It really is time to give Kate Middleton and her family privacy and peace

Our man Frank on the Kate Middleton story; The pressures of being one-third of a Junior B side’s management team; The old-aged pensioner with the hammer; And on not being a Swiftie…

It’s Monday afternoon as I write, and Simon Harris is all over our newspapers. As a man who is soon to become our youngest ever Taoiseach, he is well entitled to all the coverage, and despite my lack of enthusiasm towards our mainstream politicians I wish him well and hope we don’t see a General Election until March 2025.

However, it’s the other major story of the week that has attracted most of my attention. That is the news that Kate, the Princess of Wales, is undergoing preventative chemotherapy treatment after being  diagnosed with cancer recently. She apparently had major abdominal surgery for something that they thought was non-cancerous, but which was subsequently found to be malignant, and has recently been undergoing chemotherapy.

Now it is said that no family isn’t touched by cancer in some form or other, and in the last couple of years three members of my immediate family circle have all been affected. However, for ordinary families there is no huge media interest, and people can go about their daily business, receive treatment, and choose whether or not they want to make their condition public.

But the royals are no ordinary family, and for the last couple of months there have been all kinds of conspiracy theories (some bordering on the insane) doing the rounds regarding the princess’s health. Dealing with chemotherapy is a very difficult thing to do, and patients can be very sick while on the treatment. When you add in all the speculation, it really makes things very tough.

I don’t know why the royals didn’t just announce details of Kate’s diagnosis right from the start, instead of keeping the media guessing, but even now, after the Princess of Wales finally releasing a video in which she addressed her health issues, there has been all kinds of stuff posted on social media, including claims that the video is fake – and basically suggesting that the public is still not being told the truth.

One of the points the conspiracy theorists make is that the cancer was supposed to have been found after major surgery was performed – with all the scans and MRIs that would certainly have been conducted prior to surgery, you would have to wonder how the cancer was missed.

In any event, the princess should be allowed to continue her recovery without constant unsavoury speculation from the press. I suppose when you are in the hugely privileged position that the royals are in, there is a price to pay, but it’s bad enough to be ill and trying to recover without all that stuff going on.

I am one of those people who believes Kate Middleton is genuinely undergoing chemotherapy treatment, and having seen the effects of it up close, I can only wish her well and hope she has a full and speedy recovery.


On the right road (eventually) with Junior B team…

It’s Friday morning as I write, and we are heading to Galway for a 12.30 pm appointment in NUIG Hospital. Being the cautious (some would say slow) driver that I am, I left early and we were at the designated location at exactly midday.

Now, as the newly-appointed one-third portion of the management team of our Junior B footballers, I was keeping one eye on the clock, as we had our first league match later that evening up in Woodmount against Padraig Pearses. As throw-in was timed for eight o’clock, I wasn’t remotely worried.

However, as the day went slowly by, I did begin to worry about making it in time. Eventually, at about ten past five in the evening, we were given the all clear and could head for home. A woman who was waiting for a lift home increased my stress levels to almost breaking point by telling me traffic was extremely busy, and her son, who was coming to pick her up, had been delayed for ages.

Her son arrived for her at last, and on his arrival he informed me that traffic was almost at a standstill and that it would take hours for us to get from the hospital to the Tuam Road. I was fully convinced that I would miss out on my maiden voyage as part of the Junior Bs’ management crew.

However, remarkably, by the time we eventually got away traffic was actually quite light for a Friday evening. It seemed to me that the ‘Junior B God’ must have intervened, and a bit like the parting of the Red Sea (although that was Moses), he must have ordained that our way would be cleared so I could make it to Woodmount in time.

I got home, grabbed a bag of chips and a couple of battered sausages in the local Hot ‘n’ Tasty chip shop, jumped (that’s an exaggeration, more like fell) into Paul’s car, and made it to Pearses with time to spare. It was all worth it when our lads had a four-point win, meaning the new management team of Ciaran Browne, Alan Curley and myself have a proud 100% record!

I know we have several more games to go, but it was great to start with a win. You might remember (I honestly don’t think you will) that I told you my ambition is to manage the Galway senior football team, so this could be the first step on the ladder. Padraic Joyce mightn’t feel under pressure just yet, particularly after surviving in Division One last weekend, but if I was him I’d be looking over my shoulder.

On the local front, our intermediate team beat  Strokestown in their O’Gara Cup game (in Strokestown) so all in all it was a good weekend for our little club.


Row over flower pots takes a strange turn

One of the things that my wife greatly enjoys is her garden – there is no better therapy than spending time with one’s flowers and plants and shrubs. Carol absolutely loves tending to all the different things that she has growing in it.

Now even I know that the year so far has been a disaster, and the almost constant rain has held back a lot of the growth that you should see at this time of year. Only today, I couldn’t get over how wet the lawn was. On a lawn that is usually dry, I couldn’t get over how squelchy it was – it was like walking on a wet sponge.

However, despite the bad weather, harmony and peace usually reign in the garden, the singing of birds adding to the tranquillity, and it would be the last place in the world you would expect to find a good row. And yet, up in Dublin, among (of all things) a senior citizens’ group, a row broke out about flower pots between two women. This fracas led to a 67-year-old pensioner named Bernadette Murphy taking a hammer to a man’s car and causing €10,000 worth of damage to the vehicle.

The car belonged to the father of the lady Ms Murphy was rowing with. After he intervened in the row, Ms Murphy took matters into her own hands. The lady, who arrived in court with the aid of a walker, hit the car’s roof, bonnet, and sides with the hammer.

Judge Martin Nolan described it as “a very odd situation” and wondered did Ms Murphy usually travel around with a hammer? Anyway, he ordered the woman to pay €600 to the injured party (I don’t know who will pay the other €9,400) and sentenced her to eighteen months in jail, which he suspended in full.

Recently I brought home a few spring plants for Carol to put into the ground – if I see her coming with a hammer I’ll agree totally with wherever she thinks they should be put!


And finally…

I make no secret of the fact that I don’t know even one song by the world’s biggest music star, Taylor Swift, and I am not a member of her fan group ‘The Swifties’ (and never will be), but it seems that the ground shook so much during her recent concert in California that it almost caused an earthquake!

Apparently the 70,000 fans present caused an amount of seismic activity up to nine miles from the SoFi Stadium where the superstar was performing, and it wasn’t far off causing a real live earthquake. Thank God for Wee Daniel – I don’t think we need worry about the earth ever moving here!