New Year’s Resolution

 MY NEW YEARS RESOLUTION

It’s that time of year again and the New Year’s resolutions come out thick and fast. It’s part of Christmas and its part of tradition. The Inevitable subject raises its ugly head after our traditional overindulgence in food, drink, material obsession, and excessive behaviour. I suppose that is one of the reasons why we humour ourselves in making new resolutions for the forthcoming year. I don’t claim that this is the behaviour of everyone but quite a lot of us are more than willing participants in this annual cause.

Commence and engage; the herd mentality comes to mind and I am no different from the rest, and like the man in front of the running bulls of Pamplona who cries “Stop” I am forcefully carried in the wave that ensues, only to succumb to the frenzy and the rush to the starting line which seems to getting longer and longer each year and ends on the 25th of December. Some of us will endeavour to battle on well into the month of January before stumbling into the light…”Crying”…Enough! Enough! Only the faithful old Roy Wood wishes it was Christmas every day, and by the way things are heading he’ll have his wish one day.

Feeling somewhat remorseful for having capitulating on the previous year’s resolutions, I am determined to make amends for the coming one.

How do I overcome my weak resolve? Where did I go wrong last time? And how can I make it work this time? These are just some the questions that are overloading my already overactive and fragile brain. With the New Year fast approaching I have to make up my mind fast. This year I have decided to be quick and decisive and tell no one of my master plan, my mistake in making my resolutions for the previous year were; too many resolutions, and telling too many people about them. The pain of remembrance is acutely working overtime as two of the people I shared my resolutions with, come to mind. Paddy Moore the local but likeable neighbour who makes sure that personal news becomes public news.

“I thought you were going jogging today Mick? Or is that gone by the wayside? He casually asked with three or four neighbours in earshot.

“No Paddy, I sprained my ankle” Nosy Bastard

My dear beloved wife is the other person; she takes great delight in casting up. She is a formidable lady and when armed with ammunition, she is lethal, and by God is she lethal, her barbs are like spits coming off the frying pan.

“I thought you were giving that up” she says in an underhanded off the cuff remark

“Well there’s a genuine reason…” I start to say before being cut off…

She nods in that condescending way “I thought as much” How can she be so cruel…I cringed as I slinked away from the wounding words. “Another waste of money” she calls after me as I make my exit. When I think of the humiliation and embarrassment whenever the subject of Christmas comes up, and it does, I bite my lip and give a clenched smile.

Never mind I’ll show the lot of you yet. Needless to say the aforementioned will not be privy to these coming New Year’s resolutions.

But you have to tell someone…Don’t you?  What’s the point in making them if nobody knows the personal sacrifices one makes, and who would know if you actually carried out your noble resolutions if you didn’t tell anyone; you see there’s my argument and my dilemma. So you have to tell someone and that’s where I had a brain storm.

I decided to write down my noble and aspiring resolutions on a sheet of paper, five in all. I won’t bore you with the details, only that they are worthy and worthwhile. When I had finished this work of art I put my signed declaration of good intent into a white envelope and sealed it with date and proof. I then addressed it to Mrs Kennedy a dear and lovable neighbour. My plan of action was to ask Mrs Kennedy to hold on to letter for me until next Christmas, with which I could proudly boast of my supreme efforts or secretly destroy the evidence should I falter along the way, either way. My reputation would be enhanced or would be none the worst for ware.

It’s the day before New Year’s and it’s time to deliver my letter to Mrs Kennedy when all of a sudden I am gripped by a surge of anxiety. The dear old lady is eighty nine years of age, God forbid, but what if she were to die during the year. How would I retrieve the letter? Worst still, what would her next of kin think of the letter? Would they think that I was trying to inveigle my way into her good graces? And lastly how would I explain a returned letter in the event of Mrs Kennedy’s death to my wife. This last thought of an opened letter being returned to my wife, and especially if I were not there to get it before “she” brought me to my senses, and so with deep regret I have decided that the best thing to do is to make only one resolution and that is to make none.

