Christmas News 2015

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Vol 1 No. 21 Dec 2015

The year of the long wet summer but lots of tennis !

Hello to everyone.

A very Happy Christmas to you all and another year has flown by so quickly.
The Tangney Clan will all back in Fort William for this Christmas which is great.

David is already home from Dubai and planning on eating, drinking and sitting around for the next week !!! He is now almost 4 years in Dubai and continues to enjoy it, he is now head of Dept.

James is living at home and working with Rio Tinto (Aluminium) here in Fort William but will work until Christmas Eve. He will have no problem making time to eat, drink and sit around also. He was joint Player of the Year in shinty this year despite a broken toe! He borrows my car regularly but it's the bike for him to work most mornings. I remind him that it will keep him fit during the long dark cold wet winter days.

Ronan will be home on Wednesday the 23rd all going well. He graduated in July this year. Currently he is in the middle of his probationer year in Bridge of Weir. He is busy and enjoying teaching in a large school.

Ciaran has to sit some exams this coming week before we see him for Christmas but this will be his last year all going well and he will complete his degree in Environmental Geoscience. He was 21 in June and enjoyed his birthday party.

Joseph is in second year in Dundee and has finished the first term. It is a busy course and he enjoys it. He will be away skiing for the New Year but came home last night and is already enjoying food and drink!!

Aoife is in constant motion between work, school, applying for University and driving lessons along with the odd carol service for good measure. She is at her High School Christmas dance tonight looking very nice I have to say.

Last week I attended my very last high school parent teacher evening, missing only one, so 35 out of 36 !
I even got a round of applause from the a couple of the long suffering teachers who have had to cope with a Tangney child for the last 16 years !!!
Joe has a 100% record of never getting to any of them. He was amazingly "on call" every time a parent teacher meeting was mentioned !
Lochaber High School has been excellent and successfully educated all the boys and Aoife to a very high standard. We are lucky to have had such good primary and high schools in Fort William.

Joe and I will work until Christmas Eve also but will be off for Christmas which is good. We are looking forward to my nephew's Simon and Shane's weddings this year and hope to catch up with all the cousins.
Wishing you all a lovely Christmas and Happy Healthy New year

All the best for 2016


Sat 27 th June........High Noon....... Ticketmaster vs Liz Tangney

… could only end in tears !!

Wimbledon and Centre Court welcome Liz Tangney.


Wimbledon Tickets are released to the masses.

Liz was getting ready and excited for over a week before the big Saturday. At last a chance to try and get the much coveted Wimbledon tickets on line from Ticketmaster.

The tickets were released on Sat 27 th June at High Noon..... Ticketmaster vs Liz Tangney …. .it could only end in tears.

Yes, after one and a half hours continuously clicking the “buy now” button with the red hot mouse (we all know the Slatterys are not easy quitters) Liz reluctantly pushed her wheelie chair back from the computer desk with a style not unlike that of a beaten but still proud professional gambler in Vegas, shaking the head , glazed eyes but still one finger on the mouse in case of a last minute miracle. Finally using every last ATP molecule of energy reserve, Liz slowly gets up from the seat and then a series of heavy sighs….all the kids were now sneaking stealthy out of the room as this could go either way ,…. a big sobbing session or……… a very big Hiroshima ..…nobody was brave enough to stay in the room to find out !! It was cruel beyond belief as all that total pure concentration, not even a single blink for a full 90 minutes , in fact not even a cup of tea (or toilet break ) such was the determination and tenacity rarely seen in the Tangney household …(Unless somebody was looking for hidden drink the morning after a big night out).

Apparently all the tickets were sold in 8 seconds , I hear you gasp, yes just 8 seconds !! So Liz was gutted, the Wimbledon ticket dream was shattered. Liz was now in a trance like state and one would think she had been in a boxing ring for 12 rounds. She was unusually quiet and monosyllabic. When I accidentally probed about how many tickets Liz was trying to buy, she let slip that she was so desperate that she even tried to buy one ticket !! I was not best pleased at this news and said I was not going with her if there was no ticket for her "nearest and dearest". So I was slightly miffed and took it on the chin.

