The bi-annual change of clocks brought havoc throughout Tyrone once again, amidst mass confusion as well as some confrontational scenes.
Following news on Sunday that a local bookmaker was caught out after forgetting to change his clock, many residents, furious at having an hour taken away from them, vented their anger at farmers, who they blame for the twice-yearly clock change. Three people staged a mildly-irate protest outside a farm in Cloughfin, with banners saying ‘It’s Our Hour – Leave It The Feck Alone’, and, ‘You Can Take Our Sleep But You’ll Never Take Our Freedom’.
Demonstrator Claire Doherty from Dregish, said,
“Who do thon farmers think they are taking an hour off everyone? Them with their farming ways, tootling along in their tractors all deliberate-like, just to annoy other road users. If it’s an extra hour in the daylight they want why can’t they just change their own buckin’ clocks?”
The farmer in question, 62-year old Kieran Gormley,told us:
“It’s got bog-all to do with me. Why would I want to lose an hour? I like my bed as much as anyone else. Or did we gain an hour? I always forget. What time is it anyway? If I’ve missed Bargain Hunt I’ll go off the bap. I’ve only just got the clocks all up to date from the last change. Some handlin”.
Technology has particularly given problems across the county, with one man from Drummurrer locking himself in his bedroom for sixteen hours with a baseball bat after believing a very meticulous, time-conscious burglar had broken into his house and changed the clock on his television and mobile phone, when in fact they had automatically updated themselves.
A family of seven from the Washingbay had their own problems.
“It was tara”, said mother-of-five Teresa McKernon. “All of us changed the big clock in the kitchen without realising everyone else had done the same thing, so we all went to to bed at 3 o’clock in the afternoon thinking it was 10pm. Thinking about it, the day did fly by. We were making our supper when we were still half-way through our chicken dinner. My husband was putting his pyjamas when he was eating his sherry trifle”.
A man from Gortin, 37-year old Sandy McMaster, also got caught out by the change.
“There’s was something last night on ITV+1 I wanted to see but I hadn’t got round to changing the clocks. I didn’t know whether to turn it on at the right time, the hour before, or the hour after. My head nearly exploded trying to work it out. Damn farmers”.
A local clairvoyant has given in to pressure to stop pestering the souls of the departed after numerous complaints were made via another medium.
58-year old Nuala Brannigan from Dregish has been communicating with the spirit world for 35 years, but agreed yesterday to give it up after an unprecedented number of complaints.
Niall O’Neill, an 800-year old ghost originally of Cloughfin, said,
“She’s a pain in the arse. She’s always on the ouija board asking what the football results are going to be, or the Lotto numbers. As if we know. Just last week she was wanting to know where she had put her Heat magazine, and then blaming us lot for having shifted it. Gadzooks. Can she not just leave us alone? We’re fed up with being pestered. I’ve a whole lock of haunting and ghostly rattling to be getting on with and can hardly do it with that woman bending my ear all the time. And anyway, what’s a Heat magazine? And a football?”
550-year old hangman Ezra Maguire agreed.
“In the olden days people used to enquire about loved ones they had lost or maybe the whereabouts of a sentimental family heirloom. This woman’s constantly demanding ‘horse race winners’ this, or ‘Winning Streak’ that. Anyway, what century is it?”
Conor Kendall, who died in a baking accident in 1963, told us:
“I came into limbo expecting to get a bit of peace and quiet, and it’s nothing of the sort. I’ve got a ‘ghostly haunting’ exam this Friday and I haven’t even bought any chains yet”.
The challenges of being from another world were also pointed out by Kevin the Terrible, a former Viking from Urney who died in 2009.
“It’s not easy being spooky”, he agreed. “Last night I was out working walking the ramparts near the Rock for about eight hours. Jaysus, I was foundered. Well, I would have been if it wasn’t for the fact I’m already dead. It took my ectoplasm an age to thaw out. And to cap it all I had that woman Brannigan inside my bap asking where her car keys were”.
In her defence, Brannigan replied,
“Ah, come on. All I’m after is a wee bit of information most of the time. Where’s the harm in that? It’s the only option I’ve got, because the internet signal in Dregish is rubbish so I can’t get Google. And I’m hardly going to go all the way to Dungannon library to find out how to change the sump on my washing machine if I can get it from the undead”.
