Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Tuesday, June 2, 10:51pm: Publication day ends with another anti-social run of mine, taking in 4.8 kilometres (three miles) of the neighbourhood. Falling back in love with running is not something I’d bargained on three months ago but here I am, running consistently in a manner I’ve not managed since my Edinburgh Marathon training in 2011. My lockdown has been largely defined by exercise, dogs, herself’s great company, my mother’s many kindnesses and baking, lengthy phone calls with my family, reading more newspapers than ever before, handwriting letters and settling into a new and probably better way of working.

Wednesday, June 3, 1:22pm: Waterford Courthouse is cavernously empty, with Family Law proceedings the only matters being raised before a sitting judge today. Jury trials are unlikely to resume here until the Autumn but the date of such a resumption remains undefined given ongoing work into how physical distancing will be adhered to in the relevant chamber by then. The second half of the legal year looks like it’s going to be unavoidably top heavy.

Thursday, June 4, 8:40pm: Having observed a discarded small bottle of Chardonnay on the side of the Williamstown Road with some humour this afternoon, I’m nowhere near as amused this evening. During a physically distanced visit to the homestead in Portlaw, I take our dog Dizzy out and walk to a partially cleared forestry in which two separate piles of rubbish which have been incinerated in the past few weeks. The rubbish had been there for months prior to its torching – nappies, children’s toys, kitchenware, a soccer club mirror and even a sink – but this feels like a new low for me. I do something I ought to have done months ago by sending images and details to three Comeragh Area Councillors in the hope that something will finally be done about it.

Friday, June 5, 10:48pm: The stunning ‘Strawberry Moon’ (just above the treeline in my photo) dominates the evening skyscape as I return home from my latest anti-social run, caked in sweat but glad of the exercise. Come Monday, we’ll take a few more steps towards normality – of some kind – resuming and most of us will be glad of that transition. More time in the fresh air and less time on social media would probably do us all a favour.   

Saturday, June 6, 10:18am: I’ve got the dogs out for their morning walk (mine too, let’s face it) and I pause to observe a donkey in a paddock at Bishopscourt, who has space, fodder and water aplenty. This particular walk has become a part of my daily routine, during which I stop to admire robins and other small birds, other people’s dogs while sharing a friendly hello with their owners and taking in a view which runs from the spire of Holy Cross in Tramore to Tory Hill in South Kilkenny. A day not spent on this loop now feels quite odd.

Sunday, June 7, 11:24am: I fill in my Folio Society order form through which I’ll obtain my latest set of beautifully designed books before bringing the dogs for a walk. Among my order is the stunning ‘South Polar Times’, which has been published in co-operation with the Royal Geographical Society, the British Library and the Scott Polar Research Institute. As the online blurb puts it, “this Folio edition is the complete facsimile of all 12 original issues of the South Polar Times – Captain Scott’s expedition magazine”. The “Heroic Age” of exploration has captured my imagination for many years and it’s wonderful to see younger generations today gaining an awareness of great historic figures such as Tom Crean and Ernest Shackleton. It’s an era I still have much to learn about.

Photo: The Irish Times

Monday, June 8, 11:10am: I begin working on this diary entry with social media reminding me that today is the 30th anniversary of the FIFA World Cup’s kicking off in Italy, when Cameroon stunned then champions Argentina in the opening fixture in Milan. A summer low on footballing quality was nonetheless fever pitched with excitement on these shores as the Republic of Ireland made it all the way to the quarter-finals. I completed my World Cup ’90 sticker collection (in excess of 500) and curated two scrapbooks from local and national newspapers. Newspapers appealed to me from a young age. Thankfully, that interest hasn’t diminished in the interim.

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