EPISODE 428 “THE QUIET MAN”…through the mind of a 22 year old Canadian who had never heard of the movie

EPISODE 428      “THE QUIET MAN”…through the mind of a 22 year old Canadian who had never heard of the movie


alan skeoch
sept. 2021




“Alan, why don’t you go and see “The Quiet Man”? said my Dublin host, Kevin Behan in a Dublin pub one evening.
“The Quiet Man?”
“Yes, you have been here in Dublin over a week waiting for your machines to arrive, you need
a break…and you will learn something more about Ireland.”
“Who are the lead actors?
“John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara and Barrie Fitzgerald.”
“I thought John Wayne only did Western movies.”
“True.  The Quiet Man was an exception…it is a wonderful movie, Alan.”

So I went.  The John Ford movie had been running continuously in Dublin since 1953…seven years
non stop.   Must be good and I had nothing better to do.  So I went.  Turned out to be one of
the best things I could have done.   John Ford got an academy award as director of The Quiet Man.
I did not know that.  Lots I did not know about the film.  One thing I did know however was  that
the film plot and life I was about to lead were congruent.

 The film was so green….John Ford had argued that the movie be made in Technicolor.
Would the Ireland that I was about to discover be as green as the scenes in The Quiet Man.?










Would Bonmahon be as real as the imaginary village of Inisfree in The Quiet Man?
Would there be a pub that served Guinness with people as full of joy as those in The Quiet Man?
Would the local people like or dislike the sudden visit by a Canadian mining exploration crew?
Would the hatred and violence that plagued Ireland in Time of the Trouble be apparent today?
Would Bonmahon be a rural jewel?   Would there be singing?  Would there be abandoned
castles and ancient fairy circles?   Would Bonmahon change my life?








The pub in The Quiet Man and Kirwin’s pub in Bonmahon were similar as were the people
and the pints of Guinness .  Of course I did not know that until I got to Bonmahon but
I wished it would be so…and it was.


This cottage is the original used in the movie.   Since 1953 so many people have stolen stones from the
foundation that is was in danger of collapse so today tourists are directed to a replica.


Memories of The Quiet Man are preserved in wax…not John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara 

MY PLAN FOR THE NEXT EPISODE(S)

I WILL TRY TO PRESENT BONMAHON THROUGH THE PICTURES I TOOK WHILE WORKING THERE IN 1960.
YOUR JOB?  FIRST , TRY AND FIND THE MOVIE OR THE SCRIPT OR THE SHORT STORY BY WALSH.
SECOND, YOU WILL SEE THE SIMILARITIES .


Note:  The plot for The Quiet Man was taken from a short story written by Maurice Walsh   in 1933.  John Ford got the
rights to the movie for $10 .  It took years for him to persuade Hollywood to make the movie which became
a hit that is still played and remembered.  The movie was romantic.  The original short story was quite different.

The Quiet Man and Other Stories

 4.02  ·   Rating details ·  234 ratings  ·  29 reviews
In the 1930s, Irish novelist Maurice Walsh placed the moors and mountains of Ireland firmly on the literary map with this celebrated collection of stories. Since then, readers have continued to be charmed by these accounts of the simple and common activities of the characters in 1920s rural Ireland. The lives of Hugh Forbes, Paddy Bawn Enright, Archibald MacDonald, Joan Hyland, and Nuala Kierley intermingle as the themes of nationalism, human dignity, honor, and love are given full play. Made famous by John Ford’s Oscar-winning film The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, these remain humorous and poignant tales set against a backdrop of intrigue and Irish civil unrest. (less)

Fwd: EPISODE 432 STRANGE LIGHTS IN THE MIDNIGHT SKY


EPISODE 432   STRANGE LIGHTS IN THE MIDNIGHT SKY


alan skeoch
sept. 2021

Not quite dark enough yet…and looking south where lights can be explained…civilization.

Turning around and looking Northwest, we did once see strange lights above the horizon where no lights should be.

