Last year on the Agricultural Science Association (ASA) international tour to Washington DC, I was chatting with a friend as we waited to go into a meeting. With slight incredulity in his voice, he asked me: “How do you come up with something different to write about every single week? How do you cope with that obligation hanging over you?” I laughed, but I will admit that it played on my mind when I sat down to write the first few pieces. However, I have found that as I go about my life, meeting people and seeing things, the little bits that interest me stick in my head. I am always thinking: “There might be an editorial in that.”
In truth, this inspiration is mainly down to Irish Country Living itself
I like hearing people’s opinions and engaging in a bit of debate. So not having the opportunity to engage in such conversations during 2020 is one of the things that I have struggled with. That said, I have not completely run aground on editorial ideas despite COVID-19 taking away the social element of my life. And now we are near the end of this very strange year. In truth, this inspiration is mainly down to Irish Country Living itself. Each and every week, without fail, the team write articles that give me something to voice my tuppence worth on, or something that will stir an emotion in me.
I am writing this just a few days after the 40th anniversary of the assassination of the famous Beatle, John Lennon. In this context the headline from this week’s feature seems quite timely. As we approach Christmas, All you need is Grá is probably something that is to the forefront of people’s minds. What made me particularly smile about our chocolate-making cover star, Gráinne, was the support she received from her family.
I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to everyone that has suffered the loss of a loved one
Many of us feel a family void this festive period. Christmas dinner tables will, for many, be less full and the necessity to “stretch or starve” will not be as urgent. Some of those empty seats may be for people that will never re-join the table and I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to everyone that has suffered the loss of a loved one.
Other empty seats will be for those that simply cannot find their way home this Christmas. There are 2020 babies that will walk and speak their first words before they meet their grandparents (or other relatives) in the flesh. We have one of those in our family, my sister Leza’s baby girl, Daisy May Doran.
Christmas away from Ireland and away from family will be tough
Every year, we have a Christmas abroad feature, where we talk to those that are living away about their Christmas experience. Most years, the novelty factor of a cold salad dinner under a 40° sun in Melbourne, or drinking a “tinny” on Bondi beach in Sydney, makes the lack of Irish “magic” bearable. I have done it myself – Christmas Day in the sun – but it was not for me. There is a difference between choosing to be away at this time and having that choice taken away from you. I hear it from all our interviewees, who enjoy their lives abroad, but who know that Christmas away from Ireland and away from family will be tough. I hear that same sadness in the voice of my brother in Perth, western Australia.
Let me finish with some wonderful news. Maria Moynihan, our features editor, had a baby girl this week – Fallon Asha Riordan. For anyone who knows Maria and her story (if you do not, look it up), you will agree with me when I say that, at the end of the day: “All you need is love, love, love is all you need.”