Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wilful Waste Makes Woeful Want.

Many, many years ago I attended a boarding school ruled by a head master with an iron fist. It was the month of June and the last week of term. Sports day was coming up and a bunch of us boarders were preparing the sports field for the big event, marking out the track for the 100yds, the 220, the 440,and the 880yds. Plenty of hard physical work was considered by the Head to be complementary to building our mental capacities!
I can’t remember the exact size of the sports field but it was big enough to contain two rugby pitches, a cricket pitch, and a building called the Pavilion, with plenty of space left over. On this particular day a local farmer was in with a mower and a pair of horses to mow the perimeter. He would get the hay off it for services rendered. Just in from the entrance to the field was a large mound, which he would not be able to mow, so when the free labour had the tracks marked out we were put to tidying the long grasses off it. Work on the mound came to an abrupt halt when someone of us stuck a slash hook into a wasp’s nest. The disturbed insects rose up in a swarm and we went running. We now had a problem on our hands; the job was only half completed. After much contemplation it was decided to set fire to the nest but who had a match? More consultation; then it was noticed that the farmer doing the mowing was smoking a pipe. It takes one to know one, so I, being a farmer’s son was dispatched to explain our predicament and to enquire if he’d give us the necessary. He handed over a box without a murmur. Back at the mound it was fairly obvious as to who would do the deed. With a light summer breeze at my back I struck a match and touched it to the tall dried grasses. Wooff; the whole mound was ablaze in a second and suddenly we were engaged in a fire drill exercise, stamping an beating to try and get the blaze under control which was determined to reach the boundary hedge where more dried grasses awaited. The other side of the boundary hedge was belonging to a market gardener where row after row of fresh vegetables grew. Black clouds of smoke drifted across the landscape and on towards the city of Dublin as we fought manfully to get the blaze under control. To add to our woes the Head master appeared. A Stewarts enquire followed, and when it was established as to how the blaze started a culprit was sought. Eyes were turned heavenward and towards the ground and some in my direction! I fell on my sword and was immediately ordered to the Head’s study where there I got a long lecture on responsible behaviour. Who would be responsible for damage to the market gardeners veggies or to the boundary hedge? The normal punishment for any misdemeanour was usually six of the best, but this time I was ordered to write out one hundred times the ‘Duty towards my Neighbour’ as contained in the Church of Ireland prayer book. For the benefit of any reader who is not of the Church of Ireland persuasion the ‘Duty towards my Neighbour’ contains 164 words, multiply that by 100 and you’ll get 16,400! That’s a lot of words and I can solemnly promise that should anyone care to have a go they will be indelibly imprinted on your mind for all time!!
Enough said about the past, what about the present? Well nothing has changed much since I last wrote but it mightn’t be a bad idea if our beloved Leaders adopted as their motto ‘wilful waste makes woeful want’. They are still grasping at straws or anyone or anything that might get them out of the hole they have being digging for themselves over their years in office. They are now inviting opposition parties to give them a dig-out. One would be inclined to say ‘let them stew in the juice’ of their own making, but for the benefit of the country as a whole it mightn’t be such a bad idea. I’ve said before and I say again they continue to shy away from taking real cost cutting measures that might make a difference to getting our affairs under control. Incidentally one doesn’t talk about ‘cost cutting ‘ anymore; the in word is ‘reconfiguration’. What about doing something about public expenditure that has increased by 50% over the past couple of years. Some weeding out could be done in that department. Minister Cullen taking helicopter jaunts and then having the brass neck with blustering verbosity to try and justify the trip doesn’t wash with the hard pressed working man/woman.
Our banking system is also having trouble coming to terms with present day realties. Flustering and flapping with over priced assets, commercial property and development lands, they are between a rock and a hard place. Looking for a measure that might get them out of their particular hole they are considering introducing ‘quantitative easing’. Get it? No, I didn’t either, but apparently it’s a fancy term for printing money. If only it were that easy sure wouldn’t we all be at it!
What this country needs at the moment is a Headmaster with an iron fist whose motto is ‘wilful waste makes woeful want’. Yrs Jeffers.