       LIGHTS THAT COULD NOT EXPLAINED IN THE MIDNIGHT SKY


“When it gets really dark, let’s stroll the beach and look for those strange lights in the midnight sky.”
‘Sounds a bit wacko”
“You saw them a couple of years ago, did you not?”
“I did…but there must be an explanation other than alien spacecraft.”
“But lights out there in the empty vastness of Georgian Bay…in the midnight sky…where
nothing exists in daylight…how is that explained?”
“Some screwball out there with a flashlight.”
“More than one light,remember…and well above the horizon”
“A screwball with friends in helicopters”
“Alan, sometimes you can be irritating.”
“OK, Penny, I did see those strange lights.”
“And other people have seen them…remember the person we interviewed…she
took the lights for granted as normal at night.”
“Let’s just go for a midnight walk in on the beach and keep
our eyes focused northwest.”

“No lights out there tonight.”

“Are there really strange things seen in the sky?”
“President Jo Biden promises to release UFO sightings recorded by pilots and 
listed as unexplainable….doing it right nw, this year.”
“Maybe we can invite Biden to visit Concession 12 for coffee ad a stroll along
the beach.”
“Nope”
“Why not?”
“American border is crossed only with caution due to Pandemic…the virus…Joe just cannot pop up here.”

Footnote: UFO sightings can usually be explained as natural phenomena.  One of the
latest explanations is that drones or sophisticated weather balloons can account for many
sightings.  Hallucinations also may be factors.  We love to dabble in the unknown
and then hook explanations to what we do not know or understand.  Best to keep
our feet on the ground but our minds open.  In our case we have had a lot of
fun speculating.  Keep it that way.  The Internet is loaded with conspiracy theories
so be careful.


A LITTLE BIT OF MYSTERY PUTS SPICE IN OUR COFFEE CUPS

  

    Well, no sightings that night … but a lot of conversation about the night sky and the universe
and the limitations of our human species.  Years ago I asked my Grade Ten class to predict what the
world would be like 50 years from 1999.  The results were fascinating.  One boy, however, wrote
a comment that was very sobering.  “Fifty years from now, sir, we will have explored our solar system
and beyond using technology unknown today…and we will discover that we are in fact alone.”
Alone!   Likely so…but then again do not shut the door completely

Alone!  If  true, then we damn well better take care of our planet.  It is a jewel in the cosmos.

alan skeoch


   




EPISODE 432 THE BIG CHUTE…white water rafting at its best…if you have the guts.

Note:  I will get back to Ireland once I am sure my computer is working well.
Meanwhile take a look at what happens to a pond when  the bottom falls out…
and slip your cabin cruiser on to this dinosaur of engineering.


EPISODE 432    THE BIG CHUTE…white water rafting at its best…if you have the guts.


alan skeoch
sept. 2021



Just in case you think Canadians are not capable of constructing mega machines
take a look at this ‘boat carriage’ hidden away near Highway 400 on the Canadian shield.


So you think you are a white water rafter…





George and Penny Barr took Marjorie on this short trip from placid Georgian Bay … Mega-trip for the mind.

This is not a modest piece of engineering.   A short railway line that can carry a whole fleet of boats from a high point to
a low point.   And it does so with passengers all aboard.
Watch what happens a placid piece of pond water when it finds a crack in the earth.



EPISODE 430 TURQUOISE ARM CHAIRS ON AN EMPTY BEACH

EPISODE 430    TURQUOISE ARM CHAIRS ON AN EMPTY BEACH


Alan skeoch
sept. 3021



So inviting.  Two empty Muskoka chairs on an empty beach on the east shore
of Georgian  Bay.  On private property..  Not our chairs.  So tempting.

“I am going to sit on one of those and contemplate how the universe is unfolding.”
“Then I will join you,” said our hostess Penny.”

And George along with Marjorie and our dogs arrived.  A little much.  Very
nervy invasion .  Squattng on chairs without permission.





Then along came Dave!   The owner of the chairs….the owner of this part of the beach.
Not a good sign.  I felt a confrontation coming. 

But that did not happen.

