Getting the priorities in order.

Getting the priorities in order.

It’s like deja vu. I have too many irons in the fire…again. So I intend to take a break for a while. Gotta get my priorities in order.

If, in the meantime, I think of something that will change the world, you guys will be first to hear about it.

My blog has made it, by some mistake, to the short list of the ‘best humour blogs’ in Ireland. I haven’t worn my funny cap in months. Strange. Best of luck to the remaining participants.

On the car journey home from work today, my workmate and myself were listening to the news on the radio. He had lived across the pond, in Boston, for a few years. He has fond memories of the States, some of which he retells to me on our journeys home.

But today on the radio the newsreader told the heartbreaking tale of a young girl who accidentally shot her gun instructor…with an Uzi !! That’s a submachine gun. It ‘sprays’ bullets.

I will pray that the girl will fully recover from the eyewitness shock of what a gun actually does. The poor girl. May God watch over her.

“…the girl was nine years old,” finished the newsreader.

With that, my workmate starts nodding and goes “And they can’t order a beer until they’re 21.”

Then silence in the car…except for the weather on the radio.

Thank you for reading

Frankie.

 

 

 

The Daddy!

I touched one for the first time last Saturday. My hand trembled as I stroked her. I had waited a long time for this moment.

You must understand that throughout my boyhood I had only ever seen one in the centre-fold of a magazine. But no glossy picture in an 80’s magazine could have prepared me for her beauty, in the flesh. She was, she is, gorgeous!

You’ve guessed it. I am talking about the ‘Audi Sport Quattro – short wheel base’. The daddy of d’Audi.

The face of beauty

The face of beauty

..and the behind...phwoarr!

..and the behind…phwoarr!

 

God’s gift to car enthusiasts. Only 214 were ever made. 175 were sold to the public. The rest were converted to rally cars or used for test purposes.

Audi already had the longer wheel base Quattro in production for a few years and these were also very successful in rally format. But zee german auto company vanted to build zee ‘ultimate’ rally car. The rally rules stated that a car had to have a production run of at least 200 vehicles before it could be used for competition. Hence the 214.

I will leave it that. I am a bit of an anorak on 80’s  Audi and VW cars. I have owned lots of those brands in years gone by. I even went though a period of rally driving also. She was a little Mk 1 golf. Good memories. Back when I had some money. Back before the children needed trivial things like…I don’t know…shoes and food.

Hello children, goodbye rally car.

Hello children, goodbye rally car.

So anyway last Saturday I came face to face with both a road version and a rally version of the delicious ‘Sport Quattro SWB’ at a car show.

Suspicious looking spouse.

Suspicious looking spouse.

“Dear Santa, I have been a good boy. There is just one thing I would like…”  Joking aside, it was nice to meet my dream car in person. I think we all have one, or used to, at one time.

I have included a short video clip of an Audi in action during the golden years of rally, when men were men and tyres were cheap.

It should have been me in that video…if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids!

Thank you for reading

Frankie.

 

The love shack.

Apart from myself there have been approximately a half-dozen others who have seen my wife naked. Worse yet, we all live in the same town!

Still, time is the great healer. It doesn’t bother me so much now. It doesn’t bother her in the slightest.

We were a young couple. Newly married. Twenty-two years a piece. Mad for each other.

For the first two years of marriage we rented a small house while we saved for the deposit on our current home. It was a perfect little love nest. I have photos somewhere but I found this one online. You can see the cottage and its proximity to the beach.

The love shack, baby!

The love shack, baby!

The cottage is very old, in fact there was a ghost which used to whisper at times. True! But that didn’t bother us because we were too busy with each other, you know, exorcising our inhibitions.

Then one day…Crash!…Splash! The water tank in the attic gave up its own ghost. It was one of the older galvanised tanks, unlike the newer plastic versions. Anyway, it had rusted through, dumping its load. The ceiling gave way and drenched all below. Nether of us were in at the time and it wasn’t until hours later when we arrived back from work that we made the discovery.

The cottage owner was very helpful. He gave us the keys to another, more modern, holiday chalet in the neighbourhood while he got the old cottage fixed up.

On the Saturday night we went out with friends for a few beers and a spot of dancing. Bear in mind we were still young.

Upon returning, nature took its course. Just like the movies there was a trail of clothing from the front door to the bedroom door. Enough said.

The next morning we just lay there recalling how much fun we’d had with our friends at the disco. Well we laughed and snuggled and chatted until I could hold it no longer. I had one in the barrel and it was high time to let it go.

So up I get and scurry to the bedroom door in a panic. I reached for the doorknob and it came off in my hand! This was bad!! The door was hinged to open inwards. I tried refitting and turning it slowly but it was no use; the door was a very tight fit in the door frame, maybe because the house was rarely occupied.

