Sunday 31 December 2017


Dwaaarlings, luvvies, leddeeez an’ gennellmen! Good evening good morning good afternoon! Welcome, bienvenue and fáilte to the Fake DV Awards 2017!

As the world trembles under an orange shadow, up has become down and truth a distant memory, so let’s get the show under way with the Bill Clinton I Did Not Have Sexual Relations With That Woman DV for being guilty as hell and not giving a damn, which this year goes to the despicable self-interested scum known as Republican politicians in Washington DC.

These people could, in effect, save the world, but rather than resist the Orange, they hung back in their own dark shadows, waiting until they could pass a tax law that secures their place in the dollar drenched edge of the desert that is the American economy. In the process they added trillions to the US national debt and opened up the Arctic for drilling.

Shame on them, and talking of shame, The Is That Steve Bannon In Your Pocket Or Is It Just Megadata? DV for selling your soul for power goes to Theresa May, who followed a disastrous UK general elections with a vile power-grab deal with the DUP. Involving over a billion quid, its success relies wholly on the ignorance of the English public to all matters Irish.

Moving to the Middle East and the Charlie Haughey Jeeze Lads Is That What Guns Look Like? DV goes to the security guards at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport.

Everyone who flies out of Israel is interviewed person to person in the terminal by a security expert. If you pass that they don’t care what you take on the plane.

As I started to remove my jacket before going through the X-Ray machines, the security guy yelled over:

“Hey! You can leave all your clothes on, and your shoes! You can bring your water as well. We are looking for guns, bullets and bombs, not belts, boots and bottles!”

Moving to Europe now, and the Don’t Go Upsetting Those Nice Folk At Apple About Tax Avoidance DV for allowing power to take over without worrying your tiny head about boring stuff like justice goes to the EU, who sat back and watched the government of a member state forcibly close down a free election called by a devolved government. 

We sat and watched the scenes in Catalunya agape, as ballot boxes were destroyed and politicians arrested for participating in a democratic process.

Made you proud to call yourself European, didn’t it?

Well maybe Ireland should call Article 50 too, and seek their own Canadian Model, which seamlessly leads us into the Ronnie Reagan Loves Maggie Thatcher DV for politicians getting all luvvy duvvy in public, which this year is awarded to the yukky social media bromance between Leo Varadkar and Justin Trudeau.

As the world burned, these two young leaders pontificated about the colour of their socks on Twitter.

Pass me that fiddle, Nero.

Before we head to Ireland for local and national awards, we have the honour of offering a DV Lifetime Fellowship to the Orange himself.

In one short year he has managed to unify Christians and Muslims in disgust. Europe has never been more united against anything. In my native country, both Corbyn and May have expressed in public their revulsion at his methods. 

Outside of the US Rust Belt and Brexiteers’ backsides, we all stand together, as one species, rejecting his malevolence.

Talking of standing together, police ranks have had a great year. A lone Garda nearly bought down the government.

Not sure Sgt. Maurice McCabe would see it like that, but his bravery has exposed the depth of corruption and degradation at the rotten core of the Irish Establishment.

Now for some metaphysical musings on numbers: their appearance and disappearance. The 2017 Where Exactly Are These Weapons Of Mass Destruction, Tony? DV for stretching the truth beyond bounds of reason goes to the Garda Siochana. 

After enquiries into breath test numbers, a Garda spokesperson revealed that in some cases the Gardai were “Making up the test numbers,” and in other cases merely “exaggerating the numbers.”

And the difference between those would be…?

Would that be two offences or just the one, yer honour?

Finally we come to the streets and fields of Galway city and county, where 2017 has seen famous victories. This year’s Jack Charlton DV for Pure Plastic Paddy behaviour is awarded to your colyoomist.

Even though I cannot lay claim to the pride that true Galwegians feel, I must confess that tears tumbled, as I watched the families, the little girls and mums waving flags and literally jumping for joy, as they celebrated Galway's victory in the All-Ireland.

Then there came the massive win for Liam Mellows. Apologies to colyoomistas in Gort, but for weeks there was a buzz around Galway city that made life joyful.

Last but not least comes the Oh Are There Really Five Exits On That Roundabout? DV for total local incompetence,  goes to Galway council’s plan to charge for Sunday parking. 

They sent workers out to change hundreds of signs and recalibrate payment machines around the city ... and then they changed their minds and sent workers out to put tape over the bottom of the new signs ... and then they decided that not all of them should change … and right now I have no idea what the situation is, and I’m pretty damn sure the council don’t either.

