Christmas News 2020

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Vol 1 No. 25 Dec 2020

The year of the Covid 19 Pandemic and Brexit.

Hello to you all

Well could anyone have predicted the year that we have just had ? However,keeping the bright side out we are all well and continue to work albiet in a very different way.

David had a very strict lockdown in Dubai and 2 rounds of self isolation but managed to avoid the virus himself. He will not travel home this Christmas and any doubt was finally removed when we were told on the 19th Dec that travel will be banned and a full lockdown starts again on the 26th of December for everyone here in Scotland. It will be more difficult this time with winter in full flow and the short days but it is what it is!!! Here in the Highlands we have been relatively lucky in tier one with access to cafes and the pubs until 10pm over the last couple of months.

James continues to make progress but was pleased when finally getting back to the gym was possible. Can't believe that this New Years Eve it will be 2 years since his injury. The impact of Covid on the spinal unit must be enormous and must be very difficult for staff and patients alike this past 10 months.

We were lucky James was there pre covid and we were able to visit James in the unit.

Kendal and James have had to make the most of Fort William since March and celebrated their 30th birthdays in the flat.

Ronan keeps everything quiet and self contained but certainly needed a haircut after the first lockdown. He has been back in school but like all teachers having to do things a lot differently. First of all having to sort stuff without the external exams which as been the case in all of the UK and Ireland also. Both David and Ronan had to learn to teach online and sounds like Ronan may have to do this again.

However for Ciaran in New Zealand with their strict enforcement of 14 days isolation on arrival in the country he has been able to teach as normal. He has just broken up for the summer holidays and is enjoying life as normal. He and Jorja have returned from the lovely Routeburn Hike in the South island. He will not be able to travel home this year but Joe and I would love to return to New Zealand in 2022 all going well.


Joseph is redeployed yet again but is getting on just fine. He and Rebecca managed a trip to Cornwall when things were near normal in July/August and he will have to look ahead as to what will come next for him in August. Rebecca had a baptism of fire at work but took it all in her stride.

Aoife has entered the world of work in what has to be the most challenging of times but she is doing it in style. We all missed out on the final graduation of the Tangney clan but we will celebrate this also before too long I hope.

Joe and myself are actually coping well with the quieter house and continue to work for the NHS at present. Just 25 years in the Highlands!

Sadly,we have lost some family members this year Uncle Tom and Auntie Peggy along with Joe's sister Brenda's husband Colm. A Ryder get together will be required to talk about them all and I hope it will happen in 2021.

Wishing you a safe and peaceful Christmas in this very different year. Many celebrations and get togethers will have to happen in 2021 when life returns to normal.

Happy New Year. All the best for 2021



THE BIG QUESTION OF 2019 .... Who is the best TANGNEY??

We had a very busy house last Christmas with all six of the Tangneys home for the first time in over 3 years.

It is increasing rare to have all the family together as David lives in Dubai and Ciaran in New Zealand. So it was a lively house to say the least with the full squad and Catherine and Megan visiting as well.

Needless to say the gang spent as little time as possible in our house and were down town in the pubs to catch up with friends and avoid family. Ciaran was in top form and was very keen to settle a long ongoing regular argument about "Who is the best Tangney?" Of course he was very confident that it was him for some unknown reason ! The fact that he has been away for a few years increased his chances no doubt.

So Ciaran hatched a plan and decided to hold a poll and claim the crown. He set off out the front door with a spring in his step and seemed very confident of an easy vistory. Where and how the votes were to be cast was know only to Ciaran. His crafty plan was hatching nicely and he then revealed that the Crofter Pub was the first and only polling station. Very suspicious indeed ......

I forgot to mention that he held small pilot study as he canvassed the visitors in our house earlier that day before going out to the Crofter. He was buoyed by the early results in our house which gave him a clear lead.

But the real voting had yet to take place.Then in the packed and heaving Crofter Ciaran launched his election campaign while chatting to as many people as possible and even offering free drink as a voting bribe. It was a phone vote and this was Ciaran's tactic for easy polling.

