Katherine’s Christmas Wrap 2020

I was nearly going to write about all the things that local government in Galway have announced as huge future public investment projects and to say here that I want them to keep their promises and keep working on them in 2021. With a loved-up enthusiasm whereby the individual employees who are working on them feel that, by continuing to try and solve the associated roadblocks that these projects contain, know that they will greatly improve their own lives.

I was also considering talking a bit about the psychological and social impact of the scandal at GMIT whereby lecturers were caught talking disrespectfully about their students in a Zoom lecture.

This was going to be how I would wrap up my blog for 2020.

On the first theme, I would write about all the things we see written about by Connacht Tribune, the Galway Advertiser, Galway Daily and spoken about by Galway Bay FM that are blooming massive projects that can potentially enact the Galway we know and love but be the next thing that will help give the city and county a potential Lance Armstrong- style steroidal performance, in which the sting of global financial recessions aren’t felt as severely in our part of the planet. I’d even pose some of my own suggestions.

For example, perhaps opening up the conversation again at city council level for a new public city library and theater at Dyke Road. For the kinds of activity facilitated by the look and feel of the sophistication of the Convention Center in Dublin. We can’t be hiring out other community services all the time for such activities like that of the many festivals that Galway is renowned for throughout the year.

I sound like I have white Dublin female privilege here, and also an oul one at the back of a pub saying between sipping their pint “I remember when all we had were newspapers and books!” when I say that Galway City library could do with looking more like Tallaght Library. Want more people to use the library? Make it look inviting. Honestly, the one on Augustine Street could do with new flooring, walls and furniture.

Tallaght Library in 2016

The more people that can educate themselves and curate their own unique set of thinking tools with the books they have chosen to read with the diverse range of material that only a public library can offer, the more we have a nation of more progressive problem solvers. A physical book doesn’t have distracting notifications built in to it telling you you have been tagged in a post. I bet a new lick of paint in the library, or better still a new library with progressive architecture could start that off. We’d have a load of Roald Dahl’s Matildas running about the place.

The new pedestrian and cycling bridge to be built along side Salmon Weir Bridge linking the court and the cathedral currently going through the planning application stage is cause for cautious celebration. It’s good to be giving all forms of traffic more humane ways of moving through the city.

The proposed Salmon Weir pedestrian and cyclist bridge

And won’t the Galway Transport Strategy be a sight for sore eyes?

Wouldn’t this artist’s impression of the new-look St Francis Street look pretty?

But I’m not going to write about these things. It just feels a bit too give-y out-y for what is a time in the calendar, especially in 2020 when I can hazard a guess, people just want to forget that the challenging and bad stuff in life don’t exist for a moment.

I want to do two things:

One

I want to give a small nod of appreciation to my fellow citizens of Galway for helping the city and county move ever more into a more modern society.

What I will say is that Galway has made an effort to keep things going despite all it’s hardships this year.

Firstly, all the new concrete paving, particularly concentrated to The Westend, as I have said before in the blog, has told the people of Galway that we are allowed nice things. It’s simple new concrete that has replaced old concrete that over the years just looked more and more depressing, and most likely, potential trip hazards, as the years progressed. But the council decided to do the decent thing and take this opportunity of a time of shut businesses to give some sweet care to the city.

It sounds quite superficial to want this for my chosen city but for some, attending to the visual aspects of ourselves in times of hardship can be the very thing that helps keep us going. I want to tell you about Carey Lander, the late guitarist for Scottish indie band Camera Obscura. In October of 2011, she died of a rare bone cancer called sarcoma.

In the Guardian, Sali Hughes, one of her dear friends, a UK voice in our most recent refendum on the 8th amendment most likely due to her ties with other UK and Irish columnists Caitlin Moran, Marian Keyes and Róisín Ingle, and beauty writer for the paper, wrote about when she would visit Carey in hospital. In her visits she would help maintain Carey’s Yves Saint Laurent red nails, and Carey would always apply lipstick and eye make-up when she was in hospital.

Sali Hughes too feels there is nothing silly about wanting to look our best in times of trouble. So I feel, it was a very important thing the council did to improve our paths, but also our lives.

Things also feel more positive due to a beginning of the southern side of William Street West being home to a new and cool menswear shop called Aplomb. That side of that street in The Westend in Galway always felt like a complete afterthought to town planning. It felt like the drawer in our kitchens that because of the measurements of the room needed to go in to adhere to the build of the cabinets but whose purpose we weren’t sure of.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CIWlC3CJHWF/?igshid=13c7sduvydasf

But now because this shop whose interior design is completely modern and fully executed, it now feels like that side of the street has suddenly been shone a giant lamp light on and perhaps other forward thinking businesses can begin to move in.

And while we’re mentioning new businesses, do check out TreeBark Store in Moycullen. It’s that village’s thoroughly cute and hipster response to Liberty of London.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CE_c7yiH37l/?igshid=1w6ivn6l5w3jq

Two

Talk about three pieces of television that have kept me going these dark winter evenings.

Dash & Lily

A swift 8 part series where perfect strangers Dash & Lily begin a beautiful relationship through the medium of a red notebook left in a bookshop and the prescribed adventures and dares they pen to each other around Christmas and New Years in Manhattan, New York. Filled with twinkling lights, a great Christmas soundtrack and light comedy, it filled in a sort of absence of the feeling you get from Christmas pints and strolls around the Christmas market.

You can still catch it on Netflix.

Richard Osmond’s House of Games

A new four-part cast of celebrity contestants such as Anton du Beke and Aisling Bea join Richard each week Monday to Fridays to compete in a quiz for daily low-stakes prizes such as fondu sets or a suitcase with Richard’s silhouette printed onto them. At the end of the week the weekly winner is given a funny little cheap trophy. What is great about the show is it is a much more homely and chilled out version of a quiz show compared to the likes of the The Chase, with some quiz rounds being questions written by children as young as 2. You’d imagine the same relaxed experience playing a household board game with your own family. And the cast each week are picked rather well with a lovely little rapport displayed between them.

Weekday episodes are still running on BBC 2 at 6pm up as far as 15th January 2021.

Nigella Lawson’s Cook, Eat, Repeat

We’ve probably been racked with trying to introduce as much hygge into our dystopian winter evenings of 2020. If candles, hot chocolates and home fires haven’t been enough, perhaps Nigella’s iconic cookery show has helped top it up a bit more for you. With her less manic approach to cooking shows, to that of the alpha Gordon Ramsey, a half hour on Monday’s at 8pm on BBC 2 have been a complete wrap-yourself-in-the-most-comfortable of blankets viewing of television. The dishes she cooks for us are equal-parts healthy equal-parts indulgent. She has a sensible sense of humour especially around not taking herself too seriously:

And of course when she takes that first forkful into her mouth when she has finished cooking, she gives us that flirtatious smile of satisfaction that we all know her for.

If you haven’t managed to catch her yet, you can still see her Christmas special this Tuesday the 22nd of December at 8pm on BBC 2.

So instead of me completely being a Wee Moaning Michael, I hope this fortnight’s post has given you some cheer and reasons to be optimistic for your life and the community around you as we close out this completely bonkers of a year right here on my blog.

I wish you a peaceful Christmas and a hopeful New Year.

Have you ever felt that the way you feel in your body is because of the way you feel about your career? I write about workplace culture, weightloss and more…

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