I know that I promised you a budget rant but I am still processing all the pain that accompanied that little Easter present. I will just add one comment: My son says to me last night, as we electronically basked happily in the demise of Liverpool Football Club…he says-quote “That was some budget! It’s like Robin Hood in reverse-robbing the poor to help the rich!” Maybe I am not such a bad parent after all?! He has learnt something at my knee! With reference to the Budget etc etc etc as they say in the lingua franca of management speak-I will revert. Don’t you just hate those terms? I certainly do. I think I dislike ‘in this/that and thon space’ even more than I revile ‘pushback’. Who makes these words up? Personally I blame them on HR Managers! Nothing like invoking the opprobrium, invective and ire of my colleagues, students and half  of the working world on the mouth of our Paschal celebrations.

You have to love Easter though. As a kid I looked forward so much to the Easter holidays. It was nothing to do with the chocolate eggs-we were way too poor for those once the family expanded beyond three- those of you close to the history of Irish Catholic families will realise  that I( in other words) got my last Easter egg at the tender age of one and in case you are still confused I am the middle child, ranking third in descending order! It’s the late April Easters more than any others that I loved though. The sun always seemed to shine, Granny McCusker also supplied a turkey or a goose, my mammy always knitted me a new geansaí, and there seemed to be no shortage of callers to the house.

After the big Easter dinner my friends and me would head off over the fields and trespass on farmers’ lands, climb trees in the local forest and generally get up to all that good boyish stuff. I remember how we used light small camp fires and boil real eggs which oddly enough we wolfed down like it was our own last supper

I am also a little bit sad every Easter. A childhood friend of mine was electrocuted retrieving a ball out of a local electricity pylon. It was  early on a Good Friday afternoon. I remember it all so vividly. My mammy made me go on to the church services and I recall that feeling of the fragility and unpredictability of  human life that enveloped me and which I was incapable of articulating as a ten year old boy. The chain of events of that day composed a vision that lives with me forever. My thoughts and prayers go to his family every year at this time.

As you get older though (and I am no old man-and this is no country for old men anyway!!) your view of Easter changes. There is no doubt that it has, like most Christian feasts, become increasingly secular; an excuse to party to excess, to gorge on food, to holiday, to play sport; mind you, there is not much wrong with any of those I hasten to add. Indeed I have been accused in the past of engaging in all of these activities at once. It’s not a good combination. Think about it.

So anyway I was driving through town today in the wee six and this place is like bedlam. It strikes me that the post-budget blues have translated into the creation of a new Klondike 90 miles north of the nation’s capital. Well that cheap drink and tobacco message clearly did not compute Brian a mhic! I refuse to go to the shops-it’s nuts out there. No sign of recession in the northern border counties; just irate shoppers, empty shelves in the supermarkets, with the only jams available being traffic jams.

So what will I do for the weekend? Well today it was catch up on life day. That means I got my hippy hair cut…not hippy haircut! I bought the papers, drank coffee, read those papers cover to cover and thought about the veritable feast of sport in store. United play Sunderland tomorrow; not making any predictions but I was thinking if I put 10 cents on Sunderland to win we should probbaly beat them. Yep, I am the lucky sort all right! On Sunday my native Tyrone play Mayo in McHale Park. I am still debating whether or not I will make the long trek to the Whesht! There’s something about McHale Park and that dude who dresses up as St Patrick doing unfunny things that makes me wish I was from Liverpool. Now that is some admission. Ricey is back from his Setanta induced banishment and I hear on the grapevine that the bould Paul G has flown on a private jet to Lourdes and made a miraculous recovery from his near death experience in Healy Park.

I also noted today the Tommy McGuigan has had his appeal against the month long (also Setanta induced) suspension rejected. Now there is a bet I would have won. Sure we, under siege Tyrone folk  just muddle on, get over ourselves and search about the bushes for an able replacement. Welcome back  brother Brian!

I will be taking some rest this weekend though. It’s been a hectic period at the National College of Ireland. We are engaged in a full Programmatic Review in the School of Business and the College is preparing for a HETAC Institutional Review. Add to that the completion of a PRTLI submission, and the development of a suite of new programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate level. It’s a tough market out there but we are in good shape. Huge advantages do indeed accrue from being light on our feet, from being flexible and from being able to respond quickly to market shifts and challenges. Watch this space.

Now wasn’t that all very serious? I also plan to get my bike out on the road. There is nothing quite like the wind, rain, sun…whatever, in your face on the open road as you pedal hard dodging inconsiderate motorists, crazy bus drivers, crazier lorry drivers and the strangely named heavy plant that always seems to be crossing a road near you. To this day I have never clapped eyes on a giant rubber plant or geranium running around the lanes, byways and roads where I live!

Have a good one and don’t forget to roll your eggs!

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