Dull November


There are many people who consider that November is the most cheerless and the most dreary month of the year and there are many sound reasons why this is so. The golden leaves of late Autumn have all been blown off the trees which now look cold and bare apart of course from the hedgerows which still provide a little shelter from the cold rains and early winter blasts. Also the early evening darkness comes to remind us how the daylight hours have shortened and that the long winter nights are upon us as we await the shortest day in the year coming up just before Christmas. Somehow or other November appears to be the longest drawn out month of the Winter even though December and January both have an extra day there are reasons no doubt for this line of thought. First of all from the start of December the build-up to Christmas with all its rush and excitement seems to make the time go faster and then of course the Christmas and New Year festivities brings us well into January. From that on there is a stretch in the evenings as the daylight time gradually grows a little longer and if there is ever a fine or sunny day from mid-January onwards it brings with it a promise of the Spring to follow.

So now as we approach the last week in November we will be hoping that the weather will remain as mild as it has been through the weeks of November we have now left behind. Certainly we have had plenty rain and all the damp, fog and mist that are usually typical of November.  Bogs and fields are sodden after all the wettings even the roads are full of water pools wherever one looks. God be with the days when the County Council workers including both gangers and their other men kept the roads free from flooding when they opened all the drains and water tables with their shovels and pitchforks.   So far this November even though it has been as wet and damp as we ever remember, at least up to now we have had no very cold weather and no worthwhile frost or early snow.  That in spite of all the rain is indeed something to be thankful for, at least people can travel the roads without the risk of ice, because after the two winters of snow and severe frost on two consecutive years people are very tired of arctic conditions and are hoping that there will be no such repeat this winter.

Many farmers are low in fodder for their livestock this winter after a usually disappointing summer and autumn and there are even some who have had to buy outrageously expensive animal feeding materials to tide them over the long winter. Then of course there are those who were unable to get their turf home from the bogs again because of the weather throughout the summer and the turf saving season.  Buying more expensive fuels to keep the home fires burning is also going to be costly this winter. So if those who think that November is a long and dreary month it is to be hoped that we will see no worse weather that we have had between now and next March.  Last winter in the overall was comparatively mild so let us all hope that for everyone’s sake that this too will be a mild winter.

In spite of the fact that November might often be regarded as a dark and rather lonesome month, with the summer and mellow autumn days now left far behind, it is nonetheless known as the month of the Holy Souls, a time when we remember our loved ones who have died in recent times and indeed all the family members, relatives, friends and neighbours who have gone before us. For myself personally November is a month of many memories, some joyful others sad. My birthday occurs in early November and by an extraordinary coincidence my son-in-law Pat’s birthday. occurs on the same day. Not alone that but we also share the same numbers in our dates of birth. Our wedding Anniversary is on November 19th the date on which Mary and myself were married in 1960.  Sadly Mary died on November 11th 2009 which is just over 3 years ago and which is another Anniversary that our family always will remember with both sadness as well as so many happy memories of the dear one who has left us. Another November memory is of the time that the wonderful surgeon and staff of Croom Orthopaedic Hospital fitted me with a new hip, may God bless them all. November might be a month that is often cold, wet and dreary but it is also a time to love and remember times of the past from Halloween to New Year’s Eve.

So during those short November days as we look out our windows we occasionally see a beautifully coloured bird coming up to our window boxes where all the flowers of summer and late autumn have now faded. And when there is a sudden burst of winter sunshine lighting up the dreary and black November sky, we might sometimes ponder that after all things are not too bad and we know that the dark winter days as well as the present recession will pass in time just as we are sure that the bright days of spring always follows the short, dark winter days.


Rural Bus Service

According to recent media reports a senior planner in public transport has been informed that many areas of County Limerick have no bus service at all and that there is only a token service in other parts of the country. This apparently came up at a meeting of the County Council’s transport committee.  Committee members apparently complained that private bus operators who used to stop at some villages and towns in and out of the city no longer do so, as they have started using the new roads and motorways to get to their destinations faster. Councillor Liam Galvin has been quoted as having said that “some places have only an infrequent service, but at least that is better than having no service at all.  Councillor Galvin is also reported to have drawn attention to the transport or lack of it in Athea and has been quoted as having said “Athea village, which has the numbers to merit a direct service, has no service at all. All the buses are going down the N21. Not one stops in Athea” he said. We in Athea ought to be grateful to Fine Gael Councillor Liam Galvin for once again drawing attention to the way in which Athea has been so badly neglected so far as public transport is concerned. The fact is that all calls for a proper daily bus service from Athea to Limerick City and to Tralee has been ignored by Bus Eireann which puts our village and our parish into a position of being twenty miles from nowhere which is surely something that the people of our area do not deserve.

Some years ago big efforts were made by a local committee to get a daily bus service from Athea which would also include taking in Moyvane, Knockanure and Carrigkerry.  We even got to the stage where some of us highlighted the public transport neglect of our area in an RTE programme. We also got hundreds of signatures from people around the local areas calling for a much needed public transport service. Unfortunately however it was all to no avail, they still continues to ignore our demands. We hope that Councillor Galvin will have better luck in the matter.