Thursday 18 December 2014

Time to put misery behind us and focus on the future

Published 28/09/2008 | 00:00

GOOD stuff in the Sunday Independent today -- Jody Corcoran on why Brian Lenihan was (rightly) worried that Joe Duffy's dissing of the banks could do damage; Jerome Reilly on Tim Pat Coogan's must-read memoir; Maeve Sheehan on the murky agendas of some of the activists in the Corrib Gas dispute.

They all pale beside the shocking prediction of editor Aengus Fanning, a Kerryman who treacherously tips Tyrone to win ("Tyrone's do or die mission will be Kerry's undoing."). This will get him into terrible trouble.

And while I am very fond of Aengus; as Confucius said, there is something in us which is not displeased to see a neighbour fall from his roof -- and yes I know there is a long German word for it but, as I tell my screenwriting class, telling is not as good as showing.

Getting Lisbon right went to his head. Today he will learn to leave predicting to me.

Naturally I shall not gloat. In fact I intend to text him my condolences this afternoon, when the grizzly beards have been sent back to the Sperrin mountains minus Sam Maguire...

Later, as the Angelus rings out on RTE, I am still sitting in shock, staring at the screen. Gritting my teeth, I text congratulations.

Aengus acts all casual, as if he pulled off predictions every week. After all, it's ages since he got Lisbon right.

I feel a flu coming on. Retire early to dream of Northern Santa Clauses with black beards pillaging the Golden Vale and doing violence to those who cannot sing The Four Green Fields. Woe is me.

MONDAY

Wake with a throat too sore for teaching Sense and Sensibility at the National Film School.

Having spent much of the summer staring out a window in St Vincent's, and faced with the prospect of radiation treatment in the near future, I decide to give myself a short break.

Gwen and Posy and myself set out for West Cork. Before we leave, I make it clear that we will be making no stops on the way. They make it clear we will be stopping for coffee and cakes at the Horse & Jockey.

Gwen and Posy have a sweet tooth and no man can refuse his wife or his Wow Wow -- and I am sharing these intimate and interchangeable pet names for my spouse and terrier in the hope that they will make my enemies (who never miss my column) puke their guts up. So we stop. The H&J has 23 kinds of cake and confections. As Michael Caine says, not many people know that. Bloated but happy, we burp our way to Cork.

We arrive in Baltimore as the sun sinks behind Carbery's Hundred Isles.

I sit on the wall with my back to the sunset and watch the locals slag each other while turning their sunflower faces to the healing rays that fall on Bushe's Bar, La Jolie Brise and Jacob's Bar.

Home, sweet home.

My friend Youen Jacob and myself embrace in the Breton way by exchanging sardonic grunts -- no French kisses for former sparring partners.

I say former, because Youen tells me he has been concerned for my health. As I am about to wipe a manly tear from my eye he adds a rider.

"I zee you are zupporting McCain and ze moosehunter. Tell me, did ze doctor take your f****** brains out as well?"

TUESDAY

At midnight, we take Posy for a walk to Bushe's Cove (OK it's not called that on the sat nav, but who needs that niddly stuff?), where she shines platinum white on the shingled beach because I have washed her with a proprietary brand of washing powder which is fine if you keep it out of the eyes. The dog's eyes too, of course.

So we stand there listening to the sough of the withdrawing waves on the shingle, and I am just about to give Gwen a blast of Matthew Arnold's Dover Beach (in our special wedding service she promised to love and listen to half-remembered poetry -- which lasted about two days) when a small body springs from the darkness and dances around Posy.

It is Bushe's beloved terrier and Posy's old lover, Rags Bushe.

Around the reunion of Rags and Posy I must draw a decent veil.

Suffice to say that they lay like lovers on the muddy sand as the waves came in. From Here to Eternity.

Here anyway.

WEDNESDAY

Sitting outside the Sibin pub in the sunshine. The Reverend Bruce Hayes, Rector of Abbeystrewery, pulls up. He takes a sign for a Turkey Supper at Abbeystrewery Hall from the boot of his car and slowly waves it before my watery eyes. Although I have eaten already, my mouth waters too.

Because, of course, the Rev Bruce is advertising a Church of Ireland turkey supper. That means that cradle Roman Catholics like myself have to start training for it straight away. Because West Cork Prods do not believe in small portions -- and, after dining, they like to dance on full stomachs.

The Abbeystrewery supper starts at five o'clock with a full turkey supper (double portions are de rigueur) followed (very fast) by a dozen to-die-for desserts (puddings in Dublin 4), followed (five hours later) by a dance at the West Cork Hotel, followed by nookie and nuptials and mixed marriage. God and Rev Bruce will gaze benignly down and all will be well.

Next Friday, five o'clock, Abbeystrewery Hall. All welcome, with a doctor's certificate.

THURSDAY

RTE current affairs cannot cope with American Republicans. On Morning Ireland, Aine Lawlor has a love-in with an American democrat called Dr Schmoo (ze)? Both agree that Obama is a Very Good Thing compared with McCain and Palin, who lack whatever it is RTE requires.

Pat Kenny's researchers are also prisoners of the RTE consensus. They assemble a pontificating panel of pontificators who cannot see that Obama has been outflanked by McCain's initial refusal to debate during the current crisis. Richard Aldous, alone, seems aware that Americans and not European lefties are voting in the American presidential election.

RTE is riding for a repeat fall, as when it dismissed the prospect of a second term for George W Bush. Come November, no matter what the polls say now, America will vote for McCain and Palin. Next week, Inshallah, I will explain why.

Meantime, put your money on McCain/Palin. It's a lot better employed at the bookies than in a bank. Because what Aengus Fanning knows about football, I know about politics.

And my political predictor is still in good working order.

FRIDAY

The same is not true of Morning Ireland. It makes the same mistake about the market as it does about the American elections. It confuses what is current with what is to come.

Market capitalism is currently in a mess. But it will get better.

Because it is still the least worst system. The alternatives -- communism, fascism, Mugabeism -- are not attractive.

But, on Morning Ireland, misery rules. George Lee lays it on the line.

Things are terrible. But he has no solution. However, he believes we should not borrow in case things get worse.

George is wrong. As Youen Jacob advises, this is the right time to do a Roosevelt. After all, next to Luxembourg, we are the second most credit-worthy country in Europe.

We should borrow every penny we can, and then some more. Then we should get the whole country cracking on capital projects.

We should build new road and rail projects, refurbish schools, repair piers, finish the Metro, build the Bertiebowl. Make an act of faith in our future.

By the time we look up, things will be better.

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