A (sort of) Christmas Diary…



So say all of us…

A few days before Christmas, and our youngest is (finally) writing his letter to Santa. Half-done, he asks one of his sisters: “Could I ask for better Wifi?”

Getting a haircut for Christmas

I accept the arguments against getting a pet for Christmas – but it seems that every man on the planet has to get a haircut before the festivities begin.

  Solving world poverty or climate change isn’t easy – but try getting a ‘haircut for Christmas’! It’s almost impossible…

  It’s our own fault. We all know, say three weeks before the Christmas rush, that we are probably due a haircut, and that we’d really better think about getting one…what with Christmas coming up and all that.

  Every morning, we remind ourselves. ‘Must get a haircut’.

  It’s all part of the mad pre-Christmas panic, the obsession with trying to have everything perfect for the one day that, like any other, will indeed come and pass.

  Two weeks before Christmas, it began to weigh on my mind. ‘Need a haircut, really need to get that haircut’.

  But it was so busy at work…and the hours and days race on.

  When you eventually get to the barber’s a couple of days before Christmas, your heart sinks. Because there’s usually a very long queue already in place, as the frantic ‘Must get a haircut before Christmas’ obsession takes full effect.

  Next year it will be different, and I’ll hopefully be seeing a friendly barber at the end of November…

Not for us, thanks…

Another er…great Christmas tradition in recent years is that old reliable…‘Spotting the mad young ones doing the 12 pubs’.

  I don’t go out of my way to witness this dubious phenomenon, but on a couple of occasions in recent years I have come across ‘edited highlights’…seldom, if ever, from inside a pub, because most people over the age of 30 try to avoid the ‘12 pubs brigade’.

  This year, I knew it was ‘12 pubs evening’ when I saw two young lads coming down the street as ‘wheelbarrows,’ i.e. the two lads with their hands on the pavements as their friends held their legs and steered them towards the next pub. Personally, I’d have walked.

  I gather that on the morning after the night before, there was a hangover for publicans and other businesses, with a trail of broken glasses on pavements. To be fair to all ’12 pubs’ participants, there were absolutely no reports of ‘trouble’ – but some glasses didn’t survive the partying. Happily, Christmas cheer overcame the over-exuberant Christmas ‘Cheers!’ of the previous night as locals invoked the ‘meitheal’ spirit of old and quickly returned the town to its familiar glory.

A joyous atmosphere

Church ceremonies were extremely well attended over the Christmas period. There was a great, joyous vibe throughout the festive season. In Roscommon town, the airing of Christmas carols/songs – a Chamber of Commerce initiative – creates a lovely seasonal atmosphere. All parts of Co. Roscommon benefitted from the return of ‘Rossies’ from abroad and from other parts of the country.

All the bread’s gone…again

4.30 pm, New Year’s Day: In the first shop I went into, there was no bread. No need to panic, surely? But there was no bread in the second shop either. Wow! Suddenly, a sense of déjà vu came over me. Storm clouds gathering in my mind, although no storm had been forecast, not like last March, when trepidation in advance of the imminent arrival of ‘The Beast from the East’ led to the Great Bread Disappearance.

  Back to last Tuesday: I tried a third shop, this time a ‘superstore’…where, incredibly, massive rows of bread shelves were utterly devoid of bread. Not a single loaf, not a crumb. What calamity had befallen? Had the shoppers of Roscommon town gone bread-crazy again, this time on New Year’s Eve presumably? I ventured into a fourth shop. Approaching the rows of shelves, I saw what appeared to be two isolated brown sliced pans. A man stood by. On the shelf above, there was a solitary white batch loaf. I hadn’t time to get my hopes up. Having given the two brown loaves some thought, the man placed his hands on the ‘white batch’ and made off with the prize. So there you go. It’s happened again.

   There was – of course – an outcry. Well, one woman commented.

  “Not a single loaf of (white) bread to be found in town” the lady beside me lamented (in that fourth shop). “And I could have thrown bread out last week”.

  Normal service has now resumed – until the next crisis.

The question we all wanted the answer to…

I didn’t get to the Hodson Bay Hotel on Sunday evening to collect my new house, but as evening became night I remained quietly confident that the good folk in Roscommon GAA would ring any moment with the good news.

  I didn’t even get to watch what I gather was a highly professional event (live on Facebook), as we had visitors that evening. Obviously I struggled to focus on what our visitors were saying/doing as I continued to visualise turning the key in our new house in the New Year.

  With the hours passing and no sign of the phone to ring, I did begin to wonder if something had gone wrong. And, if we’d won, surely Willie Hegarty would have called in with a broad smile when passing our house on the way home?

  Eventually, the social media monster revealed all (basically our visitors left) and the waiting was over. It turned out that a staggering 14,000 plus tickets had been sold. Like everyone else, I was curious to see who’d won. Was it a well-known local? Was it even a local? It wasn’t. It was Kumar Gangah from Dublin, and congratulations to him.

  The draw was a tremendous success, suffice to say – you can read all about it on pages 18 & 19.

   In the meantime, it’s back to the Lotto…

Great Christmas & New Year clichés

Did you hear them…and/or say them?


Before Christmas…

“Ah sure it’s an awful lot of fuss for just one day”

“It’ll all be over before we know it”

“People filling trolleys (in shops) like there’s no tomorrow”

“Sure it’s mainly for the kids anyway”


After Christmas…

“Still, you’d be sick of turkey sandwiches”

“That’s it now for another year”

“You won’t find ‘til the evenings are getting longer”

“There was absolutely nothing on the telly”