Christmas News 2013

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Vol 1 No. 18 Dec 2013

The Year of the Big Heatwave !

Hello to one and all,
Another year almost at an end,they certainly go faster these days. It's interesting only having two children at home full time that's Joseph and Aoife both still in Lochaber High school. I have now attended almost 50 parent nights and I have to say the teachers definitely get it right!! Joseph is almost finished and working hard at getting into Uni next year with personal statements, UK cat tests and interviews. Aoife is sitting her first exams this coming year and its all change with the new Scottish curriculum so hopefuly it goes well for her. They are both into plenty of activities with band, piano swimming and shinty and Joseph rugby running and girls!! Ciaran and Ronan are both back in Edinburgh University in 2nd and 3rd year respectively. I hope they study in between enjoying Uni life.

James has come home for Christmas on Sunday last its great to see him after 16 months. He hasn't changed and returned home with no socks one pair of jeans and shoes he borrowed from his brother on his way home in Dubai. He went with a back pack he brought it back and that was about it!!!!

He explained the situation with the following comment that somehow "an inexplicable void" occured on a regular basis in the hostel in Byron Bay which seemed to eat clothes, razors and definitely socks he came home with just 2. Still he is the same a lovable rascal and he finally got a haircut today which suits him!! He has to sort out what next after Christmas more travelling which will require a job or a proper job.

On Monday 23 rd Dec at 10pm the door bell rang yet again and I got the biggest suprise of my life when I opened the front door to what I thought was another one of Ciaran's friends.

At the door was this very young tanned lad all wrapped up with a jacket, big woolly hat and heavy designer stubble " I recognise you" I said racking my brain to work out which one of Ciarans friends it was "it's your son you dafty" and there was David as large as life having just arrived from Dubai as a total surprise for Christmas. We had no idea that he was coming home and earlier he surprised Joe by jumping out from behind him in the kitchen and Joe thought he was about to be mugged.
So all six under the same roof for the first time in two years. So the teasing slagging and general chit chat is in full flow instantly with Aoife inserting her wicked comments with excellent timing beating Joe hands down tonight. I think he too is recovering from having all the boys at home !!
We wish you all a very Happy Christmas Wishing you peace and happiness and all the best for the New Year of 2014.
Best wishes
Liz and Clan


The Tangneys finally have T IN THE PARK

Sun July 14 a day to remember as Liz and Joe are rejuvenated (or else gone completely crazy ) as they make their first visit to T in the Park .This is the biggest music festival in Scotland for the last 20 years and on the list of"must do before I die"! With a crowd of just 85,000 teenagers all spaced out we had to jostle all the way to get near the main stage. It was hard to find anybody over the age of 25 to chat to and the young ones were all just sitting around with a glazed look in their eyes absolutely shattered after 3 days of reckless drinking ,drugs and god knows what !
The weather was great with glorious sunshine which gave a real festival atmosphere. The headline act was "The Killers" Joe's favourite band and it was worth the trauma of the massive crowd to see them perform live. They were fantastic and delivered on the night. I have to admit it was exhausting having Liz up on my shoulders all night. She was competing with all the other girls and refused to come down despite my repeated requests. I think she was on a "High" myself but she declined a drug screen ! Joe also saw Bruce Springsteen again this year in Hampden with John our neighbour. Bruce Twice in less than a year ! Mamma Mia whats the world coming to ??

Brandon Flowers is awesome

Say AAAAH (but not for 2 hours !)

Joe is getting ready for his first King Tuts Wah Wah
Nearly time for Sterophonics

Oh No James is back home !

James has returned from his travels last week . He was in Thailand, Vietnam, Bali and then Australia visiting Perth ,Melbourne, Darwin , Brisbane ,Byron Bay and ....

So far he is giving us very little detail of his travels, with vague answers at best ,possibly on the basis of "what I don't know won't trouble me" as he does not want me having nighmares or more likely is the fact that he simply cannot remember !! Anyway he enjoyed the 16 months away from home and met lots of family friends who were very good to him. I thank you all on our behalf for your generosity to James especially Mary and Tim in Perth.
I am sure the stories will emerge with time or a few drinks ! I am checking my bag right now for that last ampoule of "truth serum" I have been saving for his return...... HOLD ON THERE has been an unexpected breakthrough as James has been sucessfully bribed to give a brief account of his travels ...see below

This is part one of James' travel recollections of Thailand etc.

