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DIARY OF A DEMENTED HOME WORKER: Our goose is really cooked this Christmas

December 27th, 2020 6:25 PM

By Emma Connolly

I’m not ready to write off Christmas 2020 entirely, but I’m revising my expectations in a pretty serious way. I’m wondering if RTÉ’s Christmas night movie, A Star is Born, could be revised too? Not altogether Gaga for it. I’d favour something with the three wise men, Dr Tony, Dr Ronan and Prof Philip.

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DIARY OF A DEMENTED HOME WORKER: It’s Week 41 and things went arseways when I toppled over the Christmas tree, and like everyone else I’m gutted with new Level 5 restrictions but understand why we need them

• I SUPPOSE regardless of what kind of a spin you try to put on things you’d be hard pushed to conclude that it’s the most wonderful time of the year. My festive feelings had been simmering along relatively steadily until this week, but to be honest they’ve now more or less evaporated. A bit like the steam on my poor plum pudding after I forgot about it. I had actually planned on doing a  reflective ‘what I learned during the pandemic’ piece this week, but all I could come up with in the end was that: men are infinitely better at self care than women; teaching my child to work the remote control was a turning point when the hell known as working from home began last March, and  a glass of wine at 5pm (often chugged while hiding in the pantry) is far more beneficial than one at 9pm. So instead, l’ve decided to reflect on what’s been an intense past few days…

• Without underestimating the absolute seriousness of what’s happening in this country, and globally, it’s such a pity (and that’s me being polite) that we didn’t get just a tiny bit more ‘time off’ from the reality of Covid-19 over Christmas. At this stage we know the warning signs, so it was pretty obvious what was coming down the tracks, but hearts everywhere still sank when we heard Micheál Martin’s Level 5 announcement at lunch time on Tuesday. It was as bad as we feared. We had all dialled down our Christmas plans anyway, and were totally ok with that, but now that we have to dial down, already dialled-down plans, I’m thinking we definitely won’t need that fourth course or three types of potato. I know we’re still better off than lots of countries, not to mention apocalyptic London, but there’s still a lot of wobbly lips about the place. And who can really blame us? Go on, let it out, you’ll be in the better of it.

•What I’m completely clinging to, and yes I know this is selfish, is that the plan is for schools to re-open after the holidays. I know that won’t matter a jot for lots of other people but I suppose we all have to find something positive in the restrictions and stick to that, even if means putting a bit of a spin on things. So, I suppose we could be relieved that for once we won’t have to come up with plans for New Years Eve, or feel too much of a loser if we end up spending it on the couch. I mean this year who could even blame us for turning in before midnight? Personally, I’m finding the thought of taking to the bed right now most attractive.

• On a lighter note, things came crashing down around me spectacularly this week. Specifically the Christmas tree. The bedtime challenge of trying to unplug the lights has been like a game of Jenga this season. The rules involve crawling under the tree on your belly, reaching in blindly to the socket to flick the ‘off’ switch and crawling back out (by which time you’re covered in needles) – all without unbalancing the tree with your backside. I took the challenge on Friday night, cheered on by absolutely nobody, and was doing very well until … that last part. There were a few casualties (not me), and expletives (all me), and we’ve since got that extension lead that we’d been meaning to get since putting it up. Most annoying of all perhaps, was that there’s usually either a dog or a child within a foot of me, but there was neither in the vicinity at the time to pin it on.

• Seriously though, if I get one more ‘out of office’ email saying ‘Happy Christmas! I’m on annual leave until the New Year. If your query is urgent please contact the poor sod beside me who forgot to book their days off in time….’ The most irritating one I got was someone telling me cheerfully she wouldn’t be at her desk until January 13th (she didn’t actually say ‘so long suckers’ but I could definitely sense it). Bah, humbug.

• Also I’m very unsure about RTÉ’s choice of Christmas night film A Star is Born. To be fair programmers have an almost impossible task, but I don’t think that’s going to hit the spot. And it’s not just because I’ve already seen it. Maybe they should have gone all out ironic with 28 Days Later or Contagion? It is a big ask I know, but could Dr Tony, Prof Luke, Prof Philip, Dr Ronan and maybe Dr Cillian cobble together some sort of improv panto at this  late stage? Perhaps ‘Babes,

are we out of the woods?’ Just a thought.

• Finally, thank you to all those who made hard and often heartbreaking decisions and didn’t come home from abroad or travel from elsewhere in the country this year for our greater good. Let’s all keep focused on the vaccines and remember we’ll rally again.

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