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A Different View

Pocket money should have been a good lesson for life

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Whatever happened to the notion of pocket money – the fifty pence you got on a Thursday evening that had to do you for the next week?

You could splurge it all on Shoot! magazine and make the best of it until the next edition came around, or you could space it out and spend it on penny bars or liquorice pipes to dip in sherbet – the choice was entire yours.

Incidentally, if you saw someone eating white sherbet powder on the end of a black liquorice pipe now, you’d assume it they were doing serious drugs – how times have changed.

But the bottom line on pocket money was, once it was gone, it was gone – and there was no point pleading for more because you needed to but sweets of a Saturday.

The odd time, during summer, a wafer of vanilla ice cream might come your way but outside of exceptional circumstances, you budgeted for your week better than any Minister for Finance has ever managed.

Now it’s cash on demand – ‘I need money for books/football boots/a soccer match/a disco/drinks for the bus going to the soccer match/a new Playstation game’ – and the notion of saving or delaying this instant gratification is as alien as Fingers Fingleton without a fat cat pension.

Or maybe that’s just me living in a parallel universe, because recent research in the UK showed that the amount of pocket money children receive there is actually on the up – to an average of just over twelve quid, but peaking at £22 during the school holidays.

Unless they’ve started smoking at an age where it can still stunt their growth, you’d wonder what kids need £22 for – particularly when they will still tap you up for everything they need as they need it.

Of course as teenage years give way to the acne era, the money probably goes on cheap beer or Buckfast which is a horse of a whole different colour – but it might explain why the same survey showed children claiming that, on average, they need twice as much as they’re getting to meet their weekly needs.

There used to be the option of supplementing your pocket money with a part-time job – filling petrol or a few hours in a shop; if you lived in a city you might take on a paper round, or if you lived where I did in Oughterard you looked forward to May when you could catch those little Mayflys with a cheap net and flog a shoebox full of them to visiting anglers.

These days, actual jobs are hard to come by, never mind part-time posts for bored teenagers – and anyway, how will you ever progress to the next level in Call of Duty if you cannot spend the entire summer on the Playstation?

Maybe it’s the onset of middle age, but there is no notion of waiting for something to happen anymore – back in the day the anticipation of Christmas morning began sometime in November; now you can go to a toy store on December 22 and you’ll see kids getting toys three days before Santa arrives down their chimney with another full delivery.

If you were unlucky enough to be born in December, you’d find that Christmas and birthday presents eventually rolled into one – because you couldn’t expect double gratification within two weeks of each other. Now they’d be ringing Childline if you came up with that excuse.

And yet I remember the joys of pocket money because I was one of those who spent it before it burned a hole in my pocket.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Grandparents may well be the greatest gift of all

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

My mother-in-law is the greatest grandmother on earth, although she’s the only one who doesn’t know it. Not because she’s modest – although she always was – but because she has dementia and struggles to know her own family, never mind their children.

Yet she was there, every step of the way – not just for our two, but for every single one of her 19 grandchildren; minding them, nurturing, entertaining, caring for them, for well over three decades from oldest to youngest.

Kay wasn’t alone for the most of that journey, because Tom in turn was the best grandfather – doing all of those things too, and also instilling a love of simple things into another generation . . . birds, flowers, cats, songs about townlands.

He also embraced things unfamiliar to his world – Thomas the Tank Engine, the Teletubbies, even PlayStation although that remained largely a mystery, as did the fact that anyone would watch soccer when there was a chance to enjoy hurling.

“You’ve been watching this for hours and there isn’t even one score. If this was hurling, you’d have seen 50 of them,” he’d tell the Liverpool fans, enthralled by another scoreless classic.

The beauty of it was that the Kay and Tom got to meet, enjoy and educate every single one of those 17 grandchildren, and there will be no more – because even science can’t produce surprises like that at this stage.

They also got to know a few of their great-grandchildren, although dementia for one of them, followed too quickly by death for the other, didn’t really allow them to pass on the great gifts they had already imbued in their grandchildren.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

No great rush to mend the error of your ways!

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It was St Augustine who famously petitioned in prayer: ‘God, make me good – but just not yet’. It’s a sentiment that one Sister Mary Joseph took to whole new levels, because after spending her first 61 years as a high-living heiress, she spent the last three decades as a cloistered nun.

And she closed one chapter to open another one back in 1989 with a party for 800 of her closest friends at the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco – so many guests that the hostess carried a helium balloon all night, with the words “Here I Am” so that people could find her amid the throng.

The next day the former Ann Russell Miller flew to Chicago and joined the Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as a novitiate, spending the rest of her life as Sister Mary Joseph of the Trinity.

Or as one of her 28 grandchildren put it: “It was like The Great Gatsby turned into The Sound of Music.”

Her recent obituary in the Times painted quite the colourful picture of a lover of the high life turned Holy Roller.

“She smoked, drank champagne, played cards, spent five hours a day on the telephone and, as an expert scuba diver and enthusiastic skier, travelled around the world.

“She had a season ticket to the opera, was a high-society patron of many charitable causes and drove her sports car at such reckless speeds that, according to her son Mark, ‘people got out of her car with a sore foot from slamming on an imaginary brake’.”

Because if ever a life could be described as a tale of two-thirds of high living and one-third of contemplation, this was it; the mother of ten who enjoyed the casual company of celebrity friends like Nancy Reagan and Bob Hope opted for an order which allowed her one visitor a month – and even then no touching given the two rows of iron bars between them.

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

Online games will always give way to world of pure imagination

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

When we were young and Wimbledon came on the telly for two weeks, we’d all rush out to hit a tennis ball off the wall and imagine for an hour that we were Jimmy Connors or Bjorn Borg.

On the odd occasion when we saw live football on TV – the World Cup, the FA Cup Final, or Jimmy Magee covering another false dawn for Ireland at Dalymount Park – we took to the footpath and pretended we were Johnny Giles or Georgie Best.

Jumpers for goalposts, games that went on for hours, fly-goalkeepers, next goal wins – a world of entertainment for the price of a plastic football.

Now when it’s half-time in Sky Sports’ fifth live match of the weekend, the kids still want to play their own version when it’s over. Except they do it on the PlayStation so they never have to leave the comfort of the couch.

Even if we re-enacted the World Cup indoors back in the day, we did it with Subbuteo – so we still got more action and exercise than today’s kids, even if it was just a flick of the fingers.

But in the absence of video games, we did all this with nothing more than our vivid imaginations on a field of dreams that was otherwise a concrete car park or a patch of grass.

We pretended we were Mick O’Connell or maybe Mikey Sheehy (but never Brian Mullins or Jimmy Keaveney) as we fielded balls majestically out of the clouds – even if reality would suggest we hardly left the ground.

It was a world of our imagination where we supplied our own running commentary; these days, FIFA 21 does it for you.

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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