Christmas News 2019

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Vol 1 No. 23 Dec 2019

The year of the James' Rickshaw Race !

A lovely, happy, peaceful Christmas to you all.

The Tangney household is looking forward to a family friendly one. All going well we will have all the boys and Aoife here for some part of Christmas Day. It over 4 Christmas's since the boys were all home and Joseph will be working part of Christmas day but I am hoping to get that family dinner finally!!!

David and Ciaran arrive back home on the 19 th of December David has been home a lot this year but Ciaran not at all. David and all the boys along with Aoife have been spot on this year and David was in India not much past 12 hours after James had his accident and was an immense support to all of us over the year. He and Catherine continue to enjoy life in Dubai in between trips home.

James has had an eventful year due to his accident and Kendal copes with the Tangneys with incredible ease and grace.

Ronan continues to work in Aberdeen and got Dad and Aoife to India and helped out with practicalities from the word go. He also introduced us to a lovely girl and we hope to see Megan also on Christmas day.

Ciaran graduated for the second time this year and is now a science teacher. He also got an amazing opportunity to go into the Stratosphere in July from Christchurch in New Zealand. It was fantastic according to Ciaran and we are all just a bit jealous I think.

Joseph graduated also and started work in August in The Queen Elizabeth Hospital it's hard to believe where the time has gone. He had a number of placements early in the year around Glasgow and again he visited and ate dinner regularly with all of us in the Spinal Unit and occasionally cooked it also!!! Thank you also to Rebecca his girlfriend for all that driving on New Year's Day to get Joseph back home to Fort William. Thank you also to her family for such support especially to Joe while he was in India.

Aoife turned 21 at Halloween and is one amazing person. She is in 4 th year training as a Physiotherapist. She also had a placement in Glasgow and gained an great insight into the incredible work that they do.

She has never had a problem in telling her brothers how it should be done and James knows exactly how he should be doing things.

Since James' accident we have been overwhelmed by support from family members, friends, work colleagues, the Fort William community and people all over the world which is very humbling. Thank you to everyone, from the bottom of our hearts thank you all for the thoughts and prayers help and support given to all of us this year, Thank you.

James continues his journey to recovery with great determination and courage which keeps us all going. A very happy Christmas to you all and take care from all the Tangneys.

Happy New Year.
All the best for 2019


James and the TukTuk/Rickshaw Race

Bangalore India

Sunday 30 December 2018 is certainly a night to remember in our house. James was in India with friends Elliot and Kenny for the Rickshaw Challenge race. This is a charity event and all the rickshaws are sponsored. The race was due to begin next day just outside Bangalore. Then the phone call every parent dreads as Elliot rang us to tell us that James had been involved in an accident. I had hoped it was a minor road traffic accident but it was worse. James had a very serious neck injury and paralysed after jumping into a swimming pool. Our hearts sank and we felt so helpless being here in Scotland. We were numb with the shock of this bad news. There were several more phonecalls updating us on James' condition and he was now in intensive care. Luckily Elliot manged to get James out of the swimming pool quickly or he would have drowned and there was by chance an American paramedic there who ensured James was not incorrectly moved etc Also James was taken to a very good hospital (Aster) with a top neurosurgeon Dr Umesh who is excellent and his registrar Dr Yadhu which was again very lucky.

Sun evening was difficult as we searched for flights for Joe to go out to Bangalore as soon as possible. Another problem was the need for an urgent tourist visa for India. It usually takes up to 4 days on line so Joe went down to Edinburgh at 7.30am next morning after a sleepless night to go to the Indian Consulate for the visa. A few hours later and many questions later the visa was finally granted. The next day was new years day and everywhere is closed so getting the visa on Monday saved two days at least. Then Joe off to Glasgow airport for the 9pm new years eve 7 hour flight to Dubai. It was a long lonely flight with endless thoughts running through my head. Having medical knowledge can be a disadvantage at times as one is aware of the possible worst outcomes.

The passengers on the Dubai flight celebrated new years arrival in mid air but with a heavy heart I observed in a detached numb state. Then after Dubai a 4 hour flight to Bangalore. It was now Tues evening 1st Jan when I arrived in Bangalore. For anybody who has not visited India it is certainly a culture shock from the moment of arrival. It is so busy with so many people everywhere and appears chaotic. I got a taxi to the Aster hopital and met Elliot and Kenny in the lobby then went straight to ITU.

David was there already which was great and when I saw James I was relieved to say the least. The surgical team needed to speak with me before urgent surgery next morning. They were very good and discussed the pros and cons of having surgery. Surgical stabilisation of James' neck fracture was needed and there was no other option. So consent was given and we had to hope there would not be any complications.

10 am Wed morning James goes into surgery and he was back in ITU 4 hours later. All went well much to our relief. The Intensive care staff were very good and attentive. However ITU is a very noisy place with all the alarms beeping incessantly so James could not sleep and now exhausted after 4 days. James was then moved to a single room which was a blessing. However there was a constant stream of visitors to his room. Most days 25 people at least would call in and the cleaners came in at 6am. There were some wonderful people looking after James including an inspirational physio called Tapo who really helped. James was initially unable to even sit up as his blood pressure dropped. A tilt table was used to try and help the blood pressure stabilise. Dr Salamatha the rehab consultant was very good to James and supportive to all of us.


