The success of the the BBC’s recent series of Celebrity Come Dancing has kick-started a ballroom dancing revolution amongst men across the County.
Barny Patton, a farmer from Carnteel, admitted that the dancing bug had got a hold of him.
“I’ve always been forward thinking when it comes to technology. I see myself as a bit of a Fred Astaire and having no sense of rhythm whatsoever isn’t going to stop me. And neither is a club foot. Dancing’s class. There’s nothing I like more than slipping into my tailcoats and top hat after I’ve finished rounding up the cattle.”
Asked for his expert view to help make sense out of the phenomenon, Russian-born former top ballroom dancer Demitri Vladovic addedd,
“Them Tyrone boyos are mad hoors for the ballroom. It’s all high kicks and suchlike any time you see a group of men round Dungannon Square. They can’t get enough of it. Walk into Paddy Power in Scotch Street and it’s like Riverdance ”.
“They do the zumba in Killeeshil Community Centre every Monday night, and I reckoned they’d go wild for the ballroom”, admitted dance enthusiast Gareth McAvoy, a 42-year old mechanic from Cabragh . “So I walked straight in and grabbed this big redhead by the waist and leaned her backwards like in thon picters of returning American GIs, until her head was nearly on the floor. Classy? You’d think so, but she didn’t. And neither did the police. £300 fine and an injunction from going within 500 yards of the community centre for the next two years. Tara”.
Sources confirmed that many hen sheds across the County have secretly been converted into make-shift ballrooms.
“I didn’t think much of it to begin with”, said wife Sheila Cunningham. “Why shouldn’t my husband install a 3-foot wide glitterball hanging down from the roof? I just thought it was there to cheer them poor wee chickens up. But when I saw him execute a perfect cross-body lead with reverse turn whilst scooping three dead hens up off the floor, I started to have a few suspicions”.
Other men confirmed that they struggled to find an outlet for their passion.
“I went to Mantis Night Club in Omagh on Saturday”, explained 23-year old slaughterhouse worker Frankie Cush from Drumquin. “I thought it would be the perfect location to throw a few of my new ballroom moves, but it was a fiasco. You try doing the pasa doble to ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ by the Prodigy. I ended up having to switch to the rhumba. I was mortified”.
Meanwhile, the influence of reality television shows continues unabated following reports of a surge in menfolk banning wives from kitchens whilst they have a ‘mad try at the baking’.
84 year old Terence McVeigh has surprisingly lifted the Tyrone’s Sexiest Farmer 2013 title after impressing judges with his handling of livestock, machinery and general working attire during an observation at his farm on the Moy Road last week. McVeigh, who was previously a finalist in 1963, beat off stiff competition from six other finalists, including the former Miss Levi Jeans of Kildress 1988, Masie McGinn.
Judges delivered their verdict at a packed field in Clogher, after a final parade of contestants around the yard, to a stunned silence. Apart from Kildress’s McGinn, Augher blonde bombshell 23-year old Jenny McKenna was also a bookie’s favourite having just taken up farming last Summer in order to win this competition.
Paddy Power spokesperson Deirdre McAlinden told us:
“It’s a great result for us but there’s something fishy about this. McVeigh has a permanent stoop, just the one eye and hasn’t washed his farming since the mid-70s. Jenny McKenna was 6-1 on and just last year won the Augher Rear of the Year. It makes no sense at all, though we’re sucking diesel financially.”
When asked to explain their scoring, a rather evasive Tom Mulholland remarked:
“It was an easy decision. Ask any woman – the way to a Tyrone girl’s heart is how a man dungs out the yard. McVeigh may have taken three hours to do it, but he was meticulous. He was covered head to toe in manure and sweat but sure isn’t that one of the best sights any man, woman or beast wants. McKenna may have the painted nails, designer jeans and high heeled wellies but she was trying to shear a bull when we arrived down. And let’s be honest, Miss Levy Jeans of Kildress 1988 has let herself go a bit.”
McVeigh said he was going to celebrate his success with a ‘slap of buttermilk and potatoes’. He also stressed that supplying ‘a baste of a turkey’ to the Mulholland household every Christmas was coincidental.
He wins a year’s supply of wellington boots.
Tyrone’s first safari park opened last weekend to much controversy about the lack of animals on display and mistreatment of some of the creatures. The 150 acre ‘Lion Thrills in Sion Mills’ Safari Park, which opened just a week ago, is based in Sion Mills close to Strabane, just off the Melmount Road. It is described on the website as being:
‘set in the lush savannah of the Tyrone grasslands where animals are free to roam in their natural habitat, bordered by the meandering Mourne River, the metropolis of Sion Mills, and the Strabane sewage works’.
There have however been numerous complaints from visitors.
“It’s a rip-off”, declared father-of-two Ronan Gormley of Coagh. “We drove about for nearly two hours and saw nothing other than some rabbits and a horse. Call that a safari park? It’s just a big field”.
The heavily promoted ‘Tyrone Zebra’ in particular brought severe criticism, which was described in the zoo’s literature as ‘A slightly rotund breed of zebra having distinctive elliptical or circular black and white markings unlike the striped pattern of its African cousin’.
“It was a fecking cow” said an irate Gormley. “Anyone could see that. Tyrone Zebra my arse. The park was bare”.
Owner and manager Malachy Mullan was quick to defend the park:
“What do you expect? By the time the tourists get here the animals are taking shelter from the sweltering heat of the midday Strabane sun. Too hot and bright for them in May, see? If people want to see the animals they should come back when it’s pitch black”.
Mary McCausland of Fintona was not convinced.
“The so-called ‘big cat’ looked an awful lot like a fat labrador with a big orange woolly scarf round its neck. It didn’t look happy. And anyone can buy an ostrich from that farm near Loughmacrory. It looked ill. It’s a disgrace”.
Mullan vigorously defended his record in the treatment of animals.
“I don’t mistreat animals. I’ve been donating to sick animals for years. I love the critters. They’re my life” said the adamant park-keeper, who also owns the Donaghmore slaughterhouse.
Doubt has also been cast over some of the creatures advertised, which include a white rhino, a ‘rare breed of dodo’ and a dragon.
Mullan also later admitted that the ‘sick animals’ he donated to were predominantly horses that he backed without success at Paddy Power in Strabane.