Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Sawing Sticks"

Yesterday I spent most of the day in the O'Loughlin family home at Ballingate with my Mum and Dad. I was there to "saw sticks" - a peculiar Ballingate expression to denote cutting timber or logs. My Dad Joe, brother Joe, and his sons David and Niall were all on hand to help out in this task. The victim (ie the tree which we cut up) is in the front lawn of "our" house - Dad wanted to clear the undergrowth and to free up the view north towards the Wicklow mountains. Naturally we choose the hottest day of the year so far for this task - but we got through he work, creating two loads of logs, plus a few for myself that I put into the back of the VW Golf.

We had a delicious lunch prepared by Mum - Quiche and red current pie, washed down with a glass of cider and lots of tea. Mum even chided me for putting too much butter on my bread - some things never change!

In the afternoon we stopped for a cool beer - 330ml of Coors Light. Joe and I talked about the tree. We agreed that it was probably over 30 years ago since we last climbed it. I remembered falling out of this tree and being brought to the doctor - I had an almost perverse pleasure in cutting down the offending part of the tree. However, we had so much fun climbing this tree and the many others (now gone) when we were kids.

The first picture above is of Dad and Joe at the tree facing North - Joe is standing at the top of a loader connected to the Zetor tractor, in order to cut away the low hanging branches. Earlier in the day the entire area where Dad is standing was covered by undergrowth. We reminisced about the tractor which Dad bought new in 1978. Joe and I had a collision in Bob Murphy's field in 1979 - I maintain that Joe reversed into me in the tractor with the combine harvester he was driving, while he thinks I crashed into the back him! All this happened at about 2 mph!

Before we finished up I had to show off my iPhone to Joe. We took a few pictures of ourselves and I am struck how similar we look. He is wearing my hat in the photo to the right. There is only 11 months between us (me - October 1959, Joe - Sept 1960) and we have been lifelong friends and buddies. Hopefully we can meet up next week for a game of golf - Joe has me in his sights since I boasted in a previous post that I had beaten him last time out.

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