Pub and shop owners in the county have urged people to stop giving off about Alexa after it emerged that over 1000 households in the county returned their Amazon Echo devices due to its inability to understand locals and vice versa.
In one extreme example, a man in his 40s from Eskra was witnessed kicking the device around his garden at 3pm on Christmas Day after it failed to understand “Alex, play the one ‘Mon Boy Light Thon Fire’ by that band The Durs” after 200 requests to do so.
Electronics expert Roger McGinnity from Omagh offered advice for locals who have yet to return their device:
“Alexa isn’t programmed to understand the subtleties of the Tyrone dialect. Asking it ‘is it coul the day?’ will confused the system and result in annoyance on both sides. My advice is to think of what you want to ask and have a dictionary nearby and mouth out the words that way. It’s still a useful device.”
The Amazon data team revealed that the most asked questions to Alexa in the county on Christmas Day were: ‘Alexa, will Trone win the All-Ireland the year?’ and ‘Alexa, are the cops nearby atall?’
Meanwhile a 43-year old man from Ardboe has proposed to the machine, surrounded by family and friends. Although Alexa was non-committal, a service will go ahead on New Year’s Eve, the first of its kind in the county.
Senior church-goers across the county have called on Rome officials to declare the unlawful eating of Christmas ham, by younger members of the family after returning home from midnight mass or a heavy session in the local on Christmas Eve, as a mortal sin.
Hundreds of parents have signed the petition which will be posted first class to the Vatican in the morning, according to recently appointed Coalisland deacon Finnian Farrelly.
Deacon Farrelly put meat on the bones of the argument:
“Parents like myself are sick and tired of waking up on Christmas morning only to find that the children have made a bollocks of the ham. Chunks are hacked off willy-nilly and sometimes the turkey has also been assaulted if the weans are intoxicated enough. Days of preparation down the tubes and you can’t get really mad about it on that day of all days.”
Many parents have taken matters into their own hands with a rise in firearms reportedly procured all over the county. So perverse had the sale of ammunition to minors become that it was ad nauseam. Everybody knew that minors were on the hunt to purchase everything AR15 related and spread havoc. Locks for ovens and increased sales of sophisticated alarm systems also suggest the war on ham burglars has upped a notch in 2016.
“I might be a man of the cloth but I have no reservations of firing a warning shot over the heads of my children if they come in stocious and start sniffing around the ham. They’re in their 30s; they should know better. Especially the sober ones who just went to mass.”
In 2015, over 200 dinners were ruined in the north of the country when not enough ham was left to feed the entire family on Christmas day, resulting in fist fights and trifles being fired across tables.
The PSNI have called for calm if the Vatican refuse to acknowledge the request.
An anonymous Dungannon man has finally spoken about the secret support groups set up all over England to help exiled natives prepare for the trip home over the Christmas period. The document below, produced as evidence of the extensive networking system especially in north England, clearly sets out a seven-point plan which most will need to complete within the next few days in order to stave off THE FEAR, as it’s known across the water.
- REFAMILIARISATION OF LOCAL VERNACULAR
It is likely that some local words have now left your vocabulary during your time abroad. It even might also be a case of changing definitions. Two of the most common mistakes are misunderstanding the true meanings of ‘lethal’ and ‘deadly’. In England, these may be adjectives to describe something untoward and nasty. However, in Dungannon and suchlike, it couldn’t be a higher compliment. If someone says the burger you’re eating is ‘deadly’, don’t chuck it away for fear of catching something fatal. It’s probably delicious. The weather might also be deadly. That IS bad.
- FACIAL REACTIONS
If someone comes up to you and says that Joe Herron is now a vegan or a cross-dresser or going with someone from Armagh, look completely shocked even though you haven’t a clue who Joe Herron is, because you’ve been away a long time. Say something like ‘Holy God, but I’m not surprised, he was always a bit..you know…’. That should get you out of that hole.
