WOMAN ON THE VERGE: Time for my resident magpie to jog on

April 18th, 2023 3:20 PM

By Emma Connolly

Share this article

Like most Irish people I’m pretty much a slave to our superstitions, so you can imagine how disconcerted (more like deranged) I was when a single, solitary magpie started hanging around in my garden ….

• HOW was everyone’s Easter? Mine was lovely, but also … long. I’m not sure it was just me that felt it either, as someone said to me that it felt like a timely reminder to get organised for the summer school break, which is coming down the tracks good and lively. Either that or just lower your life expectations in general as it’s not easy to get a good run at things with small folk around, even if it is an awful lot more fun. I’ve added to my very long list of things to look into this week: ‘research summer camps.’ Sure we’ll always have Cúl Camp I suppose. A national treasure. 

• Anyway, I was doing my usual aimless scrolling on social media the other night when I came across a notice of a 10km run in my locality for later in the year and I was totally triggered back to a time when I did it. I’ve still got a touch of PTSD from it I reckon, even if it was around 10 years ago. I’ve no idea whose idea it was but I was lured into signing up on the basis that it was ‘only a bit of fun,’ ‘something different,’ ‘a bit of a laugh.’ Also someone probably said there’d be drinks afterwards. Trust me, there was no laughing and more hysterical hyperventilating coming from me when we arrived at the start line one Friday evening after work and I saw the brigade with the pulled-up-knee socks who very clearly were not there for the craic but to hit some new PBs. Fun run my (big) bum! There wasn’t a buggy pusher or speed walker in sight! I was about to make a bolt for the car, but my pals assured me it would be grand and that we were all in it together, which we were until the whistle blew and they left me for dust. And so did everyone else. I swear to god, even random people out for an evening walk and wearing jeans, passed me out – as I almost passed out! I always thought my village was on the flat but it turns out there’s a few gentle inclines that felt more like Patrick’s Hill to my leaden legs. I think the Red Cross were even shadowing me at some stage (the frothing at my mouth was a bit disconcerting, I’ll admit), but I could have been hallucinating. Anyway that evening spelled the end of any running aspirations I ever had. For ever. 

• It was all a bit disappointing because at one point I actually thought I might be a natural born runner. My one and only claim to fame (stretching it I know) is that I ran a half marathon without doing any training whatsoever, and did it in a fairly decent time too. Now that I think about it, though, it was pure beginner’s luck. I also had youth on my side, it was in Achill so the inspiring Atlantic views kept me going, as did a pretty cute guy who was in my vicinity for all of the 13 miles. He took off with a few hundred metres to go without so much as a backward glance, but he still got me over the line (that and listening to Galvanize by The Chemical Brothers on repeat. Cracking tune).  

• Prior to that, a PR firm kitted me out head to toe in Nike running gear and flew me to Dublin one random Saturday morning to take part in a leisurely 10km around the Phoenix Park (low-level Celtic Tiger behaviour). They even gave me an Apple iPod which was kind of a big deal at the time (showing my age now). To be honest I think they might have mixed me up with someone, but that’s what led me to start falsely identifying as a runner in the first place (a bit like how I falsely identified as an ice skater, and we all know how that ended). I now realise that I’m a power walker, Killinaskully style, and am not ashamed to admit it (well not that much). 

•Now, I was also wondering how many dandelions are too many on your lawn? I’m asking for a friend of course. More specifically if you were to look out the window and see a host of golden dandelions, would that be too many? Staying with all things gardening, is dog poop the same as an organic fertiliser or do I actually need to pick it all up? And if I do, could someone come and sort that for me please? The puppy has calmed down in many respects, but his toileting habits are something that need to be seen to be believed. 

•I wouldn’t say I’m the superstitious kind, but I’d never dream of walking under a ladder and I freak out if anyone spills salt, so you know yourself … totally superstitious. Naturally, when two magpies started hanging out together in my garden, I was thrilled, delighted, ecstatic. I couldn’t believe my luck. Every window I looked out, there they were, staring in at me, happy out, sparking so much joy. ‘There goes the happy couple,’ I’d say to myself. Two for … joy! And too cute for words! Adorable. I even emptied the toaster out on the patio so they could feast upon the crumbs that are usually reserved for my worktop, to make them feel at home. Anyway, for the past few days there’s been just the one. A solo, single, solitary magpie. He/she is following me from window to window with its beady, sorrowful, foreboding little eyes. Like I said, I’m not all that superstitious but … this is totally freaking me out! Would anyone know where you’d get a magpie? Or does anyone want a magpie? Free to a good home?  With  its own supply of toaster crumbs? 

Tags used in this article

Share this article


to our mailing list for the latest news and sport:

Thank You!

You have successfully been subscribed to SouthernStar newsletter!

Form submitting... Thank you for waiting.