We need a better knowledge of our shared history

Sandra Chapman
Sandra Chapman

Bad weather, job losses in the hundreds, Brexit probably on the brink, local political talks going nowhere, bolt cutters about to become the next must-have toy, traffic congestion costing our economy £1bn a year, spats about whether or not the Irish tricolour and such emblems should be flown at St Patrick Day events, oh, and now we’ve been described as a ‘putrid little statelet’ yet one the IRA, literally have killed to possess.

You see, when the weather’s this bad and you are marooned indoors reading newspapers, the contents which include a messy rape trial, will either keep you sane or drive you mad.



A bit of both for me I think. To crown it all the dog took a lunge at the cat one morning, fell over on his dicky hip and spent two days on painkillers as the roads were too bad to risk a trip to the vet.

Peace, however, has reigned in the animal kingdom within these four walls since, one small success I suppose. But February isn’t a month I like to be marooned indoors. Having to put up with January mostly inside is quite enough.

It would be so nice to get stuck into the garden to clear a way for the snowdrops, struggling to make themselves seen against a snowy background.

Just as I was thinking how I didn’t want to spend my advancing years doing nothing in winter I recalled reading that veteran Coronation Street actor William Roache had made a decision to ``start getting younger’’.

It’s a brave statement given that he has reached the ripe age of 85 years.

He claims to believe he could live forever. ``It’s a belief system, really,’’ he told the Radio Times. Roache believes our pains and aches are nothing to do with our age as ``all our cells renew themselves equally all the time’’.

The body, he said ``is designed to go on for ever’’. I don’t actually follow Coronation Street but I do know that William Roache who plays Ken Barlow in the soap seems to have been around for ever and apart from a few face wrinkles doesn’t look that much older.

Shouldn’t the NHS commission him to write about his views on longevity? If he can live forever couldn’t the rest of us have a go at it as well? He’s a vegetarian and his interests are chess and astrology, two brain challenging hobbies I suggest. Maybe more people should have a go at perusing the night sky or take up chess.

So do we all have an in-built belief system such as Roache describes and all we have to do is find it so that we can live forever? I’m not sure.

The frustrations created by our politicians currently are bordering on the maddening. – not good for one’s health. The two main parties are immovable, the new Secretary of State probably wishes she was back in London for good since compromise is clearly not on the agenda by either side and, really wouldn’t it be more fair to insist the other parties have a seat at the negotiating table too?

At the moment it seems Sinn Fein have brought the metaphoric bolt cutters to the table to snip off any sign of weakness in their team. They don’t realise that their intransigence only fuels the pain of those who have lost loved ones in the Troubles. The pain will not go away until Sinn Fein recognises the past was wrong and former terrorists should not be deciding our political future.

After all their grasp of Irish history is selective and I defer here to the numerous Irish historians who have contributed to Cork County Council’s excellent Heritage of County Cork series where they describe how on a May day in 1169 the first of the Anglo-Norman knights arrived in Ireland `hungry for land and power’. They had come at the invitation of Diarmait MacMurrough, King of Leinster to help him in his campaigns against neighbouring chieftains. A year later King Henry 11 of England arrived. They and their descendants, ``would go on to fundamentally change Irish society and the Irish landscape’’. We need a better knowledge of our shared history.