Monthly Archives: July 2016

Just a Memory

Back in the Day in Broadford.
Delighted to have an article in this week’s issue of Ireland’s Own. Remember the hay floats, wynds and patient horses in the sixties? If you do, the story will take you back down memory lane. Of course, it also means you’re a wee bit older than you might like to believe!

Mary Angland Author's photo.
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A Summer of Discontent.

Well, Peggy’s having the life of Reilly. Not only is she back home, complete with fitted boot and a pair of brand new crutches but twice a week, she’s carted off to the hospital for physio in a taxi paid for by the HSE. On top of that, whenever I look out the window, there’s always one of her cronies from the Senior Citizens Group or The ladies Club, popping in to keep her up to date with all the latest gossip. I’ve even seen Lourda Kennefick sidling in the door. I do not know how Peggy puts up with her, that woman would personally drive me into a Home for the Bewildered, if I had to entertain her for more than five minutes at any given time.

No, Peggy’s fine. It’s Dolores we’re worried about now. She simply refuses to talk about it. You know, IT!  If you remember, in the early hours of the morning, down at A&E, the quietness of the hour seemed to have loosened her tongue and she only goes and admits to a totally gobsmacked  Bridie and myself that she and that cabóg Mick, haven’t actually, you know, done it, since St. Patrick’s Day, 2011. Before we could get our senses together to actually ask her any questions, we’re interrupted by the doctor telling us that Peggy’s going to be ok. So the moment to tackle Dolores is lost because when we get back to interrogating her, we find she’s clammed up completely and refuses to say another word. In fact, she acts as if she’s never opened her mouth and said anything at all. And that’s the way it’s been since. The woman is in utter denial about the issue and is carrying on as if the whole thing never happened. (The revelation, the revelation! Shure, by now, the whole village knows the sex hasn’t happened)

Once Bridie got over the shock, she began to find the whole thing hilarious. So she only goes off and tells half the village of Sugar Hill. Well, to be fair, I suppose, she only goes and tells Lourda, but that really amounts to much the same thing. I mean, when Lourda heard it, she was only hyperventilating, with the sheer thrill of getting one over on Dolores. So now everyone in the village and beyond, is looking at the two and sniggering away behind their hands at Mick and feeling sorry for Dolores. But then, it gets worse because one of the lads, working below at Kielys Monumental Sculptures, only starts slagging Mick at the pub the other night. Telling him that it’s not a good idea to get out of practice and that he’d want to start putting in a bit of serious training as it’s well-nigh time he and Dolores got back into the swing of things again and maybe it’s a bit of viagra is all he needs… Well, Mick got into such a temper that he almost had to be pulled off your man before he completely killed him and ended up being barred from the pub for a fortnight.

In the meantime, Dolores is putting all that bottled up energy to some really constructive use and is in rehearsals for the Munster Sean Nós Dancing Finals. They’re to be held down at the Singing Donkey Lounge Bar in the village sometime next month and contestants are coming from all over the province to take part. The rivalry is something fierce with Dolores swearing that if that woman from Cahirsiveen dances off with the title again this year, she’s not only going to lodge an objection with the Sean Nós Council or some such body but she’s going to do a serious injury to your wan from Cahirsiveen.  (I didn’t even know there was such a body as a Sean Nós Council that one could go objecting to) Bridie then only has to go and get her spoke in by saying that the Kerry woman is no more from Cahirsiveen than the man in the moon, that she’s far too mountainy looking to be from anywhere, but the back of beyonds, like the Black Valley or something. In fact, she says she’s not fully convinced that woman is a woman at all – which of course, only winds Dolores up to high dow so now she’s only ten times more paranoid than she was when she started. Peggy tells me later in a confidential whisper that there’s very bad blood between the Kerry wan and Dolores because twice in a row, she’s only gone and wiped Dolores’s face in it by winning the Munster Cup by a whisker.  Jesus, as if I hadn’t picked that up already. Anyway, Dolores wants us all to go down to the pub on the night to support her. Marilyn is a bit dubious and says that if it’s going to be anything like the carry on that took place last year, she’s definitely not going. After all, she says with a sniff, she’s got Ollie’s(her husband) position in the community to think about.  Ollie’s position in the community! I mean, the man is a social welfare officer, for Christ’s sake. I honestly don’t know where Marilyn gets these cracked notions from.

I have to give Dolores credit though. She’s one seriously committed woman. Wine, red bull, vodka, in fact, all alcohol is completely cut from her diet. So is every form of sweet and dessert and she’s only been eating fruit and tofu salads for the past fortnight. Mick is only going mad because he’s strictly a steak, potato and two veg man. He’s ranting and raving to whoever will listen, that eating rabbit food and bushes morning, noon and night is physical and emotional abuse, and pure shite food to be putting up in front of any real man.

A real man, Mick! Jeez!

Vanessa.