Then our next challenge was to try and return to Scotland. This was far more difficult than I could have ever envisaged . There were obstacles everywhere and the insurance company constantly asking for more documentation to be completed. Luckily David was with me and was able to get the required documents etc. Liz was at home trying from her end to arrange repatriation. It was a very long difficult process and not for the faint hearted ! Only by sheer perseverance by Liz and David did the insurance company finally agree to cover the medical costs. Now we can understand the plight of families when a family member is injured abroad and the need for crowdfunding just to get the patient back home. The added worry of trying to get the insurance company's approval when already very worried about a family member is very stressful to say the least. We were now over two weeks in the hospital and each day we had hope of getting home .But each day our hopes were dashed and we were now all exhausted emotionally. Aoife came over to help out and gave James a great boost. James by now was fed up with David and myself !

Aoife has arrived....James wake up !

Aoife was straight into physio mode and took no nonsense from James !! Like Charles Dickens said "these were the best of times and the worse of times " as we laughed and became over joyed when James could suddenly move his left big toe ! A glimmer of hope and the start of James' recovery. But still no flight home as we now are almost 3 weeks in India and needed to get back home .... But then finally we get news of a definite flight home with Air India on Mon 21 st Jan. Even James smiled with this good news.

Flight Home

This was great news but not unsurprisingly without it's problems. It was on an ordinary Air India passenger flight with James down at the back of the plane . To cut a long story short it was the flight from hell. We left the hospital at 2am and the flight was due to leave at 05.40. Shortly after take off which was delayed by two hours due to dense fog there was terrible turbulence for over 3 hours. I have never experienced turbulence like this before as the plane went up and down and then side to side. It was just awful and I was worried James was going to vomit which would have been very serious. James then developed severe abdominal pain after two hours into an 11 hour flight. I thought we might need to divert the flight and this would have been the last thing we needed. All sort of causes came into my head which could have been serious. One is very vulnerable at 28000 feet especially with a tetraplegic spinal injury.To add to the difficulties the air matress James was lying on deflated as he boarded the flight and the power socket on the plane for the electric pump was not working. It was not our lucky day !This greatly increased the risk of a pressure sore developing during the long flight. James was on a trolley which was attached on to a makeshift stand. He could touch the ceiling of the plane and had no arm rests. We had to improvise and use blankets to support his arms. This was very uncomfortable to say the least for James during an 11 hour flight. This was a very long journey and tested our endurance to the limits. However we knew there was no short cut and had to do it.

We arrived in Heathrow and then transferred to Northholt airfield before transfer to Glasgow by air ambulance. This part of the journey could not have been better and we eventually arrive at the Queen Elizabeth Spinal Injuries Unit at 5.30pm. This was the end of our 21 hour epic journey. Liz , Kendal and Aoife were there waiting for us and Liz shed a tear of joy as James arrived home at last. I had a huge sense of relief as the journey home was dangerous in so many ways.

We were delighted to be in the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit and James was admited to the Edenhall HDU ward. Here James received wonderful care from all the team before transfer to Phillipshill ward on Feb 8th. Over the next five months James had intensive physio and rehab in this excellent unit. He was pushed to succeed by all the team and in particular the fantastic physio Claire, OT Jen and nurse Steven who were able to push James to achieve his ever changing goals over the months. After a few weeks having been initially bedbound James was now transferring himself from his wheelchair. Then getting wheelchair skills and walking using crutches. James was now much stronger and getting fit again. Having physio twice a day and setting goals definitely helped.The recovery is not just physical and James' natural determination and competitive spirit has helped him in his journey to recovery.

I have no doubt that the huge support from so many friends who called in to visit regularly was a significant factor in James' recovery. Being isolated in hospital can be very challenging and having so many friends visiting helped maintain morale which is crucial in recovery. Being visited by so many friends and colleagues helped to keep James cheerful and he is lucky to have such a strong social network. Horatio's garden also had a very positive impact on James' recovery as he was able to get out of his room to get some fresh air and have a chat in the pods which was great for visitors.

The weeks went by some quicker than others in an emotional roller coaster fashion and luckily we rented a flat very near the hospital. This had a huge positive impact for all of us as visitors and family could come and go easily. Also more importantly we could cook dinner and then bring it over to James every evening. The importance of having one's main meal together as a family cannot be underestimated and the home cooking is hard to beat especially when one is in hospital ! So we were very fortunate to be able to do this which helped James get stronger and enjoy his dinner. Simple things become more important when ill. Also after a few weeks James was able to leave the unit for a few hours and go out to meet friends.


The Spinal Unit is a place of great joy and sadness all combined into one. All of the staff are very cheerful and positive with plenty of Glaswegian wit and banter especially the cleaning staff like Martin. The medical and nursing teams have compasion with a wealth of experience and enjoy seeing a patients like James improve which brought a smile to so many faces. But also the sadness of some patients who have complete spinal cord injuries without any hope of recovery is difficult to watch. Some patients may be an in patient in the unit for up to a year .Each patient has their own unique story to tell and different journey to travel. They share the common problem that their lives are changed and they have to adjust to this challenge. The courage shown by James and so many patients in the unit is amazing as they each come to terms with their injuries.

The McGuinns visit from Galway

We have been overwhelmed by support from family members,friends,work colleagues ,employer Liberty,the Fort William community and people all over the world which is very humbling. Kendal has been a tower of strength and ever cheerful. The ripples of pain go out much further than one would expect but a tsunami of support has come back in .James continues his journey to recovery with great determination and courage which keeps us all going.When a family member has a serious illness one is suddenly made aware of how much we take our health for granted and we are so thankful that James is still his usual self. It is still early days in James' recovery process and with the aid of a functional electrical stimulator on his right calf James was able to walk 2000 steps which is wonderful. The rehab programme continues daily and James will give it 100% no doubt.


