Last of Summer Time, 2020

Our clocks fall back tonight so it will be that much darker tomorrow evening.

I usually try to hang onto the precious hour of light but this year, I think I will try and embrace the darkness of the evenings and focus more on the light of morning.

So making the very most of every last ray of light this evening and looking forward to greeting a new dawn tomorrow.

Ireland: Lockdown 2, Day 1

Ireland began a new country-wide Level 5 lockdown for 6 weeks at midnight as Covid cases have been spiralling upwards.

The sun is blazing outside and thankfully we can exercise within 5km of home.

It’s desperately tough on many people and my thoughts are very much with those who are feeling bereft, anxious, lonely and vulnerable.

Right now, I feel like one of the lucky ones but know there will be moments of darkness lurking in the weeks ahead.

I feel that nature and the arts are going to be vital and was thrilled when a parcel of books arrived in the post yesterday from my big brother who knows way better than most how to keep me buoyant.

So, I leave you with a few lines from Sheenagh Pugh’s poem, ‘Sometimes’:

Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you.

Betrayal of my Sisters?

There is a huge amount of talk here in Ireland about the impact of Covid on the experience of childbirth. The key issue is that husbands and partners are not allowed in for scans and only for a very brief period at the end of labour.

I feel like I should be very much on the side of the couples who feel they are being deprived and also empathising with the women who are feeling alone and wishing they had support. But, I can’t seem to push in behind them.

Maybe, I have gone old and cold and recall taking it fully for granted that I would attend all my scans on my own. It never entered anyone’s head that hubby would be there and I knew I would just have to cope with whatever news emerged. Mercifully, it was all positive about the baby, though I was basically put to bed for the last three months due to high blood pressure and banned from driving or taking anything but a very small amount of exercise. Work was also ruled out.

I know this isn’t a competition but the people I feel most sorry for are elderly people, living alone or in nursing homes especially those who have levels of dementia that has them terrified without being able to see family and being all panic-stricken and feeling abandoned.

As for older people who get Covid and find themselves cut off in hospital. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

Yes, I probably am showing my age. Are you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quotable Quotes

My father always had books of quotes and wit near to hand and it’s something I have inherited.

Here are a few quotes from Samuel Beckett that have been entertaining me this evening:

What is that unforgettable line?

Probably nothing in the world arouses more false hope than the first four hours of a diet

When you’re in the shit up to your neck, there’s nothing left to do but sing.

Words are the clothes thoughts wear.

Library Liberation

Pubic Libraries in Ireland have changed utterly in the last few years and I am now totally in love with them.

As a child, I used to be terrified about all things library, especially of getting into what seemed like awful pickles with librarians over being late back with a book, having spilt some ink on a load of absorbent pages, left the book lying around so that a puppy had a good chew on it, not whispering low enough …..

Now, the fines have been abolished  AND books are borrowed and returned using a self-service gadget.

The librarians are incredibly helpful and seem young and even hippyish.

I wonder has it all really changed or have I just got a bit older.  If the same transformation could only happen with dentists, I’d be away on a hack. They have got younger and smilier  but no self-service gadgets yet!

 

 

 

Waving

Ireland is a great country for people waving at each other but it is extremely nuanced.

There’s the little flick of the finger off the steering wheel from the tractor driver to acknowledge the fact that you’ve got well out of his way with his heavy load of hay or whatever.

There’s the mad waving out of cars when families spot friends or relations walking on the pavement.

There’s the codified wave from the postman on the days he has no post for us. He knows I prefer no post as post these days tends to be bills and forms and all officialdom.

There’s my waving up at the rescue helicopter that is based nearby. I’m all squinty looking up but wave with all my might in thanksgiving for their hard work and willingness to give their all in trying to bring people to safety.

There’s proper full arm waves from some particular friends who really know how to make one feel special.

Really, human waves are almost as varied and diverse as the waves of my precious ocean.

 

My Ireland

I have been really bad at keeping my blogging going this last while. It’s not that there’s anything getting in the way of it. Rather, I feel a bit inhibited because I am acutely aware that everyone is being affected very differently by Covid19 right across the world and many are suffering terribly.

My Ireland is doing okay but we’re treading very carefully as there was a horrible rise in the infection number yesterday after what seemed like a very good outlook.

This morning, as July comes to a close, I am looking out at thick fog and heavy rain. I totally accept Irish weather because it’s what gives us our greenery and as life moves on I feel that sunshine is a state of mind and heart and not just weather-related.

The sun shines for me when life is calm and those I love are healthy and happy. What good is a bright sunny day when one’s heart is heavy.

So, wherever you are, I hope there is sunshine in your heart and, if not, I hope you can see that storms do pass eventually.

Take care,

J

The Anne Valley, Co. Waterford

Changing Times

I find it very difficult to get my head around the extent to which life has changed since I was a child.

This whole issue came into focus over the last few weeks when all the talk here in Ireland was about the fundamental need to get childcare services and schools open so that the economy could open up again.

It brought me back to my school days and the memory I have of one day, yes just one day, that I had to stay in school for lunch because Mother wasn’t going to be at home.

Imagine, she was there every day with lunch ready and full of interest in hearing about all the news from the mornings’ happenings at school.

She was of a generation who was legally barred from working after she got married. She resented that imposition but certainly didn’t take it out on us.

I was of a generation when women weren’t banned from working BUT I wanted to be here for young son, as much possible, during his school years so worked from home and at night. Clearly, this wasn’t ideal in terms of enhancing my career but something in me just couldn’t have a situation where I would hardly see our young son or have him spending hours in after school care settings, which I would have absolutely hated as a kid.

Life seems to have changed so much and economics demands that both parents work to try and cover costs. I just wonder if we, as a society, have done the right thing. Should schools be essentially childminding services?  Have we put material things ahead of caring, for both young and old?

Is there any chance that a bit of silver lining from this horrendous pandemic will be a reassessment of what we are doing, why we are doing it and whether there are better options for all involved in the complexity that is ‘family,’ ‘economy,’ ‘rights,’ equality’ and ‘loving care?’