- PALATE DESENSITISATION
It is likely you have been eating a wide range of food in England. You need to train your tastebuds again to like pepper sauce and garlic fries. A Coalisland epicurist who worked for ten years in Landi’s in the town will be secretly flying over to Manchester this weekend to give a crash course on this.
- HAND-SHAKING FITNESS REGIME
Many exiles have sleepless nights over forgetting how to do the handshake at Mass, therefore outting themselves as a lapsed churchgoer whilst in England. Follow this program to pull off a natural and supposedly experienced handshake. This is also useful for going to the pub with an elderly relative.
- SUBSCRIBE TO THE IRISH NEWS NOW
The death notices need to be read daily with a whole day given to browsing archive deaths since you’ve been away. This is crucial. Don’t be asking about dead people during Christmas dinner with The Pogues singing in the background. It’s a real mood killer and you’ll likely be on the plane home that evening. Also, memorise how the local club got on too. Pretend you keep an eye on their results.
- REMIND PEOPLE AT HOME THAT SCARCE TOYS ARE NOT READILY AVAILABLE IN ENGLAND
Unfortunately, this is unavoidable. People will still believe England is an exotic land full of everything that we can’t get here and will want you to bring home kilos of presents, with a promise of ‘sorting you out’ financially when they see you. Turn off your phone at night. They will also expect you to bring home spices and stuff.
- DIG OUT YOUR CHARLIE PRIDE/NATHAN CARTER/GARTH BROOKS CD
You need to know the chorus of all songs likely to be sung around midnight in most drinking establishments. Friends In Low Places is a must.
With record December temperatures showing no sign of abating, Strabane Council have revealed plans to put on a free ‘Turkey on the Barbie in Strabane’ on Christmas Day, placing the West Tyrone town on a par with Bondi Beach and Kenya during the festive period.
In a further development, Strabane linguist Jonathan Hinney maintains he is a shade darker than he was a week ago, attributing the sudden tanning to the warmer climes experienced in the province during the last few weeks.
“There has definitely been a change in my appearance since last week. I’ve been doing a lot of outside loitering and gaunching about recently and I think the exposure has had an effect, making me the first Irishman to get a tan in Ireland, naturally, in winter since records began in Castlederg in 1855. Strabane is currently a mild outdoor sunbed.”
In a loosely related incident, Hinney’s shower has been banjaxed during the same period, casting serious doubts on his tanning claims.
Meanwhile, the Strabane open-air Christmas Day turkey barbecue has already sold 38 tickets, despite claims from locals that the council got a bit too excited the day the temperature hit 15 degrees Celsius.
Lord Mayor Linda Shelley has pleaded with locals to trust their judgement:
“We have it on good authority from Frank Mitchell that it’ll be in the mid-20s on Christmas Day. I urge Strabanonians to ditch their jumpers and coats and don their finest swimwear and put the Aussies to shame. Global warming is not all bad, is it.”
Hugo Duncan has yet to confirm rumours that he’ll be lighting the barbecue wearing only a pair of tight red trunks.
Education authorities have asked schools to rethink their policy of offering teachers a ‘shopping day’ off school in December after it emerged that only 1% of staff in a mid-Ulster school actually visited a real shop, opting for the virtual equivalent on their school iPads in bed.
The shopping day, which excuses members of staff from normal teaching duties for a full day, has been in operation in many schools since the 1980s. However, with the dawn of Internet shopping, the idea is perceived by the general public as being archaic and pointless with many teachers combining their job with Christmas shopping anyway on a daily basis.
One teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous, revealed:
“Sure half the staff do their Christmas shopping in the classrooms anyway by just telling the pupils to read on another chapter whilst tilting their screens for privacy. There are 55 teachers in my school and I only know of one who actually went to a shop, and that was to get bread and milk. It’s a farce.”
Cookstown butcher Harry Stales fumed:
“Bloody teachers. They’re not content with getting home at 4pm every day, 2 months off in the summer as well as a fortnight here and there. Now they’re allowed to get off to visit Argos. It’s a disgrace and enough to stop me paying my taxes for those wasters. Not one of them could dig a hole.”
