Paul Healy’s Week

Every day

People say ‘any news?’ and you kind of instinctively say ‘no, nothing new’ or ‘not a thing.’ But there is news if you think about it.

For a start, there’s lime in our water, and I haven’t ordered lime (okay, it’s a different lime) since I used to combine it with Harp back in the late 1980s.

So, my starting position is that I don’t want lime (or silt) in anything. But here we are, in 21st Century Roscommon, with the unpleasant reality of lime in our water at a time when countless millions of euro are being approved for water services in the county and ‘boil water’ notices are being lifted – amidst scenes of joy and jubilation (in Irish Water and the offices of Government backbenchers and spin doctors).

Actually, according to the always-reliable Roscommon People, ‘water problems’ are back with a bit of a vengeance.

We’ve noticed lime in our water, but so too have many other householders, in Roscommon, Castlerea and adjoining areas. And some complaints have emerged from South Roscommon too, where a ‘boil water’ notice was recently lifted.

Given that commitments (and funds) have been provided by Minister Alan Kelly/Irish Water, I suppose we should remain patient on this saga for a little longer.

But not for much longer, because the very least we should expect at a time when we are seeing the introduction of water charges is that we have a water supply of the highest standard.

As for ‘other news,’ well, what is the story with the broadband service? It too is very poor of late; frustratingly slow and basically inadequate.

As for the mobile phone signal in Kilteevan (where we live), it’s moodier than Basil Fawlty in his heyday.

What to do about it all? Well, I could ring in to complain about the mobile phone service. This will involve me wandering around the garden (no reliable signal in the house) in the summer rain as I am put on hold and told that my call is very important – much to look forward to there.

As for the water, we’ll wait and see.

Actually a nice man did call to our house two weeks ago in his role as a sub-contractor for a sub-contractor of Irish Water.

He was quick to point out that he wouldn’t be doing any installing of meters; he was a freelancer whose job it is to detect our water point.

Turns out he could talk for Ireland. He was happy to stay a long time (we made him a cup of coffee with our less-than-perfect water).

So we sat back for a long chat, water source detection man and I. We didn’t resolve Roscommon’s water woes but we made a fair bit of progress in discussing this year’s All-Ireland Football Championship.

He couldn’t understand what went wrong with Roscommon/is unsure about Donegal/wouldn’t write off Kerry or Mayo but thinks the Dubs are the team to beat.

As for the home computer or whatever they’re called these days, I know grindingly slow broadband isn’t really his area of expertise, but the next time that Indian chap phones us to urgently advise that there’s something wrong with our computer, I might fill him in on the broadband, the mobile phone signal and the water.

And maybe find out who his tip is to win the All-Ireland.

Virtually every day

We need to have a debate about the weather. We never seem to talk about it in this country!

Maybe we should have a weather inquiry, because the banking inquiry will yield nothing. I suggest a weather inquiry, where we call various key ‘witnesses,’ including the prone-to-being-smug Evelyn Cusack and the prone-to-being-incredibly-irritating Martin King.

We could also summon in the amateur forecasters from Donegal, Australia, etc. plus a few folk from Met Eireann and the odd farmer or two. And call Enda and Micheal and Joan and Gerry in too, just to annoy them.

It must be the wettest July in living memory. We’ve a Spanish student staying with us (a very nice young girl who it was a pleasure to host) and almost everything she’s seen of the Emerald Isle has been through a wall of water.

We’ve almost taken to wallpapering the rooms with images of sunshine. It’s embarrassing, this dreadful wet July, but we are assured that ‘Spanish students’ and visitors to Ireland in general don’t expect good weather and aren’t concerned about the rain.

As for the rest of us, who aren’t visitors or Spanish students, we’re sick and tired of this wretched summer. We feel cheated, with no barbeques on long sun-drenched evenings, no scorching days at the races and hardly a chance to cut the grass.

I felt sorry for the organisers of local festivals (and the Family Open Day in Donamon) as I watched the rain fall relentlessly on Sunday.

Still, if the Rooskey Heritage Festival (see coverage on pages 28-29) is anything to go by, people defied the elements and came out in large numbers to support their local communities.

We brought our Spanish student to the festival and boat rally in Rooskey on Sunday so that she could see a bit more water before she goes back.