Things I Would and Would not Miss
Norah Ephron closed her recent book, I Remember Nothing, on a note which sounded ominous. She made a list called ‘What I Won’t and Will Miss’. Her recent death added poignancy to the characteristic humour of the piece. Inspired by Ephron I made my own list. It’s a little longer. In a more optimistic mood I have chosen to use the conditional rather than the future tense.
Things I would not miss
Plastic garden furniture
English football teams, footballers, managers and their wags.
Interviews with English footballers, managers and their wags.
Rodents, snakes, lizards, fish as pets.
Birds in cages [A robin redbreast in a cage/ Puts all heaven in a rage].
Flippant abbreviations [‘gyny’, ‘uni’, ‘Co. Tipp’, ‘Paddy’s Day’]
Flippantly abbreviated appellations – ‘Auntie’, ‘Mum’, ‘Nana’ . (‘Lady Bracknell would have lost a lot of her fire power if she’d been ‘Auntie Augusta’ according to Alan Bennett.)
Net curtains – had them once!
Red (Ephron’s mother advised her never to wear a red coat. I concur.)
Mustard (the colour, not the condiment)
Modern dance (yawn)
Tattoos (Always a mistake)
Charlatans – psychics, aromatherapists, homeopathists, alternative bores, life enhancers, clutterologists, personal trainers, colour consultants, life coaches, assertiveness facilitators, people who want to give you/your house/your garden a makeover, massagers.
Spreaders of gloom.
Hair dye (Sorry world! Pink, purple, brindled. ‘Thrice the brinded cat hath mewed’)
Businesses pretending they care –‘customer care’, ‘human resources’, ‘mission statements’, health and safety’.
Plastic glazing bars in windows – Have them 😦
Cigarettes and all who puff them. Hooray for the ban!
Middle class cokeheads
Celebrity ex-pats who return at intervals to give out to us on chat shows
Certain songs – Danny Boy, The Little Drummer Boy, This Old Man.
3 Piece suites (Looks like they’re gone!)
‘Activity’ holidays. (Leave me alone!)
Himalayan climbers. (Everest is littered.)
People who climb Carrantuohill in January and have to be rescued
Round the world yachtsmen/yachtswomen, canoists etc. (They have to be rescued)
Arctic/Antarctic ‘explorers’. It’s been done.
Potholers Bogsnorkellers. Have they no homes to go to?
Reality TV shows which involve the elimination of contestants with all the attendant humiliation and tears. For voyeurs only.
Ireland’s Call – the chorus.
Clichés – ‘…and it never did me any harm’. ‘The reality is..’
Parentspeak – ‘She’s a bit wild’ [She’s bold], ‘She needs to be pushed’ [She’s lazy], ‘I know she’s no angel’ [She’s a brat], ‘She’s fun loving’ [She’s a megabrat] ‘She’s a typical teenager’ – Speak for yourself Missus
All who boast that they have been to the ‘University of Life’.
Vegetarians [I’m more virtuous than you]
‘Ours is a rescue dog’ [I’m more virtuous than you]
Young people who say ‘I was like..’ when they mean ‘I said’.
‘The amount of…’ whenever it should be ‘The number of…’
Leather jackets Leather trousers Leather furniture (other than gentlemens’ club and library)
Gigs in fields. (Tents and portaloos, out,out,out)
Architect designed ‘spaces for living’, all glass and chrome.
Kids doing readings in church in uppy downy voices. Why?
Going to the hairdresser (‘Take a seat.’ ‘Going out tonight?’ ‘Going anywhere nice this Summer?’)
White shoes (Princess Margaret in Italy, 1949)
Long/False nails (Type? Play the piano? Change nappy? Make pastry?)
Strapless wedding gowns
Cocktail wear at the races
Daft names for kids (embarrassed grannies)
Fashionable names for kids. (Happy 60th birthday Marians!)
Cole slaw (I think it’s gone!)
Folks in Devon villages who go ‘Hunting the Earl of Rone’ (FYI that’s our Hugh O’Neill!)
Lifestyle advice manuals written by celebs who turn out to be addicts
Standing around in cold garages waiting for the car to be fixed. (Doesn’t seem to happen so much now) Vegans (I’m much more virtuous than you)
Vulgar Irish comedians making a holy show of us in the UK.
Animal print fabrics
Oul wans dancing together at weddings.
Weddings. When did they become so grotesque?
Folks who boast about having been expelled from school. Your classmates were filled with joy to be rid of you, you brat.
Over confident young journalists who don’t bother checking the facts. (Quotation – ‘When Cromwell was in Carlow in 1798’)
A plastic bottle of water as a vademecum
Home ‘schooling’. [Look at us. We are more virtuous than you. And we know it all.]