The results were no surprise Aoife was a clear winner !! Ciaran has been accused of tampering with the votes …they were taken on his phone !!



The Coronovirus causing the Covid 19 Pandemic

Covid 19 arrives in the UK

Covid 19 had been reported in Wuhan China during Nov 2019 but the reality of it reaching Europe was realised in March. The map above showing how widespread it was in Europe on 22 March with Italy having over 59,000 cases.In a few months it rapidly spread all over the world causing chaos and deaths in an unprecedented pandemic. The fear and uncertainty have been terrible with everybody affected in one way or another by covid.

The First Lock Down 23 Mar 2020

The UKs first lockdown began Mar 23 for three months and thankfully worked as the number of new cases gradually declined. At it's peak over 1000 patients died each day. During the lockdown the public were largely compliant and luckily the weather was good.This helped as the sunshine helped keep the morale up. We are lucky living in Fort William with plenty of places to go for a walk or sit in the garden. City dwellers were less fortunate and struggled as living in a high rise flat can be difficult at the best of times. The DIY enthusiasts were in their element and fences were painted , houses renovated , gardens looking pristine and all the jobs that had been on hold for 10 years were suddenly completed. men had no excuse for not doing the long deferred jobs when working from home ! Online shopping boomed, drinking at home rocketed, domestic stress increased as Covid Fever struck the whole country. There were clear winners and loosers in the covid battle.

Working from home became the new norm and many workers were able to avoid the long daily commute to work. But with children at home as the schools were all closed parents home schooling and trying to work from home was not easy for many parents. James has been working from home and misses the office for the banter with the other workers. So its a mixed response to working from home but many miss the interaction with other people at work. Furloughed is the term used when workers receive 80% of their wages from the Government while the covid crises is ongoing. There are huge economic and health implications for the world as the Governments try to achieve a difficult balance between the nation's health vs wealth with the different levels of imposed restrictions etc.

One good thing to come out of the Covid pandemic is there is now better appreciation for the NHS. There was a weekly 8pm clap each Thursday for the NHS all over the UK for many weeks. The hospitals were stretched to cope at the peak during Mar and April and extra capacity was built to help deal with the ITU demand.

Some new terms to get used to, lockdown, social isolation ,social distancing,the R number,super spreaders, furlough, clackson.


For the first time ever visitors were no longer welcome in Fort William as people fled the cities.
PPE became a routine
But unfortunately a second wave as predicted occured in Oct.
Finally some good news as a vaccine is finally ready.

On Nov 9th there was a breakthrough as Pfizer announce they have a vaccine that is 90 % effective. Then news that the Oxford vaccine is almost ready as well with efficacy rates of 70% so there is hope again of a return to normality in a few months. Until the vaccine has been widely distributed and herd immunity established there will be problems.

The roll out started on Dec 8 with a 91 year old Fermanagh lady Margaret Keenan who lives in Coventry the first person in the world to be vaccinated.

Oh No.... bad news

But now on 19 th December more bad news as the virus has mutated to a new variant and now possibly 70 % more infectious. Another lockdown is coming and disasterous for so many people hoping to get together for Christmas. The battle against covid rages on and unfortunately no end in sight for a long time yet.

What a year and 2021 is not going to be easy.




Sat 11 April we had our first ever family quiz on “Zoom”. I had never heard of this new platform which emerged during the lockdown. It is a spruced up Skype which has suddenly become a popular phenomen all over the world as people needed to link up on line. Being able to see all the participants is handy and we used Liz' ipad here at home.

Of course it was not without incident as we all tried to log on we got cut off several times before we all managed to see or hear each other.Also there is a 40 min time limit which passes very quickly as Mum has to have a quick chat with everyone before we even get near starting the quiz !! Joseph was late from work and we waited for him. We had the full family including Ciaran from NZ “The herbalist “and Jorja.

Kendal teamed up with Mum for some unknown reason ....Kendal trying to stay in Liz's good books HaHa !

