Garmin And Guinness

The watch seems to be looking out for my best interests. After yesterday’s two hours in the garden, it seems 16 hours of recovery is recommended. That would mean that I’d be ready for action about lunchtime today.
However, I burned a few matches in Park Hotel last night. I’d be hoping the big brother watch can’t figure out that I enjoyed my usual three Guinness and then a few more, as I celebrated with local athletes.

Now, lest my battery levels dip too low, I’m going to request that hoovering or other home distractions be postponed.

Coming Out: I can’t Update My Name Right Now

This post was written in 2016 on my old Kilcaroon blog, and I’m reposting it here once again for clarity.

It’s time. I’ve had this post in the back of my mind for the past thirty-something years, and now the time is right—time for me to put on paper my long regret in order for me to move forward.

I refer to who I am deep down. Who am I? In short, I am Pat Burke. Since 1985, I have used the Irish version of my name. I like the Irish language; in fact, I like it very much! However, the reason behind my decision at the time was filled with confusion, and as the years rolled by, I continued to be troubled.

Journey back with me, please. I had been teaching in Dublin since 1978, using my name, Pat Burke. Mr. Burke, to my pupils. I started my second teaching job in West Waterford in October 1985. A strange thing happened on the day I was signing my contract. A particular local priest, who shall remain name nameless, visited my home. As I was ready to sign the agreement, he mentioned that he had a favour to ask. He said that he would like it very much if I were to use the Irish version of my name, Pádraig de Búrca. Now, it needs to be said that I applied for the job as Pat burke, and I was informed in writing that I was successful. The letter is in my name, Pat Burke. I feel sure that he was flying a kite; that this suggestion came from him alone and was not in any way associated with the Board of Management of the school.
Fast thinking time…and to my regret I agreed. I really felt that my choices were limited. In 1985 Catholic Ireland, what the priest wanted, he usually got! So, I started 22 years of teaching in West Waterford as Pádraig de Búrca. Immediately, I discovered that I was, in reality, two people! My parents and family knew me as nothing other than Pat. All of my schoolboy friends did likewise! I was a schizophrenic! Monday to Friday at work, I was Pádraig, and everywhere else, I was Pat. Shortly afterwards, to rectify the situation, I changed my name officially to the Irish version. Within months, Pádarig de Búrca was on all my correspondence, and as I began to integrate back into Dungarvan life, I became known as such. Many, many people became very confused.
I joined the Dungarvan Badminton Club as Pádraig, met my future wife as Pádraig, and as the years rolled on, I joined Dungarvan Cycling Club as Pádraig. Understandably, the transition was a difficult one for my parents, siblings, cousins, and school friends.
Interestingly, my wife and I adopted a slight variation. I did not like Pádraig, as it has a rough guttural sound (for anyone unfamiliar with the language, the phonetic pronunciation is “paw-drig”). The “d” in the middle bugged me, so we used Páraig (paw-rig) at home! More split personality issues now.

In or about 2010, my family brought up the anomalies with me, and I was glad they did. I was happy again to be called Pat by my mam and my brothers and sisters (dad had passed on). Some had a tough time getting used to the initial change and found it easier just to stick with Pádraig. Some rowed in with my Páraig variation, while some were more comfortable with Pat. My nephews and nieces are completely confused. Fast forward to 2022, and I am back to my previous Pat Burke incarnation.

So, let me put this to bed. I have long-standing regrets about my 1985 choice. My name is Pat Burke, always was, and always will be. The Irish version of my name is not me. So, what happens now?

Realistically, I am not going to change my name back again. I know so many people through teaching, friendships, and local involvement with several clubs and organisations that it would be very impractical. My darling wife calls me Páraig, and this I like almost as a term of endearment as it originated only between both of us. Several close friends call me Páraig, which also pleases me. I am 100% more comfortable with Páraig as opposed to Pádraig. But, the time is right for me to be called Pat by my family. Full circle… in fact, several interconnected loops.

Footnote: I started using Facebook in 2010. Since then, I’ve used so many variations that even Facebook itself is at its wit’s end: Pádraig de Búrca, Pat Pádraig Burke, Pádraig Pat Burke, Pat Burke, Paddy Burke (I don’t know how I thought that up!) and currently Páraig Pat Burke. And a lovely story to finish: I joined Tried & Tested Triathlon Club, using my official Pádraig de Búrca title. The club uses Facebook for messaging. When a member of the committee met me recently, she mentioned that she did not know what to call me and was sure that my Christian name was Páraig Pat, as in persons using two Christian names, e.g., Paddy Joe or Mary Ann (should that be Mary Anne, I wonder?). I appreciated her curiosity and confirmed that Páraig is my favourite name. Earlier today, I tried to edit my name on Facebook to “Páraig de Búrca” and use “Pat Burke as a nickname, and here is the error message that came up: “You can’t update your name right now because you’ve already changed it too many times. Facebook is a community where people use their real identities. We require everyone to provide their real names, so you always know who you’re connecting with. This helps keep our community safe.” I wonder, perhaps, if it would make a difference if I were to email/share this with Mr. Z. Perhaps I’ll launch a campaign to force FB to allow more than six name changes without undermining safety issues! I think ten would be a good number.