The Three Peaks Challenge

Bryan Simpson and Craig Forbes called up to our house in May to ask if it was ok to do a fundraiser for James. The lads wanted to help James and were planning a Three Peaks Challenge. Of course was my reply and this was a great idea as the boys needed an excuse to train for the "Ben" in Sept. Bryan then set up a JustGiving webpage for donations and the target was £3500. Little did we know at the time that this target was going to be absolutely smashed in a few weeks. The 3 peaks team was finalised with Darren Quigg and Ross Wilson joining Bryan and Craig. The training began and the 8th August was the date set for the challenge. The boys knew this was going to be a tight schedule especially for Ross who was nominated the Uber man for the trip. The weeks flew by and the boys completed the challenge and were very unlucky with the weather on the top of Ben Nevis which was atrocious that night. It was very dangerous for the lads who had to turn back at 4000ft. This was a very wise decison as they were now freezing cold and wet with terrible visibility. We are extremly grateful to the lads for their fantastic achievment and generosity to James.

The JustGiving webpage raised £23,000 which is incredible far excedding the target of £3,500. The generosity and kindness of so many people in Fort william and all around the world has been wonderful and we are very grateful to everybody who contributed to the fund.



The Lochaber and Oban Times reported

Colleagues of a Fort William shinty player hurt in India have raised more than £21,000 to help his recovery – despite the weather making it a tough challenge. Bryan Simpson, Craig Forbes and Darren Quigg pledged to complete the Three Peaks Challenge for their friend James Tangney.

Mr Tangney, 28, was left temporarily paralysed from the neck down after an accident in India late last year resulted in a broken neck and spinal cord injury He underwent intensive surgery abroad before being flown back to Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth Hospital for rehabilitation.

The trio set out on their intrepid adventure on August 8 up Wales' tallest peak Snowdon, before setting their sights on Scafell Pike in the Lake District. As heavy showers and thunderstorms battered the north yesterday, the trio began their final assent up Ben Nevis in the hope of reaching the summit. However, the group were forced to turn back at 4,000ft.

They wrote on social media: “Three peaks completed 16hrs 12mins. Unfortunately never summited the Ben, adverse weather at 4,000ft.”

The group have so far raised more than £21,000 for the cause, smashing their initial £3,500 target.

Fellow member Ross Wilson, who took on the challenge of transporting the fundraising team on their mammoth 475-mile journey, praised the men for facing such harsh conditions head on.

He said: “Huge respect for putting themselves through so much pain and still managing still to have a laugh all the way through right up till I dropped them all of at home. The thought of them even getting out of the car and heading up the Ben in those conditions was actually quite worrying.”


Love Island Reject Martyn Cameron was the MC

The second big fundraising event was the Race Night in the Shinty club. This was held on Fri 9th August and the first Race Night to be held in the club. It was a great night and a big turnout with Martyn Cameron the MC. I had expected Martyn to be subdued and reserved as usual especially with his recent Love Island rejection but I was proved wrong. He was on the" rebound" I think and came out on fire . Martyn used his banter and wit to inflict insults on as many people as possible in a record time. He had to leave with Darren and Garry his security guards as he was a wanted man by the end of the night. Another possible reason was that he had all the money for the night stuffed inside his shirt and needed to leave quickly ! He gave James a wee cheeky smile just going out the door knowing that James could never catch him especially over rough ground ! However you will be pleased to know that I surprised him in Lidls carpark and he was crying like a baby when he handed all the money back to me. It was tempting to bring him back to the shinty club but there was no need to resort to this severe action.

A surprise guest was Mr Alan Morgon who was year head and Deputy Head when James was in the Lochaber High School. Alan escaped from his nursing home near Coupar and arrived on a moped without his carers. He initially went to the wrong venue and handed over his bottle of whisky at the door until about a half hour later he realised there was no sign of James and he was at Father Roddy's farewell in the Railway Club. They kicked him out eventually as he kept pestering people asking where is James hiding? Somebody sent him on to the Shinty club where he now found James. He knew most of the crowd who were his former pupils and he soon began to open up old wounds ! He was in great form and we let him stay up until 9pm before putting him into the boot of a car wrapped in a big tartan rug and an old school yearbook to read. He was still talking but no making any sense as usual when I had to forcibly move his fingers off the edge of the boot before quickly slamming it closed. I could still hear the chatter as I walked away and in a moment of weakness I handed him back his mobile phone so that he could chat to somebody all night. Needless to say I blocked his number immediately on my phone. He was seen later in the Volley and trying to find his way to the Roobarb nightclub. We hope he will eventually find his way back to the nursing home and the other residents are reportedly enjoying his abscence !

The Race Night was a great success and a big thank you to everybody who gave their time to organise and run the night. The Fort William and shinty community's generosity is amazing and much appreciated by all of us. Thank you all very much.

Teacher's Pet James and Mr Morgan
The King Tut Tent in full swing
The Love Island wannabes team up to support each other with a few pints to ease the pain !
Megan and Liz are ready to gamble
Eilidh, Lynsey,Sarah and Steepo
The Nurses Alana, Brid and Ruth study the form


The race night crowd warm up !


The Balliemore Cup winners 2019 for the second time in club history.

Feb 2019 James wins Player of the year 2018 for the fourth year in a row.
(James says it was pity vote that won it for him even though it was before his accident !!)

James gets a visit from Robert MacIntyre" Rookie of the Year".

