Wednesday, January 2, 2008

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Big Birthdays
Happy Birthday to the following ladies who celebrated ‘Big Birthdays’ recently:
Margaret McDonald, Breda Hudson, Monica Cowley, Mary Firth (Edgeworth) and Nance Boylan …. We have spies everywhere!

Congratulations to Sean Murphy on celebrating his 21st birthday recently. What can one say about Sean? Sophisticated, debonair, man about town? Yeah, right – more like ‘Man in tights’! But great legs, Sean. What part will the talented thespian play this year in the annual panto?

Best wishes to Hazel, Christian and Sean Tadhg Cassidy who have left Broadleas and moved to a new home in Wexford.

Best wishes to our beloved Rev Kesh Govan, wife Catherine and children Joshua, Amelia and Bethany who have returned recently to England. See Kesh’s last column as our local rector with this Bugle but don’t worry, the Govans have been bitten by the Ballymore bug – we will hear from then again, from time to time.

Congratulations to Kay and Ger O’Rourke who recently celebrated their 25th Wedding Anniversary in August and to Jim and Geraldine O’Rourke who celebrated theirs a few weeks ago. There’s more – congratulations to Jacinta and Tom O’Rourke who also celebrate their 25th Anniversary this weekend. That must have been an expensive year for the family….

Congratulations to Susan Valentine and Brian Burns who were married recently. The magnificent flowers in the Church were outshone by lovely Susan who was truly a radiant bride.

welcome home to Paul Browne and Colin Clarke who have returned from foreign lands.

Get well wishes to Anne McGuire of Plunkett Road; hope you will be home soon, Anne.Also to Rita Lawlor and Cathy Mahon

Welcome to baby Sean, son of Isa and Chris Dowling and grandchild of proud grandparents, Grania and Larry Glancy

And to Avril and John Holland on the birth of their baby son, Michael.
Mother & Toddler Group
Similar to previous ads: We meet from 10.30 to 12.00 every Tuesday at The Resource Centre excluding the first Tuesday of the month when we go on a trip to a local play centre. New Members always welcome!

By the time you read this, the Govan family will be settling into their new home in Rocester – or at least, half way through unpacking the cardboard boxes. Joshua, Amelia and Bethany will be sizing up their new surroundings and seeking new friends. For a while, a mixture of excitement and the novelty of all things new will subdue them but then, a little tinge of loneliness and sadness at friends they’ve left behind will steal its way into their subconscious. When it does, I hope they will remember the laughter, friendship and warmth we felt for the Reverend and his family here in Ballymore Eustace.

Rev Kesh is a character; he is an outgoing, jolly, dynamic kind of chap; by his own admission, he loves being the centre of attention. He delivered his sermons with tales of everyday life tinged with humour, sometimes even naughty humour. I hope his parishioners and friends remember the lesson, rather than the way it was delivered. Every article in The Bugle was entertaining but every page contained pointed messages on how we should look at ourselves and our lives; how we should stop and look at the important things, how we should take time to appreciate the people and things around us – how we should love.

At his final service in St John’s, Kesh spoke of his affection for the people of Ballymore Eustace and how he enjoyed his community life here – and then jokingly referred to his pleasure at being a judge on the Festival Queen panel. What he didn’t say was, that for the first time in decades, the rector was immediately identifiable to the all the youth of the parish. At a fundraising quiz a couple of years ago, I overheard the following conversation between two youths “Who’s that over there?” asked one of the young people as he stared at Rev Kesh. “Oh, that’s the new priest, Rev Kesh something is his name”. “I thought the racing priest, Fr Breen was yer new priest?” came the reply.
“Oh yeah, he is; The Breener is the man down here” with a flick of his thumb in the direction of the Church of the Immaculate Conception “And yer man, Rev Kesh is the man up there.” and a flick of the thumb in St John’s direction.

When decades of lip service has been paid to Ecumenical progress across the churches, I think Rev Kesh breached the gap simply by smiling and talking to people, to everybody. Make no mistake about the man’s vocation; he is an extremely pious and spiritual man and has shown great compassion and support to families suffering trauma or loss, something Grania Glancy has always praised him for and holds him in high regard.

At that final service in St John’s, Grania made a presentation to Kesh, a wonderful framed oil painting of St John’s by Fiona Barrett and some giftware from Newbridge Silverware. Grania clearly will miss the Govans and wishes them all the best in their new home. Tim Grace made a special presentation on behalf of the Senior Citizens Association, followed by gifts from the CDA, The Festival Committee and The Ballymore Bugle.

Here I must thank local craftsman Brendan Burke; we wanted to give Catherine and Kesh something made in Ballymore – we chose a beautiful wooden bowl made from Cupress, a rich honey coloured wood which threw out a beautiful white knot; a most unusual ‘one-off’ chalice (Kesh is a one-off and the Bible is full of unlikely persons chosen by God to do his work, St Peter being the first of them); for the children, Brendan made three individual chalices, each carved from different woods.