So it is definitely a bit of a culture shock when you first get off the plane and venture out into Bangkok but intermixed with all the food stalls, tuk tuks and temples there is always a big florescent MacDonald's sign somewhere in the distance to offer you comfort that you haven't strayed too far away from the main tourist areas. Sam and I were waiting on Saff arriving the next day so we decided to head out to the famous Koh San road which is just basically a street gagging to take advantage of all the fresh naive backpackers but since we didn't know any better we had a cracking night. Unfortunately for Saff this meant she was wandering around Bangkok by herself for 3 hours the next morning waiting for one of us to wake up and answer our phones.

We headed south on one of the overnight trains, one word of warning never get the cheapest option of any form of transport around Asia you will regret it, and proceeded to island hop. Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan were all brilliant and different at the same time. Koh Tao is world renowned for its diving and fortunately one of the cheapest places to do a diving course. Diving is a weird but fun experience, learning to fight the instinct to hold your breath when you are submerged is a difficult one to overcome. Koh Phangan is famous for the full moon party which is just a 20,000 people partying on a beach in the shadow of “mushroom mountain” as it is fondly known. I will not go into too many details about that night as many details are still to this day not known and hopefully will never be known.

We proceeded across the Thailand to Krabbi which had some of the most great/horrible markets in the world. Great in the fact they are so cheap and have some amazing unknown stuff that is terrifying to try. But horrible when the stuff you try turns out to be an utterly shit part of an animal. Not quite content finished island hopping we headed to Koh Phi Phi which is the main island beside the bay where the beach was filmed. They operated a few makeshifts tours out to Mayan bay (the beach) and unfortunately for us there was a thunder storm brewing on the day we decided to go. When the Thai men driving the little tinder boats stick on their lifejackets you know you have to worry. We arrived around the back on the bay where you have to climb through a few rock tunnels to get to the makeshift set of stairs over the back of the bay. Pity these rock tunnels where flooded and people where getting thrown all over the place due to the strength of the tide. But finally we managed to get to the beach where the strength of the wind blew sand in our face for the five minutes it took us to get a picture and say bugger it and head back. It's funny how whenever you're travelling whenever something shit happens people call it an experience!

Despite my moaning ,Thailand was truly beautiful and exceptional place but it was time for me and Sam to take a weekend trip to Vietnam to meet a friend from university who was working teaching English to kids in Ho Chi Minh City. Now if i thought Bangkok was a shock to the system this is a different world altogether. Replaced where the calls of people asking you if you wanted a massage to the sound of thousands of mopeds going in completely different directions shouting abuse and beeping their horns at each other. We were joined by Neal and the three of us after a heavy night headed north on a random bike to do some mountain biking. Jack was meant to have the all arranged but when the bus decided to stop a few kilometres away from the destination we had to get a few random locals on mopeds to bring us the extra few km. This turned out to be a death race between the locals is the pissing rain but as previously discussed it's all part of the experience. The mountain biking was run by a young English guy and it was great fun ploughing along the jungle tracks. The trip back was a little bit less death defying but we were still just four people out of 26 in a 17 seater minibus.

James and Sam the new Aussies

This is James' version of events down under in Australia. So after about a month travelling round South East Asia (which only included one unfortunate incident with a lady boy) my friend Sam and I arrived in Perth, Australia, a little worse for wear. Thankfully my mum's first cousin Mary and her family took pity on us and put us up for a while and her husband Tim sorted us out with a job on a construction site. Now, I am not naturally built for labouring but thankfully the Aussies are a naturally lazy people so we managed to hold our own quite well. Even though one lad did admit to me that he wouldn't follow me into war with a shovel.

Christmas day was a little different that year not only because it was 43 degrees but spending it with all the fellow travellers in a hostel was not something I was used to. But not being forced to go to church by the mother and getting drunk on the beach were definite plus points. I did miss the Christmas dinner though. After saving up a decent amount of money Sam and I were joined by two friends from Glasgow Graeme and Abi and we embarked on an epic 5 week road trip. We started by swinging down the South West coast and then across the Nullarbor, which was just two 10 hour days of driving past nothing passing through villages with a population of about 10 people and then all the way up the middle of Australia in the Northern Territory. We ended up travelling over 10,000km of which I only drove 8Km. Some of the highlights along the way were the cycling wine tour at Claire valley, 62 wineries along a 20km track was a challenge we didn't take on lightly as well as getting stuck in a tiny outback town called Maree where Guy Pearce and that twat from the twilight movies were filming. But the vast emptiness intermixed with the stunning beaches and national parks were incredible and an experience I would recommend to anyone but maybe don't do what Abi did and have to deal with 3 stinking boys in a stuffy campervan for 5 weeks.

When I finally decided to return to civilisation I settled in Melbourne which is a belter of a city but money was a little tight as Australia is a ridiculously expensive country. For instance a pint of beer would roughly cost you 10 dollars (£7) and a pepper about 3 dollars. So since circumstances were dire I ended up doing a medical trial. I sought out medical advice beforehand but when the reply was “your penis is going to fall off you junky “I thought it was safe to go ahead.

