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Vol 1 No. 27 Dec 2022

The Year of War in Ukraine and lots of strikes.

Hello to you all ,

It's lovely to say hello to everybody as writing cards seems to be an art that is disappearing fast and the postal strike is not helping. However just a wee update on the far flung Tangney family this Christmas.

David continues to enjoy life in Dubai and lots of his friends are now based there. We got to meet many of them on our trip this year as we stopped off on both legs of our journey to New Zealand. It was lovely to catch up with David who had yet to start his new job. Also to see Georgina again whom we had first met last Christmas who is lovely and full of fun. They are both staying in Dubai this Christmas.

James and Kendal keep us company regularly and join us for dinner weekly and its a good thing as I have still not got used to cooking for just two. Honing Joe's cooking skills remains a challenge. !! We are looking forward to their wedding in March in Glasgow with lots of both families able to come. It will be the first time in nearly 4 years that all 6 Tangneys will be together. DV.

Ronan has been in Australia for over six months already and seems to be enjoying his time there. He is on a 2 year leave of absence from his teaching post in Aberdeen. He celebrated a significant birthday(30) in October and his parcel from Scotland has still to arrive. He will fly home with Aoife in early March all going well. So will spend Christmas in Austrilia.

It was lovely to see Ciaran for the first time in well over 3 years and also to meet Jorja and see their new home which they built in 2020. It's a lovely house in a nice location just on the edge of town and we or should I say that I enjoyed taking Freya their very new puppy for walks. The New Zealand trip was amazing and we enjoyed seeing new places, meeting old friends and catching up with Ciaran's many friends.

Joseph and Rebecca were able to buy their own flat in Glasgow in October and we spent a busy but great week helping them with painting and moving flat. We as the elders got the bed and they were not so comfortable on blow up mattresess. I hope they enjoy there first home. We will see them over Christmas.

Aoife has been in New Zealand since May as she also has taken leave of absence from her work. She was in Wanaka working in the ski fields and has been travelling since November. She will join Ciaran for Christmas which is good and then will travel to Sydney and fingers crossed will travel home with Ronan in early March.

Joe and I have enjoyed our first year of retirement. We have been in Ireland doing some painting in my home and also spending time with Joe's mum in Kerry. The highlight of the year was our trip to New Zealand with stop offs in Dubai and Sydney. It was lovely to return to the South Island as it was 30 years since our last trip there. We lived in the North Island for 4 years and moved to Scotland in 1995 .
So here's to next year and whatever it will bring.

But first looking forward to a big party in March!!!

A very happy Christmas to everyone and a very

Happy New Year.

All the best for 2023


The end of an era … very long era …..27 Uni years …and a few £££!!

Aoife's Graduation

"That's my girl" says a very proud dad.

Always time for a selfie with Ailsa

Yes, we finally can sleep at night as all the clan have now graduated. We had given up hope of Aoife's graduation taking place due to ongoing covid. But after 2 years we were pleasantly surprised and delighted to hear that Aoife was finally going to have her long awaited graduation on Fri 8 th April in Aberdeen. All does comes to those who wait !.

So off we went over to Aberdeen on Thurs evening as the graduation was at 10.30 next morning. We stayed in the Jury's Inn which is in an ideal location in the city centre.

Up at the crack of dawn next morning as we decided to get out to the P+J TESCA centre early in order to get the official photographs taken before the graduation. Luckily Ronan was able to pick us up but we only had 2 tickets for the ceremony. There were hundreds of graduates there as two years were combined. It was a new huge airport like building and there was a real buzz of excitement in the air. All the graduates with their gowns and gleaming smiles with the proud parents and family members all mixing around the building.

The ceremony was held in a huge hall and the large number of graduates took up half the hall. Usually the graduates take up a quarter of the hall.

There was a very good speech by the vice chancellor Prof Smith who said going forward in one's career that making mistakes is ok once you learn from them which is so true. Aoife was like all the Tangneys before her almost last in the queue. So after about 400 graduates Aoife had her turn third last on the day. She strode across the stage with confidence and Liz and myself were filled with pride. “That's my girl “ and it is the end of an era in the Tangney household after 27 university years ! After the ceremony we met Donnie and Owen Cairns. A quick lunch on the way back to the hotel and Liz had 40 winks as all that early morning excitement took it's toll.

That evening we went to a Thai restaurant and had a great meal. Then off to Ma Cameron's pub for as few drinks and Liz and myself left the young ones to party the night away ..which they did with gusto!!

Robert Gordon University Aberdeen
Liz and Aoife looking well
Time for dinner with Ronan
Hat placement... Mum knows best.

Aoife goes off on her career break

Girls just wanna have fun !

Aoife has somehow inherited the Tangney family travel bug and decided to apply for a career break.One might say its a bit early for a career break after starting only two years ago but travelling is in the blood. The older one gets the harder it is to go off travelling so best to go early and have no regrets later. We have no doubt that travel broadens your horizons so have no hesitation encouraging Aoife to go travelling.

Aoife started work in May 2020 which was during the peak of the Covid pandemic. She was working in the Intensive Care Unit in the Royal Infirmary Hospital in Glasgow which is one of the largest hospitals in Glasgow . The Intensive Care Unit was constantly full with serioulsy ill patients with Covid and the wokload was very demanding. The mortality rate was 50% which is difficult to cope with and many young and older people died. This was a moment in history and harrowing to say the least. So Aoife started in the deep end and interestingly really enjoyed working in Intensive Care. When Aoife is looking back at her career this was a very challenging time for all health care staff and hopefully not to be repeated.

