Christmas News 2014

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Vol 1 No. 20 Dec 2014

The Year of the Big Referendum !

Hello to everyone.
Another year has passed by very quickly and here's a chance to catch up on a year of change and opportunity. The boys are busy doing a lot of different things. David remains in Dubai but changed jobs there, which is making him work a lot harder as it's a very high achieving school with equally high expectations from its teachers. However I think there still plenty of time for fun and nonsense. He is coming home for a week at Christmas so that will be nice to catch up with him.
James is actually living at home just now for almost a year having been all over the world for about 18months.
He has an intern job locally with Rio Tinto (They produce aluminium) and that's progressed into a graduate job for a further year. So he is getting good work experience and enjoying the job. Aoife is very glad that she isn't all alone in the house with her parents!!

Ronan is in his final 4 th year PE and heading into a 12 week school placement up until Easter so all going well will be finished Uni in June. He was working in Edinburgh all summer. Ronan is looking forward to the school placement soon and enjoys teaching the students.
Ciaran was in Arizona all summer doing voluntary work all over including the Grand Canyon whic was hot, sweaty, dirty but very enjoyable he tells us. He is in 3 rd year and has lots of exams just now so fingers crossed he will pass. He is looking forward to a trip to Jamaica in April which is part of his course or so he tells us!!!
Joseph headed off this year it's hard to believe. He decided to go to Dundee to do Medicine and is enjoying every minute it would seem. So far the effort involved in getting into Medicine has been more difficult than anything else he has ever done. However I am sure he will settle in as quite a few of his class mates and friends went to Dundee so it's good. He is sharing with 10 other lads so there is plenty of smelly shoes and socks!!

Aoife is still in school for almost another 2 years now and only copes because she has one brother at least to harass. However they regularly enjoy popcorn with or without a film and she is studying hard for her Higher exams next May but unsure about what she wants to do just yet.
Joe is still very busy at work and the NHS is fully stretched in all departments. The patient demands and expectations are increasing every year and GPs are struggling to cope all over the country.

I am still working and increased my hours given the number that are away in college just now but beginning to look forward to reducing them in the not too far distant future.
However I am looking forward to Christmas and a chance to catch up with all the boys again especially as I am off for a few days so a very happy Christmas and enjoyable New Year to you all.

All the best,


The Tangneys finally meet Roger and Novak

The "Wow factor" hits you immediately in the space age airport.

In February Liz and Joe went to Dubai to see the ATP tennis and say a brief hello to our David while there.
A direct flight from Glasgow is so easy when travelling without kids. No longer the "laser eye" hate glares or the frightened look on the passenger's faces and the visible thoughts "please god don't let the Tangneys sit next to me I don't deserve that torture " from the other passengers as we go down the aisle with no screaming kids. Still a reputation is hard to shake off even after all those years and strangely there were lots of empty seats all around us and a red line on the carpet with a little sign saying "danger area proceed at you own risk and the airline takes no responsibility for any damages " which we ignored so off we go with Emirates for the first time.
The 7 hours just flies by and we suddenly arrive in Dubai at 7.30am Thurs morning. Once you reach the airport the wow factor hits you in this fantastic space age airport . Terminal 3 is absolutely massive and futuristic. Its huge and has water features etc. We had no bother at passport control as Liz just smiled at
the man behind the desk and he winked at her scribbing his mobile number on her passport. I was disappointed when he rang Liz later to call over to his place for a "quick cup of strong tea "and he said to leave your ever youthful charming athletic olympian drug free husband at the hotel in the left luggage section. Being snubbed is never easy especially when one is not used to it ! Anyway I got over it and I told Liz to watch out as these multimillionaire oil shieks are apparently incredibly boring....... but money talks !!


David met us in arrivals and off to the tennis straight away, The tennis is in an ideal location in the "Irish Village ", food drink craic and tennis all combined.The Williams sisters Venus and Serena had a spat with Janokovic. Then it was a series of interviews with David's flatmates Shane Fowley and David Cassidy. I explained that we were only there for a week so asked the boys to hurry up and no rambling pointless circular chats were allowed so straight to business(for a change). We all know that the two boys need all the help they can get and I was lucky to have my many years of counselling experience to survive a few hours with these two desperados ! I could still be there 10 months later but had to come back home to work. It was hard to walk away from these two lost souls but I promised the boys I will come back in 25 years to check on their progress. My best advice to the two boys was to leave the flat immediately as continued cohabitation with our David will cause them further permanent irrepairable brain other words cut loose immediately boys while there is a glimmer of hope however faint it might be out the door right now !
The tennis attracts an international audience and one day we next to a few Norwegians. One was a Sylvester Stallone look alike ! Not a man to mess with. We watched Serena and the French player Alize battle it out, Venus beat Wozniacki and Serena was beaten by Alize.

