The only motivation we needed was “Anois teacht an Earraigh”, for our 10km walk in Ballinaboola, near Ballyhea, led by Helen Waide. Helen exudes an uaisleacht, such that I suspect we would follow her to the Gates of Hell and a step beyond, if she made to go on.
Coming the week after Cheltenham the early indications were that the going would be soft to yielding. We need not have worried. The pathways proved firm, and wide enough to walk in twos and threes.
As we gradually climbed the 200m to the top, the faraway fleshpots of Charleville/Rath Luirc lay clear to view in a golden vale.
The pace was expertly set by our leader, while Marie Power as sweeper ensured that nobody peeled off the back.
As picnic thoughts began to gnaw our innards – Helen promised a large log that would serve as our table, just around the next bend. The only “picnic log” that greeted us, five bends later, had the circumference of a half-pint beer bottle. Mar a dúirt Pat C. – “Lag iarracht”.
A strength of our association is that due to a commonality of training and working life, we can absorb new members almost instantly, in shared past experience. I was in Pats with John K. and Kath. Kath taught with Ann whose Dad was a pal of mine, etc.
Admittedly nobody asked, nor perhaps is interested, but the number of men was a modest if magnificent seven of 25.
With the measuring statistic of a 4% chance of rain, nobody was surprised that the minute we stopped for grub, the first drops located us. Post picnic it was all downhill, not re our enjoyment, just the gravity induced race to the bottom. The dry main road back to Corbett Court mocked the rain sodden locks of the hat-less.
The soup was warm, tasty and comforting, full marks indeed. The huge and colourful dessert plates seemed to me the size of some of our off-shore islands. A quick calculation confirmed that 18.75 plates would tile an average bathroom. Given the loud yellows and reds, and early morning shower might indicate the wearing of sunglasses.
As we finished our grub, the lively chat proved the perfect leaven.
The insistent piped country music at Corbett Court distracted this scribe. Thoughts of line-dancing in Wilton a whole 48 hours away with the incomparable Helen had my weary walking feet twitching to dance.
Travelling out and back with Clare, Mary and Ann, the minute planning and pains taken to offer our members a fun and safe outing struck me forcibly, as the plans for Cape Clear etc were discussed. The vitality of our association is dependant on those who go the extra mile that others may partake in and enjoy our wide range of events. Go mba fada iad faoi bhláth.
le Seán Ó Callanáin.