And a miserable Christmas and New Year to you all from our soap operas

TOLKA ROW: It was all so (almost) innocent back then

It was 50 years ago more or less.

We were sitting at home in Mount Merrion settled down for the evening after our Christmas lunch and distribution of presents.

And we were gathered around our new black and white television watching a soap opera on the country’s new and, indeed, first domestic television station, Radio Telefís Éireann.

It was called Tolka Row and featured the Nolan family.

Simple, innocent stuff.

And then…

…well, then there was a row. Verbals. Shouting. And it upset my mother.  

“They shouldn’t be showing that on Christmas day. It’s not the day for it.”

She was a realist, my mother. She had lost her father when she was just five. He died at Ypres in 1917. Her mother died ten years later.

She made it to university and shone at mathematics, married my dad, had six children and made a wonderful life for us all.

I say that just to show that she was not what we would today call, a snowflake.

And she was right, certainly at the time.

I’m not a major fan of soaps though I do watch Fair City from time to time. It’s fun.

At least, it normally is.

Christmas Day this year? Well, one young wan is cheating on her fiancé.

Another young girl has discovered that her hated, criminal aunt is in fact, her mother.

Another man is struggling to cope with his mother who is suffering dementia.

Another young girl who had promised to provide friends with a surrogate child in case a transplant is needed for their other child who is seriously ill has reneged.

Happy Christmas indeed.

Mind you, it’s a lot happier than Eastenders which I caught because I was too comfortable to bother getting the remote to change channels.

There, a large family was suffering because their new landlord had cut off the power though he later changed his mind.

Another well-known thug discovered the identity of the father of his partner’s soon to be born child – though he son had already arranged for him to be killed. 

That unfortunate’s own partner lured him into a trap so that the murder could be carried out.

The wife of the local publican is in treatment for alcoholism following a succession of binges.

And here and there around Albert Square, others are heaping misery upon each other at a phenomenal rate.

What my sainted mother would have made of it, I don’t know.

And what does it reflect?

I mentioned on another forum that our family Christmas was interrupted by our daughter catching her finger in a blender as she set out to whip cream for our trifle.

Our neighbour is a nurse who has always said she is available to help if needed, an offer made due to my illness.

Yesterday we called on her.

She looked at the cut.

Then she said her niece, another nurse who happened to be with her, would drive our daughter to her nephew, a GP living about two miles away.

They did. He treated and dressed the wound and sent advice and said we could return for a check-up if necessary in a few days.

Neighbours. Christmas. Christianity. Decency.

Not to be seen in the soaps which are supposed to reflect life.

(By the way, do you know what Fair City and Tolka Row have in common? Jim Bartley, Bella in the former, one of the Nolan sons in the latter. He once told me about his exit from Tolka Row. “I went upstairs and I was never mentioned again!”)

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