On Saturday off to the Rugby in McGettigans Irish Pub, Ireland vs England in the 6 nations. The pub was packed and lively . Not without drama as it all happened ..Somebody... not me .home early in a drunken state ,say no more .We had great fun with big tall (Completely Mad) Paddy Horgan and his long suffering lovely wife Lorraine. Liz and Lorriane exchanged tips about their mutual harrowing experiences/suffering for hours and how to survive living with a wacky husband. Also we met Conor Hayes and Bernie who are very hard to get any chat out of but I managed with the help of a few "refreshments" to get a few words out of Conor. Once he got going he was then constantly asking me questions (he must have though he was holding a quiz )and when I gave him a few long winded Kerryman answers and sneaked in several questions of my own he knew that he was on a hiding to nothing trying to corner me... a seasoned campaigner trained at home in the "Kingdom" ! I had him on the ropes in no time at all and he had to call Bernie over to help distract me. Conor and Bernie are great craic and I thanked them for being David's carers which is the ultimate job from hell. A few hours later we found ourselves at deaths door in a manner of speaking and then Conor's Cremations was born always remember to tell your family that you want a cremation because "you've urned it".

On Sun we took the bus tour of the city , be warned its freezing on the top deck , we saw the whole city and got the water taxi to the gold souk (market). Also saw the spice soux , the palm beach , Burg khalifa(tallest building in the world) and Burg al Arab (the sail) Sun afternoon beat david in a game of squash he was crying for mercy 3-0 and then played some tennis. Sun evening went to the fancy restaurant, make sure you eat before going or else you will be starved. Very fancy looking food but certainly not filling .The food was in baby portions or bite sized and I used up more calories eating it than I took in ! But the location was wonderful and we saw the "dancing fountains" in full splendour and the city is beautiful, at night . I got a good photo of the Burg Khalifa as it happened . then we went to the "360" bar out near Burg al Arab and one has to get a little golf buggy to get there and more importantly to get back !
Monday back to the tennis again after visiting the Dubai Mall which is the largest shopping mall in the world with 55 million visitors a year . the size of 40 football pitches. Everything in Dubai is the tallest , longest , widest, biggest, fastest, most expensive in the world !

At the tennis Liz was a big hit with the Mumbai lads especially Hiresh ! He was a charmer and will be moving in with us soon! His friends were good fun but Andy Murray was not their favourite as he is "Too Boring"! . We saw Berdych and Istomen in action. Tues night Pub quiz after the tennis in the Dubliner . No joy with the quiz and we needed a bigger team.. Conor was the quiz master and in top form. On Wed we watched Roger and Novak what more can one ask for with these two fantastic players. Roger was lucky against Stepaneck and was down a set and 2-0 van but came back to win .
Thurs back on the plane again in a flash , we had a great week and really enjoyed the live tennis and Dubai which is amazing. David seems to be well settled in there and enjoying the job.


David and Joe collect their Grand Slam trophies

Novak up close

Joseph off to Dundee and wearing a brand new sling !

January was a busy month as Joseph had interviews in Glasgow,Dundee and Aberdeen .Glasgow was two 20min interviews with two different interviewers. The Dundee interview had 10 stations with 5 role players , he was happy enough but following day went better in Aberdeen with 7 stations with only one role play. Quite a demanding process of selection but fairer than a standard interview with all the different stations.
He got conditional offers from Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen which was great. Then back to study and the long wait until Aug. Joseph was working up Glen Nevis all summer and enjoyed meeting all the tourists which were mainly European. It was a busy job and great weather for all the tourists.

