Friday, December 24, 2010



It was the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a mouse.

That’s not the case in this house. Between one thing and the other no self respecting mouse would even dare to stir here. Its bedlam. But bedlam of a goodly kind. The bedlam created by the small persons in my life. Especially on the night before Christmas. Or to be exact the day before Christmas. By now they are in Tír na nÓg dreaming of Dadai Na Nollag coming on his reindeers with lots of goodies.

Today we ventured forth together. Out in the hard cold of an early glacial afternoon. It was great craic. Anna especially – all seventeen months of her wrapped up like a native of the Artic - slipping and sliding and refusing to wear gloves. And Drithle like a gazelle whizzing ahead of us while Luisne explores the terrain with the zeal of a five year old middle sister.

Et moi? Big boots, ear muffs and thermal undergarments are your only man as I learned from Todler and big Mick in the cages of Long Kesh. Mick and Todler were great guys to do time with. We spent a Christmas in the punishment block together. That was the time we were cutting our way through the razor wire and crawling out of the Kesh towards the MI and freedom. Except we got caught. And badly beaten for our trouble. But not bate, as your man would say.

And that was before the winter of 78.

So a walk on the wintery wild side with three young women is wee buns to this blog. We skated and skied and skidded and pirouetted without a care in the world. It reminded me of the big snow in 1959. Or thereabouts. When me and Joe Magee made our way one early morning from Divismore Park and across the Brickfields and the Pithead to Kennedys Bakery in Beechmount for pillowcases of bread and buns. We were ten or eleven years old. I must have rescued Joe a dozen times. He kept disappearing into snowdrifts. I remember to this day how the snow transformed the Pithead. An abiding memory. It truly was a winter wonderland. Instead of a rubbish dump.

We ate most of the buns on the way back. Well, the Diamonds and Soreheads and Flies Graveyards and Paris buns. Or at least Joe did. I didn’t tell any of the young persons in my life any of this. They think I spoof a lot. And they don’t even read the Indo, the Sunday Tribune, The Herald or the Irish News. So I just went with the flow on this fine brittle icicled Christmas Eve.

Until one of them wanted carried. There is no plan B when that happens. Especially when it is Anna. Especially if you are outnumbered. Tom Crean never had it so bad. Every bone in my body was sore. And then some.

And when we got home it was deserted. Even the mouse had gone shopping. But three ravenous young persons – yes this blog is young no matter what age I am - and a very dirty nappyed rosy red cheeked younger one demanded refreshments. And after that entertainments. All in all a good day. And almost a politics free zone. Which is very good in the day that is in it.

I also got to throw snowballs at my oldest sister Margaret. Problem was she threw some back. I really enjoyed that. Yes I know the snow is a pain but holy flip me pink, even the snow has its place in the scheme of things. All that dreaming of a White Christmas and then when it comes what happens?

We whinge and gurn. Enjoy it. Unless this is the beginning of a new Ice Age as predicted by your man it will be gone again soon. And the nights will begin to turn. Since this weeks Winter Solcise the days are beginning to lengthen. So good cheer to all. Have a great life. You will be a long time dead.

Nollag Shona daoibh.


A Heron's View said...

The Season's Grettings to you & sucess in the year ahead :)

Timothy Dougherty said...

Nollaig shona duit Gerry, and to all of your loved ones. Looking back on this year and your work, you have come so far ,or we all have made a journey. Go maire tú an lá! and Codladh sámh. Been reading more on Roger Casement found a statement by the Prophet of Paradox, George Bernard Shaw on the case. in 1916-
in|which he said :—
No wise man now uses the word Traitor at
all. He who fights for the independence of his
country may be an ignorant and disastrous fool;
| but he is not a traitor and will never be regarded
i \as one by his fellow-countrymen. All the slain
men and women of the Sinn Fein Volunteers
fought and died for their country as sincerely
as any soldier in Flanders has fought or died
for his. Their contempt for pro-British
Pacificists, like myself, was as fiercely genuine
as the contempt of our conscriptionists and
military authorities for Mr. Clifford Allen. Treason is, after all, merely a technical term
which bears the same relation to politics that
heresy does to religion, and if the heresy of to-
day be sometimes only the truth of the morrow,
so perchance may the treason of to-day be the
patriotism of to-morrow; though all human
organisations, whether Churches or States, are
bound to victimise those born out of due time.
But deep down in his mind there seems to
have been a thought which, given other conditions^—peace instead of war.

michaelhenry said...

Another year to end- another
But a new one on the horizon
The youth of a new year in front

Merry christmas to one and all

Marnie said...

Thank-you Gerry for your endearing rendition of Christmas. Bless your heart and enjoy the festivities.

Joe Magee said...

The year was 1963. Now I know you say you are young despite your age, I am younger and I distinctly remember rescuing you! On this occasion as well as a number of other occasions.
You are right, the flies graveyards and the paris buns were delicious.
Happy new year.