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Enjoying the sunshine during breakfast on the terrace.

Half a Century at BrookLodge

Keep it to yourself but one of my humans recently celebrated his 50th birthday. That’s ancient – around seven in dog years. Seeing as he’s always so good to me and looks after me so well, I decided to do something nice for him. I checked my bone account to see what it could stand and thanks to the excellent Bone/Euro exchange rate, on account of Brexit worries, I found that I could manage a few nights in BrookLodge in County Wicklow. It’s one of my favourite places as I get to look at the hens, chickens and geese that roam the grounds. My humans love it for the peace and tranquillity, not to mention the organic food for which it’s renowned. There’s a further attraction – the two resident dogs, my pals, Oscar and George, who are always good for a laugh and a chat. It was late afternoon when we arrived so after checking in with my American …

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Competitors race towards their bikes at the start of the Brompton World Championships in London.

Brompton World Championships – again

Another year, another Brompton World Championship but unfortunately, this year I didn’t manage to win a place in the lottery to get an entry to the race. Fortunately, only a week before the event, I managed to ‘acquire’ an entry and made arrangements to ship both myself and my Brompton folding bike over to London. Last year, I competed with a bulging disc in my spine and the rain was incessant. I had high hopes that this year’s race would be better on all counts. On the day before the race, I met up with friends from the London Brompton Club near Buckingham Palace and we cycled through St James’ Park and Hyde Park to end up at the Brompton Junction shop in Long Acre, near Covent Garden for champagne and nibbles. It was an enjoyable run, despite the heavy rain that fell for most of the hour. I got talking to an Australian who had come over specifically with …

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Never leave your dog in a car in hot weather.

Never leave your dog in a hot car

With the current heat wave showing no signs of abating, Škoda are highlighting the dangers of leaving your pets in a car in hot conditions. Even a few minutes in a hot car can prove fatal to a dog. A car’s interior can reach 47 degrees in an hour when the outside temperature is 22 degrees. If it rises to 26, a car can reach 37 degrees in just 10 minutes. Such temperatures can prove fatal to a dog in under 20 minutes. You can take precautions to keep your dogs safe on a hot day: Never leave your dog in a car in warm weather, even if it feels cool outside. Don’t excessively walk or over-exercise your dog. Avoid walking your dog at the hottest time of the day – often morning or later in the evenings can be cooler. Always take plenty of water with you when out with your dog. Make sure your dog has shade to …

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Short Story : 18 holes with the in-laws

I squinted into the morning gloom. A mist hung over the green, obscuring the flag from view. Taking a deep breath, I fixed my eyes on the ball and drew back the club. The grip quivered between my clammy palms. I looked up towards the green again, then down at my ball. If I could just chip it out of the rough- “Hit the ruddy thing!” I flinched violently, losing my balance as my club rocketed towards the ground. It struck the ground with a jarring thud, sending me reeling. I spun away, wincing, as my ball trickled over the ridge. David fixed me with steely glare. He was dressed head-to-toe in tweed. The buttons of his waist-coat quivered beneath the weight of his paunch. He wore a deer-stalker, jammed over the crown of his head and a pair of thick leather boots. His mouth was nothing more than a thin slit beneath his thick, lustrous whiskers, curling beneath his …

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A short story: A Canadian summer

As our holiday in Canada drew to an end, I longed to be alone in the perfect beauty of mountainous British Columbia. In the late evening after dinner, I excused myself from the campfire evenings and headed towards the shore, mere minutes from the campsite. Settling down by an old log, I glanced down the empty stony beach. Far out on the tranquil sea, a few kayakers paddled silently through the blue water, sending ripples across the bay. The sun hung low over the distant mountain, gently changing the Pacific waters from blue to yellow to orange. On the mainland, the distant mountains turned orange as the light hit them. Far off to the south of the hills, the faint lights of the city flickered and twinkled in the fading daylight. I sat down and leaned my head against the log. I turned it towards the sun, closed my eyes and felt the rays of its soft light as it …

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Clare Champion gives students forum for stories

THE Clare Champion celebrated the 12th annual short story competition last Thursday as it was announced that it is to diversify its offering next year, giving a fresh opportunity for schools to engage with the county’s leading newspaper. Announcing the competition winners, John Galvin, managing director of The Clare Champion, thanked all the schools for the support they have given the competition since it began in 2006. “It is not easy to juggle extra curricular activities and without the guidance and support of teachers, the competition would never have become the success that it is now. Our idea was to instil a love of writing and to give a platform to young writers to have their first stories published.” This year’s junior winner was Kate Harty of Coláiste Muire, Ennis with her story, A Canadian Summer, while the senior winner was Liam Lenihan of St Joseph’s Secondary School, Spanish Point with 18 holes with the in-laws. Shauna O’Kane, Mary Immaculate …

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Over 50s Move For Life

A research programme, aimed at improving the health of people aged over 50 in the county, was launched today (Monday) by Minister of State for Health Promotion, Catherine Byrne. University of Limerick’s Move For Life research study is encouraging people in Clare and Limerick, who are aged over 50 and who would like to be more active, to join the programme. Minister Byrne said, “This programme not only encourages people to become more active, it also empowers them to become influencers within their own communities, something which could lead to considerable positive public health implications. “Being active has so many benefits both for physical and mental health and we in Healthy Ireland are very happy to support University of Limerick in this project which, as our population ages, targets a very important demographic. As a hub of research and expertise in the areas of health and physical activity in the region, UL is well placed to lead this programme. I …

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Night nurse humbled by work

A Kilmihil-based cancer support night nurse says she is “humbled” by the welcome she receives from families while she is caring for their loved ones. Working with the Irish Cancer Society (ICS) since June 2002 as a night nurse, Anne Normoyle is one of the night nurses who are the link between the living and the dying. Speaking at the launch of the ICS’s Relay for Life, Anne admitted there is a huge trust issue when by families let a total stranger into their home to look after a loved one at a very vulnerable stage in their lives. “Night nurses are humbled by the fact we are accepted into peoples’ homes at such a delicate time for the patient and their family. “A person may be all dressed up the first night but, by night two, generally, they are in their pyjamas ready to go to bed. It is a good sign that they have their trust in us …

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