The Northern Ireland Education Authority maintain they know nothing about a ‘shopping day’ rule and have advised schools to cease the practice if it actually does exist.
A 76-year old pensioner, who popped out to Tesco for a few goods, was presumed dead after he failed to return home within six hours, resulting in a minute’s silence being observed for Leo Tally at a GAA friendly between Strabane and Urney.
The mistake was made after his wife of 49 years, Betty Tally, told neighbours he was ‘probably dead’ after he hadn’t returned due to the fact that he hated shops, spending money and big crowds, especially in the run up to Christmas. Mrs Tally has since said she was only codding and didn’t really mean for the local team’s manager to believe her.
The minute silence was interrupted when a spectator shouted:
“Sure that’s Leo Tally standing over there in the red raincoat”
whilst pointing at Tally who was also observing the minute silence, having missed who it was actually for.
Tally, a local playing legend from the 1960s, added:
“I was at Tesco for ages because everything I wanted to buy was on offer, 3 for the price of 2, so I ended up buying 3 of everything I wanted. That was about 120 items.”
Although Tally returned home before heading out to the game, his wife neglected to tell him she had informed others of his untimely passing.
“At first I was laughing about it but when I think back, I’m a bit annoyed that there were a few lads sniggering away during my minute silence and some were eating mineral and crisps. I’ll be having a word.
Strabane GAA have issued an apology to Mr Tally but reassured him that when he does die they’ll make sure everyone observes the silence perfectly.
By Landan Seamy
Imagine the thrill of lying in bed on a windswept December night listening to the hair raising howls from the moors as the wolves hunt their next victim. If local conservationist Pat “the wild man” Devlin and his 11 friends have their way this is what the future could hold for parts of Tyrone.
Pat and his team say plans to bring wolves back to Caledon and Benburb are “at an advanced stage”.
“People claim that we have not thought this through”
“but we have watched all the Jurassic Park films and know how things could go wrong so to be on the safe side we have chosen 2 areas with sparse populations and with absolutely no players on the Tyrone county squad. Both places are practically in Armagh anyway so I don’t see what all the fuss is about”.
Pat is convinced that there’ll be no disaster anyway.
“Whilst the cynics just see problems I just see benefits for the local economy. Just think of the euros and dollars pouring in. If some of that money crosses the border to Armagh then good luck to them. People have asked me if I’ll be introducing lions and tigers next. That’s just pure ignorance. Those animals never lived in Ireland. The gist of my plan is to return, to their natural habitats, the animals dispossessed by Cromwell”.
Pat has met with some opposition from local farmers and mothers with young children.
“I can understand their concerns” he sympathises “but they’ll just have to get on with it”.
“People say he’s crazy” added Sean who like some of the other 11 is actually one of Pat’s sons.
“But when has a madman ever influenced 11 others. As my father keeps reminding us 12 is a respectable number. Jesus had 12 disciples; Jacob had 12 sons; Christmas has 12 days and the 12th is one of the biggest days in the northern calendar”.
“And on that last fact” interrupted Pat,
“if our fellow county men don’t stop moaning I’ll take the idea to Paisley’s country. It’d actually save us all a lot of time for once we rescue the wolves from the zoo we’d practically be in Antrim already”.
When pressed to state when exactly the wolves are to be “returned” Pat smiled and tapped his nose before saying “plans are an at an advanced stage but if I gave you an exact date the big noises in the zoo in Belfast would probably try and stop us“.
Shop owners have been urged to remind shoppers that their premises will be open again in a couple of days after police were called to the Spar in Brackville due to a violent brawl over the last tin of Family Circle Delux Edition biscuits.
The incident occurred hours after three brothers in Tattyreagh were cautioned for fighting over a case of Shloer in Omagh earlier in the day. Government officials have called on all retail outlets to remind shoppers that goods will be available for purchase in under 48 hours and that there was no word of an apocalypse or extreme weather conditions for the foreseeable future.