Needless to say my wife was in stitches. No compassion there. Not even a waste paper basket in the room. Yes, if there had been I would have went in it. Image is nothing, in a situation like this!

Her laughing slowed when she realised that all our clothes were on the other side of the door. Her laughing stopped when she had to wriggle out the window. I didn’t give her time to mull it over. By now, I was in countdown mode. The idea was that she would enter through the front door and, once inside, open the bedroom door from the inside. Good job it was a bungalow.

But then. “Look Daddy, look! That woman has a bare bum.”

I stuck my head out the window. There was a family next door having breakfast outside. Lovely! Both parents and the two children stared as my wife picked herself up and ran off around the side of the house. Not only that but there was a couple out walking their spotted dalmatians who had also stopped to feast their eyes. Being totally honest, at that moment, I didn’t care what they thought. I just needed to go, so so badly.

It came to pass, the plan worked. The relief was Biblical!

A day or two later we were back in the Love Shack. A week or two later, the townsfolk found someone else’s wife to talk about.

The first thing I did when we bought our own house…I planted a hedge. Because as we all know, those who forget their history are destined to repeat it.

Thank you for reading

Frankie.

 

 

 

You know Ennio?

You know Ennio?

For some reason I can’t get this man out of my head today.

ennio-morricone-autograph

When musicians talk about the great music composers they often mention Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and the other guy. I am not a musician. I can just about play the guitar, badly. But I think most real musicians will agree that Ennio Morricone could give them a run for their money. A fist-full of money!

As a young cowboy I didn’t stop to think where the background music originated. I only knew it suited us both, me and Clint. At primary school (all boys), we would whistle the theme to ‘The good, the bad, and the ugly,’ as the headmaster’s footsteps could be heard approaching the classroom.

Morricone has composed the music for lots of movies. Including a personal favourite, from 1986, The Mission. It starred Robert DeNiro, Jeremy Irons, and a young Liam Neeson.

I was fifteen when I saw it in the local cinema. I went alone, which was good because I found the tears welling in my eyes near the end. I won’t spoil it if you’ve never seen it. A great movie which told a true story from all sides, the good, the bad and the ugly.

In fact, it doesn’t take a proper musician to appreciate Gabriel’s Oboe. Any earthly creature with an ear could feel the emotion in the notes (they don’t make truckers like they used to).

Thank you for reading

Frankie.

 

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!

PICT0390       PICT0389

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.

20140803-083010-30610185

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/

Think again.

handpainted-handprints-kids-5862229

In the WordPress daily prompt today we are asked to “Think again” about a false assumption we had made and how we were proven wrong.

Somebody once told me “Frankie, you think way too much .” Hands up, I do, but I enjoy it. The great thing about truck driving is that one has copious amounts of thinking time. It’s like a think-fest up there in the cab.

I lump daydreaming and thinking in together. One minute I could be thinking about Saint Francis and the next I could be thinking about some lady’s bum in tight jeans, a mile back. That’s the way the hole, I mean whole, day goes by with me. I am sure there are lots like me and then…sometimes…I wonder if thinkers are dying out.

I have noticed something of an epidemic spreading across the internet. There seems to be a nasty kind of vibe towards people who believe in God/Allah/Christ/Muhammad/ or other faiths. I’m not talking about the recent scandals in churches. I am talking about belief.

What is wrong with people on this planet? As if we don’t have enough trouble convincing the world leaders to shake hands!! I reckon if Christ returned now he would be promptly crucified all over again.

Who was it said “It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it.” ? That’s right, Aristotle. And a damn good truck driver he was too.

If faith in God keeps somebody happy, keeps them from going off the rails, then what gives anybody the right to say it is wrong?

Do you feel the desire to remove a soother from the mouth of a child just to hear it cry? A child that doesn’t belong to you? No.

If you consider faith in God to be a handicap do you walk along the street making fun of mentally and physically handicapped people? No. Because you are an adult. A responsible adult.

A thought just occurred to me. Perhaps there is a common ground; Saint Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals and the environment. According to those who knew him, he tamed wolves, spoke to birds, the plants, the sun, the moon, the lot.

Like Doctor Doolittle in a long hoody. He loved animals and nature. At the same time he had his own faith/beliefs.

“I think” he got it right because he was the first person in recorded history to receive the stigmata. He bothered nobody. He had once been filthy rich and gave it all up for the simple life serving the poor. He loved his animals, his townsfolk, and his God.

There are lots of things I don’t believe; the news channels, the discovery channels, the moon landings, the 9/11 story, the ‘fracking is safe’ story, the ‘no cure for cancer’ story etc. But there is one thing which I hope never to trash, and that is a person’s core faith. In fact even though I am a Christian I have the deepest admiration in the way people of the Muslim faith practice their rituals on a daily basis. My hat goes off to them for the way they unashamedly pray aloud five times per day!!  God is lucky to hear from me once a week!

