Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bits n Bobs with Rose

A Date with Celine
Well Readers, having been given a present of tickets to the recent Celine Dion concert in Croke Park, I had the good fortune to join Trish and Frank Murphy’s gang on Eamon Deering’s bus and off to Croker for a touch of Celine. Trish’s sister and hubbies were all going too and the only mistake we made was arriving at Murphy’s on time. “Have a drop of wine” says Trish. “Or a beer” says Frank. “Will you have a bit of lasagne” says Frank. “Or a bit of chicken curry?” says Trish
Isn’t it typical of bus drivers that when you’d want them to be later, they will turn up on time and just as Trish was putting the curry into the microwave, Eamon arrives…..

Off we went and we were cruising; the slagging was great until we reached Harold’s Cross and then we hit tea-time gridlock. Smokers descended the bus and went through a pack of twenty before the bus caught up; as always we Ladies needed to make an urgent pitstop and so we hopped off, used the facilities of McCauleys near Leonard’s Corner and then into the chippie next door for a snack box and chips.

And we were finished smokin’, eating and any other business we had before the bus caught up on us. For a time, it looked like we weren’t going to see Celine, never mind ‘Il Divo’ but Eamon upped a gear and got us through every back street and landed there in time for the main act.

The next time you get wind of Trish and Frank Murphy organising a bus, let me know; I will arrive early, get fed and all wined up before Eamon arrives! And the service is great on the bus too, you can abuse Eamon and he will abuse you back but he did get us there on time.
Thanks Trish, Frank and Eamon!

Well, for a country that has done so well out of EU membership we seemed to have come full circle and lost all sense of respect or loyalty to the European vision.

First we send a Turkey on a Toilet Seat to represent our country at the Eurovision (Yes, I know some of you would say it’s a crap competition anyway….) but a muppet on a toilet seat with horrid dancers – fellas sprayed in green and gold with Aztec feathers strapped to their butts – am I missing something here?

Then we have the Lisbon Treaty, with all the main leaders except Gerry Adams encouraging a “Yes” vote. Brian Cowen, new to the role of Taoiseach and showing it; Enda Kenny, immaculately groomed but with all the charisma of Pat Kenny and Eamon Gilmore, also having the Kenny appeal……..

What a pity one of the main parties didn’t advocate a “No” vote and then we’d have had a battle, something to interest voters, rather than put them to sleep. I think Bertie probably would have made a bigger impact with voters – maybe the ‘Biffo’ approach just didn’t gel with the electorate.

I made a stab at reading the website material on the Lisbon Treaty and, as Mike Edmunds said last month, it was turkey, not Dustin turkey, worse – Rodge and Podge turkey. It reminded me of studying English for the Leaving Certificate when you were given a topic to write 2000 words on.

You got off to a great start, dynamic opening paragraph, an idea or two, the lines filling up but after 400 words, your brain had dried up – so you fill four pages of foolscap with 1600 words of crap……

Plain English, simplified bullet points with links to more specific enquiries would have sufficed. Instead a confused public said, “Hey, I don’t understand it, it’s double Dutch, yez must be trying to trick me…….” and they voted “No” to something they didn’t understand anyway.

Its too late to be whinging about EU membership – we should have seized the opportunity to show what an educated electorate we are – or maybe that’s we did – rejected substandard information, blandly written with as much solid data as you’d get on a chewing gum wrapper.

Shame on us – I just hope our “Lisbon, nil points” won’t impress our fellow EU member states as little as Dustin’s Eurovision entry. I think we’ve shot ourselves in the foot and it could be “Irlande nil points” for the future…..

Niall Mellon Township Trust
Denise Kelly and Janet Deegan have been accepted to join the Niall Mellon Township Trust on their Building Blitz 2009 in March next year to provide approx. 200 homes in the impoverished communities in the townships of South Africa. Approximately 1,000 volunteers will travel to Cape Town, South Africa next March to participate in this event. Over the next few months, fundraising will take place as both girls need to raise €5000 each to participate in this project - all support for upcoming fundraising events would be most appreciated.


