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A Different View

Going with your parents is the holiday from hell

Dave O'Connell

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Volleyball on Salthill beach during the hot weather this week

You know, of course, that your children love you, but as the years go by, it’s no longer unconditional – it’s a love from a safe distance, because they no longer want to be in the same space as you.

Most of the time they can tolerate being under the same roof, but ideally not in the same room unless there’s football on the telly and there’s no other way of seeing it.

And then there’s their idea of hell – a family holiday where there’s no escape from you night or day. You quickly learn not to take it personally of course, because the sad reality is that you’re the real problem; you embarrass them by wearing shorts, or sandals with socks, or tattered old tee-shirts that urge foreigners to kiss you just because you’re Irish.

And it only seems like yesterday they didn’t seem to mind of this at all, but back then they saw the world through more innocent eyes – and they thought you were great even when you weren’t.

They sang songs with you from the back of the car on long journeys and, when you ran out of tunes or voice or both, they were content to count all the red cars out through the window.

They were also small enough to sleep in the back – but these days they’re blessed with the sort of angular limbs that fold like they’ve fallen off a roof. Anyway the notion of sitting up straight isn’t an option when you can easily slouch instead.

They might still sing songs in the car, but it’s because they’re accompanying the tune on their iPod – so the only version the rest get to hear is the one without all of the words and in a different key.

There may be scenery on either side if you look out the window, but the video or game on their tablet is a better option every time. It’s enough of a sacrifice that you’ve torn them away from their wi-fi connection, but they’re not going any further back into the dark ages by actually making conversation.

Then you look at it from their perspective – and first we’ll deal with the driving holiday.

Parents are old people; they’re not fun and they have no sense of direction. And when they lose their way – as they always do – they fight. It used to be worse, of course, when you had to rely on maps and the only way you could read them was to unfold them and in the process block the entire front window. But even with GPS, it’s no picnic, not least when you have a third party in the row – the guy with the plumy voice on the sat nav who’s sending you in the wrong direction.

Then there’s taste – parents like RTÉ chat shows, kids want music that parents don’t consider music at all. Parents like to stop at tourist attractions – castles, vineyards, churches, museums – while youngsters only want to stop to shop or eat.

If you’re on a flight, they’d prefer not to sit beside you but even more so they’d prefer not to have to sit beside any of their siblings. And they don’t want the nice looking air hostess to know they’re going on holidays with their parents.

If it’s a sun holiday, the hormones enter the equation and any self-respecting teenager’s worst nightmare is to be chatting up a member of the opposite sex only to see their Mammy making a bee-line for them so they can be introduced to ‘your new friend’. The solution – not that it really is one – is to allow them on a long leash.

For more of Dave’s observations on holidays with the family see this week’s Tribune

Connacht Tribune

How will we acclimatise as we ease out of Covid?

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Back in the world before Covid, a mention of Corona either brought to mind a beer or a rock band – but, as we ease our way out of dire straits (another rock band, as luck would have it), we might require a different kind of acclimatisation.

Because what will the evening be like when no more deaths are flashed up as a statistic on the Six-One News?

Who will the world turn to if we have no more Fergal or George or Zara giving out the daily update in a funereal tone?

What will happen to all the people who used to go to the Department of Health press conference at tea-time in the same way the rest of us once headed for the pub?

Like Pavlov’s Dog, we’ve come to expect an evening illness update, taking consolation in it being two less than yesterday or taking fright if it’s two more.

Nobody told us who these poor people were, unless the local paper carried a tribute a week later – for the number crunchers and bean counters and prophets of doom, they were today’s statistics, to be flashed up for a few seconds every night.

And we took these figures as we got them, never questioning if a person died from Covid or with Covid; if they were described as having ‘underlying conditions’, we seemed to accept that as a very broad church.

We listened intently as Fergal or George or Zara told us what the mean age was, breathing a small sigh of relief if it remained a good distance into the future from our own age now.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Home ownership should be a prerogative – not a pipedream

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Half of our 18 to 34-year-olds fear they won’t be able to buy a home in next ten years, according to a new survey. That’s not the shock – it’s the fact that half of them think they actually will.

Because the truth is that owning your own home hasn’t been as much of a pipedream since the days of feudal landlords; indeed many of them will find it a job and a half to even come up with the rent.

And that’s a sign of just how critical our housing crisis has become in the space of a single generation.

We thought that things were bad in the eighties when unemployment levels were way ahead of our pre-Covid figures; when the boat and the plane were the best 0or maybe only – chance for many to secure a job far from home.

But for those who were working, owning a home wasn’t a farfetched concept at all, because there were plenty of starter homes being built and the cost of them still bore some relation to your income.

There was a time before that, when the bank had a simple equation to decide the size of the mortgage they’d give you. It was two and a half times the combined salary for those buying the house – in other words, yours alone if you were a sole purchaser, or double that if it was yourself and your partner.

On top of that, there was no point turning up in the first place unless you had a ten per cent deposit – so it was a straight-forward calculation to find out what you could afford. And house prices, for the most part, kept within that equation.

Of course there were always homes you coveted and couldn’t afford, but you could still buy a roof over your head for a price that only took 20 years to pay back.

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

Giving it all away can bring you the greatest wealth of all

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It must be the nicest thing that anyone could say about a friend on their passing, and the novelist Jilly Cooper wrote it about the former Sunday Times editor Harold Evans on his death last year.

“Harry died on Thursday at 5am (UK time), his heart perhaps only failing because he gave so much of it away.”

Because when all is said and done, your list of achievements – academic, sporting or stellar career – should pale into insignificance beside the way you treated your family, friends and colleagues.

We too often judge a person’s success or failure by the jobs they’ve held, the money they’ve made, the titles they hold – when the truth is none of that should determine your achievements as a person.

Even billionaires can grow to realise that eventually; just look at Bill and Melinda Gates – although recent events might make this a different picture in the future.

The former Apple golden couple have given close to $50 billion to charitable causes, including the eponymously named Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, since 1994.

In 2019 alone, the couple donated $589 million to charity, making them the seventh most philanthropic people that year. Whether they now give separately or collectively might be the question – but it seems most unlikely that they won’t give at all.

They’re alone in this world of billionaire philanthropists either; Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and one of the richest people in the world, has pledged $100m in prize money for technology that would best capture planet-heating carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

And Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder who tops the global rich list, has vowed to give out $10bn to worthy climate initiatives.

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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