 

Michael Mullins © 2015

UrlingfordSourcewritersgroup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hermitage

The Hermitage

On a clear day and looking out the front window of my friends’ living room you can see the hermitage, that is, if you know where to look. It is approximately half a mile from their house. You cast your gaze across farmer’s fields until your eye catches the wooden structure situated almost in line with their middle window. There the hermitage nestles beneath a magnificent backdrop of Ash, Beech, Pine and Oak, the woodland acting as its guardian protector. The panoramic view from the porch of the hermitage spreads its coat in splendor. And in spring if you listen carefully you can hear the cacophony of sound bringing forth new life.

A group of friends had been invited to spend a Sunday afternoon with John and Madeline’s at their house, an idyllic spot on the outskirts of Errill. The occasion was to celebrate the hermitage which was the culmination of a dream that our dear friend John had harbored for many a year. The thought, but only a second took, completion a little longer tucked away in procrastination’s workshop. We were asked by Brother John to set off on our short journey to the hermitage by foot, individually and at intervals of between five to eight minutes.  A simple request from a brother to his friends before we began our journey to contemplate and later share the thoughts with pen and ink.

Our course was set a journey slightly longer than the ‘Crow flies’ starting from the lane-way until we reached the road. Looking for landmarks along the way that would lead us to the hermitage. I started Walking at a leisurely pace and soon overtook my companions; walking but not talking, lost in the moment, lost in space. I missed the yellow colored cottage were we should have turned right. I stopped to gather my bearings. My purpose was to find the hermitage, but where was it? I knew in which direction it lay, but could not see, my vision obscured by high ridges, my vision obscured by arrogance.

I waited for a couple of minutes to see if anyone was behind me and in the distance I could just about make out Sister Ita following  in confident step for she assumed I knew the way. “I’m sure he said the yellow cottage was just around the bend” I said to her. The bend came and went with no yellow in sight. I was lost, but my pride demanded I take command. I stopped and turned toward my companion “we’ve missed the turn… I’ve missed the turn”.

She just smiled “you’ll find the way” she assured me. We walked on, stopping to catch our breath, stilled by the silence; broken only by the sound of voices echoing in the stillness of nature.

Listening with determined intent for the sounds of our friends voices carrying on the wind, we forced our way through ditch and muck with my size ten thick heeled boots.Through rugged hedges, and over fences we stumbled and fell like drunks without a care in the world. Arriving unscathed and last, cheered on by hearty friends.

I remembered this short journey in a short lifetime in an analytical, analyzing way; all the points covered until they became blunt and blurred, coming to no particular conclusion, only asking the question. Is there meaning in everything we do? And should we look for meaning in the moment? I don’t know. Why can’t we just be, and learn from our experiences through our experiences? I know personally that I’ll never increase my levels of awareness looking for external answers. We all need help, and maybe that’s what we’re here for.

One thing that struck me at the time was the irony of being first on the road to nowhere and ending up being the last ‘the last shall be first and the first shall be last’ is the first thing I thought of on reaching the hermitage. Nobody gets lost they just get mislaid, their journey may take longer according to another’s perception, but then again the journey we take may be the one that you need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Mullins © thesourcewritersgroup 25/10/2014

Are Lice Lousy?

The Bed Bug and Lice Infestation Support Group

Creeper Lane

Headley

Li9ce M24

Dear Parents

Most people treat lice and bed bugs as nasty little blood sucking low life forms, which infest the heads of children, and bed clothes. They are unmentionable in any conversation and must be got rid of at all costs, in secrecy. The mere mention of Lice is enough to have a family isolated and quarantined until fumigation and de-licing has taken place.

Lice have had very bad press over the years and I wish to encourage you to have a closer look at the situation from the louse’s point of view. He’s really not a bad fellow! He creates many jobs for people manufacturing everything from fine combs to Lice deterrents. Children need to exercise their arms and fingers, and scratching is an ideal way of doing this.  They will also get time off from school, giving teachers a well-earned respite, possibly saving the Health Service time and money in the treatment of teachers suffering from nervous breakdowns. Washing power brands do well from the washing of bed linen and children’s’ clothes to the sale of clothes pegs.

