Sunday, June 28, 2015

Football is not a matter of life and death, it's more important than that!

Today was Cemetery Sunday, a day when the whole parish assembles to remember our deceased loved ones.
I always think of Abu Dhabi when this day comes around as I usually arrived home for my summer holidays on this weekend and this was a brilliant opportunity to meet up with all my friends. When I told friends from other cultures about meeting up with my friends in the graveyard they were both amused and horrified in equal measure. They were totally gobsmacked when I recounted the story of the year that the village was robbed because everyone was up in the cemetery!
We now have a garda presence on this Sunday.

It's not that we are obsessed with Death. Rather it is because of a huge respect for the dead. Death is seen as an inevitable part of life. Children are not shielded from it  but rather are exposed to it in a natural and non threatening way. This should help them to deal with death when they encounter it in the future.
Megan rearranges the ornaments on her great granddad's grave.

This year numbers were down a bit. This was because Westmeath (our county football team) were playing in the Leinster football semifinal in Croke Park. Not only was this the first time they reached this stage since 2004 but they were playing  their old enemies Meath, who they had failed to beat in their last 22 encounters in the Championship. The odds were stacked against us.

So it was that a large number of the congregation in the graveyard were wishing they were at the match. However thanks to modern technology they were. As I looked around the graveyard I could see that at least two people in each family were looking down at their phone following the game.  Things were not looking good. Westmeath were 9 points down with 20 minutes to go. Then began the comeback of the century. Slowly but surely we began to claw our way back. In between every "Hail Mary" you could see fists being clenched behind headstones as another point was scored. I would say that every prayer that was said around a grave was aimed at the team and not for the dearly departed.
 But I know for a fact that Dad would prefer my prayers today were for a victory rather than for him.

And guess what?
It worked!
There was an audible sign of relief around the graveyard when the final whistle was blown up in Croke Park and Westmeath emerged the winners, only 131 years in the waiting!

The priest finished the ceremony with the words
"It would appear that today God is from Westmeath!"
Someone beside the priest was obviously on their phone as well!

This is an example  of how excited we got.......

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Wake up call.

I'll be honest.
There have been several mornings this year when my alarm clock has gone off, I've moaned and whined
"Fuck it. Do I HAVE to get up for work today?"
Maybe thirty years of teaching have finally worn me down. Trying to teach a class of 36 kids in a prefab hasn't helped either. Coupled with restricted playground area and proximity to a building site would have tested the patience of Mother Theresa. I was fed up with once more explaining to a parent that although their child was not happy with my decision to do/not do something, it was made with the good of the full 36 children in mind, not just their little prince/princess. Then open a newspaper in the evening and read another article about how greedy teachers in their cushy jobs with endless holidays have the gall to ask for our pay cutbacks to be restored in 2016, like the government promised it would do.
Yep, there were a few times this year when I asked myself
And then I get an end-of-year thank you note like this from a child...

And I realise...
That's why I'm still doing my job.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


I got this fabulous "thank you" from one of my girls. I was a bit confused as to which one was  supposed to be me. I mean, they have completely different hair colours.

Then it dawned on me that she was, in fact, absolutely right!
 During the course of this year I have gone from blond to red head to brown haired!
Full marks to her for observation.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

So wrong it's right!

One of the most disheartening times of the year for a teacher is "test" time at the end of year. You set a fair test that covers all that you have covered in class with your pupils. You figure it's challenging but are confident that they can do it.
Then you correct them and realise that maybe you weren't as clear in your delivery as you thought you were.
However this is one wrong answer I was happy to get! How cute is 18 (b)....

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

O brother, where art thou?

This story was told to me this weekend by a 90 year old monk.
I kid you not, he really did.

Sister Mary didn't arrive down for morning prayers.  Neither did she turn up for breakfast. Mother Superior was worried so she sent up Sister Margaret to her room to see what was the matter. Sr. Mary was still in her bed.
"Are you feeling sick, Sr. Mary?"
"No, Sr. Margaret".
"Why didn't you come down for breakfast?"
"Sure I didn't get a wink of sleep last night."
"Why was that?"
"There was a saint in my bed?"
"A saint??? Really? How do you know he was a saint?"
"Sure didn't he have "St. Bernard" written on his underpants!"

For my non Irish readers, "St Bernard" was the brand name for Dunnes Stores, in the same way as "St. Michael" was the brand name for Marks and Spencers.

Isn't it brilliant when you meet someone who knows the secret to a long, happy life.........humour!

Monday, June 1, 2015

A milestone in a woman's life.

What a wash out of a June Bank holiday Monday.
Being confined to the house because of  torrential rain, it meant that I had an opportunity to do a job that I had been putting off for ages.....culling my wardrobe(s).

I do it every so often. Usually the criteria for tossing out something are
"Have I worn it in the past year?"
 "Does it fit?"
"Is it still in fashion?"

However this time I had a new constraint. Namely
"Am I too old to wear this?"
Gasp, shock, horror.
Having passed into my fifth decade I have noticed subtle changes in some of my opinions. Now, I have no intention in looking frumpy but neither do I want to look like "mutton dressed as lamb".

So began the task of trying on everything to see if it still fitted/ was age appropriate. I'm glad to say a lot of things remained (phew). But there were a few items that were just....too short. Don't get me wrong, I have never been a person who wore her hemlines up to Tir na nÓg! I just never realised that knees are the most aging part of the body!

Seeing as my "get rid of" pile was very small, I decided to consult the internet to see if I was still being unrealistic about what I can wear in my 50's.

Oh Holy Mary, Mother of God!

That's so not me.
I guess I'll just have to keep trusting my own sense of style...and my full length mirror! However if you do ever see me in a totally inappropriate outfit please feel free to let me know.
But be warned, have a big box of Kleenex ready for my meltdown!