Team Wanaka at work

So Aoife decided to go to New Zealand first and the rest of the itinerary will be decided later. We were in New Zealand when Aoife arrived the end of May and collected her from Christchurch airport and then over to Ciaran in Greymouth. All those skiing lessons in Aonach Mor Fort William paid off as Aoife is a very good skier and had a job lined up in Cardrona which is a large ski field near Wanaka. This is such a beautiful part of New Zealand and very popular with tourists. Luckily Aoife got accommodation in a local bunkhouse which Cardrona sub leased for their staff . Fortunately it was a bumper ski season with lots of snow. The best season for over 20 years so everyone was happy and it very busy. Aoife worked there as a "liftie" for 4 months and Cardrona closed on 18th Oct. So the bunkhouse was now vacated and time for a roadtrip. Aoife bought a car which is needed in New Zealand as public transport is not great. A group of 8 went to the Milford Sound , ...Invercargil, Stewart Island then up the east coast to Kaikoura.

Aoife is presently up in Tauranga and staying with Karen and Geoff. She is working in the kiwi orchards pruning and vine training. Then off down to join Ciaran and Jorja for Christmas which is great and nice to be with family. Off to Sydney in mid Jan and back home in March for the wedding . After that who knows ......

Hard at work ??
Aoife is clearly very homesick
Surfing ready to be conquered

The "Buckie" Club in Wanaka

Aoife does a bungie jump in AJ Hacketts near Queenstown in Sept
Aoife finally meets up with her old friend Ellie- Maeve who now lives in Tasmania.

Aotearoa welcomes the Tangneys back

Liz and Joe return to New Zealand after 27 years

All the years of hoping to make our long awaited and much talked about return to New Zealand had now finally passed and we were very excited as our departure date of 28 April approached . The last 27 years had flown by and we lived in New Zealand for four years 1991-95 before returning to Scotland. We really enjoyed living and working in New Zealand and almost stayed there permanently but one forgets at that time there was no internet ,email, WhatsApp and phone calls were very expensive. So in order to keep in close contact with our large families we decide to come back to Scotland which after living so far away Scotland was just next door ! We have never regretted that decision and the Highlands of Scotland is a special place to live. It is interesting that Ciaran who was born in New Zealand has returned over 5 years ago and very happy teaching in Greymouth.

Finally ,the big Tangney trip was about to start. Planning for our trip was complicated by the ongoing Covid pandemic. New Zealanders were effectively "locked in" for two years while we had several "lock downs" over here. But we had to make our mind up and booked flights in Feb to travel via Dubai, Sydney and arrive in Auckland New Zealand on May 4th then on to Christchurch. There were plenty hurdles to cross before travel such as we needing a negative covid test within 24 hours of departure, NZ Travel Declaration Pass all on our phones, Australian digital passenger declaration and evidence of Covid vaccination etc.
So the journey was not for the faint hearted to say the least and luckily for us New Zealand opened their borders on May 2nd. We had to wear masks during the flights which was difficult after several hours.

In transit we stayed with David and Georgina in Dubai for a few days and helped them unpack in their new house. The longest flight was from Dubai to Sydney which was 13 hours and even after watching 4 movies it's a long session.

On Wed 4th May at 7.30 pm we finally arrived in Christchurch tired but excited. It is a long journey and 24 hours in the air and all the stop overs are exhausting. We were greeted like celebrities by many Kiwis who had not seen a tourist for over 2 years !! Of course , we were delighted to see Ciaran again after 4 years and his lovely welcoming outfit cheered us up no end ! Liz was a bit delirious after all the travelling and standing on her tip toes gave Ciaran a big kiss on his beard and loudly told him that he was her favourite son..... which he accepted without contest. I said to myself "absence makes the heart go fonder but the head to go doolally!!!"

That evening the journey from Christchurch to Greymouth via Arthur's Pass was not easy as heavy fog on a windy mountain road. We were glad to reach Greymouth and finally meet Jorja and wee Freya (a Swedish valhund). Jorja had worked for the government's Department of Conservation for several years but has recently changed jobs. She now works with a private environmental consultancy company in Greymouth and enjoying her new job. Their modern new house is lovely and has a huge garden to tame (2.7 acres). There are several years of work needed but Ciaran has made a very good start and is developing his green fingers.

We took it easy for a few days to recover from the journey and then on Sunday got the TranzAlpine train from Greymouth to Christchurch. This is rated as one of the world's great train journeys from coast to coast cutting through the Southern Alps. It is no doubt a very scenic journey especially over Arthur's Pass and the train has a special viewing platform. The journey is about 5 hours and must be spectacular with snow in winter.
Then on Mon a flight from Christchurch up to Auckland in the North Island and met Martin who is Liz's brother who lives in San Francisco. Martin joined us on our tour for a week. We visited Mike Hogan my GP colleague from Dargaville and his partner Jeanie and had a lovely lunch with them. It was great to catch up with Mike who was telling me about the similar problems in NZ as the UK just now such as recruitment of medical staff for rural areas. Mike is a wonderful GP whom I worked closely with for 4 years in Dargaville and we enjoyed playing tennis regularly. We could have chatted non stop for a week. Mike declined my offer !!

Mike Hogan and Jeanie
Kim's Cuisine is World Famous and was worth the long journey !

As we drove up from Auckland to Dargaville the roads have improved and it was a trip down memory lane as we headed north. I still remember our first time on that four hour journey in 1991. The landscape is so different to the rugged wild South Island with rolling hills and pampas grass in abundance. It is sparsely populated and mainly farms. It is like two different countries. We arrived in Dargaville Mon evening and it was just such a joy to see Kim and JD again. There is nothing better then catching up with old friends and the years in between just evaporate instantly when you hug each other. On that note I feel obliged to warn you about Kim's son Steve who has as they say in Galway "A mighty" hug and you could end up in a wheelchair if you don't put a large pillow between Steve and your spinal cord. Have a friend with a taser gun on standby near you if he refuses to release after 10 minutes. That's Steve on the near right in the photo below in case you think I am exaggerating ! Steve is great fun but much feared in NZ.

