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Snap, craic and Pops


Diary of a home bird
Ciara Galvin

I ALWAYS indulge at Christmas, and the run-up to Christmas … and maybe post-Christmas. Beat the January blues, you know yourself!
This year I find myself in a predicament, because I’ve indulged for the past eleven months, I don’t have much wiggle room during the holiday period. Literally.
None of my clothes fit me thanks to the sedentary lifestyle I’ve adopted and the remnants of that delicious Bolivian chocolate cake. I’ve been moaning to friends about weight gain, and of course they’ve told me not to be so silly, but at a party recently they saw an example of my extra poundage right in front of their eyes.
We had joked that they’d have to keep an eye on my pants in case they split, but I never thought they’d have to worry about my jewellery. Laughing and joking about ‘coming into a few pound’ as my brother Rory put it, I suddenly heard a snap. The choker around my neck had completely snapped.
Feeling my neck, I half laughed (sure if you don’t, you’ll cry) and told the girls that that’s when you know things are bad, when your jewellery doesn’t fit.
I’ve taken to wearing dresses too. The pants situation has got out of hand, with circulation becoming an issue at the end of a day.
Maybe this Christmas is the one where I do things differently; early-morning jogs, and of course a Reek climb on Christmas morning, followed by a dip for Ballinrobe’s annual Christmas Day Swim. (I’ll forget about the fact I’ve promised Martin Jennings of Inch’s Bar that I will do both for the last three years.)
This is the year. Considering I came back from South America after scaling altitudes of 5,300 metres and swimming in the Amazon, it’s rather embarrassing that I haven’t ever fully scaled Mayo’s most famous peak or taken a winter dip at Cahir Pier. Wouldn’t it be a great way to work up an appetite for the turkey?
This Christmas, Madre will be ordering a big bird – it’ll be a packed house. It’ll be some craic. Seven adults and three children for dinner. Well, depending on what category I fall into, it could be six adults and four children; the roomies still haven’t decided whether I’ll be sitting at the kids’ table or not. That table is getting pretty full, and soon to be fuller: the brood is growing, with two more grandchildren on the way. Soon, instead of bottles of champers and pigs in blankets, it’ll be bottles of milk and Peppa Pig.
I’m also happy to report that I’m more organised this Christmas than ever. Okay, granted, that only means I’ve decided what I’m getting my Godchildren, but it’s a lot better than most other years, when I’ve been whizzing around Smyth’s and Ken Murphy’s on Christmas Eve trying to figure out what would occupy a toddler on Christmas Day while inwardly conducting the annual debate about whether Pops already has a burgundy Gant geansaí. Perhaps this year I’ll kill two birds with one stone and get something in Smyth’s that will also keep Pops entertained on Christmas Day.

In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something year old still living with her parents.