Sunday, January 23, 2011

Winter Woollies - StayingToasty in Turbulent Times

Cap and Scarf in Super-Chunky wool
I have been busy knitting warm woollies to help me cope with our winter of discontent. Not alone has the weather been unseasonably cold for Ireland and we've had to cope with frozen pipes and a waterless Christmas, it's now clear that this was but a portend of the disastrous political turmoil of the past week.


Today the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen resigned as the main government coalition party leader but decided to stay on as Taoiseach. This brings us back to GUBU days - no, not Glory Days, but Grotesque, Unbelievable, Bizarre and Unprecedented. This famous acronym dates back to 1982 when a double murderer was found to be hiding out in the apartment of the Attorney General, and the term was coined by Conor Cruise O'Brien apropos of the controversy in which the then Taoiseach Charlie Haughey found himelf embroiled.  We wonder now if the planned General Election - announced last week for March 11th - will be brought forward again as the confidence in the government plummets to new depths.



They say that a week is a long time in politics -well here's a timeline to what went on in the past week and as the week wore on it became apparent that an hour is a long time in Irish politics - the farce could have been written by any one of our wonderful playwrights - though John B. Keane would probably have done it fair justice, what with his acute eye for morality in the human condition, not to mention political shenanigans. The Field, one of his most famous plays, is now showing in Dublin and the radio ad for it is prescient - the voiceover of the Bull McCabe asks - "would we rather have our principles or be millionaires?"

Well, it's evident that the political rulers of the past 14 years veered spectacularly towards the latter, and in the words of Charlie McCreevy, then Minister for Finance in one of the giveaway budgets of the boom years - "when we have it, we spend it". Quite. And now we're left holding the baby the IMF has given us - a debt of billions that will be a legacy for future generations and is going into the black hole of the banks that went under due to the lack of proper regulation.
The woolly gloves

That it coincided with week after proverbial Blue Monday just added to the irony, and it is proving hard for all us political junkies to keep up with the daily upheavals. I won't even go into the detail, suffice to say for those living on Mars for the past few weeks that the country is now being misled by a government with a rudderless party.

Today the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen resigned as the main government coalition party leader but decided to stay on as Taoiseach. This brings us back to GUBU days - no, not Glory Days, but Grotesque, Unbelievable, Bizarre and Unprecedented. This famous acronym dates back to 1982 when a double murderer was found to be hiding out in the apartment of the Attorney General, and the term was coined by Conor Cruise O'Brien apropos of the controversy in which the then Taoiseach Charlie Haughey found himelf embroiled.


So you can understand why I immerse myself in reading and knitting or crochet. Of late I have been mostly
knitting scarves, hats and gloves - and in warm winter russet tones. You can see the fruits of my January labours in these photos - even the self-consciously self-timed one gives an idea of the hat and scarf set, which was made with James C. Brett's super-chunky Marble yarn, which I got in the lovely Lismore Design Workshop from Angela - she has only been open for a few months but already has inspired a lot of knitters to get their needles out and she has also got a knitting circle up and running on Tuesdays - morning and evening! I went last week and it was a lovely few hours, spent sitting by an open fire chatting away to fellow-knitters. The gloves are pure wool, which have to be hand-washed, a slight drawback offset by their cosy warmth.

Mary, Paul and Catherine - the Knitting Circle Table Quiz team (& me!)
We even got a team together for the Table Quiz last night in Ballyrafter House Hotel - a fundraiser for our Travel Writing Festival, Immrama, which happens in June each year. I have blogged about it frequently. We came 5th overall, not bad with a score of 61 out of a possible 72.

Coincidentally, today's Irish Times had two articles about Lismore and its environs - both by Immrama speakers. One was by Manchán Magan, on the joys of staying in Lismore in rhododendron or any season, and the other by Thomas McCarthy, a poet of international renown from nearby Cappoquin, who name-checks Lismore in his writings on the downfall of Fianna Fail, the current political pariah party

This post has just touched on the events of the past week - the Labour Party is coasting towards the General Election and we have a Selection Convention on Monday night in Waterford to formally nominate two candidates - a man and a woman - to contest for the four-seat Waterford Constituency. We hope they will double the representation by securing a second seat this time - watch this space for updates!

8 comments:

Marilyn said...

Love the color you chose for the knitted hat, scarf, and gloves. Very nice!