The Govans will bring life and love to their new parish – and lots of laughter. Long may their good work and happiness continue. Our loss is Rocester’s gain. By the way, Alton Towers is a renowned theme park located in the reverend’s new parish – perhaps Kesh could look after local clubs with a group discount……….you might see more of us than you realised, Kesh! X
Wet Summers with Jeffers

At any time of the year in Ireland the weather is always a topic for discussion when two people meet, or a group of folk gather, be it in pub, club, supermarket, the side of the road, or on the street. “Fine day thank God”. “T’is in deed”, “A sup a rain wouldn’t’ go astray”. “Badly needed”. And so it goes, on and on. Usually, especially this summer, the conversation is the exact opposite. “Will it ever stop rainin’? “ Isn’t it a hoor of a day”. This summer takes the biscuit, for not only is the weather spoken about, but also records of rainfall are under discussion. Everyone has a different tale to tell. It all depends on where you’re coming from. Some remember a washed out holiday, others talk about relatives coming home from places abroad for the first time in years to be greeted by a good Irish summer—rain and more rain! If speaking from a rural prospective the rainfall is measured by hay lost or sprouting grain. Related to the rainfall is global warming and this can bring on a long and protracted discussion. No one knows for sure if global warming is responsible for our miserable summer but we have to have someone or something to lay blame on. The experts who study these matters are not certain; they can tell us about melting icecaps and what might happen if the Gulf Stream changes its direction but when this might take place is a matter of conjecture. The only thing we do know for certain is that we human beings are aiding globing warming by releasing more noxious gasses into the atmosphere year on year, and at long last some governments are taking heed and making some efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
But no one pays a mite of attention to the experts who tell us that this summer’s rainfall is beyond record; each and every one of us have it fixed in our minds that we remember a wetter one! I’m no different than anyone else and for my money I’m picking on the year 1947, (if I go back any farther there’ll be nobody to differ with me!). There’s being plenty of wet summers since then and now, and truth to tell I’m not so sure which was the wettest, but ’47 comes to mind for a couple of reasons and both relate to harvesting and the efforts made to make sure that ‘all was safely gathered in’. Bear in mind that in those times there were no combines or balers and the saving of the harvest was a very labour intensive one. Cutting, stooking, stacking, and ricking sounds simple when put into one sentence, but believe me a lot of time and effort was involved to achieve all four activities. Time of course was of the essence, for the weather, even in the best of summers was not going to hold forever and every hour God sent was availed of.
Today switch on your radio or television and not only will you get a news report at least three times daily but you’ll also get a weather report complete with inches or millimetres of rain that has fallen or about to fall. In ’47 one had to rely on your own assessment to try and gauge the vagaries of the weather. Did the new moon come in on her back or sitting upright, sitting upright was favourable, how did the sun set, red or pale, red sky at night was the Shepard’s delight, did the hills look near or far away, far away was a healthy sign, and most important, from what direction did the wind blow? If coming from the north or northeast a long dry spell was on the way. Cool it may have been but that didn’t matter so long as it remained dry. Usually, it was a case of ‘one day at a time sweet Jesus’.
But wet weather wasn’t the only thing that made ’47 unique. The government of the day made a decision and put it into effect forthwith. Alarmed with the prospect that the harvest might be lost, agricultural was a major industry in those days, the government decreed that the army be put at the disposal of farmers who wished to avail of extra help in getting the crops saved. Also, those in towns or cities who wished to partake were released from the day job to lend a hand, with no cut in salaries, if I remember correctly. Two instances come to mind regarding this extra help, the first one I only witnessed from looking over the hedge, the second one involved myself. I can’t remember the logistics of how these townies made it from town to farm. The war was over and cars were back on the road, but petrol was still rationed and not everyone had a car. Be that as it may I recall a crowd from the city arriving at the farm next door, Moorhill. Maybe they travelled on the Ballymore bus and hoofed it out, but one way or other they were out for the day and hadn’t a bull’s notion of what the job was about. Slips of lassies struggled with heavy sheaves and then abandoned them as a bad job. Light summer dresses and sandals were hardly the dress mode for a harvest field. The Lads weren’t much better and those who did manage to get the sheaves from stook to stack laid them every which way. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves except the owner of the farm, a man called Jack Ashmore, who was driven to distraction and thought night would never come when he would see the back end of them.
I don’t remember how the army lads were moved from camp to farm, probably by army truck, but here at home I was the transport manager! Put in charge of a tractor and trailer on the public road at a young age is heady stuff. Setting off for the Curragh Camp at an early hour with Fordson tractor and trailer the world was at my feet. Passing through a residential area of the camp I kept going until I arrived at a large barrack square. It was dead empty, not a solder in sight, but a figure appeared from a doorway and made his way towards me. Explaining that I was to pick up harvesters he turned on his heels and in no time flat was back with eight or ten men, he included. I let down the tailgate and all climbed aboard and we were off for the harvest field, flat out at about twelve miles per hour. They got stuck in right away and at this remove I suspect that they were rural lads who knew the ropes. Probably farm boys who had joined up to get away from farm work and were now relishing it in preference to pounding up and down the barrack square going left right, left right! The army guy who first spoke with me turned out to be a Sergeant and before an hour was up he and my father got into a wrangle. He, the Sergeant, had called a halt to work for a smoke break. This didn’t go down well with my farther whose own men kept on working. The Sergeant was adamant, and in the end my father bowed to army authority if somewhat reluctantly! I can’t recall how many times we availed of army help, but I suppose it lasted until the work was finished, or rain stopped play.
Today the modern combine harvester makes short work of a field of grain given a few dry hours, and the modern army has given up it’s agriculture duties for peace keeping ones in trouble spots around the world, but those of us who remember wet ’47 will remember those willing workers. The Fordson mentioned is now a museum piece, and some will say so is the driver. Yrs Jeffers.


- Rose

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