Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

While I was shifting two tonne of shite with my ma in rural Ireland last week I found myself humbled by her extraordinary physical strength and resilience. A mere 5 feet nothing she dug and lifted and broke apart the huge pile and I sweated profusely trying to keep pace, opting instead to tackle the wheelbarrowing and removal of the manure away from the barns before we scored two barrows and there was no escape from the digging! That was only the start of it.

After hours of back breaking work on the Bog one of the days, we arrived back (I went into a collapsed state and could only cook sausages) and straight into the barn and out down the fields she went to bring up the cows for milking and so, 4 hours later her chores were finally done. This after the identical morning chores, working on the turf and then back for more. Jesus wept !

As I watched and listened to her navigate her world I was reminded of the practical feminism she represents and lives. This isn’t no book bound theory and comfortable verbal advocacy it’s hands into the muck and hold your own as well as any man. Her sister, younger, who we also spent time with, is similar, possessed of a practical and pragmatism that gets on with things. My Granny was the same and they’d be the first to say she was mightier.

There’s an interdependence between the women, and for that matter the men and women in this environment.

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