However all was not lost I spotted that another tranche of tickets were due to be released at 9 am next day on Sunday morning. So, up at 8.50 on Sun morning, not easy and logged on the Ticketmaster website for another battle to the death. Of course Ticketmaster was weakened from the previous day's encounters with Liz. So after only 11 failed attempts and at 9.10am I had the chance to buy two Centre court tickets for the next day. I was looking at the screen in disbelief, wow two tickets for centre court, a dream come true. So this was a game changer, day one and two tickets for centre court !

Centre Court

On Sun evening at 7pm we boarded the “Sleeper Train “ in Fort William which travels overnight to London. The so called “Sleeper” train passengers should have an interview before you board.
1. Have you ever slept through an earthquake ? 2. Do you like roller coasters ? 3. Are you a big lover of confined spaces ? 4. Have you had a large drink this evening ? 5. Are you on good terms with your cabinmate?

Luckily we met David and Frances Sedgwick who were going to London to see their son Robbie. A few drinks, a few stories, a few million words and the next four hours were gone in a flash.Suddenly, we were sent to our cabins by the staff. I foolishly decided to let Liz have the top bunk and had to push her up the ladder while warning her to stay quiet and not to snore. If you are even mildly claustrophobic beware the cabins are smaller than the cells in Alcatraz. I managed about 10 min sleep and was even thinking about saying a rosary in sheer desperation as we raced down the country in pure rattle and roll.

MONDAY Day one

Now Monday 9am and we arrived in Euston station London. A quick goodbye to David and Frances and their plants. Now the crowds began as we go up the escalator and the “runner “ passengers try to edge past us saying “keep to the right “. Everybody seems to be in a hurry to get somewhere fast. Welcome to London !

There were just masses of people racing along like the wilder beast migration in Africa. This was our first introduction to the London crowds. The we hit the subway and it's squeeze in time ! The trains were packed and seats at a premium. No eye contact whatsoever and not a smile to found anywhere. It was a United Nations and truly multicultural experience. Anyway the tube is really quick and we changed at Victoria (if not we would have ended up in Brixton which is a far cry from Wimbledon). So next stop Wimbledon we hoped but then 3 stops too early the train stops suddenly in “Putney Ease” due to a points problem. We just had to wait and fortunately we arrive in Wimbledon station at 10.30am.

Out of the station and walk up the hill to reach church street and the “Horse and Hound “ where we were booked in to stay for two nights.(This was our Christmas present from the boys ).The staff were very friendly and helpful. Then we pull out the map and head to the Wimbledon complex. We were there in 15min and as we had tickets there was only a tiny queue at gate 7. The whole complex is huge and we then see centre court for the first time , a wow moment ! We go in at 12 o clock and it was near empty and went down to the front. Our seats were up high but the view is great all over the stadium. On at 1pm was Novak vs Kohlschreiber. The atmosphere when full is just fantastic and to see the world number one in centre court is a dream come true for Liz and myself. Next on Sharapova vs Konta , then Wawrinka vs Sousa. Then we go back to the pub for a few beers and Pims for Liz which worringly she seemed to become more fond of day by day.

The Wimbledon village is buzzing with people and many drinking outside. Passing the estate agents who are a plenty shows the vast wealth in this desirable area. Houses for sale between £3-9 million and rent 4-10,000 per month. Swimming pools etc


Rafa my hero up close

TUES Day two. No tickets so the "queue" awaits

We get up at 7.15 and have breakfast and then head off to the “Queue”. The queue is quite a distance from the front gate of Wimbledon and it takes us 25 min doing a brisk walk. There were some ominous signs as some of the stewards said you will not get in before 5pm. We did not believe them and our optimism said let's see. When you reach the large field where the queue begins it is like a military operation. We walked past a large queue of about ½ a mile to reach what can best be described as a “holding area” in a field which joins the end of the queue. One is directed to go to the left side and follow the green flag. Only then are you given a queue card which is vital. There were 10 huge holding queues over a 1000 yards long each and when we arrived at 8am all 10 were full so extra lines were formed. We were number 9069 and 9070 . This was not good news for us as only the first 8000 are guaranteed to get in. Unfortunately Andy Murray , Rafa and Roger were all playing that day . It was 33 C and we nearly cooked in the queue. We became friends with half the country in the queue. Japanese /Chinese …It was like a big social event/concert with rugs, picnic baskets, newspapers, tea/coffee, toilets , tents ….