3 rounds and each taking 20 min David was the quiz master using powerpoint to show the questions . Very slick by David obviously familiar with online learning. But it still seemed like a lifetime to get through just 3 rounds.

Then a tense finish as Liz and Kendal initially won by a point but this was soon disputed by James and Aoife. A tie breaker question "which country in Africa has the highest population?" James first said South Africa then Nigeria so after much debate another final tiebreaker question was agreed. "How many grand prix has Lewis Hamilton won ??" 6 said Liz in a flash. So Liz and Kendal had won they were ecstatic and James and Aoife were gutted …a shock defeat for the deadly duo…. Aoife and James were not happy at this unexpected defeat. They tried to wriggle another final tie breaker question but no dice from the girls!

Sat 18 th April . Another Zoom quiz and tough questions this time Ciaran had Jorja to help him but Aoife and Kendal were the winners.

No dispute this time but some low scoring rounds very few knowing the name of dad's lawn mower …..Black Beauty !! or the link between potatoes and tomatoes …..

The Zoom quizes went on for weeks and we all finally could take no more of this torture so abandoned the zoom quiz for ever .... Zoom fatigue was the ultimate winner .......



This was both a very exciting and disappointing year for Aoife. In pre Covid Feb Aoife was called to attend an interview in Glasgow for a two year rotational job. This was a very competitive interview and Aoife was delighted when she heard the good news that she was succesful. So a job all sorted before qualifying.

But still a dissertation to complete and final placement. Then Covid struck and all clinical placments were cancelled as the country braced itself for armageddon or worse ! All lectures were on line with no face to face contact.

The suffering was tangible in our house for weeks.....

In March Aoife was working hard on her dissertation and it was a painful process for us all. The suffering was tangible and there were good and bad days as every student can remember the huge effort to get this very important work completed.

However on Fri 10 April there was huge joy as Aoife submitted her dissertation Alleluia !! We rang Nana Tangney immediately to tell her to race down to the parish church and quinch the two dozen candles she had been lighting for Aoife for weeks. Also to cut back on the novenas and rosaries!

Mon 18 May was a historic day in the Tangney household as Aoife submitted her last essay.

Goodbye Aberdeen and the last student flat clearance after 14 years.

The Thurs 21 May was yet another historic day as Joe and Aoife empty her Aberdeen flat. This was a long awaited day and the last student flat clearance after 14 years….. dad was hoovering and pouring sweat as James' car was filled to the brim. Of course Joe (Dyson) had been well trained in the flat emptying procedure and all that house cleaning practice at home also paid off. Years of training under the watchful eye of a seasoned boss !!

The flat was suddenly looking so much better in fact... pristine is the best word to describe it and it was now very hard to leave this lovely student flat!

The end of student life for Aoife without the usual tearful hugging emotional last farewell …

This time there were no final farewells to flat mates as everybody had gone home. The end of student life for Aoife without the usual tearful hugging emotional last farewell …What a terrible year ! Another record fell as we travelled from Aberdeen to Fort William in 2 hours 55 min so the lockdown had one benefit with quieter roads. It is usually almost 4 hours and a difficult journey with windy roads most of the journey.

The flat in Aberdeen
A lonely desk again

The sitting room .
A final farewell to Aberdeen

For a few weeks there was a mystery in our house . A buzzing noise in the sitting room every evening and no culprit found. Our house has always been a "hive" of activity so I wasn't alarmed...

The noise was coming from behind the curtain and we had searched repeatedly for the cause. Eventually we realised the noise was from just outside the window where wild bees had entered a tiny hole in the soffit board. This triggered much debate as to how are we going to get rid of them ?? Liz was keen to smoke them out but risked burning the house down so that plan was shelved. We have now a rota for bee watching and there is a real buzz about the place ....

