Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2013

231. The pillars of society

Yesterday (7 May) as I was writing a comment under someone's article posted on FaceBook, I had a strange idea, namely that society had pillars and that if you destroy these pillars, society falls down on your head!

The image that came to my mind was that of the Parthenon, the old temple of ancient Greece standing on the hill there in Athens. The pillars sustain the roof. There are pillars all around. Some pillars are more important than others to hold the roof. The pillars in the 4 corners are definitely the most important ones.

I don't know if these thoughts hold much truth in architecture and engineering laws but they are a metaphor for something I see happening in our society.

I visualized the slack attitude towards the holding of a balanced budget proceeding from the same way of thinking as the 'tolerance' for homosexuality... yes, it needs an explanation, wait, I'm trying.



When you are a child you learn slowly all the rules of the society you have been born i…

My photos of IRELAND

Click here to see My photos of Ireland 2013

The photos I took during my 4 months stay in Ireland, from January to May 2013, can be seen in my flickr photo account in the set named 'IRELAND'  at the following web address:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/frankieduberry

230. THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF EUROPE

I recently jumped on a FaceBook advertisement for the European Federalist Party...

How can I explain this hunger and thirst for such a thing to English speaking people who have no idea of what the European Union is about. They think it is a club, a kind of old boys get-together, to talk about budget and things.

How can I convey the urgency I am feeling about implementing a true Federation among the various States stuck loosely together in this Union since World War 2.

How can I describe this long life waiting for a definite step to unite countries like Germany and France, Poland, Italy, Sweden, Greece, Finland, Portugal, and all the others.

How should I write in a silly blog such geo-political expectancy coming from an ordinary grandmother doing her garden and baking cakes for her grandkids.

Don't know...

I'll start recapping on what I have already written on the subject.

In 2005 i.e. eight years ago, here's what I wrote on this blog but deleted since:


"On 6 June 19…

229. The Vikings and Charlemagne

I had never made the connection. Strangely enough the advent of the Vikings and of Charlemagne had been put in separate files in my brain!

In the Wexford public library at the other end of my street where I've been spending my afternoons lately, I am learning about the History of Ireland in general and of Wexford in particular. Fascinating! Absolutely fascinating.

We learn at school in France that the Vikings came running to the northern coast of the French kingdom around the year 800. Under the impression that it was the only important thing they did I was very surprised to read that they actually raided the coast of Ireland in a much more drastic way.

In the book Exploring Ireland's Historical Towns, The History Press Ireland, 2010, Pat Dargan writes:

"The second phase in the development of Irish towns was undertaken by the Vikings, during the 9th century. At this period Ireland, in common with most of Western Europe, was subjected to a series of Viking raids. The first…

228. IRISH ROADS

I had heard of Irish roads way back in the 1960s in Australia when someone with Irish background told me once in earnest that: "Irish roads were designed and made only by people coming out of a pub". This phrase used to make other people laugh but as a newcomer to Australia I did not see the joke.

In Ireland since January 2013 and driving around for four months now I start seeing the joke!

The latest motorways are fine, wide and with a flat tarmac, fairly straight, with spacious shoulders on the sides, and financed by the EU kitty for roads across Europe. The Irish country roads, however, have definitely been designed and made by people coming out of a pub, mainly... if not all. They are as sinuous as can be whether on hills or on the flat. They are as narrow as can be stuck between hedges of prickly bushes such as gorse, without any space for shoulders so that you just can't pull up on the side in emergency. I found I could not stop to take a photo. Very often as I was…

227. Lost Mail

I have been living in Ireland for three months now and so far I have only liked and praised this country. Maybe it is time I allow myself to critisize a few things for good measure!

The first thing quite bewildering for a continental visitor is the lack of letterboxes on houses and flats. There is a slit in every front door but no letterbox as such, i.e. a hard metal box with a door and a key to that door and your name on the box.

As I occupy the second and top floor of a very old house, I first thought it was peculiar to my place. But when I asked at the Post Office about a parcel I was expecting and mentioned that unfortunately my place had no letterbox, the lady behind the counter assured me it was not special to my place. A slit in the front door of all houses, old town or new suburbs alike, was what there was for mail delivery. When I explained about letterboxes, she had doubt at their efficiency saying that then just anybody could get into them.

To add to that problem, as I sh…

226. LET US PRAY

Since I arrived in Ireland last January I have been happily going to the Presbyterian church in Wexford town attending the Sunday morning service and a bible study on Tuesdays. Members of this congregation have been patient enough with my weird notions and tolerant of my dissidence as a Christian. I thank them for this, whole heartidly.

We pray together out loud, each one talking to God and bringing up any subject where God is needed for help. Praying, in my view, is an act of humility, you admit blankly that you need help because you can't deal with a problem by yourself. It is also an act of transcendance, you connect by thoughts with a supra entity out of this mortal world of ours.

