Beastly Effects

We are now free (almost), outdoors and back to normal. Bread is freely available. Did we act manically? Is anyone red faced? The beast was real. We were truly snowbound. Emma existed. There was a genuine weather emergency. Why should be be looking a little embarrassed? Our reaction to preparing for the event was great. Our over-reaction in preparing to feed ourselves through the storm was indicative of a nation with an obesity crisis. bitmoji-20180309061920

I learned a few things about Ireland during this weather event. There were a few things I already knew, but these were compacted (snow pun) by this blizzard.

Excess. We don’t distinguish needs from want at all.

Remember that scene in Mary Poppins where Michael caused a run on the bank over tuppence? (Love This).
Imagine that over bread. White bread. (Wraps and pittas were unaffected). Panic purchasing hit an all time high just as our abilities to take everything in moderation hit an all time low! Gifs and memes were flying and I laughed heartily with the best of them. However, I must day I eventually felt a bit sickly watching and reading about it. I haven’t had a slice of white bread for days. By choice.

Far from famine we are now. There was no way anyone I knew had actually ran out of food in their homes but they just ran low. Pringles, Tayto and chocolate are not necessity but now they were. We are greedy guts and that is all there is too it. I did laugh at the want for white bread. It is like every diet or nutritional advice goes absolutely out the door when snow comes in the window. People wanted bread. Now. White, gluten filled, sugar packed, preservative laden bread. Rice cakes suddenly took a running jump. The nation spoke. The nation ate. The nation bloated. We sent memes. We laughed at our own extremes.IMG-0f80e2fef9869b2f75704d5f683ce048-V

Snowdrifts became a thing. We love looking at the effects of weather as long as they did not harm anyone. The thaw worked fast and dissolved our white prison gaurd swiftly but it had a hard job. Snow drifts were impressively large with some saying they hadn’t seen the like in 70 years. It reminded me of the Old Man in Macbeth.

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See the white line??

Picture_20180309_214417439.jpgCommunity spirit kicks in when there is a weather crisis locally. People who could, got their tractors out and helped every one. There was huge work done in cities to help homeless people get in out of the killer conditions. Everyone talks to every one else when life leaves a status of banality and enters urgency. It is nervous excitement. People love talking. We are enthralled by the event. Irish people LOVE weather. We constantly small talk in the topics and we are well versed on the jargon from ‘mild’ to ‘soft, from ‘black clouds’ to ‘goat hairs’. This is our thing.

Hooligans will manifest from boredom. What was all that with Lidl? Appalling. Looters? Really? Burglaries occurred. Opportunists exist everywhere but what reward could they possibly get from causing wreckage and joblessness?

We are all now weather experts. Just like in 1990 when every elderly lady could discuss the merits and demerits of a Cascarino tackle, we now all know in detail what status yellow, orange and red mean. Yellow: Wear a big coat. Orange: Big coat and a hat. Red: Diets out the window. Let them eat bread. First name terms with all the weather gods. Evelyn. Jean. Martin. Intimately aware of them. We love weather.

We love a trend. We jumped on this storm like well- me I suppose- on a eight pm Creme Egg. We talked and enjoyed and surmised.

Joviality. We are generally a nation of grumpiness with huge smiles for strangers. The first day people could move about became a major social event. We took our girls to the swimming pool. Afterwards, I wanted to go to Tesco for milk for Betsy. She has lactose free. It was an absolutely unexpected adventure. The car park was rammed. 20180303_123113The shelves were decimated. The queues were festive in length. Trolleys were packed with ‘neccessities’. People were in fear of (not starvation- far from it) being at a loss of their normal everyday conveniences.

I got the milk. The last blueberries.          20180303_123539I purchased a sad, lonely quarter of soda bread, abandoned on a shelf as the masses left it in favour of her white sliced pan compatriots. 20180303_142103There was a fevered taste of FOMO in the air, as I really felt every one was watching what the other bought. The instore baker was leaving down rolls and they were being grabbed up just as quickly. My favourite image was of two men in the bakery aisle quizzically looking at a packet of scone mix.

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A single onion skin remains in an apocalyptic Tesco fruit ‘n’ veg aisle.

I did buy Creme Eggs. I am part of the nation of greed.

Farms suffer in this weather and I once again saw it for myself. Mr Paper had a tough time over these days. Milk couldn’t be collected. Cows were cold. Cows were still calving. Mr Paper was cold. The shed has a roof for anyone who read When Marriage means SFA. It is still a building site though. Emma and farms are not compatible.

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Stormi☺

We are the lucky ones. We had electricity, water and food. We got to spend quality time indoors with our loved ones, safe and warm.

At no point were we starving.

The beast has gone and even though the effects are called beastly, I must say not all of them were. In fact, some were just plain lovely. For some it was a nightmare.

Others-like massive greed- were eye opening.

A few were nasty.

But only a few.

I hear the Beast might return. Hopefully our insanity in the face of breadlessness doesn’t. We live with the remnants of The Beast: the good and the bad.

 

The Pramshed

 

48 thoughts on “Beastly Effects

  1. This is funny. I wasn’t aware of the effects of a snowstorm in Ireland. Where I live such storms are commonplace and we go about our business, inconvenienced but we trudge through waiting for Spring.

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  2. I lived in Eastern NC for 14 years. We had Hurricanes every year, every year…Yet, each year as the storm would approach people would rush to the store to buy “necessities”…you know like bread and milk. It always amazed me…why would people buy milk before a Hurricane? It was HOT outside and we always lost power..for days. What were these idiots doing with the milk?

