26th August 1999
The Noticeboard


… Continued from last week.

When you’ve made your choice the first thing to do with your new puppy or kitten is to introduce him/her into the home.
- Make sure that your pet has food and water bowl and for cats
a litter tray.
- That they have a clean , dry , warm bed.
- That they are introduced to your home and family quietly and without a lot of fuss.
- Puppy’s and kittens are boisterous and may need a toy to prevent destruction and breakages.
- Bring your puppy or kitten to your vet as soon as possible to have an extensive health check.
- Keep your new addition to the family in at all times.
- Do not allow them outside to walk or play as they will not be vaccinated.
- Talk to your vet about neuteuring your pet as things like unwanted pregnancies, aggression, spraying will become a problem.

- Your pet will need to be wormed and vaccinated and treated for fleas at 10-12 weeks, ask your vetinary surgeon for the best available treatment.
Most questions on training and health can be answered by your vet so it is advisable to bring your pet to the surgery for a health check otherwise. Good Luck in choosing a new addition to your family.

Next week … information and symptoms on fatal pet viruses.


As all our readers know, for the past few weeks Douglas Weekly has been doing a series of articles on childcare in various European countries, so we are delighted to see local T.D. Deirdre Clune calling for a grant system to reduce the financial burden on childcare providers. Deputy Clune says that the childcare situation in Cork is at crisis point and will deteriorate further unless the Government addressed the financial costs faced by childcare providers who need to invest in their premises to meet regulations.

“Official figures state the number childcare places lost nationally to be 2,000 but childcare groups estimate that figure is much greater due to the closure of non-registered creches and the number of people leaving the industry for better work elsewhere. I am aware of a number of cases in my own constituency where small playgroups or creches are either closing down or reducing the number of children they care for because they simply cannot afford to upgrade their premises. The supply of childcare services is a low profit industry and the introduction of capital allowance measures in this years Budget did nothing for the small local childcare provider, it merely facilitated large employers. What is needed from the Government is a grant aid system to support the industry and facilitate the provision of childcare places. The Government appears to be approaching the problem with a very blinkered view. The business of childcare is not like any other, it is not about the profits being made by the providers, it is about a very necessary service that must exist if we want parents of young children, be they male or female, to take up paid employment or further education. Already employers are finding it difficult to recruit staff. The current crisis in the childcare industry, which will deteriorate without Government intervention, is contributing to the difficulty. How can a parent of young children commit himself or herself to a job if they cannot secure quality, reliable and affordable childcare ? The answer is they cannot. These worries are placing enormous pressures on young couples today. The Government must see the bigger picture,”, says Deputy Clune.


A great natural way to beat garden weeds, is to replace weedy areas with glittering patches of colour, plants that will cover the ground with a dense mass of evergreen foliage and flowers and so reduce, if not get rid, of the job of weeding. Lets be honest,. none of us like weeding, and it’s so infuriating, repeating the same old job over and over again, year after year. Next summer seems to be a long way away, but if we think about it and plan ahead we may never have to go weeding again. One plant to beat weeds is Heuchera also known as the Coral Flower. The Heuchera originated in Mexico and Arizona, it grows quickly and forms a mat of attractive bright green hummocks of toothed and somewhat rounded leaves, that make excellent ground cover. The green foliage is surmounted by spikes or candles of brilliant crimson flowers that decorate the plant from June until September. They grow about eight to ten inches tall.
Commonly called Coral-Bells or alum root, the full botanical name is Heuchera Sanguinea, and it is a member of the Saxifrage family. Crossed with the more robust but even smaller Heuchera Micrantha, and perhaps Heuchera Americana, the coral flower has produced a host of lovely cultivars with equally attractive names. Examples are “Pearl Drops” which are almost white, or “Firebird” which is deep red, and “Scintillation” which has bright pink coral-tipped bells.
The way to grow Heuchera is to plant between Autumn and Spring, twelve inches apart, in ordinary garden soil, ideally enriched with organic matter, and in full sun or dappled shade. Remove flowering stems as they fade or in autumn. Propagate by division in the dormant season or by seeds in the spring.
Next week we’ll look at another ‘easycare’ ground cover plant. These type of plants are low growers that hug the soil surface and so help reduce your weed problem. So naturally instead of weeds you’re going to be treated to a lovely display of colour.


Taking a driving test is like taking a school exam, and operates in much the same way. The Department of the Environment issue a driving test report form to the tester. There are sixteen headings on the form, the last one being for motorcyclists. The tester marks the items on which faults occurred during the driving test. The faults are graded; an ‘X’ indicates a serious fault, a ‘Square’ - more than one serious fault repeated, and an ‘O’ a disqualifying (dangerous or potentially dangerous) fault. A disqualifying fault or pattern of serious faults brings about failure in a test. The tester is not permitted to discuss the details of the test.

You must have a satisfactory knowledge of the Rules of the road.
- In normal driving maintain correct position / on the straight / on bends / within traffic lanes.
- Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front.
- Follow correct course at cross-junctions and roundabouts.
- Follow correct course turning right and turning right from one way streets.
- Follow correct course turning left.
- On stopping be in a safe position and do not cause obstruction. Do not bump / mount kerb.
- Allow sufficient but not excessive clearance to pedestrians, cyclists, stationary vehicles, other traffic and all other objects.
- Do not overtake when it is dangerous or prohibited to do so.