PS: Marilyn is just after arriving in now to say that Mick is not talking to Dolores because she let the cat out of the bag about the sex thing, Dolores isn’t talking to Bridie because she blabbed to Lourda and none of them, obviously, is talking to that big-mouthed accent on legs, Lourda. It looks like we could be facing into a very long summer.

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Peggy’s Leg and the New Rastafarian.

Phew! Praise the Lord, but Peggy, against all the odds, has managed to hold onto the leg. She’s inside there now in the Regional hospital, in a mixed ward, like royalty, being waited on, hand and foot. Bridie is worried, in case she’ll get so fond of having everything done for her, that she’ll expect the same treatment when she’s finally allowed to return home. If she is, Bridie says, she’s going to be one very disappointed woman. I was a bit dubious about the mixed ward business at first and mentioned it to Marilyn to see what she thought about it. Well, she looked at me as if I had three heads and said nothing for a minute. Then, she only throws her eyes to heaven and asks me, real slowly, as if I’m intellectually challenged, if I’ve noticed the average age of the patients, both men and women, in St. Bridget’s ward? Well, actually no, I can’t say I have, not being the most observant of people. Anyway, she doesn’t give me a chance to say anything, but informs me that, as far as she can make out, it has to be about 74. She’s probably right, after all, Marilyn is the youngest of us and has, so far, excellent eyesight so, if she says 74, it’s sure to be, well, 74.
‘For Christ’s sake,’ she says ‘that woman must be eighty, if she’s a day.’ There are times when Marilyn reminds me very strongly of Hamlet – you know, that supercilious, morally conservative high ground, tone? Remember, Hamlet was the one who lays into his mother for being sex mad. The arrogant bastard only goes and tells her that her ‘age, the heyday in the blood is cooled’ or some such balderdash. Obviously, she’s supposed to just sort of slip around chastely, until she’s whipped off to the Great Beyond – which is, one presumes, a totally sex free zone.
But where was I? Oh yes, Peggy and the mixed ward. I just know Marilyn is wrong to assume that, because one is in one’s late seventies (like Peggy) that all one wants to do is lie down and die. There’s plenty life in Peggy still, because every time I’ve been in to see her, she’s been telling me about the patient in the next bed and practically drooling. She’s never met anyone like him, she says, in all her sixty five years (oh, Peggy never tells the truth about her age, she’s the only person I know, who’s actually getting younger as time passes) It’s Vladimir this, and Vladimir that. Honestly, it’s as if the woman is entering her dotage, Marilyn says. This is the same woman who always used to say, before she met Vladimir that is, that she’d trust no one from Russia. According to her, all the Russians are either descended from the Cossacks or the Communists and they’re just saturated in tattoos, or body art, as Peggy primly calls it. All you have to do, she says, is look at Putin. Huh? When I ask her what she means: look at Putin, she just taps her finger off the side of her nose and looks all mysterious. Honestly! She does have a point about Putin though, he’s one, seriously freaky looking individual. But then, there’s Donald and Boris and shure, they’re from nowhere near Russia. Anyway, Marilyn says it’s disgusting the way she’s making sheep’s eyes at Vladimir, who’s at least half her age.
Then, there’s the woman in the bed at the other side of Peggy, who’s always chanting away to herself and swaying, at least she is, whenever I go in. Peggy says she’s New Rastafarian. Never heard of them, I tell Peggy. But no, she’s adamant that that’s what this woman is. Apparently, New Rastafarians, as opposed presumably to old Rastafarians, refuse to shave any bodily hair, it’s part of their beliefs or something. Peggy says that the hair on this woman’s legs is so thick, you could actually plait it. And then, there’s Dolores. Ah jeez, no, that’s a story for another day. I’m addled enough with Vladimir, the New Rastafarian and Marilyn’s sudden bout of ageism.
Vanessa.
PS: I still think Peggy’s got it arse-ways about the Rastafarian though.

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Youngest World War 1 Casualty from Waterford.

Young men enlisted to fight in the Great War for a variety of reasons. Some did so for the regular wage they sent back home, to feed their families. Others joined in a fever of patriotism, while more did so because they saw the war as a great adventure, which would be over in a few months, and they didn’t want to miss the excitement.

The youngest recorded casualty is 14 year old, John Condon, from Waterford and his reasons for joining up remain unknown. From Wheelbarrow Lane in Waterford city, he lied about his age, joined the Royal Irish Regiment as a reservist in 1913 and arrived in France just before Christmas 1914. He fought in the second battle of Ypres in April and May 1915 where the Germans used poison gas as a weapon of war. On the second last day of the battle, the ‘boy soldier’, as he became known, died in a poisoned gas attack. He was buried near Ypres and his grave is one of the most frequently visited of the war graves in Flanders. It’s hard to imagine a 14 year old, someone in second year in secondary school, going over the top in the horror that was WW1.
Altogether, about 4,800 people from Waterford fought in WW1 with over 1100 never making it home. There is, however, a memorial in Waterford, dedicated to all men and women from Waterford who lost their lives in armed conflict, including the Irish War of Independence.
(Waterford Museum)

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