Rutting Season 2019
Chris Grayson took this fellow’s photo as he took a rest from the exertions of The Rut.
A Listowel Memory of Rationing
The following story about a childhood memory of rationing, the tea chest, and a kindly adult comes to us from Billy McSweeney
The blog today reminded me of the fear of losing the ration book on my way to Mrs Twomey’s shop in the 1940’s. The ration book was kept in a cupboard in the kitchen and was entrusted to one on pain of death, to go to the shops. I still have visions and fear of hunger and starvation attached to that infernal book and the awful responsibility that went with it. I still remember the smile on Mrs Twomey’s face one day when I ordered ½ stone of Tea and ¼ lb Sugar. Only those of your readers who are of that age or have an appreciation of the old weights and measures will realise that those order weights were back to front; hence Mrs. Twomey’s smile. The correct order was dispensed naturally and the debit added to the ‘Order Book’ which accompanied the ration book. My mother paid the ‘Order Book’ on a weekly basis. This was really serious business.
Twomey’s shop was an old-style establishment. The front half was the grocery and the back half was a pub. Today it is the Kingdom Bar, at the top of Church Street. For her part I can still see Mrs Twomey, with Kitty, her assistant, weighing out tea from a tea-chest and sugar from sacks into paper bags which when full were tied with cord, to be ready for sale; tea in ¼ lb bags and sugar in ½ stone paper bags . The empty tea-chest was usually donated to a family with a young child to have the four edges of the top covered with horsehair under a wax cloth for protection; and used as a ‘cot’ to mind a very young child. The cord from the retail bags was saved for future use by the familys. You learned to save everything because it could be of future use. My own earliest childhood memory is being in such a tea-chest at our front door on Upper Church Street and being spoken to very kindly by Joe Galvin, a schoolboy about five years older than myself, on his way to the old National school which was no more than 100 metres further up the street probably at 9.00am. One should be very careful of the way you speak to a young child. It could leave a lifelong memory. Joe stopped and spoke kindly to me, a child of no more than 1½ years old taking the morning air in a tea-chest, whereas all the other scholars just passed me by.
These times are returning according to our young Swedish friend that spoke bravely to the United Nations last week. She is a reminder to all of us of how arrogant and wasteful we have become.
FCA Guard of Honour
I borrowed this photo from the Moyvane website and I posted it with the caption that was attached, i.e. soldiers on Main Street.
Kay Caball recognised her uncle Micheál O’Connor, father of our own Canon Declan, as the soldier escorting the bishop.
Now maybe someone will remember the year and the occasion. Seems to be a big crowd in town for it anyway.
An Old Favourite
Do you know that in the library they have lots of free books for you to take away? You can also donate books you have read and no longer need.
In this marvellous box of books that the library have taken out of stock I found this treasure. I remember reading it as a child. I loved The Turfcutter’s Donkey and all his adventures. I lived about 2 miles outside of town but I very often cycled in to the library two and three times a day. The library is surely one of the best public services we have.
In case you have never heard of Patricia Lynch I photographed the flyleaf for you.
These are two of the marvellous Sean Keating illustrations from the book.
Athea in the News
Bridie Murphy took this super duper photograph of Athea’s very successful fundraising run for the Ronald MacDonald House. David Twomey in the centre of the picture was the winner of the race but the big winner on the day was the Ronald MacDonald House. Well done Athea.
All caught up in ‘er oh-la-la
Clap ‘ands, stamp yer feet, Ye-e-a-y
Bangin’ on the big bass drum
What a picture, what a picture
Stick it in your fam’ly album
Stick it in your fam’ly
Stick it in your fam’ly
In your fam’ly album