The tricky task of getting home after a night out…

bar, lounge, cocktail

A friend went out for a meal and some drinks in Belfast City Centre on Saturday night. Being a sensible fella he left the bar about 11 pm to head home to his house in the Four Winds area of Belfast. Unfortunately for him, he missed the last bus home by a few minutes. Not a problem he thought, he would ring one of our big two taxi companies – an hour later, still no taxi. At this point, he …

Read more…

You couldn’t save the school children on a Saturday in a small market town…

When I was at Queen’s in the mid-90s, I fell in with a bunch from Omagh. They used to regale me with stories of nights out at the Riverbank. I always assumed the Riverbank was a bar or nightclub but when they invited me down to Omagh one weekend, I discovered the Riverbank was the actual riverbank where groups would gather to drink before going on to the Clock disco.  I have many happy memories of nights out in Omagh, …

Read more…

51% of A-level entries were awarded A* or A grades…

exam, teacher, board

It is that time of year when the news is full of those cheesy pictures of attractive A-Level students jumping in the air. While you don’t want to rain on their parade you do wonder what is going on if 51% of them got As. Grade inflation just pushes up the entry requirements for universities. When I went to Queen’s I sailed in with a bunch of Bs, now most courses are looking As. Law wants 3 As. You used …

Read more…

Today is the 50th anniversary of Internment…

On this day 50 years ago the old Stormont government launched Operation Demetrius. An attempt to win the hearts and minds of the Catholic community by randomly locking them up. To the surprise of no one, the policy backfired spectacularly and many consider it the best recruiting tool the IRA ever had. The main failure of the policy (apart from the obvious: locking people up without trial) was they were using old intelligence that was sometimes decades out of date. …

Read more…

The tricky business of coaxing people back into society…

man, sculpture, art

I have been texting an old school friend to meet up for a walk. He replied that he is in such bad shape after a year and a half in lockdown that even a walk might be too taxing. The pandemic affects everyone differently. Some people are living their best lives with more time with family and loads of savings due to the inability to spend to the same level. Others have had it hard with loneliness and isolation taking …

Read more…

Ian Marshall joins the UUP…

At the time of the last UUP leadership election, I said the best person for the job was Ian Marshall. There were just two minor issues, he was not a politician or even a member of the UUP. That situation has since been rectified, at least the UUP member part. Delighted to join Doug and the UUP. Time for a union of people, embracing inclusivity, diversity and building relationships across an island and between two islands. Thanks to @SuzyJourno & …

Read more…

South Korean TV images used to represent each nation in the Olympics…

South Korean TV thought it would be helpful to viewers to have images to represent each nation in the Olympics opening ceremony. Italy was pizza, which to be fair kinda makes sense. But then it got weirder with Ukraine represented by Chernobyl, Haiti was a riot, Marshall Islands, it said “was once a nuclear test site for the US, and is composed of more than 1,200 islands.” El Salvador was introduced with a picture representing Bitcoin. South Korean broadcaster MBC …

Read more…

In England crops are left to rot as there are not enough workers to pick them…

I deplore waste, especially food waste. With so much hunger in the world, it is a scandal how much food is wasted in rich countries. They estimate the average UK family throws out £700 worth of food a year. But what of the food that never even reaches the shops? Euronews reports on the crops left to rot as there are not enough workers to pick them. From the article: Fruit and vegetables are being left to rot in England …

Read more…

It’s a rat trap and we’ve been caught…

This 4-minute video by animator Steve Cutts is a very good critique of where we find ourselves in our modern capitalist society. I have worked for myself my whole life and benefited from the system but it does not stop me from seeing the flaws in our model of continuous consumption and unrestrained growth. Chasing the chimera of happiness with every new purchase or pill or drink swallowed. Not sure if Steve was thinking about the Boomtown Rats song when …

Read more…

“He did not read the protocol, he has not read the bill, he does not know his stuff”…

As Labour leader, Ed Miliband’s awkward geekiness never found favour with the English voters but he has grown in stature over the years. His Reasons to be cheerful podcast is an entertaining and informative listen. In his day job role as MP and shadow Minister, he gave Boris quite the evisceration over his handling of NI Protocol. It makes for an entertaining watch. @Ed_Miliband Destroying @BorisJohnson with ease. ?‍☠️pic.twitter.com/1VVzyPlyTN — The Churchill Project (@WinstonCProject) July 21, 2021 But all this …