The Brackaville brawl occurred after two neighbours spotted the final tin of Family Circle sitting in the middle of an aisle with a big £4.99 sign dangling over them. Shopper Brian Carland witnessed the clash:
“It was like a scene out of a Clint Eastwood film. The two women were equ-distance from the tin and descended on their prize like rockets. Next, all you could see were hair clips and bras flying all over the shop as they tore strips off each other. The odd thing was that both trollies were full of cakes and biscuits and stuff. Them Family Circle must be good.”
Police warned both women regarding future behaviour and reminded one of the perpetrators that she’d already bought two normal boxes of Family Circle as well as a 5-pack of Ginger Nuts.
Meanwhile a family of four in Fintona are said to be distraught after only managing to secure a 20lb turkey, as their appetites are far bigger now than last year. They are willing to accept generous food parcels.
A recently re-elected Tyrone GAA committee member responsible for the financial management within the county has been spotted walking around The Moy brazenly wearing a fur coat as well as more finger rings than he’d usually wear.
Ralf McKeogh, who also holds the record for the most wides in one game at U16 level, has denied any misconduct and maintains he has the receipts for all recent purchases to match the money taken from his own personal account, however he was smirking at the time.
Local sceptics, including his old U16 manager Harry Donaghy, remain doubtful:
“It was the same last year. A week after the Tyrone County Convention he was spotted in a pub in Belfast wearing a crown. Or maybe it was in the Crown Pub. I can’t remember but what I definitely recall is all those wides against Brocagh back in 1991.”
McKeogh’s uncle Patsy, who was the first man to swim the River Blackwater from start to finish, also remains unconvinced about his wealthy nephew:
“He always seems to buy the smallest presents at Christmas. This is the classic sign of a miserably wealthy man. And he’s always laughing when you ask him about the county’s financial state, saying things like ‘we’re getting it tight’ but winking at the same time. I’d put nothing past that man.”
McKeogh refused to comment but was last seen asking a young lad from Charlemont to go buy him the biggest turkey from the local butchers.
The organisers of ‘Santa Comes To The Island’ have admitted they should have given the event a bit more thought after Santa was forced to leave under cover around the back of the hall.
Pat Quinn, a joiner who was asked to play Santa at short notice, turned up in a red Brackaville GFC coat buttoned to the top and sporting his trademark thick black handlebar moustache. To add to the visual disappointment, organisers forgot to put together presents for the children and had to resort to lifting things around the hall to present as gifts including used bulbs, screwdrivers, Allen keys, foldable seats and old newspapers.
Mother of 6, Patricia Lyons, maintains it might take a long time for her children to get over this:
“I paid £8 per child and all they got was a small used bowling mat, masking tape, a spanner, yesterday’s Irish News, a bottle of Lucozade already open and a stick – all presented by Pat Quinn. Even the children were saying ‘Well Pat’ when sat on his knee, and him with the black moustache from ear to ear and the Brackaville coat on him. A complete farce. He didn’t even say ‘ho ho ho’ .”
Organisers managed to get ‘Santa’ away from the baying crowd by turning off the lights for three minutes, throwing the hall into a mass of screams and crying children. Quinn was bundled into a blue Ford Ka and was last seen speeding up the Brackaville Road with his £500 appearance fee on the passenger seat.
Despite initially telling parents that their children were just spoilt, organisers announced they will refund any unhappy customers with free mineral tomorrow if they call between the hours of 7am and 8am.
First Trust Bank, who are planning to leave Coalisland before Christmas, may be upping sticks because of the local community being ‘too miserable to part with their cash, even with interest, according to the man who mops the floor in the building.
The bank, who have operated in the town since 1897, have yet to comment on their decision despite criticisms from all political parties and the video shop owner. Although workers in the bank will be allocated other jobs within the First Trust firm across Ulster such as chimney sweeping and burglar watching, the man who mops the floor maintains they are angry at their family and friends who continued to keep their work pay and dole money under their mattresses.
