Well, for once the weather in Ireland performed exactly as required.
The examination students finished their final paper last Friday, and despite Sunday being a day of rain from morning till night, the weather this week is just terrific – real June high summer weather. I hope everyone, not just the exam students, get a chance to enjoy a few hours sitting outside in the sun, reading or talking to friends. We get good weather so rarely that it is there to be enjoyed when it comes.
Before I go on to talk about events here, it is so awful to look at what is happening over in the UK that it certainly merits a brief discussion. As you know Theresa May has resigned, but is still a temporary Prime Minister until the Tories elect a new leader. Being temporary means she is in Number 10, takes Prime Minister’s Question Time in Westminster, and generally behaves like a Prime Ministers should.
But in this case it is different. Yes, Theresa May is Prime Minister in name, but with no power. She is left swinging there in Number 10, powerless to act in any meaningful sense on behalf of the British people.
I saw her on TV last week at the EU Leaders Summit in Brussels, and as she walked the red carpet, beautifully attired with her back straight and her lovely jewellery in place, she was utterly alone. I noticed then, as they went around the chamber, different groups of leaders were talking to one another, some laughing and making plans, but Theresa May was totally aloof and totally alone.
Again, I felt sorry for her. She had done her best for her country, and the only good thing about the prolonged leave-taking of Number 10 is that she and her loyal husband Philip will have time to get all their pieces together and move out before the due date, which is July 22.
So what is happening in the Tory Party? Well, the two people who have emerged from the parliamentary vote are Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt. What can one say about Boris Johnson? It has all been said, again and again, and I have no notion of talking at all about his private life. That truly is his own business.
Jeremy Hunt seems to be effective and totally harmless. He is soft-spoken but has his ideas on Brexit. So let’s see how it all works out.
But in the meantime, we have the pantomime of the two contenders going along to the various Conservative hustings, which means a gathering of Conservative voters, all 160,000 of them, and they weigh up the two candidates and in particular decide to whom they will give their votes.
Many of the Conservative voters are usually portrayed in twin sets with pearls, and as true stalwarts of the shires. They don’t at all seem perturbed about the salacious rumours that are circulating around Boris. They just want out of the EU on October 31, and Boris has promised them that.
Back home, I am sure many of the readers followed the weekend football which was all on RTÉ2. On Saturday evening I watched Kerry versus Cork. I was amazed, frankly, by the assurances we were given, loftily and with vehemence, by the three-person jury which is arrayed before our eyes before every match, and who we are assured have the brains and knowledge to give us a good foretaste of what the game will be about.
From the beginning they were touting that Kerry was going to overwhelm Cork, that it would be a cakewalk for Kerry, etc, etc. In the event, the match turned out much differently: Cork found their mojo, even if a bit late, and stormed away with a couple of goals and good points, but it was all too late. Kerry had got the advantage, but they fair gave them a good fight and it was a very worthy Munster provincial game.
The first match on Sunday saw Cavan versus Donegal in the Ulster provincial football final in Clones. Cavan played well in the circumstances, but there was no stopping Donegal who were on a practice run for when they will eventually face Dublin, it seems in either a semi-final or a final.
That brings me neatly to the ‘five in a row’ for Dublin. We are subjected to that almost daily now in the newspapers as Jim Gavin’s team demolishes all before them, as they did with Meath last Sunday.
It was played in a washout weather-wise, and was a washout play-wise as well. Dublin just seem to take the teams up, and in the first half always give them a glimpse of what might be possible if they really work at it, and of course then in the second half, they just turn out to demolish them.
I know there has been so much written about the inequity of it all, but really what can be done? There is no current team in Leinster that can come near the skill and expertise of Dublin as they wind their way to their fifth in a row.
Westmeath had a good win over Limerick: Westmeath 2-13, Limerick 1-10. Westmeath have had a very good early spring/summer course of wins in their games. I noted on Morning Ireland earlier this week that next weekend they are drawn against Clare, so I’m wishing them well for that.
I went to Virgin Media One for The Tonight Show political show on Monday night. I like doing that show from time to time because you meet so many different people, and garner so much knowledge and titbits from the various conversations. It’s only one hour’s drive from my home in Athlone to the door of Virgin Media, and that is a bonus in itself.
I am reading a very good book at the moment by Donal Ryan, the ex-civil servant who is presently working as creative writing director in the University of Limerick. The book is called From a Low and Quiet Sea. It is a slim book, and easily read, but oh, does it pack a punch, particularly in its characterisation and in the various sequences which come up throughout the book. If anyone is looking for a good read right now which they can dip into easily and then reflect deeply on the messages contained therein, then this is the book for you.
I have another one lined up for reading after that, Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry, who is a great storyteller too.
That’s my lot for this week. Hope to talk with you all next week.
In the meantime, go safely.
Slán go fóill.