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WOMAN ON THE VERGE: Handsome devil Luther is back on our screens

March 21st, 2023 3:30 PM

By Emma Connolly

WOMAN ON THE VERGE: Handsome devil Luther is back on our screens Image
This week I’ve been mainly enjoying the return of John Luther (Idris Elba) to our screens and wondering if primary school kids really need to start learning a foreign language. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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I spent the week trying to brush up on my Irish (mainly thanks to Google), and wondering if plans to introduce foreign languages at national school level are that good an idea ... and also enjoying the return of DCI John Luther.

• I’M really trying hard this week not to talk about the price of groceries. Been there, done that, more than once, don’t want to bore the readers etc. But jeepers like … it’s gone next level hasn’t it? I did the ‘big shop’ in a supermarket that I hadn’t been to in a while and my facial expression when I got the bill must have said it all, because the very kind cashier went to great lengths to explain to me how to sign up for a value card, how best to avail of discounts and even called me ‘pet’ a few times, which made me think I must have looked really shell shocked. And the scariest thing about it was that I hadn’t any meat, or alcohol, in the mix either! You’d think twice, too, before doing some baking for the sheer fun of it, what with the price of butter. Bonkers. I’m also starting to experiment, just slightly, with sell-by dates, and the notion of ‘once opened eat within three days.’ Just testing the boundaries a bit, and we’re all still alive, so far. Yes, the cost of living crisis has turned me into a nuttier nut.

• So if we’re not going to talk about any of that, will we have a cúpla focal for Seachtain na Gaeilge which continues this week? I was actually one of the few people among my friends who liked Irish, which was just as well as there wasn’t much choice in the matter. The summer of first year I was sent to Irish college in Cape Clear for three weeks (not sure what I did to p*** off my parents that they’d do that to me) but I came home with an enviable sun tan, calves that would rival a Cork camogie player (for a small island there’s a lot of hills), friends from far flung places like Tipperary …. and brilliant Irish. I was also lucky enough to have some wonderful Irish teachers in school. Specifically, I remember Mr Linehan who would encourage us to write all new vocabulary down in our ‘leabhar notaí.’ He was known far and wide for the leabhar notaí, and sure, while we’d be skitting at the idea half the time, I sure wish I had it now, for those regular moments when my daughter asks me what’s the Irish for this and that. The other day she couldn’t remember the Irish for boots, so I confidently told her it was ‘bootaí.’ That’s the one good thing about Irish, you can add an ‘aí’ on to lots of things and say it in throaty, guttaral way and .. .voila! Eh, not quite. ‘Bootaí?’ she said, pointing to her bum. ‘No, it’s definitely not that, I’d remember that. Look it up.’ I started reminiscing about how growing up if we wanted to check anything we’d have to thumb through the encyclopaedias, wait for the mobile library to call to the village, or call an aunty who was a teacher, but her eyes glazed over and who can blame her. Thank the lord for broadband and Google as we discovered the Irish for boots is in fact ‘buataisí.’ I must have been off that day. I’ve started upping my search for the leabhar notaí. 

• Anyway, what do we make of Minister for Education Norma Foley’s announcement that foreign languages will be taught from third class onwards? It’s one proposal in a new primary curriculum framework. I suppose on paper it sounds like a good idea, but in theory? I’m not too sure. It’s a bit like when your boss (not mine obviously) suggests an idea, and you nod along and say, ‘yes there’s definitely something in that’, and then you avoid eye contact for the next week in case you’re asked to action it. So the teacher unions are possibly saying ‘fab idea we’ll double back to you on that one … once we get everyone up to speed with English and Irish.’

• I remember making a stab at learning German myself when I was in sixth class. My aunt was getting married to a German and I thought it would be nice to have a ‘cúpla focal’ or whatever the equivalent was to make everyone feel welcome. I saw an ad in what I presume was The Cork Examiner at the time for a Linguaphone set and I wore my dad down until he bought it for me. It was fairly pricey and I sold it as an ‘investment for the entire family.’ The cassettes and books came in this really fancy grey plastic briefcase but despite my best efforts (I definitely opened it up around three times), I never got past the first tape, and page five. The only phrase that I can clearly remember is: ‘wo is meine koffer?’ or ‘where is my suitcase?’ Could be handy given the chaotic nature of air travel these days I suppose? In the meantime, there’s a barely-touched German Linguaphone set going free to a good home. 

• In other news the kids’ GAA blitzes are back baby! The season has started, and I’m mainly regretting not using all those free Saturdays I had since December a little wiser, or just sourcing proper waterproof gear. I’m joking – it genuinely gladdens my heart to see all the smallies on the pitch doing their bit. Admittedly it’s not great for the nerves to see the hurleys swinging wildly in the air for fear of someone losing a limb, or a head, but that’s all part of it. In my day, it was just the girls who were good at sport who were encouraged to play while the rest of us were made feel like sport wasn’t for us. Sore about it? No, where did you get that idea from? Broadcaster Jacqui Hurley from Ballinhassig talks a lot of sense in this area and says that it’s about finding your sport, finding your level and finding the parents to get involved in the coaching and organising. I’ve always liked the idea of wearing a whistle around my neck ... who knows? This could be my time to tog off!

• Finally, this week’s small screen recommendation is Luther: The Fallen Sun on Netflix. It’s a film that carries on where the TV series left off. The plot is slightly ridiculous, unnecessarily complicated and slightly comical but Idris Elba is as dashing (and disgruntled looking) as ever. And yes, he’s still striding around and wearing the grey overcoat. Next on the list has to be ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once.’ Seven Oscars isn’t something to be sniffed at. 

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