You’ve got to take the rough with the smoothie sometimes

romeo cigLate evening, Dublin city centre. It’s 10.19 as I arrive at my lemon yellow lollipop Dublin Bus stop. I have 11 minutes to wait. I’m tired yet buzzing after my sub-editing shift on the newspaper.

Friday night is a busy one on the sports desk, with Irish Premier Division football match reports in late and stats to hurry out to press. It’s hectic but exhilarating. Especially after you hit that sign-out button on the Mac menu.

Lower Gardiner Street late at night is an interesting place. The architecture is distinguished: original terraces of four-storey brick early 18th century Georgian townhouses over raised basements with original cast iron window boxes, sash windows and vividly painted doors with fan windows arced above them.

A lot more distinguished than the often shady folk who drift in and out of many of these once elegant portals late at night. Continue reading

The son rises in the west …

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Our O, centre in blue, on his debut for the DDSL in their All-Ireland Inter League game against Kilkenny

And so the adventure continues.

O’s coach had hinted at the possibility and then the email came: Our son and two club-mates were invited up to training one evening with the Dublin and District Schoolboy League (DDSL) representative squad.

The DDSL is the biggest and best schoolboy football league in Dublin, and hence the whole of Ireland. Their representative team is thus the best of the best. A very big deal for O – and us, his Dad, Mom, and sister K. Continue reading

We even dream up our very own monsters

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My taste in music? Crap. My voice, tone, clothes, recipes, ideas, certainly the ones about young teenage girls and selfies and Snapchat … that heavy eyebrows thing they like …. crap, crap and more crap.

And crap is just the polite word for it.

Who says so? Why my own full-time personal critic, my daughter K.

When she can be bothered coming off the phone to talk to me that is.

Talking crap? If it was an Olympic sport I’d sweep the medals, if there were awards for it I’d be a proper sleb, blinded by the paparazzi flashbulbs, I’d have red carpet fatigue …

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Am I just the Dad you predicted I would be?

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“Youth is wasted on the young” said Oscar Wilde once upon a time of privilege, talent and fawning acclaim.
The same man who would later pen the Ballad of Reading Gaol, line after anguished line about the last days of a condemned murderer, but really about his far fallen self.
 No, that’s not where Generation Snowflake are heading …
But it is amazing how the young can make their first steps into early adulthood, especially, so hard for themselves. And for those closest to them. Those who would guide them, as best they know. And pay most of their bills.
Sorry …

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Maybe the kid is (all!!??) right!

The dreaded call from school.

“Hello, is that O’s dad? Are you free to talk?”

A sharp inhalation of panic.

(The first voice you will hear in your worried parent’s head will be wobbly, utterly unconvincing Little Internal Voice.

It’s probably nothing’, he wheedles,. ‘He forgot his maths copy or something’.

(‘SHUT UP, YOU SAP, THIS IS A JOB FOR BIG INTERNAL VOICE:

(‘WHAT HAS HE DONE? … HE’S BADLY HURT, ISN’T HE? … THE AMBULANCE IS ON ITS WAY … ’)

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Auntie Nancy finally goes down aged 104

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The man behind the song: Where We’ll Never Grow Old

I had to smile this morning as I heard my wife, A, shouting up the stairs to K, as our daughter thumped around her bedroom shoving the last bits and bobs into her already bulging schoolbag.

“Do you want rocket or iceberg lettuce with the ham in your sandwich?”

‘What would Auntie Nancy have thought?’ I wondered.

We buried my Auntie Nancy yesterday.

At the age of 104 — yes, 104 — Nancy Reidy, nee Sheppard, had finally stooped to fate and rejoined the two great Jims in her life, husband and eldest son, in the family grave in Templemore, Co Tipperary.

Leaving behind her a dynasty and a legacy of fortitude and spirit.

Her remaining son and daughter, Sean and Mary (her other daughter Alicia died a few years ago), and sprawl of nephews, nieces, son and daughters-in-law, grandchildren and great grandchildren, including the latest, a red-cheeked toddler girl in a buggy, strained to see as the priest said the last words at graveside.

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