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Letter from Spain: Climate change, Champions League…and craic

 

 

 

It’s Monday morning, and as I’m writing this, sitting at the kitchen table, it’s cloudy outside and I am thinking about global warming and climate change, and all that kind of stuff. I’m wondering what way they will affect our weather in the future – a future that my generation may not be around to see, but which our children and their children certainly will.

  Now the fact that it is cloudy outside on the Bank Holiday Monday would not normally register with me, but today I am on the east coast of Spain, in an area known as the Costa Blanca, where rain or cloudy conditions used to be very rare visitors. In all the years that we are coming here we have almost never seen a wet day…it would be a never-ending run of cloudless skies, glorious sunshine, and high temperatures, and if anyone went home as white as snow, well, it would be their own fault.

  And so last Tuesday night, as we took off from Dublin Airport, we wondered what kind of weather was in store for us. For the last few weeks curiosity had us keeping a close eye on the Spanish weather charts, and in truth it seemed to be raining almost non-stop over there.

  We had heard stories about beaches being almost washed away, and it was said that the Easter tourist trade was completely ruined. The taxi driver who collected us at the airport confirmed all that we had heard, but said the good news was that the worst was over and that all had settled back to normal.

  And as I write this, almost a week in, I can tell you that today is the first bit of cloud we have seen (it’s almost lifted now), temperatures are in the mid-20s (just ideal for us) and the sun will be back again in a few minutes. This is an area that relies entirely on sunshine to keep its thriving tourist trade alive, so any major weather change would cause enormous economic concern to the locals.

  Anyway, back to Dublin Airport, and as we finally got our place in the queue for taking off, we noticed a commotion at the front of the plane, where it transpired that a lady had taken ill. Credit to the Ryanair staff…it was all handled with total professionalism. We had to turn around and go back, and by the time we came to a halt, the ambulance had arrived, and medical personnel were on board in a matter of moments. After the usual examinations, the lady was brought off to hospital, and we later found out she had only fainted and will (please God) be fine.

  As for us, we took off ninety minutes late, but we were all glad to hear that the lady would be okay, and for an airline that gets a lot of bad press, I must say I was impressed with the way the staff handled it all, including, for a change, keeping us (the passengers) informed as to what was going on, and as to our possible departure time.

  The delay meant we were very late getting to Cabo Roig, and all we were fit for was bed. However, since then, we have caught up with the nightlife on the famous Strip, and I have to tell you tell you the craic is as good as ever, the Irish pubs are doing a roaring trade, and we have already bumped into a number of Rossies – and I’m sure we’ll meet a few more before we head back to the Emerald Isle.

 

‘Pool magic

 

Changing to sport, but staying in Spain, on Wednesday of last week I watched the Barcelona-Liverpool Champions League first leg semi-final in O’Riordan’s on the Strip – and it was a most interesting, enlightening and enjoyable experience.

  The place was absolutely wedged, but the support was just about even, with the Spanish supporting Barca, and a great Liverpudlian crowd supporting the Merseysiders. It lent itself to a great atmosphere. We were sitting beside five true Liverpool lads, and as the game went into the latter stages they were actually delighted with what was going on. Liverpool were by far the better team, and Lionel Messi had almost disappeared out of the game. And then the little magician woke up and turned the tie on its head with a couple of bits of Messi magic.

  When he scored his second and Barcelona’s third goal, to their eternal credit the Liverpool fans actually applauded. Funny enough, I thought Liverpool were the better side throughout, and I think they will score three or four in the home tie. The difficulty will be trying to keep Suarez and Messi scoreless, and that may be beyond them. But if I could put on a few bob (which you can’t do legally over here), I would have a little flutter on Liverpool. 

  By the time you read this on Thursday you will know how it went, and I will have to brave the large crowd again in O’Riordan’s, and maybe even drink a few pints of his good Guinness if I want to watch the second helping. It’s a tough life. 

Editor’s note: Frank’s column was submitted from Spain on Monday, as explained. Liverpool did score “three or four” – four actually – on Tuesday night, and they did keep Suarez and Messi scoreless. Frank’s flutter on Liverpool would have been a successful one. Well done Frank, and we trust that the atmosphere in O’Riordan’s was pretty special!

And finally…

Finally for this week, the excitement is building ahead of two big sporting occasions in Creggs on Saturday, 11th of May. We have the Junior Rugby Interprovincial game between Connacht and Munster at 2.30 pm on the fabulous new 4G pitch at The Green, with a number of our own Creggs players involved.

  Later that same day at 7 pm the big local football derby will take place – the Mountain versus the Valley in the Paul Devaney Memorial game at the GAA grounds. Both of these games are sure to draw huge crowds to the village, and if that wasn’t enough sport to keep you happy, the Heineken Rugby Cup Final between Leinster and Saracens is sandwiched in between. Sadly that is the day we return from our visit to the sun, so I might miss the lot of them. 

  Hopefully, however, you will be there, and if you come from either the Mountain or the Valley, bring your boots, (togs optional) and you might just become a local hero by scoring the winning goal or point. If you do either, you will be guaranteed free drink for an hour at least. As for me, I have a foot in both camps, so whoever wins will be okay by me!

 

Till next week, Bye from Spain!

 

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