Last year the Punchestown Irish National Hunt Festival extended to five days with the introduction of the Ballymore sponsored Family Day. As the inaugural extension to five days, it was difficult to predict how successful this initiative would be. Ballymore resident and Punchestown supporter, Sean Mulryan had specified the emphasis of this day should be on the local community and particularly on the children of the surrounding parishes. Hence, the BALLYMORE Family day was launched.

The success of the project exceeded all expectations as 20,000 people flocked to the racecourse, 4,500 of which were children. Let’s face it, the day was a resounding success with colourful kiddies in fancy dress, faces gaily painted. Better still, with the distribution of tickets to children in local primary schools, non race-goers went to the racecourse, many of them experiencing the unique atmosphere of National Hunt Racing at Punchestown for the first time.

With the downturn in the building industry here and Sean Mulryan’s sponsorship of lighting at the Olympic Stadium in London in 2012, I thought BALLYMORE might not continue their generous sponsorship. Well halleluia, that didn’t happen and this year’s proceedings are well underway and look set to further build on the popularity of last year’s family day – to hell with the economy, the doom and the gloom - it’s Spring, it’s Punchestown and it’s time to shrug off the Winter Blues and celebrate the tradition of national hunt raceweek on our doorstep!

School Art Competition
The Ballymore art competition has been launched with 19 local schools and over 4,000 children involved. Each class should submit a winner and runner up prize and with the overall winner and runner up being chosen by an impartial judging panel. The winning students and their respective schools will receive an excellent prize and the finalists artwork will be displayed throughout the racecourse. All children who enter will receive two admission tickets compliments of Sean Mulryan’s Ballymore.

The creativity and imagination’s of local children will be further required for the excellent fancy dress competition on Saturday 2nd May. All entrants must register on arrival and will then be the stars of the show as they model their costumes in the parade ring for judging before the first race. Excellent prizes will be on offer for this competition.

As always entertainment is a massive part of the itinerary for Punchestown patrons and the children’s entertainment package is no exception with pony rides, live music, face painting, bouncing castles and much more planned on the day.

Nineteen schools are taking part in the art competition including Scoil Mhuire and St Kevins plus schools throughout Kildare and West Wicklow. Bualadh bos to Sean Mulryan and BALLYMORE for this generous touch.

THE NEWBRIDGE SILVERWARE BEST DRESSED COMPETITIONPerfectos, Fashionistas, Divas male or female, get out the guna and get cracking on your out fit for Punchestown 2009 because Newbridge Silverware are offering €5,000 of prizes per day from Tuesday to Thursday of raceweek with two more finalists to be selected on Ladies Day, Friday 1st when the Overall Winner will be announced with €30,000 worth of Newbridge Silverware to be won.
And if you’re having problems putting an outfit together, then please contact my personal shopper, Sheila Nevin of Evita; I swear to God that woman could dress Nell McCafferty and make her look good…..everytime I pop into Evita’s, I swear I am buying diddley squat and then I ask Sheila “Is there anything you think I’d like……..” She never lets me down………..
Another shop worth visiting is Savannah and Sienna, sister boutiques on Cutlery Road, Newbridge – middle of the road prices but fab colours and co-ordinates and one of the shops focuses on ladies with ‘fuller figures’…….
Don’t forget Elizabeth Deegan if you need a matching head piece or accessory – just bring part of your outfit into Liz for colour co-ordination and she will create a new piece for you or re-dress an existing piece. Remember too, Ladies to make your hair appointment now for raceweek, book a manicure with Audrey, beauty treatment or tan with Monica Mc or Lesley in Adonia’s. Support your local business women!

Who is organising this year’s Perfecto’s Outing to Punchestown – ‘Cinta? Jackie? Sheila? Well, don’t go without me girls! The good news this year is that Punchestown have organised Party Specials to combat the credit crunch – for bookings of 10 or more, you can avail of admission tickets at €29 including Admission, Racecard, Drink Voucher and a €5 Betting Voucher. Now that’s a safe bet ……..
Have to go, diet starts today…….. 5k walk now………..Rose

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