So storm Emma has fecked off, the beast has gone back east and homes all over Ireland has enough loaves of bread in their freezers to do them until next Christmas. It was fun while it lasted. We didn’t starve, we didn’t eat each other…except metaphorically of course, we trudged to the pub in our wellies to meet our stalwart friends who also braved the elements (jaysis we’d do anything for a few pints) and fell back home, falling occasionally into ditches,( but then we do that every Saturday night ) and now we’re dealing with the big thaw.
Because I never go anywhere without my car, and that was stuck under a mountain of snow, I had to walk to the local shop and I met neighbours I haven’t seen in months. It was great catching up on all the local goings on.
Storm Emma brought a great sense of community to the country. Everyone helped out by shopping for elderly neighbours, helping to clear driveways and generally being nicer people. Maisie said it was like during the war when people had feck all but shared it anyway. (go figure!)
So, I had that warm and second world war during the blitzy feeling, baking bread soup ( ok the bread was from SuperValu and already half baked and the soup was from a packet, but still…) Then, Saturday morning there was a knock on the door, and when I opened it, there was two young lads with shovels over their shoulders…
- Howya missus
- Alright lads, what can I do for you?
- No missus, it’s what we can do for you
- And what might that be?
- We’re going to clear your driveway
- Ah that’s nice of you. How much are you charging?
- Ah no missus, no charge
- Aww that’s nice of you
- No bother missus. We’re doing it for all the old people in the area
I was not amused. Maisie thought it was hilarious.
“Getting old hurts doesn’t it Bernie?” says she
I’m just back from the shops. It’s like Christmas Eve 1975 down there. People panic buying anything they can get their hands on. There’s not a slice of bread left on the shelves in SuperValu, not even a scone to be got. They’ve sold out of milk as well. What is wrong with people, and why is it always bread and milk they panic over?
OK so there’s a storm on the way. We’ve got a five day weather warning, but jaysis how many bleedin’ sliced pans are you going to eat in five days? I got talking to a neighbour at the check out. She could barely push her trolley
- There y’are Bernie, are you all set?
- Hiya Mrs. Burke, am I set for what?
- For the beast from the east
- Ah stop, I’m sick listening about it. A few days snow is all it is
- Do you not remember the big snow of 1982 Bernie?
- Yeah, I remember the bread man being hijacked on his delivery round
- No one was prepared. People turned to crime due to starvation
- They weren’t starving. They were just little gobshites on the rob
- They were probably just trying to feed their family Bernie
- My arse…They ate all the cream cakes and sold the bread for three times what it was worth, the little skangers
- Well then, I only have to pay supermarket prices. At least I won’t be ripped off
- Ye think? When was the last time you needed all that bread? Sure the shelves will be stocked up again in no time. It’s the supermarkets that are scaremongering people into stock piling
- You just never know Bernie. You don’t have much shopping in your basket;Were there no trolleys left?
- I don’t need much. I only came in for a few bits
- A jar of coffee and and a tray of coke won’t get you far
- I’ve got vodka at home, but you have enough to feed the five thousand Mrs. B
- Well you can’t be too careful. God knows when the shops will be open again
- The shops aren’t closing
- Well they’ll have to if they’ve no food on the shelves
- They’ll only have no food if people keep panic buying. How many loaves of bread have you got in there
- Twelve; I don’t want to be caught out
- I thought all your family emigrated
- That’s right Bernie,there’s just meself and himself left
- You must like bread then?
- It’s handy for sandwiches
- Emm…yeah, whatever
- And nice with a drop of soup
- Right, and I see you’ve bought a few packets of soup as well ( There were at least 15 packets in her trolley)
- Himself likes soup
- Lets hope there’s not a water shortage then
- Oh I never thought of that
- I’m only messin’ with you missus B.
- Here will you watch my trolley for a few minutes, I just want to run back and get a few bottles of water
( she came back with two twelve packs of still bottled water)
- Are you sure you have enough there love?
- I’ll ring himself and get him to pick up a few more on his way home from work
(Some people just don’t get sarcasm )
- Better to be safe than sorry
- Here do you want one of me batch loaves Bernie? Was there no bread left for you?
- No, you’re grand missus. I only bought a Vienna roll in the bakers earlier
- Only one? Seriously? Jesus, that’s not enough, here take one of mine…no take two.
- No, I told you, I’m grand
- I insist
- No, honestly. Oh look the self service check out is open again. I’ll see you later missus Burke
- Here put this bread in your basket
- No, you’re grand, honestly
- Take a bit of bread will you for God’s sake
- Jesus , calm down will you missus, I don’t need anymore bread
- Just take the one then Bernie
- I wouldn’t like to see you leaving yourself short ( sarcasm again )
- I’ll be grand. I have another four in the deep freeze at home
- I don’t want … ah fuck it…
I came home with two of her sliced pans, a batch loaf and four litres of milk. Now Jimmy thinks I’m part of the panic buying brigade…but sure, like yer woman said..you never know.
