Wednesday, January 2, 2008


I must admit I have had a fairly disastrous month of reading. It probably started with the residue of May’s novels which you may recall were well worth checking out, but rather depressing. So…..having read Joseph O’Connor’s last novel “Star of the Sea” and loved it, I rushed out to get “Redemption Falls” (Paperback: Harvill Secker: 14.99 euro) when it hit the shelves. This is a big book and narrates a well-researched series of tales about a variety of characters in post civil war America. O’Connor is great at evoking a historical period and this particular era oozes anarchy and fear. I also liked the fact that there was some continuity from his last novel, as some of the characters were the children of Mary Duane from the famine ship. Initially, I also liked the quirky layout of the book, which again mirrored the Star of the Sea, with photos, snatches of songs and quotations, some fact and some fictional. About a third of the way in however this patchwork style started to be a bit annoying, as I felt it was detracting from the development of the people in the novel. There were also too many big and quite complex personalities for me. These included Eliza Duane Mooney, wandering across the States looking for her lost younger brother; the haunted little brother himself, Jeremiah; General James Con O’Keeffe ( onetime Irish rebel); his unhappy wife Lucia- Cruz McClelland –O’Keeffe (everybody seems to have names like this ) and the strange outlaw Johnny Thunders- to name but a few. I couldn’t focus on who the central character was meant to be and I found the weaving in and out of the stories distracting . I finally got about two thirds of the way through and gave up, as I had reached a stage where I felt I ought to be reading on but just wasn’t interested enough to do so. Perhaps the underlying problem was that I found the novel quite depressing. It seemed to lack the wit and pace of Star of the Sea and I think overall that Joseph O’Connor may have miscalculated by trying to mimic the style and context of his earlier work. I haven’t read any other reviews of it yet and maybe lots of people love it, but I’m afraid it did nothing for me!

For some light relief I turned to “Standing in the Rainbow” by Fannie Flagg (Paperback: Vintage: 10.50 euro) I had really enjoyed “Fried green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café” a few years ago and a friend lent me this novel to try. It is set in post WW2 America and is set in a small town, telling the story of the everyday lives of the local community. I thought it would be a perfect respite from all the tragedies of my recent reading…..But no, again I got part way into it and found my mind wandering. Flagg is a rally good writer, with a relaxed, almost chatty style, but the story line and the characters themselves just failed to hold my attention.

In desperation I took to the bookshop with my stash of vouchers and “Two caravans” by Marina Lewycka (Paperback: Penguin: 13.99 ) caught my eye. I read her “Short History of Tractors in Ukranian” this time last year and loved it, but when I read the blurb and heard it was another story about immigrants in the UK, and then the cover was almost an exact replica of her last book I thought “Oh no, not again!”. Was this turning into my Groundhog Day or is it just that publishers are so keen to sell books they are encouraging authors to repeat formulae over and over again?! I rooted around desperately for an unknown author I had not come across yet, but couldn’t find anything enticing, and in the end I opted for “A Spot of Bother” by Mark Haddon (Paperback: Vintage: 9.99 euro). Yes, I know he’s the author of another brilliant book “The Curious incident of the Dog in the Night Time”, and yes, his latest offering was packaged in exactly the same way as the first novel, but it mentioned that it was “funny”, so I am afraid by that time I couldn’t resist. The central character George has recently retired when he finds himself in a mental tailspin which brings him dangerously close to a complete breakdown. The story is tragic-comic, but Haddon depicts his characters sensitively and with great insight and compassion. He shows us all George’s (slightly dysfunctional) family and cleverly depicts how we can judge people without really knowing them. I must admit it was a breath of fresh air- it did make me laugh out loud in some places and smile ruefully in others- highly recommended.

I hope you have better luck with you summer reading than I have done so far and that your friends and family can give you some really good recommendations! Maybe it was the non-stop rain that did it ? Look through the last few Bugles- there were some excellent reads mentioned in there and don’t forget Janet and the team in the Blessington Bookstore- they have lot’s of knowledge to share!


