OPINION: 'Let's posthumously award the Duke of Edinburgh the freedom of Clonmel'

Billy O'Riordan writing in this week's Nationalist

Billy O'Riordan

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Billy O'Riordan

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news@nationalist.ie

Death announced of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Prince Philip. Photo: Wikipedia

My phone is constantly lying to me. Last week it chirped in my pocket and told me the following: it would snow at nine o’clock.
I stuck my head outside at nine, not a cloud in the sky.

This week I planned to cut my mother’s garden, so I consulted my phone for an update on the weather forecast for Clonmel - a 2% chance of rain it read.

That same day coming out of Dunne’s the rain was hopping off my head. From now on I’m going to stick my head out the window and take it from there.

I’m proposing that we posthumously award the Duke of Edinburgh the freedom of Clonmel. Now, just hold off on the letters to the editor and hear me out.

In my humble opinion the old Duke was a genius of sorts. This was a man who managed not to put his hand in his pocket for the last 73 years.

He also managed to avoid doing a day’s work in such time, spending his days flying around the world at the expense of the British taxpayer, attended to by a bevy of footmen, chambermaids and charladies.

No, I reckon the old fella had the Royals sussed and he knew a good thing when he saw it.

Sure, why wouldn’t he live to the ripe old age of 99 having never in his life had the privilege of carrying a bucket of coal in from the yard with the rain pelting off his skull.

Let’s hand it to the man and hold him as an example of someone embodying qualities such as: sheer brazenness, initiative, guile, cunning and staying power.

Even in death the old Duke won’t be troubled by expensive funeral costs. I bet the old boy is chuckling his way into heaven.

This week travel restrictions have been loosened somewhat. Yes, we can roam freely throughout the county to our hearts content.

There is a slight problem though and this has been there since the earliest lifting of lockdown, back whenever? Let’s say you load little Mary, Jimmy, and Patrick into the car, and you head off to Cahir or Cashel for the day.

All in all, a lovely idea. It’s possible that a chipper or ice cream van may be around for a quick snack on arrival. Here is where it gets complicated.

There are no toilets. Yes, without the availability of pubs or restaurants there is limited opportunity to spend a penny – no pun intended.

This was the case in the larger towns and cities during the previous lockdown and it is the case in the smaller towns also. You pack up for the day, head off and when you get to where you are going the first thing little Mary and Jimmy will say…everyone…you know, we’ve all been there, “I need to go to the toilet”.

What do you do if everywhere is closed?

I’m certain that the great minds who comprise our local council management team have already discussed this issue, this is a body who are always proactive in these matters and spend tens of thousands of euros on something called “Forward Planning” each year.

Would it be on the agenda to place a few portable loos around our towns for this influx of visitors? No, I thought as much.

Maybe we should forfeit this newfound offer of freedom, simply just tighten our bladders and stay at home.

I got the phone call last week. You know the one. Yes, by the time this column goes to print, I’ll be another HSE vaccine statistic.

In preparation, I’ve stopped reading about the negative aspects of the procedure.

On social media, men whose only qualifications are those of sausage makers, scuba divers and bike couriers – all worthy occupations – claim expertise on such complex medical matters and see fit to share their unique insights with the unlearned.

On this occasion, I’ll pass on the learned advice from the sausage makers guild and instead put my trust in those with doctorates in microbiology and such. I hope the weather is fine on the day of my vaccine.

I’ll just check my phone.

Hang on a minute!