Belfast Telegraph

Summer lasts for ever - and not in a good way.

By Pol O'Muiri

Philosophers and theologians often mull over the concepts of time and eternity. Parents however are the greatest thinkers of all on this subject.

The summer 'holidays' are nothing of the sort; the 'holidays' are more work than pleasure.

The children are home; the blood pressure rises.

Children must be entertained as there are no teachers to keep them occupied.

Children must be fed, regularly, as there are no school dinners and there is not a chance that they will settle for a warm ham sandwich and melted chocolate biscuit - à la lunch box.

Result? Choruses of "I don't like that" with responding choruses of "You'll eat what I put in front of you" and a sudden realisation that you have turned into your mother.

Talking of whom, grandparents realise during the summer that the best thing about grandchildren is (1) giving them back to the parents and (2) not having them at all because they can travel free on the train all the way to Killarney and "we're not likely to be back in time to look after them but give the wee darlings a kiss from us".

Then you realise that your own parents don't love you as much as they pretend to love you and that they are spending your inheritance on Guinness and oysters.

Then it is September and the wee darlings are in the car because it is the first school run of the new school year - and you love to do school runs and you will never complain about school runs again - and then the car is empty and it is the quietest it has been since the end of June and you think: " I'm off to get two big cream buns and put my feet up."

September holidays.

Enjoy the peace and quiet - until home time.

Bishop's criticism written in stars

He gave a thoughtful speech in the Republic recently in which he posed some hard questions on contemporary society and warned people against the dangers of astrology.

Needless to say, the Republic being the sort of place it is today, his hard questions on contemporary society were ignored and his remarks on astrology have provoked outrage among those who loath the Catholic Church so much so that they see no difference between its teachings and those of Mystic Meg. Anti-clericalism in the South is very strong and the reasons for that are an article for another day.

Had the Archbishop said in his speech that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, there are people who would still complain that he had misunderstood the points of the compass.

Nonetheless, it is terrifying to read the cartoon version of Christianity that 'informs' many of the writers' letters. One may not accept Catholic teaching, but to implode the moral imperatives of Christianity to the same level as astrology is just nonsense of the lowest kind.

So, now we know what's in that bag

Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice, has spent a lifetime trying to hone her image to perfection. Her fascination with clothes and making her hubby the most famous and stylish man on the planet is well documented. Unfortunately, she has probably just had a horse and carriage driven through that image with reports that she is importing box loads of Walkers crisps ? cheese and onion and chicken flavour ? to her new home in LA. Apparently, the stick-thin one cannot live without them. Posh may be trying to show that she is just one of the girls by eating crisps but looking at her figure I doubt she eats them by the box full.

Worse, though, for her is the fact that every time she is photographed carrying a Gucci bag, every one will be wondering whether there is a bag of cheese and onion hidden away in it. Not very classy.

Only rock 'n' roll but Swedes don't like it

Rock 'n' roll is dead - just ask Keith Richards. The Rolling Stones guitarist has written to Swedish newspapers to complain about reviews which were less than flattering about the band in general and Mr Richards in particular.

I thought the whole thing about being a rock 'n' roll star was that you did not give a tinker's curse what reviewers thought about you.

Perhaps Richards is trying to protect his artistic legacy. That is understandable.

If the sensible Swedes don't like you, it can only be a question of time before the rest of the world turns on you too.

Utopian world of love and unionists

Marty Mc: A Deputy First Minister's Blog

The movement continues to lose discipline. I have had to put up with no amount of slagging since I appeared at that Indian festival. "What was that you were wearing?" one ex-prisoner said. "I was on the blanket and never looked so stupid. To think I used to take orders from you!" I tried to explain that I am trying to create a republican utopia where all will be tolerated and valued. "What? Even unionists?" says he. " Yes, even unionists ? for now!" He took the hint. Things came to a head though when another fellow accused me of being Hari Krishna. "I don't know any Harry Krishna and I never met Freddie Scapaticci either," I replied.

Paris Hilton: Cultural Attaché to Ulster

I spent the most wonderful Thursday night in Armagh Planetarium where I went to a star show. It is a super place full of interesting sights.

Did you know that the US had put men on the moon? The real moon, not just the moon they show on TV! That is, like, so cool.

Anyway, we sat down for our show and I was just so excited. Shows about stars remind me so much of home. Unfortunately, the show seemed to be taken up with European film stars such as Vega and Polaris.

I don't know a lot about French new-age cinema but I am sure these guys are interesting to a local audience. I was, like, a little disappointed until I found out that the Planetarium has a new autumn schedule this week. I can't wait to go back for another star show and hopefully it will be less nebula this and constellation that and more Tom Cruise here and Matt Damon there.

Check out and see the stars in their galaxies - and hopefully at home in Malibu, too.

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