Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bits ‘n Bobs with Rose

Well, Readers – you’ve seen the thirteen Marathon Babes on page one who walked the mini-marathon on June 1st in aid of various charities – well done, all of them. With the golden weather this year, the sun factor and shades were on, as opposed to the plastic macs and tracksuits they usually train in! The men of Donnybrook Fire Station helped them stay cool by spraying participants with water so most people took advantage of that. Isn’t it hilarious – we spend three quarters of our lives complaining about being soaked in the rain; first bout of sunshine and the fire brigade are out hosing us down to keep cool!

The spectacle of 40,000 women together, all dressed in very colourful T shirts, each one doing their best for their chosen charities is a spectacular sight. The Ballymore Babewatch were joined by a few "questionable ladies with questionable designer boobs" so there was lots of good humoured banter and I wouldn’t think our ladies were a bit shy about entering into the fun.

Ballymore’s finest finished in record time with no injuries reported, collected their medals and arrived home about 7pm, tired but with a sense of achievement. Well done, Ladies – and already some of them are in practise for next year.

Punchestown Crowned Ireland’s Best Race Track
Punchestown was today officially crowned as Ireland’s best racecourse at the 2009 Sports Betting Awards ceremony in the Burlington Hotel, Dublin recently. The Home of Irish National Hunt racing prevailed in the hotly contested category against a total of eight other finalists from around the country.
The judges were particularly impressed by Punchestown’s ability to meet the selection criteria through their dynamic and innovative commercial approach this year. What that means, Readers, is that despite the downturn in the economy, the massive drop in Corporate bookings for 2009, the sales team at Punchestown worked their asses off this year to secure steady ticket sales through the gates for all five days’ racing.
This year’s National Hunt Festival provided a much needed boost to both the racing and betting industries by attracting a huge audience both on and off course for what is considered the racing highlight of the Irish calendar. The personal service and the comraderie between staff and management is marvellous; they are a great bunch out there and Dick O’ Sullivan can be rightly proud of his team from the office, sales & marketing, groundsmen etc.
“We are thrilled to receive this award” said Dick. “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all those who contribute to making our racecourse the success it is, especially our loyal sponsors and dedicated racegoers”.
I heard it ‘on the grapevine’ that the racecourse crew went out to celebrate and rightly so; but ‘twas the women who made it into work the next mornin’, business as usual……… Ah Liam, where’s your energy?
Punchestown’s next race meeting will take place Wednesday 14th October.

Isn’t Education great?
Ireland supposedly has one of the best education nations in the world with a high level of third level graduates amongst our workforce. Recently, my sister in law, Bernie and I popped into Paddy Murphy’s on a Sunday afternoon, met up with Ethna and Fergus and decided to make an afternoon of it. Joined by her daughter Hayley, Bernie suddenly remembered the animals in her house needed feeding.

“I will ring Murph” offered Hayley, Murph being her boyfriend, a grand chap who has just finished his first year in college. After a long monologue as to the feeding needs of Ruby and Daisy, the dogs; Bubbles the rabbit; Millie the lamb who thinks she is a dog with curly white hair; Dotty and Aggie, the pot bellied pigs; Rupert the goldfish; Felix and Billy, the house cats, Hayley told Murph where to find the lamb’s feeding bottle……..

“WHAT?” reacted Murph. “You mean she doesn’t drink it out o bowl like the rest of them?? I have to pour it into a bottle - ah, for God’s sake….”

Obviously, Murph is not aiming for a career in animal or veterinary care.


THE PERFECTOs at Punchestown
Well, Readers, our Bugle has now become so popular, we are now “the victims of our own success”. Our edition is so heavily in demand for editorial and advertising, that several articles and photos have to be dropped each month, the Perfectos Day Out at Punchestown being one of the casualties in our May edition. Suffice to say, we had a great day but we were down in numbers this year as ‘Cinta was only back from Australia the day before and others opted for the comfort of watching the races in Paddys.

But Jackie, Ann, Sylvia, Anna, Louise, Mary, Christine, Mary and Linda with Linda’s Mam in Law plus Sheila- cum-Bridie put on the style and braved the elements – along with yours truly, of course. First person we meet going through the gates was George Washington himself, the performer not the president………and Jackie himself and Sheila decide to do a Trio……….. a €1 apiece and they won nearly €1,300 between them! Great start to the day and their luck continued; Jackie O should be workin’ as a tipster – she studied the form and was more accurate than Ted Walsh on the day!

I didn’t think that Wednesday’s racing was as crowded as normal but I did leave the Enclosure to meet up with Margaret, Marie and Renee Murphy and I saw Pat Lawlor and Johnny and more of the clan about. Missed Meahall this year, Bless him and with the elections yet to follow, I would have enjoyed a ding-dong slaggin’ match with him – he’d a sharp wit, had the late Meahall.

Well, the Perfectos, cold or not, enjoyed their day and when Vinnie collected us to take us to Paddy’s, the boldness got into the Tipster O’Neill and Canary Bridie and they ‘forced’ us to head into Naas, swearing blindly to Vinnie that we’d be ready for collection at 11pm for Ballymore. Well, I bumped into ‘My Don’ so my loyalties were divided between The Perfectos and Don Juan and I was back and forth between the two like a revolving door. Seems poor ol’ Vinnie did come back and made several attempts to round up the Perfecto Possee but nothin’ doing and only Linda availed of the lift home. Apologies Vinnie but you should have put ankle tags on us…..anyway I blame the Tipster and The Bridie One, they were the ringleaders………….

