For the day that’s in it.

For the day that’s in it.

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That is an actual piece of The Berlin Wall. It sits on my mantelpiece at home and reminds me that things can change and things do change. No matter what the politicians and media tell us, anybody who witnessed the wall being toppled will testify to the power of people.

Ordinary, everyday people like you and I toppled that wall. Not politicians, not armies, not rock stars…just ordinary humble folk who collectively said “Enough is enough!”

“The truth will set you free.” Jesus Christ said those words long before Jimi Hendrix. Not everybody knows that. The media doesn’t want you to know that either.

In Ireland at the moment there is a peaceful revolution taking place. We, the people, have endured six years of austerity measures. Big taxes on this and that and everything. Recently our government decided to privatise our water and charge us ridiculous prices for the pleasure of having water come from a tap.

But this time the people have had enough. One by one we started to get off our knees and rise up. Marches were organised. Social media was used to spread the word. I put my shoulder to the wheel by getting onto the local radio shows to spread the news to the non-internet folk. The country started to awaken, one by one.

Last Saturday, the largest, most peaceful march in the history of our country took place. 150,000 people pulled on their overcoats and went outside in God’s free rainfall and marched shoulder to shoulder in defiance of the latest tax. Some marched for anti-privatisation of our water and others marched simply because they had nothing left to give. The cuts had taken their toll on the people.

One placard I saw carried the slogan “The only thing left to cut…is our throats.”

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The following day there was one newspaper in particular which caught my eye. It showed a cartoon scene of a riot taking place with the heading “Open revolt.” It caught my eye because the cartoon scene was an attempt by the newspaper to discredit the folks who marched the previous day. There was no violent scene to show, so they invented one. I bought the paper and kept it safe.

Fast forward to the following Friday (two days ago). In a last ditch attempt to give all who were opposed to extra water taxes and water meter installations a bad name, the daily newspaper had an actual photo of a riot on its front cover. In tiny print below, the caption mentioned that the photo was from Brussels. But IN LARGE PRINT was the headline “Water meter works cancelled” along with a story that people had started to get violent with the men installing water meters.

The mission of those two front pages was clear to me.; to discredit anybody who didn’t say ‘yes’ to the government’s water agenda. Lots of folk don’t read newspapers but lots of folk will catch a glimpse of the front pages on their way past newspaper stands. The subconscious will fill in the blanks. This is the oldest trick in the media book.

I called it! I had enough of this carry on. I called it on Friday on social media. On Saturday a few folks ran with my theory. One guy uploaded a video about it. Another did a breakdown of the front page to dumb it down for easy learning. They didn’t credit me in their work but it’s not the end of the world. The ego is the invention of the devil…(evil laugh).

Last night the video had gone viral. The other guy’s post had done the same. But I see this morning that his post was removed. “They” haven’t removed my photo because my photo and my theory belong to me. Just like the theories of the newspapers.

The cat is out of the bag. Just like 25 years ago when the first few ordinary, everyday folk made it to the other side….the tsunami of people and people power followed. I reckon this date is reserved by God for God’s people, and God’s gifts of freedom and His natural resources.

“The truth will set you free” – He wasn’t lying after all.

Power to the people! Walls will tumble again.

Thank you for reading

Frankie.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/let-it-be/

When life gives lemons.

Our team won! We are through to the semi finals! I kept it together in the old ‘fear of heights’ department!

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It was a good day. Our luck was in. Then something happened on the car journey home which reminded me just how lucky I am.

The radio was on and the sports commentators were giving the post match analysis. Every now and then they would read out a comment which they had received via phone or email. Most of these were the usual comments, like…

“Armagh was robbed!” or “The better team lost.” or “Donegal will hammer Dublin in the semi final,” (which they will). But in the middle of all these was a comment which sent me into a daydream.

“Michael Healey would like to say thanks for all the thrilling live match commentary down through the years. Michael has been blind since birth.”

The chat continued on the radio and also in the back seat but I was now miles away, in Michael’s kitchen. Blind since birth! He doesn’t know the colours of the pitch, the players, the flags, anything. He doesn’t know colours. He has never seen a player jump to catch a high ball. He has never seen a ball soar through the air or between the posts.

In fact he doesn’t have a fear of heights because, high seats or low seats, they are all the same to him.

And yet he takes the time to say thanks.

Michael Healey, whoever you are, we the people with eyes that work are grateful to you for showing us how to cope, and still be thankful.