Home de-licing can be great fun for all the family-sitting in front of the fire combing and counting the Lice to see who has the most and the biggest; racing them on the table and also putting them on the cat to watch him scratch. In the old days people washed children’s hair with lamp oil; but this practice was discontinued after some children sat to near the fire and were badly burned! Also some parents were charged cruelty to animals-the animals in question being the Lice.

Lice can also make nice little pets, and can be trained to wake you in the morning with a gentle nip. So I hope I have shown you a kinder and more compassionate view of the humble Lice. Remember you are never alone with a louse in the house, and you don’t need a licence to keep one.

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

MS Ima Crawley

Head Secretary

 

H J. McDonald

 

 

A Passing

A Passing

Death, the final act and all the significance that it entails. How to ascribe beauty in the sublimation of raw youth or celebrate the life of some septuagenarian in heroic reminisce, attribute some meaning, some relevance to the passing carnage of a life poorly spent in ignorant rambling or give praise to the man of substance whose presence can never be filled. But what do I know of that…clearly nothing aside from blank rhetoric. Consequently, what can I carry in the way of apprehension or fear as I find myself the passenger in a speeding vehicle on a foray towards a dying man. Blind in my way, setting out on a summer’s morning, rare sunlight slanting early glow into my eyes. Dim as the early morning stupor and lingering effects of a night’s pointless drinking renders me monosyllabic once more. Serving its purpose I suppose, as the journey is one of contemplation and reflection…a last visit to an old friend.

Death travels in mysterious ways and forms, sometimes brief and chaotic, sometimes over years of brutal pain and decay. No one knows the day or the hour simply that it is the only certainty we can ever truly accept in life. Perhaps there is some beautiful symmetry in this idea but there is little beauty in the act itself, this passing- despite whatever patriotic dogma has been rammed into one’s consciousness. Three weeks previous, the old man, in his late seventies, had visited our home. He had driven the thirty odd miles alone and met us in his customary ebullience, cheerful as ever. A man whose vitality and drive suggested a model of health in old age, his face a healthy glow as he swilled another cup of tea, trading a series of wise cracks. Merely days later, a diagnosis resulting from a routine inspection gave the old man mere weeks to live. God giveth, God taketh away.

But what of death…its omnipresence renders it something we can direct disposable sympathy towards or even ignore. Media impressions of it drain it of any personal touch. Bodies pile up on screens, depicted in sensationalised gore infused print and visualised in graphic freeze-frame, but these corpses remain elusive, anonymous. So we become detached, can we truly grieve for these paper victims? Harrowing reports of the old man over the intervening weeks suggesting a massive spiral downwards in health had hardly registered with me. Illness is easier out of picture, terminal illness doubly so. How can one envisage a rapidly disintegrating old man without some context? Continue reading “A Passing” »

15.50pm

15.50pm

15.49pm 59,58,57…It began innocuously enough, the odd billboard poster here and there. Huge red letters on a white background with a small 3D black square in the right hand corner, July 27th 15.50pm was its only message. Odd I thought no other information just that. Some kind of advertising gimmick I suspected. But then more posters began appearing all over the country. I tried bringing up the conversation with other people in a casual way, but all I received was passive interest, ‘another shopping chain’ some said or an early budget others said’. Other than mere speculation, no one, it seemed was interested. I didn’t pass much more interest until I saw a small article secreted in the middle pages of one of the national papers some weeks later, with a heading that aroused my immediate interest ‘WHAT THEY’RE NOT TELLING US’. The article went to say how some people were beginning to get worried as the message was now appearing all over the world. That sent alarm bells ringing in my head, I’d been telling friends and anyone that would listen, that the wool was being pulled over our heads and that we were willing participants. I couldn’t get to my PC quick enough, and sure enough, when I checked the internet, there was the usual nonsense about the End of The World and Aliens coming to take over our world…But there was no mention of the 15.50 message, and that’s when I really began to get worried, something was going down all over the world on that date and time, but what?

