In locked-down Baltimore in West Cork, the word is that in current circumstances, the most exciting thing that happens during the day is when a dog walks past, taking its sniff-busy morning walk up the empty street. Everybody goes to their window to watch this major event until the canine inspector has disappeared from view, and then they return to the task in which they’d been engrossed.
Those who are making some semblance of working from home for the first time are learning that for most folk, it ceases to be home once you have to do some supposedly income-generating task within its walls. Those social commentators who are predicting that our ways of working will see a marked change once the current situation has got back to something approaching normality seem to be unaware of this inescapable fact. Completely separate work-places are necessary for most people to work. That’s all there is to it.
For sure, there are those of us who have always worked from home, but as one of them, I can assure you that it’s not a way of life for everyone. And the basic reason we earn a meagre crust in this way is that we probably lack the social skills to function in an interpersonal situation at some sort of work-station with anyone within anything remotely approaching today’s mandatory two-metre social distancing.
"the most exciting thing that happens during the day is when a dog walks past"
In fact, we don’t want anyone in the same room, and one other inhabitant within the same building is all that is required to hope that from time to time, a cup of coffee or tea might appear, or a clever light lunch gets effortlessly rustled together with a chance that it might be enjoyed in the suntrap down the garden.
That said, we’re lost in admiration for those techno-whizzes who have invented ways of making the whole business of being house-bound more entertaining, and it’s said that in Baltimore they’ve now got an online sweepstake running as to when certain dogs will take their daily dander up the street. I’ve no idea if it’s true that some rogue elements have taken to releasing cats into the empty streetscape in order to upset some gamblers’ carefully made observations and closely-calculated predictions. But in times like this, all’s fair for a spot of entertainment and distraction.
Because with Easter plumb in the middle of April where it should be on a permanent basis, and with good weather a real possibility, people are going up the walls in holiday sailing places which would normally be springing to fresh life this Friday. So just to sharpen the exquisite torture, at the end of this piece there’s a link to a Sailing on Saturday blog from 2014 which seemed to succeed in capturing the flavour of Baltimore on a sunny sailing weekend, for it received a gratifying global response.
But before we go to it, let me just say that I think Wicklow Sailing Club is absolutely right in postponing until the end of April any decision on cancelling their 20th June Round Ireland Race. With every other major event falling over itself to cancel early, what alternative programme would potential Round Ireland Racers have in mind?
But enough of that – here’s Baltimore and West Cork in the summer of 2014, and though some things have changed, others are eternal in their charm.