A time for personal memories as provincial rugby teams all achieve victories

Well, what do we make of the weather? Last week it was completely spring-like, mild temperatures, lots of sunshine, and one would really think that spring had arrived. In contrast, this week started off with cold, showery, shivery type of weather and low temperatures. So it is the old story; we think spring has come but really it hasn’t. And yet, the daffodils are out, not quite in abundance yet but they are out with their yellow blooms. In my back garden I have a small magnolia tree. Now, it is called a dwarf magnolia, but because of political correctness you are not allowed any more to say that word with regard to anything, and so it is a small magnolia. The buds are already on all of the branches of that magnolia tree, which would indicate that it is soon going to flower. But somehow I don’t think so if this weather continues. Be that as it may, well at least so far we’ve been spared the snow and wild winds which were very much the climate of 12 months ago. So let’s hope the benign days continue – and more daffodils please, and more buds turning to flower please, in everyone’s garden!

Last week I had a lovely engagement down to Cork to appear on Today with Maura and Daithí on RTÉ1. My job? To give a book review on Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

I remember reading that book many, many years ago when it was given to me in great hush-hush terms and wrapped in a brown paper bag. I enjoyed reading it now. Whether you like Lady Chatterley’s Lover with its very overt sex or not, D.H. Lawrence was a very fine writer, and so it is with regard to that book. I enjoyed it very much, especially with the experience of life behind me. It certainly made for great reading.

Today with Maura and Daithí is really good viewing, with a marvellous array of guests plus fashion, plus cuisine, plus anecdotes, plus whatever you want – they have it in abundance. There is a great simpatico between Maura and Daithí. They are absolutely at one and yet each so free to express their different personalities. It certainly is one of the outstanding shows on RTÉ1.

As I write this it is a week off for all schools, primary and secondary – half-term it is called. Now, in my teaching days there was no such thing, but I believe it is a good idea. It gives teachers and pupils a reprieve in a long term, and it will be a long term because Easter is late in April this year. And so half-term is especially welcome, particularly as it is straight after the mock Junior Cert and mock Leaving Cert exams, which are testing and a bit of a trial for young students.

The half-term allows my niece Gráinne Lenihan, who is a secondary school teacher, to organise one of her get-togethers of all of the female cousins in the Lenihan family. She has that organised, and in the pursuit of that we are all meeting in Maynooth next Thursday and having a good natter and a good meal together to enable all of us to catch up on the family stories, both good and bad, and generally have a fine time together.

This week saw seven members of the Labour Party in Britain leave that party and set up an independent group. So we will certainly hear more about them. The whole important issue, of course, is: will more join them, and more especially, what effect will that group have on the ongoing Brexit voting in the House of Commons?? One way or another, it spells trouble for the House of Commons, as if it hadn’t enough already. And yet, no doubt, it could well turn out to be beneficial to the quandary that is Brexit.

And so, to the rugby. Leinster beat Zebre and indeed secured a bonus point, the result being Leinster 40, Zebre 24. It was a spirited game with many fluctuations, but in the end the victory was to Leinster. Likewise, Connacht overcame the Cheetahs. Now that was a fine, tough battle in very difficult windy and wet conditions, but Connacht kept their inner strength and won out in the end. Again, Jack Carty had a terrific game, making all the right moves at all the right times. There were also wins for Munster and Ulster. In European terms, Munster leads Conference A with 53 points and Connacht is third with 42 points, but a very respectable showing of course for those two Irish provinces. In Conference B, Leinster leads with 63 points and the next to them are Edinburgh on 41. So they appear likely to be runaway winners in that line-up. In preparation for the Six Nations and during the course of it, the European games give valuable opportunities to the Irish players. They will be next in action this Sunday when Ireland travel to Rome to play Italy. I hope that by then Robbie Henshaw will be back in action for the Irish side. We are all looking forward to that happening.

At the weekend Westmeath hurling had a good win against Antrim, and all in all Westmeath is doing well in these various outings, and I hope it continues.

Next Sunday sees the 18th anniversary Mass for my dear Enda. We will have the Mass in Coosan followed by family and friends back here at home, and we will talk and reminisce about him and of course all the grandchildren whom he never knew at all. It is always one of my regrets that he didn’t live to see the lovely grandchildren both Feargal and Aengus have had. He, of course, would have spoilt them utterly.

That’s my lot for this week. Hope to talk with you all next week.

In the meantime go safely.

Slán go fóill.

Mary O’Rourke

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