People were starting to ask questions both of the media and local Politicians, but all they received was the usual glib answers: mainly that it was only a marketing ploy employed by one the major corporations. Other than that, there was absolutely nothing to be concerned about. The Sheep it seemed were pacified once more. Maybe I was just too judgemental or maybe I was becoming paranoid, but I rather be a fool that knew the truth, than a dead duck in the water. On July the 20th our government suddenly announced there was to be a general election, nothing wrong with that…only that quite a lot of governments  around the world were doing the same thing. You can call me a conspiracy nut if you like, but that was enough to convince me that something serious was amiss.

I managed to persuade some friends to pack some provisions and tents. On July the 26th we climbed Mount Salmon which is only a few thousand feet high. At the very least it would afford us a good view; if anything were to happen. We were more than surprised to see other groups there, but we found our spot and camped. On July the 27th we waited patiently. Someone in the crowd said that there was panic in the towns; they heard it on the radio, no one spoke, we just waited…

6,5,4,3,2,1 and then they appeared.

Jake Butler © thesourcewritersgroup 2014

 

 

 

 

Passage of Time

Passage of Time

Through the open window, a chiming of bells carried on the air. A slanting ray of light cut through the dust, illuminating an errant patch on the wall. Somewhere from the shadows of a room, a pair of eyes watched vacantly. A figure lay silently and unmoving on a wooden bed, supplicant to the movement of the sun. There was no light in these eyes, just a waxen yellowed glaze.

As the dust danced balletic twists, a hand moved slowly to the mattress below and stirred the body into life. Levering himself from repose, two feet circled and touched the ground as the man paused in motion. He sighed then, a sigh of weariness and defeat, and lifted his head upwards. The bells had ceased and stillness descended upon the room once more, bringing into focus the metronome beat of the clock hand on the wall opposite.

He stared fixedly into the clock face, focusing on the centre point. At this visual manifestation of human endeavour designed to capture the concept of movement he peered and nothing moved but the hands of time. In one beatific moment, he knew what it meant. All the time and motion flowed into his mind filling spaces long disused. Each rhythmic tick had ceased to be, just a unified idea of all time and movement remained. An eyebrow arched and a jaw sloped downwards. The myriad worlds and possibilities treaded his thoughts and he was subsumed into it.

On the windowsill a bird had landed and with the elegant flutter of a wing, the sanctum was despoiled. As quickly the ideas had entered, they now left in torrents. He sat silently grasping for the understanding flooding from his mind. Understanding had settled but had now taken flight. He lifted a bony hand to scratch at the futility of the moment as if to plug the leaking of something arcane and known to all but somehow unknown and elusive. Opposite, the clock beat an inexorable metronome march.

Passage of Time

Through the open window, a chiming of bells carried on the air. A slanting ray of light cut through the dust, illuminating an errant patch on the wall. Somewhere from the shadows of a room, a pair of eyes watched vacantly. A figure lay silently and unmoving on a wooden bed, supplicant to the movement of the sun. There was no light in these eyes, just a waxen yellowed glaze.

As the dust danced balletic twists, a hand moved slowly to the mattress below and stirred the body into life. Levering himself from repose, two feet circled and touched the ground as the man paused in motion. He sighed then, a sigh of weariness and defeat, and lifted his head upwards. The bells had ceased and stillness descended upon the room once more, bringing into focus the metronome beat of the clock hand on the wall opposite.

He stared fixedly into the clock face, focusing on the centre point. At this visual manifestation of human endeavour designed to capture the concept of movement he peered and nothing moved but the hands of time. In one beatific moment, he knew what it meant. All the time and motion flowed into his mind filling spaces long disused. Each rhythmic tick had ceased to be, just a unified idea of all time and movement remained. An eyebrow arched and a jaw sloped downwards. The myriad worlds and possibilities treaded his thoughts and he was subsumed into it.

