FORECASTS of a white Easter may well be exaggerated, but even so, the very thought has sent a shiver up my spine. Global warming my eye! This end of the planet is getting distinctly cooler and icier and I don’t know my spring equinox now from my winter solstice. I don’t even know if I’ll ever again witness the annual phenomenon of the sun dancing in the sky on Easter Sunday morning.
To be honest, I haven’t seen it for a long time. You have to be up at dawn to capture it and I don’t even remember when I last got up at dawn to see anything. I think it was in 1979 when Pope John Paul 11 came to Limerick as part of his Irish tour. Come to think of it, I didn’t go to bed at all the night before. I was afraid I’d be late, having been told to give myself several hours to get to Greenpark Racecourse. I had to walk all the way from Blackwater, carrying a bright yellow bag with the papal keys embossed on it – there was one for everyone in the media - and clasping a coveted press pass. I arrived there, gasping for breath, with just a few minutes to spare and dying for a glass of water. As it turned out, it was the Pope himself who was late. We all had to endure an hour or two of Bishop Casey and Fr Michael Cleary singing ‘Do you want your auld lobby washed down” which I thought was most inappropriate and wildly irreverent. As for me I had never been so parched in my life and I think I was praying for rain. Nevertheless, I can’t wait now to see Francis.
I started out this week writing about the weather – again - and the long ago Easter Sundays before global warming when the sun danced in the sky, and I have no idea how the Pope came into it, but that’s what happens when you unleash the memories.
This Easter may well be marked by Siberian blizzards and deep snowdrifts or it may be just a bit frostier than the Easter Sundays we once knew. One thing for sure, however, is that the sun will not be dancing in the sky at daybreak, although what with the unprecedented Good Friday pub crawls and the 2,100 tonnes of chocolate we’re expected to consume over the week-end, you wouldn’t know what we might see in the sky on Easter Sunday.
But whatever about the weather and the Good Friday pub opening, I’m absolutely gobsmacked to hear that we are set to eat a massive 17 million chocolate eggs this Easter and that the sales of Easter eggs will reach over €38.5 million. We’ll all be sick as parrots before the holiday is out. Don’t even mention the hang-over. I thought we were all on a diet, watching the cholesterol and fighting obesity like the plague. But we’re taking a break for Easter it seems, and stuffing our faces.
It’s not easy, however, to fight this chocolate splurge. My grandchildren are currently engaged in a campaign to make me buy them the biggest Easter egg on the globe, and I’m under enormous pressure. Aged four and two, they want an Easter egg that they can actually get into and presumably eat their way out like the baby chicks they learned about in the crèche. They want to come into the world again via a giant Easter egg.
When I was a child, you’d be lucky to get an Easter egg that would fit in the palm of your hand, and if you were anyway thrifty at all, you could make it last all day. Now we have to contend, not only with giant eggs, but also with this alien chocolate monster from another culture – the Easter Bunny. I don’t know how he got into the country in the first place, but he certainly wasn’t there during my childhood. Actually there wasn’t a bunny to be seen anywhere during my childhood Easters. The whole species had just been wiped out by the infamous myxomatosis disease introduced by ruthless bunny exterminators.
Now, it seems, the bunny is having his revenge. Not only am I going to have to buy a giant Easter egg, laid by a dinosaur presumably, but I’m going to have to invest in a couple of impressive and highly calorific bunnies as well.
But, thank Heavens, there is light at the end of the chocolate tunnel. One obesity expert has called on the Government to regulate the size of Easter eggs in the interests of maintaining the health and fitness of the nation, and nobody has ridiculed him on Twitter. Bravo, I say, maybe we’ll be able to put the magic back into Easter again. But did I ever think, when the sun was dancing in the sky at dawn all those years ago, that I’d live to see the day when even the Easter egg would be out of control?