It is interesting to observe what different commercial communities do in order to fight against the recession and, at present in the United States, over 75 small towns have issued their own currency. The idea is to keep money circulating locally but the ploy is not new because it was widely used during the Great Depression in America in the early part of the last century.

What happens is that local traders get together and print their own distinctive banknotes which have local names such as the Cheer, the Plenty, the Hour and the Berk. Perhaps, if a currency was created in Waterford, it would be known as the Blaa! If a local person buys a hundred dollars worth of a local currency, they get up to 120 of the local notes that are then treated as dollar bills by the various shops, stores and restaurants. In other words, by shopping locally, people get up to 20 per cent better value for their dollar.

Some economists are sceptical about the local currencies pointing out that traders could simply knock off 20 per cent in discounts without all the palaver of printing local notes. They may, or may not, be correct but the trend seems to be growing and, as a general rule of thumb, only successful ideas take off in such a fashion.


From Knock Basilica to world acclaim

Susan Boyle is a Scottish singer who has taken the world by storm following her recent appearance on the ITV television show, ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, but, according to my friends in Mayo, much of her vocal talent was nurtured in this country.

Ms Boyle is a single person who lives alone with her cat in the West Lothian village of Blackburn and her self proclaimed dowdy, middle-aged appearance added to the surprise of the audience when she opened her mouth and a beautiful voice emerged.

Her parents, Patrick and Bridget, were Irish and she has been a regular and long-time visitor to the Marian Shrine at Knock. She regularly sings in the Basilica when she visits and, not too long ago, Ms Boyle travelled from Scotland as part of a Legion of Mary pilgrimage and, again, she sang at the Shrine on that occasion. I bet she will attract a lot more attention the next time she comes to Knock.


Foul-mouthed celebrity chefs

Speaking of television, is it only me or is anybody else fed up to the teeth with the histrionics of these celebrity chefs. Most of them are full of their own importance and seem to think that, because they are good at cooking food, it is acceptable behaviour for them to be foul-mouthed bullies. Lots of talented people are good at lots of things yet they don’t carry on in such an immature way. If enough people stood up to them and told them to shove their ‘artistic creations’ where the sun doesn’t shine, they just might come down off their perches and practice some basic manners.


Manhunt for thirsty burglar

An unusual hunt for a thirsty burglar with possible Waterford connections took place the weekend before last up the road in Kilkenny and Carlow.

On the Sunday in question, a farmer was tending to cattle in a field above his as yet unoccupied, newly built house when he noticed a white van pulling up. There were two male occupants in the van. One remained behind the wheel while the other smashed in the back-door and was loading up with equipment from the house when he saw the farmer and two others running in his direction. The man in the van drove away in a hurry and the other man took to the fields.

The alarm was raised and it ended up as a five-hour man-hunt through woods and bogs in the Borris/Saint Mullins area with a large group of civilians and about 20 local gardai backed up by a police helicopter. Unfortunately, the fugitive was not caught but it later emerged that, during the chase, he had stopped off in Sean Byrne’s pub in Glynn to catch his breath and have a pint. He was wet through from the waist down but he told the publican he had been out hunting. Garda enquiries are continuing and, according to the report, a van suspected of being involved in the incident was later located in Waterford city.


Judge on the side of debtors

In these difficult days, more than a few people are finding themselves in financial difficulties but, if it’s any consolation to them, Judge Sean McBride the presiding judge in Cavan/Monaghan is clearly on their side.

Referring to the conduct of some financial institutions as disgraceful, he said his sympathy was with the customers at the mercy of banks and building societies. While no specific case was mentioned, it would appear that Judge McBride was dealing with a committal order for non payment of a loan to a financial institution.

He pointed out that, during the heyday of the Celtic Tiger, banks and lending institutions threw money around like confetti at a wedding with little or no questioning on whether or not people could pay it back. Now they were seeking committal orders to send people to prison, a situation he described as being ‘Victorian’.


“This court is not immune to the present economic climate and I will be refusing committal orders and treating them as variation orders except in cases where people have the money to pay their debts but won’t”, he declared.


Do old habits die hard?

A young man from Waterford, on his first visit to London, decided that he wanted to visit a brothel and, after some discreet enquiries, he was directed to a certain house of ill repute. The woman at the desk asked him what his choice would be but, as the young man hadn’t a clue, he decided to bluff it out and asked the woman to tell him what was available.


“Well”, she said, “on the first floor we have ex-models who are all slinky and sexy. On the second floor we have our ex-actresses who are all buxom and beautiful. Then, on the third floor, we have our ex-teachers who . . .


“Stop, say no more”, interrupted the young man, “lead me to the third floor straight away.”

The woman expressed surprise that he would be so definite in his choice of teachers over models and actresses.

“Listen, Missus”, said the young man, “we had loads of women teachers at our school and they always made us do things over and over again until we were almost perfect at it. That’ll do for me!”