Liz, Kim ,wee Jackson, Emma ,JD,Martin,Nicole and Steve

It was also great to catch up with Emma (Kim's daughter)whom we haven't seen since 1995 and her wee son Jackson. Emma is a natural mum and in great form. Kim is a wonderful cook and we had a delicious meal with great company. We felt at home immediately and had a lovely evening catching up. Strangely enough after about 3 hours everybody had gone and I was left at the table all alone ....talking to myself. I did notice that there was a big outbreak of repeated yawning within an hour of my arrival but I decided to ignore it and continued to chat through the highly contagious vortex of yawns ..... I know the Kiwis like to go to bed early but 8.15pm is suspiciously early.......

Uber Duder Tours (formerly Tangney Tours )

Now the next day I was shocked as JD (ie John Duder) announced that he was taking us on an Uber Duder's Tour trip. It is a bit of a tongue twister if you say it fast UberDuder tours ....He appeared to completely ignore the fact that he was talking to the actual head and CEO of Tangney Tours a long established International Tour Agency. The more I talked the worse the situation got and it became clear to me that there was no room for negotiation........ as JD bundled Liz and myself into the back of his car , Martin put up more of a fight than Liz and myself but the pepper spray in his eyes soon quietened him down. We were now hostages of UberDuder's Tours and were very naive not expecting a challenge to the Tangney Tours dynasty by the new Duder ruling warlords in New Zealand. But there you are never a dull moment in the business world. I suppose I can sort of understand JD's desparation to capture some tourist business (or hostages in our case ) after a grim 2 years of Covid desolation. But there was some good news as Kim who was a reluctant collaborator in the plan and had a big box of freshly decorated cupcakes to appease the hostages. Martin who could not see much while still rubbing his eyes after the pepperspray smelt the fresh aroma of the hot cupcakes and started plea bargaining "You take me where you want.... if you just give me a cupcake" . Kim smiled and knew he would be soon eating out of her hand. JD was by now getting a wee bit hungry as well .. He issued another demand to Kim " Don't give them all the cupcakes promised me 4 if I did all the driving today " Kim had only packed 4 cupcakes and now had a dilemma as Martin could get agitated ,JD could get agitated, Liz could get even more agitated with Joe who was talking incessantly despite being gagged in the boot of the car , this was a volatile situation to say the least. Kim has grossly underestimated the sudden demand for her cupcakes. Then by sheer good luck as JD unexpectedly braked rather vigorously and Kim fell forward and crushed all the cupcakes. She carefully peeled the cupcakes off her blouse but it was now impossible to know how many cupcakes there were as it was now one big mess. The boys would have to make do with what they got. Kim was relieved in a strange way as now she did not have to choose between JD and Martin. Liz has a little tear in her eye as she hoped Kim would think of her as well.......

Our old house in Bayly's Beach now transformed
Bayly's Beach

It was a real trip down memory lane as we went to see our old house in Bayly's Beach where Ronan was famously born "The Breech on the Beach" and where James aged 3 years almost drove a car over the cliff edge. We lived at Bayly's Beach for two years and have many happy memories as Kim and Pauline lived nearby and they were great friends and support for Liz with young children. Bayly's Beach is over 60 miles long ! The famous 90 mile beach is not that far away either.

The Golden Girls ..Kim (Jong-un), Liz, Pauline.

Northern Wairoa river
Just like old times in Bayly's Beach
Lovely Hat Liz
JD and his Favourite Ferrari

Our tour of Dargaville included St Joseph's school where David went to school and James went to "Kindy" (the kindergarden). Nearby is the church where Ciaran was christened with Kim and Mike Hogan his Kiwi godparents. The town itself hasn't changed hugely but many new shops in the main street. The medical centre has now moved from town up to the hospital and almost all the staff I knew have changed except one nurse Rosemary Child and Dr Mike Hogan. They are struggling to find medical and nursing staff and very busy trying to meet patient demand and the same problems as over here. The next morning we left Dargaville and our sincere thanks to Kim and JD who are fantastic hosts and have a beautiful welcoming home.

Liz worked as the Plunket Nurse(Health Visitor in UK)
The medical centre used to be on the left hand side.
Rush hour in Dargaville .Martin has my usual job of bag carrier for Liz
Tauranga for the Tangneys

Then we were off to Tauranga which is a 6 hour drive from Dargaville and we stayed with Karen and Geoff who are Ciaran's foster parents ! They looked after Ciaran while he went to university to get his post graduate teaching degree and it was wonderful to meet them. We had a great evening with delicious home made pizza and hope to see them in Scotland in 2024. We climbed Mount Manganui which was easy for us Highlanders and beautiful views from the top. Then on the road again and passed by Rotorua, Lake Taupo , Palmerston North and stayed in an old winery in Levin near Foxton. We were now close to Wellington and arrived there next day. It is a lively city and we enjoyed Cuba Street finding an Irish pub while Liz tried to ignore an old boyfriend who tried to reach out to her while posing for a photo ......

