Things are very quiet around Knockdown, which is no bad complaint until one is expected to fill the Knockdown News column! The Co. Council workers were doing some repair work on the Kerryline recently which put me thinking of my father and his fellow workers who used to do a lot of road repair work with the shovels. Indeed he often remarked that the men with the shovels did a lot more than the men in the machines – no offence to the men in the machines! Anyway my thoughts went back to a radio programme called “Dear Sir or Madam” which was broadcast in the 1960’s; my father often contributed to it and won a few guineas now and then. There used to be great excitement in our house as we gathered round to hear if his letter would be read. The following is one which he wrote in 1969, tongue in cheek, in response to a previous contributor complaining about the hard life farmers had.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am sorry for the poor distressed farmers who envy us Co. Council workers and the high time we have and tis a shame so tis for the Co. Council to burden them with the few pence that they levy on their rates for our enjoyment.

Ah tis well for us to be going off, whistling gaily, in the dark of the morning while the poor distressed farmer tosses and turns in his bed for he can’t get a good night’s sleep at the thought of getting only £80 a head for his bullocks.

For the last three weeks we had great sport spreading 360 tons of gravel daily on the road and what fun we had racing each other towards a clump of bushes to play hide and seek with the merry hailstones that came with the whistling wind to laugh and play with us; and what a delight it was to sit down on the roadside for our luncheon picnic without the bustle of women to serve it to us.

Sometimes too we have a fancy dress parade as we clothe ourselves in wellingtons, pull-ups, oilskin coats and caps resembling pirates and astronauts around the moon. And we’re exalted into high humour when our skin is tickled pink by the playful splashes of the pouring rain and we wish then that we had the lonely farmers with us to share and enjoy all this entertainment.

And if at times we stay overlong resting on our shovels who would blame us, for who could resist the pleasure of gazing on the blue curling smoke ascending from the farmers’ chimneys as they kindle the fire at ten o clock after rising from a troubled sleep.

We are glad to be able to recompense some of them by providing the dole which they collect weekly through our increased social welfare employment stamps.

Yours Sincerely,

Paddy Faley, Co. Council worker.

I dread to think of the reaction he got from the farming families around but I am sure they understood it was written in a humourous tone.

Again I must congratulate Athea’s Tidy Town committee for the great work that is done in the village. It is looking so well and hopefully the judges will see that and give them top marks.