Milestones Along the Way – The Bed to Beat All and Rural Electrification – by Geoff Cronin

To finish the series on books by Geoff Cronin I am going to share some of the stories from his last published book Milestones. I hope you enjoy.

The Bed to Beat All

Lady Lushington had died and there was an auction of the contents of her mansion, which was near Waterford City, and it attracted a large gathering of people including some members of the then wealthy pig buyers from Ballybricken.

Some days after the auction one of these men was telling his friends in the local pub about the magnificent furniture etc. which had gone under the hammer – “And there was a bed,” he said, “the biggest I ever saw and it must have been seven foot across.” There was a gasp from his audience.

In the moment’s silence that followed, the barman/ owner said “Sure that’s not a big bed! Did ye ever see the size of the bed upstairs where me and me brother slept for years?”

Heads shook and one guy said “Well, how big is it?” “Well I don’t know the exact measurements” he replied, “but I can tell you that when my brother died I didn’t find out about it for a week – that’s how big it is!”


A man consulted his confessor in these terms:

“There is something I have prayed for over a long period and I don’t seem to get an answer. Can you advise me what to do?”

“Continue praying fervently, my son, and have faith in The Lord” said the priest. And the man did as he was bid.

On meeting the priest two years later he said, “You know, Father, I’ve prayed and prayed for that favour, and I never got an answer.”

“Well, said the priest, “did it ever strike you that “NO” is an answer?”

The Rural Electrification

In the 1940s the powers that be decided that the electric light should be brought to every hamlet and village in the country and to that end the E.S.B. sent an official to a certain village in West Waterford to canvas the locals as part of the grand plan. Accordingly that man visited each household in the single street and the people signed up “for the light”.

The canvasser noted that one line of poles would be sufficient for the job, provided that the person in the last house signed up. But, Katie, the occupant, well known to be cross-grained and cantankerous, had decided that she would not have it despite her conversations with the canvasser. He had explained that if she decided at a later date to change her mind it would then cost £50 to put up a pole especially for her. Still she could not bend!

So the light came to the village and people said what a blessing it was especially in the dark evenings when you could still do a bit of work outside even at a late hour.

Well things rested so and Katie stuck it out in spite of all the “digs” she suffered from neighbours on a Friday when she went to the Post Office for her pension. But after some months the peer pressure became too much, even for Katie and she quietly “signed up”.

The gossip spread as the single pole went up at the end of the street.

Katie didn’t appear at the Post Office for two weeks and when she did there was no shortage of comments like “so you got the lights in after all” and “sure it must be a great change and comfort to you Katie”.

Well, when the ‘well-wishing’ subsided, she addressed the gathering in these terms. “To tell you the truth it is indeed a great comfort to me for the E.S.B man put a thing on the wall in the kitchen called a switch and when I press it the light comes on and then I have no bother finding the candle”! “A great comfort indeed.”


Q. Who was Florence Nightingale?
A. A nurse who sang in Berkeley Square.

©GeoffCronin 2010

About Geoff Cronin – 1923 – 2017

There were few jobs that Geoff could not turn his hands to, and over the years he mastered an impressive number of professional undertakings. Master baker and confectioner, mobile cinema operator, salesman, band leader, senior executive and master wood turner, storyteller and writer.

Geoff Cronin published his first book in 2005 at age 82. The Colour of Life is a collection of stories of life in Waterford during his childhood and early adulthood in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This was followed by two further books that related tales of further adventures in Waterford and Dublin.

Thank you for dropping in today and you can read The Colour of Life and the previous chapters of The Black Bitch in this directory:

36 thoughts on “Milestones Along the Way – The Bed to Beat All and Rural Electrification – by Geoff Cronin

  1. Pingback: Milestones Along the Way – The Bed to Beat All and Rural Electrification – by Geoff Cronin | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  2. Now that Geoff has become a regular feature, I can’t wait for them to be posted. I still say he would have been a hoot to sit in a bar (pub) and listen to his stories. Only problem, getting out of the chair after all the drinks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Tony Bennett, Houdini and Doyle, Bad Habits, Childhood and Greece | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

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