MUSINGS Loaves and fishes



Ciara Galvin with her sister’s partner, David Connolly, after the multiplication of the loaves.
CHRISTMAS MIRACLE?Ciara Galvin with her sister’s partner, David Connolly, after the multiplication of the loaves.

Loaves and fishes

Diary of a homebird
Ciara Galvin

I nearly ruined Christmas. Yes, you heard me. No, I didn’t poison Rudolph or tell the female roomie the turkey was dry (a crime punishable by death). What did I do? Well, I underestimated.
Let me explain. This time last year, on these very pages, I wrote about how families – especially my own – think of Christmas as entering a World War 2 bunker for an extended period of time, thus requiring them to purchase vast amounts of food. Fridges start to creak under the pressure of cooked hams and freezers work overtime to handle the influx of rashers, sausages and ‘sure a few chicken fillets would be handy’.
While taxiing the female roomie around town to pick up the all-important last few items Christmas Eve (we were as prepared as ever), the annual question arose: “Ciara, how many loaves do you think I should get? Three?.”
After all my post-match analysis last year on the amount of food purchased and wasted, I felt this was my moment. “No mam, two is loads. The shops will be open on the 27th.” And surprisingly, she took my suggestion on board.
Later that evening, I was out enjoying a few festive tipples with the ladies when I received a phone call – ‘Mam’. Uh oh. The panicked phone call summoned me to attempt making the starter for the following day. Stirring the soup, I suggested I would make another starter, melba toast with a black pudding spread, accompanied by a red onion marmalade. I know what you’re thinking, ‘Far from red onion marmalade that one was reared’, but it was Christmas.
Expecting the female roomie to be delighted at the workload being somewhat shared, I was taken aback by her response, “Toast Ciara, you never said you’d need toast!” ‘Oh no’, I thought, ‘I’ve opened a can of worms’.
Entering collateral damage mode, I assured the female roomie that we had ‘loads of bread’, not realising later that night that myself, my brother and his wife would come home from the traditional Christmas Eve get-together and dig into the Christmas ham between ‘a few’ slice-eens of bread.
Christmas Day. Loaf count: one-and-a-half. Shops open: zero. Mother: stressed.
This was the female roomie’s idea of an entire military brigade finishing the last bits of rations and the war not nearly over.
I’m not sure if the traditional fry didn’t happen Christmas morning because of ‘Breadgate’, but I didn’t dare question.
A quick Skype to my brother in Dubai Christmas Day confirmed that, yes, this indeed was a National Emergency. Rory, the eldest, had experienced 35 Christmases and was well educated on the female roomie’s Christmas grocery list.
Knowing I had to rectify the apparent loaf shortage, I contacted my sister in Roscommon to see was there a spare loaf knocking around the place. Moments later a text from her partner, David, confirmed that the goods had been procured. ‘We got one’, read the text. I don’t know how they got their hands on the loaf – something tells me a family in Roscommon could have missed out on their traditional Christmas Night sambos due to my underestimation – but I was happy.
A presentation of the loaf was made when my sister and her partner arrived, and everybody finally relaxed.
And what did we have with the soup? Rolls. And how much bread did we have Stephen’s Day? Any amount of it.
Murphy’s Law.

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.