My heart always goes out to youngsters at the start of the new school year. These three lads passed me the other day on their way home from school on one of the hottest days of the year. (How is it that the sun starts to beat down the minute term begins?)

Homeward Bound

It’s only when I look at the photo now that I see that they all seem to be engrossed in what I suspect to be their phones. What a contrast to the chatter-chatter-chatter that I associate with cycles to and from school when I was their age ~ everything from cribbing about teachers, grousing about homework, planning a trip to the pictures and, of course, comparing notes about the boys in the other school in town.

The other moment of contrast came when I heard a group of parents on the radio recently talking about how wonderful it was that the kids were back in school and that they (the parents) could have their lives back. They relished the return to the routine and having precious hours to themselves.

All I could do was think back to the sinking feeling I always had when son, Harry’s holidays came to an end; and indeed, my mother and and I waving tearful ‘goodbyes’ to my brother and sister as father drove them back to their respective boarding schools at the end of the holidays. Those were the days when there was no such thing as ‘five day boarders.’ Rather, the terms felt interminable and the time from the end of the Summer holidays to the few days off a Halloween seemed like an absolute age.

Having heard all about boarding school from the other two, I decided to stay put at home and even did the cycling (three miles each way)  for lunch everyday to take the harm out of school.

Have times changed as much as they seem to? Am I just a nostalgic old dinosaur?





The Signal Box

Railway stations stretch my mind. They are places of comings, goings, waitings, quietude, hecticity and evokers of emotion.

I was waiting at Waterford Station last night to collect son, Harry, off the Dublin train and, as always, my eyes were drawn to the timber clad signal box which dates back to 1906.

Signal Box
The Signal Box, Plunkett Station, Waterford City. 

It’s almost impossible to think of all the trains, passengers, railway staff, people waiting to collect passengers or wave them goodbye who have been watched over by this distinctive building up on its metal support frame.

Similarly, how many people, like me, have a whole mixum-gatherum of memories that seem to live in this signal box which opens up each time they have occasion to be in around the station or simply passing by for fleeting moments.

Little did I ever imagine when I was being collected by my father at the station as a teenager, that one day I would be collecting a ‘child’ of mine!

It was only when I was driving into the station last night, after shrugging off hubby’s offer to go instead, that I remembered how my mother used to stress how much Father loved collecting us because he got to hear all the news on the drive back out to Tramore.

I nearly turned back to ‘let’ hubby go but it was just a nearly!