Aug 5th results arrive and more excitement for Joseph. He was delighted as he got the grades needed and decided to accept Dundee. September arives quickly and Joseph gets ready to leave home.Unfortunately he had a game of rugby the day before leaving in Lossiemouth and breaks his collar bone again.This time the right side so it was awkward to say the least.This is the third time he has broken his collar bone so we are used to the drill. He was very excited and glad to be leaving home at last ! He is staying in the halls of residence and shares with 9 other students so plently of company. He has settled in no problem and enjoyed the first semester. He has already been on the wards and seeing patients which is in contrast with my training when we were in 3rd med before being let loose on the wards. Dundee gives a good practical training which is essential and Joseph is very happy.

Joseph is away and Liz looks gutted !

The car is packed for the 5th time
Liz struggles to hold back the tears !

Joseph went to Shetland with the rugby club. I went over to the clubhouse to collect him and knew something was going on. The boys in the minibus were acting suspiciously and giving me some strange looks. Some sheepish looks were coming my way! So what was going on ?

Joseph was wearing a wolly hat and the boys were all smiling as he approached my car. He was unwilling to say anything and when in the car he eventually took off the hat after considerable persuasion to reval the haircut from hell !

The top shaved and the sides left alone ..what a sight to behold .Apparently while allegedly sober a few of the team agreed to have a haircut for charity. Joseph definitely got the worst option and rushed down to the barber on monday morning having worn the wolly hat all weekend. With his new reduced air resistance Joseph won the Leanachan Challenge cross country race in March. This race is for all the Higland schools.

Joseph is searching for his fringe



Scotland Sadly Says No !

The referendum on Sept 18th was a moment in history as Scotland finally had the chance to vote on independence. There was a record 85% turnout and the last few days were hectic with campaigners on both sides giving it their best efforts to persuade the "not sure" voters. It was a Fear vs Hope contest.
The results were disappointing with 55% voting "No" and 45% voting "Yes." However Scotland will have more powers devolved from Westminister which is a positive outcome but will have to be delivered.
So we wait and see .....

Vote Yes

Who is the Cute Christmas Jumper Elf ??

Over the last few weeks there was a major search party looking for Ciaran's best, newest and only Christmas jumper which mysteriously went missing.All preliminary enquiries drew a complete blank and nobody was squeeling. It was last seen on its rightful owner Ciaran last Christmas with no confirmed sightings during the year. In fairness it was a very hot summer so it would have been very suspicious if one was seen wearing a Christmas jumper in the middle of July even in Scotland !
All suspects were brought in one at a time for interrogation oops I mean friendly "questioning". Mobiles were handed over and strip searches were offered or water boarding if preferred, we aim to please ! Alas, even my best torture techniques ie talking endlessly until the suspect gives up the will to live, had failed.Then a vital breakthrough as David was spotted on Facebook and he claims the beautiful young lady in the photo put the missing jumper on him while he was asleep ! Santas cute little Elf helpers know no bounds and when David woke up the Elf was gone. But I am following a direct line of enquiry this time ... she forgot her lipstick ...

The Commonwealth games in Glasgow.... "U Gan DA, "

We went down to Glasgow for the Commonwealth games in July. Liz and David went to the netball on Fri. Liz struggled to get anyone to go to netball with her so David was volunteered ! In contrast we had to draw lots in order to see who could go to the Rugby 7s on Sat in Ibrox.(Rangers Ground)This was our first and possibly last visit to the enemy ground ! David, Ronan, Joseph and myself had a great day . We enjoyed the 40,000 fans in the sunshine all chanting together supporting " U Gan Da"who are not especially noted for their rugby prowess ! It was great day out with a fantastic festive atmosphere. There was fun with the "camera drums , air guitar , highland dancing , kissogram" which entertained the huge crowd during the breaks. We went out for dinner in Glasgow Sat evening which was heaving and all exhausted and very cranky .Then Sun in Hampden with 50,000 people at athletics which was fantastic to see live and we really enjoyed the day out. One has to be there to appreciate the atmosphere in the stadium.There was great support for all the athletes and para athletes. Glasgow did Scotland proud with it's enthusiastic and friendly hosting of the games.



Ciaran hits the Grand Canyon USA

Horse shoe bend as the Colarado river joins the Grand Canyon
Ciaran on a trail in the grand canyon

This summer I spent 8 weeks in the southwest of USA volunteering for a conservation crew. We were based in Flagstaff, Arizona which luckily is 8,00ft high, meaning the temperatures were actually bearable! Our accommodation was a set of houses with roughly 40 people living in the one spot, every 2 weeks a bunch of people would leave and a whole new group arriving, it was a chaotic, messy but highly entertaining.

