Samhain, the beginning of the dark quarter of the year, the first day of winter.
The clock having gone back yesterday, there was bright morning sunshine when seven o’clock came. The light was deceptive, there was no warmth in the dawn sunlight. A cutting wind made a cotton shirt seem very thin. There was a moment of temptation to go back for a scarf, but wearing a scarf on the first day of November would not have been an appropriate preparation for the days to come.
The roads of the estate were much quieter than usual. The barrage-like sounds of fireworks had continued late into the night. Many people would still be sleeping. Students who had declared they would not be at school for the first day after the mid-term break were true to their word, attendance was below 50%. The government would have been wise to have moved the Halloween bank holiday from last Monday to this.
It was a strange day, with sparsely populated classrooms, and a strange evening, for there are two Saint Patrick’s Athletic matches this week, one was tonight, the other will be on Friday night.
The air at Richmond Park was sharper than the air this morning. Supporters were in winter dress. The decision to pay for a seat in the stand instead of on the terraces seemed wise, particularly as all the tickets have a standard price of €15.
It was one of those evenings when in times past you would have bought a mug of Bovril if you were at a football match in England. It seemed unlikely Bovril would be on sale in Inchicore. It is funny now to think that there was a time when Bovril drinkers, ordinary working class men could afford to go to football matches played by the big English football clubs. Now football is watched on a big screen in the pub over two pints of lager. The Alf Garnetts of the world would have to part with a hundred pounds to watch the Hammers play the Arsenal.
Sitting in the stand allows the overhearing of snatches of conversation. Mostly the discussion is of last night’s social events. There is much laughter.
Saint Pats were playing stylish football, at 2-0 up they looked comfortable for a big win against Dublin rivals Bohemians (it’s a good pub quiz question, “in which city do Bohemians FC play?”). Over confidence and poor defending allowed Bohs to draw level and the match finished with a flurry of yellow cards.
Walking back along the Naas Road, a tram passes, almost empty. People must have stayed at home this evening.
The wind seems even colder.