Ciaran's 4 parents ....Geoff and Karen
Tauranga beach
The South Island awaits our return

After our one week whirlwind tour of the North Island we returned to Greymouth for a while. Then off on our travels again. This time we went down the beautiful West Coast and I was surprised by how quiet the raods were with very little traffic. We visited Hokitiki a nice town, stayed overnight in Franz Josef which has a glacier, went over the Haast Pass and then into beautful Wanaka.For Scottish people this is like Aviemore on steroids ! It is very affluent and trendy looking and Cardrona the large skifield where Aoife worked is just about 8 miles away. We stayed overnight with Elvire's brother Mark and Jenny and met delightful wee Charley. We enjoyed their wonderful hospitality as Mark and myself battled it out trying to squeeze in those few extra words as the other contestant tried to draw breath. Needless to say after 4 hours of relentless chat Mark was on the ropes and began plea bargaining .....and...then sheepishly said he had a headache , earache,tinnitus in both ears and had to go to bed immediately as he raced out of the room like a bat out of hell ...... I fear he has been away too long ..... We set off early next morning and went to Arrowtown which is a historic gold mining town about an hour away from Wanaka and enjoyed visiting my cousin Kevin's wife Angie's parents Jill and Peter. Amazingly while there we found out that Saint Mary MacKillip who has connections with Roybridge near Fort William had lived in Arrowtown. It is such a small world.

"Bradrona" near Cardrona where there is a large collection of bras in aid of breast cancer campaign.
Liz and Lake Matheson both in full splendour.
Liz with Mount Tasman and Mount Cook
Liz is delighted to find a lovely dress for the wedding I didn't like to mention it might be a bit cold in March
There is no shortage of sheep in New Zealand
Only 26 million sheep and 5 million people
Saint Mary is in a huff in the corner" Liz you never call... you never write... you never even pray to me "
After Arrowtown we stopped at AJ Hackett's famous bungy jumping Kawarau Bridge. This was the first bungy jumping bridge in the world in 1988 when the craze all started. Incredibly it is still going today all over the world and a right of passage for all the youngsters ...which excludes the oldies like me thankfully . I got dizzy just looking down at the river below. Then onwards to Cromwell the fruit growing area, Twizel,Tekapo ,Geraldine ,Ashburton and Christchurch . We collected Aoife in Christchurch airport and brought her over to Greymouth. The small towns are very friendly and quaint. We really felt at home in New Zealand even after an abscence of 27 years there was a warm feeling as soon as we arrived. With today's technology such as WhatsApp it is so much easier to keep in contact with family and friends . In the early 1990s there was no internet , email and phone calls very very expensive. So if today was yesterday we may have stayed in New Zealand as communication is so much easier now. However we also feel equally at home in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland and it is a wonderful place to bring up one's family. So no regrets and we can visit New Zealand again in a few years. We are fortunate having the time to travel more now since retirement .

PS We spent a few days in Sydney on the way home and it was great. It's a lovely city to visit and I would recommend it to any travellers but beware that in June on Bondi beach there wasn't a single bikini to be seen and Joe's lifetime dream ambition to strut his stuff on Bondi beach was shattered be careful what you wish for ...or more importantly careful of when you book your trip !!
I don't want James to get any ideas about a wheelchair bungy ....
Apples and Pears in Cromwell
That's Joe jogging on Bondi Beach ...All alone ..sadly
Joseph runs a Marathon, the Ben Race and gets a New Flat

Joseph and Rebecca ran the Edinburgh marathon on 25th May and fundraised for the Glasgow Spinal Injuries Unit which provided excellent care for James during his stay there almost 4 years ago. It was the first marathon for both Rebecca with a very good time of 3.43 and Joseph 3.21.

Sat 3 Sept Joseph was home for the Ben race. He had virtually no training since the marathon which scunnered him with running after a tough race. Joseph had no expectations for the race and very relaxed .No Ranjit this year away in Zimbabwe with Aaron. Anyway Joseph ran a great race and came in at 2:27:16 at 164 th position in a field of over 500. He was surprised by his great result. Still has to beat 2:10 from his first Ben race.

Isla Mackay beat Joseph this year at 2:20 Calum Fraser was 4th with 1:40 Finlay Wild 1:28 won by 10 min.

It was a great day out and very windy which is unusual. Great local crowd and 106 Lochaber Athletic athletes participated. There was a great festive atmosphere and many locals doing their first Ben .

The Dumfries lads team up

All smiles and another Ben conquered

Edinburgh Marathon fundraiser for the Spinal Injuries Unit in Glasgow

Rebecca's long awaited Graduation

Congratulations to Rebecca who was the top student in her year.

Rebecca and Liz hard at workunder the watchful eye of Foreman Joe

First New Home Happy Days
The floor sander is a beast of a machine
The floor boards are now looking brand new
First flat meal with Ranjit and Betsy
Ronan away to Australia

Ronan like the rest of the Tangney family is on the move and got a two year career break . He has been working in Portlethen High School for 5 years so now that covid has settled he wants to break free !!

So off he went in June and the rough initial plan is to travel around Australia and New Zealand . Ronan has already caught up with Ryan Campbell and Shannon Edwards both from Fort William who are living in Sydney for a few years. Ronan has been to Melbourne which is a large city with a population of over 4 million. We were there many years ago and once you leave the city the state of Victoria has lush green fields with lots of freisian dairy cows. Presently there are a large number of Fort William youngsters over in Australia and they seem to find each other some how. Ronan met Ian Foggo and Stephanie Clelland by chance in a pub in Melbourne so it is a small world indeed.

Ronan will be home for James and Kendal's wedding in March and we will find out the travel plans then.

Some familiar faces back in the Tangney kitchen
Liz has just spotted a streaker in our kitchen !!

Liz is too emotional to get dressed as she realises that we are down to out last two kids in Scotland.

James is on the BBC

Inside the Factory and Drivetime radio

James made his debut TV appearance when he featured in the BBC series Inside the Factory in Oct. This is a series where Greg Wallace and Cherry Healy visit various factories to give us the inside view of how different products are made such as trains in this case. They visited the Alvance factory here in Fort William which produces aluminium which is later used in the manufacture of trains and many other products . James was the company spokesman discussing and showing how the aluminium is made in the local smelter. The local Alvance factory is the only aluminium smelter left in the UK and uses it's own hydro power station to generate the vast amount of electricity required for the smelting process. The series is available to watch in the BBC iplayer and very interesting to see how the raw materials turn into a finished product. James was very relaxed and seems to enjoy his new media role . I have volunteered to be his agent but no response yet ....

