A petition, which started in Carrickmore, has now over 8000 county-wide signatures asking for schools to remain open over the summer holidays to make up for lost time over the last few years.
Organisers have denied the accusation that it is a petition motivated by revenge due to long periods of homeschooling and general presence of children in the house for far longer than normal during the past 24 months.
Margaret Tynan, a mother of 9 from Plumbridge, explained:
“Now that schools are nearly back to normal, we think it’s only right that children stay in for 2 months to make up for lost time. Let’s be honest, they did nothing during remote learning. And as for the teachers, don’t start me. I heard one teacher say ‘for f**k sake’ when my son showed up for his online class, thinking no one would. Get them all into work.”
Schools have been using an open-window policy during the height of the pandemic and will be advised to keep them open during the scorching heat of July if the petition is successful.
Teaching Unions are expected to challenge the petition.
A survey carried out by the Galbally Ramblers Society in conjunction with KFC revealed that over 80% of Tyrone wives have considered maintaining mask wearing and social distancing within the household for the foreseeable future.
The 800 responses to the survey also threw up other startling facts which may have repercussions for years to come. Over 94% of wives revealed lockdown confirmed that their husbands are no more useful around the house when they’re there permanently than they are for the normal much shorter periods such as after work or at the weekends.
GRS chairperson Bernadette Conlon confirmed that she’s not surprised at the results:
I can only talk about my own situation. I’ve convinced my husband to wear the mask 24 hrs a day and it has been like a second honeymoon. I’m also very strict about the 2m rule, even in the middle of the night. It’s class. We’ve written to Robin Swann about these findings. If he has any interest in promoting a positive mindset, he’ll enforce these things in the house for another 2 years at least.
In other news, Stewartstown has moved up to No. 377 in the list of the World’s Most Desirable weekend destinations. The Stewartstown Pipe Band will parade for free tomorrow in celebration. Due to current enforcements, they’ll only play one song – Tin Town Races.
A Clogher man who feared scaring other visitors into thinking that he had the Covid by coughing out loud, eventually soiled himself after holding in the cough for 45 minutes during a period of strict silence in honour of the Trappist Monks.
Fortunately for the young welder, the monks were able to use his defecation to power electricity in the monastery for three days due to a feed of cabbage and spuds he devoured before he left the house that afternoon.
Pious McGlone, 44, admitted to the deed but only because he wanted to spare other observers from worrying that he had the coronavirus:
Yes, it was quite the handlin. I was bursting to cough but didn’t want to ruin other people’s day. I was gagging and wretching after 30 mins trying not to cough but finally let rip after 45. Only it came out the wrong way. I’m just glad I was able to provide the monks with three days of electric by what I produced. A silver lining.
A spokesperson for the monks have thanked McGlone for his gift but added that no more is needed and that this was an exceptional circumstance.
McGlone coughed all the way home after it emerged he had a bit of a chocolate eclair sweet stuck in his throat.
In order to whip up county passion before the winner-takes-all Ulster Championship clash in a couple of months against Donegal, a dubious unofficial county merchandise company have jumped on the pandemic bandwagon to produce high quality ‘dreamy’ face masks for all ages.
You’re On Your Own Ltd have created a range of masks covering famous people, landmarks and songs from the county. Company spokesman Peter Pinkwhistle explained:
At this time, more than ever, we need Tyronnies to come together and show their support for our top players as they slug it out against the mountain men from Donegal. And how better to do that than have a bandaged dreamy Brian Dooher on your lips, or dribbling over the dreamy Ardboe Cross. The dreamy Blanket on the Ground one has already received over 500 orders, 498 of those from Pomeroy. They all have a highly technical dreamy effect outline done by my son on the Photoshop.”
The face masks retail at £9.99 and you can get a scarf and a hat thrown in for £20.
Future issues will included Ger Cavlan walking around Dungannon in jeans, John Lynch in leather on a motorbike in Urney and Sean Teague wrestling a horse with the one arm in a field near Kildress.
Tyrone GAA today issued a plea for any good snipers to turn up at Garvaghey tonight for a briefing on this weekend’s matches which are barred to the viewing public.
Current guidelines state that only players and officials are allowed to attend club games but with a sudden increase in hedge-cutting around the perimeter of pitches, the county board are suspicious that many may show up pretending to walk dogs and stuff.