Read more…

Jeff Bezos flies to the edge of space in giant phallus…

The billionaire space race is equal parts vulgar and hilarious. Last week alleged tax exile Richard Branson put last year’s unfortunate business of asking the government to bail out his companies behind him to blast to the edge of space for a few minutes. He nearly managed to achieve what the Soviets did 60 years ago with less technology than you would find in a modern wristwatch. Not to be outdone Jeff Bezos has gone full Dr Evil and blasted himself …

Read more…

We can’t keep putting off investing in NI Water…

As you might have noticed it has been pretty hot the past few weeks. All this heat is not great for our water supplies and NI Water have warned that of supply shortages and a potential hosepipe ban. This happens most years, but it is a good reminder that we take water for granted. NI Water has been warning for years that we need to invest in our water infrastructure. There is the obvious part of the service – the …

Read more…

Over the pond Peppa Pig has parents puzzled…

If you have small people in your life (children not dwarfs) then you will be no stranger to Peppa Pig and her assorted friends like Pedro Pony and Emily Elephant. It is quite a good TV show that even the most cynical of parents or grandparents can enjoy. It is fun to spot the various celebrity voices: Brian Blessed as Grandpa Rabbit is a work of genius, he has a job as a lighthouse keeper which entails him shouting FOGGG!!! …

Read more…

Today is the hottest day ever recorded in Northern Ireland as temperatures reached 31.2C…

This will likely not come as a surprise to those of you who have been sweltering under the heat the past few days. Today is provisionally the hottest day ever recorded in Northern Ireland ? ? Ballywatticock in County Down reached 31.2 °C at 15.40 ?️ Previously, 30.8 °C was the highest #temperature recorded in Northern Ireland, reached on 12th July 1983 and 30th June 1976 #heatwave pic.twitter.com/pFIDwHmCvG — Met Office (@metoffice) July 17, 2021 During the parkrun this morning …

Read more…

It’s OK not to have an opinion on something…

Last week we were on holiday in a caravan park in Scotland. During a rant about net curtains one of our party remarks that I have very strong opinions. I really dislike net curtains. In this particular case, I was particularly irked that the net curtains were obscuring a beautiful view of a Scotland Lough. The strange thing is I have strong views about small things but generally ambivalent views about big things. I care not a jot about the …

Read more…

Teenager critically ill with 40% burns to his body after being engulfed in flames at Eleventh Night bonfire…

If anything is it surprising that more people were not injured or killed over the weekend. From Allison Morris in the Belfast Telegraph: A teenager is in hospital with burns to 40% of his body and face on Monday night after catching fire at a north Belfast bonfire. Eyewitnesses say the 17-year-old, who is from the Ballysillan area, lifted a canister of petrol to throw at the already ignited bonfire when the flames caught the accelerant dousing him in burning …

Read more…

The killer identified Margaret as a young girl in a dress and then he deliberately shot her…

I normally don’t write posts about the Troubles. I try to look forward and not dwell on the past. That’s easy for me to say because I never lost anyone close to me. I don’t have the raw pain of the missing person at Christmas and family events. But sometimes you come across something so shocking that you just can’t but write about it. Kevin Myers recently wrote on his blog about the notorious activities of the Paras in Northern …

Read more…

So what do you think of Euro 2020?

A year late, but hey. Last night Italy beat England on penalties to win the Euro 2020 Soccer tournament. A moment Gianluigi Donnarumma and Italy will never forget… …the moment they became Euro 2020 champions#ITAENG | #ITVFootball | #Euro2020 pic.twitter.com/HpWY8SEoon — ITV Football (@itvfootball) July 11, 2021 Cue the inevitable from the English press: To be fair penalties are a bad way to end a match, you might as well do a coin toss. Still, for soccer fans, it was …

Read more…

The hedonic treadmill of bonfires…

One of the more enlightening moments in life is when you discover the concept of the hedonic treadmill. In simple terms, it is the tendency of a person to remain at a relatively stable level of happiness despite a change in fortune or the achievement of major goals. We see this effect when we buy a new smartphone. For a few weeks, it is the bee’s knees and we marvel at how fast it is and what lovely photos it …

Read more…

Gordon Lyons appointed Economy Minister…

Poor old Paul Frew, he was only in the job two weeks and now he is out. Gordon Lyons has been appointed to replace Paul Frew as NI economy minister, Democratic Unionist Party leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has announcedhttps://t.co/W3daqI81OS — BBC News NI (@BBCNewsNI) July 6, 2021 From his profile, it seems the 35 year old Gordon Lyons has never had a job outside of politics. He was an assistant to Sammy Wilson before becoming an MLA. At this point, …

Read more…