Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Christmas Debacle

Thank God that's over.  As the years pass I identify more and more with Scrooge.  It's the enforced jollifications I particularly dread. But of course there are certain elements that I still enjoy. The trip to Blackrock College to buy the tree is always fun: the sap, the smell, the helpful lads, the car crammed on the way home. The annual viewing of the Bono on Christmas morning in St. Patrick's near Bulloch Harbour - the amiable padre and the solid Protestant burghers. The quality racing at Kempton and Leopardstown - with Cheltenham prospects on view. But the highlight is the escape to Schull on the 27th. A week of walks on Barleycove Beach, and crab sandwiches and Guinness in O'Sullivan's of Crookhaven.  The brace of pints before dinner every evening - in Hacketts or O'Regans. The extended sessions of mutual abuse when the family convenes. An annual purging of affectations.  The glimpses of Schull's most infamous denizen - older and wearier looking this year, grim-faced woman in tow. The unflagging amiability of Tom Brosnan - unofficial mayor, fire brigade driver, musician, supermarket owner and deer lover. The wonderous vistas along the Sheep's Head peninsula. Checking out the graveyard on the Colla Road I noticed they've finally given Jim O'Driscoll a decent stone with handsome surrounds. The inscription is a bit cryptic:  "Surrecturi" -  no dictionary helps here.  Jim was a well known exponent of the Cork art of ball-hopping so I'd like to think it's an attempt to befuddle us from beyond the grave. However it's more likely to be an arcane Latin term known only to his fellow obfuscators in the legal profession.