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The man behind Fibrofella is looking to start a conversation about Child Protection, maybe you’d take a look and give some feedback?

If you take the time to read this post, I’d really appreciate your feedback on the questions it poses. This post deals with child protection on a very basic level but I’d like to get an…

Source: ‘Don’t Touch The Child’

Trying To Write A Book

I haven’t much to say about Fibromyalgia at the moment but I’m still writing and blogging on my other page;

Plenty of people have asked me since I published ‘The Confessional’ if it was tough to write or if it took me long to write. I had a very rough idea nagging in my head for a while but f…

Source: Trying To Write A Book

The Lord Mayor

We said goodbye to one of life’s gentlemen last weekend and it was very difficult for everyone who knew and loved Dublin’s (unofficial) Lord Mayor. Obviously this was hardest for his First Lady and his two boys but there were lots of circles of friends, colleagues etc. whose lives had been touched and enriched by the gentleman barman.

I know whatever I write below will not be enough to pay tribute to the man I knew. I am also aware that no matter what I say, I haven’t the words to offer comfort or solace. Both of those things were accomplished however by the Lord Mayor’s eldest son on Monday. When he spoke, we listened, we laughed, we cried and we marvelled at this incredible young man speaking with poise, wit and pride about his father. And when he finished we stood to applaud him, how he had held his composure throughout and how he had evoked vividly the man we had come to remember and mourn.

The Lord Mayor knew everyone it seemed and was how he got the nickname. The other was the Pope, everyone wanting their audience with him wherever he was. He also liked to dish out a nickname or two and I was re-christened too. My own was ‘Wantapen’. As a younger fella behind the bar I did enjoy chatting to the customers and from time to time I did try chatting up a young lady or two. First off this led to questions being shouted about whether I wanted a pen to take a phone number down, until one night while chatting to one girl I had about 40 or 50 pens thrown on the bar floor behind me! When I rang him my ringtone on his phone included a computerised voice saying ‘Wantapen’ just to be sure it stuck.

We worked on the same shifts and that meant never on a Monday. About 8/9 years we decided we needed to do some Christmas shopping on a Monday about 4 days before the big day. Needless to say we bought very little and went on a little tour of decent pubs at the top of Grafton Street in Dublin. Our last stop at about 5pm.

It was my round and about to order two Guinness, Tony grabbed my arm, “There’s no one drinking pints in here Pete, we’ve gotta go with something else.”

“Two snipes of Champagne please!” came the order from Tony. We stood there sipping champagne, a round each, chatting to the staff and whoever came up to order the drink. Just as we did in any bar across the city, and believe me we visited some ‘interesting’ places too. People are people after all and everyone gets treated equally.

Tony helped me through some of the worst times too. He was there the night I had a seizure in Harry’s and scared the shite out of myself and everyone else. He also visited me in hospital and understood when I was struggling and needed a boost. He was also one of the first people to follow this blog and that is why I’m writing here.

When I started working in the Home Farm F.C. bar, the Monday Club would introduce each singer by saying “Your friend, my friend, everybody’s friend, it’s……”

When you got upstairs T, I hope that was how you were introduced.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

 

 

Summer Project Part II

This week’s stories are from my niece Meghan. I hope you enjoy them.

There’s been some real interest in my idea to get young children’s stories published on my blog here and through my Facebook page. There hasn’t been too many sent in to me just ye…

Source: Summer Project Part II

Summer Project

If you know of any young storytellers out there (primary school age) who like to write and would like to have their story published then this might be the summer project for them……..

When I was in school I wrote lots of short stories and handed them up to teachers for correction and grading. I am relatively young but when I was in school, even when I was in college, computers, …

Source: Summer Project

The real fella behind Fibrofella launched his book last week, why not have a read about it here:

Thursday June 9th, Harry Byrnes 10.45 PM I’m standing at the bar sipping a pint, talking sociology and history to a lovely couple I’ve just met. They’ve bought a copy of ‘The Confessional’ from me …

Source: The Confessional – Book Launch

I’ve always wanted to write and share stories. It is a part of who we are and where we have come from as Irish people.

“Seanchai stories are about local events, family sagas and short accounts of fairies and other supernatural beings. These stories were traditionally told by either men or women…..These stories were…

Source: Storytelling is the Flagship of Irish folklore

“It’s not a singles ad you’re writing Peter! I like long walks on the beach, swimming, cooking and reading.” “I know it’s not a singles ad, I’m just trying to give them a little idea of my hobbies …

Source: ‘The Confessional’ is Open

MTV got there before me with ‘The Real World’ so I can’t rename the work experience module in further education as that. I doubt I’d get away with pushing through ‘Cop the f**k on’ or ‘Mature now or else!’ as working titles for the module either.

Yes there is the actual job to learn about, there are the skills to learn, practice or hone and of course there are opportunities to to put new skills learnt in the classroom into practical action. However what is just as important is the bits and pieces that go along with the job.

Apart from a brief 3 month spell spell of part-time work last summer I’ve been out of work for 5 years. Under ‘normal’ circumstances spending 2 weeks in an archive, working on 3 collections of documents from around the time of Ireland’s birth would seem like a job description written for me.

However as I’ve said many times what has been ‘normal’ for me recently? What has been ‘normal’ for you recently? Probably not much.