James and Cherry in protective clothing near the hot molten aluminium at 1000C

James and Kendal

In his second media event James was interviewed by a reporter for the John Beaty Drivetime Show which is on BBC radio in the afternoons. This focussed on James' love of shinty and the great support given by the shinty club following his spinal injury in 2019. As James is no longer able to play shinty his role has changed and he is now the club President/chairman since Nov 2021. This is a big role for a young man as most club presidents are older people and James is definitely the youngest president of any shinty club in Scotland. However this is an opportunity for James to lead and develop the club for the future. So far so good and James is also busy coaching the Fort William shinty club second team. Being actively involved in shinty has been so important for James and he relishes the challenges which arise.

Laura, Kendal ,Kirsty.

A big congratulations to Kendal who qualified as a Health Visitor in August. This is Kendal's third degree, first Social Work, then Paediatric Nurse and now Health Visitor. We had no doubt that Kendal would pass her exams and has all the skills to be a great Health Visitor. It is the ideal job for Kendal with her extensive Paediatric nurse experience and she will flourish in her new role.

Of course now the "big day" approaches fast and we are all looking forward to the wedding in March. James and myself have been working tirelessly for months on all the wedding details and having lots of sleepless nights. We are now even getting more au fait but somewhat confused by the endless choices for make up, flowers, hair,music, hats ,outfits,venues, shoes, bags, menus ......I could go on all day and James and myself are seriously considering handing the whole thing over to Kendal and Liz due to both physical and mental exhaustion but we hate to give in .............but sometimes discretion is the better part of valour !!!
We think that Kendal and Liz are secretly hoping for us to contact them soon for a wedding planning meeting is in the air ...but the bookies think it's far more likely that...... there's a coup in the air .

Ciaran and Jorja and wee Freya


We got to Greymouth at last on May 4th and had a great time staying with Ciaran ,Jorja and baby Freya. It was so nice to catch up with Ciaran after almost 3 years and meet Jorja. Their new house is beautiful with huge windows and lovely views. The garden as mentioned earlier is huge 2.7 acres with a rain forrest at the back . Lots of tree ferns and bird songs all the time, Tui . They are so lucky to have built before the recent increase in building material costs and mortgage rate hike. Ciaran and myself built some planters for the garden and drainage channels. The garden has great potential but will take years of work so a big project ahead. Also the Weka birds which are a flightless woodhen are a problem as they pull up bulbs and small plants. However Ciaran has made a great start and his green fingers are growing by the day. The summer in New Zealand is wonderful and great for gardeners . Greymouth is in the West Coast region and so no shortage of rain.
Freya is an energetic young pup who needs lots of attention to keep her happy.She did for some unknown reason kept biting my ankles which did not endear her to me and when I took her for a walk she had multiple sit down strikes which again did not help our struggling relationship. Luckily Liz and herself seem to bond .
Freya and Liz are the best of friends out shopping.
We met Jorja's mum Gillian , partner Kelly,granny,auntie and had a great fun night out with them in Paroa . It was great to meet Jorja's family and hopefully see them in Scotland when they next visit Europe.
Ciaran collects Martin and us from the Interislander ferry in Picton
Jorja's mum Gillian joins us for a night out.
The Paroa Champions' League Football Team and their star Ciaran Messy.
Aoife wiped out Glasgow Marty and Yorkshire Jimmy with her white hot quick witted tongue in the pub...I felt sorry for the two lads who had absolutely no chance against our highly trained tongue assasin Ms Aoife who learned her vital wit survival skills at our family dinner table where she repeated outwitted and at times taunted her older brothers who were latterly in fact afraid to tease her as she had "information" on all of them which their parents did not know about and more importantly the said parents were better off not to know about......

Ciaran recruited me to join him on a Greymouth High School trip to Lake Tekapo and Mount Cook. I had to drive one of the minibuses on a 6 hour drive and interestingly it was very similar to my Tangney School Bus run which I did for years in our two people carriers often with 8 kids as our neighbours children were with us as well. The memories came flooding back with the incessant noise from the passengers and a wide variety of objects landing on the dashboard from some mysterious passenger which nobody knew. I have to admit there were times when I had to fight back by just suddenly flinging my left hand back in the vague hope of hitting someone which keeping my right hand firmly on the steering wheel or we would all get killed. This random attack method rarely found the real assailant. However the Greymouth High School students had me figured out quickly and learned to ignore me while chatting to them and told me to concentrate on my driving ! I suppose turning around to chat when driving on a steep road does tend to frighten the passengers ....

The scenery on our journey was simply spectacular and cannot be captured on camera. The shear scale of the Southern Alps mountain range which runs the length of the South Island is breathtaking to say the least and one has to be there to fully appreciate their beauty. We arrived in Lake Tekapo and were relieved to get out of the minibuses. That night we went stargazing up in the Mount John Observatory which is part of a "Dark Sky Reserve" as no lights are allowed in this whole area. We saw the Milky Way which is absolutely huge ,vast and one could think we were above the earth and surrounded by this incredible beauty of stars and planets of which we are just a mere dot ! We saw the Southern Cross and other constellations with aid of the guide who pointed out the individual stars with a laser and we used telescopes which was just incredible. We were very fortunate to have a clear sky and it was freezing. It is one of the best places in the world for star gazing.
The next day off to do a hike at Aoraki/Mount Cook which was very enjoyable and we had our lunch near the glacier close to the base of the mountain. Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. It's height is 3,724 metres (12,218 feet). It is not for the tourist hiker and we decided not to climb it this time !