So I got to spend 12 days and nights in hospital with a personal TV and 3 square meals a day which I hadn't had in a long time so overall it was definitely worth it and a haven't come across any side effects yet. Right enough once dad did actually look into the drug I was taking he wasn't too pleased but I feel like a contributed to the nice pharmaceutical companies and it founded my east coast trip. I also got to a lot of Aussie rules football games when I was in Melbourne and it is one of the weirdest games about it almost as if the first settlers weren't the smartest bunch and couldn't understand the rules of Gaelic football and rugby so they just made a stupid hybrid game.
After I travelled down the East coast which is another fantastic experience, particular highlights are Whitsundays and Fraser Island, I settled down in Byron bay. Which is a nice wee hippy/backpacker community. Everyone is planning a revolution or organic way to save the world there but it is truly a wonderful place to settle. It has some of the most beautiful views and walks whales are almost always mucking about just a wee bit off the coast. As well as working as an assistant manager in a pub (it is now shut done due to very poor management) I also worked in the hostels for free accommodation and part of my job was to take people on a walk up to the lighthouse and back along the beach at sunset. Needless to say, I never even once took advantage of this situation and was never seen pretending to be a sensitive soul beside the prettiest girl on my tour. But alas I started to feel like it was time to return to bleak weather/ran out of money and returned for some home comforts. The money situation is actually that bleak I am being paid 5 pounds by dad to write this now. Obviously a lot more happened in my year and a half travelling but don't think it's really important/appropriate to write it all down for the Christmas newsletter !

Joseph gets top marks in the Higher Exams

There was great excitement in our house on Aug 6 when the exam results finally arrived. Joseph and John our neighbour were in the hall waiting for the postman to arrive and the tension was tangible ! All the hard work over the year and did it pay off? That was the question soon to be answered.

The envelope was ripped open in record time and Joseph was ecstatic to find out that he has got the 5 A's in the Higher exams. He would like to study medicine and one needs 5 A's to have any chance of getting into medical school.It was a great day as John,Alice, Cammy and Aran all did very well in their exams and were delighted.Joseph has already done an interview for Glasgow and has Dundee and Aberdeen in January. He will have to wait until March to find out the results.

The Boys are Happy

This is Joseph's account of his Iceland adventure on a school trip during Easter. Twenty four pupils went for a five day trip We had an exciting trip and visited glaciers, volcanoes, ice caves, boiling mud, waterfalls and steam jets. The best part was the Northern lights which were spectacular with an array of colours including green, orange and pink all dancing across the sky. Another highlight was the waterfalls: Gullfoss, Skogafoss but most incredible was Seljalandsfoss which we walked behind and stood under a small part of it where we were hit with what felt like icy bullets! We also walked up a nearby gorge where the water was far colder than any Highland river. Your legs turned into blocks of ice as it felt like your blood froze in your veins. In comparison was the Blue Lagoon with steam constantly rising off it and the water like a drop of sky blue hydration in a black, burned landscape and not to mention some great bikinis! Night time activites included the very intense rivalry of a game of water polo against another visiting English school in which we the Scottish defeated them time and time again to be Icelandic champions! We had many other huge, tiny, boiling, freezing, long, short, fat, thin, wet and very wet attractions: for examlpe the rift valley where you are witnessing worlds being torn apart before your very eyes. Geysers where the jet of boiling hot water fires into the air higher than you could imagine and crashes down metres away from you. Hot springs and mud pools at two hundred degrees celsius where the mud bubbles and flows like water and the springs appear out of nowhere with white steam pumping out as if the land itself is alive and moving. Blue, red, yellow, grey, green hills all natural although you wouldn't believe it. Reykjavik hold two thirds of Icelands population and the city is covered with beautiful graffiti and has a breath taking church. Glaciers with the ice. The ice! A deep blue but the glacier is covered in ash and a black glacier is a strange sight. Also a black beach that stretches for miles and miles along the coast and is more beautiful that any tropical beach I have ever seen and is paired with huge crashing waves that throw themsevles against the rocks and tosses the spray up to meet you. I could go on for hours about it all but dad has told me to hurry up! Do you want to know what is so good about Iceland? Then go there for a holiday and I am sure you will enjoy it.



Liz meets the Scottish First Minister

Yes Liz is starting to go all political and has made a start ! During May, Liz met the man himself Alex Salmond in Edinburgh Castle to celebrate the work of Dyslexia Scotland. Marion and Sandy were there and had a great night with the celebrities. They were also chatting with Sir Jacki Stewart who has been a great supporter of Dyslexia Scotland. Next September we have the Independence referendum which is difficult to forecast the outcome with many undecided voters. It could be close and an exciting few months ahead.