But who is this supra entity? Who is God? We don't know. We don't even know if 'he' hears us. We try hard to listen to any sign of 'his' messages. With great difficulties we see signs of 'his' presence in our lives. We keep praying nonetheless.

So, let us pray. In the…

225. Tight budget, priorities and lucky strikes

Some say that money does not make you happy. From my experience the lack of money does not make you happy either!

I have lived on a tight budget all my life. Who doesn't?! But when I say 'tight budget' I mean not enough to eat AND do other things as well. It was eat OR do other things. Now that I am an old lady on a minimum old age pension my budget is 680€ gross per month. So I have to put my priorities in a strange order sometimes. Here in Ireland I can only use 550€ gross per month as I have kept my usual electricity and car insurance going at my place in France. Here I pay a rent of 300€ monthy. My monthly electricity bill is not regular but it comes to 40 or 50€ per month. Therefore I am left with 200€ for a whole month with food expenses, petrol for my car and entertainment... It is EITHER food OR petrol for my car OR entertainment. I am not even mentioning clothing. I have lived with one pair of pants for the whole winter. I might invest 10€ in a pair of jeans when…

224. LESSON ZERO IN LANGUAGE STUDY

A language is a large set of sounds that are coded. Example: bitch, beach, batch, are coded, but butch and botch are not. If you utter the first three to English speakers they will react, hear your meaning and reply... by another set of coded sounds like: fake or fuck, but fick or feek or fack are not coded and therefore not used to exchange ideas in a conversation.

1. A language is a large set of sounds that are coded.

These coded sounds are to be really accurate to be recognised to have their code deciphered so to speak. Yes, SO to speak! The coded sound is similar to a note made on a violin. If it is not just quite accurate it sounds awful and misses its purpose of making sense to the listener. Example: if I say I have put a new shit on the bed, instead of a sheet... you are sure to get a loud laugh instead of a normal reaction.

2. The coded sounds are to be really accurate to be recognised.

In order to utter these coded sounds we all have the same instruments. I mean we the human…

223. Irish Pullovers

Pullovers, some say sweaters, cardigans, jumpers. I mean knitted garments. Knitwear.

In Ireland a very particular type of sweater has been traditionally knitted for years with white natural wool in intricated patterns and stitches. Those jumpers are known in the world wherever you find Irish settlers, mainly in the former British empire.

In the late 60s I arrived in Australia married to a young Australian whose grand-parents had emigrated from Ireland around the First World War. Wearing such a jumper for him was a statement of fond attachment to the culture of his forebears. He would not let me touch his Aran jumper. It was for him a semi-sacred article of his deep rooted identity.

In continental Europe, however, in France or Germany, this knitted white woollen sweater with intricate patterns does not mean anything. You may like the idea to wear one but it has no extra meaning and above all it does not indicate identity.

I love wearing my own knitted jumpers and I love nordic designs…

222. A PLAY AND A PARADE

Last week-end was quite something. St Patrick's Day was coming up and I was keen to live the event here in Ireland. The 17th March fell on a Sunday this year.

But four or five days prior to that, as I was walking down Main Street like a lot of  Wexford people do, I saw a banner stretched across the street with publicity for a play at the Opera House for Friday night, €15 last chance. The Opera House is a very modern building right in the middle of town on High Street. I live at the very end of High Street, so I detoured and bought myself a ticket. After all... the month of March is my birthday month if I need an excuse!

The play was called 'Out of Order', a "rollercoaster ride of side-splitting comedy" the brochure said, written by Richard Willey and played by the Bridge Drama theatre group. The Opera House here has a number of small theatre stages with different names. People say they are going to the 'something' theatre which led me to think that Wexfo…

221. Suicide, let's talk about it

When I arrived in Ireland in January I fell in love with the place and I decided to settle in Wexford. Everything looked happy and rosy. People walking along Main Street, the shops, the trawlers at the wharf, the new and modern opera house, the church steeples in every directions, even the rain I liked! Settling in has not been a problem. I was able to find accommodation and open a bank account, receive an electricity bill for proof of my residence here and join a prayer group in a Christian community. In short life seemed to me to be more than bearable here.

And what do I read on the FaceBook page of the Wexford Free Press? That the suicide rate in Ireland is high and that here in Wexford many jump from the long bridge to shorten their lives.

I learned a long time ago in my anthropology studies that the most important thing in any given human society is what you don't say. The job of an ethnologist is to find out the un-said, the un-speakable. This comes out as very true here to…

220. THE WEXFORD MERMAID Act 2

Act 1 of this silly play can be found in entry 216. I LOVE IT HERE

THE WEXFORD MERMAID, a play by Frankie Perussault

Act 2

Setting: The inside of a pub with small stained glass windows, entry on the right, a bar on the left with a couple of tall stools, empty and full glasses of guinness on various tables, small groups of extras mumbling as background sound, some background music.