The mopper, known locally as Black John, added:
“I’ve heard them manys a time giving off about families in the town who have never set foot in the bank, choosing instead to hide money under floorboards and inside cavity walls. It seems people here are too miserable to see other people handle their money. Last week we had six people come in, and four of them just popped in to see how much interest their First Communion money had accumulated since the 1950s. It wasn’t a sustainable bank around here.”
Sinn Fein councillor Jack McCabe admitted he was a bit sad to see the bank go:
“Yes, I’m a bit nostalgic about the bank. Over the years I’ve probably deposited 75 million at different stages. They were very good to me when I put in 24 million in one week in December 2004 and asked no questions. They were the best northern bank for me, if you catch my drift *cough cough*.”
When the bank leaves, its 54 loyal customers will keep their money behind Landi’s chip shop counter.
The bank will be sold off and replaced with another off-licence.
The NI Water Board are allegedly on the verge on contacting anyone who took part in the MND/ALS Ice Bucket Challenge after spending over 3000 hours scouring facebook and other media outlets for water wastage.
Categorised under the ‘non-domestic charges’, the board has scrutinised thousands of challenges and identified those which took place on farm land, business property, charity premises, churches, schools, hospitals as well as any property where the house cannot be clearly seen. Back-billing is due to commence early December, with many people being hit in the run up to Christmas.
Tyrone man Brendy Woods admitted he was distraught at the news:
“I went a bit over the top and had three digger loads of water poured over me at the uncle’s farm. Then the sister showered me with the power hose for about 10 minutes. I calculated I could be hit for £4000 at the least. I thought about contacting the MND charity for a loan of the money back but that’d be wrong. This is a nightmare.”
In a show of generosity, the NI Water Board have offered to set up direct debits for anyone who used more than £1000, allowing monthly payments of £500. CEO Patrick Volvic confirmed:
“We want to show that we can get into the spirit of things by offering this generous direct debit for anyone who went too far with the challenge. We also will turn a blind eye to the ice which also constitutes a waste of water. We’re not total killjoys and will donate £5 ourselves to the charity.”
PSNI have confirmed they are looking into threats painted on a wall in Coalisland, calling for the Water Board to be waterboarded.
You can donate to MND here: http://www.mndassociation.org/news-and-events/Latest+News/the-mnd-ice-bucket-challenge
- The controversial plans to bring time forward in the Republic of Ireland have reportedly left Stewartstown residents furious. Retired teacher Johnny Fee, wearing an A-Team jumper, remarked “We’re still trying to catch up with 2014 and now this happens. How will we ever get out of 1983 at this rate?”
- Augher woman Hillary Frank plans to make good the changes to the Republic’s new time by watching the RTE Lotto in Tyrone and then scooting across the border, losing an hour in the process and arriving before the draw has happened in the south, to bet on the magic six numbers.
- Clonoe have decided to put an end to the general downcast mood on show in the area since the senior team bowed out of the Championship by bringing Christmas forward to December 3rd to give people something to look forward to. PP Fr Fay has also promised to make masses shorter and have good looking Eucharistic Ministers in order to raise spirits.
- Omagh teacher Carlito McCabe has been awarded a £3000 grant to go towards his research into why so many Tyrone men are bald by the age of 25. His lab at Queen’s University has already operated on 18 bald Tyrone men with results inconclusive so far though some early signs hinting at midges, eels and brown sauce as possible causes.
- Derrytresk GFC, who cannot represent Tyrone if they win the Junior title this year, are considering finding a way around the ban by changing their name. Early suggestions include Hanna Hill, Fitzgerald Fighting Cocks and Little Italy.
- Galbally have registered their anger at tripadvisor.co.uk after someone was allowed to write ‘Crap. Don’t go near this place. A hellhole’ on the Galbally page, their first ever comment. To add salt to the wound, the comment was made by someone with the username ‘kildresswolfetonesabu’.
- Sion Mills entrepreneur Sammy Gibson has shelved his plans to create ‘Google Underpants’ where you control the computer screen by moving your pants about. Early tests indicated it just looked wrong in places such as libraries and schools.