“Sit down, no problem.”
“What magnificent chairs…and the view…wonderful”
“Yes, we think so too…I was just coming down for my breakfast.”
“Sorry,we could not resist those chairs.”
“Precisely how I feel each day here on the beach…so glad you feel the same.”
“Why is this huge stretch of beach so empty?”
“Summer nearly over…”
“Your cottage back there in the forest?”
“Yes…you can get to the road on our boardwalk if you wish…you will
find our cottage, and I bet I know which one you will admire most.”







Dave had a large modern cottage…an artistic structure with many rooms nestled into the forest. But he preserved
the old cottages as well.  There was a time long ago when these tiny buildings were all there was to cottage life.





I could say a lot more about our visit but those words would be wasted.  Scroll down…enjoy.



EPISODE 428 alan…Thinking of THE QUIET MAN…COULD THE REAL IRELAND BE THAT CHARMING?

EPISODE 428 COULD THE REAL IRELAND BE AS CHARMING AS “THE QUIET MAN”?
SHORT NOTE TO AIDAN COFFEY
Well…quite a response to your paintings Aidan…and to your email.
How to proceed? I feel best if I start with ‘The Quiet Man’ and the film’s influence on me back in 1960 in a Dublin movie house that had been showing the film since 1953…continuously.
Could Ireland be anything like the romantic interpretation of that film? Not Bloody likely….or so I thought before travelling south to Bonmahon. As things turned out Ireland was just as charming…as warm and friendly…as funny…as human in the best sense. I like to put a positive spin on my life journey…push the dark away.
I will try to tie these thoughts to pictures taken at the time and a little later. Nice to remember.
alan

EPISODE 428 AIDAN COFFEY…PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE AND IRISH PAINTER SENDS A PERSONAL EMAIL…NICE TINGS HAPPEN EVEN IN OUR TROUBLED WORLD

EPISODE 428     AIDAN COFFEY..IRISH PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE AND.IRISH PAINTER SENDS A PERSONAL 

alan skeoch
Sept. 2021

NICE THINGS DO HAPPEN EVEN IN OUR VERY TROUBLED WORLD.

Right now we are living in a very troubled world.  The troubles need not be mentioned here because this story
is about a little village on the south coast of Ireland where I suddenly found myself in 1960.  A village that burned
itself so deep into my psyche that I remember every event as if they happened yesterday.  And that was 62 years ago.

Earlier in these Episodes I told many stories about Bonmahon and the mysterious abandoned copper mine of Knockmahon whose
abandoned tower broods over the village.

Take a moment and study the painting by Aidan Coffey below.   Then read Aidan’s very flattering email message.



Hello Alan,

I’m from Ballylaneen, near Bunmahon, County Waterford. I was fascinated with your photographs from the Bunmahon area from 1960 on your website. I’ve been travelling through your writings about your time there, downloading photos with people in them, and I’ve been getting my mother (now aged 83) to help identify them. I knew Mrs Kennedy, who you mention and Sis Kirwan of Kirwans pub, long deceased. As well as my interest in local history, I have painted many scenes from around County Waterford. I have attached a few of my efforts here, and you may recognise them. I still travel to County Waterford once a week and take my mother for a drive around all those areas you would have been familiar with, photographing as I go with paintings in mind.

I look at your photographs as precious documents of local history. Thank you for taking them (as such a young person in 1960) and thinking to post them on the internet. The attached photo you took of the Bally Inn in Ballylaneen in 1960 is one of my favourites. I remember it exactly like that as a child. The building got renovated in the early 70s and changed a bit, though it still does have the thatch today: it closed recently and is now for sale. I worked there in the bar as a 14-year-old in 1976 – and painted a picture of it in  1981 for the then owner. That’s your car, the unusual one in front? Your photos of the little isolated church and the thatched cottages are also interesting (the area is called Faugheen, a mile from Bunmahon). The cottages have now disappeared, but the little church is still well maintained. I wondered do you have other County Waterford photos not yet posted on your website? I would like to see them and get persons in them identified while my mother’s memory is still good.
I won’t write more here now in case you don’t get this email.
Kind regards

Aidan Coffey
Address etc, etc

Professor Aidan CoffeyBSc, MA, PhD, DSc (NUI)
Dept Biological Sciences (CREATE),
Munster Technological University,
Cork, T12 P928, Ireland.
 
