Blood, sweat and Christmas cake and Barack’s sore throat
THE CHRISTMAS shopping season began in earnest this week and, living up to her good name, The Good Woman ended up shopping ‘ til she dropped in the name of the family and the festive season.
According to the latest survey from the League of Credit Unions the average we spend on all our Christmas presents is €600. I haven’t, Scrooge like, totted up how much was spent, nor will I, being of sound(ish) mind and having learned not to weigh in on matters I have been weightless on hitherto).
Sufficed to say that the spirit of Dickens was kept alive and well and family members at home and abroad will be delighted with the wonderful gifts she managed to find in a short space of time on Saturday and Sunday, accompanied by a good friend, who was also getting in some Christmas shopping.
With all the talk of pay rises in the air (in Dublin presumably) and the economic indicators all simulataneously pointing north, it’s fitting that the man from the North Pole is about to arrive.
Shoppers have been setting the tills ringing across the county and with the extra effort laid on by town chambers of commerce this year, it should be a bumper season for businesses, restaurants, pubs etc.
Amid this flagrant largesse it is important to realise that for many the biggest challenge isn’t how much to get, it is where to get essentials like food and shelter, and how.
Having visited Wexford Women’s Refuge this week on a story and witnessed the smiling faces of children staying there due to circumstances beyond their control, I was struck by just how important a service the refuge offers. The fact that it had to close for several weeks last year shows just how broken society is, as does the outrage over a homeless man, Jonathan Corrie, dying near the houses of the Oireachtas.
The shocking lack of housing for people in desperate situations like the ones I encountered, people fleeing daily abuse, physical, verbal, psychological, whatever, is a scandal, which, because of the location of Mr Corrie’s death, will not go away.
The government has been getting it in the neck over Irish Water to the point that it is lashing out at the troika for getting on its back. Now there’s a political cartoon sketch worth sketching!
On a rare visit to our local Saturday night it was the talk of the bar. Perched on a bar stool a man was philosophising about the Irish Water debacle bringing down the government in honeyed, triumphant tones. ‘It would serve ‘em right,’ agreed his mate. The anger over this issue is palpable and even the hundreds of thousands of Irish who would hand over money without batting an eyelid once asked for it out of guilt of having some, are starting to question the merits of a system and a payment which was so poorly thought out and rushed through one would have to wonder about the merits of this government.
But with the festive season upon us, other issues will be consuming our attentions, like Christmas cake.
Of the many culinary feats I have tried I have never attempted the iced Mecca that is the Christmas cake. Blood, sweat and tears go into it, along with the usual fruit, brandy, eggs, flour, etc.
‘It’s like giving birth,’ one neighbour declared after pouring some more alcohol over it to ensure it stayed grand.
On Sunday the Christmas decorations were produced and there was great excitement for the Whirlwind Princess as the twinkling lights added some magic to the house.
The Good Woman wrapped the presents for the family in America and placed them in a neat box, which was full to the brim with goodies, chocolates, (mainly laden with booze), hand crafted gifts, curry meal sachets and everything and anything that they can’t get and would be homesick for over in America.
The next challenge was the Christmas cards and taking up my position in the sittingroom I got through them in 30 minutes so it was nearly midnight (as usual) by the time we were getting the house cleaned up for another week.
On Monday I dropped the parcel off at the post office, and having recovered from that I made my way into work.
I had to laugh at all the furore over President Barack Obama’s sore throat this week. Could it be that all the giddiness of the festive season has infiltrated the stone cold walls of newsrooms across the globe, prompting an outbreak of silly seasonitis?
Apparently acid reflux was responsible for the sore throat in case you were overly concerned.
President Barack Obama made headlines across the world for having a sore throat.