A headmaster of a school in Newtonstewart today denied that an extension in the school summer holidays until nearly Christmas was influenced by the stress of the job.
Headmaster of St Mark’s Secondary School in Newtonstewart Colm McQuillan, confirmed that the summer break will begin today, and continue until Friday 12 December. Sitting in a darkened study with a damp facecloth over his forehead, the headmaster said,
“Personally I love my job. Can’t get enough if it. But those kids deserve a big long break. Jays, they’ve been working tara hard. They must be exhausted. Poor critters”. He continued, “They finish this week and come back on the 12th of December, in time for some carols, probably the nice gentle ones like Silent Night, or maybe just quiet reflection about the wonder of the story of Jesus, and then they’ll be off for the Christmas break. Which for 2015 will extend until Easter”.
McQuillan has faced criticism from parents for introduced some unorthodox teaching methods at the school, including morning prayers being replaced with an hour’s meditation, yoga being incorporated into PE lessons, and the syllabus for the English GCSE now including ‘The Little Book of Calm’ as compulsory reading text. He was also accused by many of being unable to cope with the stress.
“Stressful? What, this job?”, whispered McQuillan. “Don’t be daft. Never in a million years. I love my job. Well, maybe just a tiny touch stressful sometimes, you know. Just the occasional few days. Well, five actually. Monday to Friday. It’s the ringing noise in my ears, you see, I can’t get rid of the ringing noise. I get it all the time. Especially at about 9 o’clock and 4.15 every day. I wish it would stop. But I’m fine. Really, I’m fine”.
McQuillan confirmed that the change was entirely driven by ‘educational needs’ and nothing to do with his own personal circumstances.
“Oh aye, absolutely. Nothing to do with the teachers. It’s the kids, definitely the kids. Six lovely long, long months of just sitting, with no noise, in peace and quiet…”,
he said, before tailing off and staring into the middle distance.
The case of the Tyrone tractor-seat sniffer remains unsolved after two farmers in the Pomeroy area confirmed their own CCTV footage revealed a hooded elderly man sniffing the seats of a Massey Ferguson 231 diesel and 1992 Ford New Holland respectively late on Sunday night, half a mile apart.
This brings the total spottings to 188 since last summer, covering a wide area from Moortown in the extreme east of the county to Donemana near the Donegal border. The most recent victim, Kieran Grimes, admits he froze on the spot when he saw the shadowy figure sniffing away at the seat in the yard:
“I wasn’t convinced he existed until that moment I set eyes on him. I was thinking the other 100 or so farmers were taking the hand out of me. But it’s true bejaysus. He had a crooked back and was wearing a big dirty duffle coat and boiler suit bottoms and a wooly hat. Worst of all I could hear the sniffs. Big sniffs. I just froze. And he slipped away into the mist.”
PSNI say this is consistent with the other 187 sightings and warn farmers not to approach him. They quote the example of a Galbally vigilante farmer who ran at the phantom sniffer:
“Peader Tally made the mistake of confronting him before Christmas and regretted his bravery. The sniffer, described as probably in his 70s and with mad red eyes, pulled out a piece of blue piping and skelped Tally all about the legs. This man is dangerous. We’ll work something out.”
Local psychiatrist Marjorie Mullan maintains this is not a few phenomenon and that most farmers are addicted to the smell of tractor seats but usually keep to their own.
A study carried out yesterday by the Northern Ireland Institute of Studies confirmed that the majority of people in Tyrone continue to stuff themselves senseless in an effort to get through all the left-over Christmas food before it goes past its sell-by date.
“Christmas itself was bad enough, but this is beyond a joke”, complained 54-year old Nuala O’Neill from Brocagh, through a mouthful of Tesco’s ‘Taste The Difference’ Plum Pudding. “I nearly gave myself the boke after eating a dozen roast potatoes out the fridge that had been there since Boxing Day. To be honest they were completely rancid, but they needed eaten. Can’t have these things going to waste you know”.
