As I mentioned, I was at The Ploughing all day Tuesday, along with 102,500 other people, at €20 a ticket - children go free. That''s ~€1,000,000 at the gate on just Day 1. I was tasked to chaperon the Science desk in The Institute's marquee: an enormous 100 sq.m. steel and canvas structure demanding parity of esteem with UCD's tent next door. The Institute's Suits felt they had to thus put on the razz because the ploughing site was almost within walking distance. I've never done the ploughing before [that €20!] so I'm glad I was able to tick the event off my bucket list on the boss's nickel.
take your canvas bags to the superminchin], of which I got a well-branded selection [R]. I also grazed a dinner's worth of free food mostly generous cubes of cheese from the National Dairy Council, three tents to the East.
Early in the day, I wandered into the KandLe tent which is the command centre of the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin @BishopDNulty and had my hand seized by The Bish himself. I told him not to bother because my family digs with the other foot, but he breezily assured me "No matter, everyone is welcome here" and quizzed me about why I was at the Ploughing; he is seemingly great pals with our President. I came away with a rubber wrist-band Digging deeper: rooting for Christ which show that someone in there diocese has a sense of humour. I came away with 20g of Blessed Salt which the elderly lady behind the desk assured me had been blessed by The Bish himself. She suggested I should sprinkle it on the garden to encourage miraculous growth next year.
I may have been primed by my encounter with The Prelate, but less than 5 minutes later I saw two young Franciscans in their brown habit. This made me quite unaccountable delighted and I winked at a [more typically] elderly monk at the same stand and said it was delightful to see youngsters with a vocation, especially in a time of full employment. Lads who want to embrace a life of poverty and service, when they could be driving a digger or working as a financial trader, were likely to be in the business from a sense of conviction and dedication.
And on that, I also had a very positive encounter with the Local Link rural bespoke bus service. If you want all the local gossip - who's the father of the most recent love-child; who was seen in the hospital waiting to see the oncologist; who hasn't paid the garage-man for fixing the tractor - then a €2 ride into town for the messages is the ear to the ground. Me, I need to get my transport ducks in a row when I retire the commuter-car next year.
I'm glad I went, but I was plum tuckered out after 8 hours on my feet, much of it exercising my larynx by spreading the word about the wonders of science. Nevertheless, I went home; recharged the batts with a dish of green beans and spuds; and set off the the first meeting of the 2019-2020 season of the Wexford Science Café. I didn't get home till 2300hrs. There is more to say about that, and more on the Ploughing too, but first I have to go workee.