The craic is 90 with Mícheál – but I’m feeling exposed!

As soon as everything is back to normal, I will resume my regular training regime, but until then I will concentrate on baking and will not be watching any more fitness videos…

One of the major side-effects of the coronavirus pandemic is the amazing number of videos – some very funny and some not so much – that are making their way on to all the social media platforms.

While gyms and all sorts of sporting clubs remain closed, there are now a huge amount of fitness videos out there to keep us all in top shape. Among the high profile people who have taken to the airwaves with fitness programmes are Kilkenny hurler TJ Reid, Mayo footballer Andy Reid, and this week, GAA commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, all of whom are doing their best to whip us into shape (which I suppose must be a good thing).

Many years ago my wife Carol got a County Roscommon sports award for equestrian sports. It was presented to her by the same Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, at the time a splendidly athletic-looking man in his late fifties, and also, as I recall, a proper gentleman and a thoroughly entertaining speaker.

Anyway, fast-forward to 2020, and here we have the same man, now in his 90th year, still a splendidly athletic-looking man, showing us how to do exercises on his front lawn and looking as fit as a fiddle.

I have nothing against the Kerry man, but as someone whose leg is twenty years younger than his – and which refuses to lift to any degree off the ground – I have to say that watching Mícheál doing all his stretches and lifts and other stuff at his age does me no good at all.

I know it’s meant to inspire me, but all it does is make me realise how out of shape I am, and the more I see how fit he is, the more I am inclined to give up and turn to my new passion of baking and eating loads of lovely fairy buns. As soon as everything is back to normal, I will resume my regular training regime, but until then I will concentrate on baking and will not be watching any more fitness videos.


When getting hitched hits a (Covid) hitch!

It’s Friday, 17th of April, and the day has turned out to be exactly as we would have wished for…the sun splitting the stones, not a cloud in the sky, everything perfect for the wedding of my daughter Lisa to her boyfriend Brian – and it just couldn’t be nicer for the wedding photographs. If you had met me a few months ago I could have told you all about my new suit, the wedding Mass, the traditional stop in Mikeen’s for a little drop of champagne, the drive to the hotel, the photos in the lovely grounds, the fabulous dinner, my magnificent speech (amongst others), the super music and dancing, a little drop of Guinness to keep me ticking over, and finally falling up the stairs to my massive bed after showing off some of my infamous dance steps on the disco floor.

All of that and more was what I had in mind for last Friday, but something we had never heard of until a few short weeks ago – Covid-19 – was to put paid to all of that and of course the wedding had to be cancelled.

And so last Friday you would have seen a very different version to the immaculately dressed father of the bride. I decided to do a bit of work and – with apologies to the vagrants who still populate our country – I put on what my children call my homeless outfit. I won’t try to describe that particular attire – as it is indescribable – but what is much more important is the fact that in this current lockdown, I found out that a tin of paint is almost as priceless as a lump of gold.

The situation is so desperate that the large can of Weather Shield that by some great fortune I managed to have put aside for a rainy (preferably a sunny) day, would need to be kept under lock and key, and guarded by a Rottweiler or two. It must not be left anywhere out in the open where it could be spotted by prying eyes or else, with paint so scarce, and the weather so good, it could disappear like a puff of smoke.

It seems that in this lockdown the whole country has taken to painting and baking, and the two items that literally can’t be got for love or money are paint and flour, either self-raising or plain, and budding bakers and painters are tearing their hair out.

Anyway, I spent most of Friday painting my wall white instead of painting the town red, but as I said last week, our daughter’s wedding will take place some time later in the year, and I will wear my new suit and do all the things I planned to do last Friday. That of course all depends on my staying alive, but if I do, I promise you we will give it a lash.

This programme was a cut above…

I am not the greatest man of all time to watch television, even when we haven’t a lot of other things to do. But last night, purely by accident, I happened to tune into a documentary called ‘Abbeyfealegood’ and I have to admit I really enjoyed it.

Abbeyfeale, which overall seems to be a relatively run-down medium-sized market town, has the extraordinary total of sixteen hair salons, including hairdressers and traditional barbers, and every one of them appears to be positively thriving.

The documentary focused on the interaction between the hairdressers and their customers, and in a lot of cases the whole act of going to the hairdressers was actually a social event. Several people said they looked forward to the chat and the gossip and the friendship, and I got the feeling the haircut was almost incidental.

We also had a number of locals discussing how terrible events like losing children in car accidents, and by suicide, affected them, and in two cases such tragedies almost drove the parents themselves to taking their own lives; while in a sad twist, the local elderly priest died only two days after appearing on the film.

Abbeyfeale apparently had 64 pubs at one time in the 1970s, but now has only nine or ten, so to be able to support sixteen hair salons in this day and age is a fair achievement, and it showed a different side to that industry’s social importance. As someone who gave up on having my hair cut a long time ago, I must now reconsider, and when all this Covid stuff is over I am resolving to make a reappearance in Paddy Joe’s (or some other Paddy Joe’s), where there can be no doubt all human life will be discussed.


And finally…

Finally for this week, we recently lost another of the great stalwarts of the parish, and the Mountain, when Paddy Scott passed on at the age of 84. Because of the Covid restrictions his funeral had to be for family members only.

Paddy was a well-known, highly regarded member of our community, and, despite the restrictions, many locals lined the route as he headed to his final resting place. I have been asked to convey the thanks of Mary D, his sister, and the extended family to all the friends and neighbours who lined the route, stood in the guard of honour before and after Mass, and all who stood outside the graveyard wall as Paddy was laid to rest. It meant a huge amount to the family. May Paddy rest in peace.


‘Till next week, bye for now