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Country Living

A time when robbing trees and dodgy lights dominated our lives

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

It’s a tradition that now goes back in the family many years, even decades, but the origins of the practice are a little dodgy, even vaguely criminal one might say.

Never a Christmas has passed without an authentic tree being placed in a bucket of clay and situated inside the front window of the house – a process that has always caused moments of exasperation at installation time as wet clay got stuck either to carpet, timber, or lino.

We were blessed in that our house was situated close to one of those forestry plantations which always carried a wide and varied selection of firs, almost asking to be cut down for the Festive Season.

There was, though, always the threat that the ‘forestry man’ might be on his rounds some night, when the evil felling deed was being perpetrated and as young lads the fear was there that we might be rounded up and marched up before the local magistrate.

We weren’t even sure if the ‘forestry man’ ever really existed, but in a way that made him all the more terrifying. If we had never seen him, then the possibility remained that he could be akin to some kind of ogre who would show no mercy to young lads with dodgy bushman saws.

By their very nature, such mid-winter visits to the woods had to be clandestine affairs, involving the younger members of two or three neighbouring families all with the same goal in mind – to get a nice tree for Christmas.

They were always night-time expeditions with the one-mile trip to the woods carried out under the cover of darkness.

It was, though, a very environmentally-friendly mission as not one iota of an emission was released into the atmosphere as we pedalled our way on bikes with rusty chains and slippery pedals.

Lights were always of the dim variety, not because of any wholesome wish on our parts to conserve energy, but because the Ever-Ready batteries on our flashlamps were coming to the end of their natural lifespans.

The scouting work on the trees, though, had to be carried out during periods of decent daylight when the best tops of the available firs could be easily identified.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

A vassal of technology in a world of strange gadgets

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

You really know that life is passing you by when you read something in the newspapers about a piece of high-tech equipment – which has never touched your life    experience – that is being discontinued.      Last week, there were various bits and pieces in the papers about the demise of the iPod, with all the grieving obituaries recalling the various windows of happiness that this little device had given them in their lives.

There may at times, over the past 21 years since its introduction in 2001, have been one, or maybe two, occasions when a stray thought entered my mind that I should consider the purchase of an iPod.

Friends of mine, who are into music, boasted about its capacity for holding thousands of songs in an electronic pouch that would fit in the palm of your hand and input high-fidelity sound into your ears.

Once, around 30-years ago, I had contemplated the purchase of a Walkman, but instead about a decade later, I purchased one of those tiny transistor radios which would fit into the top pocket of a shirt and keep me informed on local, national and world affairs.

Apparently, from reading what knowledgeable people know about these gadgets, the iPod over two decades was a real ‘game changer’ from Apple, who at the time were struggling to hit the right note in that rather strange world of music and technology.

Somewhere, along the way I lost my longing (or thought I had) for new gadgets, after ‘breaking the bank’ in the mid-1970s to buy a Toshiba tape recorder and a Playmate transistor radio, the latter having the rather wondrous facility at the time of being used with either battery or mains power.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Country Living

Little by way of ready relief from hypochondria ailment

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

Not all the time, but here and there, I get occasional nominations for being the number one hypochondriac in my immediate circle, an ‘accolade’ I hotly dispute but often to no avail. There is always that tendency when a sudden headache arrives or a twinge in the back comes like a lightning strike or a cough starts out of the blue to straight away harbour thoughts of impending doom.

With the passing of years – even decades – you get subtle hints of your finitude (a fancy way of saying that you’re going to die sometime) and you begin to check out medical terms like floaters (little black spots that appear in your line of vision), cataracts, osteoarthritis, diabetes, depression and of course the dreaded dementia.

If you can tick off more than two of those boxes then you know that you’re in a bit of bother and the only hope is that if you tick them all, you’re probably just in a state of chronic hypochondria rather than being on your last legs.

Luckily many years ago after a brief flirtation with cigarettes while at school (secondary), some kind of a spirit descended upon me and prompted me to turn my back on the dreaded weed, which has now become horrendously expensive as well as killing you off before your time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Country Living

Learning to accept that we’re going to live in a perfect world

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

So, we’ve gotten over the hullabaloo about cutting a bit of turf and selling a few bags here and there to a neighbour or relative . . . or have we? It is kind of hard to figure out, but in the Irish political world of nods and winks, apparently there’ll be ‘no notice taken’ of people cutting a bit of turf for their own use and putting a trailer or two on the market.

What a fuss about nothing. In the great world of Google, I looked up how much fuel a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet burns on one of its journeys.

The figures are quite astonishing. Ever hour that The Jumbo is in the air, she burns 10 or 11 tonnes of fuel. So, over a seven-hour spin that equates to roughly 75 tonnes of aeronautic fuel. To put it another way, during every second of flying, one gallon of fuel is burned up.

When I sit back and think about this, it just puts a sense of perspective on what’s being going on in our little ‘cabbage garden’ (borrowed from Lord Haw Haw) over recent weeks.

I’m not for a minute suggesting either that we start banning 747s from our skies, but it just shows the scale of what fuel is being burnt off on our planet every second of every minute of every hour that passes.

While Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary mightn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, at times he just says things as they are. Of course, he has a massive, vested interest in the travel business, but a couple of weeks back on radio, he asked the simple question of how as an island nation we could survive without our network of air links. The simple answer is of course that we couldn’t.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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