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A Different View

Farmhouse kitchens are nothing like their brochure images

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

You’d have to wonder if all of these people who crave a country-style kitchen have ever actually been in a real farmhouse.

Because the farmhouse kitchens I’ve seen are functional facilities, designed to deal with the traffic of muck-caked boots – not some sort of fantasy room created by Laura Ashley for people who have a sort of Disneyland view of rural life.

And yet every property show on the telly has a couple fawning over this farmhouse kitchen idea – a room that will be the focal point of their massive barn conversion complete with little stream flowing past their perch of home-grown potatoes.

Every auctioneers’ brochure emphasises this country-style kitchen – even in the heart of the city – with its Shaker-style units (whatever they might be when they’re at home) and ideally an Aga range to turn this aforementioned living space into a veritable sauna.

A real farmhouse kitchen might have a single armchair of a certain vintage in front of the range or the open fire – primarily for the use of the man of the house – but otherwise seating would be at a premium.

Functionality would be foremost in the mind of the designer (this designer being the woman of the house) and the only prerequisites would be a fridge, a cooker and a telly so you can see the main evening news from the comfort of the room’s solitary seat.

Units would be at a premium and if they had Shaker characteristics, it less a deliberate design style and more to do with the effect caused by doors hanging off hinges.

That’s not to denigrate farmhouse kitchens by any means – they are the most welcoming, warm, sociable spaces you could ever hope for and given that what we could alternatively call the sitting room or the parlour is normally reserved for a better class of visitor than me, they are also at the heart of the home.

But most of these house buyers or design gurus would recoil at the notion of an actual country-style kitchen as opposed to this anaemic version invented by some interiors expert who wouldn’t know a farmhouse from a flying pig.

The other thing they all want in their dream home is wooden floors, once a symbol of abject poverty but now a gem to be unearthed under the carpet that signified middle-class standing for a previous generation.

If you went into a house a generation ago and it had exposed floorboards, you’d have assumed that this was a family who had fallen on hard times.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

How to win elections with the promises you can keep

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The man who was already the world’s oldest prime minister stood for election again last weekend at the tender age of 97 – arguing quite legitimately that he was fully fit for high office on the basis that he was ‘still standing and talking’.

Mahathir Mohamad was already a Guinness World Record holder for being the world’s oldest current prime minister since he became premier of Malaysia for a second time in 2018.

Proving that age is no impediment to ambition, he put himself forward again last weekend – only this time he fulfilled that age-old observation of Enoch Powell, that most unctuous of Tories from times past, who once said that all political lives end in failure…even if it’s a relative thing and you could hardly be said to have been cut down early, at the age of 97.

Adding insult to injury, not alone did he finish fourth of five candidates in Langkawi, a resort island in Malaysia’s northwest, which he had won with a large majority in the previous poll in 2018 – he also lost his deposit.

It wasn’t even an ageist thing; his entire party failed to win a single seat.

And for comfort in his hour of need, he can still look to Laos where the Prime Minister Khamtai Siphandone is still going strong at just short of 99 – although the fact that he is the chairman of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party means you don’t have to actually come up with an election manifesto because, more specifically, you don’t have to stand for election.

But if you do – and accepting Mahathir Mohamad’s weekend disappointment – going before the electorate on a platform of boasting the ability to walk and talk is at least an honest one.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Getting locked away from all the rest can be no bad thing

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

We all got used to a level of confinement during Covid, and if we were honest, occasionally, it was as much of a blessing than a curse; nobody calling unexpectedly to bother you, no journeys you’d prefer to avoid – even if ultimately we were happy to emerge from our pandemic hibernation.

But imagine if you were trapped for days in a pub during a storm – or in Disneyland during a snap lockdown.

Because for the very lucky few, that happened too.

Visitors to Shanghai’s Disney Resort recently found themselves barred from leaving until they produced a negative Covid test after a snap lockdown.

And we can all remember last November with envy, when customers who went to see an Oasis tribute band called Noasis found themselves trapped for days in a pub in the Yorkshire Dales as a result of heavy snowfall during Storm Arwen.

In both cases, quite honestly, it must have been like a dream come true.

The Disney Resort shut its doors all of a sudden after ten cases of coronavirus were discovered in Shanghai itself, with all visitors locked in the theme park until they were given the all-clear.

And while you’d think the reaction would be to kick back and literally enjoy the ride, online videos showed many of the visitors rushing to the gate trying to avoid being stuck in the park.

Perhaps the Chinese have had enough of snap lockdowns and feared they’d literally be on the swings and roundabouts for days on end – because a day earlier, workers at Foxconn, the biggest iPhone maker in Zhengzhou city, were videoed climbing over fences to avoid a similar snap lockdown.

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

Accent survey shows Brits still love the oul’ Blarney

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Those of a certain vintage here will remember the phenomenon of the Dagenham Yank – a fella who left Ireland to work, in this case at the Ford plant in Dagenham, and on his first visit home six months later, he would be chirruping like a native Cockney.

It was often the same process for those who moved to the land of actual Yanks, coming back after a short spell away talking like a native New Yorker.

Footballers who moved to play in the English League had their own hybrid accent – a sort of mix of Estuary English with whatever remained of their native Cork or Dublin. Think Dave O’Leary or Ronnie Whelan for reference points.

And yet they need never have worried a jot, because it turns out that there are few accents the Brits love more than what they diplomatically call the accent of ‘southern Ireland’.

Research, published by the Sutton Trust education charity had a serious point to make in that it established what it called an ‘accent bias’ against people from the North of England, which was proving a barrier to social mobility.

But part of Speaking Up: Accents and Social Mobility also ranks different accents in order of prestige – and we’re right up there towards the top.

It found that French-accented English, Scottish, American and southern Irish accents ranked highly in terms of prestige.

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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