For a while it was all the rage for women of all ages to raise money for charity by posing naked with their private parts hidden by flowerpots. It was all very tasteful and good fun. Well, I am predicting now that the big thing this summer will be for large groups of women of all ages to go skinny-dipping for charity.

The original calendar strip-off was performed by a group of members from a branch of the Women’s Institute in England and soon everybody was following suit. Well, the first major skinny dip is happening up the west coast on Sunday June 21st and it is proving so successful that it is bound to be copied all over Ireland. Five hundred women are going to strip off, sprint down the beach and swim in the nude before running back to their towels and clothes. It is all in aid of the Irish Cancer Society and the organisers are estimating the fun event will raise €100,000 for breast cancer research.

Other than confirming that it will be on a secluded Mayo or Sligo seashore, the location of the beach will be kept secret until hours before the run and swim takes place. Participants will receive a text or email that will give them enough time to travel to the selected beach.

 Reaction from the public has been very positive and sponsorship is pouring in for the skinny-dippers involved. The organisers believe the women will not be concerned by spectators of family and friends but they are worried that the event might attract certain types of men and that is why the location is being kept secret until the last moment.

Shock price for fabulous estate

Optimists are saying there are signs that confidence is returning to the property market and that may well be true of smaller, individual sales of land and property.

However, the opposite was the case two weeks ago when the Castle Annaghs estate near New Ross went under the hammer at public auction.

The property, comprising 550 acres of top quality agricultural land, a large Georgian house and assorted gate lodges and staff houses, was purchased by a German family in the 1960s for 60,000 pounds and the original asking price this time out was in the region of €16m which, as it turned out was way off the mark.   It should be pointed out that, in November 2007, an Bord Pleanla refused planning permission for a golf and hotel development on the estate. 

Over 70 people turned up and were involved in the auction, conducted by PN O’Gorman Auctioneers. Described as being ‘very slow’, bidding opened at €3m and, in the end, it was sold to a West Cork dairy farmer, Mr. Liam Shiely, for just over €6m which is 63 per cent below the original asking price!  A pleased Mr Shiely later said he was greatly touched by the number of good wishes and congratulations he had received from his new South East neighbours.

A different way to get married

A Carlow priest, Fr. Paddy Byrne from Bagenalstown, has come up with a novel suggestion that will be of interest to any couple considering marriage in the not too distant future.

Fr Byrne wants to change the way people get married and, in the process, save them many thousands of euro.  Pointing out that the average cost of a wedding these days is €18,000, Fr. Byrne accepts that many weddings cost in excess of €40,000 and, in his opinion, that is too much money to be spending because it often takes years for the couple to pay off loans.  He said he knew many cohabiting couples who would like to get married but the cost and all the fuss involved puts them off and so they maintain the status quo.

His idea is to have marriage ceremonies that are similar to First Communion and Confirmation days.  Each parish could set aside several Sundays in the year and, on any given day, groups of couples could get married during the scheduled Sunday Mass followed by plates of ham sandwiches and cocktail sausages in the parish hall.  Such an arrangement would result in very beautiful and meaningful ceremonies at very little cost and a lot less stress, he said. I happen to agree with him but I still don’t think his idea will catch on.

Unmuzzled dogs

I came across an unusual court case last week relating to the supervision of a dog. A man was fined €500 for not having a Staffordshire Pit Bull terrier muzzled while in charge of the dog in a public place.  What makes the case a little unusual is that it would appear that the defendant was being a Good Samaritan for a neighbour.  A woman told the court she had purchased the dog earlier that day but the animal had run away from her house and she had asked the defendant to catch the dog for her.  He was returning the dog to her home when he was spoken to by the gardai. 

Trying to keep up
to the Joneses!

A middle-aged couple from the ‘top of the town’ won the Lotto and, after looking after their grown-up family, they were trying to decide what they would do for themselves with their money.

The wife had always had notions of grandeur so she suggested to her husband that they sell their modest house and buy a big, detached home on the Dunmore Road. “The people around here are very common and I’ve always felt that the Dunmore Road people are more our sort”, she sniffed.

Because of the deflated state of the property market, they ended up buying a huge mansion and, as befitting her new role in society, the wife decided to hire a man to look after the garden and a maid/housekeeper to deal with work inside the house. When everything was in place, they sent out invitations to their new neighbours inviting them to ‘a sumptuous dinner party’.

The centre-piece of the pre-meal buffet was a huge salmon tastefully displayed on a bed of exotic salad. But just before the salmon was to be carried triumphantly into the dining room, the maid called the woman of the house into the kitchen. “I’m really sorry Ma’am but your cat got at the salmon dish and has eaten a big lump out of the middle of the fish.” The social-climber hostess didn’t turn a hair. “Don’t worry about it, we’ll fill in the gap with tinned salmon”, she said, taking several tins of ‘John West’ out of a cupboard.

Nobody noticed any difference and the dinner party was going swimmingly when the worried looking maid appeared and asked the woman of the house to return to the kitchen. “It’s the cat, Ma’am”, she wailed with tears rolling down her cheeks, “she’s dead.”

The wanna-be snob was devastated but she knew she couldn’t take a chance on poisoning all her new neighbours so she turned off the music and, red-faced, advised them all that there was a problem with the salmon and it would be wise to go to Waterford Regional Hospital to have their stomachs pumped.

The mortified couple had also eaten the fish so they too went to the hospital and when they got back in the early hours of the morning, the maid had cleared up and was just getting into her taxi home.

“By the way, what did you do with the cat’s body”, asked the woman. “Oh, I couldn’t bear to touch it Ma’am”, said the maid sorrowfully, “the poor little thing is still out on the main road where the car hit it.”