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My lovely spring ramble became a mad dog dash!

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Paw, Lady!” My 3 year-old Collie-Lab obligingly lifts her paw so that I can slip on her harness. Standing with her face pressed against the back door, she’s fizzing like a dropped bottle of Coke about the prospect of the walk.

Nevertheless she knows to do the dance, the little do-si-do where I close the kitchen door, she moves backwards so that I can open the back door and then she waits. All eternity must pass before that over-eager dog’s eyes as she waits for to me to say “come!”

My knee is strapped tight into a Velcro brace, my foot isn’t hurting too badly and as we step out, my heart bounces like a bunny.

Warm sunshine, lush green grass laden with dew and I’m out for a Spring ramble with my dog.

Well, hmmm, no, not really. I’d love nothing better than to take half a day and ramble at will across bog, down bohreen and green road, but I need to manage the pain in my joints by being sensible.

Was there ever such a boring notion as ‘sensible’?

As we turn the corner of the house and face the front gate, three of Lady’s doggy friends arrive. The young collie is on heat, her bits hanging out like a raspberry milk jelly and the randy brown terrier is jumping up on her, humping her leg, her head, anything he can reach.

Considering his legs are no higher than a matchbox, he does very well. Evidently he’s been successful elsewhere, as a litter of minuscule versions of himself and what looks like a Jack Russell mum appeared the other day at the top of the bohreen. Nothing will stop his drive to continue his line.

Last June the Snapper and I sat and watched him try to mate with a semi-deflated football in our back garden. The adorable little dog went hammer and tongs at it for hours, only stopping when I removed the ball, deciding that the universe offered more beautiful things to watch on a Summer’s afternoon than a scarlet extended canine sausage.

Lady is overjoyed to see her pals and at this stage so am I, as I know she’ll exhaust herself playing with the Collie. She’s only 3 years old and I worry my damaged legs can’t give her the exercise she needs.

Lady and the Collie tumble each other over and over, growling roaring and pretend biting. Utterly undeterred by the arrival of another beast ten times his size, the rusty randy little Terrier gets stuck into the melée too, grabbing his front paws on any Collie parts he can, while revving up to do what dogs do.

When I set off up the bohreen, the Collie and Terrier decide to come too, and so it begins. Nearly all the many dogs that live around here run loose, but Lady is on a lead. She’s a rescue dog who has a bit of record with ducks, pheasants and whatever takes her fancy. My heart breaks that she can’t run with the others, just as my joints are breaking at having to walk her on a lead, but that’s the way it goes.

So now she’s not just pulling but straining on her lead, desperate to catch up with her mates. The one thing the doctor told me I shouldn’t do is allow myself to be pulled along by a dog, as the impact on my foot and knee will cause pain.

Thanks Doc. Where are you now? The Terrier and the Collie inadvertently torment Lady as they dive in and out of the hedges and stone walls. She whimpers and stands on two legs as she watches them race across the fields. My sorrow knows no bounds. Every part of me wants to unclip her and say “go on girl! Enjoy!”

If I did, I’m sure she’d return to me, or home eventually, but my working day would disappear while I waited for her, and when she came back she’d be covered in half a continent of muck that would take ages to clean off.

So we persevere: Lady straining so hard she’s almost only walking on her hind legs; me trying not to stomp my feet down hard, as I use considerable arm strength to restrain her.

Not so much a Spring ramble as a mad dog dash!

For more from Charlie see this week’s 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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