Archive for September, 2011

Leadership

I hadn’t planned writing in here at all tonight. In fact, I only decided to do it about two minutes ago.

Tonight a new reality sort of tv show started on RTÉ1 called Secret Millionaire. I actually wasn’t going to give it the time of day. I am getting sick of these kinds of shows on TV. I just said so to a friend the other night while giving out about the fact that I have to pay my licence fees again and all for so many of these shows either featuring selebrities making idiots of themselves or just people doing all sorts of things that really we don’t have to have on our TV screnes all the time. This show grabbed my attention however. I actually went to turn it down at one point to make a phone call but kept listening. The person that they were featuring tonight picked out a few projects in a disadvantaged area of Dublin and not revealing his identity to people in the area he set about trying to volunteer to do some good for the community. He helped people involved in the Carers association, a local football team for kids and a charity that deals in suaside provention. He openly talked about how suaside had memories for him of a friend that had sadly taken his own life and you could see that this charity was impressing him with the work they do. At the end of the show he just walked up to the individuals that he met during the course of his time there involved with the three different organisations and handed them cheques from his own personal funds to allow them to carry on with their work. The amounts of money he gave those people will make such a difference to them and the work that they do.

At this time here in Ireland we have a couple of things happening. We have a situation where we have an election going to take place so as we can elect a new president. We have also unfortunately a situation where services which have been in place to support the most vulnerable are being cut and we have people retiring on very well paid salaries to receive extorsionate pensions. We have children who need class room assistance and other such services being left with nothing and yet time and time again people will always say, children are the future and we need to educate them. This country doesn’t need a new president. This country needs a leader. We need more people like that gentleman on that show tonight to actually believe in what the people on the ground are doing and help them in their ongoing efforts to try and make this a better place to live. I suppose to a lot of people that don’t come across these problems where they need to depend on help to just get on with their lives and to be able to lead normal independent lives its a case of its not something that affects me so I don’t need to worry about it. Look, to a point we all take a view like that about something or other we are only human at the end of the day. It just makes me so sad and frustrated knowing we live in a country where people have a constant battle just to fight for their needs and independence and so on. I personally won’t be voting for a new president this time round. Lets hope we can just have more proactive people like that gentleman on that show earlier to come out and help people so that we will have less people in need of help because of lack of services for them. Am I asking too much? Do people really care enough about each other still?

My first night on the box

Well, the night finally came. I had told you earlier in the summer that I was taking part in Glor Tire on tg4 this year. I meant to blog before the show to just talk a little about it but I have to say that I was very nervous about it and so decided I wouldn’t write anything till the show actually went out.

All day yesterday I was very nervous. I said to a few people that I really shouldn’t have bothered going to work as I just couldn’t consontrate there. I know at times people will say that its good to keep doing stuff if you have something on your mind or, if you are waiting in anticipation for something that is about to happen but yesterday was just a day I don’t want to have again. Its not that things were really bad or anything. It was just that I was very tense and edgy as to how it would all go and what people would think of my performance.

I had decided earlier in the week to go for dinner with my sister Karen yesterday evening and two of her friends. This was a good decision for me as it got me away from thinking about the show which was going to be shown at half ten. I even had a pint just to calm the nerves. I left the pub and was back home for about 10:00. Karen wanted to come back with me and watch it in my house but I wouldn’t let her. I wanted to watch it all on my own. I do sort of regret that now. I think that I should have had some company with me but I have always been like that. I am very critical of myself in what I do. I am very shy also with performing and stuff like that. People that know me well may laugh at me saying that cause I am very outgoing and talkative but I don’t like any sort of fuss to be created about me. I know I can sing. People tell me and I get great enjoyment from it and also from playing music. Although, I think I am probably much better at singing than I would be at playing. I count myself very lucky that I have the tallent to play and sing. I don’t, and never have thought that I am better than anyone else. I just love what I do and it really makes me happy that others like it. That is all I want. I just want people to enjoy it. When people give me complements about my music I do find that hard cause I get shy and embarrassed about it. I do appreciate all comments though it can just be hard for me cause I don’t know what to say. I am just me. I am just like everyone else. I hate being put on some sort of platform even though I know that its cause people like what I am doing. I never want to be any different to anyone else and if I was able to achieve more in the future and be able to devote more time to music on a professional level I would always like to think that when the gigs were done I could just come home and relax and just do the same old things and have a bit of a laugh and stuff with my friends like I would do at present.