So how many ‘X’s, ‘Squares’ and ‘O’s have you given yourself so far ? Over the next few weeks we will continue to look at the “Driving Test” and what a tester expects you to know about the rules of the road. In the meantime drive very carefully and may the blue light never shine upon you.


A reader in Tramore Lawn phoned us about the post box opposite the A.I.B. bank on the Douglas Road. Our reader stated that the post box is too small, it is full up early in the day and letters overflow and get lost. She then said that she had complained to An Post but they did nothing about her complaint. Our reader then went on to say during the recent local elections she referred the matter to a candidate seeking re-election who promised take care of it, but nothing happened.
Well as you know Douglas Weekly is always happy to champion a cause for one of our readers so we contacted An Post and a spokesperson told us that they did receive a complaint from the lady in question and they did investigate. What they found was that there wasn’t sufficient volume of post in the area to warrant a bigger post box and the problem was not the volume of post but the fact that people were stuffing in parcels and large envelopes and choking up the box. They pointed out that the post box is for letters only and parcels and large envelopes should be taken to the local Post Office. So there we have it.


Cork County Council have appointed Oscar Faber (Transportation Consultant) in association with M.C.O’Sullivan & Co. Consulting Engineers, Innishmore, Ballincollig, Co. Cork to prepare a Traffic Management Plan for Douglas / Rochestown / Donnybrook & Grange.
Members of the public are invited to make submissions to the team. Consultations and daylong surgeries will also be held. Submissions can also be made to Cllr. Peter Kelly, 63 Seven Oaks, Frankfield (893199) or to Oscar Faber at the engineers address.


The wha. .? Believe it or not in far away Chicago 90% of the 422,000 public school children walk to school. We know that walking provides valuable exercise and that walking to school gives children a certain amount of independence, but as regards safety and security, how does this work ? First of all Parents, Gardai, Teachers and Local Authorities map where each child lives in relation to the school and the safest route for these children to go to and from school.
Through the local paper volunteers (including senior citizens) are asked to become Walking Bus Drivers. These “drivers” walk a set route, much like a school bus, collecting children along the route and delivering them safely to school. To increase the profile of the Walking Bus, a coloured line can be painted, on the side of the road to indicate where it runs and murals painted on the footpath at the various stops. A trolley can be pulled that holds school bags etc, and also raincoats in case it rains.
Each Walking Bus is limited to between 15 and 20 children. The “driver” wears an orange vest, photo ID, a hat and carries a small pack that includes a mobile phone, a laminated map that has the home and work number of each participant, plus emergency phone numbers (Gardai etc..) a small first aid kit, and a crossing flag.
The “drivers” can either be volunteers or paid staff. The goal is to provide a safe environment where children can walk to school without the fear that all parents have when asked why their children don’t walk to school … lack of supervision … crossing busy roads … abduction … drug activity … fights, etc...
Now one of our local County Councillors Peter Kelly who is promoting the Walking Bus concept has tabled a motion for the next Council meeting in early September, to ask the Council to support the establishment of a pilot project for the Walking School Bus in Douglas and Carrigaline. Cllr. Kelly says it would make an important contribution to the health of our children, and a big help in reducing traffic in the Douglas Area.


Mir became known to most only in the last few years through TV, when highlights of it’s many problems to the life support system that occurred on its voyage. Mir was launched on Feb 19th 1986 it was an un-manned module that continued the control centre and living quarters ,it weighed 20 ton and measured 13.5 ft in width 40 ft in length. At each end it had port-holes,which other modules could be added on. Then in March of the same year Leonid Zizim and Vladimir Solovyou, salvaged some eqipment from the older, Salyut 7 station. When they had this in place of Mir, they returned home on July 1986. Mir flew un-manned till 1987. This had been one of the two brief periods that Mir has been un-manned, the other been from March - September, 1986.
Normally by teams of 2-3 cosmonauts working on board for 6 months at a time. The exception of this was a Russian doctor Valen Polyakov, who set a record of 438 days. This time in space is equivalent to how long it would take to fly to Mars. He returned in March 1986. He was joined by Yelena Kondarova for his last 168 days on this station. Cosmonauts and Astronauts from Afghanistan , Austria , Britain, Bulgaria, France Germany, Japan Kazakstan, Syria and the US have worked aboard Mir beside their Russian colleagues. More people have visited Mir than all previous station (US Skylab and Soviet Salyut Series)combined. Overall Mir contains 7 modules named Kuant1, Kuant2, Kristall, Spektr, Priroda , Burran and which are all added to the main module. The first module in 1995. Originally the station was only designed for a 7 year mission but with some of these added modules Mir is still going strong. It has to date completed over 76,000 trips around the earth, and has proved a huge success. Most of the experiments carried out, have been to check man’s climatisation to weighlessness.
The Russians will abandon their Mir space station to continue their manned programme on (SS International Space Station). They have had to take the sad decision to burn Mir up in the atmosphere over the Pacific a few days after the crew leave currently scheduled for August 23rd. We are not sure if this will be visible from Ireland. This ignominious end will befall Mir at the end of August. The ISS will be manned next Spring eventually it will grow to outshine the l3 year old Mir, but it just won’t be the same.
Eugene and Valda Furlong

P.S. We are starting a fortnight column in Douglas Weekly, any queries that you have about Astronomy contact Douglas Weekly and we will do our best to answer all your questions.