I enjoy reading blogs by Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Wicka etc., I admire those bloggers who throw little nuggets of belief into a post. They are so colourful. Just when I think I know it all they teach me something else about their beliefs. They are colourful people, not dull.

We have to grow up, collectively. Religions create colourful cultures in the various countries. Who wants to visit a country that no longer has it’s own culture? That’s where we’re heading…to a grey world. One dull shade of it.

Our religious and atheist figureheads have all died. Lets concentrate on stopping any more killing. Like the daily prompt says…Think again.

Thank you for reading

Frankie.

In response to http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/think-again/

 

 

 

Big brother, small brother.

radio-dial_00273392

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?

listening-ear-300x199

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

Thank you for reading

Frankie.

Mind over matter.

When I was a little boy I used to imitate the sporting heroes from the telly. Whether it was football, tennis, running, whatever. I was easily steered by things I witnessed. Easily led, my mother used to say. Although I was just as easily led in the unhealthy direction also.

I’ll bet all over England today there are both kids and adults with a new sense of hope in their personal running and jogging ambitions.

I am not making this statement lightly; Yesterday evening I witnessed one of the greatest feats of mental strength that I have seen.

The reason I have waited 24 hours to post my excitement is that I was hoping for some video evidence to emerge on youtube, to back these words up.

I am talking about a 5000 metre race in Glasgow, as part of the Commonwealth games. What occurred during those fifteen minutes will go down, in my opinion, as a perfect example of what happens when a little belief and a lot of encouragement, come together to turn a crazy, crazy dream into reality.

Picture yourself as a forty year old, mother of two, in a race against girls half your age. Some of whom hail from Kenya, the greatest distance running nation on earth.

I greatly admire the Kenyan athletes. They have to work extra hard to make their country’s team. The standard is so high that picking any name from a hat of hundreds could prove to be a possible gold medal Olympian. That is no exaggeration. They are that good.

I can feel my heart rate rise even as I think about it now.

The 5000m race is twelve-n-a-half laps of the track. The seventeen females ran as a group until lap number six when the three Kenyan ladies made their move. It was like they said “Okay, that was a warm up. Let’s show them who’s boss.” Except they spoke with their legs.

Only two non-Kenyans were brave enough to chase them; Jo Pavey of England and an athlete from Australia.

With four laps to go Jo Pavey moved to the front and pushed the pace even faster. Her years of experience told her that her only chance, as a woman old enough to be their mother, was to burn the young Kenyans out before the final sprint. I am not even English but I was starting to sit up straight in my seat and will her on. I admire those who strive against the odds. The Kenyan girls glanced at her as she overtook them as if to say “Is this auld one mad?”

With 600 metres to go the three Kenyans and the Australian steamed past Pavey. I thought, even the commentators thought, that was the end of Jo Pavey’s gutsy run. But to everybody’s amazement, especially the crowded stadium, the English woman overtook them all again as the bell rang for the final lap.

The pace was mental fast now. The three Kenyans collectively decided to put an end to her ambition. They kicked into sprint mode down the back straight with 200 metres to go. Pavey was gasping for air by now. The African train steamed past. It would have destroyed any other runner.

But something happened, just when all hope was lost the crowd cheered even louder, the forty year old clenched her teeth to fight the exhaustion. Her face grimaced in pain, she was gasping for air, but she pumped her elbows with all her might and made one of the greatest comebacks I have ever witnessed.

By now I was out of my seat shouting, like an eejit, at the telly “Go on, go on…”

Go Jo!

Go Jo!

In a sprint finish she managed a bronze medal. In fact she almost took silver. It was quite possibly one of the greatest races, start to finish, there has ever been.

She has given hope to all athletes with her mind over matter attitude. She proved that the Kenyans, greatest running nation ever, are only flesh and blood like the rest of us.

It’s a pity there isn’t yet a video on youtube. I suppose these things take time. But I will bet, when it appears, there will be coaches all over England, perhaps all over the globe, using it to show what “giving your best” actually looks like.

Well done Jo, credit where it’s due.

Poetry for runners :)

Poetry for runners 🙂

I’m off to break the world record, just like that impressionable little Irish boy back in the day.

 

Thank you for reading

Frankie….phew!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you Liz!

I have a dream to be self sufficient someday, or at least as close as my will power allows. I’ll admit I am in the wrong job to be preaching about atmospheric pollution. Trucks don’t help the ozone but they pay the kids’ college fees. So…I’m still working on it.

