Letter which appeared in the Irish Times last Saturday September 24, 2005 [My translations in square brackets].

Women, work
and the home

“Madam, – Níl
aon tinteán mar do thinteán fein. [Irish phrase meaning there’s no place like home, literally, no fireplace like your own fireplace]. Of course,
an tinteán is fast receding into fadó fadó [long, long ago], but the profound verity that is the
essence of the seanfhocal [Irish phrase] will always be the truth of the human condition. More heart than hearth, it is a
humano-spiritual rather than physical structure, a warm cocoon enveloping the
very chrysalis of human society. To grow
into it and out of it is the natural right of every person.

However –
and indeeed, however well – non-parental childcare is funded, an tinteán is not
to be found in creche or kindergarten, pre-school or after school, and hardly
in a couple of nightly hours of “quality time”.

Many women,
perhaps most women, now want to “work”, i.e. to go every day to a workplace and
to take part in everything that passes there.

acknowledge readily that most of them work very well is not to forget that a
woman feels scant deference to logic and is wont to express the truth in such
an oblique way that it is scarcely recognisable. Thus, the true statement, “I want to go to
work” is instead expressed as “I need to go to work”; “I can’t afford not to go
to work”; “the ends that I think should meet cannot be made to meet unless I go
to work”; “I must go to work to provide adequately for my children”; or, even,
“my children will be better off by being without me for most of their daylight

I feel sure
that an tinteán will continue to recede until women of some future generation
become so alive to their own deprivation that they will resolve that their
children must be preserved from tinteán-deprivation.

-Yours etc.

Co. Dublin”



on 26 September 2005 at 13:07

Don’t sweat it, girls: Frank is a well-known ‘commentator’ on these and other social issues. And has his own unique insights to offer, naturally.
SPUC: an Gaeilge: what everyone else should do about their vile unIrish life and ways; the evils of computers in schools…agus mar sin de…
What I can’t understand is why the Times keeps giving him space. 0
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on 26 September 2005 at 19:55

He’s obviously VERY bored. We must think of something to occupy his time. Any one know any JW’s who live near him? 0
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on 26 September 2005 at 22:06

JW’s? See…. this is more of it — another woman who offers scant deference to logic and is wont to express the truth in such an oblique way! How is a tinte?n-deprived digital journeyman to cope with all this. 😉 0
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on 27 September 2005 at 11:16

I bet Frank’s single and childless. 0
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on 27 September 2005 at 15:48

And this is an absolute disqualification from life, Ms Pog? 😉 0
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on 27 September 2005 at 15:53

Single, childless and writing silly pompous letters like that? Yes, I think so, Doc. It’s the combination, you see. (I would assume the same if it was a woman writing along the same lines (and yes, I am also both).) 0
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on 27 September 2005 at 23:10

ahh the combination’s the thing. Right. Would agree absolutely so… 🙂 0
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on 28 September 2005 at 10:38

Phew. Think I got away with that one …..
Ahem. 😉 0
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on 28 September 2005 at 12:33

hmmm… 0
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She rang me at 8.30 the other morning after a
night out. As she rang off I said, in older
sister mode, now go to bed. “Oh no” said
she “I must book my tickets for Toronto”.

Me: What’s happening in Toronto?

Her: You don’t want to know.

Me: Tell

Well, I’m going to a David Gray concert.

Me: Why don’t any of these people ever come to Chicago?

Well, actually, he is coming to Chicago.

Me: What?

Her (defensively): Well, I bought the Toronto tickets when I thought I might not
be able to get tickets for Chicago.

Me: But
now you actually have Chicago tickets.

Her: Well, yes.

Me: But you’re still going to Toronto.

In her defence, she does have a friend who
lives in Toronto, but she’s still profligate.


Also, we have nearly sold our car. A man came to test drive it on
Saturday and fell in love with it. I didn’t meet him, but Mr.
Waffle thought he was dodgy. He said that he was a private
detective and he needed a new car urgently as his last one exploded
while he was tailing someone on the job. And he was very
keen. Mr. Waffle agreed a price and then became depressed.
He felt that we were ignorant foreigners being taken for a ride and we
would be paid, if at all, in counterfeit notes. And he pointed
out, when the man rang on the phone, he never said his name, a
suspicious sign, he thought. Professional idiosyncracy, I
decided. Anyway he turned up this morning to pay the deposit with
his wife and daughter in tow and it all seemed a little less
dodgy. It’s funny to think that, if all goes well, our
little car will be out and about tailing errant spouses or whatever it
is private detectives do in Belgium. The only problem now is
logistical. Before we can close the sale we have to all kinds of
technical things and this may not be a great week for us to take the
car for tests and hand it over. Oh well, doubtless everything
will work out.

And finally, even as I write, Mr. Waffle is picking my mother up from
the airport. She is going to stay with us for 10 days to provide
moral support to the Princess and more practical support for us.
Hurray for mothers. Of course, now I’m worried that the twins won’t
actually be born before she leaves.



on 26 September 2005 at 22:21

When I was a teacher in Africa (is there no END to where BHM has been?) I was confronted daily with mixed classes of fifty African teenagers, some of whom felt compelled to remove their tops in the heat. Yes, girls too. It was AWFUL I tell you Bloodnock, awful!.
Anyway, as I was saying, one day something happened when I was writng on the board, and I turned round and demanded who had done it in a truly scholmasterly way. And several of the pupils pointed to the culprit, and to this day I remember their cry, “It was him, Mister, the black one!”
So there. Even coloured kids notice colours. “They’re colourblind at that age” say the PC brigade. Total, absolute, fur trimmed, bollocks. It’s just that they don’t know that colour’s at all significant – THAT they learn from adults. 0
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on 27 September 2005 at 11:14

Oooh – did the detective have a waxed moustache? And spats? How exciting.
(And I expect the Princess was indeed confused by the the white parent/black child combo, and not anything more than that …). 0
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