Auntie Nancy finally goes down aged 104


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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Daddy goes a-foraging in the snow


View from the hotel room where I stayed for two nights, unable to get home because of the snow

Sitting in a railway station, got a ticket for my destination. But I am not Homeward Bound. I’m going the other way, to work.

Home would be a 50-minute trek back past banked up snowy ditches, through cheekbone-chilling snowflake swirls and threading my careful, muffled way on cunningly iced paths.

I’ve just completed this journey the other way, braving the Beast from the East — and Storm Emma is not yet a puff of snow-flecked wind.

My train has been delayed — for a second time — and my right Thinsulate glove is off as I scrawl these thoughts with numbed red fingers gripping my feisty old blue Bic biro.

My words actually started out as invisible indentations and I had to scribble wantonly like a two-year-old for a moment until the blue ink finally seeped into the veins of my letters, and the word was made fresh.

The sporadic snowflakes skittering across the slushy cold steel rail tracks have sent for reinforcements, and they are multiplying now and blanketing the platform, which grows whiter and whiter, until the full dazzling polar bear hide of snow has been fully woven.

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Will the son rise? Nobody knows!

GoldmanSince I decided in October 2017 to post a new blog piece each Monday, I have watched with satisfaction and relief as my viewing stats have grown, mostly, week by week.

Since I decided in October 2017 to post a new blog piece each Monday, I have watched with satisfaction and relief as my viewing stats have grown, mostly, week by week.

I admit to my rising delight as I check nervously again on the latest piece, and it and those lingering others push upwards in likes and — the ultimate show of appreciation — comments. Likes lovely, comments, “Yes!!!”

And I frown in silent despair as a particular set of stats slows, starts billowing smoke, and soon putt, putts out altogether.

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Stop the world, I want to get on

stop world 2I don’t know about you, but my night-time world can get a bit crazy sometimes. Or maybe it’s more that crazy can seem perfectly normal when I am lying there, neither awake nor asleep.

Am I the only one who feels at times that I only put my world back together after I wake up? Not everything slots back perfectly into place, but it all fits, kind of.

It’s like waking up is a kind of muzzy rearranging of the cosmic furniture, only I am often left with the uncanny feeling that everything isn’t exactly the way it was. It might explain why we end up with so many odd socks in our house.

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Who knows where the time goes?

You’re so far away from me

So far I just can’t see

You’re so far away from me

You’re so far away from me, all right

So Far Away Dire Straits


Ellie — some say Samoyed, we say home movie superstar

Only the other day my oldest niece, A, was grabbing on to my elbows and shrieking with delight and mischief, her tiny slippered feet balanced on my lumbering insteps as I walked her across the kitchen floor of my old family home. I must have looked like the Yeti. A laughing Yeti.

Or Boo Radley freed from his domestic prison and goofing around now in his bumbling way with the irrepressible Scout.

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