“And, as an hare whom hounds and horns pursue, Pants to the place from whence at first she flew, I still had hopes, my long vexations past, Here to return – and die at home at last.”
Lines taken from “The Deserted Village,” by Oliver Goldsmith
Reading the inscriptions on headstones is now fast becoming a great contributor to our Irish tourism sector, both domestic and foreign, as more and more people have begun to trace their family’s history and now seek out the burial places of their long, often lost ancestors.
Most old headstone markers are difficult to read as they have become, through neglect, covered in decades of grime and various other surface lichens. Examine your grave marker therefore carefully at first to ascertain if it is indeed cleanable or if best left alone. If the stone shows signs of chipping, scaling, flaking or any other forms of obvious deterioration, do not clean. Your actions will do more harm than good and in most cases you will only further accelerate its future demise.
How Best To Read That Old Neglected Family Headstone
Before cleaning the discovered headstone, best to confirm that you have uncovered a marker that genuinely belongs to your family tree. Many grave markers turn out to be the long lost property of another family, so do try to decipher names and recorded death dates shown on the surface, before interfering.
To help clarify ownership to your satisfaction, for reading and later cleaning you will need in your possession a stiff bristled brush, (Either natural or nylon but never a wire brush), a supply of water, a spray can of well shaken shaving foam, (Gillette Regular shaving foam is best) and a stiff straight edged piece of cardboard or rubber edged window cleaning wiper. Spray the foam over the words inscribed on the headstones, making sure to press into the counter-relief or sunken script, before removing the excess shaving foam from the headstone with the edge of the stiff cardboard or rubber wiper. Some of the foam should now sit into the carved script, enabling you to read most of the written epitaph. [See picture above.]
In past times a product known as ‘Heelball,’ latter a wax, coloured with lampblack, latter once used to stain and polish the edges of the soles and heels of repaired shoes, was most often used to take rubbings of stone inscriptions successfully, but alas like many such products it has now become difficult to locate. A rub from green grass or dock leaves can also assist to highlight some worn lettering less successfully.
Cleaning Your Family Headstone
First remember that old headstones can never be made to appear totally brand new.
Up to the early 1970 all Roman Catholic graveyards throughout Ireland, usually before the end of July, held “Pattern Days.” These were days when people come together to perform a kind of pilgrimage, to the burial place of their dead relatives or simply to honour their local saint, latter who had often founded their local church. This is now somewhat of a fading tradition in many graveyards, but perhaps should again be resurrected. Relatives of deceased persons worked well to spruce up their cemetery for weeks beforehand, decorating many graves with fresh flowers and wreaths, scrubbing headstones and weeding burial plots.
Parcel Motel have just set up a series of lockers at Ahern’s Petrol Station, Abbey Road, Thurles which will provide 24-hour access for shopping deliveries, 7 days a week! The secure lockers of varying sizes are in testing at the moment but it is hoped this local Parcel Motel will be fully operational within a week.
What Is Parcel Motel?
Parcel Motel is a great new way to manage your online shopping deliveries. Each Parcel Motel location throughout Ireland contains 80 secure lockers of varying sizes and located in convenient places; such as petrol station forecourts with 24-hour access, 7 days a week.
So, if you are fed up of missing deliveries at home, due to being away or at work, then Parcel Motel is a great way to get your deliveries when you want it and for a reasonable price of €3.50 per stay. We all know how bosses frown upon getting personal deliveries at work, don’t we? The Parcel Motel will hold your delivery for 2 days at the locker which is handy if you happen to be away, you can pick up your delivery at your leisure. As lockers are used it should be noted that you make sure your items are no larger than 41cm X 38cm X 64cm and no heavier than 10kgs.
Another BIG advantage of using Parcel Motel is the fact that you can use them to get items that qualify for free delivery in the UK sent to Ireland for just €3.50! Parcel Motel operate 2 main depots in Ireland, one in Dublin and one in Co. Antrim. This means to get the free UK delivery, if offered by a website such as Amazon, you simply enter the Co. Antrim depot address at the checkout stage and your item will be delivered there and then transferred to your local Parcel Motel depot. More info on this can be found here.
Here is a picture of the local Parcel Motel at Ahern’s Petrol Station, Abbey Road, Thurles.
Parcel Motel at Ahern’s Petrol Station, Abbey Road, Thurles
Hold on, not so fast there now, you may not be completely finished with those laddered pantyhose and holed socks, so read on.
Other Uses For Old Socks
Slip then onto your hand when dusting blinds, washing the car, erasing a whiteboard, cleaning window glass / mirrors, or when buffing / polishing your shoes.
Show your children how to sew on buttons, yarn / fabric to create their own special hand puppets.
When packing a bag for a week-end away, slide each shoe into an old sock to keep the clothes in your travel case clean.
Moving your Furniture; then place a sock under each leg of your piece of furniture, this will prevent you from scratching your wooden floor.
Cut off toe ends from a pair of socks and pull over your child’s wrists and arms for to protect clothing, when using water paints or oil paints.
Other Uses For Old Pantyhose
Slip over the sucking end of your vacuum cleaner hose, when cleaning drawers or searching for tiny lost objects.
Cut in rings and use as stuffing for toys, pillows or pincushions. The fabric remains washable and can be easily stuffed to fill out small corners.
Cut into strips for tying your plants to stakes in the garden.
Pantyhose create a great storage container for onions and garlic, tie a knot in the top and hang in your pantry / kitchen.
Stored paint appears lumpy, stretch nylon pantyhose over an empty container and strain.
Aluminum Foil is used extensively in every home, especially when storing left over food in your refrigerator, where it serves the purpose of preventing odour exchange, while also retaining food freshness.
Most homes use it just once, before discarding in the bin, but think again. Washed in soap and water and flattened on your worktop using your rolling pin, this product is as good as new. (Warning:Aluminum foil that has come in contact with uncooked meat products, should not be reused for any other food purposes.)
Eight Uses For Recycled Aluminum Foil
Throw a crumpled piece of aluminum foil into your clothes dryer to reduce static cling in your clothing.
Ladies, stuff wads of recycled old aluminum foil into leather shoes and boots, to assist them in retaining their shape when stored.
When folded into 8 or 10 layers, this thick foil can be used successfully to sharpen that old blunt scissors, a pruning shears or garden hedge clippers. Just cut through the folded foil a few times, for an instant sharp edge. Fold it into thicker layers for those larger implements.
When painting, recycled foil is handy for masking fixtures and fittings which you do not want paint destroying. It can also be used to keep your paint brush or roller from drying out during an extended tea break.
Crumpled foil makes a great scouring pad for your pots and pans, your burnt BBQ grill and even inside your kitchen oven.
If you enjoy gardening, young growing plants, surrounded by crumpled kitchen foil, can also be protected from hungry birds and uninvited nibbling insect life. Push a stick through the foil to hold in place against wind. Cats, in particular and indeed other animals take an instant dislike to strips of used foil when hung on string and strategically placed around vegetable patches.
Forget steel wool, use recycled aluminum foil to clean rust and dirt from steel and chrome. Your silver also can be brought back to life, when given a rub with foil, using baking soda or table salt.
Wrap aluminum foil around a bolt or screw, which has lost its thread and then tighten it again for that secure temporary fix.