Some diary extracts … May to September 2003

Where Sean is standing (bucket on head) is where my wall partly collapsed last August or so ... weakened by years of having footballs kicked against it. I used to give out to Sean for kicking the ball so hard.

11/5/03 – We all headed to the church in Ballyjamesduff for Sean’s confirmation. This went well, notwithstanding the bishop’s dull homily. Sean did a good job of reading a prayer of the faithful.

14/5/03 – Sean and I watched Real Madrid lose to Juventus, to our disappointment.

17/5/03 – Sean and I watched the FA Cup Final – Arsenal beat Southampton 1–0, much to the joy of Sean in particular (officially all four in our household are Arsenal supporters).

6/6/03 – Sean got an early birthday present, to which he had put some of his own money – a CD player. He was very pleased with it.

20/6/03 – The four of us went up Lough Crew late in the evening and had a good time, with Sean doing spectacular slides on the way down.

4/7/03 – We finished constructing the tennis court, and all had some good games later – Sean is particularly keen.

15/7/03 – Pauline collected the kids, who had had another good day … Sean had canoed out to an island in Lough Ramor.

22/7/03 – Sean practised his Gaelic football kicking in the field with me, in the long wet grass.

26/7/03 – Sean, Andy and I did some digging for worms. Pauline dropped us and Susanna at the nine-eye bridge and went on to Cavan, where she bought an Arsenal shirt for Sean’s birthday. We enjoyed the fishing – Sean and Andy moved to the lake side of the bridge, where Sean caught lots of small perch on a spinner. I caught one when Susanna and I joined them, and she caught one too – her first fish ever. When Pauline came to collect us, she caught her first fish ever.

28/7/03 – Sean’s twelfth birthday. He is still in bed as I write. We presented him with an Arsenal jersey from the three of us – he’s very pleased with it.

31/7/03 – Sean cycled to Martin’s; he swam in the pond and ended up having his dinner there (not in the pond).

7/8/03 – Yvonne was at Lough Crew with the actress Olwen Fouéré and a sound-man, Eoin Reilly – they were recording Olwen reading a story inside the cairn, for About the Days. They called here afterwards for a coffee and a chat.

11/8/03 – There was a review of About the Days in the Irish Times, which was fairly negative; I emailed Yvonne to offer some words of encouragement. When she replied later, one of the things she said was that Sean was lovely and had made a big impression on Olwen.

18/8/03 – Sean and Susanna have disfigured chins since they vacuum-sucked all the air out of their tea-mugs, causing capillaries to burst.

21/8/03 – Sean is enamoured of Kerry accents. Referring to Mick O’Dwyer, he said ‘When I’m an old fella, that’s the kind of old fella I’d like to be – full of tales.’

1/9/03 – An important day for Sean, as he started secondary school. He got on fine.

2/9/03 – Sean had his first French class, and liked it – he had been afraid that he would dislike French as much as Irish, and we had to talk him into doing it. He seems to be adapting well to secondary school.

12/9/03 – Sean played in goals in his match, which was Virginia first year v. Ballyjamesduff (soccer). His team lost 4–0, but he felt that he played well.

We played an awful lot of soccer on the lawn that summer ... and some tennis



Filed under Anecdotes, Ireland, Memories, The music of what happened

13 responses to “Some diary extracts … May to September 2003

  1. papaguinea

    There are some gems in this extract Brendano. What a lovely thing Sean said about the Kerry man Mick O’Dwyer, and to recognise the character and charm of the man in recounting tales. “That’s the kind of old fella I’d like to be” said Sean. It makes me thing that Sean already was “that kind of old fella”.

    The fishing story (when your wife and daughter caught fish for the first time) reminds me of when Jesus directed his fishermen disciples to cast their nets on the other side. Well only in the sense that you had a “blessed” afternoon or morning!

    How quickly days and years roll by. Your children’s lives are enriched by such family togetherness. Have a bright weekend. (My wife and son return from Ghana in a little over 10 days.)

    • Hello, PapaG … thanks for this. One of Sean’s football coaches, Dennis Nolan, was from Kerry, and Sean liked Dennis’ accent. He picked up accents easily … once on holidays he had a friend from Cork and started to speak in the Cork fashion, much to the amusment of the rest of us. It’s a shame that Sean will never get to be an old fella.

      You must be really looking forward to seeing your wife and son again.

  2. Superb photo and very nice reading. I wonder who shot the photo.

    Levent likes this. 🙂

  3. Cymbeline

    Hello Brendano. I too like the wish to be ‘full of tales’.

    The first picture shows a walled green idyll full of happy children. I like it very much.

    • Hello Cymbeline. Thanks for this … yes, they were good times.

      • papaguinea

        Brendano – were there two pictures? One with the other chldren and one without? Are you alternating the two in this post to look as if they are bobbing up and down! I cannot believe I did not see those heads!

    • papaguinea

      Cymbeline Hi! – I swear when I saw that picture early this morning I never saw those childrens heads! And yet it is so obvious. How could I have not seen? Perhaps I was focused too much on the bucket or the stones. (See my reply to Brendano.)

  4. Aunty Pud

    Bob, I haven’t posted before as you know but I had to say…this is my favourite bit…

    18/8/03 – Sean and Susanna have disfigured chins since they vacuum-sucked all the air out of their tea-mugs, causing capillaries to burst

    It’s exactly the kind of antic I will remember Sean for (that and mowing his name into the grass until the mower broke so the grass said Sean).

    • Nice to see you, AP. Their chins went blue, and we were afraid they would stay like that. In fact they healed quickly. To make matters worse, we were heading off for a weekend with JR and family.

      I forgot about the lawn. The new expensive mower is broken now … Sean would resent being blamed for that, but …

  5. Rainer the cabbie

    The Bucket over the head intrigues me.
    We have a legendary bush ranger, Ned Kelly, of Irish descent, who robbed from the rich in his day.
    See Peter Cary’s novel, a rather true account of Ned’s life :

    Now, from what we are taught Down Under, the biggest Irish colony in the world, the bucket and full metal armor were Kelly’s invention.

    Even though it didn’t get him out of trouble, he certainly put up a true fight and gave the coppers a real challenge in capturing him and his gang.

    So, the question remains, who invented this ? Was it Ned, Sean or some Irish person being copied by our nations hero of the suppresed classes ?

    BTW. when he was hanged, his last words were, “Such is life”…..

    • Hi Rainer. Yes, I have Peter Carey’s book, and read it some years ago. It’s very well written … it captures the voice of Kelly and others, and the Irish-Australian speech, remarkably well. But I felt it was more a feat of technical brilliance than an engaging human story.

      During the period of these diary entries, I went to see Ned Kelly in the cinema. I thought it was disappointing, and a missed opportunity. Outlaws have always interested me, and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford was an example of an excellent film about them, I thought.

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