland since 1959.

Being in the final is one thing but there is an absolute yearning to go one better and win the Championship. It certainly won’t be easy, that’s for sure but this is a Waterford team driven by passion, hard work and inspiration from legendary players of the past who should have All-Ireland medals.

It was such a tense affair last night that I certainly couldn’t watch it on TV but huddled in the kitchen listening to it on local radio. My sprint into Waterford fanatic son and Waterford convert hubby at full-time would have done justice to an Olympic champion not to talk of a winger in hurling.

So there’s a lovely glow over this precious county of mine this morning but we all now need to gather our energies and reserves for the game that lies between us and All-Ireland glory. There will be no mad rush for tickets as games are played behind closed doors at present due to the pandemic.

Listening to the radio commentary reminds me of how my father used to tell me of how radio sets would be placed on window sills in his youth so that the people could listen to games unfold in an era when even radios were relatively uncommon.

Just after the final whistle, I got a text from Big Bro, also very much Waterford but now living in Dublin. It simply said:

Well done Waterford!

He’s in it for the long haul too and both of us have vivid memories of what it meant to our father when his beloved Co. Clare finally clinched the Championship in 1995 after a lifetime waiting.

Hope springs eternal and all the very best to the Waterford lads as they regroup after a battle and a half yesterday.

Deise Abu

Santa’s Clearance

It was wonderful to hear our Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, making a statement from the Dail (Irish Parliament) yesterday about Santa being designated as an essential worker this year and being allowed to travel freely.

The Minister has a helluva lot on his mind these days with Brexit negotiations at a crucial stage and all the uncertainty that brings on top of Covid-related issues, not to mention all the other stuff he has responsibility for.

But, we all needed absolute clarity about Santa. No dithery dithers because Santa is super special in terms of lending stability and continuity in a very uncertain world.

I’m just so thankful that all that is sorted out nice and early. I don’t believe in getting into Christmas mode until Christmas week but Santa is an exception. Santa always was and always will be an exception.

Raw Talent

There is something wondrous about witnessing raw talent unfold and, for me, Diego Maradona was one of the most talented sportspersons of my time. His thrilling play had me absolutely memerised, especially during the World Cup in 1986, when I watched all of Argentina’s matches with complete awe on my little black and white television in my bedsit in Dublin. Pure bliss to behold.

I cried, like so many others when I heard of his death the other day.

They were tears of sadness, gratitude and remembrance of what was a very special time that can never be re-lived. I am so glad I took the opportunity back then to watch a master in full electrifying flow.

I honestly don’t know how I could cope if any terribleness befell two other raw talents I truly admire: Roger Federer and legend of Waterford hurling, John Mullane.

Litter Lout

I am in a fury as I write this so bear with me.

I was coming out the gate of our house when a group of teenaged boys came by on their way home from school. One of them drained a big tin of soft drink and fired it into my flower bed. He spotted me just as he’d let fly but pretended he hadn’t seen me. I shouted after him: ‘Hey, hey, would you like to come back and pick that up?’ He and his cronies looked around but ignored me and sauntered on.

I could cry over the episode. I was brought up to never, ever be a litter lout no matter what. Litter was for a public bin or to be brought home. My schoolbag was always full of rubbish but that was okay.

I probably should have thundered after the young fella and somehow forced him to do the right thing but I wasn’t sure if there would have been terrible consequences. I have a temper that knows no bounds and taking on 6 or 7 youths could have been problematic.

Now that I am calming a bit, I think I would have got the message across without any bother because these guys would never have seen anything like the madwoman I become when riled.

What would you have done?

Tense

I was rummaging around in a few boxes today and came across a notebook from eight years ago. I was surprised to find a poem in it that I can’t remember writing. Here it is:

TENSE
Live in the past
Isn't that what old men do?
And old women leaning 
backwards as youth moves on?

The past is certain.
It has happened either
within or beyond our
dreams, control, constraints.

We can visit the past
like an old sloppy jumper
and wrap ourselves in
its fading colours and familiarity.

The past links our present
with tugging arms, pulling 
in all directions ~ fleeting
smiles, sodden tears, banalities

that ebb and flow soaking
our memories, watering our 
imaginations, flooding it with
lessons, regrets, voices.

And where is the future?
Can we live in a land
of hope or is this a 
tapestry yet to be woven?

Tenses are just that-
tense - passive, active,
imperfect, pluperfect.
I was, I am, I will be,

or maybe, I didn't when  
I should have; I might 
have but I stood in 
the moment for too long.

I'm  in the moment now
gazing at the moon and stars.
This is my present and where
I want to be; but am I

suspended here as the 
world drives on ~ not 
in a white Volkswagon Beetle

but in a tiny stream 
drifting down from the 
mountains to meet the
ever waiting sea.

Jean Tubridy


Love Poetry

I have a thing about love poems and spend quite a bit of time perusing collections in the hope of finding even more gems than I have already encountered.

E.E. Cummings is one of my all time favourite poets and I delight in the way he plays around with grammatical conventions. This poem caught my eye today and really lifted my heart. I wondered how a conventional English teacher would react if a pupil submitted a poem like this on a Monday morning as an an assignment on the topic of love.

[love is more thicker than forget] 

love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail

it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea

love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky

E.E. Cummings

Bafflement

There’s lots of things I can’t fathom and these are just three:

#1. How can people walk/run by the sea or deep in the country with earphones in? For me the sounds of nature are magnificent and I could never imagine anything being more soothing, motivating or entertaining.

#2. Why do people flock to beauty spots when they are packed? That’s the very time I avoid them. I would much prefer to see a place of beauty, like the Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare when it is damp and drizzly and not full of swarms of people than to be surrounded by a ‘maddening crowd.’

#3. How can people be so fixated on Christmas gatherings that they are prepared to risk spreading Covid like wild fire? Is this to do with nostalgia or short-sightedness or …..