Friday, 9 April 2010
swallow - twice
Friday, and one of my hospital days.This one promised to be more action crammed than usual since it also included an anniversary do connected to the University. Greatly to my surprise it is fifty years since the otherwise prestigious University in Galway, handed me a BA degree. At the time I didn't stop to think why they had done this extraordinary thing but since then, depending on my mood, I've ascribed it variously to a temporary loss of mind or a deliberate decision to see the back of me, permanently. Either way this entirely undeserved distinction was enough to get me into journalism at a time when the owners of Fleet Street's greatest papers(with circulation figures that seem miraculous to-day)were smitten with the belief that only a transfusion of University educated people could raise the intellectual tone of the popular press. It is arguable that in the whole history of Grub Street a more baseless idea was never inflicted on a long standing profession , especially one with delusions to seriousness.Today, you can't get into the business without a degree.One look at the red tops, and indeed the remaining " proper" papers will tell you how wise this decision was. Anyway, fifty years on from the day when I got my piece of parchment, I am still on the go and though a natural loner, I decided I'd go to this do. But before turning up to the University for the bus tour of the Campus, I took Mr Giggs to Silver Strand for his first look at the sea. For a nervous dog he took to it very well - lured on to the beach by the cries of children and the yelps of other dogs, all of whom were enjoying the first real taste of warm weather. It was at this stage that I looked up into the clear blue sky and there dipping and wheeling like trapeze artists on speed, were two swallows.I've never been able to resist that first sight of swooping, gravity defying glory. And to have two of them, doing a choreographed duet in the sky above my head was almost too much pleasure for one day. I packed Giggsy in to the back of the clapped out Corsa and set off for the College. Very soon, the bus arrived with a load of other ancients and we set off for the tour.We hadn't gone far before I realised the wisdom of going my own singular way.These were the sort of people who sat unmoved by everything . They seemed to be wrapped in a sort of comfort blanket of sullen silence.At the first opportunity I baled out knowing that if I stayed around any longer I'd start swearing. Especially since a good number of the women seemed to former nuns. God know's what the men were. I didn't notice that they were all that closely attached to any women but that's not uncommon among the long married. and so forswearing the delights of the celebration dinner, Giggy's and I headed for the hills, eyes glued to the sky in the hope of more swallow sightings.