9th December, 1999
DIGSY'S TRIUMPHANT RETURN!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Digsy has returned, folks! No, please, dont all stand up. No, honestly. Stop it, youre making me embarrassed. Oh, go on then.
My old friend and sensei (thats teacher/mentor in Japanese, language fans), Michael OHanlon, informed me recently that people had been asking him the same questions, over and over. Oh sensei, tell us - where is Digsy? Why have we not seen his scintillating columns in the pages of the Weekly for six months? Why did you let such a charming and brilliant character slip through your fingers like so many grains of sand?
Sensei OHanlon could but reply, Ah, my young friends - you are mere children, unversed in the ways of the world. Digsy has left us on his own journey to enlightenment, inner peace and buckets full of cash courtesy of a big publishing house in Dublin. Such is the way of the universe.
Anyway, its great to be back, kids. I hope youre all keeping well. I myself was fine until the end of November, when those lousers at West Ham brought Pools glorious unbeaten run crashing to an end. Boo! Still, though, its been a slightly more enjoyable season than last year, the worst twelve months Ive had to endure since that time the beak sent me down for a year for flogging bootleg fags on Patrick Street.
I dont really know what to write about, seeing as how Im doing this in November and you probably wont get to read it for about fifteen weeks, but Ill do my best. How about a review of the season so far? Grand, so.
Satan United (go on, you knew that one was coming) have been slip sliding their way through the Champions league, losing to Batigol and Fiorentina last time I checked. Big deal. Theyre still top of the Canon First Division, despite playing below their usual voodoo-enhanced standards. Lets face it, the only way they wont continue to win every competition in every sport in the world for ever is if the Exorcist is brought in and Demon Ferguson burned at the stake. Which is pretty unlikely.
Arsenal and Leeds are keeping the pressure on, though, with Chelsea dithering between excellent form in Europe and Watford-level ineptitude at home. But heres a little secret for you - they wont win nuthin. And theyll have returned to their previous mediocrity in five years. Guaranteed.
Well, seeing as I get paid by the word (a massively ex-orbitant rate at that) and Im already gone over 400, I better stop here if I dont want to bankrupt Sensei OHanlon. IÆll leave you with the knowledge that the Pool will rise again, The Red Menace cant win all the time, and Digsy is always right.
Digsy, The Ghost Who Walks
PS: How lucky is Keego? How lucky? I tell ya, I would luv it, etc. etc.
PPS: How unlucky is Mick McCarthy? As the saying goes, if he didnt have bad luck, hed have no luck at all.
Kevin from Douglas is a modern day singer /
songwriter who draws his inspiration from the world around him,
his bittersweet compositions on all facets of Irish life have
been well received wherever he performs. Well-known singers in
Ireland, Australia, the UK and America have covered his songs.
Six other artists, including Seamus Moore and Jimmy Crowley have
recorded his comic ballad 'The Bandon Car'. As a career Kevin
choose to plough the lonesome trail of the balladeer, sweating it
out in Lounges and Taverns in the far-flung corners of the world.
He's come a long way since he started out as a two piece with
Jimmy Crowley at Bridgies Bar in Ballygarvan during the late
Amazingly it has taken all this time to persuade him to release a C.D. of his own songs. It's called 'The winds of Morning' and it's available now at Black Track's and Laser Discs. Every track is a Kevin Beale original and joining Kevin n the album are some of Cork's finest musicians, Jimmy Crowley Bouzouki, Vince Milne on Fiddle and Viola, Ray Barron on Mandolin, Mick Daly on five -string Banjo, Brid Crannitch on Harmonium and Mary Green on harmony vocals. The line up alone makes it a must for all music lovers. The album was recorded at The Ray Barron Studio in Douglas.
Kevin's popularity in the US has made him favourite with audiences of The Adrian Flannery Show in New York. In fact Kevin is off to the states for another sell out tour in March. In the meantime why not treat yourself or a friend to a copy of his C.D.
BED OF (THORNY) ROSES)
Marriage has been regarded in the west as almost
unbreakable or indissoluble for centuries. Divorces were often
met with the threat of social ostracism. Yet divorces were only
granted in limited and specific cases. Non consummation of
marriage being an example. Nearly all industrialized countries
have now succumbed to the idea of making divorce more easily
accessible. Up until very recently Ireland was the odd one out as
far as divorce went. In virtually all countries an adversarial
system was characteristic. This simply meant for a divorce to be
granted one spouse had to bring charges against the other. This
obviously changed dramatically as 'no fault' laws were becoming
established in some countries in the mid to late 60's. Many years
later Ireland followed suit.
In some states in the US it's now apparently possible to get application forms for a divorce from an A.T.M machine [hole in the wall]. But why is divorce becoming more common and why do people fall in love and get married in the first place?
