10th February, 2000

Well folks, today Monday Feb 7th was D-Day for my car test. My appointment was for 2.20pm, I left Douglas at 1.45pm. Don’t take any chances with the time, I met a couple at the test centre who were two minutes late and were moved back a few places in the queue. On the way to Little Island there were no signposts to let drivers know where the NCT Centre was. I mentioned this to a man at the centre and he told me that they were waiting on planning permission to erect signs. My advice is, follow a line of pre-1991 cars under the Jack Lynch tunnel, and you’ll end up at the NCT Centre.
There’s no shortage of staff and the second I arrived a man pointed to a parking position. He was a pleasant jovial type. “That’s a good sign on a Monday”, I said. “I’m only the parking and moving attendant!”, he quipped, “The tester is in a bad mood today!!” I looked at him, he was laughing. The girls at reception were pleasant. Don’t forget to bring your letter from NCT, your tax book, and of course 35. I then went to the waiting room, a bit like the witness waiting room at the execution chamber. About half an hour later my tester Denis, again a credit to the company, called me and showed me my cert which listed a few minor jobs to be done. Did I pass or fail? I failed. To tell the truth, I expected to fail, but I’ve got three weeks to fix the problems and thankfully they’re not serious.
Finally, let me tell you, don’t listen to the scare stories, like “I was failed because I didn’t empty the ashtray”, or “I failed because my seat was torn”. My advice is to make sure that your tyres and brakes are good, get your car washed and valeted before you go down, be early, bring your NCT letter, tax book and 35, and hopefully like me, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Full marks to the efficiency of the staff at the NCT Centre at Little Island ... I’ll be back !! (not that I have a choice!!). Part II to be continued ...
My friend Ronnie, who was born in Frankfield, recently told me that the people of Frankfield had been promised a bus service in 1957. Think about it, 43 years ago - Buddy Holly was still alive, 12 years later Neil Armstrong would walk on the moon, still no sign of a No. 6 bus to Frankfield. 10 years later the Pope would visit Ireland, still no sign of a bus to Frankfield. 11 years later Cork would win the double, still no sign of a No. 6. Now finally into the 21st century comes the news, still no bloody sign of a No. 6 to Frankfield, and the chances of a No. 6 bus to Frankfield? About the same as Ian Paisley joining Opus Dei !!
Isn’t it great to be born lucky? According to last week’s Sunday Times Neil McCann, who controls Fyffes (the banana company) bought the site where the Battle of Boyne took place in 1690. According to the report Neil bought the site in Nov. 1997 for 2.7 million. A month later Fianna Fail minister David Andrews said the government were interested in the site. Now the state is to pay Mr. McCann 8 million for the site. A tidy profit of 5.3 million. If Mr. McCann had kept the land and King Billy came back, would he have discovered a true banana republic? Incidently, if you’re having a banana, watch the skin, people are inclined to slip on them, and the fall can be quite painful!
Here’s a suggestion to the politicians, we’re tired of all the corruption, scandals and tribunals, I think I’ve come up with the answer to your problems ... hold a general election, with one important stipulation, all candidates must be multi-millionaires. So now we have 166 millionaires in the Dail, and these people wouldn’t answer the door for 30,000 in a dirty brown envelope!! The Taoiseach would have to be worth 10 million. Now we have a kind of Elliott Ness and the Untouchables in the Dail. “Michael, I think it’s a great idea”, love Bill Gates.
More calls to the office about the walk under the Bow-Wow bridge (the bridge next to the R.C. Church, St. Columba’s - the explanatory piece is for non-natives of Douglas). I can hear them now, “The nerve of that Michael O’Hanlon, born and bred in Blackrock Road, talking like a Douglas man”. But many years ago I obtained a Douglas visa and married a Douglas woman, so that must count for something. To get back to the Bow-Wow bridge, the footpath is destroyed with mud, speeding motorists shower the pedestrians with pebbles from the road. It’s a very busy artery and needs urgent attention now. And finally, people are still parking their cars on the footpath under the bridge whilst they go to Mass on Saturday evening, forcing people to walk on the road in the dark. It’s dangerous and inconsiderate - an accident waiting to happen.
Finally, a joke ... A buyer sees a house for sale in the daily paper, it reads “5 bedroomed split level bungalow for sale on Rochestown Road, extras include: swimming pool, tennis court, stables, orchard. First offer of 50,000 secures.” The buyer rushes in to the auctioneers office, first in line he travels with the auctioneer to view the house. It’s magnificent. “Two questions”, says the buyer, “One, is the price correct?” “Yes”, answers the auctioneer. “I’ll take it - what kind of people are the neighbours?” “Fantastic”, says the auctioneer, “You won’t even know Mr. Rushdie is there!”

Bye for now,
Michael O’Hanlon.

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