The new Bee watcher's club
A big relief as after 16 consecutive years of exams we are finally free!
Sun May 24th Another sad day in the Tangney household as Aoife leaves yet again. I had to drag Liz out of Aoife's car to get Aoife away. But it is very exciting time for Aoife starting her new job in Glasgow. We watched as Aoife drove away in her newly resuscitated Renault Clio to Glasgow.
Glasgow here I come !
Ok Liz come back in the house Aoife has to go now.
So we have now completed 27 years of university in the Tangney household ...Phew... says Joe...

Liz and Aoife enjoy a Koppenburg to celebrate Aoife's degree.

Great news as Aoife gets a 2:1 degree confirmed on Wed 24 June a big well done for Aoife who worked hard and we are very proud of her.

Aoife has now been working in Glasgow for six months and has been very busy with many covid patients in ITU and on the wards. It has been a baptism of fire but great experience and a year to remember no doubt.

It was very disappointing for all of us not to have a graduation ceremony for Aoife. The long awaited last one and usually a great day out for parents and family. However these are exceptional times and we can celebrate later.

As there was no graduation ceremony for Aoife we have had to improvise with her photo. I need to warn patients about Aoife's big strong physio hands !


Liz and myself went to visit Budapest the end of February before Covid caused chaos around Europe. We were there for 4 nights which is enough time to see this beautiful city. A city of two halves Buda and Pest divided by the river Danube .It's a friendly city to visit with lots of beautiful old buildings. It was't cheap to eat out but the Goulash and stuffed cabbage were good. We stayed in the centrally located Hotel Gellert which was fine. It's still has reminders of it's communist past and a time warp feel to it.

Joe said it was like "the shining " that might be a bit harsh but true !! However Liz was still afraid to wander about on her own in the long corridors !!

We had a hectic schedule walking over 20,000 steps each day with a new PB of 24,000. The Metro and trams are great value if you don't want to get fit. We visited the Central Market, Synagogue ,New York Café , the Basilica and Opera house the first day. The New York cafe is great for a luxury lunch treat. Then the Castle ,National Art Gallery, Shopping centre, Thermal baths , Parliament Buildings tour, Liberty Square and House of Terror . Hungary had a terrible time when under Russian Communist control after world war two until it beacame a republic in 1989. Fortunately it has thrived since then and now a popular tourist destination.

Budapest is famous for it's many thermal baths( 35C )which are also outside.They date back to Roman times and the mineral waters are very helpful for many medical conditions. However in February they were closed so we had to use the indoor baths. They are very relaxing and therapeutic. We would recommend Budapest for a short city visit and we enjoyed our trip.

Budapest has many bridges over the Danube.
Parliment building at night
Hotel Gellert
The old Central Market


New York Cafe

Just what Joe needs .. ?

The local cuisine
JOE is 60 in July
Yes it's hard to believe that Joe is 60 but he looks great with his lovely young wife !


The very select group of guests
Joe enjoys his new birthday plaque
Liz arrives with the cake .
Kendal and Aoife getting ready for the next party in Oct
Liz revists the scene of the crime after 33 years
The killer door jamb which could have saved Liz years of misery !!
Was Liz going to be a widow the very same day she got married ?

This year after just 33 years we went back for the first time to the Connemara Coast Hotel where we got married. As we arrived in the car park I felt nervous and started having flashback. I could feel the beads of cold sweat gather on my forehead like that of a condemed man as he walks towards the gallows. The Slattery family were not there to meet this time so Liz grabbed my arm and marched me into the hotel.

As we walked around the hotel there were many changes to the building and it is now much larger . But alas the door jamb that nearly killed me was still there. As our wedding ended I was carried on the shoulders of the two drunkest guests (who shall remain nameless) who raced towards the exit door . They seemed to forget that the door was only 6 feet high and hopped my head with almighty speed againt the jamb of the door. A direct hit right across my forehead and I started to see flashing lights. Was Liz going to be a widow the same day she got married ? My life flashed before me ...needless to say it just took a few milli seconds ..I was too young to die ...Anyway as luck would have it I had a few pints that day and was relaxed on impact so my head went backwards when hitting the jamb of the door. Had I been sober, I would have been dead no doubt !! The two boys carrying me had been slowed down by the collison and staggered and then threw me forwards to the ground . I was never so glad to hit the ground and sat there in a dazed state for a few minutes .