So starting my stint of ‘the real world’ I was a man-child mix of experience and knowledge on one hand, anxiety and lack of confidence on the other. Boundless enthusiasm and desire to work hard and impress on one hand, aching skeleton and sore muscles on the other. Fully aware I’m great in groups and making people feel comfortable, petrified of ringing the doorbell and starting.

The work itself was amazing. I worked on a database of images called the ‘Birth of the Republic’. Another included cartoons from a monthly satirical magazine called the Lepracaun which had a run from 1905-1915. The third database I worked on was digitising newsletters from a local youth club scaling over 15 years through the 40’s and 50’s. Some of the advice given to the boys really shows the generational changes, including not to be drawn in and corrupted by the immoral and supposedly glamorous lifestyle depicted in the movies.

Working in the quieter environment of the library and archive was great for my arthritis. I was able to sit down as much as I wanted and move about when I needed. However the hours spent staring at the computer screen was very draining. So while the job was not physically demanding, it was mentally tiring to focus on the screen for so long. I also had to have strict attention to detail and be diligent in the work to make sure the artefacts were stored in 3 places with the same archive numbers and location points.

Outside of the work, I found the commute very difficult. Leaving the city at rush hour meant it was pot luck for a seat and losing out meant arriving home exhausted. Then it became a spoons contest. Will I cook dinner or shower? How will I prepare breakfast and lunch for tomorrow? Do I have the energy to iron my clothes? Will I leave the bins until tomorrow to put out? Is it ok to go to bed at 6.30?

The job itself was fantastic. It was quieter than anything I’ve ever done before but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Experiencing going to work however brought some other factors to mind.

Working 9-5 meant getting blood tests, repeat prescriptions, making phone calls to the medical team were all much more difficult. Travelling at rush hour made getting a seat a game of chance and that had too many knock on effects to be sustainable for a commute of over an hour into the city.

Working in the city and being away from home for the day costs money. Every so often there’ll be a coffee to be bought, a lunch to have or something else. That’s all well and good when you’ve a few quid in your pocket but what happens when you’re less well off working than you are off work?

I want to work, I want to get the sense of achievement of accomplishment but it can’t cost me to do that. I have benefits and allowances that come from arthritis and the changes it has wrought on my life. Provided they can be offset by my wages I will go back to work.

Will it be in a library and/or archive? It’s certainly not been ruled out after my exposure to the ‘experience’. I have some more work experience coming up at a heritage site which will let me see what giving tours and being in an interpretive centre is like.

I’ll review the situation after that stint as well and then we’ll see what happens after I finish this years course. I’m no closer to knowing whether I’ll be looking forward to working, studying or volunteering when I finish in May but I’m glad of one thing; I’m all the better for the experience.

 

 

Back To Work

I’m going back to work next week! Well, work experience anyway.

A little like a politician before an election I made promises about keeping you updated about my life back in college. Then I got in and what happened? I kept telling myself I’d get to that promise I made tomorrow or next week or when I had a second. The major problem for me is I chose an Arts course when I went back to school.

Arts is a broad sweep of subjects and areas. I’ve researched a family member who fought in 1916 and my family tree, taken and developed my own black and white photographs and I’m studying the excavation of the Viking settlement at Wood Quay in Dublin all in the last month or so.

That’s not to mention the journalism, the European studies, the folklore, the politics and the other modules to be studied. All in all to do well in an arts course, there is lots of reading to be done and lots of writing about that reading. Anyone who has done English and History for their leaving certificate can imagine the type of work involved.

As I told you all before I was keeping up with all my lectures and assignments but the volume of work has left me with little head space for the other things in my life. I’ve scaled back the volunteering; this blog has gone on the long finger and my mates? Well if you’re still there lads I’ll be back in circulation soon. (I did break my phone screen 8 days ago, so I’m quite literally incommunicado at the moment!)

But anyway back to work fella.

It might only be work experience I’m going into on Monday morning but who knows who I might meet, who I might impress and what may follow afterwards. I’ve two sets of work experience lined up in the culture and history fields and I’ll know lots more about my plans and possibilities after them.

I’d love to be able to get back to work full-time, I’d also love to carry on studying and carry on up the education ladder. The issue as always is management and control.

I have a feckin’ management degree but that has been of no use to me this year in managing school and arthritis/fibromyalgia. It is a direct result of the commute, the reading, the assignments that I have nothing left each day. To borrow the old chronic illness phrase; ‘I’ve no spoons left.’

I’ve been in decent form; I just haven’t been able to tell anyone because once I get home from college that’s it for me. I know there’s a little bit of Season Affected Disorder in that but mostly it’s the crushing fatigue and pain.

So I’ve coped alright with being in school five days a week and working on assignments and the rest. Now I’ll have five days of work with longer contact hours but less work to do outside of that so I’m hoping they’ll balance out to the same thing.

One way or the other I’ll give it my best shot next week. The whole point of going back to education was to retrain and find a new job so this was always part of the process. I’ll be a bit nervous, who isn’t starting a new job, but I’ll ask my questions and learn the ropes as quickly as I can.

So I’ll make you a delicate promise. I will try to tell you how my work placement goes but if I don’t, that doesn’t mean it went badly. I’m hoping it means that it has gone really well but I just don’t have the spoons left to write about it.

Wish me luck.

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