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.

 

Sometimes.

A while back the Daily Prompt on WordPress asked me if there was something in my collection that I would like to read again. At the time I didn’t respond to the prompt. Sometimes I find it hard to make choices. That was one of those times.

Then last week I recalled a book that left a lasting impact on me. Whenever I hear about kidnappings and hostages I think of a man called Brian Keenan. A Belfast man who went to Beirut for a change of scenery, in 1985. Bad decision. He was kidnapped and held hostage for four and a half years! That’s a long time. Most of that time in darkened solitary confinement, or what the prison movies call The hole.

It’s not a book about politics. It is a testimony to willpower. In the book, the reader is not only in the cell, the reader is allowed inside his head. My brief review doesn’t do justice to this book, but in this age with the ‘Power of positive thoughts’ being all the rage, Brian Keenan’s book ‘An evil cradling’ blows everything else away when it comes to coping with circumstances. He has walked the walk, albeit within the confines of a tiny cell.

I will read it again.

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Getting back to today’s Daily Prompt. It asks..If I was given a robot, which task would I use it for?

I sometimes feel pity for the executioners. Not the type who would video record an execution for the torment of a victim’s family! But the traditional executioner down through history. A judge and jury call the shots but the buck always stops with him.

I try to imagine what it must be like for him, when he is alone at night with his thoughts. He can’t explain his actions away with terms like ‘self defence’. It is an unnecessary kill. I feel sorry for him sometimes.

In Ireland last week the abortion debate has started again. I have never been in that situation so I am not qualified to judge. But there is one issue which really upsets me. Suicide risk of the pregnant female is often given as being reasonable grounds for granting an abortion.

My question is this… What about the doctor? What if, after a few abortions, he breaks down? What if he becomes suicidal?

It’s very easy to be judge and jury. Being executioner is a different kettle of fish altogether.

In Poland last month a doctor was sacked for refusing to conduct an abortion. His conscience wouldn’t allow him to go through with it. But the law cares nothing of one’s personal conscience. You can read about it here  http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/leading-polish-pro-life-ob-gyn-sacked-fined-for-refusing-abortion-says-it-w

Any of my regular readers (Hi Mom) will know that I have a strong dislike for leaders who command whole armies from the comfort of an office. No blood on his / her hands!

I suppose what I am trying to say is that perhaps it is good to put ourselves in the shoes of those holding the syringe or whatever instrument they use. I feel sorry for those people, sometimes. They aren’t robots.

Thank you for reading

Frankie.

In response to http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/you-robot/  and  http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/off-the-shelf/

 

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.

 

Pride.

I give the title “Pride” to this post for three reasons.

The first is a French runner. He won the European steeplechase last night. I think this may be his third time to be crowned Euro steeplechase champ (I could be wrong). But he won last night with ease. So much ease that he decided to striptease as he ran the final straight. The pride was written all over his face. Before the evening was out he was stripped of the gold medal. Disqualified, for breaking the rules. I bet he regrets the premature celebrations, poor chap. As John Lennon used to say, in his Liverpool accent “Alright alright, keep your shirt on.”

The second reason is Mexico. The Mexican people are leading the way when it comes to world peace. As of July, 12,000 guns have been handed in to the ‘Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe’ in Mexico city since there was a programme introduced in which a weapon can be exchanged for food, or cash, or a laptop, or a domestic appliance. And get this…children who hand in toy guns also receive a reward, in the form of another toy like a football or something non-violence related. Go Mexico, be proud!!! I wonder would this be worth a try with kids all around the world? Maybe it’s not too late to help the next generation.

Heap of guns in different bright colors

And finally the third reason is my eldest daughter (17) received the results of the leaving cert exams this week. For those overseas, the leaving certificate exams are the final exams of second level education. She did very well.

Close up of a graduation cap and a certificate with a ribbon

I don’t know much about science (there’s a song in that) but she has whittled it down to two universities. There are some things I can offer advice on. Science isn’t one of them. Although chemistry… I do know not to mix my drinks.

I will miss her…moods and all. But I am proud of her.

Thank you for reading

Frankie.

 

The tide is turning.

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A big piece of good news from a little corner of the globe.

You may remember I wrote a small piece about the fracking which was about to begin in County Fermanagh https://truckerturningwrite.com/2014/07/27/they-never-waste-a-crisis/

Well thanks to the protesters and local people of Fermanagh, they have convinced the Northern Ireland Minister for Environment to stop the process.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/0811/636391-fermanagh-borehole-proposal/

Thank you to all involved for keeping our island fracking free! This is a big deal!! You are heroes. People power!

Just had to share that good news.

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!

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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!

Think again.

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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/