Board member Barry De Burgh explained:
We’ve seen a marked increase in gardening and hedge-cutting around pitches this week. Coupled with ramparts being rid of brackens and ferns, we are sure that some members are planning to attend games on the pretense of being out for a walk. They’ll soon move on that when they feel the whizz going past an ear lobe.
Snipers have been asked to graze onlookers who stay over ten minutes in one particular spot.
In other news, subs on teams have been asked to not take it personally if they’re told to stay at home. In order to comply with guidelines, shite players will be text an hour before throw-in to stay at home and follow the game on Twitter.
Barbers and hairdressers across the county are said to be dismayed and worried at the lack of customers in their premises since lock down rules were relaxed.
In what is said to be a related trend, over 300 new 80s tribute bands have been registered in the county, with many groups formed within single households featuring siblings with big hair and imitating bands such as Bon Jovi, Bananarama and Europe.
Coalisland barber John ‘Crowbar’ Timlin fumed at the latest development:
“People would need to wise up. Most can sing for none and although they may look the part I wouldn’t spend a penny on going to see a rake of Gervins singing The Final Countdown. Come and get your hairs cut for feck sake.”
Already, four sisters from Brackaville have received several bookings for their tribute band to The Bangles called ‘Yer Bangles’ after growing seriously big hair over the lockdown, even though three of them are tone deaf.
Meanwhile, a barber in Killyman has been reported for taking a Samurai Sword to customers with more difficult barnets.
The Department of Education has urged older teachers to sharpen their aim for the return to teaching in September. Social distancing regulations means normal methods of sharing classroom work have to be shelved in favour of throwing the exercise books at each other.
Teachers will be brought back early in August to practise long-range throwing for pupils sitting in the back row. Any pupils caught purposely mis-throwing their books in order to hit other pupils or firing them intentionally hard at the teacher will be moved to the front for a two-month probationary period.
Education Minister Paddy Weird added:
We have also advised the cooks and catering staff to get used to flinging sausage rolls and pizza slices at pupils, either landing on a disposable plate or directly into their mouths. Foot such as mashed potato and gravy will be funnelled down pipes onto the plates from at least a 10m distance.”
Teaching unions have surprisingly supported the workbook-flinging initiative and have pushed for pens, staplers and sharpeners to be included in the hurling list.
Meanwhile, teachers of History have voiced concerns that local children may have a completely one-sided version of history now that they’ve been homeschooled by parents, especially those in Galbally and Carrickmore.
By Landan Seamy
Local spy Sean McGrinny suspects the GAA is planning to follow the example of the exam boards and use data to predict the winner of this year’s All Ireland.
Sean says he found some spreadsheets on his wife’s laptop with loads of data that is almost definitely going to be used to predict things.
“I’ve studied them” he told us, “and things were looking good for Tyrone in the first draft. Not only were they predicted to be in the top two, but it was even looking like Sam would head north again. Then a second version added a disciplinary column which showed that Tyrone was predicted to have at least 17 black cards and that damaged us a bit”.
Nevertheless, this version still suggested Tyrone would meet Kerry in the semi-final again and considering Tyrone beat Dublin earlier in the year, whilst Kerry only managed a draw, it looked like Tyrone was going through.
However, a third version of the spreadsheet added an additional referee column which predicted that Maurice Deegan would referee the semi-final and that added a few points to the Kerry score. So the spreadsheet shows Kerry and Dublin in the final and the only thing to be decided is whether or not David Gough will get to referee it.
Asked whether something similar was going to happen to the hurling championship, Sean’s wife Kate who hates hurling, and who asked to remain anonymous, butted in to say it’s unlikely. “Hurling” she mused “is just all about whacking a ball as hard as you can and then giving the other team a go. There are no tactics so you just might as well just toss a coin”.
As a spy, Sean usually likes to remain tight-lipped but on this occasion he has opted to come out, to warn managers across the country to get together and agree to play behind closed doors if need be. “We cannot allow this coronavirus to be used as an excuse to kill gaelic football” he insisted. “Hear hear” said his wife.
However, not everyone is happy with the prospect of playing this year. Killyclogher’s Tiernan McCann is one among many. According to Tiernan, “Times like these helps you to get things in perspective. There is no way I’m willing to risk playing a football match until the hairdressers reopen”. When informed that Kieran McGeeney is happy to let Armagh play, Tiernan pointed out that “It’s not comparing like with like. The Armagh team know they’ll be knocked out long before they reach the televised stages”.
