By Peg Prendeville

Monday was a very welcome fine day when the birds were singing, snowdrops and daffodils beginning to open up and the sun in the sky. What a difference it makes. I know it was followed by strong wind and rain but at least we savoured it for a while and enjoyed it while it lasted.

Ireland Reads” is part of the government-backed Keep Well initiative, and will encourage everyone to discover the joy of reading and participate in a national day of reading on Thursday, 25th February. It’s all about promoting the power of reading for enjoyment and wellbeing – combating lockdown by encouraging people to get into a habit of regularly setting aside time to sit and read a book, a poem, a comic, a newspaper, whatever works for them. I quote “ Research shows that children who read a lot when they are young are more likely to become lifelong readers and gain significant knowledge along the way. For adults, studies have found that reading for pleasure enhances empathy, understanding of the self, and is effective in combating loneliness. In a year when we have all been searching for new ways to break out mentally from our daily routines as well as connect with others we can’t meet right now, reading offers a way to escape, to lift our mood, and to take part in a communal experience we can share across our household bubbles.”

It is such a pity that the libraries are closed due to Covid 19 as there are many people who relied on library books to pass the long winter evenings. I know that books can be read online but there is nothing like having a book in the hand ‘til you drop off to sleep and let it fall to the ground. Check out

The Curse of Covid

When someone goes to hospital

It was the natural thing to do

To go and sit beside them

And bring them all the news.

That was the way it used to be

‘til Coronavirus came

And got rid of nightly visits.

It should hang its head in shame.

We’re now left with window visits

Or talking on the phone

No tender touch to ease the fear

For each person is alone

With only latex touch for comfort

From a kind and caring nurse

With blue gowns and masks and shields

To keep out that wretched curse.

We all are longing for the day

When normal times return again

And we can hug and kiss our loved ones

Without fear of killing them.

I pray that day will come quite soon

Meantime I hope and pray and trust

That all the people we love so much

Will understand why we cannot touch.