Phone 353-21-4335486 
Email aidan.coffey@mtu.ie   
 
signature_1013522556
Email Disclaimer: 


Ah yes,  John Hogan and I spent one evening in the Ballyaneen pub  … frothy draughts of Guinness
coupled with spontaneous outbursts of song.  Not done for our benefit.  Singing and drinking for the pure joy of
people getting together in a small pub in a small village on the western edge of the County Waterford.  Folk songs.
Good time songs mostly …’ When Irish Eyes are Smiling’ —those kinds of songs but more local than that.  “Danny
Boy” kind of music with a twist.  We were told about the music at this pub by one of our employees.  Early in our
job I hired most of the men and boys in the village of Bonmahon.  Paid them one pound a day plus a pack of Wilde 
Woodbine cigarettes as a kind of tip. They needed the work.   Our boss back in Canada wondered why we needed 
so many employees…i.e. about ten men.  I did not mention that need was the reason.  It was partly so.  But there were
jobs to do.   Deep trenches had to be dug in hope that a copper bloom would be found on the bed rock,   A boy had
to guard our motor generator form marauding pigs   I needed a man to lift me over the stone fences that bound the tiny Irish fields.
A couple of line cutting survey crews had to be trained, Lots of reasons.  Good public relations.  Intead of being
regarded as intruders we wanted to be loved as pseudo-Irish.

WHAT WERE WE DOING?

Just a quick explanation for those who did not read the Earlier Episodes.  I was a second year student at the University of Toronto
who has been trained in the operation of a Turam Electro-Magnetic Mining survey system on a job in western Alaska the previous
summer.  Good luck.  So I was sent to Ireland in the summer of 1960.  I wanted to do a good job for my Canadian boss,
Dr. Norman Paterson who trusted me.  We were a team of three.   Dr. John Stam, a geophysicist…John Hogan, a geologist
with Denison Mines and me, a young 22 year old venturing into the world like Voltaire’s Candide.  I was designated as a
‘Field Man’.  My job was to get the magnetic readings for Dr. Stam to interpret and John Hogan to oversee as the
contractor’s rep.  Let’s not overstate my role.  I was the grunt…the guy who got his hands dirty.  Or better stated
I was the guy who had to pick the ticks off his body after work each day.  The grunt.  As a result I got the closest to
the Irish who lived in the village.  And I still remember them.  Even the village priest got involved, or so I thought, when
the boys pointed him out standing on the road sometimes watching.  

Our project held the promise of reopening the abandoned Knockmahon copper mine last open in the 1870’s
Everyone hoped we would do that.  I wish we had been successful but we were not.


Here is Aidan Coffey’s painting of the Mahon River spilling into the Atlantic Ocean.  In the distance is the Catholic Church
where i attended Sunday Mass and tried to avoid the Holy Water that the lads tried to hit me with knowing I was a
Presbyterian.   Bridey, our maid, ripped the covers off my bed on my first Sunday and announced it was time for 
Mass.  Got to really enjoy being part of this tiny village community.


This is Bonmahon as it appeared in 1960 and as it appears today. See the house on the curve.  We rented the
top floor in 1960.  Mrs. Kennedy and her family lived below us somewhere in the rambling building part of which was 
the only store in Bonmahon.   Mrs. Kennedy was a powerful woman who kept a close eye on us because a previous
group of Canadian mining men had raised hell in the village.  She grew to like us because, initially, we played pinochle at night

Even our drinking was restrained.  Down towards the sea there are two buildings …two pubs.
The pub on the left was the Anglican (Church of Ireland) pub and the pub almost hidden by trees is Kirwin’s pub
which was the watering hole for the Catholics who were the great majority.   We drank in Kirwin’s with our employees.

The Mahon River weaves its way to the sea (top left) and far in the distance stand the old mine workings.  The black
cliffs were not black…coloured with mineral stains.   Here and there along the cliffs were old adits…horizontal mine
holes which Barney Dwan, my main man, took me on adventures many evenings.  Crawling on our stomachs at times.
Doing the kind of things that 22 year old single males adore.