As the show started and in the lead up to my performance I got texts from work colleagues and close friends. I just can not believe the support that I have received from people. I was number 7 on the show and everything went reasonably well. Yes, I would like to change certain little things about the performance I gave but I have decided that I am not going to critique myself. If I started doing that I wouldn’t be able to stop as I am just terrible for finding fault. I remember recording earlier in the year and Ollie who produced for me had to remind me of that from time to time. I was so relieved when my turn had finally come and although I wasn’t impressed with hearing myself, the time had finally come for my moment of glory in the competition. I had some very positive feedback from the judges apart from one little remark about me possibly just learning Irish but I suppose that the gentleman in question wasn’t to know that I did actually achieve an honour in Irish for my Leaving Cert.

As you will know if you got to watch the show, there are eight more people taking part as well as myself. Next week the first performer from last night Paul will take the stage for his night. I am number 7 and am due back on your tv on the 9th of November. You are able to vote for me now if you so wish to do so by texting with no spaces glor7 to 53307 in Ireland or, in the north of Ireland and the UK text with no spaces glor7 to 81108.

Again, I would just like to thank my close friends for their terrific support. I know for some people country music isn’t their thing but I really appreciate your support and you all know who you are.

Happy Birthday to Ralph and retirement talk

So, quite a bit to say about Mr. Ralph in this post. I was actually going to write this blog post last week but a lack of motivation and other things on my mind and stuff lead me not to bother till now.

Let me start off by talking about Mr. Ralph’s birthday. It happened on Tuesday. He is nine this year. I know the birthday thing is more my sort of thing. Ralph doesn’t really know its his birthday really but I like to remember it, especially as he is nine now and because this will probably be his last working birthday.

We arrived into work as usual and it was raining and pretty miserable in Carlow so my dad came in and drove me to the office. One of my colleagues remembered me telling her that it was his birthday and brought in some treats for him. I let her give him one and he was delighted with himself. He knew that something out of the ordinary was happening and he was nice and happy. I have kept the rest of them and will give them to him over the next while. I don’t want to be spoiling him with treats and having him getting too use to them either but it was very nice of Kerry to do that for him.

The rest of his day was fairly uneventful. Because of the wet weather we didn’t even get to walk home ourselves. We got out to stretch our legs at lunch time and for Ralph to do his usual important nature calls but another colleague gave me a lift home in the evening. I have decided that in the next while I am going to have him washed and groomed again as it will help just clear all the dead hairs and stuff and have him looking nice and shiny again. I am sure he looks lovely but his coat feels fairly oily and stuff at the moment. Now, maybe its better when it feels like that? Some person more knowledgeable than me on this one might care to comment.

So, what has retirement talk to do with his birthday?

Well, last Wednesday I received a call from the Guide Dogs HQ and, as it happens it was from my instructer that trained Ralph and myself. He is now a team leader and I had mailed him to just see what the story was and stuff and would Ralph need any assessments given the fact he was getting on a bit now. He informed me that I would have an aftercare visit in the next couple of weeks and at this time I was going to be put back on the list for a new dog. Ralph will probably retire in the spring or early summer of 2012. Now, I do feel very strange at the way I am able to talk about this and write about it. I am not sad or anything at present. I don’t think that it has properly registered yet. When it does happen I know I will be very sad but I also know that Ralph will have a great retirement and I do want that for him. At least I know now what will happen in the lead up. While I don’t want to have to think about having to get a new dog I would like to think that enough planning will go into it all to ensure that I can get a good match next time like I was lucky enough to get with Ralph.

After a post that I wrote a few weeks back where I discussed Ralph’s prospects and wondering how long more I would have with him I received an email from Dominique. Dominique is currently on her second dog Opal and she shared with me her story of retiring her previous dog Holly and how she has adapted to life with Opal. She gave me an excellent account of her last working day with Holly and her immotions when she had to take off the harness for the last time but thankfully Opal came along very quickly and they have been a great match and Holly her retired dog still lives with them. Ralph will live with my parents when he retires but it was nice of Dominique to share her story with me.

So, its onwards and upwards hopefully until the middle of 2012 for Ralph. Unless something happens him in the winter with cold weather or something like that we will just take each day as it comes and hopefully he enjoys every minute of the working time he has left.

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