I hope your county team do you proud.

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Thank you for reading

Frankie.

A big thanks to Vic Briggs for the photo. http://shardsofsilence.wordpress.com/2014/08/03/in-the-absence-of-sound/

In response to http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/not-lemonade/

Dressed for battle.

Dressed for battle.

I have a fear of heights.

So, why then am I going to put myself through torment in five hours time?

Because as my wife says “Being a parent is not about you Frankie, it’s about them.” She also sometimes calls it ‘building memories for them’.

This won’t be our first trip to Croke Park, Ireland’s national football stadium, and fingers crossed it won’t be our last! Our county team, Donegal, have reached the quarter final.

On previous visits to the stadium we were seated nice and low. But this time the only seats left were the highest, steepest gradient. My kids do not know about my fear of heights and I don’t intend to pass it on because “it’s not about me.” Heights shhmites!

There will be plenty to keep my mind off the height with the match taking place below. We (we are all in this together) are going to absolutely make County Armagh wish they had never taken an interest in football. We will destroy them. As they say in the States “we will hand them their asses.” In New York..”We will moyda the bums.”  In Germany…”Vee vill kill zem.” In Mexico..

Okay I have to go. They are calling.

Bring it!

Bring it!

“Don..e..gal” clap clap clap “Don..e..gal” clap clap clap.

Thank you for reading

Frankie… It is time! There will be mud!

Big brother, small brother.

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I spoke on our local radio station today. I was great! You should’ve been there.

People all over County Donegal stopped what they were doing just to hear my words of wisdom. You could’ve heard a pin drop.

There was a lady speaking via phone to the host. She was waiting at her home to be collected by the local police and whisked off to prison. The sentence had been handed down a few days previous. Her crime? She wanted to teach her children at home.

She and her husband have six children. They have home schooled them all so far. The eldest is now 27 and having a successful career, as are the following two. The remaining three children are still at various stages of learning. From what I gathered, the children are taught at home until in around the early teens. After that, they are encouraged to take the next step, which is usually a more specialised form of education.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating and well…so far so good. But…

There is always a but. The department of education (the state) couldn’t just leave it be. Oh no, that would be too much like common sense. They dragged the woman through the courts in an attempt to force her to submit to the state’s system. She refused. And now she is headed for the slammer.

Driving along, listening to the radio, I was so impressed by her version of things that I pulled over and sent a little text message of support into the radio station.

Well, lo and behold, the station phoned me back asking, no begging, me to join in the conversation live on air. I obliged.

The truth is I am not really that hot at public speaking. What I wanted to say came out okay but my heart was going a mile a minute, and my hands were sweating like crazy. Of course the host, being neutral in opinion, didn’t give me an easy ride either. But all in all it went alright .

After the call, I slunk back in my driver’s seat and ran the conversation back in my mind’s ear. Smiling to myself at how knowledgeable I sounded.

Just then, my phone bleeped. It was a text message from my boss, who also happens to be my younger brother. It read as follows : “If you don’t get back to your feckin work soon, you will have plenty of time to home-school your own kids!!!”

Oops, I had forgotten other folks have radios also. Big brother, eh?

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His bark is worse than his bite, and very witty too…I hope.

Thank you for reading

Frankie.

Itchy Ireland

Itchy Ireland

I have a keen interest in the ‘goings on’ of ancient Ireland. Not so much an interest in the academic side of who was who, but in the spiritual side of things.

It fascinates me as to what the ancient Irish believed, in a spiritual sense. I reckon they were more in touch with the signs and nature’s communications around them. The key word being “reckon”. Because that is really all we can do, thousands of years later. We can piece together actual events and dates based on the writings of monks and Roman scholarly types etc., but the gaps have to be filled with educated guesses. And one guess is as good as the next when there is no evidence.

I attended a seminar recently at which various speakers from the respective historical organisations of Ireland came to Donegal and gave us their take on things. It was very interesting at times. At other times it was confusing. It seems it’s not just Country singers we can’t agree on, it’s also archaeology and prehistory. Like the speaker representing the National Museum likening a civilian in possession of a metal detector to some sort of highly organised criminal. I found myself slinking further down into my seat the more he spoke.

I gathered the problem is that there have been cases whereby somebody has found some buried artefact or other and before you could say “Archaeology shmology,” the thing is for sale on the internet to the highest bidder. But of course as with all things in the world we (metal detector owners) get tarred with the one brush. There is practically a zero tolerance of metal detectors everywhere in Ireland apart from the beach.