‘Going forward’ instead of ‘in the future’
‘Wellness’ instead of ‘health’
Conditional where past/present sense is clear ‘I would have been there in 1990’ or ‘I would be a big fan of Christy Moore’
‘You know what I mean?’
Boastful atheists. We know, we know. You told us before.
Dumbing down/grade inflation. (Overheard –‘I done a Masters and now I’m doing a Ph.D.’)
All-Ireland Captains’ speeches. (‘Is mór an onóir dom…..’)
Bidets (More for Mammy to clean)
Gaeilge na hUladh.
Folks boasting about their ‘working class’ credentials. That is no guarantee of virtue.
Boxing. (Although I did kiss Mohammed Ali once.)
Boxers who want to be role models for young persons – not for my kin you don’t
Oul wans. (I am one. Or am I?)
Lady Lavery (Here’s to the Euro)
Interviewees flamming lies to gullible journalists – ‘I read five books a week’. Yeah, right. And you work long hours and attend every opening in town.
Never heard of before and never to be heard of again singer/songwriters at the end of the Pat Kenny/Sean O’Rourke Shows
Relics of saints touring the country
Cliché ridden death notices probably composed by undertakers – ‘after a long illness bravely borne’, ‘in the tender loving care of..’ (Pssst.Health care professionals are not obliged to love us)
‘Beaumount’ instead of Beaumont
‘A big ask’ rather than a challenge
People who maintain that Irish placenames beginning in Borris are pronounced the same as the Russian man’s name. No. Anyone who pronounces Borrisoleigh, Two Mile Borris or Borris-in-Ossory as Boris is putting on airs. Get over yourself. Grrrr.
Things I would miss
Spouse and daughters naturellement
The Courtyard of the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham
The Irish Times
Ben Goldacre (www.badscience.net Sock it to ‘em Ben!)
Norfolk and Norwich Terriers
RTE Radio 1
American patchwork quilts.
Crossing St. Stephen’s Green.
Raphael’s Stanze in the Vatican Museum.
Amhrán na bhFiann
Little ponies 12h. 2” and under.
Micheál O Muircheartaigh, the only constant.
Jane Austen (Re-readable ad infinitum)
Watching Crufts on T.V.
The Forsythe Saga, the original series
The National Gallery of Ireland
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
Glossy house/food magazines
The Rose Garden, St Anne’s, Clontarf in June
Mr and Mrs Bridge [Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman]
‘The viewless wings of poesy’
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
Myers in his element [on former Tánaiste Mary Coughlan’s use of language]
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
The Samuel Beckett Bridge
Reading in the shade in St Hilaire
The sound of people speaking Italian
Ultra slim ladies shopping in Carcassonne
Babies’ first chuckles
Classic Dublin malapropisms [‘I went for the ‘ordition’’. ‘We are being ‘casterated’ by the public’.]
La Sainte Chapelle, Paris. The upper chapel when the sun shines
Gene Kelly Singin’ in the Rain
The New Conference Centre on the Quays
New October clothes
The day after St Stephen’s Day (Mammy’s big day off)
Not having to get up and go in to a certain school in the morning
Going for coffee/lunch with the daughters
Watteau’s Embarcation pour l’Ile de Cythère and Gilles
Brideshead Revisited – the T.V. series
The smell of coffee in Belfield
The smell of coffee anywhere
When the house is tidy
O Holy Night
Claude Le Lorrain
Dark green corduroy
University Challenge on Monday nights
The Ducal Palace, Urbino (Have never been!)
Book parcels from Amazon
The churches of Rome
Christmas – putting up the decorations
Eggheads at 6 on BBC2 while dining
Salve Regina at nuns’ funerals
Collins Barracks, the Barrack Square
Reading at the fire on cold, wet January afternoons knowing that it is an ordinary schoolday in a certain school
When the family likes the food
Friday night dinner in our house
The Reading Room of the National Library of Ireland
A greyhound with a lolling tongue
The Rock of Cashel
Daniel O’Connell, still the no. 1 man
Fíon na Filíochta
Good cursive handwriting with the old fashioned ‘r’
The Abbey Theatre
Michael Davitt, the no. 2 man
The Gate Theatre
Café Crème in Place Carnot, Carcassonne
The Library in Dunsany Castle – have never been!
The lights at night from Killiney to Howth
Disney’s Lady and the Tramp
Madras cotton check
Richard on the Mooney show who knows everything, Renaissance man.
Gaeilge na Mumhan
Showers (in bathrooms)
Didly idly music
Sing songs (an increasing rarity)
First Friday retired gatherings in Clontarf Castle.
Dining with like-minded people.
Secondhand bookshops and bookstalls.
Montolieu, village du livre
Litters of pups
Roger Mortimer’s letters to his offspring.
The literature/films/theatre of the deep South
American houses with front porches
Trying my hand at a painting
Twitter, God help me
Reading Norah Ephron