- Were you out in the car Bernie?
- I was, why?
- Did you get petrol?
- Why not?
- I just didn’t
- You know the petrol light was on last night
- Why didn’t you get petrol last night then?
- It’s not my car
- Well you were driving it
- For five minutes down to me mas yeah. Where did you go?
- I went to the Avoca shop with Lynn
- You drove all the way there with the petrol light on?
- Jaysis, it’s Rathcoole Jimmy, not bleedin’ Blackpool
- I don’t know how you do it
- Do what?
- Drive around on bleedin’ air
- It’s a gift Jimmy
- One of these days you’re going to run out and then you won’t be laughing
- I’m not laughing
- Well you’re not too concerned
- I got home didn’t I
- This time you did yeah
- Lighten up will you, why does it bother you?
- Because I’m the one you’ll be ringing when you’re stuck in the middle of the Naas Road
- Oh so it’s yourself you’re worried about? Well no need to worry, I’ll call the AA
- You can’t be depending on The AA when you run out of petrol
- Of course I can. I’m a member amn’t I
- You’re a bleedin’ looper that’s what you are Bernie
- And you’re a stress ball Jimmy
That man needs to take a chill pill…jaysis
I’m just sitting here having a coffee. The house is silent and I’m on my own for once. Jason has just left.
I remember the days when I didn’t have a minute to myself ,when the kids were younger and having to watch them like a hawk, trying to keep them away from drink, drugs and unsuitable mates. It’s no wonder I’m turning grey. My Jason was the worst of the lot, always up to something. It was a full time job trying to keep tabs on him, he was always somewhere he shouldn’t be… smoking down the lane, drinking up the fields, going on the hop from school. I thought he’d never grow up and stop annoying me. I was forever catching him sneaking out at night. He was such a little chancer. It seems like only yesterday…
- Where do you think you’re going this hour of the night?
- Jaysis ma, you frightened the life out of me there
- So, where are you going?
- Nowhere, I’m just opening the window for a bit of air. It’s roasting in here
- So why are you wearing a tracksuit and hat if it’s so warm?
- Well, it was cold earlier. I forgot I was wearing them
- You must think I’m a right eejit, now get down off that windowsill and get your pyjamas on
- I haven’t worn pyjamas since I was ten ma, will you stop
- Well what are they under your pillow then?
- They’re me lounging pants ma
- Well put on your lounging pants then and get into that bed.
- Bed? At ten o’clock ma?
- You’ve school in the morning
- I know ma, jaysis
- Don’t jaysis me! You can’t get out of the bed when I call you in the mornings. It’s like trying to wake the dead
- Leave it out ma will ye
- No I won’t leave it out. Just wait until your da hears you were trying to sneak out again, he’ll bloody murder you
- I wasn’t trying to sneak out
- I wasn’t born yesterday Jason, now get into that bed before I call your father up them stairs
- I’m not five ma, for gods sake
- No, you’re fifteen , and you’re not leaving the house at this hour of the night
- My mates are all still out, it’s not fair
- There’s nothing good out at this hour of the night and you’re not going gallivanting with them youngfellas off the avenue
- Will you stop with your gallivanting ma, you sound like me nanny, and what’s wrong with the lads off the avenue?
- What’s right with them? Shower of wasters
- Anyway I wasn’t going to meet them, I was meeting me mates Foxy and Joe
- I thought you weren’t meeting anyone?
- It’s only ten o’clock ma. My mates mas allow them stay out until eleven
- Well I’m not your mates ma, and you’re not going out
- This house is like bleedin’ Alcatraz. It’s a wonder you don’t have bars on the windows
- Well if you keep trying to sneak out I might just get some fitted
- What would the neighbours think ma?It’d ruin the look of the house
- I don’t give a shite what the neighbours think, as well you know Jason Violet, so don’t try getting smart with me. Now I’m going downstairs to make a cuppa. do you want any supper
- Right, goodnight so
- Actually, do you have any of that apple tart left?
- I’ll see if your da hasn’t eaten it all, come on
- Can you bring it up to me ma?
- There’s no room service in Alcatraz son, sorry about that
- Right, I’ll be down in a minute so…and say nothing to da yeah?
- I’ll think about it… now get away from that window
Ah he wasn’t the worst. I miss him now that he’s moved out. I can’t believe he’s all grown up and living with his girlfriend now. He still comes back looking for my apple tart though.
And now he has a baby on the way. That’s what he called in to tell me. My baby is going to be a daddy.
I really hope that child gives him lakko when he’s older, just like he gave me. Give him a taste of his own medicine. Isn’t karma great all the same?
On another note….me?…a granny? jaysis, I think I need more than a coffee to let that one sink in. I’ll be sleeping with a granddad as well. Wait ’til Jimmy hears the news…