Unlike the past, marriage in the west nowadays has little connection with the system of dowries or status from generation to generation. Of course women are also more economically independent, and so marriage is not the necessary, almost compulsory, economic partnership it once was. Adding momentum to this is the fact that divorce no longer carries the social stigma it once did. Another influence may be a general economic prosperity, which may allow the setting up of a second separate household. Yet at the same time there are many cases where divorce causes financial hardship for one or both spouses. So is it a case of now that marriage isn't as reliant as it once was on economic grounds, encouraging or making people evaluate marriage on levels of personal satisfaction. And is this 'personal satisfaction' a recent phenomenon?
Nowadays we are very much skeptical that 'love is forever'. We seemed to have dispelled this myth at least, but we don't seem to have much difficulty in believing that love seemingly derives from some universal human sentiment. Yet although we take our views of love for granted, they are still quite unusual. 'Falling in love' is not something most humans experience and it's rarely associated with marriage outside of the west. It's only recently in the west that 'romantic love' has become widespread and it has never existed in most other cultures. Again, the same can be said of the intertwining in modern times of love, sexuality and marriage. This too is only a recent development for throughout the Middle Ages, and for centuries afterward, people married for property or simply to raise children to work on farms. [This is still extremely common today in many countries. In Africa for example, many people marry to raise children to support them, as they grow old. Outside of the western world these practices would be anything but unusual]. After marriage, some couples may have found themselves becoming close companions, but again, this was after they were married not before.
Romantic love first showed its face as a characteristic of the aristocracy's extramarital sexual affairs. Until about 200 years ago it was largely confined to such circles and specifically kept apart from marriage. Among rich and poor alike decisions to marry were taken by family, not by the individuals concerned. They had little or no say in the matter. If you look outside of western cultures then this still holds true today. It remains difficult to see how romantic love and its collaboration with marriage can be 'given' features of human life, but are more likely to be shaped by social influences and even trends. So what alternatives are young people opting for today?
Cohabitation is now very much prevalent throughout the western world and is increasing dramatically. However even up until recently this was regarded as scandalous. During the 1980's in Britain, the number of unmarried men and women sharing households soared by 300 percent. It's now obviously common for students to do the same. Co-habitation is now an accepted norm. Young people live together by drifting into it as opposed to calculated planning. Research shows that the Nordic countries have the highest levels of Co-Habitation.
Amongst modern western societies people now on average marry about 3 years later than was the case in 1960. Various factors have increased the number of 'single' people. The rising rate of divorce is one of these factors, coupled with growing numbers of old people whose partners have passed away. A larger number of people in there 20's are unmarried than used to be the case. But by the mid thirties it seems that only a small minority of men and women have not been married. Interesting to note that the majority of single people [western cultures] aged 30 to 50 are divorced and 'in between' marriages. Most single people over 50 are widowed.
WELCOME HOME MY LOVE
We were the young boy and girl in innocence
Remember? When you and I used to stroll in youthful song
Between the mist and the morning spring sun
Those times passing the farmer's wife whilst she stirred tea
Inside her window,
And then winter's blanket fell soft;
It was tour smile, the autumn one I waited for,
All those years you were away in Africa;
And the memory of your tender hair, and
The thought I had knowing you cared,
Like a stream melting the ice from the call of spring
Like the breeze of a purple evening
Like the wind on your brow, I say with peace,
'Welcome home my love.
CHRISTMAS - A TIME FOR GIVING
Every parent wants the best for their child and
naturally would like to give them every Christmas present they
ask for. However each parent weighs up the suitability of the
presents to his or her child.
Don't get me wrong, this is not an article about what not to give your children but more in the lines of teaching your young ones responsibility as regards certain presents.
Surely at one time or another we've heard - ' I want a big, furry, cuddly puppy please!' But suddenly the picture of Elmira from Pinky and the Brain pops into your head and you groan and immediately say no.
Yet, it's hard to say no when they ask Santa for a cute little kitten and so adoring parents find themselves saying "Ah Well" and go out and buy an adorable little kitten. However this will soon grow into a cat and is not so small and cute anymore and your child loses interest and that's that! Goodbye Kitty!
This scenario is one that's enacted all over the country every Christmas. However it's not enough just to buy a cute, cuddly bundle of joy. Like every new toy instructions on care and handling go with the purchase and it's the same with new puppies and kittens except they come in the form of your veterinary surgeon.
The instructions from your vet usually consist of vaccinations, feeding, grooming for fleas and care and attention.
This article is not to deter you from getting your child a pet but more as a reminder that any new addition to the family needs lots of care and attention.
Remember this is an investment for the rest of your life and not just a few weeks at Christmas.
On the positive side a new pet can teach your child responsibility and love for the animal world.
So remember if you do choose to surprise your child with a puppy or kitten try to teach your childcare and responsibility for their charge.
On a second note, good dog breeds for children are; King Charles spaniels, some good cross breeds, Labradors and retrievers. Also remember the larger the dog the more time space and exercise needed.
