Let's begin by talking about a film. I don't go to many films, but last week I went to a wonderful one, The Siege of Jadotville. So what was so wonderful about it? I'll tell you: 156 Irish soldiers from Custume Barracks, Athlone, withstood a siege at Jadotville in the Belgian Congo and, further than that, withstood 300 Katangan soldiers who had them under siege. They played a brilliant, valiant part, and came home to silence from the Army and now, after all those years, (Jadotville was in 1961), they have got their vindication and their recognition.
Fair dues to Willie O'Dea, the minister for defence in 2005 who met the deputation from those soldiers, older and wiser now, and who started the Army move to get them recognised. Two Saturdays ago in Athlone, the men were given a unit citation by the current Government.
Meanwhile, the country has been regaled with the film, The Siege of Jadotville, starring Jamie Dornan, who plays Comdt Pat Quinlan, the hero, as were the other 155 men. It's a great film; go see it on the big screen if you can. It's also on Netflix.
I'd like to talk about books next. My own book - Letters of My Life - is coming out on Wednesday and will be launched by Pat Kenny. Pat is going off afterwards to do his new TV programme with Colette Fitzpatrick that very night.
I'm looking forward with trepidation to the launch of my book, but I will have all my family and friends there and that should be a good night. Books are absorbing and I always say when you have a book in your hand, you are never lonely and you will always have a friend.
I asked Pat Kenny to do the launch, because for the past 18 months he has run the book review slot on his Newstalk programme. I am among the reviewers. There is Brian Kennedy the singer, thankfully recovered from his bout of cancer and finished with his treatment and full of joie de vivre. There is Katherine Lynch, the grandniece of Patrick Kavanagh the poet, and then there is myself - how interesting is that! - an unlikely trio. Pat keeps us all in order. I spend the last Thursday of every month with Pat - so of course I'm proud to have him launch the book.
There is no doubt in my mind that Hillary Clinton won the first US presidential debate. She is way ahead of Donald Trump. Now the Trump camp is calling into question her friendship with Denis O'Brien. Why wouldn't she and Bill have a friendship with Denis O'Brien? I happen to know Denis is involved in charity work in Haiti and it is through that their friendship has flourished.
And Donald Trump, the big bogey man, talks about Ireland to prop up his case. We will wait and see how the next debate goes, but in the meantime some of the voters have already started to cast their votes in California, and they are mostly for Hillary.
And so I'm back to education. Last week, the Church of Ireland Board of Education invited us former ministers for education to talk with them.
There was Ruairi Quinn, Gemma Hussey, Jan O'Sullivan and me. We had a wonderful hour of questions, answers and debate. I have to say that looking at us, I thought that we had worn well, even though we came through the travails of the department of education. We had survived and now we're back in action through various other parts of our life again.
I'll end by saying I had a good week. I was invited to a positive Active Age meeting in Roscommon where people of my age and older were regaled with good advice from the Garda on how to keep safe, how to keep houses locked up, how to answer on the phone and to be wary of people selling their wares or wanting to clean the moss off our roofs, or driveways. Treat them all with great trepidation and do not fall for the soft patter.
I told them when you reach my age, it's good to put your feet out on the ground every morning and say 'Hi Ho' to a new day. I can go out around town, talk to my friends, and do a bit of writing. By the way I'm never happier than when I'm writing, and when I can do a bit of talking to people, on the phone or in person, that is a good day for me.
I can't end without telling you that I watch every political programme and I listen on radio and TV to politics and read about them non-stop - I have never lost my taste for politics. We are at a very interesting point now, what with plots against Enda. My guess is he'll survive those. It's all highly interesting and highly entertaining. Yes, it would be lovely to be back, but I'm not sorry I've left it. I had a great run and now it's great to sit back and watch politics at play.