1st August, 2002

Last week was a very busy one for yours truly. On Thursday night it was down to Crosshaven for a Ford week night. Every Sunday the ‘Sunday Indo’ prints a list of traffic fatalities and it makes sad reading. “Two 20 year olds killed when car hits a wall” “one teenager killed when van overturns” “Driver aged 23 killed when car hits a ditch” “Two young men killed when car hits a tree.” All these tragedies have one thing in common, no other vehicle was involved. The cause of the crashes? Speed, speed, speed. I was walking down to the Credit Union last Friday evening when I heard a screech of brakes. A woman and her little girl were halfway across the pedestrian crossing, the lights were red to the motorist. I looked at them as they stopped, inches from the woman and child and they were laughing!! They were in their twenties. Did they think that the fact they did not hit the woman and child was funny? Sometimes I despair. A car is a weapon in the hands of an imbecile.
Our Minister of Justice, Michael McDowell has stated that the law allows for the gardaí to shut down troublesome pubs and take-a-ways. What exactly does he mean by troublesome take-a-ways? As someone who ran a take-a-way in a different life, I’ve never known the owners of chip shops to be troublesome. The only thing we ever battered were the cod and potato pies!! Michael McDowell, did you ever stand in a chip shop queue and see the owner or staff swinging lump hammers in all directions? These people are decent hard-working people working anti-social hours trying to make a living serving an average decent hard-working people who feel the pangs of hunger after a few pints on a night out. There are always exceptions to the rule. The people who cannot handle drink and who seek trouble in an establishment which is open when they leave the pub. At midnight the chipper is like a flame to a moth, the only place open and people go there to buy food. So what constitutes a troublesome chipshop? Is it the owner who is supposed to enforce the law? What ever happened to law and order? Many years ago a Garda told me to clean up the chip wrapping paper which customers had thrown on the ground when they had left my premises. This was the following day. I asked him a civil question “Where were you when they were throwing it on the ground?” This was not in Douglas, I hasten to add. everybody who reads my column knows how I feel about the litter situation but surely if somebody drops or throws litter outside a shop they are the culprits and should be treated accordingly. Now we have a situation where the shop keeper is reprimanded by the litter warden because somebody else threw litter outside the shop. Anyway Michael McDowell, did you see the latest crime figures? Whose codding who? (excuse the pun!!)
Stephen Foote of Laura’s of Douglas tells me that they have a fantastic range of debs dresses now in stock and all the accessories that go with it to make every young girl look her best on the big night. They also own Buckley’s of Shandon Street, which also has a huge range of styles to cater for all debs on the night. They also stock school uniforms for most schools and most importantly the staff are always on hand to give advice to all their customers. Give them a call, it’ll be worth your while.
I drove down to Crosshaven last Sunday and it was good to see some changes made for the better. A lovely new Centra Store, next to a chemist shop, a new Credit Union building.

At last things are beginning to move in Crosshaven. Now, if only the Council, together with the Tourist Board, could do something about the magnificent Fort Camden. Many many years ago my uncle, who was a captain in the army, took me all around the fort. This was in the late 50’s. The huge guns were plastered in grease, facing out towards the ocean. I remember when we stayed in Myrtleville, the navy used to practice with those huge guns. A ship would pull targets out, cut them loose, sail away, and then the big guns would fire on the targets. It seems like a eternity ago.
I took a few photos of the Majorca dance-hall, which now sadly is only a shell. Ah yes, the happy memories of the Majorca i the 60’s, when I was young.

Yesterday when I was young, The taste of life was sweet as rain upon my tongue,
I teased at life as if it were a foolish game, The way the evening breeze may tease a candle flame. A thousand dreams I dreamed, The splendid things I planned,
Always built to last, On weak and shifting sand, I lived by night and shunned the naked light of day, And only now I see how the years ran away.

Yesterday when I was young, So many happy songs were waiting to be sung,
So many wild pleasures lay in store for me, And so much pain dazzled eyes refused to see. I ran so fast that time and youth at last ran out, I never stopped to think what life was all about, And every conversation I can now recall, Concerns itself with me and nothing else at all.

Yesterday the moon was blue, And every crazy day brought something new to do,
I used my magic age as if it were a wand, And never saw the waste and emptiness beyond. The game of love I played with arrogance and pride, And every flame I lit too quickly, quickly died, The friends I made all seemed to somehow drift away,
And only I am left on stage to end the play, There are so many songs in me that won’t sung, I feel the bitter taste of tears upon my tongue, The time has come for me to pay for yesterday, When I was young.

(Charles Aznavour)

Enjoy the August weekend,
Bye for now, Michael O’Hanlon.

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