Friday 9 December 2016

"Acting the Bollix"

The '365' project tries to bring in as many local businesses as
want to be included. These pics from a superb local artist and
picture-framer, 'Black Hen Designs'.
I have promised not to bore you with empty 'fox-news' updates but I hope you'll allow me the occasional non-news, fox-related anecdotes and stories. This one is just a re-hash of a conversation with our shot-gun man who is sometimes given to use of the quite fruity local idiom and farm-related jargon. It always makes me smile; I just hope my readers are not feeling sensitive today and can cope.

I badgered a local beef-farmer into letting
me picture his new born calves. This one
is a Limousin born last night to a first-time
Mum. Mother and daughter doing well
The local expression I am talking about is the use of "acting the bollix" to mean (usually of young men) playing the fool in a manner calculated to annoy, being stupid and teasing, being 'Jack the Lad' and so on. We were talking about the fact that during our fox attack we knew that there was (at least) one young one all over us like a rash, and a much more careful full-grown (?) vixen. The youngster was easy to 'get' but the vixen then disappeared and has been seen very little since and never in our yard.

That Mum again with baby now standing up. In the background
another new 'family' from 2 days ago. 
My man said that the grown foxes are always much more wary (that's why they live to grow to adulthood!) while the youngster(s) born in April/May are just now finding their feet and charge around fearlessly like teenage boys "acting the bollix". They either come unstuck and find themselves shot or they survive a few scrapes by the skin of their teeth and learn some wariness.

I remember the first time I heard this expression was when we were being told the famous local story of the bank raid in Balla-D in the 80's where the raiders drove their get-away car down through the lanes to here but then rammed a police car at the local crossroads, then shot the 2 policemen. It was the previous owner of our house, a retired policemen, who turned up first and tried to wrestle the gun out of the villain's hands but was overpowered and had his car taken by the bad guys. The story as told to me had the robbers, all cock-a-hoop from their successful raid, driving noisily up Balla-D main street sounding their horns, shooting their guns in the air and "acting the bollix".

Christmas crib. What are those wise men doing there?
Meanwhile, in calmer, more peaceful waters I was able to help the village in an unexpected way this week - they needed straw for the Christmas crib in the Church. Liz knew that we'd have some but pointedly told me to give the man CLEAN stuff. I took that to mean not the dodgy used stuff off a chicken house floor. What must she think of me? Anyway, the guy got his nice bag of fresh-from-newly-cut-bale  and off it went to be installed by a couple of the lads who work there.

Yours for €4 the lot. These bulging sacks
of excellent turf from that auction.
It is a tradition here that because the crib will have been 'blessed' during its stay in the church, parishioners can nab twists of it to take home before it all gets thrown out, and thus spread the blessedness into their houses. So my poor, lowly (protestant) straw will by now be holy and much sought after. I met the lads who built the crib next day as I needed a '365' pic of it. They were waiting to be let into the church. "We did it," they said, "but I expect it's all wrong and someone will change it all around". They were right and I would have made the same mistake. They'd left Baby Jesus out (till 25th, obviously) but their 3 Kings were in there and NOBODY puts them in till 6th Jan. Ah well. Every day's a school day. I just assumed you threw it all in there on day 1 to cover the whole story. I didn't realise you had to follow the time line with characters coming and going across the 'play'.

The next phase of the woven willow hedge
- the longest whips get bent down to make
 the tunnel. I have not yet managed to get
the right hand side to grow yet. 
On the 365 story, now on week 45 (or so) and fast coming into the home straight, I got a nice result the other day, badgering my way onto a local beef-farm when the farmer let slip that he had new calves. He owed me a small favour but was understandably a bit wary of me clomping about near his first-time Mum and her very new baby. It went OK. He of course, found out that I don't do 'clomping about', I am very calm and serene around cattle and was very careful not to use much flash. I got my photo's and an invitation back to take more pics on the farm.

A nice basket of  'sods'.
The end of this day deserves a nice, warm fire and, as it's coming on Christmas, we like to start using the sitting room, the open fire and proper local Irish turf. It was good then, to get 3 big bags at the auction for a very reasonable price and I invested in a new woven willow basket for the stuff. Tonight, as I type this, Liz is settled into her 'new' recliner sofa, kittens on her lap, belly full of roast pork and toes toasting in the heat of a lovely fire. Does it get any better?

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