At a table in the front of the stage: The Young man, the Businessman, the Musician

- Musician: This is a brilliant idea but how will your bridge hold on such a distance?

- Businessman: suspended, of course, latest technology.

- Musician: What? From a satellite?

- Businessman (laughing): No! Engineers jargon. You can't understand.

Musician plays a bit of a music phrase on his violin or flute.

- Young man: From Wexford to St Malo it will have to go over Lands End in Cornwall.

His sister the schoolgirl storms in from entry door on the right.

- Schoolgirl (mad): I've been looking for you all over the p…

219. What if...

Any religion is based on a myth. - Don't go, stay with me! I am not using the word in a derogatory sense but in its fondamental meaning which is a structured story regularly revitalised and enacted by rituals. -

We all know that little Jesus was born in a barn and placed in a manger, that three kings from afar guided by a star came to visit him and how he talked to the priests for his bar-mitzvah and how he divided his loaf of bread for his last supper with his mates and how he had to carry his own cross up the hill on Golgotha.

A myth somewhere along the line is based on a true story and by 'true story' I mean a fact which took place in History. It is the case with Jesus of Nazareth. He is a historical figure. He did exist.

During the past centuries since his historical existence, while some spent time and effort enhancing the myth by declaring him a god and his mother a virgin mother of god, others worked at finding out documents and archeological evidence of his life.…

216. MARX OR JESUS

These two guys have shaped the entire western world as we know it to-day.

We live by the teachings of one or the other. Each of their visions of the world is a well structured self sufficient system of ideas, i.e. an ideology explaining the world and giving directions for individual behaviour.

I am talking to myself here trying to sort out my own thoughts.

These two guys have a lot in common. They are both "children of Israel" having had a very similar kind of education, even at some 2000 years difference. They are both rebels having analysed the current digressions of the society they lived in: the sclerosis of rituals for Jesus, the extravagant exploitation of people by the industry for Marx. They both launched their respective vision of the world through circles of friends who then explained and added and passed it on.

They were both entirely convinced of 'messianic' times, a D-day in History when the known world stops and is replaced by what they have invented: …

217. Deliver us from evil

Friday night 1 March saw a special event take place at the church of St Iberius in Main Street, Wexford, Ireland. It was a service prepared by the Christian Women of the World Day Of Prayer Interdenominational, website: www[dot]wdopi[dot]org. The theme this year organized by the French group was: "I was a stranger and you welcomed me".

I had no idea of what it was when I was given the booklet and told I was going to be Woman number 5 on the roll of speakers in this service. We were only a handful of attendants from the Presbyterian church round the corner.

This service was prepared, acted and attended by women only, not that men were banned from it but they just did not turn up. The theme was, in my view, highly political and the leaflet I found plain propaganda. That's between you and me, of course. Otherwise I do agree that you must be kind to people in general, whether they are of your family, your street, your country or not.

However my interpretation of the story J…

216. I LOVE IT HERE

I really love it here in Ireland.

People seem to have been brought up like I was! They are friendly and polite to anyone at all times, they find the good things in every bad situation and say thanks. For instance they never complain about the bad weather but they stop you in the street to mention the sunshine. In France, in comparison, people moan, complain and winge all day long. I am French though! What happened to my country? Has it slipped on a banana skin when I was not there? Or something?

I am glad to be here in Ireland. People talk to me, they don't bother about my age, they don't see my clothes before they see me. To-day for instance I was stopped by a young man as I was walking along Main Street. He wanted to tell me about Amnesty International. We talked and joked. And I went on my way. I was actually going to get some milk at the 'Supervalue' supermarket, some equivalent to the 'SuperU' in France. I got a loud good morning with a smile from the guy…

215. A grass root Christian

This is what I call myself, a grass root Christian.

What I mean by this, is clear to me, but I ought to qualify it for my new friends here in Ireland with whom I attend biblical study at the Presbyterian church.

In chronological order: I went to a Catholic primary school. The Sisters in religious robes were very kind and taught us reading and writing as well as to pray God, thus making us understand that it goes together, i.e. being a clever human being refering to a superior benevolent being for help.

When I was 17 I walked to the Protestant pastor's house because I was in doubt. Did we need to believe that the mother of Jesus was a virgin to be called a Christian? I was given a bible and told to seek the answers to my questions in it. The pastor added, I recall this very precisely, that not all questions have answers anyway.

From then on I attended the Sunday service in a Protestant church whenever I could and wherever I was. I officially confirmed I was a Protestant of the Fre…