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Double Vision

Autumn evenings will offer chance to learn new skills!

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Charlie Adley

Double Vision with Charlie Adley

Sometimes I worry that my behaviour might be straying from slightly odd to fully eccentric. On my evenings walk with Lady Dog this Summer I have been assaulted by clouds of flies, seven or eight of the buzzy blighters constantly bombing my face, ears and eyes.

Occasionally a superstar of the bluebottle world scores a direct hit by taking advantage of my open-mouthed breathing to fly directly down my windpipe, only then to be gagged upon, wrapped in mucus and expelled back into the outside world, doubtless much debilitated and less able to fly, which must be tough for a fly.

In a bid to deal with these pests I took to waving a white handkerchief around my head, in flick-flack fashion, rather like a Tongan Princess I once knew, who had a mean way with her fly swatter.

As a visual definition of ‘eccentric’ the sight of this bear of a scribbler flitting and flapping at the air gaily with a cotton hankie would suffice, but sadly there’s more. Regular Colyoomistas might recall that my rowing machine has been broken, so in an effort to rebuild my floppy bits and work on my breathing, I slipped into the habit of slipping out of my t-shirt on those hot summer mornings.

My logic was of the very intimate and personal kind that only really makes sense to oneself, but it had something to do with a combination of visualisation, macho nonsense and a desire to feel like a wild mammal.

So now’s the perfect time to apologise to my smiling gentleman neighbour whose early morning walks coincided with those of this glorious Adley, nipples alfresco, hankie and flies combining as one.

“Nothing I haven’t seen before!” was his generous response to my embarrassed apology the first time we encountered each other, his low warm Ulster rumble causing the dogs tail to wag happily.

We both talked of the flies: so many more than any year before. Flies in their thousands, signs of a fecund growing season. Loads of sunshine, high temperatures and sudden heavy downpours bringing lush plant life, providing a feast for young livestock. Where there’s animal pooh there are flies and where there are flies, there are birds. For the last month our house has been surrounded by three clutches of swallow fledglings, providing a Hitchcockian perimeter fence of 400-500 birds at any given time.

Ireland’s wildflower journey from yellow to purple is now complete. From the earliest bursting yellows of celandine in late January, through the daffodils, gorse and buttercups, gradually the West becomes a bluer place. Purple loosestrife strives to stand tall but is overshadowed by the splendid rose bay willow herb, towering above precious clumps of wild purple orchids and delicate pale blue harebells.

White has come and gone in ethereal fields of bog cotton, but still prevails in the shape of dreamy clumps of meadowsweet and cow parsley, its white saucers of lace doily hanging in the air beside the encroaching mauve marsh thistles and eye-catching Emperor purple of spear thistles.

Of course there is still some yellow. The dreaded ragwort remains as prevalent as ever, yet just as the sun sets in an indigo blood glow, so too our West of Ireland Summer heads to death in flowers of a purple hue, while we long for its rebirth in the explosive yellow petals of spring.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Space and silence – it’s all us oul’ lads ever wanted in pubs

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The crowds that flocked into the centre of Dublin last weekend provided the clearest indication yet that, thank God, a cure had been found for Covid.

The masses dancing and hugging on the streets was vindication that all of the self-isolation had been well worth it, when you could now congregate as close as you like to each other, to your little heart’s content.

Or so you’d think.

One weekend of slightly relaxed licencing laws was all it took, and in the blink of an eye thousands of revellers were up and at it like this was Paris in 1945 after it was freed from the Germans.

The newly-imposed regulations for relaxation would suggest that all of these bouncy people at least had the benefit of a nine-euro meal inside them – how else could they get served?

So, we’d better brace ourselves for when they go out on an empty stomach.

Much has already been made of the fact that pub life will never be the same again – and that might well be the case.

Social distancing is bad news for the publicans, limiting their ability to wedge the entire student population of NUIG and GMIT into the equivalent of a phone box.

But it’s great news for curmudgeons – particularly for those whose capacity for imbibing alcohol is shot.

Advancing middle age has seen the tolerance of the early twenties reduced from the equivalent of a sizeable plastic bucket to an amount that once wouldn’t have even pass the standard definition of being out.

Three pints? That’s what you’d order when they rang the bell at closing time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Angels took pain out of hospital Christmas

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Charlie Adley

Double Vision with Charlie Adley

More than any other time of the year, when we sit around our dinner tables on Christmas Day, we are aware of who is there and who is not. At the age of 17, having performed impressive acrobatics with my Yamaha 250, a saloon car, a ditch and a barbed wire fence, I spent six weeks in hospital over Christmas and New Year.

My femur was snapped in two, which is no mean feat with thighs like mine, and my tibia had a crack or two as well.

Bed-bound, with my leg in traction, I developed a bronchial chest infection after an emergency operation.

Every two seconds for six weeks I coughed in hacking spasms, thus shaking my smashed leg, which was hung in a sling, supported by a metal pole they had driven through me, just below the knee.

Suffice to say I came to terms with pain.

In our part of the ward, there were four beds and three bikers with broken bones.

There was Kev, who had fallen off his sleek and mean Suzuki GT750 (a two stroke 3-into-1, since you ask), and opposite us two was brick shithouse Yorkshireman Gary, ex-SAS, and mighty embarrassed, having survived several covert tours of duty in Northern Ireland, to have to admit to falling off a Honda 125.

Compared to the other patients in the hospital the three of us were well off.

We were not sick. We’d had our operations, and apart from antibiotics for wounds, and pain killers for broken bones, we needed very little medical attention.

We were young, male, bored, and allowed to drink beer. Naturally, we tried to attract the attention of the student nurses as much as possible, and equally, they were happy to have a bit of a laugh with lads who were not ill, physically, at least!

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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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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CITY TRIBUNE

Don’t be a slave to the algorithm

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Charlie Adley

Double Vision with Charlie Adley

Saying “I love newspapers!” feels these days like buying a ticket for the next David Bowie gig, but I do: I love them. When I read a newspaper, I’m not a slave to the algorithm. Were I ten years younger, I’d read all my news online, on apps that I’ve set to my personal preferences.

Even when I visit media sites I’ve never been to before, there are cookies and bots and gordknowswot working away to offer me more of what the algorithms think I want.

Every link off each page is tailored to please me, but that’s no good.

I don’t want to be fed things that only fit into my areas of interest and opinion.

Sitting at my living room table, mug of tea and two slices of toast (peanut butter, since you ask), and a paper – any paper – open in front of me, I can see the full wonder and horror of the world, as interpreted by The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Irish Times or Daily Mirror.

As I browse into the heart of the paper, far from major news items, I let my eyesight fall all over the place, because each page is full of varied items, and, here on page 14, I’ll find the big story that’s being buried: the story they have to report, but are under instruction to dampen down.

Also here are stories that no algorithm-driven link would ever lead me to. Quirky little tales, able to dissolve an adult brain in seconds.

When driven sufficiently doolally by what I’m reading, I tear that particular piece of madness out of the newspaper, placing it on top of the wobbly towering stack of other torn madnesses by my desk.

There are dark torn madnesses and fearsome ones, but today I’m in the mood to prowl the ones that force me to furrow my brow, gasp for breath, pout my lips and grunt “What the -?” at the universe.

Notes are seeds, from which every writer will grow different fruit. When that writer is working for the Daily Mail, the fruit need bear only minuscule relation to the seed.

To read Charlie’s column in full, please see this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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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