This is the "holding area" 10 lines each over 1000 yards long before you join the "Queue"


So after an extraordinary long day ….nine and a half hours queuing in scorching sunshine ......... we finally get in at 5.30pm.

I promise never to complain about a queue ever again, that has to be the worst ever queue. We were too stubborn to leave as many people did over the course of the day. Everybody agreed and all the veterans confirmed that was the worst queue ever in Wimbledon history and we were there !

But then a rub of the green as we approach Murray Mound we spot the ticket resale queue is small. So we get tickets for court number one for a fiver each ! We saw Berdych vs Chardy . 4 sets and three tiebreakers and a great win for Berdych. Court one is fantastic and all the queuing was finally worth it. Centre court and court one in the first two days , not bad !

Court Number One

WED Day 3

Older and a lot wiser we are up at 6am. No time for breakfast and we hit the road. A taxi was passing and we hop in. In no time at all we are heading down the field towards the Queue. Suddenly I realised that I had left my camera in the taxi as we were rushing ….disastrous as all the phots of the previous two days. I got the queue ticket first number 5397 at 6.40am. Then I abandoned Liz and back to the main gate to speak to a taxi driver who was very helpful and gave me a phone number to ring. 20min later the original taxi driver arrived with my camera. I paid him and was delighted to have the cameras back.

We had great company in the queue, an Irish American called Alex and two lads from Tooting. A wide range of topics were covered again including Cuba and Coalitions. Day three was a piece of cake as the queue raced along; there was hardly time for photos. Another scorching day 34C and we were in at 11.30am. Just under 5 hours in the queue and it was gone in a flash. This time we browsed around the outside courts and settled in Murray Mound. Then to the practice courts I saw my hero Rafa with uncle Toni . I was just about 6 feet away from him and he was practicing his serve. He is such a modest man and when somebody said “Good Luck Rafa “ He replied “Thank you very much “ and then signed tennis balls for some kids .
So off home Wed evening .........

Wed evening 9pm , the tube ,Euston , the sleeper …….I slept like a baby ,
the Wimbledon dream had come through and I awoke in Fort William !

Enjoying the sunshine

Murray Mound is packed

Ciaran is sent to Jamacia for two weeks in April .......

Ciaran reports : After being termed the “hippy” of the family for choosing to study environmental science, I did myself no favours when I found out my course had a compulsory field course to Jamaica. Anything I said or did would be met with the reply of “shut up Ciaran and go look at your rocks”. I didn't care what they said though, I always had the Jamaica trip card to throw on the table, they were simply just jealous.
After 3 years of waiting and a 10 hour flight in April this year we landed in Montenegro Bay, first thing I did was order a red stripe! (Jamaican lager)
Jamaica is a 20 credit course called “Field Course in Tropical Marine science and terrestrial Geoscience” and is luckily heavily subsidised by both the uni and the bank of mum and dad!!! The parents were suspicious that this was an actual university course and not just me brilliantly playing them into giving me a free trip!

Discovery Bay

We were based in the University of the West Indies in their Discovery Bay campus where it was said Columbus first landed, but again quickly left as there were no running rivers going into the bay. While we were there the Kingston campus had a lovely visit by President Obama!

Our first few days consisted of overcoming the jet-lag and getting to grips with snorkelling around the reef identifying key species and types of corals. We were based in a marine laboratory and were provided with authentic Jamaican food 3 times a day, as bob Marley says ‘no worries', wise words indeed!

Waking up to the warm Caribbean breeze and white sands, which our lecturer was keen to point out is mostly made from fish crap, was brilliant! The second half of the week we took to a small boat and took measurements around the bay with our Jamaican driver called ‘skeggy' who just didn't stop singing!! One day after a morning of measurements our lecturer thought a nice stop off at a key scientific location was needed and we were told to bring a towel and some money. This important location turned out to be a beach bar on the other side of the bay and ‘skeggy' being the show off he is made a big entrance into the bay, leaving us to swim to the bar and order up some Jamaican rum and numerous red stripes.

