Why these bad habits need to be ‘parked’

Our man Frank on serious soaps, trendy tractors…and people who are irresponsible when it comes to parking their vehicles

It’s Monday morning as I write, and I am on the train heading to Dublin to visit my ‘ticker consultant’.

While on the journey, I am thinking of a phone call I got last evening from another one of my regular readers (not the same one who contacted me last week, so I must be up to two by now!). Like me, this reader has a problem with irresponsible parking.

As he said to me, Christmas is only around the corner, and everything will be getting busier and busier. However, already he has seen stuff that bothers him greatly.

Last Thursday, as he sat in his car in Athlone, waiting for his wife to finish the shopping (he’s a man after my own heart!), he spotted three different cars parked in the mother and child parking section of the supermarket car park – and not a child or buggy in sight!

I have written before about people parking (with no kids onboard) outside Dunnes Stores in Roscommon in those reserved parking spaces. This issue, along with people parking in disability spaces they’re not eligible for, is something I have to admit annoys me greatly, and obviously the reader who contacted me feels the same. However he wasn’t finished at that, as he also told me about another gentleman that he spotted (this time in Roscommon) who was taking up two car parking spaces by parking his car on top of the white line that divides the spaces.

Now, as we all know, most of these spaces just about hold one car, and it sometimes requires a bit of manoeuvring to actually fit into one of them. But that is no excuse to not even bother trying and to just take up an extra space.

As Christmas approaches, it would certainly be nice if drivers showed some respect and simply did the right thing – park properly, and where they are meant to! There can be no justification for making life more difficult than it already is for one’s fellow motorists.

Talking of motorists…for all of us who are suffering with the cost of diesel and petrol, at the moment there seems to be a huge difference in prices at the pumps. According to an article in one of Sunday’s newspapers, we could make big savings by simply keeping an eye on the prices around us.

Soaps too serious?

On Saturday night last, with Monday’s visit to St James Hospital ahead of me, I decided to go for a few quiet pints in my home village (Creggs) to settle my nerves. It was there that I ran into another man who had, of all things, television soaps on his mind.

Google is a great thing because, while still on the train, I have discovered that the term ‘soap’ came from soap operas, which back in the day were radio dramas sponsored by soap companies (bet you’re glad you read me now).

I don’t watch any of the many soaps that appear on our television screens, and so I was unaware that most, if not all, carry messages at the end of each episode which tell viewers who might be affected by the contents of the show where they can get help to deal with the psychological fallout.

My friend argued, and rightly so, that such messages meant that those soaps are regularly carrying content that may upset their many viewers, and he wondered is that what light entertainment is meant to be. He told me that he watches Heartbeat, a programme that I also happen to like, and we both agreed that it’s a light-hearted and easy-going show, one you will never need to seek any help after watching.

I know soaps are hugely popular and obviously people love them, but maybe they could ease up on the upsetting topics that they tackle, and leave that type of stuff to news and documentaries.

Tractors, family fun…and Santa!

One of the big changes in recent years is the absolutely massive and hugely expensive tractors that we see all over the place. Along with the new, fabulous looking lorries, they are a sight to behold.

Communities have even started to have truck and tractor runs, events that attract great crowds and raise large amounts for charity. A few weeks ago, on our way to play rugby against Monivea, we ran into one such run, and I have to say that the array, quantity and quality of the machinery on show was just mind-boggling.

Over the road in Athleague, the local community centre committee are organising their own Christmas Tractor & Truck run. The run will take place between 3 and 4 pm on Sunday, December 11th, at the hurling pitch/Kepak, with registration costing €20. The route will travel into Roscommon, out to Fuerty and Castlecoote, and back into Athleague.

Why not get out and have a look on the day, or even better, if you have a truck or a tractor, give it a good wash, shine it up, and bring it out for a spin!

As if that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, there is also a Family Fun Day taking place in Athleague on the same date. The event will take place in the community centre, where there is a full programme of entertainment lined up from 2 to 6 pm.

This event is a fundraiser for the beautiful Athleague Community Centre, and along with carol singing, local craft and gift stalls, a bumper raffle and loads more festive stuff, I am told there will even be a visit from the great man himself! No, not Marty Morrissey, but Santa himself!

Fair play to the good people of Athleague; it promises to be a wonderful day, so keep that date free and get your Christmas off to a cracking start! 

And finally…

Out here in Creggs, and in particular in our little Crosswell community, we were all deeply saddened when news broke on Wednesday of last week that our next-door neighbour Eileen Morgan had died.

Eileen passed away after a long, courageous battle with illness. A nurse by profession, she was a kind and gentle person through and through. As our priest Fr Donal Morris said in his homily, everyone he met described her as a ‘lady’ – and there could hardly be a better description.

As testament to that, the attendance at Eileen’s funeral was absolutely massive, and there was genuine heartfelt sorrow at her loss. As our neighbour and friend for nearly 40 years, we can honestly say we could not have had better.

To her husband Tommie, daughters Mairead, Rachel and Emma, son Joseph, her brothers and sisters, all her extended family and her very many friends, we extend our sincere sympathy. May she rest in peace.