This is the Kennedy family.  Wonderful people.   I got to know their son Gerald best of all because he tended to follow me around quite
a bit along with his guardian, an aged and long suffering Labrador dog that Gerald sometimes tried to ride.


Here are some of our employees flanked by Dr. John Stam on the left and John Hogan on the right.  The young man in the middle
in the checked shirt is Barney Dwan who became a close friend leading me into the bowels of the earth in evening explorations.  I called
him Bandy for a long time because the Waterford accent was so different.  That made everyone laugh each time I said it.  By the end
of the job they were all calling him Bandy.

One curious thing about Bonmahon was the fact that no one was the descendent of a miner even though there were once over 2,000 people
living here in the 19th century.  Miners are nomadic because mines are finite.  Once the ore is gone, the miners leave.  Many of the 
Bonmahon 19th century miners came from Cornwall and moved on in mass to mines in the Unied States.  Another curious fact was
that many were Methodists.   The Catholic Church was once Methodist I seem to remember discovering.  The presence of Methodists
played hell with the numerous pubs that were once present.

Hell is a word that should not be forgotten.  Mining in Bonmahon was the closest thing to hell I have experienced.   Low pay  Dirty dangerous
work in the darkness of the earth with just candles and little else to light the way.  Before closing the Knockmahon copper mine had
tunnelled under the Atlantic Ocean.  Think about that.  Think about climbing up and down long wooden ladders in a darkness so black
that sight was useless.


The publicists of County Waterford now call the region around Bonmahon “The Copper Coast” in the hopes that it will become
a mecca for tourists.   Lucky for Bonmahon the skeletal remains of the Knockmahon mine still towers over the community giving
the area a charm not to be forgotten.   I remember the open main shaft here because it had been used as a garage dump with
all kinds of treasures particularly a whole truckload of glass milk bottles.  Seems the milk was being packaged differently or
the bottle style was obsolete.  I never had the nerve to crawl down that sloping mass of waste in search of treasure. 

That is Dr. Stam and John Hogan going for a stroll along the Copper Coast Highway.

MUCH MORE TO COME…BUT FIRSST WE NEED TO CONSIDER 
‘THE QUIET MAN’…REMEMBER THE MOVIE?

alan skeoch
Sept. 2021

EPISODE 426 WHAT DOES THE WORD ‘PROCEDURE’ MEAN? I SOON FOUND OUT

EPISODE 426    WHAT DOES THE WORD ‘PROCEDURE’ MEAN?  I SOON FOUND OUT


alan skeoch
Set. 2021



“Come into the office on Sept. 9?”
That was all I heard.   The word ‘procedure’ may have been used by the doctor
but that was all Greek to me.  So  I carried on as usual. 

 “Marjorie we have two trucks coming
to the farm today ,both delivering things of ours from Erica and Naomi…then at 2.30 I have a doctor appointment
to look at my head…bump that’s been there for 40 0r 50 years.. 

 Busy day lugging beautiful objects from the back of a five ton truck. A plow, sap pails, electric motors.. Marjorie sometimes uses
the word ‘junk’ which grieves me even if she might be right Second truck had big things…work benches
a pile of ladders, broken grind stone, large mobile racks.   For five hours we unloaded.
Hard work.  Near completion Marjorie set out coffee, bagels and cream cheese for the movie
people.

“Have to rush.  Doctors expect promptness  Wants to take a look at the bump…my brain is so big 
it is expanding.”

So we rushed back to Mississauga.  I changed clothes…even put on a new (used) pair of shoes
we got at the Salvation Army Thrift store.   Then I zipped over to the medical place.  Took ages
to get through the door. Like a space capsule.  Then the receptionist cross examined me for Covid 19.
Mostly verbal. Made me wonder if people lied when asked.  I was cleared . Took a seat. Alone.

  I do not remember anyone who used the word ‘procedure’.  Then Nurse Stephanie welcomed me
and ushered me down a long hallway lined with perfect sheets of mahogany.  Quite a spiffy
place.  What is a plastic surgeon? Attractive nurses for sure.