Now that your minds are lost to bewilderment, I leave you perfectly prepared for life in 2018. Happy New Year!

©Charlie Adley

Sunday 24 December 2017


Sticks! More sticks!

“There’s a parcel for you in the newsroom. Will I send it to you?”
“No, thanks, I’m in town on Monday. I’ll pick it up.”

Hmmm, wonder what that is. Over the decades I’ve been sent many things by readers: some delightful, others disgusting.

Possibly a fair reflection of these colyooms.

It’s a tiny little present, perfectly wrapped with scarlet paper and a bow, which reveals a yellow box, inside which lies a tea bag.

Someone’s gone to a lot of trouble to send me a tea bag.

Perhaps they find my blather boring, and have contrived to liven up Double Vision with a dose of magic mushrooms.

Ah, there, a yellow tag at the end of the attached string, with #PawsForThought printed in black.

Now I know what we’re dealing with. This is the Dog’s Trust campaign.

What is it with dog’s charities and creative marketing? This time last year I received another cute parcel, inside which was a slip of paper printed #stopkeepingmum, a campaign to counteract the evils of puppy farms.

This colyoom weekly receives umpteen requests to write about this, that and the other. Press release emails arrive advertising Cubist face painting festivals in Waterford and Organic Beetle Weaving Workshops in Carrick on Shannon.

Far away and less than thrilling, they are mostly left ignored, but just as I was this time last year, I’m quietly impressed with the dog charity’s minimalist tactics.

Instead of shouting their cause in bold print, they created a puzzle that I can choose to look into further.

 I love life!

Thing is, they’re preaching to the converted.

Four years ago the Snapper and I adopted a Labrador/Collie cross (most people call them ‘Labrollies’ but I’m quite a fan of Colliador’) called Lady, from the most excellent folk at

We didn’t buy her, because you cannot buy a dog.  
You cannot give a dog to somebody else.  
What you can do is buy a dog a home, for the entirety of its life.

If you insist on buying a puppy from a private breeder, ask to see its mother first, to make sure she’s not being abused as a breeding machine.

Better still, go to Madra or the Dog’s Trust and adopt a rescue dog. You can have a puppy if you want one, but check out the wide selection of more mature dogs that might better suit your home and lifestyle.

Take your time.
Meet the dog, take it for a walk, and then try a home visit.

Of course little could equal the moment of explosive joy when your kiddy is given a puppy under the crimble tree, but a dog’s batteries don’t run out in two weeks.

First day in her new home...

If all this sounds a bit serious, I make no apologies. Guaranteed to outlast that brief gift-giving bliss on Christmas morning, the depth of love and trust that will develop between you and your dog as the years go by is unique and profound.

Every dog has its own quirks. As Marina at Madra said to us:
“There’s a reason why they're here!”

We’ll never know what happened during Lady’s first two and half years. Evidently she was trained to be an angel at home, but as soon as she steps outside - especially after dark - she becomes a very different beast.

We’ve livestock living around us here, so every single time she needs a peeper or a pooper, be it wind, rain or hail, we have to take her round the garden on the lead. 

We walk her every single day, whatever the weather, and in turn she rewards us inside by being, as the Snapper is wont to say, the best dog in the world.

She does not chew anything. She does not go for bins, no matter if they stink of meaty bones. I left a plate of chocolate biscuits on the coffee table, went to the loo and suddenly realised Lady was lying beside that table.

Yikes! That much chocolate could do her serious damage!

Not a nibble.
Barely a poochie head raised.

 "You are under my spell..."

The only vaguely naughty thing Lady’s ever done inside the house happened, aptly, on Christmas Day.

’Tis my custom to open presents at midday, drinking fizz and eating hot sausage rolls, to the sound of the Kings College Choir singing carols. 

During Lady’s first Christmas with us she became rather carried away by the shouty wrapping paper melée, and took a notion to pick a sausage roll off the plate with her mouth, walking over to her bed with the cheekiest of expressions on her face.

She knew.

The Snapper took it out of her mouth without a struggle, and that’s it, the worst she’s ever been inside. There have been rare dodgy tums and clear-ups off the kitchen floor in the morning, but never will there be a better inside dog.

Outside she is learning, improving and so are we. Imagine adopting a teenager from a care home: that was our challenge.

Having a dog is a huge commitment but worth every second of effort. The best present you can give this Christmas is a dog a home for life.

Hate to buck the trend, but I’m actually looking forward to Christmas. As blow-ins living away from our families back in England, the Snapper and I pass quiet Christmases in Ireland.

