Italian man ‘chances his arm’ with vaccine

Our man Frank on the lengths an Italian man went to in order to obtain a ‘Green Pass’, Michael’s book of hope for Haitian orphanage, living with the currrent restrictions, and golfing pigs in Yorkshire…

Covid has thrown up challenges to many people over the last eighteen months or so, and we’ve gotten used to a lot of new elements in dealing with the virus. For most of us here in Ireland (despite the different strains of Covid that have kept on coming), the vaccinations and the booster vax have given us a certain degree of confidence in our ability to deal with whatever new challenges may come our way.

Obviously there are people out there who do not believe in being vaccinated, and to some degree that is their right – though in my opinion, not if they are putting other lives at risk. However, very few of them will have gone to the lengths that an Italian man went to last week to escape actually having the jab.

As we know, Italy was hit very hard in the early weeks and months of the pandemic, but now, with 85 per cent of the population vaccinated, the country as a whole is faring better than most of its neighbours. After being heavily criticised early on for their lack of action, recently they have been making every effort to keep the country as safe as possible.

As of last August, anyone who wishes to eat indoors, in a restaurant, go to cinemas, theatres, museums, or to sporting events, must carry a ‘Green Pass’ to show they are vaccinated, have a negative test, or have recently recovered from Covid-19. However, as of Monday, December 6th, the negative test no longer counts. Only proof of vaccination or proof of recovery from the virus will allow a person to do all these things in the immediate future, and the Green Pass is being replaced by a Super Green Pass.

Up in Biella in the northwest of the country, a gentleman in his fifties – who obviously liked dining out, his trips to cultural events, and going to the odd sporting event – came up with a way to avoid the jab, but nonetheless, still get himself a Green Pass. When he arrived at the vaccination centre, he presented the health workers with a fake arm, which unsurprisingly, was spotted by the alert staff.

Where he hid his real arm during all this I’m not sure…or did he tell them he had an extra one? Either way, he failed to get through, and was reported to the local police. A spokesman for the regional government said: “This case would border on the ridiculous if it were not for the fact we are talking about a gesture of enormous gravity in view of the huge sacrifice the entire community has paid during the pandemic in terms of lives lost, and the social and economic cost”.

What punishment the faker will get has yet to be decided, but you have to admire the lengths he went to in order to avoid having the jab. I still can’t figure out how he thought he’d get away with it, but you have to admit that this was one man who was really chancing his arm!


Michael’s book in aid of Haitian orphanage

I told you last week that I had plans in place to put up the Christmas tree. Like all plans, things didn’t work out just right and there was a delay of a couple of days, but as I write this on Tuesday afternoon, the tree is done!

The tree is up, all the baubles and lights are in their place, and Christmas of 2021 is on the way. All the Christmas songs are now in full swing, and everywhere around we hear The Pogues with their Fairytale of New York, George Michael, Slade, and all the other artists who have had massive Christmas hits down through the years.

One of my all-time favourites is David Essex’s ‘A Winter’s Tale’. As I listened to the words of that song – “Why would the world take notice” – I thought for some reason of all the people in the Third World who have nothing at all to look forward to except poverty, sickness, and exploitation. Then I thought of people like Michael Nolan from Ballygar, who actually do something to help those who are in desperate need.

Michael has been out to the terribly unfortunate island of Haiti, where everything from earthquakes to rioting, gang violence, kidnappings, and extreme poverty have made life almost intolerable. Huge numbers of children are being orphaned and abandoned, and he has actually physically helped out in Our Little Brothers and Sisters Orphanage for weeks at a time. He also found time to write and publish a book, ‘Memories of Haiti and other stories’, the proceeds of which all go towards the upkeep of the orphanage.

He has asked me to remind you all that the book is available in many shops in both Galway and Roscommon, and also from Michael himself at Tully, Ballygar, Co. Galway, F42 WR88. The cost is €5 or €7 by post. So this Christmas, let the world take notice, and maybe life could be made that bit better for all those who really have nothing to look forward to.


Time to live with Covid…while adhering to guidelines

You probably know by now that I like to have an odd quiet pint, but since the arrival of Covid, you could count the number of times I’ve been out on one hand…well, maybe on my two hands – unlike the fellow in Italy, there’s definitely no need for a third one! The sad thing is that every time I ventured into a pub, I would always feel guilty and wonder was I doing the right thing. The truth is that Covid has taken away the enjoyment out of practically every possible social activity.

I am doubly vaccinated, have got the booster jab, and I have now decided that I am going to live with the virus, as there seems little doubt that it is here to stay. As such, I will obey the rules whatever they are, but if stuff is given the Ok by NPHET and the Government, then taking all precautions necessary, I will try to live the rest of my life as well as I can.

And so, last Saturday night, I ventured back to the village, sat on a high stool, kept my distance from those around me, and enjoyed a few delicious pints of Guinness. I followed all the rules, and hadn’t the slightest guilty feeling about my return to social life. It’s here to stay, whether we like it or not, so let’s try to live alongside it.

As long as it’s allowed, I will have a few quiet pints over the Christmas, and if you keep your distance, you can come too!


Finally for this week…


You would think that golf is a pretty safe sport – apart from the risk of being hit by a stray golf ball there usually isn’t much to worry about. In fact, in all my years on various golf courses, I have never suffered from anything other than sore muscles and occasionally a bruised ego.

However, last week over in Lightcliffe Golf Club in Yorkshire, two large pigs stormed one of the greens and knocked over a couple of golf bags, injuring one poor golfer on the leg. That was on the Sunday, and having been declared the winners of that day’s competition, the pigs returned again on Tuesday for another round. This time they injured a green keeper who tried to remove them from the course as they hadn’t paid their membership and they disliked his attitude.

Sadly the police later arrested the pair of pigs and it seems as if their golfing days are over. They are due to appear in front of the golf club committee to plead their case, and (excuse the awful pun) to try and save their bacon!


‘Till next week, Bye for now!