On the windowsill a bird had landed and with the elegant flutter of a wing, the sanctum was despoiled. As quickly the ideas had entered, they now left in torrents. He sat silently grasping for the understanding flooding from his mind. Understanding had settled but had now taken flight. He lifted a bony hand to scratch at the futility of the moment as if to plug the leaking of something arcane and known to all but somehow unknown and elusive. Opposite, the clock beat an inexorable metronome march.

A Christmas Tale

A Christmas Tale

“Come in quick” Stagecoach is on the telly. John Wayne was there in all his glory killing the bad guys, and saving the day. John Wayne was our window to a whole different world, the world that small boys could only dream about; the world of Cowboys and Indians.

As it was summer, we all rushed out after breakfast to meet up for the day’s game of Cowboys and Indians. You were either an Indian or a Cowboy and you were lucky if you were either John Wayne or Geronimo. We were all armed with Winchester Rifles in the form of Hurley’s if you were a Cowboy, and Bows and Arrows in the form of sticks with strings if you were an Indian.

We had no uniforms to distinguish us as either an ‘Injun or Paleface’.

It was going to take a pleading letter to Santa and an exemplary conduct rating to sort it out. So as Christmas approached, out came the pencil and the letter was written.

Dear Santa,

My name is Jimmy Ryan and I am eight and three quarters. Can I have:

A Cowboy Suit with a hat

An Indian Suit with Feathers

Two Pistols (Six Guns) a Belt and two holsters

A Bow and Arrow set

A Rifle

And a Selection Box

I have been really good this year.

I wonder should I tell him about killing Mrs Kennedy’s cat or breaking Mrs Murray’s window with the football. I think I will leave it out no point upsetting him

PS

Santa,

Don’t worry about the Selection Box if it’s a problem, as my aunt Eileen will be giving me one anyway. You concentrate on the rest.

When Christmas morning arrived, I did get some of what I wished for and as I rushed out into the streets to see what Santa brought everyone else, It looked like there was going to be twenty John Wayne’s next summer, and poor ould Micky Mockler, who was the only that Santa brought an Indian Suit and a Bow and Arrow, was going to be chased the length and breadth of the village until next Christmas.

Tom Cullen © 2013

Friends

 

Friends

 

By what yardstick do you measure friendship?

When one is a friend, and when one is not? That is the question…

I once asked who I thought was a good friend of mine at the time, for the loan of three hundred and eighty two euro.

“What’s the two for?” he asked

“What two?” I replied

“You asked for three hundred and eighty two euro; I just want to know what the two euro is for that’s all. No harm in asking, is there?

“Oh that” I said while pretending to look over his shoulder nonchalantly at something in the distance “is the price of the booking fee” I replied.

“The booking fee for what?” he enquired

Christ! This was becoming more embarrassing by the moment. It was bad enough asking him for a loan in the first place. The man was worst than a tribunal judge and I’m sure if he were around during the middle ages: he’d have been one of the Spanish inquisition’s rising stars. “Well if you must know the three hundred and eighty two euro’s is to go towards a holiday”

His countenance and his attitude changed completely. “A holiday…” he murmured. “Abigail and I haven’t been on one in years… and besides you’ve just come back from one.”

“Well”, I replied, “that’s not entirely the case: it was after all a funeral”

“A funeral that lasted two weeks in Florida…” he said, “and what’s more, you hardly knew the man: he was just a friend of your girlfriend’s father. It’s not like you were bosom buddies and all-”. He was about to utter something else but stopped short at that.

There was no point in taking this conversation any further. Because he was the type of person who would ask you how and where you would spend his precious money, that’s if a body were lucky enough to get his hands on it in the first place. I knew I shouldn’t have asked the tight arsed bastard for anything. Now I knew the rumours to be true that not only had he still hung on to his communion money, but that he was also capable of peeling oranges in his pocket as well. Continue reading “Friends” »

King of the pavement

‘King of the Pavement’

John Wid

A flow of unfocused light streamed in as Soulas prised his eyes apart, his world rendered in obscured newborn textures – all blurred tones and asymmetric shapes and bewilderment. Reaching his left arm outward in a tentative arcing motion his fingers met coarse gravel below, he groaned pitiably in some lament for his predicament. He wasn’t home. ‘That’s the way of it by God’ a voice shot out to him bringing him with a sharp jolt, which he immediately regretted, to an upright and alert position.