The Rector writes . . .

I’m singing in the rain . . .
Oooooooh, gloooorious. The sun, oh, the sun, oooh, the sun is shining in the blue sky, there’s not a cloud to be seen. Ummmmh, I’m lying, relaxing on my sun lounger in the back garden drinking Malibu and Pineapple (don’t ask me why?), taking in the beautiful hot sun (not that I need a tan!). Oooooh, it’s a beautiful and gorgeous summer’s day – or at least it was until Catherine woke me up!!! “Get up!” she said, in a way that only wives can. “What? I er?” It was all a dream. Where was the sunshine? Where was the sun lounger? And more importantly where was the Malibu? I looked out of the window - it was pouring rain!!!
“When will it ever stop?” shout the kids. With our faces pressed against the living room window, the five of us start to sing, “Rain, rain, go away, come back another day! But the rain torments us even more by lashing down even harder on the windowpanes. “Come on Kids, we’re not going to let a little rain spoil our day!” The kids look out of the window at the lashing rain and then look up at me as if I had just walked out of the mental asylum. We put our wellies on and our cagoules, buttoned up right to the top button and put our hoods over our heads and tied the pieces of string attached to the hood around the bottom of our faces – we looked like five aliens who had just landed on earth. We went outside in the pouring rain and splashed around in the puddles. A car drove past us and nearly swerved into a tree as he saw five little aliens splashing in the rain.
Our children love the rain. Children look at something and see fun while adults can look at the same thing and see trouble. Think about it, children can get fun out of the rain. Daddy and Mummy don't like rain. They get wet, and they don't like to get wet. It’s dangerous to get wet. We might get pneumonia! If it rains, we have to carry an umbrella, but if we carry an umbrella, we might lose it, and that’s even worse than getting wet. But little boys and girls like to get wet. They don't need an umbrella and don't want to wear a raincoat. They love to go out in the rain and get their feet wet. They love to splash around.
The rain reminds me that everyday, whether we realise it or not, God showers his blessings upon us. The Bible says, “That God has always given evidence of his existence by the good things he does: he gives you rain from heaven and crops at the right times.” In a world where so many countries are suffering from drought maybe there is something to be thankful for when we look out of our windows?
Ah, well, must go, I've got my wellies on, my cagoule is buttoned all the way to the top, the umbrella is up . . . altogether! “I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain . . . “

With Love, Kesh x

You can always trust the Indians . . .

It was autumn, and the Indians on the remote reservation asked their new Chief if the winter was going to be cold or mild. Since he was a new Indian Chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets, and when he looked at the sky, he couldn't tell what the weather was going to be. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he replied to his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect wood to be prepared. But also being a practical leader, after several days he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked, "Is the coming winter going to be cold?"
"It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold indeed," the meteorologist at the weather service responded. So the Chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more wood in order to be prepared.
A week later he called the National Weather Service again. "Is it going to be a very cold winter?" "Yes," the man at National Weather Service again replied, "it's going to be a very cold winter." The Chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of wood they could find.
Two weeks later he called the National Weather Service again. "Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?" "Absolutely," the man replied. "It's going to be one of the coldest winters ever." "How can you be so sure?" the Chief asked. The weatherman replied, "The Indians are collecting wood like crazy!"

A husband and his wife were sound asleep when suddenly the phone rang. The husband picked up the phone and said, "Hello? How the heck do I know? What do I look like, a weatherman?" He then slammed the phone down and settled into bed.
"Who was that?" asked his wife.
"I don't know. It was some guy who wanted to know if the coast was clear!"

Ballymore Ladies GFC

Welly Match
The August Bank Holiday weekend sees Round 3 of the Annual Welly Match. The girls won the cup last year with the men taking the honours the year before so this really is the Ultimate Decider.
Ballymore Ladies are unbeaten in their own division this year and unless the boys have been doing a lot of training in secret, we’re pretty confident we can beat them again and by a much bigger margin than last year!
The match is on Bank Holiday Sunday 5th August at 2pm in Ballymore’s GAA ground. Entry is €5 per car - competitive gaelic football and lots of fun is guaranteed!!