Vote Yes says Alex

This is a photo of the boys in Oct 1998 all lined up on the couch as I return from the Belford Hospital to give them the news of their new baby sister's arrival.

I said "Boys we have Good news and Bad news..... the good news is that you now have a new baby sister.... but ............the bad news is that we now have TWO bosses !!" They all immediately ran around the room screaming in a state of sheer panic for several hours . They immediately knew the many difficult years thay lay ahead for all us Tangney boys !!

Ciaran and friends hit the Highlands

Ciaran is enjoying his environmental geoscience course in Edinburgh and in particular the social scene. Apart from a mishap on his bike in mysterious circumstances allegedly on his way to a lecture serious injuries so far !

In February Ciaran arrives up home with eight of his student friends up for a ski trip. It was an international crowd with Jordan from Glasgow, Koon from Holland ,Phil from Darlington, Martin from Sweden, Devin from Boston, Barney from Bristol, Gabrielle from Liverpool , Rebecca from Fort Augustus. Luckily the weather was fantastic with blue skies and the Tangney ski hire centre got them all kitted out. Ciaran had to do some showing off on the slopes and pretend he could ski better than his guests! Everybody arrived back shattered and gasping for a drink .
Next day they went up the Glen Nevis and later visited the famous Harry Potter viaduct in Glenfinnan.


The mad Hatters ?


Storming the Castle in Adare

The Desmond Castle in Adare County Limerick was in full spendour for the occasion and a piper welcomed the guests who had travelled from all over the world to attend this Fitzgerald Clan Gathering.

Storming the castle was a unique night in Adare and we were delighted to be there for the Fitzgerald Clan Gathering.There were severl events on over the weekend with the highlight being the medieval banquet.It was a sell out event with over 300 guests from all over the world . Mary Fitzgerald was the main organiser and deserves a medal for her heroic efforts. The logistics were frightening to say the least and it was a huge success. We met up with many of the long lost first cousins some of whom we hadn't met for over 15 years and we had a great weekend in Adare. It was the first event in the castle for over 400 years, with music , traditional dance ,pig on a spit, banquet.etc Joseph did a live webcam interview and had over 11 million viewers.


Long Lost cousins reunited.

Scottish Champions

  Aoife is a member of the the Lochaber High School wind band playing percussion who won the national championship in Perth in March. They were awarded a Gold Plus award which was a fantastic achievement.They almost didn't go as the weather was terrible that day with road closures due to heavy snow etc. All the long hours of practise finally paid off and everybody was delighted to win a national award.

Aoife has also had a busy year with the girls shinty.She was selected for the North u-18 girls shinty team . They played against the South in Oban but were beaten 6-2. Aoife put in a good second half performance. Also Aoife buys her first Yukulele and is learning to play but a bit to go yet before any public performances !!

  Aoife in full flight

The harps were fantastic at the banquet.

Aoife and Ailbhe catch up on all the news !

James was very lonely in Australia and cried every night in his pillow!


David wins Dubai Rose Escort prize ….years of training here at home!

We were delighted and yet some what surprised to hear that our David won The Dubai Rose Escort prize. The delight is understandable as a parent one is happy to hear of one's childrens success. The surprise came when I saw the winning photo of David and his" Rose" partner Daragh. He is a fine looking "Rose" and I am happy for David. He appears to be getting the thumbs up and constantly being fed drugs to keep him quiet. I wonder how long they will last ?? A week or two at best I would think knowing Davids fickle nature !



RONAN is heckled by the on lookers

Ronan is 21 and we went off to Edinburgh for a night out. Liz made a scrap book for Ronan with some good photos. He is very happy in his PE placement and enjoying the teaching. Hard to believe it is 21 yrs since he gave us the fright of our lives with his footling breech delivery in Baylys beach. We are very luckly and such fine margins can change one's life. We went out for a meal with Ciaran, Joseph, Aoife and Ronan. Later Ronan went out with his friends as we headed home. Liz tidied up the boys flats as usual ! Ronan passed his driving test this year which is great and will help with the Tangney Taxi duty list, I hope ! He was also working in Nevis range for the winter season as a ski instructor which he enjoyed and is good teaching experience.




Liz Tanga's new shop
Old Uni friends reunited in Barcelona
Lily and Julia visit the Highlands  
Eviction Time has arrived

Jane Damian Matthew and Ava  
Ava and Aoife
Ice cream van in Dingle  
Dingle town

The Boss struts his stuff
John is entranced by Bruce Springsteen

Our pet red deer !