As mentioned earlier we have had support from so many people from far and wide. James got a message from Robert MacIntyre in Oban to say he was going to auction his golf bag which he used in his first British Open and came 6th which was the begining of a wonderful year for Robert. This culminated in winning Rookie of the Year in Dubai and a world ranking of 66. Robert has played shinty for Oban Celtic and wanted to help James.

Robert then arranged to meet James personally in Fort William with his family to give James the proceeds from the auction. This gesture of kindness and generosity is much appreciated by James and all of us. The shinty family is a strong one and we wish Robert every success in his bright future golfing career. Thank you very much Robert and you are a true Higland gentleman. PS If you have time could you give David a few lessons ??


Ciaran Graduation June 2019

Ciaran graduated from Waikato University in June

In the photo above he is joined by Geoff and Karen who have been so supportive and helpful to Ciaran. They are his third set of adoptive parents in New Zealand ! First Kim his godmother in Dargaville and JD, then Ivan and Anita in Tauranga. In fact it was Geoff who sugested teaching as a career to Ciaran and it has been a wonderful journey for Ciaran. Thank you Geoff and Karen for all your help and I hope Ciaran will pay you back all the money he owes you in the next 10 years !! I told him he must pay me first so you might have to wait a few more years !! Somehow Ciaran always lands on his feet and is enoying his new career teaching in Greymouth. After he won the Bonny baby contest aged 2 he has not looked back fact he has not looked better and as the photo below proves that was him peaking too early!!

Ciaran phoned home and I could feel the fear in his voice ...

Thurs 6th June was a day of another shock phone call in out house.This time it was Ciaran calling me from New Zealand who said "Is mum there?" I said "no why ? Ciaran said " I am thinking of heading into outer space". At first I thought he was joking and said "Yes Ciaran I said we all know you have been spaced out for years and it won't be your first trip !" I could feel the fear in his voice and his main concern was that he might now unable to come home for our much long awaited big family dinner in July which Liz had been planning for over two years. I said to Ciaran "your mother will never again speak to you or possibly kill you and definitely cut you out of her will if you miss the big family dinner" Then a long silence as Ciaran now had to make a life and death snap decison. He had to let the space agency know if he was going to accept the offer asap.
Then he said " Tell mum I will be famous"

I said " will you be very rich and famous as that might ease your mother's anguish and heartbreak when she looks at your empty chair around the table during the big family dinner ?" Again a long silence which I knew meant he was going to be Very Poor and famous. But Ciaran bounced back as he was desparate to find a reason to accept the once in a lifetime space trip instead of his mother's long awaited big family dinner. He said "tell mum I will say a prayer for her as I will be very close to heaven" I have to say this was a masterful move by Ciaran knowning that Liz would be very impressed if Ciaran said a prayer even here on earth but while up near heaven was a stroke of genius ! That promise of a quick hail Mary was enough for Ciaran to abandon his mother ,his family ,the big dinner and blast off into outer space.

This opportunity of a trip into the strathosphere was like winning the lottery for Ciaran. Science teachers from all over New Zealand were invited to apply for just 8 places on this modified jumbo jet. Ciaran never stuck for words applied and was very luckly to have been chosen. The full version of the trip would take several hours to tell you and Ciaran is available via his agent if you wish to meet him personally for all the gorey details. Let's just say it was very exciting and one of the highlights was the Southern Lights. These were spectacular and the photos don't do it justice.

Once back on earth Ciaran has been milking the celebrity status and did a presentation to the whole school and local newspaper article. We know many people have been avoiding him since the trip as he does seem to bring it up in conversation repeatedly!!

Ciaran gets some flying lessons from the pilots as they head straight towards an ateroid.

Ciaran claims a new world record !!


Ciaran is now claiming a new world record for wearing a Kilt at 42,000 feet. The Guinness book of records have not yet verified this new record but Ciaran is sure that the title is his as astronauts don't seem to like wearing kilts !! I suppose one can understand their dilemma when in a weight less situation !!

Ciaran and his new friend who wants to swap outfits.

Ciaran has it made .......with his bottle of Corona and two lovely ladies.


Ciaran our New Space Cadet

NZ teachers go stratospheric on international high altitude plane, SOFIA

Published: 15 July 2019

Eight of the South Island's most outstanding science teachers have been selected to fly on board NASA and German Aerospace Centre's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) while it operates out of Christchurch this winter. This unique opportunity provides teachers a hands-on scientific experience to increase their knowledge of astronomy and, once they're back on terra firma, to inspire their students.



SOFIA is a Boeing 747SP aircraft modified to carry a 2.7-metre reflecting telescope. It is the world's premiere infrared astronomy observatory, flying into the stratosphere at 11,000 - 14,000 metres. This puts SOFIA above 99 per cent of Earth's infrared-blocking atmosphere, allowing astronomers to study the solar system and beyond in ways that ground-based telescopes cannot. SOFIA is made possible through a partnership between NASA and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR).

The teachers on board SOFIA took off from Christchurch on two, 10-hour missions on 25 June and 10 July, giving them an extraordinary experience to explore new frontiers in the solar system and cutting edge space technology.


Miranda Satterthwaite, Ciaran Tangney, Carolyn Green, Anna Johnston, Tawhai Moss (New Zealand Space Agency), Briar Hubbard , Ian Griffin (Otago Museum), Rob Mitchell (Embassy of the United States).


'NASA's SOFIA mission is a great example of Kiwi and U.S. collaboration on science, space, technology and more,' said U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown. 'I hope this flight for teachers inspires our educators and future generations to keep working together and explore careers in science.'

