Frank Brandon’s Column

If only we could know that life will be normal at some stage soon I would be happy

Our man in Creggs on lockdown woes; cost of motoring blues; Kim and Kanye’s £40 million London house…and why you should never steal a camel…

It’s one of those Monday mornings that would, or should, make a person glad to be alive. We have had a slight touch of frost, the sun is shining, the birds are waking up from their winter slumber, the daffodils and primroses are beginning to appear, and we are starting to see new-born lambs playing in the still-saturated fields.

Already this morning I have indulged in my new pastime of hitting a few hurling balls with the dogs (they are better hurlers than I am) that I’m presently ‘babysitting’. And I am fully aware that at my stage of life I should be thankful that I have so far escaped the terrible scourge of Covid-19, and appreciate that I should eventually get myself on to the vaccination list.

And yet I feel a little bit discouraged this morning, and find myself in agreement with those in the hospitality sector who are crying out for some clarity regarding the immediate future of the country.

I suppose the thing that is missing the most in all the bulletins from the Government is hope. Everything is so negative…new variants of the virus appearing all the time – some of which may interfere with the effectiveness of the vaccines – no chance of a pint ‘till God knows when, still no sign of golf courses getting the green light to reopen, no sign of club games coming back in either Gaelic or rugby, and not a hope of getting to any sunshine destination until next year.

At this stage I have nearly all my interior painting done – although I suppose I can soon do a bit outside – I have the soles of my runners worn off from all the walking that I’m doing, I’m still baking my wonderful choc chip buns, and I’m so thankful for living in the country with quiet, rural roads to walk on and a garden to play my hurling in and lovely fresh air to breathe in.

And yet what would I not give to be able to go up to Joe Dolan’s or Mikeen’s, sit at the counter having a nice quiet pint of the black stuff, chat about the latest football match, meet and greet all my neighbours and friends, and do all the things we used to take for granted.

If only we could know that life will be normal at some stage soon I would be happy. It’s the uncertainty and the ever-changing goalposts that is causing my concern on this Monday morning, and after almost a year of this it’s beginning to get under my skin.

Why aren’t these price rises fuelling disquiet?

Some weeks ago I listed off a number of household bills that nowadays we accept as normal. Although I included waste, water, phone, electricity, heat, property tax, and home/car/life insurance among others, remarkably I never mentioned the cost of running the family car.

This week was NCT week in our house, and I have had the pleasure of putting two family cars through the test. One of them passed (with only a new tyre required), while the other one didn’t get through and needs a couple of (hopefully) minor adjustments. Between the two of them, I estimate it will cost somewhere around €600, which I am well aware is not too bad, as you can hear all kinds of horrendous figures being bandied about. Nonetheless it’s quite a lot of money, which I could well do with for myself.

The reason I am mentioning it this week at all is due to the fact that a regular reader contacted me to enquire about the recent increases in the cost of petrol and diesel. He wondered why there seems to be no mention about it anywhere; perhaps because there are fewer cars on the road and therefore fewer motorists? Whatever the reason for the silence from our politicians and AA Roadwatch, it doesn’t hide the fact that prices have gone up by nearly 20% since November. Even the hauliers, who are also facing huge problems over Covid and Brexit, don’t seem to be up in arms.

The facts show that on November 4th the average price for a litre of diesel was €1.07c, and last Friday it was €1.27 – an increase of 20 cent. Between those two dates, there have been five different increases across the board, so why the motorists of this country are willing to pay so much for the dubious pleasure of driving on our roads (especially the potholed rural ones) beats me. My reader is definitely correct in his assessment, and all he wants to know (as do I) is why no one seems to care? If such a large increase took place in any other area there would be a massive outcry, but when it comes to diesel, not a peep. I can’t understand it.


Me and Kim and Kanye…

A few weeks ago I happened to take a peek at one of the many programmes on telly that showcase ‘top end’ houses. This one showed a house outside London on the market at £40 million pounds, a house that the likes of me would only ever expect to see in a James Bond film. The level of luxury and elegance was simply breathtaking – it took all my notorious self-discipline to stop myself putting in a bid for it.

However, it was when I was reading about the upcoming divorce of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West that I realised that some people live in a world the rest of us can’t even imagine. For them to buy this house in London, they would only have to break open the housekeeping money box, and still have almost two billion left over to divide between them.

It seems they have a pre-nuptial agreement in place that guarantees an even split of the billions, which, in their circumstances, was obviously a good idea, but you would still be sorry to see them split after seven years of marriage. However, I’d say they will still be pretty okay for the future.

All I can say is this: if they read the Roscommon People, leave the money box to me – I might still end up in the big house in London.


And finally…

Lockdown has made lads do strange things to impress their girlfriends. Over in Dubai, one fellow went to great lengths to give his girlfriend a special birthday present – he stole a baby camel for her.

Sadly for him, he was caught and is now facing charges of theft and making a false statement to police. He actually meant to steal a full-sized animal, but when he failed to get an adult one, he made off with a baby. A few days later, he got worried he’d be caught, so he told the police that the camel had wandered onto his land.

However, upon interrogation, his story fell apart and he confessed to stealing the valuable young camel. He now faces a long jail sentence.

The moral of the story is if you want to impress the girlfriend, then stick to jewellery, flowers, or even chocolates, but do not steal a calf, a foal, or a young bonham – one of them could bite you in the posterior.