The Mount Cook Adventurers
Ciaran and Lake Tekapo
Getting the hang of the selfies last
Mount Cook
Tangney Tours does exist ...would I lie to you ?
The Irish are everywhere

Wing mirror view

Country Roads take me home...

David New Job, New House, New Wee Garden

A Fond Farewell to Horizon

David has changed jobs this year after working in Horizon School for over 10 years . An opportunity arose to lead a big new project which is essentially integrating the sports academies into the schools in order to improve sporting participation and performance. David is the new Operations Manager for a company called Cognita who now own four schools in Dubai and are in 16 different countries. This is a big challenge and fortunately David has local knowledge after his 10 years which is important with a new project and good contacts in many of the Dubai schools.

So far so good having just started in Aug the project is on target with over 1000 children already signed up to the project. Every new project will have challenges and by this time next year it should get easier. David has had a very demanding and busy few months. However David is gaining valuable management experience and it is both exciting and energising to be leading a new project.

The Donegal Golf Team with more rounds of drink than golf !

The other big news is that David and Georgina have bought a townhouse which is great as renting has it's limits. We were in Dubai for a few days on our trip out to New Zealand and helped with the unpacking. It is never an easy job and the more people the better or stuff will be in boxes for years! Georgina now has a new job in Dubai which is ideal and close to their house. Also congratulations to Georgina who has already got a promotion and Head of Science in her new school. This is great news as Georgina has a passion for teaching science. David and Georgina both have busy jobs but are enjoying their work which is very important.
We also visited on our way home and their new house is looking so much better and a lovely home. I helped David and Georgina with their garden which is now looking better. It is a totally different gardening world in Dubai with summer temperatures of 50C and winter 25C. Watering the plants is an all year round job.

The Spicegirls at work (Liz and Georgina fill endless spice jars)
Is that Ciaran in the calendar ? Liz looks so proud ...
Boxes galore .....decisions galore

The garden nearly ready for planting

The Garden is now taking shape

Bye Bye Dubai
Meeting up with Yves in Dubai
Our First Mystery Wedding Tour

All we knew was that we were invited to David and Lesley's wedding in Feb . David is our next door neighbour since 1995. Nobody knew where the wedding was going to be held and the only information we were given was that we had to be in the West End car park Fort William on Fri 25 Feb at 10.30am.
Now it was all happening as the big day had finally arrived. So the wedding mystery tour began as we all met in the West End car park.A big Sheil's bus awaited us as David and Lesley and the guests arrived Liz and John , Donald and Tricia Kennedy ,Ra and Michaela Douglas , Ian and Lisa and wee 8 week old Freya and all the baby gear .

So off we go on the mystery tour on a beautiful sunny morning and snow everywhere. There was a buzz of excitement in the bus as we left Fort William driving along Achintore road. So where were we going ?? The hot favourite was Inverary which we had been to for Davids 60 th party . I put a tenner on with Liz Tangney who was very confident of not paying out and worringly had a slightly smug little smile on her face !

Sadly, as we came to the first roundabout after Ballachulish bridge I suffered a first round knock out punch and hit the canvas as we went straight through the roundabout meaning it was not Inverary…… Liz's right hand with palm open went out and not a word was said .....that smug little smile got bigger ...and the " I told you so" look on her face grew bigger .... I slowly extracted a pound coin from my trouser pocket with difficulty and placed it in the little waiting palm and said "this is a down payment". The fingers never closed on the hand and I was forced to have another rumble in my trousers but no coins were to be found ....I feared Liz might have a card reader and clear out my bank account (if it wasn't already emptied) so I asked if Liz would accept "Crypto" .Of course I hit a nerve and Liz immediately went off on a big rant about the fools using Crypto and that saved me for a while at least ......

Buachaille Etive Mor in Glencoe

Glencoe and Rannoch Mor looked spectacular with the snow and being up high in the bus gives a lovely view .

On we went to Crianlarich, then we stopped to wait for the other bus from Glasgow with all the “oldies”. Jim and Suzie , Jim and Catherine, Joe and Mary , Robert and Moira. After the brief comfort break and off we go again heading back towards Fort William what is going on ?? But alas we turned again back into Crianlarich and headed along the A85 which is the road to Crieff.

Then David handed out the first round of envelopes ….with a letter inside and cash to pay the kidnapers ransom?.

Now was it Crieff or Stirling ?? The speculation grew and along we went with nobody having any idea where we were going. Then past the turnoff for Crieff so Stirling was now the hot favourite . Then a welcome lunch break in The Old Bank Hotel in Callender.

But all wrong again as we drove past the Kelpies and arrived in Edinburgh. We were now in Jury's hotel in Edinburgh as we all gathered in the lobby …..Still noboby knew the location of the wedding ceremony the next day. We had a quick walk in the city as Liz visited several shops in the St James' shopping centre and we went up Princess Street. The city was buzzing with lots of French rugby fans over for the international against Scotland on Sat. Dinner in the hotel and a few pints. The girls had a last minute hen party for Lesley in the bar.

Liz could not resist kidnapping oops I mean was baby sitting wee Freya. So Sat morning 12 oclock in the lobby we gather for the next instalment of the mystery tour. Lesley's brother Rab had come up from Liverpool on Fri night. Her sister Marjorie and husband Jim were also there. Donna and Stevie Monk with Mhari and Donny.

Big strong Jim, Jim Queen the best man, Robert and wee Joe all have a celebratory dram with David in the bar before departure.

The “boys” looked very relieved to finally see David get married at such a young age.