Mimi said...

Catherine, I won't even begin to comment on the current political situation.
Scratch that, I have only one thing to say - they are a disgrace to our ancestors who always put the country first.
Your russet tones are a welcome "toasty" vision. Are gloves hard to knit? I've taken up the needles after a long (maybe 12 year) interlude, posted about a scarf and mittens I finished, working on another scarf, and thinking about doing matching gloves. Do tell!

Stephanie V said...

And I thought our politics here on the Left Coast of Canada were wacky! My goodness, we have nothing to feel singular about. Unfortunately, even when we're sharing horrified laughter, we know it's serious stuff that will affect us all profoundly.

Your knitting does look soft and cosy. Those reds are perfect for warming the cockles.

Winifred said...

Streuth! We think we have it bad with our crappy government. No wonder you're knitting so much. It's great therapy.

Take care

Ann said...

You couldn't have written the farce that has played out in the political field over the past week. I am reeling from it all. I just heard Ciara Conway was selected last night. Good luck to her. And now I hear Cowen is not contesting the next election along with his deserting ministers. Sure God help us....I might feel a bit sorry for them all if it wasn't for their massive pensions!

The knitting looks great. I have two matinee coats made for new grandson's arrival. Would love to join the knitting group if they are still going when I get home next summer. Will miss Immrama this year. Son's wedding and all.

SusanC said...

Catherine, I don't often comment on politics but I echo Mimi's sentiments above.

As regards the knitting, you're very talented. Some day, when I'm finished this course, I'm going to pick up the needles again and try and knit something nice. :)

Pooch Purple Reign said...

i can still only knit squares but i am getting good at those !
you are very good i see. great colours too
~laura xx

Catherine said...

Thanks for all the feedback comments - lovely to get compliments!

Marilyn - thanks, the colours make me feel warm!

Mimi - gloves aren't hard to knit, just a bit fiddly with the fingers, but it is straightforward and once you get the hang of it and realise you have to finish every finger before moving onto the next one it's ok. The pattern is the only one I have, from a book called How to Knit! Must check your post on the knits. Agree about the politics. Shocking and getting worse. Dev and Collins must be spinning in their graves.

Stephanie V - it is amazing - I think we feel aggrieved at having the worst politicians ever but I guess that's hubristic -we're not that significant! But they make the worst run for their money! I saw a wonderful photo of Vancouver in the sunrise fog, fantastic aerial photo. You prob. know it.It's on Facebook.

Winifred - they are bad arent' they? Cameron's having a right old laugh at the farcical situation Gerry Adams is in having to take a post of Bailiff from the Queen to enable him to resign his seat - we in Ireland who aren't Shinners (Sinn Féin supporters) are delighting in the irony! He's running in the Irish Gen. election next month, we're dreading he'll get in but he prob. will as he's running in a shinner hotbed constituency.

Ann, it's such a farce, Gilbert and Sullivan or Dion Boucicault couldn't have imagined it! It's hilarious at times, but it's too tragic to see the money flowing out of my salary to the black hole of Nama and the ECB/IMF. Down over €110 pm so far, no paycuts under Croke Park deal but this is just the new Universal Social Charge (for less services - dental and optical benefit all gone)- back to 2005 or 6 pay rates now. Pity you'll miss Immrama - but more important things going on! And the knitting circle's fun. hope it lasts. Jan is Ciara's Director of Elections! So canvass madly across the miles for her - a young woman with a kid, great social credentials, and intelligent to boot. Not a lot of that around much of Leinster house right now. Look forward to grandson news - happy knitting!

Susan - we all feel the same about the politics - I enjoy the tweets on the situation, it's pretty mad and now we're in election mode it's downhill to regime change I'm sure. Is Phil Prendergast on the Labour ticket in your neck of the woods? Hope so. Need a bit of gender balance and I'm ambivalent about quotas.Smack of tokenism. Yes, take up the knitting needles when the course is over, you could do much worse! WHy not combine the two? Great relaxation therapy!

Laura - keep going with the squares - they lead to great things and are very adaptable! I wish I was more organised, I've one sock done now and I'm 3 hours trying to start the second one. Distractions all over the place, skyping, emailing, facebooking and tweeting. And there's an interesting thing on TV and I had to walk the dog. Busy days and nights!I should post on the blog too.

All the best- Catherine. xxxx