Bottle blues: Mixed returns in recycling deposit scheme

Our columnist Frank Brandon on pest problems, the flaws in the new Deposit Return Scheme, the (semi)visibility of the Northern Lights over Ireland last week, and celebrating Creggs rugby…

One of the things about me is that I am very wary of anything that’s new. And so I have to admit that I looked at the new machines for recycling bottles and cans with a fair bit of trepidation, and until last week, avoided having anything to do with them.

However, I read a recent piece on the Sunday Independent where one of their reporters had tried them out, and he couldn’t get over how easy they are to work. He explained how he put in all his bottles and cans, got a receipt, and simply presented the receipt at the till, where you can either use it to reduce your shopping bill, or get actual cash back.

And so last Thursday I gathered up a total of fifteen items (bottles and cans), and confidently headed to the machine at the front of Lidl in Roscommon. Sadly, most of my bottles were rejected, despite still having the horrible security caps on them which make it almost impossible to get a good swig out of them – and for all the stuff I brought with me, I got a receipt for €1.20.

The problem, as I see it, is the fact that bottles are supposed to be in almost perfect condition, while the terribly flimsy plastic that a lot of the smaller water bottles are made of means they literally crumple up in your hands as you drink them. And so I was slightly deflated as I had to put most of my bottles into an ordinary bin, and got nothing at all for them.

If the water companies want us to keep paying 25 cent for bigger bottles, and 15 cent for smaller ones, please make them in such a way that the plastic is stronger and that they keep their original shape!

Seeing (kind of) the ‘Northern Lights’

It seems the whole country had the pleasure of seeing the Northern Lights the other night. Some of the photos that I received from my daughters, Tara and Lisa, were absolutely spectacular.

Though I had gone to bed early, I left the warmth of the blankets to go outside to see the remarkable spectacle. However, my son Paul and I failed to see anything unusual, and reckoned the trees across the road must be blocking our view. My other son, Mark, could see them as well, and as he lives less than a mile away we decided we’d drive down to have a look at ‘his’ lights! Imagine our surprise when we realised that we had been looking at them all along, but didn’t cop them!

They mightn’t have been as spectacular as elsewhere, but they were still pretty special, and as we headed home again to look at our own lights, we felt a little bit foolish.

Somewhere I saw that, in Ireland, we see them every 20 years or so, but for me, after 73 years on the earth, it was my first time to ever see the Northern Lights – and I very nearly missed them!

Bee-ware – pest horror stories!

As the recent hot weather had us sizzling in the sun, I was reminded of another outbreak of sunshine a couple of years ago – when we had not one, but two nests of wasps in the hedge at the front of the garden!

There were so many of them flying around that we took our lives in our hands every time we went outside… or at least we thought we did. And so we sent an emergency call to Alan O’Keeffe of AOK pest control.

Thankfully Alan arrived pretty quickly and got rid of the pests without any fuss, and we have had no problem since – apart from the odd one flying around the garden.

Then I read about three-year-old Saylor Class, over there in Charlotte, North Carolina, who told her sceptical parents that there were ‘monsters’ in her bedroom. Now, as she had recently watched a movie called Monsters Inc, her parents assumed it was all to do with what she saw in that film. And so her mother gave her a bottle of water, which she called ‘monster spray’, so she could ‘spray the monsters away’.

However, as time went by and the little girl kept telling her parents about the monsters, eventually her mother took a bit more notice. She’d begun to see a lot of bees swarming in clusters near the attic and chimney of their 100-year-old farmhouse, and then wondered if the noise of the bees flying around was the source of Saylor’s ‘monsters’. And so she followed my example and sent for the pest control company – not AOK, as North Carolina is slightly outside his jurisdiction.

Anyway, they came and identified the problem as a huge swarm of honey bees, but there was another setback – as they were a protected species, they couldn’t just be simply eradicated. And so they had to get a beekeeper, who removed an astonishing 60,000 bees from the internal walls of the house. As well as that, in the eight months that the little girl was telling her parents about her monsters, they had constructed a massive honeycomb in the closet that weighed an extraordinary 100 lbs!

And to cap it all off, there was extensive damage done to the house’s electrical works, which will cost more than $20,000 to repair – but because of some clause in their insurance policy, the damage isn’t covered at all.

And so I suppose the moral of the story is that if your toddler continues to tell you something, no matter how outrageous, you should eventually investigate it! It might save you a fortune.

Creggs Rugby reflects on successful season

Out here in Creggs, the local rugby club have more or less wrapped up things for the year, bringing the curtain down on a very successful twelve months with a recent Dinner Dance in the Abbey Hotel.

Awards were presented to lots of people at the event. For the men, the first team player of the year award went to James Brandon, while second team player of year went to Mark Kilcommons, and most improved player went to Padraig Geraghty.

For the women, the player of year award went to Susan Reilly, and the players’ player of the year award went to Kelly Haugh. There were also special recognition awards for our three U-18 internationals: Siofra Hession, Sarah Purcell and Jemima Adams Verling.

Meanwhile, minis coordinator Elizabeth Payne was named as the very worthy winner of the club person of the year award, as she does Trojan work in looking after the vitally important mini section.

Congratulations to all the winners – especially my nephew, James!

After the meal and speeches and stuff, I am told the floor was rocking, as everyone danced to the music of the fabulous Heebie Jeebies. A highlight was the traditional Haka, performed by the Kiripati family, and by all accounts a highly enjoyable night was had by all.

Sadly I couldn’t make it, so I feel sure the crowd would have missed my special dance moves, but please God I will make it next year and do my best Michael Flatley impersonation!

And finally…

This week I have a sad note to end on, following news that John Dowd from Glinsk was laid to rest recently.

Way back in 1971, John was part of the Creggs team that won the U-21 county final, and he played a huge part in bringing the cup home. Sadly, only a couple of weeks ago, another member of the panel, Jackie Quinn, also passed away. Both of them will be greatly missed in Glinsk and surrounding areas.

I had the pleasure of playing football with both these men, and even though I would have met them infrequently down through the years, I always enjoyed running into them! May they rest in peace.