Continue reading “King of the pavement” »

Thurles Mini Walk

Thurles Mini Walk

Cead mile failte!

Morning folks and a thousand welcomes to the Cathedral Town of Thurles Mini walk.

Here at our starting point which is the Italianate Romanesque Cathedral of the Assumption, you are free to roam around and soak up the history. Before you go in, let me just give you a little background information. Dr. Patrick Leahy, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly from1857-1875 had the vision and ambition which brought about its existence. The architect, J.J.McCarthy, modelled the design on the Cathedral of Pisa in Italy and work commenced in 1865. In 1879, Archbishop Thomas Croke solemnly dedicated the Cathedral of the Assumption. Recent renovations were completed in Oct2003 and there is an ongoing appeal for a restoration fund. Inside you might like to walk around the altar as there are beautiful stained glass windows and various prayer shrines, particularly the Chapel of Prayer where many people irrespective of religious bias like to send out positive thoughts into the universe.

Right off you go and meet at this spot in 15mins please…………………………………

We will turn right out of the Cathedral and head over the bridge into the square. Please notice on your left as we cross the river Suir, the large complex which houses a large library and one of the country’s top arts centres. If anyone would like to pop in after the tour to see what entertainment is on at present feel free. There is also a public swimming pool and fully equipped leisure centre at your disposal if you would like to relax after the sightseeing.

Next stop is Hayes Hotel in Liberty Square for a refreshment break…coffee shop at the rear and bar for a Guinness! This is a landmark building because on the 1st November 1884 the hotel’s billiard room was the venue for the founding meeting of the G.A.A (Gaelic Athletic Association) Clare man, Michael Cusack, the principal architect of the organisation had convened the meeting in order to preserve and cultivate national pastimes. It is usually a hive of activity on days when matches are played locally in Semple Stadium and is traditionally renowned as the country’s premier hurling venue ( bar Croke Park stadium in Dublin) I am happy to give directions to anyone who feels like extending their walk in order to see the stadium after.

Meet back here in reception in 30mins please……………………………………….

Before we go any further, I would like you to look across at the statue at the lower end of the square’s parking area which was unveiled on St Patrick’s Day in 1900. You will see the 1798 rebellion Memorial referred to as ‘the stone man’. The ten foot limestone pedestal of a pike man has carvings depicting prominent United Irishmen: Wolfe Tone, Lord Edward Fitzgerald and Robert Emmet. There is also an inscribed verse by John Kells.

They rose in dark and evil days to right their native land

They kindled here a living blaze that nothing can withstand.

Alas! That might can vanquish right- They fell and passed away,

But true men, like you men, are plenty here today.

Now let’s head to the top of the square where we can see a bronze life-sized monument made by F. Doyle, a Londoner, dedicated to Dr Thomas Croke. Now who can remember the connection to an earlier sight? Yes, the Cathedral! The limestone tapering shamrock statue faces the Cathedral and commemorates not only his drive for the erection of the Cathedral but also the fact that he was the first patron of the GAA. Dr Croke retired as Archbishop in 1896 and died in 1902. He is interred at the Cathedral of the Assumption.

Well this brings us to the end of our mini walking tour. There are many places of interest left to see: St.Mary’s Church of the Famine and museum, Lar na Pairce for  G.A.A history and souvenirs, Semple Stadium, The Source Arts, a picturesque walk by the river and the inevitable shopping centre with full amenities and cinema complex to name but a few here in Thurles!

On behalf of the people of Tipperary, I hope you enjoy your stay and if you need any more information, please do not hesitate to contact the office again.

THE THURLES MINI WALKING TOUR

LIBERTY SQUARE

0504 44470

Patricia Loughnane, 18th June 2011

Source Writers group