Hibernation, and a farewell to arms

“Cathy, I’m lost, I said though I knew she was sleeping
And I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They’ve all come to look for America”

Simon and Garfunkel

The Super Blue/Red Moon over Carton House, Maynooth. To my untrained eye, it looked like a… eh, moon…

Hibernation. From the Latin hibernus, for Winter. And, I gather, an anagram for ‘breathe in’. Which seems quite apt. It feels like I haven’t caught a decent breath for the last month or so.

Training has been a mixed bag. And not that full a bag either. From the relatively giddy heights of last year (running six times a week, and finishing up 2017 with a four hour marathon along the canal), the new year started with a dose of ‘flu and four runs for the whole month.

February is a little better, but not much. The supplementary exercise has come from rejoining a rather nice leisure centre; a Christmas treat to us both. It’s helped with some of the work stress. Apart from the dubious fitness benefits of hanging out in the sauna, steam room or jacuzzi, there is a half-decent pool there.

Without any races on the horizon, or set goals, it’s easy to drift a little. I’m enjoying getting back into swimming again, and we reckon we’ll both sign up for the Great Fjord Swim in October. Check it out here. I’ll give the 3.9km a go, and S will do the 750m. But that’s a good bit away. Once the dust settles on the work upheavals over the next month or so, I’ll start planning the nearest event, which is the Barrow Run. Hell, let’s call it the Great Barrow Run. Why not.

The plan is to run the Barrow Way. See here for one ‘official’ site. Its length varies from 113km to 120km depending on what site you read, and possibly where you start or finish. I’m going to run it, and S is going to be the one-woman support crew on the bike. We’ll do it in two days, so will split the journey in half, stopping over in Carlow (looking at the maps). So around 55-60km per day. We’ll take it handy; probably breaking things up into batches of 15 or 20k. That’s the plan, and we reserve the right to change our minds halfway through and ring my Dad for a lift home. But hopefully not. Very few of us spend less than an hour away from a smart phone screen, let alone more than 30 minutes walk from a paved road. It’s good to get away from all of that for a while, and be a little bit vulnerable. Even if that vulnerability is somewhat manufactured and controlled…

Other than that, there is the Dublin Marathon to look forward to. But again, that feels a long way off at the moment.

As regards work, one of our colleagues retired this week, after about nine years in the brigade. He is in his mid-thirties and needed a new challenge. There are issues with the retained service which I don’t need to go into here, but he had reached a point of no return and made the call to move on. We pulled out the stops and gave him a good send-off.

Above is a little snapshot of Simon over the last few years, in various guises. For operational reasons, I don’t have pics of him on the job, per se, but these are the more social aspects of the job anyway, such as playing a memorial football match for the subbie’s brother, growing a ‘tash for Movember, or our last Christmas night out in Dublin. And of course, not forgetting the time he was picked to appear on one of those ‘fireman’ calendars! We made sure to put that on his going-away cake!

That’s the nature of the job; indeed, any job. Time marches on. And so do people. All the best for the future, Si. You’ll be missed.


Other work continues. A few jobs on. One will entail helping out with some signage for what is Ireland’s largest and most illustrious Georgian Palladian-style country house, otherwise known as Castletown House, in Celbridge. Calling it a house (not least given Ireland’s current housing crisis) is a bit rich, but there ya go!


As I was wandering around Newbridge the other day, waiting to do some advanced driving lessons, I saw this sign in a shop window. It made me smile. I sent it to S, along with a message: “Yes, but what if I want to take it ALL off?”

Just keeping the spirit of Spike Milligan alive, that’s all 😉

And finally, this shot caught my eye the other day when I was back in our station. That’s my house in the background, albeit very blurry.


It highlights how close to work I live, and of course, the other ‘day job’ involves working from the home office as a graphic designer. So there is literally no escape.

One, two, three… breathe…

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