The eight South Island teachers, selected by the New Zealand Space Agency and supported by the Embassy of the United States, Wellington, flew alongside NASA and DLR scientists to learn about infrared astronomy and the technologies and scientific experiments being used. SOFIA flights enable researchers to study astronomical events that often take place over oceans where there are no telescopes. Data gathered on SOFIA missions expands our knowledge of celestial magnetic fields, how stars form, planets, comets and asteroid events, and black holes.

During the flights, the educators looked-on as SOFIA scientists observed the centre of the Milky Way Galaxy, a binary star in the constellation Antila, a metal-rich asteroid known as 75 Eurydike, and a star that exploded more than 30 years ago, known as Supernova 1987A.



Instruments inside SOFIA working on imaging the centre of the Milky Way Galaxy using data being collected by the infra-red telescope on board.


NZ Space Agency/Tawhai Moss

Miranda Satterthwaite, Education Manager of the International Antarctic Centre says, 'Once I'm back in the classroom we're planning on running aerodynamics classes based on SOFIA's design, and some of our future projects will focus on engineering and science in extreme environments including in space, so this flight is giving me authentic content I'd not be able to normally get.'

It is big news according to West Coast teacher Ciaran Tangney from Greymouth High School, too: 'After the flight I'm already booked to talk to the school during assembly and the local newspaper has asked for an interview. This goes to show how exciting it is for the West Coast!'

'This opportunity was a fantastic way for New Zealand educators to witness scientific observations first-hand. They'll be taking that knowledge back into the classroom to teach students the value of space research, and the exciting career opportunities in the space sector,' says Dr. Peter Crabtree, General Manager Science, Innovation and International at the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Employment.



Liz's 60th and David's 50th Birthday


Sat the 5th Oct was hectic with Aoife's shinty international in Waterford at 1pm then the birthday party in Kinvara Galway at 7.30pm. It was a double party with Liz's 60th and David's 50th combined. All the Slattery family were there apart from Michael who lives in San Francisco and was home during the summer. Martin made a surprise visit home and it was good to catch up with him. We had a lovely meal in the Pierhead Restaurant then over to Green's pub for a great night. The pub is small and was packed. There was a disco until late and it was a lively night. Amazingly all the Slattery family did not have any disagreements which made me wonder was the drink spiked ??

Team Slattery in Galway ...David cheer up !

The young ones Cathal, Alana , Eoin(and Mike)meet the oldies

Greens pub in Kinvara

Auntie Peggy aged 88 and looking like 70 gets a surprise visit from her favourite niece!


Aoife's Shinty Season

Aoife lifts the LittleJohn Cup for Robert Gordon University Feb 2019

Aoife is the captain for Robert Gordon University team and they won the Little John Cup for the third year in a row. They have just had another great season.This is the oldest cup in shinty.

Rhona gives Aoife and the cup a Piggy back

Scottish Development Team

Aoife represented Scotland in the Scottish development team who played in Dublin in July. Aoife was captain on Sat and they won by a goal .


The Scottish Womens International Shinty Team

On Sat 5 th Oct Scotland vs Munster combined rules shinty /camogie was held in Waterford IT. We struggled to find the venue and we eventually found the pitch just 10 min before the start. The weather was terrible with non-stop heavy rain and wind. It ruined the game for Scotland as the ball would not run in the wet conditions. Had it been a dry day Scotland could have won ! However it was a great occasion and a proud moment for Liz and myself to see Aoife represent Scotland. Aoife had a busy first half as Munster were strong in attack. Also Isla Mackay from Fort William was on the team and Isla played her heart out as ever. We met Isla's aunty /Theresa Mackay's sister Joan and Liam at the game.

It finished Munster 4-02 Scotland 3-01. Had it been a fine day the match would have been so much more enjoyable for both teams. It was still a great occasion and they all did their best.

The Scottish Team applaud Munster
Glengarry team enjoy a selfie


The Glasgow Half Marathon Team 29/09/19


Ruth ,Justine, Aoife and Alana before the race . Well done Aoife in your first half marathon
Aoife has a bet with James to finish under 2 hours Don't be fooled by Keith's track pants
On schedule After ..the girls look a lot happier now

In June kendal and Aoife decided they were going to enter for the Glasgow half marathon on 29th Sept. The training campaign got started but unfortunately in early Aug bad news as Kendal got injured so Aoife had to carry on training with Kendal cycling beside her chatting away endlessly ever !! Aunty Justine from Galway who was training for the Dublin marathon in Oct entered as well as Ruth and Alana .

Then James threw down the gauntlet to Aoife and said he would bet £100 that she would not finish in under 2 hours. That was all Aoife needed ..a challenge especially from James. The training continued and lots of shinty matches as well. So it was looking good as Aoife's fitness improved.

I told James get the cash ready to pay out!

The big day arrived and we met Ruth and Alana in the flat. Auntie Justine was in great shape and the girls all set off slightly nervous but excited at the same time. Off they went and we went to the finish line to cheer them home. Ruth was first home then Alana then Justine and where was Aoife ???

Unfortunately Aoife really struggled the last kilometer as she probably had a low bood sugar. the excitement had used up her stores and she was exhausted crossing the line. But her time was 2 hours 6min so Aoife was gutted not to break the two hour barrier to win her bet with James !!

I expect a rematch any time soon with doubles or quits .....


Our "baby" Aoife is 21


The basement reopened for one night only.


Aoife never used a doll to hit her brothers .....

