Day 34

Social Distancing

The cat is out of the bag, Not that cat, Rhona; I don’t keep her in a bag (she prefers a box) and, if I did, it would not be a closed bag for kitten-killing purposes anyway, but one with the traditional facility for egress at one end, and so her getting out of it would hardly be headline news, would it? But, yes, this will be a cat episode after the virtual torrent of requests for same and the actual demands from the Marketing Department for me to pay some attention to the readership.

A cat episode then, but after what can only be described as a ‘lock’ of politics. By the way [oh no! – Ed.], the American correspondent of this site first came across the use of the word ‘lock’ (meaning an indeterminate quantity of some substance – OK, Shirleen?) during his meandering of the country with the Poly GAC. If I am not wrong, and the last time I was wrong was 23 April, 2013, twas the legendary Snowy, the doughty corner forward/back on that team, who used to ask the bus driver the odd time to stop when going past his house so that he could run in to collect ‘a lock of dinner’, ‘a lock of crisps’ and, in one memorable linguistic usage, ‘a lock of shoes’. Snowy is also the purveyor into national usage of the mysterious phrase, ‘There’ll be mass suicides and leppin at the bridge at Rody Tierney’s tonight!’ No one is completely sure what that phrase means, or what its exact provenance is, but we are all indebted to Snowy for bringing it to our attention. It seems appropriate for the times that are in it. Snowy’s contribution to Irish folklore will probably be only fully recognised after his death, but that’s the way these things go. He also used to describe thusly fellow players who had not been following the weights programme properly: ‘Shoulders on him like a fish supper!’ Is it any wonder that Poly GAA team won the Sigerson once with genius like that in it?

Yeah, politics. Certain sections of the British press have at last caught on that their government has made, and continues to make, a complete Horlicks of this whole Covid-19 schemozzle. Now I could have told them that yonks ago (a ‘yonk’ is longer than a ‘beagle’s gowl’ when a beagle’s gowl is being used to measure time, not distance, but not as long as a month of Sundays, which is interminable). The British Government’s default position on anything is: a) Britain knows best, and ignore any advice from Johnny Foreigner; b) British (fill in any plural noun or sphere of activity) are the best in the World, despite evidence to the contrary from Johnny Foreigner; c) agree to anything in a formal treaty or negotiation and then just don’t do it; d) at all times when your mouth is open, ensure that only lies are coming out of it; e) if all else fails, appeal to the non-existent spirit that won two world wars (for history buffs, Britain had undeniably lost both world wars until the USA intervened to win them).

Now our dilemma in The Annex (the artist previously known as Norn Iron) is to get the half of our politicians who use the term ‘mainland’ when not referring to continental Europe to wake up and smell the coffee. Before the Fools on the Hill (the Stormont Executive, Shirleen) decided, belatedly, to shut the schools because half of them had found out that their masters in England were going to shut theirs, the parents of children who do not use the term ‘mainland’ as described above had already shut the schools, ie refused to send their kids back to them after this year’s non-St Patrick’s Day (we are still owed one, Leo; stick it in your 2021 diary now). I note (obviously in the only way I know how, that is in overtaking parallel to said topic in the outside lane) that Ireland Leader Elect has already marked their cards for them a bit with this piece in The Irish Times. That’s right, lads, this place is an island, and an all-island, coordinated set of measures for the Kerfuffle is required, no matter what the Brits are doing. And this is not a back door into a Re-Untied Ireland [re-united surely? – Ed] (nah, it was a typo, but leave it as ‘untied’; I like it – me); that will come in its own time. This is a matter of life and death which, by all accounts, makes it important to most people. For myself, I take a more sanguine view of these things, informed by one of my Da’s favourite phrases to be doled out to grieving relatives at funerals: ‘It’s part of life, (fill in first name, if known, of interlocutor).’ He also always brought spare, proper hankies to funerals, and doled them out, as required, to (mostly) female members of the extended family, another of his traits that I have adopted as my own. Because life and death are not, as commonly held, opposites. They are aspects of each other, as shadow is an aspect of light. You cannot have one without the other, as the song goes.

Sorry, Marketing Manager, I’ll do the cat tomorrow. Not like that! Wash your filthy mind!


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