Mary Gough from The Moy agreed.
“I ate half a Christmas cake last night and then found out it can last for years. That wasn’t great news after having worked my way through the last of the turkey. We’ve had turkey sandwiches, turkey curry, turkey pasta, turkey stew, and turkey surprise. I eventually ran out of ideas and ended up making turkey meringue pie. Quite nice actually”.
“The worst of it is I just can’t get rid of the stuff”, complained Sean McKenna of Aughabrack. “Someone gave me a tin of Marks & Spencer All-Butter Shortbread as a Christmas present, so I gave it to my ma as a gift on Boxing Day. Turns out she gave it to her niece on New Year’s Eve, who gave it to her daughter on New Year’s Day, who then gave it back to me as a present at the weekend. Feckin’ cheapskates”.
Marian Quinn from Cappagh admitted:
“I sent my 7 year old cub to school with fifteen mince pies for his packed lunch. Only two days to go before the sell-by date, so they needed used up. I know he’s allergic to pastry, but sure, he’ll manage fine”.
32-stone half-man, half-spacehopper Sidney Clarke from Ballygawley, said,
“I found a couple of smoothies in the fridge my mum had left and if truth be told I was wanting a more healthy diet for the new year anyway, so I got tore into them. I never realised one was clotted cream and the other pure goose fat. Tara. I got through three Cadbury’s selection boxes getting rid of the taste though, so it wasn’t all bad”.
Tyrone County, Craigavon and Erne hospitals have all reported a spike in male admissions since the new year with over 90% suffering from strained stomach muscles. 313 men were treated this morning within a few hours of going back to work, having over-indulged over the Christmas period.
Doctor Peter McGrath, an expert in pulled muscles, explained the phenomenon:
“It’s the same this time every year. Men head back to work almost a stone heavier than before Christmas and try to hold their bellies in for long periods of time, especially when standing up, walking or talking to women. After about two hours the stomach muscles go into spasm and you end up writhing on the floor with the real belly wobbling uncontrollably.”
Dr McGrath maintains £3m is spent treating ‘pulling in belly syndrome’ in January alone. He also highlighted other side effects from the trend:
“A lot of men try to squeeze into the same trousers or shirts instead of buying a bigger size for the month of January. Again, after an hour or two the clothes capitulate and buttons fly off like bullets. I treated 12 civil servants yesterday for bruises and facial injuries from buttons hurled across offices. Someone’s gonna lose an eye, for the love of God.”
McGrath has advised men who are too vain to buy a bigger size to only hold their bellies in for five minutes maximum at any one time, or to wear suck-in pants that can be pulled up to their chests.
One Mid-Ulster Mail journalist had to be air-rescued from his vehicle after getting stuck between the steering wheel and his seat in Pomeroy on his way to a story brewing in Carrickmore.
Former US diplomat Richard Haass has admitted defeat for the second time in a couple of days after his efforts to resolve the Ardboe Christmas Tree dispute ended in several parties tearing the heads off each other.
The argument revolved around who will turn off the lights on Ardboe’s first ever Christmas tree. Mickey Coleman, Brian McGuigan, Barry Devlin, Adrian McGuckin, Chris Lawn, Tom McGurk, Malachi Cush, Ronan McSherry, Dennis Taylor, Kevin McAleer, Mickey Harte, Pope Francis and Billy Ray Cyrus were all named as interested parties, each putting forward viable reasons for pulling the plug out.
Haass, who admitted Ardboe was a ‘wild place’ on a par with Kosovo and Sierra Leone, was able to narrow it down to four celebs after intense negotiations:
“We managed to rule out McGuckin and Lawn as we suspected they were there to sabotage the event, being enemies in some shape or form. The cost for the Pope was astronomical. Apart from the flights, the pot holes would wreck the popemobile. No insurance around here. Harte, McAleer, McSherry, Taylor, Cush and McGurk were ruled out next during the eel-skinning demonstration.”