Its hard to believe that Aoife is now 21 and it just seems like yesterday when she made her spectacular arrival !! The details of Aoife's arrival are below and I assume you there is no exaggeration or embelishment in the true account of events. Aoife has from an early age been able to put the boys in their place very quickly. Having had daily training around our dinner table has given her the skills to survive anywhere and take on anybody in a good discussion aka verbal combat.

When all 8 of us were around the kitchen table it was an unforgiving environment and any weakness or even perceived weakness or often a made up weakness in any person sitting around the table was brought up and exposed to all the family during dinner. It was completely random and one had to be on red alert every day as you never knew who was going to be the next victim ......Then of course retaliation soon followed and the insults would soon escalate with no holds barred .....Our dinner at this stage was completely put aside as the boys battled it out to see who would win this competition to be the king of insults ! Teams would form and Aoife and James seemded to have an agreed alliance. Aoife did not need James but took him under her wing to help him. Ciaran who used to wear glasses was a soft target and luckily had the gift of the gab to fight back.

So Aoife was trained by the best in verbal combat but also had considerable training in wrestling and how to beat up your sibling. at 18 months old she was soon able to jump off the couch and landing on her brother's stomach when they least expected it while lying on the floor. The boys also used Aoife as their secret weapon when they had pinned down their brother and needed somebody to deliver the punches to the trapped sibling. In fact Aoife was trained to a very high standard and never used a doll to hit her brothers. This would have broken the unwritten rules when a shinty stick or a football boot is the prefered weapon of choice when beating up your brother. Inflicting pain and suffering are the main objectives and a doll would not be able relaible enough for this purpose! So don't mess with Aoife.



It was a cold dark Thursday October evening, with stars a plenty in the clear sparkling sky and frost forecast when the ..".call"..came!!

I was already on my hands and knees (not in any pre labour ritual I hasten to add!), when the phone rang at work as I struggled to fix the speakers in the computer."It’s Liz, for you Joe " said Ena our practice manager,

It was now 6.05 pm and Liz enquired if I would be home soon as the boys needed to be at the Halloween school disco at 6.30pm, "of course I will be home before then, don’t panic",  Liz’ voice then responded in an ever increasing pitch which made me suspicious that some thing was brewing!!!! So off out the door like a flash, straight to Zetland Ave.On arrival home chaos abounded (as usual) bodies everywhere all with urgent requests like "where is my mask?" "you’ve got it on already!!" The disco was obviously a top priority for the boys and nothing was going to stop them.So Liz’ labour was proceeding along quietly in the midst of the frantic search for outfits for this Halloween disco!!! The waters had gone about 5.30pm so this was the real McCoy!!Eventually we raced out the door at 6.25pm with David, James and Ronan as a Footballer, Kempo- Karate-Kick-boxer and Pirate respectively all bundled into the car with Liz and her contractions every 3 minutes.

We decided to drop the boys at the school gate this time and not go in for a chat, in the given circumstances!!So in we went to the Belford Hospital Fraternity Unit, yet again, and low and behold Liz was only 5 centimetres!!!!  Halfway there already, maybe we should go home again for an hour or two!!!  It was action packed from there on, with strong contractions continuously cascading every 3-4 minutes and I had to, eventually reach for the "Gas"!!!! There was one slight problem, Liz!!! She had got there first and I knew she was not going to relinquish it without a fraca !!! There are two main components to the "Gas" gadget. The mouthpiece and the corrugated tubing. I decided (erroneously in retrospect) to go for the corrugated tubing !! Unfortunately Liz had an almighty or "mighty" as they say in Galway, grip on this tubing. A diversion tactic was required so I shouted "the Head is Out", and then tried to prise Liz’ little fingers, one by one, off this deeply corrugated tubing.  A seasoned campaigner like Liz was not to be fooled by that one and tightened her ferocious grip on the Tubing( while attempting with wild swipes to grip my neck) But alas , at that point in time a burly Orthopaedic Surgeon would have his work cut out for him !!!!! Surgical removal of all 10 fingers was the only option!!!!  Dejected momentarily, I conceded, and put all my effort into requesting "my Epidural"!!!The atmosphere was now becoming somewhat "Tense," as my repeated requests were being repeatedly ignored by the two Serious Stern looking Midwives, whom uncharacteristically ignored Doctors requests! The fact that they knew me could be a factor !!!To cut a long story short, before you nod off and fall into the fire, at precisely 7.38pm there was a cracker of a contraction of such intensity that Liz had to interrupt the detailed list of instructions she was giving me, like how to turn on the washing machine and where the hoover is located, the menu for every meal for the next two weeks, where the boys socks are etc etc etc.

Out shot Baby like a snowboarder on a down hill slalom! So I looked down with the definite expectation of seeing "Free Willy", but no sign!!! After a millisecond pause (deliberate in case you might have heard a rumour that I was speechless!!)"IT’S ……………….A…………… GIRL" I said  with amazement.Liz said "WHAT? ……. Are you sure?" So I looked down again…. And…. again just "to be sure to be sure " and then relayed my findings back to headquarters " Yes , Mrs Tangney" in my usual serious doctor tone as I am about to break some difficult news," your personal obstetrician can now confirm that you have a beautiful baby Daughter!!!" Even the serious midwives gave a little smile in my direction !!!!Liz was totally stunned and Euphoric (she still is 5 weeks later!)What a surprise after all those boys, at last some reinforcements!!! As the news broke throughout the hospital, the shrieks and screams could be heard all over the corridors!!! ...............So now back home to tell the boys!!!