The Dutch are the daddies when it comes to clean living. Anybody who has ever been there will testify to that. I reckon babies born in Holland can cycle before they can walk. Bicycles everywhere!  In fact, the photograph for my blog site was taken in Holland. Those windmills are situated along a dam which keeps the tide out. Everything is planned to perfection. On motorways they even use ‘glow in the dark’ paint for the road markings (white and yellow lines) to save on street lighting.

I dabble a bit in ‘vegetable growing’ at home. Very small scale; a polytunnel and a few other veggie patches here and there.

How d'ya like 'those' apples! I mean strawberries.

How d’ya like ‘those’ apples! I mean strawberries.

On the other hand ‘Green Lizard’s blog’ are the experts. They hail from the land of tulips. Apart from growing their own, they keep chickens etc, and seem to invent new uses for any object. Recycling is their speciality.  Here is a link to the blog site http://lizard100blog.wordpress.com/

Liz has bestowed upon me a ‘Thanks for reading’ badge. What a neat way of saying thanks!

20140721-215935-79175782

I am allowed, in turn, to say thanks to devoted readers of my diesel scented dribble. I am only allowed fourteen so I hope that nobody feels left out.

In fact lots of people will be relieved to be left out. Because by receiving this badge of thanks it means you have to pass the love along to your own readers when you find the time.

Firstly, thanks to those readers who quietly follow by email (mostly friends and family who were never supposed to find out about my blog until my dear wife spilled the beans).

Now, any nominees thankees that decide to abstain from this madness are forgiven. In fact they may have received this badge before. But here…

http://alienorajt.wordpress.com/

http://politicalpips.wordpress.com/

http://tropicalaffair.me/

http://humblebees.net/

http://followingmyjoy.com/

http://tnkerr.wordpress.com/

http://fieldofthorns.wordpress.com/

http://flowersandbreezes.wordpress.com/

http://mcwilson1956.wordpress.com/

http://electricinthedesert.wordpress.com/

http://geraintisitt.wordpress.com/

http://wideawakebutdreaming.wordpress.com/

http://rachelcarrera.wordpress.com/

http://marthakennedy.wordpress.com/

There are loads more who encourage me by hitting a like button or adding a comment. It’s a pity I am not allowed even three more thankees.

I thrive on encouragement. For years I thought I could be content without it. But when I got a taste of it I realised that it is encouragement which fuels my ambition, my drive…to be the best blogger the internet has ever seen.

Cue the Rocky music..

Thank you for reading and thank you Liz (the only girl in Holland who can’t ride a bike, tut-tut) 🙂

Frankie

"Adriaaan"

“Adriaaan”

I am somebody now!

Blog-Awards-Ireland-780x355

I don’t know about you but I enjoy reunions. I had a reunion with a few old schoolmates last week. It was good fun, recalling all the antics.

We got away with murder. There is one story in particular that sums up what we were like, back in the day. But before I share it there is something else that happened during the week. It gave me cause for much excitement. This blog is officially in the running for Ireland’s most coveted prize in blogging. I will have to pull the socks up and get serious for the next few months. You can view the long-list here http://www.blogawardsireland.com/category/long-list-2014/

To see the words “Trucker Turning Write” in the list gave me such a smile. I knew it was nominated thanks to Liz at http://www.lizard100blog.wordpress.com  and my wife who both encouraged me to give it a go. Even if nothing comes of it the following clip sums up the feeling of simply being on the nominee list.

 

 

It’s Saturday night and I am treating myself to a few beers at home. I enjoy a beer at weekends. I never really developed a taste for anything stronger. But…

There was a friend of mine whose parents were teetotallers. They didn’t drink alcohol but they always kept a bottle or two about the house, for visitors, you know. My friend was a normal teenager, curious about all things taboo. Sometimes when he got the chance he would try a drop behind his parents’ back. Vodka was his preference. He would consume as much as the circumstances would allow and simply top the bottle up with water.

This practice continued from midsummer all the way to Christmas until the bottle was so watered down that it was basically…just water.

All was fine until his parents invited the neighbours around for “a wee drop of Christmas cheer”. Being typically Irish the neighbours accepted generous top-ups without complaining about the vodka. But being typically Irish they went around the neighbourhood the following day telling everybody about the Christmas Scrooges who tried to pass off a bottle of water as vodka.

It didn’t take long for word to filter back to the parents. They were in shock. They promptly did what every Irish parent would do…totally overlooked anything domestic; their sons were good boys, beyond suspicion.

No, they took the nearly empty bottle and drove straight into town, to the off-licence (liquor store) where the bottle was initially purchased and demanded a refund and an apology. After much arguing, believe it or not, they got their apology, having somehow managed to convince the storekeeper that somebody working in his establishment had been helping themselves behind his back.

The perfect crime.

Those were the days. They don’t make parents like they used to.

Teens? I reckon teens will be teens in every generation.

Thank you for reading

Frankie.

ps…Good luck to all nominees.