A few speakers later there was a rep from a different Irish body, The Heritage Council, telling us to keep searching like crazy because “..we have only scratched the surface..” as regards ancient discoveries in Ireland. He was my favourite speaker. I straightened back up in my seat. He was making some very interesting statements. I had assumed like so many others that most pre-historical sites of any major significance had been already found and recorded. Not so, according to him…

…and Not so, according to me also. Because two weeks later I found something!

I found a pyramid! Yeah, baby, you heard me, a pyramid, in Donegal, Ireland.

In truth it’s a large three sided stone, about hip high – showing above the heather. I’m not sure how further down it goes, perhaps a couple of foot. There is a longer version of this story which I am gagging to tell but I must remind myself this is a blog post, not a thesis.

I have been doing an awful lot of hill walking lately. Actually the truth is I never leave the hills. My wife calls me Moses, the kids think I’m half goat. I have always been drawn to hills or mountains. If you haven’t been up one lately, get yourself up soon, you’re missing out. It’s like an out of body experience, looking down on the world below. That’s my main reason for hill walking, the spiritual feeling it brings.

So last week as I trekked along a local hill, on the lookout for the burning bush, I came upon this stone. It was on a stretch of the hill I hadn’t really been on before. I was kinda letting my spirit guide me, if that makes sense. I passed the rock at first but as I did so, that little inner voice goes “take a closer look at that rock”. I went towards it and noticed how it was sitting alone on a kind of plateau. I also noted the triangular shape. As I circled it I got a strong feeling that it was somehow a big deal back in day.

I lifted my head and there on the opposite hill in the distance was Grianán of Aileach, a circular ancient stone building. This three sided stone was pointing directly at it. Grianán was also, from this point, perfectly framed in a distant valley.

Grianán of Aileach is one of those places where some knowledge is known but not all. The current structure, which has been restored once or twice, is believed, by a reliable source, to have been built in around 790AD. But he did hasten to add that the current structure has been built inside the perimeter of a much older structure. Some believe it was a fort, more say it was a place of worship, and others say nothing at all. I did read a theory somewhere that it was an amphitheatre. Garth plays Grianán, hmm.

Not far from this three sided rock there is an ancient burial mound, or Cairn. Local legend says it holds the original builder of Grianán. Guess what, one of the other corners points to the cairn. I am not sure yet where the third corner is pointing, if anywhere. But the following day I returned with a compass. I placed it on top of the stone and it turns out that Grianán is also exactly south of this stone.

My gut feeling is that this stone has some ancient significance. I feel this is the spot from where the site for Grianán was chosen.

I snapped a few photos and created a little slideshow. There also appears to be a ‘human face’ carved, probably by nature’s chisel, into one of the ridges of the stone. See if you can spot it. I wish it could talk to me.

The Heritage Council guy was correct, we have only scratched the surface. Look around you, there is an itch somewhere, begging for centuries to be scratched.

Thank you for reading

Frankie.  (See slideshow below.)

 

 

 

Two pic credits =grianán aerial shot was from forever-ireland.com and the other was from wikipedia.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/frame-of-mind/

Bealtaine, Sunshine and Anna.

Bealtaine, Sunshine and Anna.

It’s safe to read on today.  No crime mysteries to solve in this post.

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There is a place here in County Donegal, Ireland which is worth a visit if you are ever up this way. It’s a circle of standing stones called Beltany.

The Irish readers will already know this; There are lots of place names and towns re-named by the English years ago when they were making their maps and dividing up the land. Basically, the name Beltany comes from the gaelic name for the month of May, Bealtaine, pronounced bale-tan-na, or that’s how I do it in my accent.

Bealtaine was a big deal. The start of the summer. The season of growth. I believe that word came from an ancient god named Belenus. I believe his name came from Bel in Gaulish celtic mythology meaning bright/light/shine.

I’ll get to the point.

Anna is a blogger who is/was a teacher. I read a post on her blog very recently and it was a side to teaching I had never heard before. She loved the kids so much it hurt. It is one of those posts that stick in my head. Her blog is here  http://goinroguedotnet.com/ .

I had already been given the Sunshine award badge. Anna didn’t know this. It was my fault. Since then I made a page called ‘Awards’ just to remind myself how truly great I am and to let anybody see what I already have on my lapel.