I said to Liz " Who are you ?"

Liz must have heard of the near fatal accident and eventually came along to see if I was still alive and was not too happy when I lifted my head slowly as I looked at her rather blankly and said " Who are you ?"

Liz was in no mood for a joke. The rest is history as she whacked me across the head with her bouquet of flowers and said get up off the floor ...She then told me the shock news that we had got married earlier that day ...I had to take her word for it but ..... I vaguely remember the red laser dots on my chest in the church !!


Nana Tangney has offered Joe his pick of her vital oldies kit. She said the hearing aids are brand new and unused! We know that nana !!
Joe Sheds a few tears..........

Our garden shed has been neglected for decades and survived many an onslought from our boys when playing football or shinty in the garden. It was too full to use as a hiding place or refuge for Joe so it was time for a new shed. The 60th birthday present dilemma was solved for all the family and the shed was ordered. The shed demolition team consisted of Ronan who took great delight in battering the old shed down in a flash. Then the next morning and day of the big huge party (all 8 of us) Joseph arrived to help us assemble the new shed. In a few hours we had it all completed and its ideal and watertight.

Just in case you were wondering the shed has a complex security entrance system with both Iris and Irish recognition, Live Fingerprint recognition ( a cut off dead finger will be rejected ),baldy head recognition with random spiky hairs (in a unique pattern), polo shirt from Yves Saint Lauren collection, jacket by Armani, and Dolce and Gabbana suit. These are just a few of the security measures and also you may be asked for the maiden name of your dead great grandmother's best friend in primary school. Even the Russian hackers have not been able to crack this security system !

Of course you might be wondering why is the security so tight ? All of the above measures are to make sure a certain unnamed person.......cannot find Joe if he is hanging out in his manshed !!(Skye sports ,mini bar,pole dancers and hammock are awaited .... )

Out with the old !

The site is cleared
Peek a boo Joseph
The Tangney shed team
Joe's Motto (thank you Kendal)
All finished



Leeds are promoted at last !

All comes to those who wait ! Yes after 16 long years in the football wilderness my boyhood team have finally been promoted back to the premiership. It will be a very exciting season ahead as Leeds energetic attacking style of football will be tested against the top teams. Their first match was against Liverpool and after a fantastic game Leeds lost 4-3. Next year James and myself hope to travel to Elland Road to watch a match covid permitting !

Premier League Table 24 Oct



Rafa wins the French Open 13 th time as he hammered Djokovic 6-0 6-2 7-5 in a masterclass display. This was Rafa at his vintage best and ended Djovokic's winning streak in 2020. This was probably Rafa's greatest ever slam final performance with a perfect straight sets victory. This wonderful win for Rafa was his 20 slam title win and equals Roger Federer's total. However the young guns are coming up with Thiem, Medvedev and Zerev all improving so next year will not be easy.


Ciaran now paddles his own canoe ?

Jorja and Ciaran

Ciaran is still in Greymouth (South Island) and enjoying being Covid free in New Zealand as we all struggle over here. With New Zealand's strict controls they have been able to return to normal months ahead of most countries around the world so Ciaran is smiling at us. The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been been excellent during the pandemic and Labour re elected with a large majority in a landslide victory.

Over the last year Ciaran has been teaching Earth Science and enjoying the interaction with the pupils as he is still stuck in his teenage phase which is likely to last a few decades. Earth Science is ideal for Ciaran as similar to his degree in Enviromental Geoscience so he has plenty of enthusiam for this subject.

Ciaran has not had any space trips this year but is still very willing to tell any unfortunate individual about his trip last year so beware !


Jorja is a brave girl and we are surprised at her resilience !!


James goes to the Newmarket races ??

In January James passed his driving assessment in Edinburgh and got his driving licence back. Being able to drive is vital for one's independence especially when living in a rural area and the car has been modified so easy to drive.

