This month the world mourns for the death of an icon as Nelson Mandela has gone to his eternal reward and what a funeral it was. There wasn't any room for County Mayor Larry Bannon or President of Longford Chamber of Commerce Seamus Butler unfortunately. Wouldn't they look well if they had being there?!
The newspapers have said it all – "our nation has lost it's greatest son". "Our people have lost a father".
But the world moves on...it's market day in Longford town. There's an aroma of fish in the air but the lure of Italian coffee and cream beckons and so I'm off to Herterich's award winning Artisan Butchers in Ballymahon Street Longford. And I know it's only 9.am but hey, I'm a morning person and I must have my daily fix.
Here, sitting in my favourite corner, I reflect recent events - a few weeks back Ryan Tubridy brought 1.4 million viewers to a standstill when they all dimmed the lights, turned off their iphones and sat down to watch the Late Late Toy Show, the twinkling stars were turned on in Longford town – but the best and most popular visitor of all was Santa himself who travelled all the way from the North Pole to his grotto in Longford Shopping Centre - hey it must be Christmas!
I realise I'm spoilt for choice as I survey the menu in Herterich's– there's a full Irish – - two sausages (of which there is a wide and varied choice), 2 strips of bacon, black and white pudding, egg, tomato and home made boxty, Sambos' free range eggs, scrambled, poached - or what about the ultimate Breakfast Roll – Ciabatta or Panini?
As I take a moment to make up my mind, I pause and take a glance at the historic photograph above me – and marvel at the history behind it; where it all began - in 27 South Main Street, Naas, Co. Kildare.
Looming above is a spectacular and original, it has to be said, image of the family business as it was then – the proud Herterich empire – and that's the word for it. The photo was originally published in the 'Leinster Leader' and the state occasion - the retirement of the horse who had devoted his life to working for the post office.
Hard working parents Alice Maud and George had no less than eleven children, all of whom but one, Alice, are now deceased. Amazingly eight of the Herterich siblings followed into the family business, giving rise to butcher's shops around the country.
Finally opting for a mini breakfast I look forward to two of Herterich's very best and locally made – pieces of bacon, two sausages and I realise I'm in for a feast. This should keep me filled for the day I surmise!
Time passes quickly as I study the local newspaper. Back here in my treasured corner, I review my week. It's been a busy one. Longford writer Lorne Patterson launched his second book 'Bad Blood', an insight into the world of mental illness while pharmacist Luke Baxter also dipped his toes into the literary world with 'Our Roots in Stone' the memorial records of
Ardagh, County Longford - 1646 to 1910, a highly successful launch which took place in Lyon's pub in Ardagh, the formalities taking place by Irish Times journalist Stephen Collins.
'Sambos' is full of Christmas cheer as Santa looks down on me joyfully for there's barely three weeks to go and tinsel is all around – it's time to put up my tree I reflect.
Suddenly I am torn away by the shrill voice of Debbie who scooters around her haven like a squirrel at play, "Here you go pet!" she announces cheerfully!, a woman happy in her work. "Tea or coffee?"
I opt for tea, a rest for my palate and having received my mini Irish, delve into it lusciously.....time to put the newspaper down and enjoy, I think, as I butter the home made brown bread and spread a little flora sparingly (forget the calories...I can afford it).
Time to tuck in....