Alzheimers Thank You
Sincere thanks to all who supported the Tea Morning in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society. €1250 was raised - a special thanks to our bakers’ supreme Mary H, Mary M and Sher H who supplied the wonderful scones and cakes! Many thanks again - Margaret McDonald, CDA.

Basset Hound, tri-colour male, answers to the name of “Dudley”: Phone 087 6731 769 or 045 483 664

Matt’s Memories

An older generation would know that each August our family headed for Tramore on holidays. Our late parents led the way. This we did continuously from 1952 to 1984. Usually we stayed in Tramore, but if a big crowd was expected there, we might head for Annestown or Kilfarrasy both of which were within seven miles.

For the first time in many years I visited Tramore with my brother James. The weather was lovely. One day, we decided we would go to Annestown; whilst preparing, we met Joan Cleary. Joan told us she had sold the house that we stayed in, in the seventies, and was now living in Lakelands, Tramore. Joan was looking very well and was going with the Tramore Active Retirement group on a trip to the races in Punchestown!

101st Birthday
My relation and friend, Margaret Rodney of Brisbane, recently celebrated her 101st birthday. For years Margaret corresponded with my Auntie Kit in Naas, unbeknown to me, and following Kit’s death in 1988 contact with Margaret was lost.

In 1995, I visited Sydney and rang an M.Rodney in Brisbane on the off chance that she might be related to my Rodneys. The phone rang and a lady answered. In no time at all, I realised I was talking to my Margaret Rodney. We had a great chat and I discovered that Margaret was then 88. The best part came when I discovered that not only was Margaret still with us but she had two other sisters and a brother still living. Originally there were seven children in Margaret’s family. Unfortunately, I could not meet her on that occasion but I have been corresponding with her ever since. Two years later I met herself, her family and her extended family. I again met them in 2000.

Margaret was the first one I knew who did a World Tour. This she did in 1955 with her cousin Mary Carey from New York. On that faraway occasion, we met Margaret and Mary at my grandfather’s place in Naas. In 1973, I again met Mary who was disappointed to find I was not the man she was expecting to meet. Mary was expecting to meet my uncle and namesake.

Margaret’s sister, May Keane, was 97 when she died in 2001 while her brother Philip was 88 when he died in 2003. Her sister, Kay Bahr, was 93 when she died in 2005.

The Butler
A long time ago, Tom O’Brien was a regular visitor to Ballymore. He was a butler in Fournaughts, Naas and got to know my late brother Paddy first. After Paddy died in 1963, Tom became friends with the rest of our family. Tom was a keen fisherman as was James, which created a bond between them. In addition to his interest in fishing, Tom also had a tram at Strafford-on-Slaney which he converted into living quarters for holidaying. When I had a house warmer at Braemor Avenue in 1975 Tom added a touch of class to the occasion by becoming my butler for the night. James and Marie prepared and served the food. Little did I think then that within seven months Tom would have died. Tom is buried at Four-Mile-Water, County Waterford.

Nancy and Mary
I never met Mrs Nancy Fitzgerald, Naas before but I learnt she was a friend of a friend of mine, Mrs. Carroll. As a result, I rang Nancy and had a great chat with her. The husbands of Nancy Fitzgerald and Mrs. Carroll had been guards.

Afterwards I rang Mrs. Carroll who had missed me from the Punchestown Festival but had heard I was unwell. I gather both herself and Nancy had prayed regularly for me while I was sick. The late Tom Carroll had been a guard in Ballymore for many years. While talking to Nancy, I learnt that Mrs. Carroll’s Christian name was Mary. (In times past, all married ladies were “Mrs”).

When Tom retired, himself and Mary headed for Ballylinan where they bought a disused house and farm. They modernised the farmhouse bit by bit. After nine years Tom sadly died aged 81. Mary continued on and is now in her nineties. Bobbie Grattan, who now lives in Athy, is a regular visitor to her while Peter McKnight and Seamie O’Brien recently called on Mary.

The Daily Independent
Recently I got a great welcome from my neighbour Imelda Gorman when I dropped in to Janet’s for my paper. I noticed many changes were made to Janet’s in the last year or so.

© Matt Purcell (May 17, 2008).

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