Mickey Harte launched a broadside on hearing of this rebellion in the Tyrone camp and has warned his boys that there are men waiting in the wings who are willing to play whether the hairdressers reopen or not. There is Peter Canavan and Ryan McMenamin and the entire Tattyreagh team.
The current Covid crisis has confirmed what many women in the county have suspected for decades – that men are only good for putting out bins and nothing else.
A survey in a local magazine about strawberries confirmed 95% of women recently discovered that when most men say they’ve work to do in the shed, they simply sharpen tools that they never use and just put the bins out once a week, grunting.
One anonymous replier, Sadie from Eskra, commented:
“For years he’d be hammering and scraping away in that shed and I was too busy in the house to find out what he’s at. Now I see it all. He’s doing buck all, sharpening away at a saw I’ve never seen him use. Even when he puts the bins out he makes it out to be a big job and comes back sweating and stuff and looking tea.”
Over 90% of women complained that even the bins were not put out correctly and that more often than not, half the rubbish will have spilled out from the house to the end of the driveway by the time he’s left it out.
In other news, a Brocagh woman has told her husband that she’s addicted to social distancing at home and that she may need to extend it for another 24 months.
Our reporters spent most of yesterday wandering around the county asking people, from a safe distance, what their plans are for reintegration into normal life again and what is the first thing they’ll do.
“I’ve had a lot of time to watch old videos. So, as soon as I can, I’m going to raise funds to build a marble statue in the middle of the hamlet of Plunkett Donaghy in the pose when he kicked that ball in the 1986 Ulster Final.” C MACKLE, MOY
“Flat out Massey diffing the whole way to Cappagh” P McCANN, GALBALLY
“This has given me time to reflect, and, in an act of solidarity with our neighbours, I’m going to buy an Urney jersey. I suppose they’re not that bad.” A HARKIN, STRABANE
“Straight to the pub. The bars being closed has turned me into an alcoholic.” K LUNDY, COALISLAND
“The barber. Doing your own colouring is unreliable. I look like an Armagh flag.” O MULLIGAN, COOKSTOWN
“I just want to lay a blanket on the ground, at Drum Manor” P BEGLEY, POMEROY
“I’m going to do a free concert in Donaghmore for all the new hairy Tyrone women out there” M CUSH, DONAGHMORE
“I’m considering swearing an allegiance to Armagh” L FAY, DUNGANNON
“I’m the same as the Mulligan boy above. I feel like I’ve lost my superpower. The barber for me.” J LYNCH, CASTLEDERG
“It has changed me too. I’m going to learn the Lambeg.” M O’NEILL, CLONOE
“I’m going to hunt down anyone who likes Mrs Brown’s Boys” O CORR, COALISLAND
“I’d an idea for a great comedy show called Donaghmore Girls about their lack of razors over the lockdown but looks like Malachi Cush will be in there first with his free concert and all.” M GRIMES, DONAGHMORE
“Starting up a GAA team in Newmills.” R MCSHERRY, COALISLAND
“Starting up an Arsenal Supporters’ Club in Leckpatrick.” G EARLY, LECKPATRICK
“Erect a big outside heater in Garvaghey for goalkeepers. Not standing around there all night doing nothing any more.” N MORGAN, EDENDORK
A trial run of mask-wearing in Stewartstown for all inhabitants has raised concerns that anonymous name-calling could be on the rise.
Three shopkeepers reported being called ‘dickhead’ by elderly customers in a queue but were unable to ascertain the direction of their abuser. A postal worker was also targeted as a ‘wanker’ and a ‘tramp’ which was shouted from an unidentified member of a group of mask-wearing parishioners lining up to get their confessions heard from behind a tree near Tullyhogue.
Local councillor Margaret Wilson lamented:
“It’s the teachers I worry about, if these masks are introduced at school level. You can imagine the name-calling from 30 pupils who can hide behind the face-wear. And that’s not to mention the abuse within the staffroom, with PE teachers being targeted by History teachers etc. “
Scientists at Queen’s University are working on a light system which can be attached to the masks. A red light will flash if any one of 300 identified bad works are spoken from behind the mask, making it easier for the victim to identify their verbal abuser.
However, this initiative could run into teething problems, as being called a ‘bollocks’ in Caledon is a term of endearment.