About 9.30 pm I arrived home to find all the boys jumping on top of each having a wrestling contest, the screaming stopped when they saw me and shouted "where’s the baby?" "Okay boys all into the sitting room and sit on the couch. Like a stampede they all hit for the couch at once and Joseph had to be levered off the door jamb!!Finally all the gang seated momentarily on the couch. On the far right was Joseph (2 1/2) a cute little smile and a big Blondie head of hair (like his father) and now sucking voraciously on his "soother" to such a degree that his cheeks were touching his tonsils !!!! I didn’t want to startle him as he might swallow the "soother", lodge in his Oesophagus ("Gullet" to lay people!) lead to asphyxia (going blue) and I would be forced to slap him on the back (side) which is well overdue in order to dislodge the offending foreign body ie the…..Soother!!! He also had a river of "mucus" running from his nose and had already left a shiny slimey deposit, any fat slug would be proud of ,on the leg of my trousers when I first came into the hall with his customary (grip daddy’s leg) greeting!!!!!  Joseph was unusually quiet, obviously playing his cards right for the "sweeties", given the occasion!!!!Next to Joseph was Ronan (6) and a big six at that!!! He still had his Dracula outfit on and has true" fangs" for the last two years as his front teeth are missing. He has a big head of curly hair (hmmm, unusual I might add, and I’m still making enquiries!!!)He is big strong lad with a torso abundant in muscles, a natural athlete, and a fearsome warrior not to be messed with day or night!! (Fortunately we are friends!) . However Joseph still attacks him daily and biting followed by facial scraping are his weapons if a shinty stick is unavailable!!! Playing midfield was Ciaran (4) who is our "chief Whinger". He can whinge right from the minute he wakes up straight through to lunchtime, without a break!!! Fortunately, he now goes to nursery each morning 9.30 to 12 which has saved Liz’ sanity!!! Despite the whinging he is improving and cute looking (especially when asleep!!) Next to Ciaran was James "Bloody Hell" Tangney, who uses this swear at every opportunity !!! James now 8 is totally undisturbed by the world around him and will carry on doing his own thing regardless!!! He has an unrivalled selection of curses and swears and is keen to try them out on any victim, like his three younger brothers!!! I’m waiting for the day when Joseph tells me to p…off!!David (10) sitting there with two big watery eyes, is now totally up to date with Maternity jargon and proudly told everybody at the school disco that his mother was in "labour"!! Also familiar to him "placenta" "umbilical cord" and "Fontanelle" ie "the soft spot on babies head that moves rhythmically with varying intracranial pressure within the babies brain," according to David.So, Boys I’ve got some good news …..and…. some bad news" "The good news is that you now have a baby sister !!!" The bad news is that we now have TWO bosses!!! The boys broke loose off the couch and darted in all directions roaring and screaming and shouting and …..James swearing his favourite "Bloody Hell" !!!!!

The rest is history, since then the phone was hopping for a week, call waiting was "waiting and waiting" the doorbell went mad, the droves of visitors had to queue in the hallway and the off licence ran out of Whiskey!!! What a month and the entire of Fort William celebrated Aoife’s arrival!!!!



Aoife now 2 days old having a bath with the boys still in shock !



Joseph Graduation 21st June

September 2014

It seems like yesterday since Joseph went to off to Dundee and he was just a wee boy then complete with his sling after breaking his collar bone for the 4th time. I warned Liz not to hit him with the shinty stick from early August but alas my warning was ignored or over ruled depending on how one views these matters !! However it's an ill wind that does not blow somebody good and Joseph later sheepishly revealed to me that the sling during freshers' week was a good "ice breaker " aka "fresher babe magnet". This I find hard to believe but apparently some very innocent fresher ladies took pity on him as he sat all alone in the corner of the pub struggling to lift his can of irnbru to his dehydrated lips as he stared at the floor with intermittent but regular strategic deep sighs . The girls came over to help this very vulnerable shy, quiet,reserved non drinker and asked if he was alright. As they tapped him on the left shoulder (the one without the sling in case of causing further injury )then his tear filled big blue eyes lifted from the floor and then he began to sob uncontrollably and struggled to find his words. Joseph then said "the pain is unbearable " the lovely young fresher girls were now getting drawn in to his net. In a matter of minutes there were now several students sitting beside him in a little huddle in the corner of the now packed pub. The girls were wondering how to help this poor innocent country lad away from home for the first time ever and all alone in the big city of Dundee. Joseph now slowly lifted his nearly empty can of irnbru and finished it off slowly but failed to crush the can in his hand due to his fragile emotional state. The girls could see his struggle and anguish on his face and one of the better looking students said under her breath to her friend " we must do something". This was a cue for he friend who quickly got up and very looked upset and her lower lip began to quiver as she rushed away. "Don't worry Joseph we can help you " said the good looking student. Joseph was now getting more optimistic by the minute and felt he was on a winner ......It was only a matter of time before the girls filled him with free drink and then robbed him of his........ lovely new sling. So far so good thought Joseph but no sign of the free drink yet. He was still holding on to his best lonesome face which was not easy as he was feeling excited inside and trying his best not to chat to the lovely girls. Again not easy in this situation. Then the student who went away returned all excited and said "its all sorted" Joseph come with us ....Joseph got up from his seat slowly as the girls helped him put his jacket over his shoulders. Joseph was not sure where they were bringing him but hoped at worst it was another pub. Then out the front door and the girls said " we could not watch you suffer any more in there so we did a whip round and got a taxi to bring you straight home". Joseph was speechless and had no choice but to struggle into the taxi and wave goodbye to the lovely girls who rushed back into the pub!!

