MB returns once more to his home community of Grange. To the history and the scenery and the greenery. A number of his posts of recent weeks have concerned same topic. MB did not explain in previous posts why he was running a series of pieces on his homeland. Apart from the interesting content (really MB?!) of the actual posts, there was another reason.
MB has spent a goodly part of recent days in ‘sick as a parrot’ state. He was missing a big event back home and the parrot squawked loudly. The ‘sick as a parrot’ state is a regular affliction of expats and migrants the world over. There you are in your foreign land amongst foreign faces and foreign tongues. You are thousands of miles from home. News arrives of an imminent event amongst kith or kin. And you know that event will take place sans you. Sadly, c’est la vie. But regardless of the c’est la vie, the parrot squawks very loudly indeed.
The big event referring to was not ‘big’ as on a world-stage ‘big’. Nor even ‘big’ as on a national or regional level ‘big’. But it was ‘big’ in MB’s small proud home community of Grange. A community that does not have a town or village as such, nor even a shop. But it has a great history and a great spirit. And now it has had its great big event. And also it now has a great big book.
Last night, MBs home community gathered in a hostelry in the nearby village of Bruff to launch the Grange book – Grange, Past & Present. The book was approximately a year and a half in the cooking, and last night it was officially launched by the committee. The honour of ‘launching’ was afforded to a famous young son of the community, a character that MB featured in recent post A little bit of history – Part 1; one George Clancy, of international rugby refereeing fame, and very recently of ‘handshake at Buckingham Palace’ fame.
Many back home will be unaware that the launch went to the actual wire. A year and a half in the planning and it ended up with mere seconds to spare. Literally. Gallons of sweat were lost in the nervous nail-biting days of expectation in the lead-up. And it’s no exaggeration to state that some of the ink was still wet on the pages at last night’s launch.
The committee was informed some weeks back that the printing schedule was extremely tight. They would only have the book in their hand mere hours before the launch. So no possibility for any detailed checking or editing if some mistake was somehow made. Many Grange prayers (they are powerful) were said and candles lit in recent weeks, in hope that St Patrick would intercede with the Book-Launch Gods, and they, in turn, would do their stuff.
And thank God, that’s exactly how it all worked out. A fleet of volunteer cars travelled to the distant printers late yesterday afternoon to collect the 1 tonne of individually shrink-wrapped hardbacks. A quick flick through the voluminous pages (and dust cover) of a single volume was taken by the editor, who gave it his almost immediate blessing. He was praying internally that the available 30-second review had somehow resulted in a detailed inspection of some 700 pages of script and photos and photo captions, and all had somehow turned out swimmingly and blemish free. But 30 seconds was all he had so what to do?! MB will be nominating said editor for ‘Grange gambler of the year’ in next month’s annual community awards. He’s a shoe-in for sure!
Speeches were made and people were thanked. Beverages were consumed and a community applauded. A queue was formed. Books were sold and books were signed. Happy smiling faces, and happiness generally, permeated the launch pad. The launching was done. St Patrick and the Book-Launch Gods smiled in the heavens.
Grange – Past & Present is now done. The best Christmas stocking filler in the entire world. Seriously. MB is not prone to exaggeration.
Vive la livre!