The ghost world confirmed that the last straw came on Monday after Brannigan spent over an hour harassing spirits about a number of different topics, including whether Tyrone’s new A5 road extension will ever get built, what setting to use for making a Baked Alaska, and the answer to Channel 4’s Countdown conundrum.
Parents woke up on Boxing Day to a subtle shift in the balance of power between them and their offspring, with the fact having dawned on children that their parents can no longer control their behaviour with the warning of Santa not coming unless they’re good.
“It’s tara”, bemoaned Claire McCausland from Cloughfin. “I’ve been using Santy since the start of September to get my three cubs to do my bidding. It’s been grand. Plates cleared, clothes tidied away, and all in bed by 8. Now I’m hiding in the utility room fearing my own safety. This morning they all watched ‘Home Alone’ and it must’ve given them ideas. That’s why my husband’s now walking about covered in treacle out the larder and feathers out one of my best cushions. Honestly, it’s like ‘Lord Of The Flies’ out there”.
Angela Morgan, a worried mum of two from Tullyhogue, agreed.
“Our Ralph sneezed three times this morning and didn’t cover his mouth once. How am I supposed to deal with that? He’d never have got away with that a week ago. I tried telling him that the Easter Bunny won’t come but it fell on deaf ears. I’ll be scraping mucus off the sofa for months”.
7-year old Simon McCoy, a full-time child from Dregish, said,
“Easter Bunny? No-one’s going to fall for that oul’ mince. What would I be doing with Easter Eggs when it’s like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory in here. Jaysus, I’ve more chocolate than I can shake a stick at”,
he said, as he tried to climb up the living room curtains holding two fistfuls of Celebrations.
Ebenezer O’Neill, a child psychologist from Aughabrack, said,
“It’s gradually dawned on children that now that Santa’s passed out all the toys, they’ve got the upper hand. Plus they’ve got time off from school and the constant sugar rush of eating two selection boxes an hour. If you combine that lot with the ideas they get from playing ‘Grand Theft Auto’, it’s the perfect storm. No wonder the part-time PSNI have been called in”.
The PSNI confirmed that several children had already been apprehended for offences such as splashing in puddles whilst wearing only slippers, not wearing scarves when it was close to freezing, answering back, not finishing their breakfast, drawing all over the back of Grandad’s head with Magic Marker when he was asleep, and vomiting into mummy’s make-up bag.
Tyrone is to be firmly put on the world map after Edendork Pipe Band received confirmation that they’ll parade Brazil and Croatia around the field in Sao Paulo at the opening game in the 2014 World Cup.
Pipe Major Jemmy O’Neill wasn’t overly surprised at the news:
“When we applied we had a fair idea we’d get the nod. I know there were 69’000 bands who applied from all over the world but I think when they saw a video of us parading the Ladies Football teams of Carrickmore and Coalisland around the Brackaville field last month they knew they were on to a good thing.”
O’Neill is adamant that locals will dig deep to raise the £150’000 needed to fly the entire band, instruments, WAGS and husbands over next June:
“I’m sure we’ll raise the money no bother. For the next 6 months we’ll have a man standing outside the entrance to Tyrone Brick with an empty Quality Street so drivers can slow down and toss in coppers and loose change. We’ll also be selling ballots around houses around Christmas. Tickets cost £100 and you can win a lifetime’s supply of bricks from what was left in the old factory.”
This is not the first time a Tyrone band has performed at a major sporting event. In 1984, Cloughfin played The Star Spangled Banner for Carl Lewis at his medal ceremony for the 100m during the Los Angeles Olympics. O’Neill reckons they’ll learn from Cloughfin’s experience:
“I was a member of Cloughfin and we never forgot they way we were treated. Not one sandwich was laid on after our performance. Not one. They thought the £80’000 fee would sweeten us but all we wanted were corned beef sandwiches. Eff Los Angeles we said. This time we’re taking no chances and bringing half a million sandwiches with us.”
O’Neill now becomes the first man to play at the World Cup, Olympics and the Tyrone Ladies Final.