Goodbye to all that…‘til next year!



It’s Monday, January 7th, and little (and big) Christmas has come and gone. Today is the day we say goodbye to the Christmas tree and the lights – to all the decorations. As we gather everything up to send all back up to the attic, I must confess that this year I am more than a little sad. I suppose it’s down to the very rapid passage of time. As each year passes, I’m beginning to realise that there can’t be that many left, and that I have to make as much as I can out of them all, and, hand on my heart, (although with all the stents I have in maybe I should leave the old ticker alone) I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the entire festive season. 

  It was one of those that passed without any drama, apart from the telly breaking down, and the dishwasher and the washing machine, and the chimney fire, but they all got sorted, and thankfully everyone was healthy and well and we all had a lovely, enjoyable Christmas. I don’t remember being here for the taking down of all the stuff for a good few years, and the most amazing thing was the huge amount of decorations we have accumulated over time. We carried bag after bag up the stairs, and this year we promised we would remember whose room we put them into! I said that we put stuff in the attic, but that’s mainly the tree – a fine but fake one – and the Crib pieces. Every year, despite having a small house, we can’t remember where the many decoration bags go, and all hell breaks loose as we try to find them. Even though I probably wasn’t there at all when they were put away, I still get the blame for losing them! So this year I wrote it into my phone, and please God on the 8th of December next year, if I’m still here, I will find them straight away and get rid of any related stress.

  Anyway, as I say, the 6th of January is the official end of the celebrations, but I am beginning to think that I am not the only one who was missing the festive excitement, because last evening, as I made my way cross-country to Kinnegad, I couldn’t get over the number of houses that were still all lit up. It’s obvious that more than me were reluctant to take down the decorations. However, for me, it is fully behind us, and now we have a whole new year to look forward to.


In praise of hi vis jackets!


One of the things I like to do at least 4 or 5 times a week is go for a walk in the rural area where I live. One of the automatic things that I do is put on a hi vis vest or jacket. I would have thought that it would be more or less accepted that such a vest should be part of every walker’s night-time attire. However last week, in the Daily Mail, one of its columnists – who advocated the use of hi vis by all walkers – told of being abused roundly on social media for doing so.

  Now I’m not sure why so many people objected so strongly to his advice, but today as I went for a walk of about 35 to 40 minutes on a quiet country road, I decided to count the number of vehicles I encountered. One large tractor, one JCB, two vans and seven cars passed me by. Now it wasn’t dark today, and visibility was pretty good, but it would be crazy for me or any other ‘me’ to be out walking on or country roads after dark  without both a torch and a hi vis. Sometimes common sense should prevail over twisted political correctness.

  Everywhere we look, Shane Ross is bringing in legislation to supposedly make our rural roads safer, and yet more pedestrians and cyclists are being killed – and in my view, walkers who go out with dark clothing and no visibility aids should be fined just as much as errant drivers. 


Surviving the NCT…


It’s now Tuesday morning – and still dark – as myself and the sometimes trusty old Volvo head off to Castlerea, where she, i.e. the Volvo, is to undergo the NCT at 8.30 am. Now I wasn’t any way worried about it or anything, but still I had a restless enough night’s sleep, and in my dreams I could see a big sticker being put on it, which would mean the car was being grounded…and me having to try to get a lift home.

  Thankfully the outcome wasn’t that bad, but, amazingly, after a year without any bother, that was the morning the boot decided to refuse to open, and along with a couple of other minor defects it all means I have a return journey to do inside 30 or so days. However, I have to admit I was happy enough with the verdict, and please God my Volvo will carry on for a little while yet.


And finally…a pudding dilemma


Finally for this week, out here in Creggs for the last few years, Kelly’s (Newport) White Pudding has been the undisputed pudding champion at the local harvest festival, and has romped away with the title despite great competition from other pudding makers from all around the country. In the opinion of this writer, it’s an honour thoroughly deserved.

  The traditional Sunday morning fry would be almost unthinkable without a few slices of Kelly’s best, but I suppose it’s a sign of the times that they have now come up with a vegetarian version of the White Pudding, and they are selling 50,000 of these around the country each year – with not a morsel of meat to be found in any of them.

  As one of the organising members of the Creggs Pudding Festival, I imagine we will have to have an Extraordinary General Meeting to see if this newcomer will be allowed to partake in our national competition, but as an ordinary fry-eating member of the public I can categorically tell you all that no vegetarian White Pudding will ever feature on my breakfast plate, and their traditional Champion Pudding will, ‘till death do us part, be the rock on which I will build my Sunday morning fry.


Till next week, Bye for now!