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Double Vision

There’s sense to be found in nature’s symmetry!

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Double Vision with Charlie Adley

The swallows are still here, but not for long. They’re waiting for the right wind to blow and carry them away towards Africa. I wonder which way they’ll go: south, across the widest part of the English Channel to northern France; south west, towards the Bay of Biscay; or south east over Wales and England, where they’d be able to stop off for a feed and a rest?

Whether the wind that carries them away from me is a north-westerly, north easterly or pure northerly, as they leave for their epic journey the weather they’ll leave behind them will have an Autumnal nip in it. The arrival and departure of these beautiful and entertaining birds define my seasons.

This year we had that long cold Spring, when the north wind blew for so long it felt as if it might never stop. Those clear cold April night skies left a heavy dew blanketing the ground each morning, providing enough water to germinate seeds, yet the freezing air then left those sorry seedlings clinging to life, only daring to raise their tiny leaves a mere millimetre above the dry cracked earth.

As if to reinforce my strong belief in the tenacity of nature, they defied the sub-Arctic temperatures and lack of water to survive, dormant in suspended animation, unable to develop roots or foliage.

During that sunny yet uncomfortably long cold Spring, I stood outside my house, looking to the skies. Where were the swallows? Were they not coming this year? Had they been stopped in their migratory tracks by the brutal northerly wind spinning off the blocking high pressure zone?

Maybe they’d become exhausted by their journey from Africa, and settled in West Cork or Normandy, deciding that County Galway was just too far. Why on earth would they choose to battle that blood-freezing wind, when they didn’t have to? I’m sure they’d find midges to eat in Wexford.

The answer to my question was revealed in a most splendid way. When finally the wind changed, sending a very welcome warm breeze up from the south, the damson flies of Lough Corrib launched into a massive hatch. The air around my house was thick with them, churning themselves into blurry tornados of crazed aerial insect orgies.

My friend, the Artist formerly known as Snarly, happens to be an excellent and very knowledgeable fly fisherman, and he explained to me how these barrel-shaped clouds of flies were actually thousands of females, while the male would fly through the centre of the mêlée, inseminating as many of the ladies as he could manage on his merry marital way.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Space and silence – it’s all us oul’ lads ever wanted in pubs

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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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