Then we all get on the minibus leaving Lesley behind in the hotel . We had no idea where we were going yet again …

Now we are driving through the narrow streets of Edinburgh and David gave us another envelope on the way ….Wow what a surprise as we read that the secret venue for the ceremony was Edinburgh Castle ….there were several loud gasps of disbelief in the bus …nobody expected this venue … And would you believe it was St Margaret's Church which was built about 1130 and is the oldest building in Edinburgh Castle.

We got off the bus right outside Edinburgh Castle and it was a very cold day with a sharp wind.

Off we went into the castle getting a few photos on the way. A quick cup of coffee in the café and then up to the viewing point for the 1 o clock gun salute. We then went to St Margaret's Church which can only hold about 30 people where a lone piper waited outside the door and the stewards. The church was booked for the 1-2pm slot for the wedding ceremony. It was warm in the church as there was a freezing wind outside. The girls struggled to hold onto their hats and hair ! I really struggled with my hair as well.

The minister welcomed us all as we waited for Lesley. Then the first Rolls Royce arrived with the bridesmaids Donna and Lisa and flower girl Mhairi and Donny the pageboy all looking dapper .

David waited nervously at the front of the tiny church.

Weddings can be stresfull at the best of times but if you are the groom waiting for your new missus to arrive as you sit at the top of the church and then without warning the minister goes missing and has suddenly just vanished.... ...there were a few audible gasps ...then some of the more discerning guests got restless and the tension became tangible in the air as we all had no idea if she had gone out for a quick vape or had a tummy bug or just gone straight to another wedding . The one thing that we definitely did know is that SHE WAS GONE…David was now even more worried looking than earlier and that degree of worried look can leave one's face with permanent wrinkles that even botox or filler can't fix. This was now an emergency wedding situation after all the months of detailed planning ..... Then the guests started to chant rather timidly at first but then more enthusiastically then... worringly almost raucous ...a bit like a football crowd .".No minister... No Wedding... No Minister..... No Wedding "............. So up I went to the altar and got straight into my Father Ted mode and offered to officiate the wedding ceremony......Liz aka Mrs Doyle offering cups of tea ...." ah go on" David was now uncontrollably crying or "greeting" as they say in Scotland ....he was at breaking point .....he gave me the "evils" and without even a word hand waved me away .......there's a time to stand and a time to run ....this was definitely a time to run and I took his dismissive hand wave as a clear" No" ..........I was understandably gutted ….but not yet defeated .... But then miraculously the minister reappeared almost like a hologram. Allelulia.....a miracle ..The sighs of relief from the guests all came up the aisle together like a little typhoon. Nobody dared to ask the minister where the did she go ? David was visibly relieved and now back to his normal very pale looking self again. The crises was averted and now the next worry was where is the bride ??? David was now starting to get worried all over again. It was a roller coaster of emotion for us all packed into that tiny church. All 27 of us were totally emotionally exhausted before the ceremony had even started and waited nervously all looking behind us at the wee door every 5 seconds .....Time stood still could hear a tear drop ......

Thankfully at 1.40 the second Rolls Royce arrived ….out stepped Lesley looking stunning and her brother Rab. David was overcome with his emotion of joy and relief in equal measures . The ceremony was simple and brief and the minister was very relaxed.( the vaping worked ). So David and Lesley were now very happily married.

Then the newly weds emerged from the church all smiles as we took lots of photos near the church. Then afternoon tea in a small room in the castle which was great followed by a tour around the castle and saw the Crown Jewels and the various portraits of Mary Queen of Scots etc.

David and Lesley with St Margaret's Church in the background.

David and Lesley and Lesley's granchild leave in the Rolls Royce

We get the bus back to the hotel and then had a meal and a few drinks. Later a sing off contest the Boys vs the Girls which we won easily much to Catherine's and Mary's disgust !!! They claimed a draw and a single song shootout was arranged for next morning ! Next morning Sun breakfast and lots of French staying in the hotel who all very happy as they won beating Scotland 38-17 on Sat.

Off down the Royal Mile in glorious sunshine and it was very busy. We met Jim and Suzie who were in great form. All back in the bus again and home to the Highlands . Another envelope appeared with a booklet about the history of St Margaret's and 2 fridge magnets ! Our mystery tour was nearly over as we drove back to the beautiful snowy Highlands with happy hearts and the wedding guests all headed home.

What a lovely weekend and a fantastic surprise venue for the wedding. It was once in a lifetime location and a wedding to remember no doubt. I have to admit I was relieved to get back home alive as I was concerned it was a murder mystery weekend and I was the intended victim !!

Kathy's 60th Birthday in Finns
Kathy and Pat

First Cousins

David and his six shy silent sisters ....
The nephews from San Francisco

Our trip to Skye in March

Off to Skye on Wed 16 Mar to visit Catriona and Peter for our long overdue visit after years of being invited. It is a lovely journey to the north of Skye up past Portree and not too far after Staffin. A beautiful house with instant good karma awaited us. Elvire and Bill got back from Raasay and we had dinner with great company. Thursday was St Patrick's day was very windy and heavy rain. That morning we were not to be defeated by bad weather so off we set to visit Rhu Hanish. It was just about a two hour walk but across a boggy track with high speed hailstones cutting into one's eyes. I have never experienced high speed hailstones with such velocity and ferocity ! They were like daggers hitting our faces. The wind felt like it was gale force and we struggled to walk and not get blown over. It was rough at times and not for the faint hearted or underweight individual. We got soaked wet and freezing cold due to the wind chill. We were determined to finish the walk regardless of the weather.

Fortunately, when we arrived at the lookout point which was used during the war provided us with a tiny bit of shelter as the bothy was closed while we gobbled down our sandwich. There was a nice view across to the Isle of Lewis. We didn't hang around as we were soaking wet by now .