I want to do something to show my appreciation to Anna for giving a ‘Sunshine’ award, of all things, to a wretch like me. I will answer the questions as honestly as I can without kicking off WW3 and Armageddon and all that.

1. Why did I decide to start blogging?

I like reading and I like writing about the things I that interest me, I think. It’s a question I have been asking myself recently.

2. Have I ever had a near death experience?

Yes! Most definitely. I was 16 or 17 in the passenger seat of the a friend’s car. We were going pretty fast on a narrow lane. There was a pothole (I can still see it in my mind’s eye), he swerved to avoid it and next thing the car left the road. We were hurtling through a downhill field. Time slowed down, I looked at him then looked back towards the window. Then it happened. My life actually flashed in front of me. It’s so hard to explain but all these different scenes from my life up to that point were flicking in front of me. So fast. If you remember how the six million dollar man used to read a book, by just fanning the pages? It was like that. Super fast visual scenes but my brain understood each one. Anyway, the car landed safely. We got it towed out of the field, gave her a quick wash, replaced the broken number plate, and had her back in his yard before his father noticed she was missing. Happy days.

3. Am I lover or a fighter? First thought please.

Lover.

4. Do I drink caffeine?

Tea.

5. What’s my favourite food?

I don’t think I have one. I eat anything. Even my words.

6. Name my favourite fictional character?

Ross O’Carroll Kelly.

7. Do I prefer real books or e-reader?

Real books.

8. Have I ever smoked cigarettes?

Honey, I’ve eaten cigarettes! I smoked since boyhood until pancake Tuesday 2009. I hope to take up pipe smoking if I make it to 60. I love everything about pipe smoking. The image, the cleaning ritual, the smell, everything.

9. Am I married with/without kids?

Yes to both charges. My fate is sealed.

10. Am I a positive or negative person, most of the time?

I am eternally positive. And I would be even more positive if a newsreader did this every once in a while:

Thank you Anna, and thanks to anybody else for reading

Frankie.

photo from google images

My grail.

My grail.

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Did I say Tsegaye  Mekonnen? I meant Wilson Kipsang…ahem.

Still 5th place wasn’t bad in a tiny event like the London marathon. Unlike the glory which is attached to crossing the line in 50th position at the Inishowen half marathon! Yeah baby! How d’ya like those apples, Mekonnen!

I enjoyed my own race on Sunday. That’s a bad sign. Races aren’t there to be enjoyed, soldier!

It’s a couple of years since my last half marathon. I ran 86 mins back then. On Sunday I ran 95 mins. That may not seem like a big drop to a non-runner, but believe me it is. It’s a lot slower.

But…at least I am running daily again so things can only improve.

There was a WordPress prompt a couple of days ago asking about obsessions. I had something of an obsession for a while. It was to run a marathon in less than three hours.

The idea that I would be capable of running a sub three (that’s runner speak) had never entered my head until our local club coach suggested that I had the potential if I “played my cards right.”  I had just finished a 3hrs 15mins marathon when he made the suggestion.

Sometimes I wish he had never hinted at it at all. Because in my head it had become a prophecy rather than encouragement. I trained like a Kenyan all through 2011 for the Dublin marathon. On race day I pulled a small calf muscle at mile 6 and only bothered to finish the thing because I had been doing it for a neighbour’s charity. I hobbled around in 5hrs, I think.

The next attempt at a sub three came last October. It was an incredibly windy day and by mile 13 my goose was cooked. I knew that I was going to miss my target by about 3 mins. Three measly minutes. I didn’t have a plan B. I wanted a sub three. I had trained for sub three. But like an idiot, instead of setting a new goal mid-race, I just jogged around to finish in 3hrs 27mins. I threw away my chance to finish it in maybe 3hrs 3 mins. That was probably the silliest thing I have ever done. Months and months of training thrown away over three measly minutes.

Chasing my grail and failing didn’t destroy my love of running. Even those races which didn’t go to plan didn’t stop me from smiling as I crossed the finish line.

Have I given up on a sub three? No way. Having a goal keeps it interesting.

I feel I am so lucky being able to run at all. I do appreciate this gift.

A tough little ten miler over hills on Saturday, I might enter that and try for 70 mins.

I will let you know how it goes.

Thank you for reading

Frankie. (1533 in the pic, the good looking one)

 

In response to http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/cant-get-it-out-of-my-head/