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War in a peaceful setting . . . the battle of the strawberries

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Date Published: 23-Jun-2011

It’s the most peaceful scene you could imagine – our quiet, suburban back garden. Indeed anytime we get a few days when you might get out of that wind that seems to blow just about every day, I sit out and read a paper.

But it has turned into a battleground. You see I have a taste for fresh strawberries . . . but so have the slugs who seem to hide away in the undergrowth until my guard is down.

The war was finally declared when one of them cheekily stole the very first berry of the crop, one which I had been watching fatten and ripen for a few days and had been tempted to guzzle on at least one occasion.

Now, don’t get this wrong. I’m not some fanatic gardener who has been angered. I am ashamed to say that my gardening efforts come to precisely nil – but I do like to sit out on a sunny day, I have been known to take a drink in a sort of deck chair which was bought in a local shop some years ago, and I am, above all, partial to fresh strawberries.

Of course I know that you can get Irish strawberries in the supermarket for ridiculous figures like €6 for two punnets. You can buy them from youngsters on the roadsides, and maybe even a few spuds along with them.

The difference in this case is that these would be OUR strawberries, cultivated by another’s hand, but happily gobbled by yours truly.

The strawberries had been a little slow in coming on – my theory is because of the unseasonable cold of the wind betimes. But Wimbledon was about to start, the temptation to look at the strawberry bed was strong and there was one delicious looking berry that had grown plump and needed maybe one more day’s ripening.

Imagine my horror the following morning when I approached the strawberry bed only to find that, during the night, ‘Mister Slug’ had devoured precisely half of my prize strawberry. Instant ‘war’ was declared.

But my problem is that my sworn enemy is nocturnal and, dammit, I’m not prepared to sit up all night watching out for him. I’m not prepared to put out those slug killers, which are hardly guaranteed to improve the flavour of my strawberries, so I have had to take to the pre-emptive strike, by taking the berries and ripening them inside, if necessary.

It brings back memories of a much sophisticated ‘war’ which my late father fought every year as the time came up for the Tuam Agricultural Show and he prepared produce of all shapes and sizes for competition and the spuds, tomatoes, carrots, parsnips, vegetable marrows, were cosseted like children in the week coming up to the big day of competition.

My dad was in the employ

of the Bon Secours Sisters who ran the Children’s Home, and among a million other duties that came with being the man in charge of umpteen things from maintenance to gardening, the head gardener post became pivotal in the run up to the Tuam Agricultural Show.

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

Galway Bay FM News Archives

Retail industry trade body welcomes B&Q announcement

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Date Published: 07-May-2013

Retail Excellence Ireland, the country’s largest retail industry trade body, has welcomed the news that 60 jobs have been saved at the city branch of B&Q.

It’s after the home improvements store successfully exited examinership.

Under the scheme, 2.4 million euro is to be invested by parent company Kingfisher plc, and B and Q will continue to trade at eight stores

This means 640 jobs have been saved nationwide, including 60 at the outlet in Knocknacarra.

However, David Fitzsimons of Retail Excellence Ireland says landlords need to be willing to help out smaller retailers too.

 

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Galway Bay FM News Archives

Foundation reports nine Galway heart deaths each week

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Date Published: 09-May-2013

Nine people die in Galway every week from heart disease and stroke.

That’s according to the Irish Heart Foundation, which is launching its Happy Hearts Appeal today. (9/5)

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, launched the appeal today to help raise funds for the charity, which has seen increasing demand on its patient services.

The Foundation says it needs to raise at least half a million euro to maintain existing information services.

 

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Galway Bay FM News Archives

Call to tackle delays at Oranmore rail crossing

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Date Published: 13-May-2013

Concerns have been raised over traffic delays at the railway crossing in Oranmore.

Councillor Jim Cuddy says he has received many representations from local motorists who have been experiencing extended delays.

He says the closed barrier can sometimes cause a traffic tailback as far as the roundabout near the Maldron hotel.

Cllr Cuddy has brought the matter to the attention of Iarnrod Eireann and has asked for an explanation as to why the crossing is closed for so long.

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