A door opened to a room in stark white with all kinds of mobile things attached to the ceiling.

“Take off your shoes, please, and sit on the bed”  
“How will I get the shoes back on … no shoe horn..must they be removed?”
“Yes, afraid so.”
I sat on a bed that was really a gurney.
“Will you lie on your back.”
“Is that necessary…I would rather sit.”  (How the hell would I get back up if flat on the gurney?)
“Yes, necessary to do the procedure.”
(Procedure?…that word again)
Bright lights on my head.  Closed my eyes.  Then my head was covered with a disposable sheet
with a hole for the ‘procedure’.   And another cover was over my eyes.  Any air I could get came
from under the sheets and then through the goddamn face mask.  This was no joke…this ‘procedure’
business.  My forehead was rubbed with some goop, perhaps alcohol and the doctor began some
fast cutting.  Hurt but not screaming hurt.  This was not what I expected.
“Are you OK?” asked one of the nurses.
“I am beginning to feel like Frankenstein.”  (Remember his head with the wires and cuts?)
Someone may have laughed.  Nor sure anyone was listening to me.  They…I counted four voices…were
chit chatting and talking about the incision…the scarring.
“Will this raise or lower my I.Q?”
“How does that feel?”
“How does a kick in the arse feel?” I responded honestly if a little impolitely.
(How long was this going to take…what if I throw a panic attack? No one
said anything about stitching up my head.  No one needed to. I felt the needles
work.  No big pain though.  Best not to think about it.  I thought of my brother
getting his throat cut to have his  thyroid  removed. Far worse.  Of course he was not
awake like I was.  Also thought of my high school friend Kaye Donovan who just
spent two months in a hospital  bed.  I would be off the gurney soon..and out of here
in the outdoor air with no need for the mask.
 Then some tape was applied and a bandage of some kind. Gently.
“And now for your chest, Alan.”
(God. no!  Damn close to my heart.  Had the little red spot for 30 years  Why did I tell
Dr. Maharchand about it?  Stupid.)
“More cutting and stitching?” I asked. careful not to stutter or use bad words.
No answer.  They probably feared I would use the F word.
“There, all done…and look what I found?”
Don’t tell they took out my heart.
“See?”
And nurse Stephanie held up a shoe horn and proceeded to put my shoes back on.
“Thank you.  Don’t know how I would have managed.”
“Anything for a patient, Alan.”
“Can I go now?”
“Yes, follow me.   Now remember only take showers.”
“I like my bath tub.””
“Only showers for the next three weeks.  And no strenuous activity.”
“My business involves physical activity…need to work.”
“What business?”
“Movies.  We provide sets and props.  People need to be entertained.”
“How interesting.”
“This place would make a good movie.  Lots of tension.”
( I did not say horror movie but thought about the time Dad took me
to the Doric theatre way back in 1949 where evil doctors were selling
corpses…that movie terrified me so much that I could not go to the
Doric for ages.)
“Thank you Stephanie, were you the person who stitched me up?”
“One of the persons…there were two of us doing that.”
Somehow a ,mental image of Scarface took form.
Then “Click!”  I was out the door.  Different door than I came in … just
like the doors in the 1949 horror flick.

Later the nurse  phoned and got Marjorie.
“Alan had no idea he was to be operated on today.  You know
he is deaf…hard of hearing.   He probably never heard you say
the word procedure and just nodded.”
“Really?”

“Marjorie, I heard the word ‘procedure”…I just did not know what it meant.
Now I know.”




RE EPISODE 426 I GOT A SRPRISE

RE episode 426 I GOT A SURPRISE
Well events have caught up with me. Computer went nuts…scrolling, flashing, buzzing. A friend brought his 15 year old son, Michael to help. Great person. Has the world waiing for his entry. No luck. Then the problem disappeared. “Sometimes computers heal themselves”, said his father, Robert.
Then another thing happened. I did not know the meaning of the word ‘procedure’ and got quite a surprise which will be my next story coming late today.
alan