If you were able to follow all of that, I’d love to hear your slant on it! If you are entirely messy, that’s understandable.

One Small Step

It is day one. The journey has begun. I may want to go back, but I am determined to push on despite not knowing what lies ahead.

About ten years ago, shortly before I retired from the day job, I imagined that I would like to write a book. Fast forward (very fast) to July 22nd, 2022, and I am one step nearer to realising my dream. Yes, it is one small step towards having my first book published. It has only taken me ten years, and it has been a very small step, but nonetheless, I am not at standstill m and I am not going backwards.

As yet, I do not know what my book is going to be about. I do not know if it will be fiction or factual. I do not know whether it is going to be for adults or for children. There are lots of unknowns. In fact, it is also unknown whether or not I will finish my book.

I have started, and I am pleased that I have. Over the past ten years, I have written regularly. I’ve had seven or eight different blogs and I’ve jumped over and back between them almost as often as Irish Ferries.

Down through the years, I’ve rolled myself into a tangled ball. I’ve started and stopped as I tried to find my way through some writers’ fog. It is as tricky as the deadly block. Now, I think that I have figured out how I want to write my book. That is not to say that I know what to write, but I am going to crack the nut. Of that I am sure.

I’ve signed the contract with myself. The rewards are mega, and I feel pretty sure that the second book will be easier. I have signed up for some online courses. I signed up two weeks ago. So far, I would class myself as the guy at the back of the class who not so keen to get started, but the great thing is that there is not much likelihood of being booted out.


Have I got your attention? Perhaps one reader or a few? Perhaps a dozen or twenty? I’ll leave it at that for today. You may just be the ONE reader who will want to know more. Rest assured that, alongside writing my book, once I jump a few more hurdles, such as “What will I write about?”, I am going to write about how it is going for me, as I step forward on my journey. The writer writes about writing the elusive book

Help Me

Now comes the “Please-Do-Me-A-Favour” bit. I will be using this journey to write this blog in a way I have not written a blog previously. I am excited and I would love you (one reader or many) to join with me regularly and offer a comment. I’ve got a big file for constructive feedback, a bigger bin for the trolls and I do know the difference. I’ve been followed by robot accounts selling sand to Arabs, and wigs to the hairless. Anyway, as a first step along the way, please consider subscribing to my updates. One reader, or a few; a dozen or perhaps a score?

Perhaps I’ll include sand and Arabs, trolls and Irish Ferries in my book? Jumping hurdles takes on a whole new meaning.

I may want to go back, but I’ll push on despite not knowing what lies ahead.


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Memories of Glencree

Can we tell you your nickname, sir? Will you be cross?
I don’t know until you tell me, says I.
And she hesitated and they all giggled madly.

Here I am at my keyboard. My new website is live and I’m tapping out my first post. In fact, I’ve copied most of it from a post I finished recently over on my Garden Blog, so I’m not really tapping.

Where did this The Three Hairs come from, you ask? In short, a moment of enlightenment brought me back to the year 1982. I sometimes use a small journal app called Prompted Journal. Last week my task was to write about a memory that made me smile. There are millions of memories, and many of them do make me smile. This one rose to the top of the charts, and many smiles were smiled!

Youth hostelling with 6th class in Glencree in early eighties was MAGICAL… they were a great class, bubbly and interesting. One evening , after sausages & beans, one girl was pushed to deliver a message… I could see she was giddy yet nervous…
Can we tell you your nickname, sir? Will you be cross?
I don’t know until you tell me, says I.
And she hesitated and they all giggled madly.
Well… OK. Your nickname is… Baldylocks and the Three Hairs.
And she looked right at me hoping it was OK. Everyone was hushed, and I figured I’d think about it for a few seconds longer than necessary. Poor kids didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Then I just burst out laughing!
Whoever thought up that name should get no homework tonight, I says.
But it’s Saturday, they all sighed.
Those were the days teachers could bring kids away on trips. I know since that appalling things happened to kids, but my memories of Wicklow are amazing.


Baldylocks (aka Páraig)

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