The people I am staying with on the currently rain-swept Iveragh Peninsula in south west Ireland obviously (despite the weather) have a refrigerator.
On a shelf inside the fridge is a 1,000 kg block of cheese.
On the wrapper are printed the words “EC Aid White Cheese”. The cheese is supplied free to locals by the European Union. You just go along and ask for it and you are given it. No-one knows why, but no-one is going to turn down 1,000 kg of free cheese.
EC Aid is part of the European Community’s Development Programme which stems from the Cotonou Agreement. The central objective of the agreement is “poverty reduction and ultimately its eradication; sustainable development; and progressive integration of 77 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries into the world economy”. Quite how my two chums living in considerable comfort with two cars and five TV sets in Kerry fit into this no doubt admirable scheme and qualify with all the other locals for 1,000 kg of free cheese, I know not.
But this odd circumstance is, of course, not a solitary example of a wee taste of the bizarre here in Kerry.
The local newspaper The Kerryman (established 1904) carries a headline:
‘ALIEN’ INVADER WASHED UP ON VENTRY STRAND
PHRONIMAS, deep-sea creatures that inspired the Alien movies because of their practice of burrowing into their victims, were discovered on Ventry Beach last week.
The discovery is believed to be the first time creatures of this kind have been found in Kerry and, according to head aquarist at Dingle Oceanworld Katie O’dwyer:
“Phronimas are a type of amphipod, related to crustaceans, such as crab and lobster and they live in very deep oceanic waters,” she told The Kerryman. “They find a Salp, a type of Tunicate or Sea-squirt, and they carve them out to create a ‘barrel’ which they then live in.
“However, scientific studies have found that the bits of the Salp that are left when the Phronima is living in them, are actually still alive.”
The Phronima still has to swim around but uses the barrel like a little dwelling; as the food and water comes through it.
The Kerryman’s editorial then rages at:
BIZARRE SITUATION OF TEACHER IN SCHOOL WITH NO PUPILS
While the east Kerry Scoil Mhuire National School in Clonkeen has no pupils and is due to be shut down in the near future, a ludicrous regulation set down by officials at the Department of Education meant that for the last three months the school’s principal still had report for work every day at a completely empty school.
Since September this teacher, who was willing and waiting to be transferred to another school, was forced to fill his days compiling logs and rolls for a deserted school and wandering the empty classrooms and halls.
That this situation was allowed to continue, and was arguably ignored altogether by officials at the Department of Education, while schools the length and breadth of Kerry cry for additional teachers is nothing short of scandalous.
It’s a damning indictment of the culture of spin that exists and our government and the officials involved in this whole outrageous fiasco should hang their heads in shame.
and, in even more personal social news, The Kerryman reports:
KERRY’S LOVE CHEATS IN A RUSH TO LOG ON FOR AFFAIRS
Infidelity is on the rise in Kerry. According to figures published by website ashleymadison.com, which is designed to accommodate people who want to cheat on their partners, there are a huge number of people in Kerry seeking to play away from home.
The site, which was launched in Ireland in 2009, now has 3,692 members in Kerry. This is one of the highest figures in the country outside of the major cities. According to the site about a third of these users are women.
Users of the site, described as attached people by the website, can use it to flirt with other people who are married or in a relationship through online chat services and message boards.
The AshleyMadison site’s slogan is:
LIFE IS SHORT. HAVE AN AFFAIR.
Perhaps my blog yesterday about the “feckin” nuns cavorting on a local beach during their summer holidays was not as odd as I thought.
Life in Kerry is never dull and often unexpected.