Who’s been hitting the diff in the House of Commons?

May 8th, 2022 5:05 PM

By Southern Star Team

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GROWING up in West Cork you got to know early on that there is often a special relationship between a man and his tractor.

We’re the only county in Ireland with over 10,000 of them (tractors, not men) and it’s estimated that Cork people spend up to 30% of their lifetimes stuck behind tractors in cars. (I did make that last statistic up, but it can’t be far off ...!)

Fellas even had poems about tractors in school. ‘A Massey is classy, but a Zetor is better’ was one I still remember to this day.

Even as a kid in senior Infants, I distinctly remember the boy sitting next to me endlessly sketching tractors, combine harvesters and other cutting-edge agricultural contraptions.

He was the son of a farmer and I learned that these machines had a big place in the life of the family. I grew up surrounded by combines and tractors, too, but I was never really bitten by the bug. I was more into John Lennon than John Deere, to be honest.

I recently had a run-in with some West Cork tractors online. Exiled as I am deep within The Pale, if I haven’t been home for a while I find myself going down misty-eyed YouTube wormholes of a Friday evening and recently took to watching some drone footage of the Galley Head to go with my glass of vino.

I even have the odd glance at the Classic Tractor on the Farming pages here, to see which beast of the land is in the spotlight this week.

I know this sounds pathetic, but these are just some of the strange things Cork people have to do in Dublin to stay sane. Others include randomly waving at confused-looking Dubs in their cars and going to fancy dress parties dressed as Michael Collins.

Anyway, it wasn’t long before the YouTube algorithm had moved me on from the stunning lighthouse videos to time-lapse films made by local West Cork farmers working the fields. These videos are made by the farmers themselves, usually set to thumping music and feature the boyos cutting, rotavating and baling on beautiful fields hugging the Atlantic Coast. And they are doing it in fierce fancy-looking tractors altogether.

You may not believe this but there is something deeply mesmerising about watching a field being cut – the symmetry of it, the technique and the changing light on the ocean in the background. I’d go far as to say it’s hypnotic – a kind of farming ASMR, if you will.

Still, I was a bit concerned. Is this how my youth ends, I thought? Sitting in on a Friday night, watching farmers working the fields on the internet? Is this why I nearly broke my back trying to get on the Dublin property ladder?

As it turned out, I wasn’t the only fella looking at tractors on the internet last week. Only days later, the story broke that British MP Neil Parish was stepping down after admitting to watching pornography twice in the House of Commons. Describing it as ‘a moment of madness’, Parish claimed that the first incident had happened accidentally when he stumbled upon the X-rated site while looking at tractors. If this was intended as some sort of cover story, it was probably the weirdest one I’ve ever heard. His subsequent TV interview made Little Britain look like a hard-hitting docu-drama.

Watching pornography at work is bad enough. Doing so in open view in the House of Commons is absolutely shocking. But how he got from the tractor website to the dirty videos is a mystery we’ll probably never solve.

Build it and they’ll come

I’LL never forget the sporting year of 1990.

That year was an incredible confluence of successes and I was a twelve-year-old just lapping it all up. From Cork doing the double to Ireland getting to a World Cup quarter-final in Rome, I naively thought that this was the way it was going to be forever. The innocence of it, like! Little did I realise how lucky we were to be seeing those games at all and that our teams were reaching those heights.

But, in a way, aren’t Irish sportswomen doing something similar at the moment?

Young girls (and boys!) all around the country are getting to enjoy the simply remarkable achievements of the likes of Katie Taylor, Rachal Blackmore and Leona Maguire. World beaters. Heroes. Role models.

Even our women’s rugby team, in danger of picking up a wooden spoon against Scotland at the weekend, pulled an amazing injury-time converted try out of nowhere to jump to fourth place.

A whole generation of young girls will be inspired to follow in their footsteps now. You couldn’t have dreamed of this possibility just a generation ago.

It just goes to show that if you feature these games in the media, if you invest properly in these teams and individuals and fund women’s sports, the crowds will come.

Reds out of black stuff

LADS. The Russians are out of Guinness. From Moscow to outer Siberia, not a solitary drop of the back stuff can be found. Diageo said it stopped exporting to Russia and Ukraine a week after the invasion started in late February.

I didn’t even realise they drank it in Russia and was surprised to hear that Harat’s bar, which started in Siberia, is the largest chain of Irish pubs in the world.

They have 72 pubs in 43 cities across Russia.

Let’s hope in some better future, we’ll get to raise a glass with Russian friends once again.  We all know a bad head can ruin a pint. It can ruin a nation too.

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