Division 4 League
Ballymore Ladies should have 2 results from league games by now but neither Nurney\Kildangan nor Castledermot could travel. Both games will be re-arranged for later in the summer.
The next game is due to be played in Ballymore on Sunday 15th July against Rheban.

Remaining League Games
3rd July Ballymore vs Nurney\Kildangan Postponed –To be rearranged
10th July Ballymore vs Castledermot Postponed –To be rearranged
15th July Ballymore vs Rheban
14th August Milltown vs Ballymore
21st August Balyna II vs Ballymore
**1st named team at Home

Summer Cup Competition
Ballymore played host Division 1 team on Wednesday 26th June. Although the more experienced side came out winners, Ballymore more than matched them for periods of the game.
Every girl had a part to play and there was no clear Woman of the match on this occasion.
Scorers for Ballymore
Dawn Murray 4 points
Stephanie Harney 1 goal 3 points
Sheena Hubbard 1 point

Ballymore 1-8 Balyna 6-13

Ballymore have drawn Rheban in the 2nd round of the competition. This will be played away on Tuesday 17th July (we’ll be playing the same team twice in 3 days!).

Challenge Matches
Ballymore played 3 Challenge matches in a week in preparation for the re-start of competitions at the end of June.

Vs Robert Emmets
First up was Robert Emmets, a combination of Sallins and Caragh and a team that had well beaten Ballymore in challenges and league games last year. There is no doubt that they underestimated the ladies improvement and Steph Harney was quick to notch up scores. The game was tight at the end but Ballymore were delighted with the away win against a strong Division 3 side.
Ann-Marie Gorman has been out injured for parts of the season but came back with a well deserved Woman of the Match peformance.
Scorers for Ballymore
Dawn Murray 2 goals 2 points
Stephanie Harney 4 points
Sheena Hubbard 1 goal
Michelle Hubbard 1 point
Valerie Byrne 1 point

Robert Emmets 2-9 Ballymore 3-8

Vs Na Fianna
The following Sunday the girls travelled to Allenwood to face division 2 side Na Fianna. Both teams were missing key players and after the previous game it never really felt like Ballymore got going. The home side won out in the end. Well done to Deirdre Hackett and Aoife Doyle who played with the winning side!
Woman of the Match was Amanda Conway who was in front of her player for every ball.
Scorers for Ballymore
Dawn Murray 3 points
Ann Marie Gorman 1 point
Chleo Hubbard 1 goal
Sharon O’Donoghue 1 goal

Na Fianna 3-3 Ballymore 2-4

Vs Robert Emmets
The final Challenge game was a re-match following Ballymore’s win over this side the previous week. It was always going to be tough and the weather on the night didn’t help. There was torrential rain but with Ballymore ahead at half-time the referee’s offer to abandon the game was never up for consideration!
A number of Ballymore’s key players had to go off in the second half and in inclement conditions one of their county players began to notch up a number of scores. Robert Emmets won the game but it was a performance that Ballymore can be very proud of.
Woman of the Match was Fran Burke who read the game and picked out her players despite the weather.
Scorers for Ballymore
Dawn Murray 5 points
Stephanie Harney 1 goal
Megan O’Neill 2 points
Louise Burke 1 point
Sheena Hubbard 1 point

Robert Emmets 2-10 Ballymore 1-9

Ballymore Ladies raised €900 for each of their chosen charities - Paws and The Irish Hospice. Thanks to everyone who sponsored the girls.

The UnderDogs
Dawn Murray and Michelle Hubbard travelled to Athlone for trials for the TG4 show with Michelle making it through to the 2nd round. Both girls said it was great experience to play at such pace and with quality players (Thanks girls!!).

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