My Don left me home before midnight as I was working the next morning. The Perfectos made it home around 3am……Good for them! ‘Cinta, Mary H and Biddy, ye may come back and join us next year as they need a little decorum……..

Fluttering the Fan
It is seldom now that we see ladies utilizing what was once an essential item of their finery – a fan. To the artful user, it may be a wand of whimsical charm, of coy enticement, or perhaps disdain. The following is a letter by Addison to The Spectator, June 1711. He called it a satire upon ‘several fantastical accomplishments’ of ladies.

Mr. Spectator.
Women are armed with fans as men with swords, and sometimes do more execution with them. To the end therefore that ladies may be entire mistresses of the weapons which they bear, I have erected an academy for the training of young women in the ‘exercise of the fan’, according to the most fashionable airs and motions that are now practiced at court. The ladies who ‘carry’ fans under me are drawn up twice a day in my great hall, where they are instructed in the use of their arms, and exercised in the following words of command: Handle your fans; Unfurl your fans; Discharge your fans; Ground your fans; Recover your fans; Flutter your fans. By the right observation of these few plain words of command, a woman of tolerable genius, who will apply herself diligently to her exercise for the space of but one half year, shall be able to give her fan all the graces that can possibly be entered into that little modish machine.
But to the end that my readers may form to themselves a right notion of this exercise, I beg leave to explain it to them in all its parts. When my female regiment is drawn up in array, with every one her weapon in hand, upon my giving the word ‘to handle their fans’, each of them shakes her fan at me with a smile, then gives her right-hand woman a tap upon the shoulder, then presses her lips with the extremity of her fan, then lets her arms fall in an easy motion, and stands in a readiness to receive the next word of command. All this is done with a close fan, and is generally learned in the first week.
The next motion is that of ‘unfurling the fan’, in which are comprehended several little flirts and vibrations, as also gradual and deliberate openings, with many voluntary fallings asunder in the fan itself, that are seldom learned under a month’s practice. This part of the exercise pleases the spectators more than any other, as it discovers on a sudden an infinite number of cupids, garlands, altars, birds, beasts rainbows, and the like agreeable figures, that display themselves to view, whilst everyone in the regiment holds a picture in her hand.

Upon my giving the word to ‘discharge your fans’, they give one general crack that may be heard at a considerable distance when the wind sits fair. This is one of the most difficult parts of the exercise; but I have several ladies with me, who at their first entrance could not give a pop loud enough to be heard at the further end of a room, who can now ‘discharge a fan’ in such a manner, that it shall make a report like a pocket-pistol. I have likewise taken care, in order to hinder young women from letting off their fans in wrong places or unsuitable occasions, to show upon what subject the ‘crack’ of a fan may come in properly: I have likewise invented a fan with which a girl of sixteen by the help of a little wind which is inclosed about one of the largest sticks, can make as loud a crack as a woman of fifty with an ordinary fan.
When the fans are thus ‘discharged’, the word of command in course is to ‘ground your fans’. This teaches a lady to quit her fan gracefully, when she throws it aside in order to take up a pack of cards, adjust a curl of hair, replace a falling pin or apply herself to any other matter of importance. This part of the exercise, as it only consists in tossing a fan with an air upon a long table, (which stands by for that purpose) may be learned in two days time as well as in a twelvemonth.
When my female regiment is thus disarmed, I generally let them walk about the room for some time; when on a sudden, like ladies that look upon their watches after a long visit, they all of them hasten to their arms, catch them up in a hurry, and place themselves in their proper stations upon my calling out – ‘Recover your fans!’ This part of the exercise is not difficult, provided a woman applies her thoughts to it.

The ‘fluttering of the fans’ is the last, and indeed the masterpiece of the whole exercise; but if a lady does not misspend her time, she may make herself mistress of it in three months. I generally lay aside the dog-days and the hot time of the summer for the teaching of this part of the exercise; for as soon as ever I pronounce – ‘flutter your fans’, the place is filled with so many zephyrs and gentle breezes as are very refreshing in that season of the year, though they might be dangerous to ladies of a tender constitution in any other.
There is an infinite variety of motions to be made use of in the ‘flutter of the fan’: there is the angry flutter, the modish flutter, the timorous flutter, the confused flutter, the merry flutter and the amorous flutter. Not to be tedious, there is scarce any emotion in the mind which does not produce a suitable agitation in the fan; insomuch, that if I only see the fan of a disciplined lady, I know very well whether she laughs, frowns or blushes. I have seen a fan so very angry, that it would have been dangerous for the absent lover who provoked it to have come within the wind of it; and at other times so very languishing, that I have been glad for the lady’s sake the lover was at a sufficient distance from it. I need not add, that a fan is either a prude or coquette, according to the nature of the person who bears it. To conclude, I must acquaint you that I have from my own observation compiled a little treatise for the use of my scholars, entitled ‘The Passions of the fan’, which I will communicate to you, if you think it might be of use.
P.S. I teach young gentleman the whole art of ‘galavanting the fan’. Michael Ward.

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