Back to the base camp we had soup for lunch then back out for the second half. Off under the watchful eye of our fearless leader Bill we went to climb up to the Old Man of Stor. We visited kilt rock on the way a waterfall. This was still very windy and steep at times but an enjoyable walk. The rock or Old Man of Stor is much bigger than it appears from the road view. We had an enjoyable St Patrick's Day meal with Irish Coffees…..Coriander on Top …a new recipe as no shamrock on Skye.(St Patrick had no time to visit Skye)

Luckily Fri was a beautiful day with a blue sky but again very windy. We set off at 11am for the Quiraing which is part of a mountain range that goes all the way down to Portree. It has unique type of rock formations. Over the next 5 hours we climbed up to over 1000 feet and some steep ascents on the way. There were so many surprises as one passed lochans coming around corners into new valleys. It was a beautiful day despite the strong wind and thankfully dry. We had lunch in the Quiraing which gave some shelter.

Sherpa Tangzing at your service

The wind was dangerous at times as we walked along a narrow path with a steep verge. We didn't walk along the top of the ridge as it was too dangerous with the risk of being blown over and certain death. So we walked along the base of the ridge and got back to the car safely. Liz did manage to lead us astray at one point coming down as she declined the offer of the well worn path and went “off piste “. We followed her like fools and then found ourselves with a 50 foot drop down a near vertical “path” and that is using the term “path” in the absolute widest sense of the word. After staring at this route we decided to go back and find the correct path we had used to ascend. I had never thought of myself as someone who was easily led but this was a first !!

We visited Catriona's and Peter's new house site and the blocks are being laid. It will hopefully be finished by Christmas and will look great. They are both eagerly excited and looking forward to their new home.

Happy days with Elvire,Peter,Catriona,Bill and Liz

Dinner Fri night and away at 10 am Sat. We drove back via Uig and a very scenic journey back to the Fort. The Cuillins look a bit like the French Alps and spectacular. The north of Skye is very similar to the West of Ireland with a rugged coastline, bog and stone walls. We had a very enjoyable few days in Skye and it was great to see Catriona and Peter again. They are just wonderful hosts and their generosity has no bounds. Elvire and Bill also enjoyed their stay and plenty of chat. I was off the drink for Lent while in Skye. I was looking forward to the end of Lent as had only 22 days to go and may never give up the drink for Lent again as it was pure torture after a hard day out in the hills !

Elvire " The Coriander Queen "

The Cuillins
Spectacular views




Anne and Mike Hart's 25th Wedding Anniversary

While in Galway in early August we met Ann and Mike who were on holiday in Spiddal. We had a lovely meal and great evening in the "Twelve" in Barna and we were initially unaware that it was their 25th anniversary. Liz worked with Ann for 7 years in the Coombe Maternity Hospital and old friends. It is heart warming to know that doesn't seem to matter if there is a long interval between meeting old friends as we just carry on like we had met yesterday.

Mike was also celebrating 20 years of working with IBM and they were both looking forward to their big caravan trip to France. Mike was hard pushed to get a word in as Liz ,Ann and myself were chatting at high speed but Mike got his chance as the drinks went down fast and the bathroom started to beckon more frequently as the night went on. We really enjoyed our catch up but sadly Mike did decline my offer of going with himself and Anne to France in their delux 5 star caravan ...I wonder words were spoken just a constant left to right head movement !! Mike is "salt of the earth" so I won't hold it against him for now ...BUT ...only if he agrees to take me next year .....

Cheer up Ann the first 25 years are the hardest !!

Ann has now cheered up considerably with the help of some vino while Liz is still in a sugar rush trance .

The Bon Bon shop in Salthill where Liz worked as a teenager ..might explain her sweet tooth

Dreams do come true !! ....Well done Cian.

Cian ( Joe's nephew) as a primary school boy lifts the Sam Maguire Cup and lifts it again as a member of the Kerry squad in 2022 .

SAM comes back home at last

Cian is presented with his first senior All Ireland medal. Many more to come we hope.

Kerry beat Galway All Ireland Sun 24 July by 4 points as Kerry pulled away last 10 min.

"Kerry's eight-year wait for an All-Ireland — a gap considered a terrible hunger in that part of the world — is over. They won their 38th version of the Sam Maguire by 0-20 to 0-16 but the four-point gap does not begin to explain the nature of the taut drama between two of the bluebloods of the game.

Galway, deemed the outsiders, played some shimmering football and still lost here. No matter to Kerry. They all count. Suddenly, all the years of hurt seemed worth it. Suddenly, all their fabulous minors were all grown up and doing the town. Suddenly Pat Spillane was sobbing like Sally Field on Oscars night as he closed out a 30-year career as RTE's most provocative pundit. Suddenly, then, was the vision that made them swoon: David Clifford lifting the big silver cup in the stadium. Suddenly, all was right with their world again." Irish Independent.

Mon 25 July We had a great 3 weeks in Ireland , Kerry first then Galway. As Kerry had just won the All Ireland it was important to bring Liz down to see Sam. Cian was celebrating for a few days and there was jubilation all round the county. It was a great boost for the whole county. Hopefully Cian will get on the team in the next year or two.
Cian also had his graduation in Oct BSc Hons 2:1 in Biochemistry and currently working in Cork with Jansen pharmaceuticals.

Philip, Cian and Ann-Marie



Some of our Visitors 2022


Danni and Calum
Ronan,Teresa, Aoife

Mike Thompson from Tasmania

Ali and Stephanie

Teresa ready to climb the Ben

Patrick, Liz and Saskia
Jan and Liz   Dani from New Zealand
The garden   Boston terrier Frank

Saskia ,Patrick and Joseph