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/

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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/

 

 

 

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.

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!

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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”

They never waste a crisis.

The oil and gas giants never waste a crisis, do they!

While Irish eyes are focussed on the genocide in Gaza, the fracking company “Tamboran” use the opportunity to move their drilling equipment into a quarry in County Fermanagh, last week.

With all the cases of cancer and infertility and birth defects linked to fracking, I honestly thought that the politicians of this island would never allow this drilling to go ahead. But yet again they let the people down. They don’t seem to understand that once the ground and water is polluted, it’s polluted forever; the leaks can not be plugged in these underground fractures.

This first drilling will affect the future of the whole island. This is the thin edge of the wedge unless it is stopped and stopped now. Remember the oil pipe off the Mayo coast? That went ahead because short term big money was worth more than human rights. I was sure that it too would be stopped. I was wrong.

It seems if you have enough money you can shift the “human rights goalposts” to suit your business.

You can read more at http://www.goodenergiesalliance.com/2014/07/25/press-release-the-irish-fracking-process-has-begun/

Here is a video of some locals gathering at the quarry gates when they heard the news. They were last to know, as always.

I hope people in Ireland will use the social media and other methods to support the people of County Fermanagh. It seems to have educated everybody to the plight of Gaza. It might work for Fermanagh also. It’s worth a try…for all our sakes.

Thank you for reading

Frankie.