Miriam’s Musings

‘Tis the season to give local businesses an early bonus!

The kids aren’t back behind their desks yet; neither has a uniform been washed, aired nor ironed, but hey – the hard working folks at every Brown Thomas’ store (including neighbouring Galway) are already counting down the days until Santa arrives by opening their iconic Christmas shop last week…and sure why not?

You see, given the restrictions, the lockdowns and all of the other pandemic imposed rules and regulations that led to Covid not just seriously hampering our lives, but also hampering the high street, last Christmas was a complete write-off! A real downer!

I mean, did anyone really buy into that whole ‘we’re having a meaningful Christmas’ stunt that Leo and Micheál tried to pull? No? Me either. I’m someone whose childhood memories of Christmas are, to put it mildly, not good. Therefore, the very second my first child was born, I pledged to go all out and do a fun-filled, festive family affair with all of the trimmings, and I’ve been doing that ever since…except for last year!

To that end (and I know it’s only August), I believe we’re all due a fabulous, frivolous, festive pick-me-up. So, when I heard about BT’s opening, instead of moaning, I decided to embrace it and go full-on Christmas cliché – even purchasing my first bauble of the year!

Before we go on, let me stress that I don’t shop in BTs for two reasons. One, I can’t afford it, and two, I believe in supporting local-run businesses. That’s why, when I noticed a lovely little Roscommon shop was selling a bone China tree decoration of a Jack Russell dog wearing a Santa hat and scarf, I just couldn’t resist. In fact, I combed the store’s shelves searching for ornaments that represented my other fur-babies’ breeds, but sadly there weren’t any. This, the shop owner and ‘artisan ornament creator’ told me, was a ‘one off’ design, modelled on her own little Jacker!

But I didn’t stop there. Oh no, armed with my ‘it’s way too feckin’ early’ Christmas purchase beautifully wrapped in tissue paper, I headed home and pulled every seasonal spice I could locate at the back of my kitchen press (even those close to their ‘best before’ date) and decided to make festive flapjacks!

I know that many of our lovely readers may be tut-tutting at my early Christmas purchase (sure we’ve to get Halloween out of the way yet!) However, if, like me, you happen to notice a local store selling a few decorations, or a newsagent stocking festive cards or wrapping paper, please do pop in and support them. If you see a small family-run pharmacy stocking designer perfume/aftershave at a discounted price, why not grab some and pop it into a drawer as a pressie for someone?

You see folks, all during the lockdown and the restrictions, these local family-run businesses were the very ones who either remained open, operated ‘click and collect’ or did ‘dial and deliver’ for us, their customers. And now that we can finally taste and smell a smidgen of festive freedom on the horizon, it’s my belief that we should pay them back!

It’s time to lend our support and give local Roscommon businesses an early bonus – even if that means making just one tiny, very early pre-Christmas purchase – or in my case, a giddy extravagance (my Jacker ornament). Remember readers – during the lockdown, these retailers had our backs, and now, with ‘normal’ on the horizon, let’s show them that we’ve got theirs.


Roll up, roll up, for the Jolie-Pitt cringe fest!

Another week, and another grizzly batch of celebrity break-ups. However, if you thought the ending to TV’s Line of Duty was bad, you clearly haven’t been keeping up with the closing scenes of the Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie circus, sorry split.

Here’s the latest! While it’s been five years since they parted, this embattled, yet stinking rich pair are still hashing out the finer details of their divorce, which was made official in 2019, but without finalising who gets custody of their five kids! You see readers, they have six, but only five are minors, and according to reports this week, Jolie claims that three of them ‘had hopes to testify against him (their father) in the on-going custody battle’.

Now, those of you with enquiring minds (me) would have to ask why this once so-called ‘power couple’ (who seemed to have acquired the Midas touch) didn’t last. You may also wonder what Brad allegedly did to make three of his kids want to ‘testify against him?’

However, having gone through a bitter divorce myself some years ago, I have to say that all of their riches aside, I do feel a certain amount of compassion for the woman who hangs out with bees and the man who once dressed in a chicken costume for fast-food chain El Pollo Loco.

You see, when you’re a complete unknown, you can rant about your ex to your pals. You can even chop the legs off their designer suits and donate their expensive golf clubs to the local charity shop (guilty, but in my defense Judge Judy, it was my credit card that purchased said suits and clubs!). However, when you’re an A-list celeb, your ex has a very public forum on which to try and discredit you. In short, you become like a pair of spoiled brats trying to out-brat each other.

While I do hope Pitt and Jolie bear in mind that they are parents first, prima-donnas last, and keep the welfare of their children in mind, something tells me their final scenes as a couple will have all the ingredients of a dodgy soap-opera. Roll up, roll up, and secure your front row seat to the cringe-fest folks!


My heartfelt sadness and sincere condolences to those bereaved by recent M6 tragedy

My deepest sympathy and condolences go to the family, friends, loved ones and the entire community of all those who tragically lost their lives in last week’s crash on the M6 motorway near Ballinasloe.

I believe Gardaí are, at the time of writing, trying to ascertain exactly what caused the driver of one of the cars to enter the motorway on the wrong side. It has been reported that investigators are hoping those who knew this person can shed some light on his state of mind in a bid to help them establish what may have influenced the reason for his actions.

However, the sad fact remains that four young lives were snuffed out in that one single, tragic and devastating action. Three of the deceased were a beautiful young couple and their infant child, all members of the Irish-Kurdish community, who’d made a life for themselves in our neighbouring county.

While it may be of little comfort, I know that every single one of our readers will join with me today in expressing my heartfelt sadness and condolences to those bereaved by this incident. As someone whose grandparent was killed in a tragic road traffic incident, I know that nothing will ever fill the void made by such an unspeakable act. However, I do hope and pray that somehow their loved-ones may take a small measure of solace from the fact that the whole of Roscommon is thinking of them, praying for them and mourning them, at this extremely sorrowful time. May their gentle souls rest in peace.