With Coleman, McGuigan, Devlin and Billy Ray Cyrus left, tensions were beginning to reach boiling point with accusations of bribes and counter arguments over ancestry muddying the waters.
“I thought dealing with Robinson and McGuinness was tough. These guys are stubborn. It ended up in a bare-knuckle contest between all four.”
Haass left the scene an hour into the free-for-all, admitting defeat and vowing never to return to the island again.
In recent years, it was noticed that the average Brocagh adult consumed two full 12 lb turkeys over the space of four days around Christmas, more than double that of anyone anywhere on the planet. This year it appears that the average per person in the area was 2.5 turkeys, resulting in some unusual behaviour today.
Local shopkeeper Billy Dorman explained:
“Yes, there’s a definite side effect this year. The local lads seem to have developed a reddy skin thing drooping from their chin. I think the official name is the wattle. Ugly looking think. And when they see a good looking girl come in, it flares and goes all red, and their hair seems to fan and stand on end. Some sight when they’re just in looking for bread.”
Greenvale niteclub owner Kieran Hendron confirmed that Brocagh ones are unmistakeable on the dancefloor this Christmas:
“Aye, they strut. From the moment they arrive it’s like a pile of John Travoltas in the one place. With every step they cock their head forward and make a ‘gobble’ sort of noise. And with that wattle thing hanging from their bake…..”
Government health officials admitted that although the physical similarities are funny, a negative side-effect is the aggression. Two Derrylaughan men was set upon by a ‘rafter’ of skateboarding Brocagh lads down at the Washingbay when they eyed up one of their sisters. PSNI spokeswoman said the Brocagh gang emitted a high-pitched shrill indicating they were becoming aggressive which developed into intense sparring where the Broconians leap at them with the large, sharp talons, and tried to peck and grasp the head of the bewildered sons of Kevin Barry.
Chicken will only be sold in Brocagh tomorrow.
A Moygashel woman is preparing for the biggest challenge of her life as she frantically looks for increasingly inventive ways to avoid family arguments breaking out on Christmas Day.
“I offered everyone round on Christmas Day in about August and then forgot all about it”, bemoaned 34-year old Rachel McNally from Moygashel. “Jaysus, what was I thinking? It’ll be like managing the G8. My da’s not talking to my brother Frankie since he sold that field that never belonged to him, my other brother Paul lost the family car on a game of 25’s which his wife Paula’s still not forgiven him for, and my mum’s not talking to my da since he went and hired that 19 year old Latvian girl to help dung out the shed. One word from anybody and it’ll be like a feckin dynamite. I’ll be lucky to get through the day alive”.
McNally has previously resorted to a variety of methods to ensure arguments don’t spoil the day.
“The last few years I’ve opted for themed Christmas Days which have worked quite well. 2012 was the ‘Monastic-Themed Christmas’ when everyone had to dress as a monk and took a vow of silence for the day. It went surprisingly okay, other than the v-signs that Frankie kept making to his ex. And the rabbit punch he got from my da on the side of his head when he was half-way through his turkey. Still, he never made a sound. Fair play to him”.
“2011 was fine as well, which was ‘Games-Themed Christmas Day”. We had a 3-hour game of charades and a 2-hour game of Pictionary, and then for the Queen’s Speech we came together and shouted abuse at the TV”.
Rachel’s plan for 2013 is an ‘Alcohol-Themed Christmas’.
“To be honest I’ve run out of ideas, so I’m going to get everyone as drunk as possible, as quickly as possible”, said McNally. “I’ve already loaded up the cake with nearly a pint of sherry, and we’re going to have tequila shots all the way through dinner. If I can get everyone completely hammered then the sooner everyone passes out, the better. Not sure how Granny Gormley’ll cope. She’s 96 and took the pledge 70 years ago. Still, it’s worth a go”, she said hopefully.
In 2010 McNally opted for a disco-themed Christmas Day with flashing lights and a smoke machine, which ended abruptly after she forgot that her sister was an epileptic and brother-in-law Dennis was a chronic asthma sufferer.