Category Archives: The music of what happened

The Mystery

A rough demo of a new song.

From over here I see you there
Sitting back in the big armchair
And what I’m feeling can’t be said
It stays inside my head

Words will not get me very far
They won’t take me to where you are
They fall like raindrops and flow away
Into yesterday

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Soccer-playing days (and nights)

I first started to follow soccer (called by that name in Ireland to distinguish it from (Gaelic) football) around the time Chelsea played Leeds in the 1970 FA Cup Final. I also started to play it, informally, having acquired my first pair of football boots.

The field behind my house on St Conlan’s Road in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, which has long since been covered in houses, was owned by an elderly farmer named Sonny Hogan. There were no markings, and jumpers served as goalposts in the time-honoured manner. Two arbitrary captains picked teams from whoever showed up – local kids named Toohey, Fahy, O’Regan, Whelan, Hogan, Bergin, Kennedy. There was never a referee.

Sonny used to chase us. Luckily he wasn’t very mobile, but sometimes he would get quite close before being noticed. Someone would shout ‘Sonny!’ and we would pick up the jumpers and the ball and scatter in all directions. Once he left a note on a cigarette packet that said ‘Keep of the grass’, which was ignored.

We played there an awful lot – sometimes morning, noon and night – and must have retarded the growth of a good-sized rectangle of grass, although the field was mown every summer and haystacks appeared (which lent themselves to other games). I often heard the corncrake’s rasp there, but never saw one. Continue reading

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Some diary extracts … August to September 2001

1/8/01 – Pauline spoke to Sean on the phone [at his cousins’ house in Portstewart] – he’s bought a ten-foot fishing rod, and is delighted with himself.

3/8/01 – [In Dublin] I tried several shops for a Cavan jersey for Sean, but they only had adult sizes … [Later] Spoke to Sean [on the phone] – he’s full of fishing talk.

5/8/01 – Dave, Sean and I went to the nine-eyed bridge to do some fishing with Sean’s fly-fishing rod. Dave gave us a lesson – it was good fun … Sean and I played chess.

10/8/01 – Dave had brought his fishing gear and he, Sean and I spent a couple of hours fishing near the nine-eyed bridge, which was enjoyab;e, although we caught nothing.

11/8/01 – Eamonn took Sean and Susanna to the farm – he was doing the milking early … Sean and Susanna listened repeatedly to tracks from If I Should Fall from Grace with God – they’re now Pogues fans.

12/8/01 – Pauline took the kids to an exhibition of swordfighting and suchlike at the museum … Sean apparently spent hours talking to a ‘medieval carpenter’, who gave him and Susanna a wooden spoon each. Continue reading

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Some diary extracts … October to November 2001

3/10/01 – Sean cooked a fillet of trout for himself.

4/10/01 – Sean cooked himself another fillet of trout. He’s very proud of his culinary skills.

6/10/01 – We went to Mullingar … found a very good fishing shop where we bought bait and line for Sean, so he was happy … Sean cooked trout for himself, Pauline and me.

10/10/01 – The kids made a big impression on [a guest] by being their usual charming selves.

14/10/01 – It’s a wet day, so Sean and I aren’t going fishing as planned … the weather improved, so I decided to take Sean fishing after all. Pauline dropped us at the nine-eyed bridge. The water was high, and very soon Sean had caught his first trout – a real beauty, which would have weighed a pound or so. He caught it with a spinner. Since it’s the close season, we put it back in the water. Continue reading

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Some diary extracts … December 2001 to February 2002

1/12/01 – Sean had an unfortunate episode where he got extremely upset that Susanna was allowed to put a banana skin on the fire. 99% of the time he is great company; the other 1% he seems to lose control and get something entirely out of proportion.

2/12/01 – We all did some ‘relaxation’ in the sitting room with lots of candles and whale music – this was the kids’ idea. Pauline and I drank a bottle of wine in the candlelight.

8/12/01 – Sean rang to ask if he could have a sleepover at Martin’s; I said yes.

15/12/01 – Sean and I watched Leinster v. Munster in the Celtic League final – Leinster won 24–20, much to Sean’s delight.

17/12/01 – The nativity play went well. Susanna was singing in the choir; Sean had an important part as one of the two children who are shown the true meaning of Christmas. He did very well. Continue reading

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Some diary extracts … May to July 2002

4/5/02 – [The four of us went to Lansdowne Road …] Sean got Ronan O’Gara’s autograph (O’Gara is injured at present) … It was a warm, sunny day, and we enjoyed the match. Shannon beat Cork Con 21–17, and it provided good entertainment. Sean did a lot of shouting for Shannon. Afterwards we went down on the pitch (and got separated from Sean for some time) … Sean and Susanna had been given small blow-up rugby balls, and Sean enjoyed diving over the try-line and so on.

12/5/02 – Late in the evening Sean, Susanna and I had to retrieve Woolie from a hedge in Ned’s field, into which she had fallen from the ditch.

[Much playing of pool with numerous children in the house in these days, and of soccer on the lawn.] Continue reading

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Some diary extracts … July to December 2002

28/7/02 – Sean’s 11th birthday … Pauline and I gave him the ‘Art of War’ Cossacks add-on – he was thrilled with it. Susanna got Sean a rugby ball for his birthday. AJ, Andy, Robert and Martin were here from about 2, running around with Sean and firing pellet guns. Pauline took them all, and Susanna, to the cinema in Navan, where they saw The Crocodile Hunter, and then to McDonald’s.

12/8/02 – Sean had a great time at the summer camp.

13/8/02 – I concreted some posts in position for the chicken run, with some help from Sean.

14/8/02 – Sean had another good day at the summer camp – they did hurling, which he loves.

22/8/02 – Pauline, Sean, Susanna and I got a taxi to the station, and went to London. We went to the Natural History Museum, and had lunch there (Sean got into a prolonged huff because he wanted to go to the Science Museum.) [We met some friends in the London Bridge area and had something to eat …] Around 8.30 we walked down the riverside to the London Eye – the kids and I went up it. Wonderful views of London. This whole episode had a magical, romantic feel – London was relaxed and at its best. Continue reading

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