Meanwhile, PSNI have asked locals to stop bathing in home heating oil just because it’s cheaper than lavender bath foam.
With social distancing measures still a constant for the foreseeable future, hundreds of South Tyrone illegal diesel merchants have signed a letter urging Stormont to apply the national furlough conditions to their line of business until things settle.
The current lockdown directive has witnessed a marked decrease in vehicle traffic in the county, with many households simply walking to the shop or off licence to get essential provisions. The illegal diesel business is reckoned to be on its knees with many car owners still using the fuel they bought at the start of March.
Davy Quinn (55) from Coalisland was adamant that they will not become the forgotten business of this pandemic:
“Let’s be honest here. 75% of the money spent on shops in Coalisland, Brackaville and even Clonoe has the smell of diesel off it. Sometimes you come out of a shop in the town after buying corned beef and stuff and your hands smell like a lawnmower after getting the change. We exist! It’s time we got our 80% furloughing. In my case that would be roughly £3m.”
South Armagh businessmen have joined their South Tyrone and South Derry counterparts in arranging a protest online about their plight on Zoom, with their cameras turned off though.
Plumbridge Man Who Tried To Raise Spirits By Singing Wagon Wheel From Doorstep Told To ‘Shut The F**k Up’ By Neighbours
Inspired by scene from balconies in Italy, a Plumbridge tree surgeon was cut down in his tracks by angry neighbours after trying to sing ‘Wagon Wheel’ to cheer people up.
Scenes soon deteriorated as more neighbours came out to tell the other neighbours to shut up themselves. Within 20 mins, police were called to the village as over 200 people were shouting bad words at each other to the backdrop of an out-of-tune Wagon Wheel.
Jackie Coyle (46) admitted he was overwhelmed with emotion when he witnessed various Italian communities come together in song and music and thought it would do The Plum good to try the same.
“I didn’t think I’d have received the reaction I did. I had hardly finished ‘Rock Me Mama’ when someone shouted ‘shut the f**k up’ and fired what looked like a tricycle in my direction. Soon he was joined by others as I continued to sing. Then loads came out to tell the first crowd to shut up, only using worse language”.
Coyle maintains that he will be undeterred and promises to do a rendition of Johnny Logan’s ‘What’s Another Year?’ on Easter Sunday but will wear protective clothing such as a helmet and some kind of body shield.
A Ballygawley car salesman has been told for the last time to stick some trousers on FFS after wearing nothing but a 1986 Tyrone top and boxer shorts for the last three days whilst holed up at home.
Patsy McGeehan (44) was even spotted in his trunks answering the door to delivery men and feeding birds out around his back. Calls from his wife and children to put on even a pair of tracksuit bottoms on or pyjamas have fallen on deaf ears until this morning when his mother demanded and even cursed.
Mrs McGeehan (87) added:
“He can be an awful contrary bollocks sometimes. Even if he had changed the boxer shorts it may have been tolerable, and I’m just talking about what I see from Skyping him. I think cursing on the phone made him think again. I haven’t let a ‘fuck’ out of me since Armagh won the All Ireland in 2002.”
The McGeehans have confirmed that Patsy donned a pair of old brown cords today and an A-Team t-shirt he kept from the 80s.
Meanwhile, marriage counsellors have confirmed a 700% rise in phone calls in the county since mid-March.
Despite the temporary banning of the shaking of hands, church officials today confirmed that God will not allow anyone to get the Coronavirus by passing the collection basket around or by handling money, especially notes.
Although the message was met with groans across the county this morning, the collection in all 43 parishes still totaled just under £90’000 for all Masses this weekend, a slight decrease on last week.
Bishop James Bogue from Trillick confirmed that the Vatican are sure God would not allow anyone to contract the illness from the basket but reminded people to use notes instead of coins as you’d never know whose hands had been on the coins:
“Yes, we had a long good prayer about the basket and came to the decision that God wouldn’t allow it. But to be on the safe side, use notes as they normally stay in wallets and all. Coins would be fiddled with in pockets and stuff.”
Clogher Parish only managed to donate £30 this week after parishioners failed to make it to Mass on time due to queues outside the Spar which was selling 100 toilet rolls for £50.
Meanwhile, a hand-washing seminar in Ardboe was cut short after no soap was produced. Locals confirmed that soap hasn’t been used in the area since the 80s, with people just washing their hands in the Lough in the morning.