The famous Dunn's River Waterfall

As a part of our assessment of the course we had to come up with our own hypothesis and experiments. I volunteered for the task of going out and collecting sea urchins and sea cucumbers (look very much like a big piece of shite). After setting up the experiment it was off to the rum shack down the road, which was so cheap they were basically giving it away! On the final day at the lab we held a big BBQ at the jetty and woke up the next day excited to move to a hotel further down the coast, with a pool!

In the second half of the field trip we went more inland to study the geology and big bauxite mines of Jamaica. This was a stark contrast to the coast with the big fancy hotels full of white folks to the poverty stricken mainland where kids would point at you and shout ‘whitey whitey!'. The Jamaicans on a whole though were incredibly friendly and always willing to help, but girls were never left alone as a few horror story's had occurred in the past.

Ciaran , Adam and Neil who hopes the tide does not come in soon !

One afternoon walking through the jungle we ventured into a spring where a big river emerged from nowhere. Jamaica's geology is predominately limestone, this sort of terrain is associated with large caves, springs and highly weathered “karst” landscapes. We stayed here for a while and found a rope swing into the turquoise water, couldn't stop smiling! On the way to look at an outcrop (yes more rocks) my lecturer told me one year they stumbled onto some poor Jamaicans hidden “crops”. Which he said was actually very dangerous as these illegal crop farms are often armed and are not best pleased if you stumble into hidden greenery.

On our 2 off days of the trip we ventured into a local town where we tried our hand at bartering which from the offset we are at a disadvantage (being white made the price jump up a lot!!!) then went to the famous Dunn's river waterfall in which you can climb up and swim in the plunge pools on the way! At night we went to a local Jamaican carnival which had reggae and dance hall music, you could get a half bottle of 60% rum and mixers for £4...

60% proof white Rum

It wasn't just fun and games, the reason we were there was that Jamaica has one of the most degraded coral reefs in the world through overfishing, nutrient pollution and climate change. After collecting all the data over the 2 weeks the last two days where left for us to write up a 3,000 word report and a 2,500 word report on our findings with a 1,000 word synopsis all due in 48 hours. This left us to remove sleep from the equation and add a lot of Jamaican coffee into the mix!!

Jamaica was a once in a lifetime trip shared with some amazing people and I just want to say a big thanks to my mum and dad who financed me through the best 2 weeks of university I have ever had.

Coral reefs
Student Life in Jamaica is so hard !

Ronan's Graduation July 2015

Ronan our new PE teacher
Team Tangney get Ronan ready

On the 3 July Ronan graduated in Edinburgh. It was fortunately a fine sunny day unlike the rest of the wet summer. We were all there except James who was working that day. So five of the Tangney clan gathered for this proud day. Ronan looked the part with his gown and we enjoyed this long awaited day out. Catherine, David's girlfriend finally met the family. We had lunch together and I warned the boys to take it easy on Catherine on our first meeting. Our course they heeded my warning as usual and Catherine looked terrified as they tested her out. The boys informed Catherine of David's past childhood and teenage demeanours and behaviour in great depth. David was on the rocks and trying to get the boys off his case.

Luckily for David we were in a hurry to get to the graduation so the serious slagging had to be curtailed for another session . This was just a quick introduction. So Catherine survived her first encounter with the Tangney clan and lives to fight another day. of course she was lucky James was not there and she will have to brace herself for that meeting. I advised her that some medication eg a sedative taken one hour before meeting us might help the next time.
We went out for dinner later and had a nice evening together. Amazingly there were no major arguments or fall outs and no big family pow wows !
Ronan went off to Vietnam and Cambodia for a few weeks before starting school.

Catherine is wondering are these stories all true? Aoife is doing her meditation and can't bear to look !

Catherine is now relieved to hear David say "Nothing they have said about me is true"

Ronan takes his graduation very seriously !


Our Kiwi Ciaran is 21
Sea kayaking in Arasaig a birthday treat.

