Wednesday, 23 January 2013
John B.'s Clounmacon and town criers
This is what he wrote
Meen Bog, the summer of nineteen forty two. As we endeavoured to foot the huge black sods which had been consigned to the deep adjacent cutaway we were asked a million times by other turf footers, "Do those who spread the sods ever think of those who will have to foot them?"
Let those who cut it foot it, we thought, as we vainly tried to erect stoolins with sods which just wouldn’t stand up, which slipped from the hands, which broke in two as we dragged them from one morass to another, sods which seemed to have been specially designed to frustrate the mightiest efforts of amateur stoolin-makers like myself.
Anthony Doyle and myself strained out ears and directed them towards the town, three miles away. We had no trouble convincing ourselves that faint peals were issuing from the belfry of St. Mary’s. A fire of cadhrawns was already alight in the lee of a turfbank. The water was in the kettle and in jig time it came to the boil. There were sandwiches go leor and there was milk, tea, sugar and cups in the canvas bag my mother had stocked up earlier that morning. “Buns!”, the exclamation came from Tom Halpin. Sure enough, there were currant buns in a brown paper bag. As in the way with all gorsoons we did the unprecedented thing and ate the buns first. We then tackled the sandwiches, saving a few for the four o’ clock tay- although this, more often than not, took place at two.
After the meal we decided to have a session of sporting activities. We began with the hundred yards which Anthony Doyle won hands down. Then came a middle distance race which was won by Tom Halpin. Then came the long jump and hop step and what have you. An observer was later heard to remark that if we worked half as hard as we played we’d have the footing finished in a half day.Reluctantly we returned to it. The hours dragged by and every so often we would straighten ourselves to take the kinks out of our backs. The four ‘clock tay came and went and the sun began to sink in the west. At least it seemed to us that it was sinking.