‘NO Mow May’ is over and here I am sitting in my Northside Dublin garden which I can safely say has been through a fairly radical rewilding over the past month. The area where the lawn used to be, which I now call ‘The Meadows’, is sprouting all sorts of exotic, Little Shop of Horrors-style wildflowers, weeds and nettles. The last time I checked on Google Earth it had been reclassified as a rainforest. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to find a Grizzly Bear sitting there eating croissants and sipping a coffee some morning.
Basically, ladies and gentlemen, it’s an absolute disgrace.
It’s not because I am lazy – no way, José. it’s because I am now, thanks to my eager participation in No Mow May, a certified eco-activist. The sort of eco-activist who likes to take action by sitting on his rear end like Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, literally watching my garden grow. This is the sort of cause I can get behind in my middle age!
You see, I am happy to forgo the weekly chore of tramping around the grass in vaguely symmetrical circles in order to save our poor, spluttering planet.
All sorts of groups are fully behind me too – the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, The St Joseph’s Young Pollinators Society, Pollinators Before Profit ….
I am delighted to see some of the same processes occurring in the parks and other green areas along the Dublin coastline these past weeks. Long stretches of grass on roadsides and in parks that would have been hacked and scorched to bare earth in the past are now left to grow wild in places, to help the birds, bees and other creepy crawlies who are so important to the planet.
I hope this is going to usher in a revolution of inaction.
I say, let’s extend No Mow May into other areas of domestic responsibility. With electricity charges on the rise, why not introduce a No Hoover September? Why throttle the national grid with your Dyson when you can sit back on the couch and watch the dust settle with a cuppa?
We could follow this, perhaps, with a Shower Free October? We could actually save the country from Putin-induced blackouts by opting to skip washing a few days a week. Surely some of you must remember the 1980s when the sharing of baths before episodes of Dallas was a national pastime? It’s absolutely disgusting, but I never said this was going to be easy.
And as we’ve already got Movember, where the hipsters of the land grow moustaches for charity/Instagram, I would suggest taking this to its logical conclusion by issuing an outright ban on shaving for all sexes during the following month – I’m thinking of calling it Hairy December.
Who knew being so useless could be so useful, eh?
Flasbacks to that exam
I DON’T know about you but I have terrible flashbacks about the Leaving Cert. Horrendous anxiety dreams about pencils snapping in the midst of technical drawing exams. Teeth falling out in the middle of the Irish oral. Clothes falling off on the way up to hand in an empty exam paper. The horror!
Our relationship with exams is not healthy, lads.
Can we please tone down the hyperbole a bit? Personally, I almost drove myself to the point of a nervous breakdown during my Leaving Cert, all so I could get the points for a course I didn’t even want to do in the end. Perhaps I should have known better. Or perhaps deciding your future at the age of 17 isn’t a fair thing to ask of anybody.
Now I realise that every time the Leaving Cert kicks off, people like me get to liberally dole out some patronising advice to students who are arguably entering one of the most stressful times of their young lives. Hot takes abound on social media as everyone lines up to give their own subjective perspective on this exam of exams. ‘I failed my Leaving but now run a 5,000-acre mushroom farm in Queensland – follow your dreams, burn the books!’
‘If you don’t get more than 500 points you’ll eat cabbage and rent a hovel for the rest of your life.’
‘Never make up your English essay on the day like I did, sorry I mean – as I did!’
If I could speak to my 17-year-old self, I’d have a lot to say to him. Thing like:
Don’t stress. Take a year out if you need to. Take two, sure. Travel. Try some stuff. You don’t need to go to college at all if you don’t want to – it isn’t for everyone and don’t feel pressured into it. If you do go to college – have a blast, the people you meet are more important than the lectures. And finally, if you are good with your hands or practical in your thinking – get yourself a trade and learn about sustainability and retrofitting. You’ll make a fortune.
Jubilee fun is flagging
I SEE the Brits were at it again during their very odd Jubilee celebrations for the Queen last weekend. Yep, during the concert a video was played featuring the Irish tricolour, presumably included to represent Northern Ireland’s place in the Union. In that single act, I think they managed to insult every community on this island – I think it could get a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for World’s Clumsiest Clip. I mean we’re used to official Britain not knowing or caring an iota about what happens over here, or indeed about what happened here in the past, but that’s almost Olympic-level trolling. Anyway, best to roll the eyes, keep calm and carry on.