In the time I spent in the US I was lucky enough to work in the Grand Canyon for a month, sand board and work in the great sand dunes in Colorado and a last hitch in Bryce Canyon in Utah. Hitches would last 10 days on average and in most cases we camped. This meant no showers, electricity or access to water. Baby wipes provided the illusion of cleanliness but the large diameter and stares from tourists wasn't just because of my good looks!

The camping was one of the best parts about my travelling; we would be in groups from 8-16 people from all over the world, from South Korea, Europeans and proper Texans! The diversity of the groups always made it fun, and I now have a lot more couches to crash on around the world! However, the work was very labour intensive, in the Grand Canyon we worked on the trails, pickaxes in hand, building trenches to prevent the paths from washing away.
In Colorado we were on a herbicide program 9,000ft in the

Rockies,whilst in Bryce Canyon we hiked for 20miles a day building fences! That may not sound appealing to you but seeing parts of these national parks tourists don't get a chance too, finding wee swimming spots, the stunning views along with the night sky made it all worthwhile! With so little light pollution in many of the areas we visited often the stars and Milky Way covered the whole sky, whilst watching shooting stars became a game of distinguishing them from satellites. Snakes, bears, scorpions all added to the excitement of being in a new setting, yet in the end something so familiar caused the most heartache. An Elk on my first day of my second hitch to the grand canyon thought my tent was a nice battering ram, and to add salt to my wound thought it now made a nice bathroom too. ( I have a pic of it dad) .

On our off days we visited California, staying in San Diego and camping on the beaches and surfing all day. With a small stop off in Joshua tree (yip that's one of U2's albums). We hiked in Zion, up an infamous trail called angels landing, which narrows to ridge with near vertical drop of 1,500ft on both sides.

We went to the setting of the movie stagecoach at monument valley, watched a cardinals game in Phoenix, a place where the city centre is deserted with temperatures reaching over 40 degrees! I also managed a day in Boston with a 12 hour lay-over!
I highly recommend a trip, there is so much to do but ensure you get a jam packed ipod and a car with auto drive, amongst good company of course too!

Monument Valley famous in all the Westerns
Ciaran ready for sand boarding

Aoife and Shinty


Aoife continues to play shinty with the Glengarry girls team and Lochaber High School.
The Lochaber High School shinty team had a big triump in March this year winning the Donella Crawford Cup.This was an eight team Highland High inter schools tournament which was held in Ardnamurchan High school. Aoife and Margaret Jane played in defence and were tested as Lochaber beat Kingussie 5-3 in a thrilling final.
Aoife also had a weekend trip to Edinburgh with the Highland hockey squad for a tournament.

  Aoife delighted to be back at school

Cian, Ailbhe,Katie,Conor and the Scottish cousins

Ava and Aoife compete to pull faces .



James' Shinty War Wounds

James has made a return to his lapsed shinty career this year and secured his place on the team during the season . He played for Fort William in the Camanachd Cup (All Ireland equivalent)semi final against old rivals Kingussie in Aug . It was televised live with BBC Alba showing it. Fort William lost on penalties after extra time. Ronald Ross scored his second penalty as sides were level at 2-2 after 5 penalties each. It was bad luck as Fort William should have won but let it slip in the first half should have been up 2-0 but it was 2-2 at half time .
However on a positive note Fort William won promotion back to the Premier League. They were undefeated and won 12 of the 14 league games. It was neck and neck against Oban .The title decider went to the last game of the season against Oban . Fort William won 2-0 and celebrated in style..
James had get a few stitches in Glasgow after a head on collison with one of his own players while trying to tackle an opponent and had a nice black eye for a fortnight. Next year will be more difficult as they are back with all the top teams in the premier league.

The two headers



Some of our Visitors 2014


Kim and JD from New Zealand visit the Glen
Liam ,Bobby and Sinead at Ben Race

John and Mary Porter reunited with Bernard

The Burg Khalifa (tallest Building)

Neil, David, Phil,Jordan visit in Feb for a ski trip  
Burkes in Gort for all your household needs
Joseph Katie Ciaran and Helen  
Liz finally visits John in Inverarary Jail

Sheila and Stephen tie the knot in Killarney
Our neighbour David hits the big 60

Umbrella sky
The Spice Soux