Then in March James went to Oaksey House in Lambourn near Newmarket for a week of intense physio. This rehab facility is used to help injured jockeys recover from serious injuries and has state of the art facilities. James enjoyed a week of intense rehab/physio which has helped him improve. The recovery increments will be small at this stage but each small improvement is very important and gives one encouragement to keep doing the exercises etc

When there James meet several injured jockeys who gave him some tips for Cheltenham....none of the tips came up ...if they did he might have not come home !!

Since March James has been working from home and has been very busy with a big new development project.This has now been approved by the Scottish Government and will secure jobs at the local plant. James like many others misses the social interaction in the office and the banter. However it has been safer for James to work from home and with the launch of the vaccine he may get back to the office more often next year.

Over the last year James has continued to do his exercises and regularly goes to the gym. He has great determination and motivation to improve which is crucial. It will soon be 2 years since James' accident and it has been very positive so far. We hope there will be further improvement in the coming years.

The journey to recovery continues for all of us and being able to cope and adjust to the challenges is the key to success. There is never a dull moment in the Tangney household !


James is 30 on first of Oct

Just enough Cake for the 4 of us ??
A few extra potatoes for the Birthday Boy.(As recommended by Ruth)

Fort William has it's first October Fest Barbeque !

James gets his surprise barbeque present hidden in the shed. A new birthday hat as well

Kendal is 30 just a week after James.

Kendal has lovely new glasses and a wee cake as well.





Joseph completed his Foundation year one FY1 in August in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Glasgow. The first 4 months were in Care for the Elderly which he enjoyed and then the Respiratory team. In late March /April when Covid peaked he was very busy as Glagow had the highest rates of infection in Scotland. Like Aoife it was a very difficult time to be a frontline NHS worker but also great experience in a historic pandemic. Joseph was retained in the Respiratory team for another 4 months as rotations were cancelled due to the huge demand with sick covid patients. Foundation year 2 began in Aug with Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Crosshouse and as the secong wave of covid began in Oct rotations were cancelled again. So instead of General Practice Joseph is covering the Covid ward in Crosshouse. Thankfully he has now had his first covid vaccination and the second one due in 3 weeks. There may be a third wave after Christmas so the battle goes on.

In early January Joseph , Lawrence and Kier went to Switzerland for a skiing trip. They had a great week and no injuries or hangovers that we know of !

Getting ready for the Great British Bake Off

Joseph looks surprised at the new cake.

Room with a view

Kier, Joseph and Lawrence

Time for a beer or two...or ..

Lawrence is noding off in his chair
Ready to do some climbing ?
All gone home .....

Ralphie tries to escape from his captors



Dubai David


Unsurprisingly, the lockdown in Dubai was much stricter than Scotland and security guards outside the apartment buildings checking everybody coming and going were for legitimate reasons within the rules. Being stuck in a city apartment was difficult and we felt lucky living in a rural area in Scotland being able to got out for a walk etc. Similar to here David had to use online teaching and had to manage working from home. So a difficult time for teachers and parents having the children at home.

Not being able to play or watch any sport on TV made it difficult for many sports fans to cope with life without sport. There were many long sad faces everywhere as life now had no meaning ...empty ...weekends all the same banter .....having to speak with their partners more often ....oh the pain was everywhere was tough !! But most women are very resilient and survived the sporting famine !

However Sun 26 April and David got his dream 32nd birthday present as the golf club reopened after the lockdown !! So out the door at the crack of dawn to try and catch up on all those lost months.

David got a promotion at work now director of sport and deputy head teacher so will be busier in the coming year. No visit home this year for Christmas but the long summer holidays are not far away.

David at work.

David Cassidy, Shane (photobomb) Foley, David and Graeme McCann


The Birthday boy enjoys his favourite caterpillar cake.

Some of our very few Visitors 2020


Brodie and Mary Poppins
Rangit and Betsy visit Outlandia

Ted and Molly up Glen Nevis

Fern and Chris and Highland cow