PS A sling was seen flying out of a taxi window a few minutes later ......

June 21 2019

We had a lovely day in Dundee for Joseph's graduation and its been a very quick 5 years. Nana Tangney,auntie Ann Marie and cousin Ailbhe made the voyage from Ireland to join us for the great occasion. Cammie came from Glasgow for the day out. We had the graduation ceremony in Caird Hall and a proud moment to see Joseph graduate. Medicine is a long hard demanding course and we are delighted to see Joseph come through with flying colours. Joseph had very positive vibes when he interviewed in Dundee and chose it very wisely. Studying medicine in Dundee has been a wonderful education for Joseph and the university is very progressive in their approach to teaching. He now has a very strong base for the future and has had a great medical training in Dundee. The city is alive with students and has great energy. It is certainly a city on the up with the new V&A museum attracting thousands of new visitors every year .

After the ceremony we had a few photos and then off to the garden party. Luckily the weather was good and we met lots of other graduates and their parents there. That evening we went to the DCA for dinner. We had a lovely meal and enjoyed the company. After that it was Duke's Corner for a few and the young ones sent us home. The next day we visited the V&A museum and wandered around Dundee.

Annie wonders is that Ciaran waving at us ??

Dundee the windy city but Nana has her medical team with her !

Joseph and Rebecca

"Thats my boy " says Liz

Joseph and Auntie Annie

Ali, Joseph and Keir
Mehaab, Joseph and Josh
Team Zambia, Kathryn, Brian and Lawrence .
Kendal is trying to get Nana drunk ?
Time for dinner
Ronan and Nana enjoy Dundee
Kendal and James

The Dundee flatmates reach the end of an era .
Liz is shocked to hear Lawrence's mum quit after having just 4 boys !
The garden party
The V&A Museum and Discovery Ship

West Highland Way



July Sat 6 th Joseph starts West Highland Way with Christian and Sean up at 5am to drive him down to Milgnavie .The roads were very quiet that early on a beautiful day. Wed 10 July Joseph home and finished last 3 days alone as the boys got blisters after first two days and had to return home.


Ben Race 2019


This year was Joseph's third "Ben" and it was a scorcher of a day 22 degrees C. It was great for the large number of spectators but difficult for the athletes. Being too hot is a rare complaint in Fort William and it took it's toll and the athletes' times were all much slower this year. The photo below is the closest Joseph got to Finlay Wild all day. Finlay won the race easily for his ten in a row victory in 1.32

Finlay was 7 minutes ahead of the second athlete. A fantastic achievement for Finlay and he has been breaking records all year. Also in the photo is Calum Fraser who finished 5th in a great time of 1.45


Joseph was lucky to finish this year as Liz had to rescue him with a bottle of water near the entrance to Claggan Park . He was pale ,clammy and staggering as totally exhausted. He barely made it to the finish line with a time of 2.30 and this placed Joseph 219th out of 449.

Last year Joseph did 2.14 which was 232 out of 448. In 2017 2.10 and 121st place out of 489. So it's clear to me that Joseph is now needing to do some actual training for the "Ben" and I will ask Finlay for some tips for him !!


Never again !!

Mo Joe



David came to our rescue when James had his accident in India. Luckily Dubai is only a four hour flight away from Bangalore and David arrived early on new years day. It was great having David there to help with the endless administration that was needed to get James back home . The paperwork for the repatriation was difficult to say the least and I would have not managed without David's help. It is in difficult times like this that you need family members to take on different tasks and we were able to fill different roles. We were able to take shifts to be with James 24/7 and Aoife also was a great help.

David played a key role in supporting James in India and getting back home. Also David's ipad was wonderful and James could watch sports or movies which was a great distration.

David was home again during the summer and put to work in the garden when not cooking.

David our new Saw Doctor


Breaking news .... David and Catherine are now so much closer ..........

The latest news is that David and Catherine are now so much closer and in fact this is the closest they have ever been after all these long years together the golf course. David has somehow persuaded Catherine to move apartments and by shear fluke the new apartment is right next door to the Jameirah golf course. It must be the answer to David's Irish nana's endless prayers ,church candles and rosaries They have now moved into a new apartment which is only 5 minutes from the golf course. How he managed this is a mystery and Catherine has no recollection agreeing to this move. Maybe Catherine's Irnbru was spiked or David promised a night out in Fort William ?? Anyway we hope they enjoy their lovely new home which is closer to work for Catherine and settle in to life next door to a golf club.

David has offered to babysit for Brodie every Friday night for the next 10 years !

The Horizon Golf Team. Ian,David,Graeme and William Wallace.

Jay, David and Woody conquer Ben Nevis in July


David's "Tasty Tangney" cuisine is ready to be tested.



James and Ronan
Ronan has requested that he does not wish to feature in the Christmas newsletter as it may just give his pupils information to use against him !! Fair enough !!

Some of our Visitors 2019


Mike and Martina finish the West Highland Way
Darren and Jonno Cooper back from Oz

Helen and John at Ibrox

Mary, Liz and Michael

Dani, Ker, Tom ,Calum and Andrew .

Cousins David and Richard from Limerick
Woody and Jay talk to the hand  
The Coughlan team from Galway
Fiona, Kendal, Rob,Ker ,Tom  
Cheers to North Coast 500 and exams passed.
Stanley our pet spider  
Abie and Fergus visit from Barcelona

Steve and Nicole from New Zealand

  Dani and Calum from Scotland