Painting and pain: How brushing up on my DIY skills took its toll!

Our man Frank on reassessing his skills as a decorator… in praise of an An Post initiative on female sports stars…rising fuel prices…and the plight of the Ukrainian people

Somewhere at the back of my mind I can remember a parable or maybe a Gospel piece where we were advised to make maximum use of all our God-given talents. That said, when I was welcomed into the world in April 1951 there must have been a ‘run’ on talents, as there definitely was a huge shortage of them, and the truth is that my locker was left very bare when they were given out. 

  I found out very quickly that I knew nothing about a lot of things, but especially about building and construction, including plumbing, plastering, blocklaying, tiling, and electrical work. While these were all totally alien to me, in my opinion I was a pretty decent painter. And so, on Friday morning, inspired by the beautiful weather, I dug out my old paintbrushes, found a can of slightly diluted black Weathershield paint, and decided to do some home improvements. I had an apex (I think that’s what they’re called) over a window to paint, and complete with ladders, paint and brushes, I started into it with great enthusiasm. 

  I am writing this on Sunday evening, and in the last two days I’ve gone through two tubs of anti-inflammatory gel, along with a tube of Deep Heat, as I try to cure the many muscles that I tore while doing my bit of painting. I am no doctor, but obviously I overstretched a good deal as I tried to get to the highest part, and tore whatever muscles I had left in my shoulder area. The good news is that I am improving rapidly, and, after hearing that we are going to have a fine week, I am ready to ‘get back on the horse’ and start again tomorrow (Monday). 

  However, I have revised my opinion as to my ability as a painter, and so on this Sunday evening I am finally  admitting to myself (and to anyone else out there that reads this) that I have very little talent at all. There were definitely none left all those years ago when I arrived into an unsuspecting world. 

Female sports stars are first past the (An) Post

One of the issues I have often highlighted in this column over the years is the massive contribution that our female sports stars have made to our lives. 

  On a day when I have just seen the ladies camogie team from Sarsfield’s – which incorporates New Inn and Bullaun in Co. Galway – win a hugely entertaining club final by beating champions Oulagh the Balart from Wexford, it is wonderful to see that An Post are acknowledging our ladies by issuing commemoration stamps in honour of a number of them. 

  The Irish hockey team, Sonia O’Sullivan, Rachael Blackmore, Ellen Keane, Kellie Harrington and Katie Taylor, are all being honoured in a new six-stamp booklet which was released ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8th (last Tuesday). 

  While An Post previously acknowledged the achievements of pioneering Irish women in literature, this is the first time that they have honoured female sports stars, and it really is a tribute to the extraordinary standards that those featured, and many others, are setting on the international stage. 

  Only last week our own local boxing hero Aoife O’Rourke won gold at a huge international tournament in Sofia, another great performance from her. Heartiest congratulations to Aoife, who may well feature on the next series of commemorative stamps from An Post. In the meantime, all those that are honoured are a credit to our country, and an inspiration to not only women, but to Irish people everywhere.

As the abominable invasion of Ukraine by Russia continues, and with horrific images of death, displacement, and destruction being flashed around the world, one thing that there seems to be no escape from is the outrageous rise in the cost of living, with almost everything getting dearer and dearer literally day by day. 

  As I drove to Knock Shrine on Friday evening (hoping that my sore muscles might be miraculously cured) I stopped for diesel in Ballyhaunis and paid €1.91.9 for a litre. It seems that there may be even more rises on the way, so it surely looks as if we will all have to pay a bit more attention to the number of unnecessary journeys that we now make. 

  Right across the board everything is affected and there is no doubt we are going to have to tighten our belts. However, in comparison to the suffering of the Ukrainian people it’s a very minor inconvenience, and, as a nation we must do whatever we can to help the millions of men, women and children that are fleeing that war-torn country. 


Huge sense of loss at passing of Marianne

My mind is back in 1989, when I was lucky enough to be manager of the Creggs ladies football team. The team, which had only been formed two years earlier, was to contest the County Senior football final in 1989, a game that we lost to a much more experienced St Mary’s, Tulsk, who were appearing in their fifth final in a row. (The previous four had all been losing appearances to Padraig Pearses, but they made no mistake on the fifth attempt, winning on a scoreline of 4-8 to 2-6). 

  That game took place in September 1989, but a couple of months later Creggs got a huge measure of compensation when our minor team won county honours by beating St Faithleach’s in the Hyde on the 26th of November. 

  Now there were a lot of very good footballers on both the senior and minor teams, but right up there with the very best of them was Marianne Gavin, a lady that we sadly laid to rest on Thursday of last week. 

  Marianne was what I always called our own version of Maureen O’Hara, with her flowing red hair, and the most mischievous smile, and as well as being a star on the football field she was a talented musician and a beautiful singer. 

  To say that she has been taken too soon is a massive understatement, and the sense of loss throughout the parish at her passing was most profound. 

  To her children Gemma and Abbie, the Gavin family and all the extended family and friends, I extend my deepest sympathy on their sad loss. May she rest in peace.