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  3. Whenever bad weather is about to hit NZ, it happens, the usual rush to the supermarkets to stock up on food and essential things like potato chips. It is quite entertaining at these times to go and be flabbergasted at what people class as essentials. Bread is usually one of them, how does one deal with not being able to have a cheese and onion sandwich for lunch 🙂

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  4. This made me chuckle! We will panic buy at every opportunity won’t we! It reminds me of Christmas when the shops only close for one day but it sends us into a manic state of shopping anxiety. Glad you survived! Oh, Happy St Patrick’s Day!! X

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  5. Brilliant Orla! I had many similar observation watching various news channels and observing supermarket behaviour. Bit like the Christmas Effect. Can’t get to a shop for a whole day so must fill two trolleys up with as much as possible….mostly junk! Interesting what you said about the obesity connection and what people choose to grab first. I get flour and make my own bread…oh and remember growing up when winters were generally always snow rich. Don’t recall the blind panic that seems to enter people psyches now. I know this storm was unusual, but even so!!

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  6. The white stuff is floating down again as I type this. I’m watching it through the window, admiring but hoping it doesn’t last. Those memes, I hadn’t seen them! Baking Bread, love it. And that swan! I’ve given up bread for lent, in all its forms, which is kinda good as our shops were bare too.

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  7. I couldn’t believe the panic buying going on . Crazy! I ended up making a couple of really tasty meals – including Spaghetti Puttanesca – out of what I had in the cupboards (which I would not normally do). Glad spring is on way now!

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  8. It was funny how the whole place seemed to grind to a halt! We’ve already had the first of the flurries from the Beast v.2 this morning, and it is cold now. I have been out to stock up, and limited myself to a half loaf of white bread, but a whole load of choccy and sweet snacks.. oops!

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  9. That was something I noticed living in Dublin- some people will let the press get pretty empty! Here, I think people are forced to keep the kitchen stocked because snow storms and blizzards happen 3-4 times a month for 6 months of the year. In a blizzard, bread would be the last thing I pick haha- it goes stale a LOT faster than most other foods, no bueno in a 4-5 day storm. Thanks for sharing, it always puts a smile on my face ☺

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  10. My goodness, hadn’t seen any photos quite that bad of the completely empty supermarkets! Super windy and a bit of snow here today. I think the Beast from the East has turned around and come back!

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  11. I love how you wove social commentary into a story about the Irish people in general, and family and neighbors in particular. Very well done. I learned a lot about the universal experience through your description of the particular.

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  12. I have heard that there are two types of people throughout all of Ireland, those with tractors, and those who want one lol.

    There are rumours of a minibeast from the east here too and I’ve seen the odd snowflake. But nothing much

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  13. Very thoughtful piece, Orla. The southern part of the United States reacts similarly to snow, but it’s mostly because they don’t have the equipment to control the snow and ice that falls. No snowplows to remove the snow from streets, no salt mixture to melt the ice that may form on the roads, etc. Businesses and schools shut down with even an inch of snow. Here, we can get 12″ of snow and everything will go on as planned. We are used to the cold and snow here in Minnesota. We even put snow tires on our vehicles in the winter.

    You also bring up an important point with the hysteria that happens before a big weather event. You are right, no one will starve in a short few days, but people go to the extreme with their buying to make sure their daily ‘wants’ are met. Does Ireland suffer from obesity too. The U.S. has been in an “obesity epidemic” for many years now. We need to stop giving our bodies so much of what we “want”, and start NOURISHING it with what we need. A spare creme egg here or there can’t hurt though. 🙂

    By the way, I didn’t know you have cows! Do you use them for milk production? I wish I could live a farming life. 🙂

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  14. Quite some experience. I read in the newspaper about the weather conditions in the UK. we don’t get any snow here – Jaipur is in the semi-arid region! Shoppers hitting and buying all supplies in stores? well, quite expected since everyone was hauled up and then maybe they expected much worse so prepared for any likelihood!

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  15. In our part of Mayo Orla we had very little snow but on the day of the nationwide red status warning Tescos was worse than any Christmas week! Yes…..the attack on the bread shelf, the bainne and even all the sausages disappeared in minutes! Shops closing a few hours earlier than usual had everyone in a panic. It was nuts! However it was a storm this country is just not equipped to deal with. My Cavan family were snowed in for days – with all their bread! 😂😂
    Great read Orla! Roll on Summer!

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  16. People’s greed really shows its face whenever we are faced with something like this! Last time we had a blizzard where I live, I think I stocked up more on crisps than bread, but neither is too healthy anyways hehe 🙂

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  17. Reading late because I was on vacation but wow, I’ve never seen a grocery that empty?!? Thanks for the cow update, also, crazy to have a no lactose child. I know I keep tons of food stuff around because we bake etc but I think, sandy, there are probably homes that are always nearly out because of money or they just don’t cook (opposite ends of the spectrum). I do hope spring is there by now, let’s see some green

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  18. Scary. I heard the arrival of this kind of beasts in some part on TVs and in news paper. But your write up and the comments has educated me a lot about it. But one thing I find the mindset of people all parts is same that is people get crazy in stocking even junks in panics.

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  19. Oh wow that looks crazy, I’m glad that you had everything you needed. It’s crazy how people behave when it comes to weather. Just in London some of our supermarkets are still low on things on the shelves, and we didn’t even have it that bad. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

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