Weather woes: Why I’m not complaining about ‘breaking sods’ on the bog

Our man Frank on the soaring temperatures worldwide (while he toils on a soaked bog); A sensational sporting weekend; Local issues… and TV license musings

It’s Monday afternoon as I write. I’ve just come back from the bog, where, after a relatively short time, we gave up on the futile effort of trying to foot the turf.

The almost incessant rain of the last few weeks means that everything is drowned wet; the sods were breaking as we tried to lift them, and – to cap it all off –  just as we enjoyed the first fine day for a long while, the Heavens opened and back came the rain.

Funnily enough, even though the normal reaction would be to give out about all the poor weather, the truth is that we really should be grateful for all our recent summer rain, as all around the world temperatures are set to reach record highs. In parts of Europe, temperatures in the mid-40s are being experienced, with Andalusia in Spain expecting to reach 44C, while in Sardinia there is a possibility that there could be a new record high of almost 49C.

It’s easy to dismiss the heatwaves as just minor inconveniences, especially for holidaymakers, but in Europe last year the number of heat-related deaths was an extraordinary 61,000 – a simply mind-blowing number. And it’s not only Europe that is suffering.  Large swathes of the US are also on red heat alerts, and in Death Valley, California, they are bracing themselves for highs of around 53C. The highest temperature ever recorded was 54.4C and there is every chance that figure could be surpassed this week.

So, as the cooling, soothing rain falls down on my wet turf, I must resist the temptation to complain about it all, and be thankful that we live in a country that doesn’t suffer from any type of extreme weather conditions.

However, forgive me if I say a little prayer for some fine weather soon, so that I might have something to heat the house with when the winter comes! Though with the way climate is changing all over, who knows what type of weather we will have next winter – we may get warm winter sunshine and I might not need the fire at all!

Anyway, let us appreciate our very pleasant Irish climate, and as the world suffers from the effects of too much heat, a small thing like not being able to foot my turf is a small price to pay for being able to have a normal, if very wet, month of July.


A sensational

sporting weekend


Many times through the years of writing this column, I have acknowledged that a huge number of people have no interest at all in sport, and while I find it hard to understand, I fully accept that everyone will make up their own mind on the subject. On a few occasions, readers have even told me not to write about sport at all. And so I have to apologise to all those ‘non-sporting people’ in advance, because last weekend we had such extraordinary contests in a variety of sports that I simply couldn’t ignore them!

On the golf course, Rory McIlroy produced two brilliant final holes in the Scottish Open to win the tournament by a single stroke, thereby achieving his first ever victory on Scottish soil. With the British Open taking place this weekend, hopefully he will get the big monkey of not winning a major since 2014 off his back, and claim one again to cement his rightful place as one of the great golfers of our time.

Then we had two brilliantly competitive All-Ireland football semi-finals, and while we got the final that most commentators wanted, both Dublin and Kerry were put to the pin of their collars to get through, with Monaghan and Derry really putting it up to them.

However, the genius that is David Clifford once again came to the fore. Described by Tyrone great Sean Cavanagh as the greatest GAA footballer of all time, Clifford pushed, pulled, and tugged Kerry over the line to qualify for yet another All-Ireland final.

While all that was going on, over the water in Wimbledon, 20-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alvarez was dethroning the legend that is Novak Djokovic (who was going for five in a row) in an enthralling five-set men’s tennis final played in front of a crowd featuring celebrities such as Brad Pitt, Daniel Craig, Cliff Richard and the King of Spain, King Felipe VI.

On Saturday, history was also made in the Ladies’ final, when for the first time ever, an unseeded player (Marketa Vondrousova) claimed the title.

Also on Saturday, the All Blacks showed they will be a massive force to be reckoned with in September’s World Cup when they gave a fair old trimming to the reigning world champions South Africa, while on Friday, as the rain fell here all day, our U-20s also fell (at the final hurdle) as they came up short against a superb French side in the World Cup final.

If all that wasn’t enough, on Sunday morning our lads here played our neighbours Glinsk in a competitive challenge match, while by all accounts Richard Hughes’ goal for Roscommon Gaels in the O’Rourke Cup final against Oran will feature on social media for a long, long time to come.

And so what a weekend it was. For all of us who love our sport, it was simply sensational. Here’s hoping the Cats can put a halt to the Limerick lads’ gallop in the hurling final next Sunday – I can’t wait!

It would be wrong of me to finish up without mentioning our women’s soccer team, who will kick off their World Cup final appearance with a game against one of the host nations, Australia (New Zealand is the other host nation) in front of more than 80,000 spectators this morning (Thursday). We all wish Vera Pauw’s team the very best of luck.

To qualify for the finals is a huge achievement, and they have already done us proud, but despite their rankings don’t be surprised if the girls in green ruffle a few feathers over the next few weeks and give our nation a month to rival Italia ‘90!


Super draw for

All-Ireland tickets


As I told you last week, out here in Creggs the local GAA Club is holding a big fundraising draw for stand tickets for both All-Ireland finals, along with a Saturday night stay in the four-star Gibson Hotel before the football final throw-in.

The finals have produced two brilliant pairings; the hurling on Sunday is between the all-conquering Limerick and former hurling aristocrats the Kilkenny Cats, and the football final the following Sunday is the one everyone wanted, with reigning All-Ireland champions Kerry taking on their biggest rivals, the Dubs. You could be at one or both of those games for the price of a single draw ticket!

Tickets cost €10 for one, €20 for two, and €50 for eight, and you can get yours online at, or alternatively from John Hanley (086 8125211), Mary Beades (087 6298146), Gerry Keegan (086 3920951), or Sean Brandon (086 1708506). The draw for the hurling final tickets takes place live on Facebook at 10 pm this Thursday evening, with the football draw happening the following Thursday evening, also at 10 pm, and live on Facebook. Best of luck!


And finally…


Up to now, one of the perks of being aged over 70 was the fact that I had a free TV license, a perk that saved us €160 a year.

However, according to the news today, a quarter of all the people who were due to renew their TV licenses at the beginning of July have failed to do so (apparently as a result of the Tubridy affair), which effectively means that my special exemption is no longer quite so special.

Who would have thought that Tubs and his extra payments would have had such repercussions?