herald

Monday 5 December 2016

The sights and sounds of summer school season are unique ... and irrelevant

Lucinda Creighton
Lucinda Creighton

The summer migration is happening. From all over the leafy suburbs, civil servants, politicians, lawyers and members of the professions in general (both retired and serving) are migrating towards their seasonal habitats - summer schools.

When it gets hot, and the parliament and courts empty, their inhabitants need somewhere where their calls can be heard, so they head en masse to rural hotels and educational establishments, to take part in these seasonal gatherings.

Their arrival in Glenties (or any of the lesser locations, safer for the less seasoned) creates a unique 'summer-season' ecosystem where dozens of journalists, starved of content in the hot months flutter in, hoping to access the pithy bon-mots and insights excreted by the herds.

For the rest of us, the resulting coverage of this activity is like David Attenborough programming - we get briefly transfixed. Particularly by seeing creatures we have not witnessed in some time: a McDowell in full antler, a Flannery resplendent in summer coat, a Creighton strutting and marking territory. 'Gosh', we say 'look at them, you forget how impressive they are. And how loud.'

We gaze for a moment, drawn in by these big beasts bellowing important things about which they have been thinking, and of which they are rather proud. But as with Attenborough shows, we fairly quickly realise that all this headbutting and squawking - while vitally important to the ecosystem is sustains - is a complete irrelevance to the rest of us.

In unison, we switch back to Fair City, safe in the knowledge that until the words 'summer school' disappear from the headlines and from the news, sweet shag all is happening and we have several weeks of quiet before the herd thunders back to say (and occasionally do) things about which we have to care.

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