Archives for posts with tag: community

I got sick the other day. Quite sick actually, and I needed a sick bed. About once a year I get a migraine, and about once every other year I get a bad migraine. I have learned to notice signs one is coming on. I have also learned the factors that precipitate one, though it’s usually too late for me to adjust my lifestyle.

Usually I get a migraine in the late afternoon or evening, and I can go straight to bed and shut the word away until I re-emerge on the other side. When I get a bad one the symptoms kick in during the morning.

The other day, I noticed the signs of temporary oblivion around 8am as I was driving into the office where I work for about a week every month. The office is about an hour’s drive from where I stay, in another country from where I live.

After about 2 hours of taking meds and fighting the inevitable, I informed the office manager in halting English – I can’t string a sentence together when I have a migraine, and forget the names of common objects and people I know well – that I needed to lie down in the building’s sick room.

There was no sick room, and no sick bed serving the 5 floors of office space housing the handful of companies. All the rooms have lights on that came on automatically. So, here I was, stuck an hour’s drive from where I was staying and not capable of much more beyond curling up in a ball. Eventually, I found a large bean bag, and the building manager opened up a disused room in the basement with nothing in it, not even a light.

After spending 2 hours in there, I felt well enough to drive to where I was staying, at which point I went straight to bed for 5 hours, until I had slept off the horrendousness of food poisoning-like symptoms and felt semi-human again.

You would have thought a large office building would have a sick bay though, wouldn’t you?

As a footnote to this sorry story, I had to take my first sick day in ten years. I had a suspicion when I wrote that post that it might come back to haunt me…


My son is a talented musician. He doesn’t get it from me, unless you count singing in the shower.

He’s just started busking in our local city to raise a few bucks to defray the costs of a summer school he goes to at a University in Dublin. It’s a pretty nerve-wracking experience for a young teenager to plant themselves on a busy shopping street and put themselves out there. He gets a little anxious before it, and worries about what people will think or say, but he gets it done. And he gets a bit of cash.

Quite a bit of cash actually. The other day I kept a distant eye on him for an hour, holed up in a nearby coffee shop. I was able to people watch as well, a favourite pastime of mine.

People are so generous. Their generosity amazes me. People of all ages and types gave him money. While he was playing, in between songs, even before he had started and was setting up. Maybe it’s because he looks younger than he is, or because he’s playing a relatively unusual instrument for busking with, I don’t know.

I know one thing though. We’re lucky that we live near a city which is well known for its friendliness, its arts culture and its generosity. I was blown away by how generous people are.

It restores your faith in humanity, for a while at least :-).

Community pride is a great thing for getting projects off the ground and delivering the benefit to that local tranche of society.

Some countries are better at it than others, and it’s perhaps a function, of history, culture, wealth or simply how well governments tends to fund things. Some are really proactive. Others less so, knowing and expecting that a few individuals will get it done for their community.

It is in the countries and areas with the best culture of community project success that you find the most generous people, I think. Everyone pays their taxes, theoretically, and they have very little control over how their taxes are disbursed, unless it’s via the indirect and infrequent mechanism of voting. Yet in community-minded societies you find people who are very actively generous towards a number of different projects, none of which they may ever use or benefit from.

It is pride and spirit in one’s community that sparks the generosity, which probably engenders more attachment to and better care of the end product.


I have nothing but admiration for those who professionally or voluntarily put other people before themselves and their families. It takes a special type of person to make a success of being in a caring profession. I don’t think I could do it.

I wonder why it is that governments tend to come down particularly hard on the public sector caring professions. Maybe it’s because there are so many of them, composed largely of young people and women, that successive administrations think they can get away with non-existent – or derisory improvements in pay and conditions.

The bodies, like the NHS and the various individual trusts in the UK, and the HSE in Ireland, are often pilloried for being bungling, bureaucratic and buck-passing. The individuals that are employed by them, are usually exemplary.

I’ve had the misfortune to be admitted to hospital a few times on either side of the Irish Sea. On every occasion the staff have been fantastic, plain and simple. Professional, responsive, assuring, the list goes on.

For me, caring professionals fulfil the most important role in society and this is one of the tenets by which I think a life should be lived, and a society should be governed.

It’s all about levelling the playing field.

Everyone should get a fair chance and those that fall on hard times or simple bad luck should where possible be restored to parity to take that chance again. It’s what community and the tribe is all about.

I am lucky to be associated with another area of the caring profession, namely charity.  COPE Galway is a charity that addresses homelessness, domestic violence, and care of the elderly.  Is is all about ‘quality of life in a home of your own’. As you can imagine, at this time of year their work is particularly important.

Last month I got a tour of the various facilities that the charity operates.  No surprise, then, that I found the staff to be fantastic, plain and simple.  Doing important work that benefits the most vulnerable people in our community. If you had a few units of your currency to spare, they could certainly put them to good use.

It’s really important to me and it’s my blog, so I say this again: whatever you do in life, try and make it fairer for all by levelling the playing field.