Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, whatever the time is when you are reading this, it is a genuine ‘Good Day’ to you. This morning at 0840 I dropped the youngest one at work. The roads were deserted, the shopping centre where she works was just starting to wake up as some bleary eyed employees made their way back to an eight hour day on their feet after the celebrations (excesses) of Christmas and excitement (utter madness) of St.Stephens Day (Boxing Day, or whatever name you have for it). If you have managed to survive it relatively unscathed then I applaud you. If you are suffering then I genuinely have sympathy for you. The peer pressure of this season has no equal and you are a ‘Bah Humbug’ if you don’t conform to the mad party and games pressure. Whichever of these camps you fall into you are, welcome back to the routine world.
On Christmas eve we had the preverbial ‘pre-christmas’ meal of Stuffing, Smoked Ham, Marrowfat peas, pickles and even some of the best home-made coleslaw you have ever tasted. This is the best meal of the whole Christmas for me. It is the strongest memory of returning home as a young teenager to the first ‘Has-to-be-continued’ traditions of Christmas.
The brined turkey (i.e.soaked for 24 hours in a very lightly salted water) on the Christmas feast was a just unimaginably juicy and succulent, went down a treat and to-day we have the traditional ‘goujons’ of turkey in tempura batter and French fries (thin-cut chips). The last blow out before we start preparing for the NYR’s.
And to top it all our famous rugby team, the might Munster put Leinster to the sword in fine fashion in the traditional Christmas derby on front of a packed home crowd in Thomond Park. I thankfully donated my ticket to a very deserving fan and watched it from the comfort of my armchair as the weather was shocking and a three-hour round trip was not conducive to helping a sneaking ‘sore throat’.
Cornflakes and Cold Milk.
Can I remind you of something that is always there, so simple to prepare, relatively cheap these days (I do remember when it was a very rare luxury) and we easily forget to indulge and yet it (if you give it a bit of thought) evokes so many incredible memories for a great deal of us.
In my memories it was the start of Christmas when a box of Cornflakes appeared (it had been porridge up to that) and the celebrations had begun.
• Breakfast at home after a long night out on the town (lining the stomach if you will)
• St.Stephen’s mornings when you wanted to start the day a little less guilt free. (or to hell with the guilt and add a little of the fresh cream that is left over and have a decedant breakfast (again, lining the stomach if you will for the St. Stephens day festivities ahead)
• Kilworth army camp breakfast when you were away from home for the first time
• Outside the tent in Kilkee behind the Atlantic Hotel (both the sunny and wet mornings) with plastic ware and the ‘Nana’
• Breakfast in St. Judes, main street Kilkee
• Breakfast in Marinan’s Farmhouse outside kilkee with not so cold milk (Alfie’s first delivery of milk was a pail to the visitors, not everybodies cup of tea!)
• Grabbing a bowl of life sustaining Cornflakes and milk in the kitchen while the Dad stands, eating his toast and boiled egg (and contemplates the day ahead of him) and whoosh we were out the door to school.
Cracking memories (tons more). If yo have one, or correct mine, don’t be afraid to add them to the comments, below.
Go on, do it this Christmas and close your eyes and see the memories flood back.
The New Year is nearly upon us (Chinese, Year of the Sheep) but before that is a small matter of a trip to the little village of Barna beyond Galway for the gathering of a clan and the union of Niall and Gillian. Here goes and watch this space for the closing installments of this 2014 Christmas Diary.
I’m on page 140 of Jim Stynes, My Journey. I’ll fill you in later. Fantastic read