THE garden sure is starting to come to life this week. Yep, we’ve seen the first few days of proper seasonal weather and nature in this little corner of Dublin is really starting to make its presence felt.
The birds have been particularly noisy these last few mornings and they’ve provided a nice contrast to the typical symphony around these parts – the Dart rolling by on its way out to Howth, the occasional distant whoosh of jet engines and grumbling passengers from Dublin Airport to the northwest, not to mention the soft hum of traffic from Fairview Strand.
I think I’ll forever associate this time of year with those early days of lockdown, where nature seemed to return to the city amidst the weird silences left behind by the vanishing cars.
It’s funny how we’ve since returned to a sense of almost complete normality again, isn’t it? The things we once thought exotic, like visiting family, going to a gig or even shaking someone’s hand, are somehow all humdrum again.
I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly taking it all for granted when I promised myself I never would.
We’d be minded to return to that lockdown mindset from time to time. Maybe it serves as a gentle spiritual jolt, a reminder to treasure all the things we have.
But that’s easier said than done isn’t it, especially in the cut and thrust of the daily grind?
Speaking of cut and thrust, the onset of better weather means I’ve got another job added to the weekly chores; namely, cutting the bloody grass. This is a job that has followed me since childhood like the cold hand of death, a job which I now approach with the same, irrational sense of dread.
Of course, back when I was a kid I had a bit of lawn of sizable West Cork proportions to cover. These days my ‘lawn’ in Dublin isn’t exactly Augusta. A hedgehog with ambition could get around it in under half an hour. You’d have the thing cut while you were looking at it, as my father might say. Yet still, I’ll stare out at it for hours, thinking about maybe getting a start on it before finding something much more interesting to do like, I dunno, eat a cornetto from the freezer.
Sometimes you need to just go and do it. Seize the day! Commit to action!
Then again, I am being mindful I suppose, sitting here looking at it. And leaving it go wild it’s the right environmental decision in the long run … Another cornetto anyone?
Just Biden our time
SPEAKING of making mountains out of molehills, didn’t the right-wing press in Britain make an absolute spectator, sorry spectacle, of themselves over Sleepy Joe’s visit to Ballina? Arlene Foster was at it too, giving out about the Yanks and Biden’s so-called disrespect for Britain.
Amanda Sloat, his special assistant and senior director for Europe at the national security council, even had to come out and confirm Biden was not anti-British.
The coverage even went a bit ‘Punch magazine’ depicting Biden river-dancing and downing pints while dressed as a leprechaun, all the usual tropes. As one commenter on social media put it, ‘Biden’s visit served up a weird cocktail of sneering, anger, and racism.’
This row has its roots in Obama’s term as president when he warned Brexiteers that Britain would be at the back of the queue when it came to a US trade deal were they to leave the EU, and undermine the Good Friday Agreement. Isn’t it awful having to say ‘I told you so’ to a bunch of arrogant Tories?
It’s fair to say that Biden’s ‘Black and Tans’ gaffe and the subsequent selfie with Gerry Adams didn’t help matters. Not to mention the fact that the US president is effectively ghosting the King’s upcoming coronation.
But why would any of this be a surprise? The Black and Tans were a murder squad sent into Ireland on behalf of the Crown.
The reason the founding fathers in America kicked out the Brits was because of all that royalist nonsense in the first place. People getting lavished in riches and dressed in crowns just because of who they’re related to.
As ever, the Brexiteers and their right wing affiliates in the press are busy fighting battles that are long over. The truth is that the rest of the world has moved on.
Still, it must have been galling for them to have to stomach the misty-eyed Celtic oratory on display in Ballina, with Biden laying it on thick to a soundtrack of The Dropkick Murphys, proof if any were needed that this was very much designed for the audience back in the US. instead of the whooping throngs of Mayo.
Although the Biden visit hit all the right notes, and the relationship between the two countries is vital to us as a nation-state, there is a troubling sense that we’d accept any foreign dignitary who came in telling us how great we are. I bet if Darth Vadar arrived in on the Death Star quoting Seamus Heaney, waxing lyrical about the Vadar-Finnegans of Ballaghaderreen, we’d probably stand around cheering and waving flags for him too, especially if was annoying the crowd in England.
Fact stranger than ....
I HAVE to say I’m loving the latest series of Kin on RTÉ. It’s proper appointment-to-view telly; brilliantly written, performed and realised. It goes to show, there’s always an appetite for dramas about the criminal underworld.
The ‘scenes’ outside the Central Criminal Court this week only confirmed this, in the real world. Of course, there’s always the worry that you end up glorifying these people the more you shine a light on them.
But if the baying press mob outside the court was anything to go by, the interest in this particular story is a boxset that will keep on running.