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A Different View

Extreme ironing could put the passion into pressing

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There is a fledgling sport known as extreme ironing where people take ironing boards, clothes and irons to perilous places – top of mountains, ski slopes, into a white water raft – and risk life and limb as, at the same time, they take the creases out of their tee-shirts.

According to the Extreme Ironing Bureau, extreme ironing is “the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt”.

I mention this against the backdrop of recent comments from the self-styled Domestic Goddess, Kirstie Allsopp – presenter of Location, Location, Location – who opened a can of worms by claiming that women secretly love doing the ironing because it keeps them sane.

If positive mental health was a side-effect of ironing your clothes, I’d be a lot saner than I am now – because by default rather than any design on my part, I’m the principal ironing board operator in our house.

That said, the closest I’ve come to extreme ironing is trying to do shirt collars while watching football on the telly. It may not equate to scaling the Alps but it can still hurt when you burn your hand while not concentrating on the hazardous task at hand. 

Kirstie – or to give her her proper title, the Honourable Kirstie Allsopp – believes that women secretly love doing chores like ironing and many find it soothing to do mundane tasks around the house.

“I’m absolutely convinced that those repetitive tasks that one does every day, organising and regularising one’s home, and keeping it tidy, is enormously therapeutic. I know it is for me, and I have many, many working mum friends who feel the same,” she said recently.

Let’s hope she’s more authentic than that other Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson, who was happy to bake all the Christmas cake you could imagine when the cameras were rolling – but then hired the caterers in to do the real thing when Yuletide actually came over the horizon.

The truth of the matter is that nobody likes ironing; it is boring, repetitive and never-ending. But if it isn’t done, then clothes multiply like rampant rabbits and take over the downstairs of your house.

That’s why it would be good if extreme ironing was more than a niche sport … if it actually made it onto the list for the Olympics, for example.

Because then it would be seen as a manly pursuit, a dangerous hobby, a challenge as opposed to a chore.

Purists of the sport claim that it was started in 1997 in the English city of Leicester by resident Phil Shaw in his back garden. With ironing on the agenda but preferring the idea of an evening out rock climbing, he decided to combine the two activities into a new extreme sport.

In June 1999, Shaw, who uses the nickname ‘Steam’, embarked on an international tour to promote the activity across the US, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

An encounter with German tourists in New Zealand led to the formation of Extreme Ironing International, and the German Extreme Ironing Section or GEIS.

According to Wikipedia, some locations where such extreme ironing have taken place include the side of a mountain; a forest; in a canoe; while skiing or snowboarding; in the middle of a street; underwater; whilst parachuting, and under the ice cover of a lake.

As extreme ironing has branched off, the conditions can gain in extreme activity – variations now include ironing and bungee jumping which really would have to be seen to be believed.

In March 2008, a team of 72 divers simultaneously ironing underwater set a new world’s record for number of people ironing underwater at once – which sort of defeats the purpose in that the whole point of ironing is to do it when the clothes are dry.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Caught by online fraudsters – and rescued by the bank

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Somewhere in a supermarket in Australia last week, a person or persons spent €57.88 of my money on food or drink and charged it to my Visa card. Hours later they then repeated the exercise at another branch of Coles, the Melbourne-based multiple – but then their mini-spree came to a shuddering halt.

In truth perhaps, they probably didn’t leave home at all; they may not even have been anywhere near Australia, instead carrying out their shopping online around midday local time – and again for around the same amount an hour or two later.

But then the fraud department of Allied Irish Banks put a halt to their gallop and during the wee small hours inquired if I had somehow made it from conducting an evening online transaction in Galway to buying things from a supermarket in Melbourne, in the process inadvertently breaking the sound barrier while I slept.

And when I replied that indeed I had not, my Visa card was shut down and the prospects of the intrepid Australians buying some serious kit from my pocket disappeared quicker than snow on the outback.

Not alone that but AIB refunded the money these people had spent without my knowledge, allowed me to take a few bob out of the bank without a card – but with ID – and then sent on a brand new card this week.

The embarrassing part was having to confirm that online purchases in the run-up to the Aussie shopping spree were legit; it’s like having a list of misdemeanours read out in court.

There was nothing accusatory in the tone of the nice woman from the bank, who merely inquired if indeed it was me who had gone twice to Mace the previous day; if I’d also bought an album online and paid a monthly subscription for a digital newspaper.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

What your taste in music says about your own state of mind

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

As Elton John once said, sad songs say so much. But now it turns out so do Adele songs or classics by the Beatles – because surprise, surprise, the music you listen to reflects your state of mind.

That’s what a group of psychologists in Toronto spent their time discovering recently – a reality most of us could have told them for free.

The psychologists divided people into four groups with different approaches to relationships – the rejection-feeling ‘anxious’’ group; the negative and cold ‘avoidant group; the confident ‘secure’ group, and a mixed group.

The boffins then assessed the lyrics to 7,000 different songs based on their variously secure, anxious, or avoidant content, then asked a test group to pick out their favourite tracks.

And they came up with the bleedin’ obvious – song lyrics are a window into your state of mind; they discovered that people who are insecure in their relationship listen to a lot of Adele. Perhaps because you may remember she had her biggest hit, Someone Like You, about a break-up.

Other songs that inspire strong feelings, often sadness, include Joni Mitchell’s Blue; Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine; Neil Young’s Philadelphia, and Ray Charles’ Georgia on My Mind – just in case you’re looking to take it down a notch this New Year.

On the other hand, those who prefer the Beatles’ upbeat Love Me Do are more than likely to be very secure in their relationships, according to the University of Toronto study.

And just for the record, here are some of the songs for happy people, who are secure in themselves and in their loved ones around them.

At Last by Etta James – which sounds more like entrapment than true love, as does I Got You Babe by Sonny & Cher – and Wouldn’t it be Nice by the Beach Boys, not to mention Whitney Houston’s 1999 hit I Will Always Love You, which is actually a Dolly Parton song from the early 1970’s. It’s just that Dolly doesn’t give off that same sense of security.

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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Connacht Tribune

Viewing options ensure TV will never be the same again

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Much has been written about the downturn in newspaper sales, and in printed matter generally, on foot of the digital age – but it’s not just reading habits that are changing; because there is more than one generation now that no longer seeks its audio-visual enjoyment in the old-fashioned way.

In other words, the television sector is negotiating the same troubled waters with streaming services and free or subscription videos taking large chunks out of their traditional audience.

There was a time when the lap of luxury was a television in your bedroom, but there aren’t too many under 25s looking for that now – because everything they want to see, they can do it on their tablet or phone.

And while we were slaves to the TV guide, they demand to see their programme choices when it suits them – not when the channels think it’s best to put them out.

We might have come from a generation that waited until Sunday night to catch up with life in Leestown with the Riordans or in Wicklow with Dinny and Miley, but that ship has sailed.

If today’s consumer wants to watch the entire new box set of their favourite drama or detective series in one fell swoop, then that’s how it has to be.

You can see it already with the terrestrial stations across the water even if we cannot benefit from it here. The BBC iPlayer is at least one episode ahead of the channels themselves with any big drama, and very often the whole series of available in advance; it’s the same with ITV.

The RTÉ Player is more of a catch-up facility for programmes you’ve missed – apart from the odd straight-to-digital offering which wouldn’t really cut it on the actual schedule – but they will have to adapt to the British model if they’re to avoid sinking into a deeper abyss.

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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