Paul Healy’s Week


Heated exchanges!

I could hear the panic in the voice of the caller from Castlerea.

“It’s like the great Storm Barra Bread Rush of 2021” the man exclaimed.

He and his wife were hoping to host a barbeque for 20 people, but a neighbour had just told him there were only eight burger buns left in town.

Soon, the office was inundated with similar calls. If even half of what was said is true, it’s been a harrowing afternoon, as people try to come to terms with the very warm weather of the past 48 hours or so.

A Strokestown caller said she’d spent two hours trying to get through to Joe Duffy, but the line was jammed with Wolfe Tones’ groupies.

Then when she googled ‘Barbeque panic’ all that came up was some silly story about people queuing to see the recently released Barbie movie.

In Roscommon town, it is alleged that an early riser casually walked into a butcher’s at 9.30 am and bought a dozen burgers and six steaks. Covering them with a seatbelt in his car – which he then locked – the man smugly stood on the footpath to chat to locals.

“Great day for a barbeque… I’d say there’ll be some rush on burgers later” he had the cheek to say to one flustered man.

It almost got out of hand in Ballinasloe. A customer who simply refused to accept that the shop was low in barbeque essentials terrified staff when he began brandishing what appeared to be a weapon. On closer inspection, it turned out to be a chicken skewer (the last one left).

Thankfully, the manager calmly persuaded the man to disarm: “Sir, please put down the chicken skewer, and we can talk. Just take it nice and easy. You won’t get into trouble. Just…put the chicken skewer down”.

The man relented. “Sorry, the pressure just got to me, I’m so anxious to avail of the heat and host the perfect barbeque. I don’t know what came over me”.

He put the chicken skewer down, at which point an old lady swooped and gratefully made off with it…

*(Okay, some or all of the above may be fiction).



Two TV legends

Mike Yarwood, who died today at the age of 82, entertained millions of TV viewers from the 1960s through to the 1980s with his brilliance as an impressionist/impersonator.

He was the first superstar TV impersonator, a fond favourite during a golden light entertainment era…alongside stars such as Morecambe & Wise, the Two Ronnies, and Dick Emery.

I was on holidays when the great Michael Parkinson died (aged 88). His BBC chat show was iconic, initially running from 1971 to 1981, before returning for a second term (1998 to 2007). A very skilled interviewer, maybe the secret of Parkinson’s success was that he was also a great listener. The list of memorable interviewees is a long one, including Billy Connolly, Muhammad Ali, Rod Hull (and Emu), Peter Sellers, Helen Mirren, George Best, etc.

Parkinson also became a brilliant sports columnist, having started out in journalism with local newspapers. Indeed he went on to write very affectionately (and beautifully) of his love of sport in a number of books.

It is however for his mastery as a chat show host during a golden TV era that ‘Parky’ will always be remembered.



Weekend sport

I enjoyed the All-Ireland Masters Plate final at St Croan’s today, where Roscommon were left rueing the missed chances that ultimately cost them victory, Mayo winning a very good game by a point (see my report in sports section).

The Rugby World Cup got off to a good start over the weekend. Ireland were impressive in a 12-try rout of Romania, while best game of the tournament so far was Wales v Fiji.

Meanwhile, as I noted here before, it can be assumed that if Stephen Kenny won the lotto, he would lose the ticket. Joking aside, the Republic of Ireland manager looked very forlorn when being interviewed by RTE’s Tony O’Donoghue after Sunday’s defeat to Netherlands. Tony’s showboating interviewing style is cringy, by the way!



Pundit Paschal!

Mary Wilson (Morning Ireland) is a top class journalist/broadcaster, but I cringed a little when she asked Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe a question on soccer at the end of a (political) interview this morning. So many journalists (I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it) are prone to this ‘lightening of the mood’ approach at the end of an interview.

But, after grilling the super-smooth great one (Paschal) up to that point, it grated with me when Mary then threw in a question on Irish manager Stephen Kenny’s fate, this because she was reliably informed that the minister had been at Republic of Ireland v Netherlands in the Aviva Stadium the previous night.

Minister Donohoe assured listeners he had been loudly cheering Ireland on, and added that he hoped Kenny remains in his job. That’s fair enough, but posing these sort of questions to  senior politicians is just pandering to their egos!

And will Tony O’Donoghue be asking Stephen Kenny for his views on the Government’s fiscal policy any time soon?



General musings…

I’m finally beginning to wilt in the face of the 24-7 current affairs’ tsunami of blah blah blah. Recently, I’ve chosen to avoid early-morning current affairs talk on the radio (save for one or two lapses; see ‘Monday’). For now at least, driving with the radio off in the mornings has been a welcome relief from all the wretchedness.

This avoiding of current affairs/misery/relentless political spinning has definitely relaxed my mind a bit, although my grump-o-meter is still required, thanks to annoying members of the public.

Earlier this week, there was the young chap who cycled past, at some speed… on the footpath. Then this morning, on the drive to school, I graciously ‘gave way’ to allow three people to cross the road in front of me; sadly, I had encountered more members of the ‘No acknowledgement of courtesy’ club! They didn’t even break into that silly, almost apologetic half-walk/half-run that many of us can’t help doing when a motorist stops to let us cross the road!