Yes it's hard to believe but Ciaran was 21 in June .Still far away from his Kiwi roots which he hopes to visit again. So it was party time in the Tangney house ..again. With glorious sunshine which was a pure fluke Ciaran had a barbeque party in the back garden. He gathered up a crowd of friends with the lure of a night out in the infamous Tangney basement which was closed for obvious reasons. However it was reopened on this one special occasion for Ciaran.It reminded me of nursery as they all rushed down to the basement and the excitement was tangible with constant high pitched screams. The music was also tangible in our front room and in the neighbours houses ! Needless to say a huge amount of drink was consumed in record time and then the birthday cake and then the crowd left for town. Our house was heaving and there were a few sore heads and injured bodies next morning. They gradually disappeared after a big brunch to another 21st up north. The energy and eternal thirst of youth never ceases to amaze me !

The bouncy castle survived without anybody vomiting all over it and yes children still like to play even when 21 !

This is early in the afternoon as the boys await patiently for the basement to re open.

Big Stu's Big Wedding

I have to mention "Big Stornoway Stu" who got married in July . To be honest we are all relieved that he has finally found a full time carer.
Our David was fed up with the job and he too has a new carer. So the two boys are now well minded and their mothers can sleep soundly at night knowing they are safe at last. Stu told me in a private moment that he has ambitions to appear in Strictly Come Dancing next year and he was already practicing some new moves(ie the leaning tower of Pisa )at his wedding.

I am unsure if he has told his new bride yet that this time next year he will be dancing with Anton Du Beke !

Aoife's Higher Exam results ...a drama unfolded !

Aoife had a traumatic exam season as she was very disappointed with one of her Higher English papers. After coming home Aoife was dejected and immediatley threw herself on the couch and putting it mildly she was not very cheerful that evening at all. We decided it was best to avoid her and nobody went near the couch . But worse was to come as the Maths was extremely difficult and even mentioned in the main evening news as thousands of pupils struggled to finish the paper on time. The hardest Maths paper ever !! An enquiry was launched by the SQA. Thankfully Biology, French and Chemistry all went well.
So, Aoife was not too optimistic about getting 5 A's to shut the brothers up !
Then on Tues the 5 th of Aug 05.30 am a text arrives ,Aoife wakes us up with her Higher results 4A's and a B in Maths. She was very happy after the trauma of the English paper and the Maths fiasco. We were delighted for Aoife who worked hard all year and then in November there was a big surprise. The SQA wrote to Aoife informing her that she got an A in Maths on appeal as she was only one mark short in the paper.
So now Aoife has the 5 A's and the boys have suddenly gone very quite again.
All is calm in the Tangney household again.

This is the last Tangney first day back to school photo on the 19 Aug 2015.


Joseph passes his driving test but fails to drink T in the Park

It has been a eventful summer for Joseph, some events were better than others !
Joseph passed his driving test on 28 July with just one minor and was delighted. All those lessons with Mr Quinn who has infinite patience worked. So the VW Polo has yet another driver now. Big brother David passed his test in Dubai. It was an automatic car so no" street cred "for that test. According to his brothers even a baby can drive an automatic car ! He will have to sit a test in the UK in a manual shift car if he comes back.

Speaking of "street cred" Joseph out did all his brothers with his moves in T in the Park this year. He certainly had more than his fair share of attention in social media. All those years wrestling training with his brothers on the sitting room floor finally paid off !! He has been sluggish for years. Its' over ..

The less said the better and he is not going to T in the Park for the next 10 years at least !!

Nana Tangney hits the 80s

We travelled over to Ireland in Feb for a big birthday night out.

My mother Mary Tangney was 80 and we had a gathering in Killarney. It was just immmediate family as my uncle Dick sadly died the previous Sept. All of us except David who is in Dubai travelled over for the weekend. I did a powerpoint presentaton with old family photos and we enjoyed the craic. It was good for all the cousins to meet up and the boys drank a few pints. Amazingly ,they seemed very much at home with the pints of Guinness lined up in front of them all night!

All the small cousins behaved very well and the big cousins say no more ..... We were delayed due to fog in Dublin airport Sun night and got back to Fort William in the early hours of the morning. All shattered after the weekend.
Mother is in great shape for 80 and should make 100 no bother at all.

