An afternoon with Hurricane Ophelia


It’s Monday afternoon in Crosswell, Creggs, and thanks to Hurricane Ophelia, it’s a very unusual and abnormal afternoon. I find myself – along with the vast majority of the Irish people – staying indoors, looking out the window at the extreme weather conditions, and wondering at 3.30 pm whether or not the worst has yet to come.

  So far, fingers crossed very tightly, we still have the electricity, but you’d have to wonder how long that’s going to last, as there are now nearly 400,000 ESB customers without power, and we are hearing of loads of local areas who are already out, and we also know that there are trees down in our immediate vicinity.

  As I say, it’s unusual insofar as everyone who should be at work are all at home, and as I am writing this the fire is lit, the dinner is eaten – because we were afraid the power would go – and we are simply on the doss, looking at the brilliant coverage of the hurricane on RTE television. By now we know of at least two storm-related fatalities, so the idiots who went swimming or walking along the storm-hit coastal areas, despite a multitude of warnings, should be fined for being so irresponsible, and for putting their own lives and the lives of emergency workers in danger. A number of youths went swimming off Salthill and emergency services had to be called due to concerns over their welfare, while a pair of windsurfers had to be rescued by the Carlingford lifeboat, and you would have to wonder what kind of brains, if any, they have.

  Anyway, as I write on Monday, that’s the up to date story with us in Creggs, and from the sound of the storm outside, my gut feeling is that we are just about to get the worst of it, so let’s hope we survive in one piece and live to tell the tale.

Loving ‘Living with Lucy’ (to my surprise)

I have to confess that when it comes to DIY, I remind myself of someone like Mr. Bean, or my namesake Frank in ‘Some mothers do have em’ – and like those two heroes, I happily admit that I am completely useless around the house, and the only thing I am any good for is keeping the lawn mowed during the summer.

  However, when we have the long bright evenings of the Irish summer (‘what are they?’ I hear you ask) there are always little jobs that need to be done, and so, in a peculiar way, I sort of like when the dark, cold and wet winter evenings close in, because then there is no reason not to go into the sitting room, light the fire, and put the feet up; safe in the knowledge there is no wall, window sill, or anything else that needs to be touched up in any way.

  And so I have found myself watching a bit of telly lately, and to my own amazement I have become quite a fan of Lucy Kennedy, or more specifically, of her show – ‘Living with Lucy.’

  Up to now, I found that I could take her or leave her, but the three shows I have watched – featuring Davy Fitzgerald, Katie Hopkins and Michael Healy-Rae – have all been extremely entertaining. Credit to Lucy –especially when with the likes of Katie Hopkins – she’s not afraid to express her own opinions and ask the hard questions. Davy Fitz and Healy-Rae were pretty much exactly as you would expect – great company and great craic, each bursting with energy and enthusiasm – which I’d say made the experience just as enjoyable for Lucy herself. Katie Hopkins, on the other hand, who is pretty much acknowledged as Britain’s most hated woman, surprised me, and seemed a lot more normal than you would think.

  Anyway, I’m sure there are a few more shows still to come, and all I can say is try to catch them as they are well worth the watch.

  Sticking with the telly, I am also following the fortunes of the Ice Road Truckers, and for the life of me I can’t figure out how anyone would take the risks these drivers take in driving massive trucks across frozen lakes, and in a lot of cases not knowing if the ice was strong enough to hold the weight!

  Last night we saw a driver who was on what they called a private road – which had no maintenance whatsoever – and he really had no idea where the ice road went, or how thick the ice was, and you could see the strain on his face as he drove across the frozen surface, not knowing whether or not, in his own words, he would end up “swimming with the fishes.” I have to say he was mighty relieved when he made it across and onto land – no more than myself!

   I don’t know how much money these lads and girls get, but whatever it is it cannot be enough.