It is also advisable to have your pet checked out by your local vet as soon as possible.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Ruth Humble & Lois James
GARDENING - FURTHER CHOICES
Last week we mentioned some climbing plants
suitable for your conservatory, now we turn to some of the
shrubby species. We start with Hibiscus; these are very
attractive and are available with white or coloured flowers. The
plants need to be watered while flowering and the temperature
should be kept as constant as possible. Hibiscus requires hard
pruning in late winter to maintain its bushiness. Next we have
Brugmansia (Datura) which has trumpet shaped flowers and grows
well as a wall shrub Burgmansia arorea has white scented flowers
from late summer to autumn and if it is planted in a bed it can
grow up to 15ft. Other Burgmansia hybrids are available in a
variety of colours. But be very careful, as these plants are not
suitable for a conservatory used by children because they are
poisonous. Another favourite is Tibouchina (glory bush) an ideal
choice for a conservatory. It has deep purple; saucer shaped
flowers in summer and early winter and distinctive velvety
leaves. It should be pruned after flowering. Another on our list
is Abutilon, which is available in a wide range of varieties.
They flower for a long time and are ideal for conservatories.
A few tips on plant care;
If you choose plants that require high humidity spray the conservatory at least once a day in hot weather.
Apply a liquid feed while the plants are growing.
Prune according to species requirements, otherwise climbers and bushes become leggy and lose their shape.
Inspect the plants regularly for pest problems.
Typical pests include:
Whitefly, tiny white insects.
Spider mites, the foliage appears speckled, webs appear between leaves and the leaves dry out. Particularly a problem in centrally heated dry atmospheres.
Keeps an eye out for grey / pink bugs covered in 'cotton wool', mealy bugs. Usually found on fleshy-leaved plants.
When you are treating a pest problem, try to avoid using insecticides indoors. If the infestation is minor you may be able to use biological control. Permethrin -based insecticides, but only those designed for household use, should take care of the problem. More next week..
CHRISTMAS DAY SWIM
In aid of the MERCY HOSPITAL CHILDRENS
In 1995 a group of people from the Grange area got together to form the Grange Swimmers and Friends Club. Their aim was to raise funds for the children's Leukaemia ward in the Mercy Hospital. So on Christmas Day in 1995 they held a sponsored swim in Myrtleville, four people joined them and they raised £460. The following year - £2340. The year after - £5,000 and last year they raised £8,660. This year they hope to raise more. Not a penny goes on expenses; everything goes to the hospital. Members Peter O'Connell, Michael Higgins, John Gannon, Donal Madden, Oran O'Connell and Michael Corcoran will meet outside the Grange bar on Christmas Morning @ 10.30 AM. The swim takes place @ 11.AM in Myrtleville. They would appreciate your support on the day. I'll be there (not in swimming trunks) to take some photo's. Be there if you dare!
SAVE OUR POOL
Does the public generally realise that funding
from Cork Corporation for public swimming pools at Douglas and
Churchfield will cease after next June? Twenty five schools use
each pool weekly, a total of about 3,000 children, and swimming is a recognised module of the & P.E. programme for most Primary schools. Swimming dubs such as Sundays Well, Lee, Eglinton and Dolphin have provided swimming lessons a few times weekly for children for decades. It is a sight to behold, perhaps 14 volunteers teaching 80 children during a session - and just for the love of it all, as 95% of the children will never swim competitively. The local media and local people have all been talking openly of the strong possibility of pool closure. The City Managers brief speech at the council meeting of 22nd November revealed neither enthusiasm nor optimism about the future of the pools. Councillor after councillor spoke in favour of the absolute need to retain public swimming facilities in Cork many spoke of their own unease and even suspicion regarding intentions, and of the need to apply soon for the available Government funding.
Where do the children go if you dose the pools? I doubt that senior management can give any credible answer to this simple question. Let the schools deal with the hotels was the stupifying reply of a senior figure quoted to myself and others - by a councillor. Clearly the leisure complexes will not want these cheerful, noisy, swarming hordes of children; their pools, in any case, would prove both too small and too expensive for the schools. Two schools literally on the doorstep of the Gus Healy pool returned last weekend front the All-Ireland (32 county) championships laden with multiple gold medals both in team and individual events; St. Anthonys Boys N.S., and Scoil Bhride, Eglantine established themselves as the foremost swimming schools on the Wand. It was shameful to watch these young champion swimmers and their parents swell the ranks of the protestors at the council meeting.
I hope the consultants and the City Manager will appreciate the massive social dimension to all this and not just talk about loss-making. The City Library runs at an annual deficit of almost £1,600,000 compared to a pools deficit of more than £600,000, and who would suggest dosing the City Libraries? The need for major investment and change is undeniable. Refurbish, renovate, re-build, re-anything, but please remember that these
public pools are just that: public, belonging to the people of Cork. Jack Higgins as City Manager is widely seen as a dedicated, hard-working public servant with the interests of the people always at heart I hope he will not let us witness this proud athletic Cork tiger bf 1999 slouch abjectly towards the millennium.
Richard Pardi, Ballinlough.