Joe , Annie,Helen,Bernard and Nana Tangney

All the first and second cousins get together in Killarney


Sat 19 th Sept and it was Davis Cup fever in the Emirates Arena in Glasgow. We got two late tickets for the doubles and we race down the road to get there for 1pm start. The caravans and campervans did their best to give me a stroke and fortunately or miraculously we arrived with a few minutes to spare. The Emirates Arena was absolutely buzzing with a huge crowd inside the arena. The atmosphere was electric right from the start and the tension was tangible. The sell-out crowd of 8000 were all on their feet as the red hot chilli pipers did the warm up. The Scottish pride and pure emotion was just awesome .The Murray brothers were playing Hewitt and Groth .It was just fantastic event and every point was applauded with energy and gusto especially the GB points. In between games there was lively music and the crowd dancing to relieve the tension. It was a nerve racking roller coaster 4 hour match. The first set to the Aussies, then 2-1 , tiebreaker 2-2 then a fifth set .

We were all totally emotionally exhausted after this epic event and we staggered out of the arena with the other 8000 spectators ...............…completely drained but exuberant.

A great day of excitement and after four hours when the Murray brothers won the 5th set the emotion and relief just erupted and then we all sang along to" I will walk 500 miles" .

The noise from the crowd was just incredible! We were all totally emotionally exhausted after this epic event and we staggered out of the arena …drained but exuberant.

John /Dot Shirley and Pat were all there and we met Ronan afterwards for a burger. Andy beat Tomic on Sun to clench the victory and GB get into the Davis Cup final. The last time was 1978 and it's 1936 since GB won it.
A day to remember for sure.
Then on 29th November after 79 years awaiting the Murray brothers (Great Britain) beat Belgium 3-1. We were watching history being made as the boys fron Dunblane showed their true class.

  Shirley,Liz, John , Pat and Dot all on a tennis high !


James celebrates his 25th birthday in Columbia

James reports

So for two and a bit weeks this Sept/Oct I went for a few friends to Colombia. It wasn't our first choice destination choice but after speaking to a few friends who had spent a bit of time in South America they said it was the best country to explore on such a limited time scale.

We arrived after a 9 hour flight in the capital Bogota and met up with one of Daniels' friend he knew from University who was teaching English out there. He didn't really show us around many tourist attractions but took us out to a few decent pubs, we were disappointed to find that the pubs were mainly full of men and not the famous South American women we had heard about. Daniel failed to mention to us that the lad had come out as gay since moving to Colombia.

From Bogota we headed up to Medellin which was once the murder capital of the world mainly due to Pablo Escobar cartel he ran from there. We were a bit apprehensive about going there due to the terrible reputation it used to have however we couldn't of been further from the truth as the feeling we got from the locals was one of a country trying to get away from its terrible past and everyone was very open and welcoming. While staying in Medellin we went to the local football game which was by far one of the best atmospheres I have ever witnessed. It's just a constant wave of noise in the stadium not like here were we tend to react to things that are happening on the pitch. When they celebrate a goal it's a little terrifying though as its all standing and they just run down the levels towards the fence keeping the off the pitch at the bottom.

After Medellin we headed further North to the Caribbean coast and used a place called Minca as our base for a few excursions. We ended up staying in a hostel 1200 metres high one night which claimed to have the biggest hammock in the world (probably) overhanging the mountain and then another hostel which was on stilts out in the ocean. You had to stay upstairs in that one as the bottom floor was prone to flooding.

I couldn't recommend visiting Colombia more highly to anyone it is one of the best places I have visited, despite the local food being pretty shit unless you like deep fried potato and egg balls. Would highly advise getting a bit of Spanish under your belt first though as not many folk speak English. Ciao.



The birthday boy relaxes in the biggest hammock in the world

Some of our Visitors 2015


Esther and Mike back from Tasmania
Roisin, Ellie Maeve , Billy ,Aoife

Will Mitchell from Australia

The Schuh shop

Liz , Peter and Catriona  
Ava and Harry
Shane sorts out Aoife's hair  
The American Visitors in Milltown
Castle Eilean Donan   David meets Brian O'Driscoll in Dubai