For two days the gate will remain closed. The world will seek nothing from me, save a feast, which I will gladly deliver.

All the ‘to do’ lists are filed away; jobs in progress put on hold.

The fire’s lit and the fridge is heaving.

A gentle peaceful Christmas, the very same that I wish for all of you, my loyal colyoomistas.

(When you adopt from a charity your dog comes neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.  To find out how to adopt a dog, go to and

©Charlie Adley

Sunday 17 December 2017

Why do I love the people of the West of Ireland?

Welcome aboard Adley Airways flight 202 from Londoner to Chilled Out Scribbler. We’ll be departing from Terminal Stress and today’s flight time to our arrival at Not Very International Airport will be just over an hour.
Every time I return to the West of Ireland I appreciate the feeling of being home. I spent decades wandering around, looking for somewhere I belonged in and to, so the gratitude I feel for having found my home echoes each time I come back.
I do a lot of coming and going, because my family and many life-long friends live in England. Mind you, for the past few years I’ve barely seen my mates, as I go over to hang out with my Octogenarian mum, whose energy puts me to shame.
My joy at returning to the West in no way reflects poorly on my love for those in London. I’m not pleased to get away from them, but I am delighted to revert to the man I become when in Connacht.
On a late Summer’s evening a lifetime ago, I climbed into my car at Knock Airport to drive to my home, which was then in Killala. Winding down my window I punched the air outside, compressing a powerful cocktail of joy and relief into the sound: 
I’ll never experience the power of having lived your entire life in one place, as so many do in rural Ireland. To have that blood connection with the same land for centuries must create a profound feeling, but I too have a wonderful perspective: I found my home.
Like you, I feel a strong connection to my birthplace, but I live here, not there, and see this place and its people through the eyes of a stranger, a blow-in, and I always will.
I am with ye, but I am not of ye.
Amen. cof cof. Pass the mustard.
25 years on I still can’t wait to board this Aer Lingus flight to Shannon, but it’s delayed due to bad weather.
Outside the sky is cloudless. 
The sun has been shining all day over the British Isles (it’s a geographical term, so don’t be getting yourselves all bolshy) and it’s only a 20 minute delay, but give us ‘Technical Difficulty’ or ‘Operational Disfunction’ on a day like this. 
Any old blatant lie will do, but not the weather. 
Not today.
Anyway, the plane’s outside, so all is good. Passing time is my number one talent. I can sit calmly and space out in silence for hours.
What I can’t do though is wait here beside this woman who’s come to sit next to me. She’s texting what appears to be three or four people at once. This I know only because her phone’s alert signal is that birdy tweet
which she has set on cranium cracking volume levels. Two or three 
arrive every ten seconds, as each person replies to whatever is so bloody important.
Why does she think it’s okay?
Rising to my feet and above such a minor irritant in the order of things, I see that boarding is starting. Yer man at the gate refuses to reply to my “Hello’, and when I thank him he says nothing back.
No eye contact.
Entering the plane I’m welcomed by two female Aer Lingus stewards with warm, calm, friendly smiles.
“Yer man back there could do with a bit of charm school !” I suggest, telling them about his performance.
“Is he wearing one of our uniforms?” she asks with pride, as she raises her fists to show what she’d do to him, if he turned out to be one of theirs.
She makes me smile.
The trip’s been great. I hung out with mum, saw my sister and one of my nieces, and had a meal with a great friend. Couldn’t ask for more, but three days in London gives me a granite neck and guts twisted this way and that. 
Ouch, and oh, it’s lovely to settle into my  my plane seat at last.
Looking at the Irish passengers as they file in, with their goofy teeth and gentle smiles, I wonder what it is about them that I find so comforting.
Is it something to do with they way they’ve suffered for so long?
Is it the poverty and bad weather, or is it in their genes?
Today it’s easy to feel kinship with the people of the West of Ireland, because I’ve just been in a country where the culture is driven by a desire to recreate what is believed to be a great past. 
After months of listening to the delusion, pomposity, ignorance and arrogance that English leaders offer Europe and Ireland, it’s naturally comforting to be among humble people, who know who they are; people who prefer to leave their past behind, rather than dream of it; people who do not punish others for being poor - well, unless they're asylum seekers or refugees.
Well nobody’s perfect.
The answer to my quandary comes quickly after arrival at Shannon Airport.
Off to the Gents, where I think I might need to sit down, but oh no, and yuk, and oh no again, every toilet is filthy.
Just a peeper then. 

No soap in any of the dispensers.
Oh come on, you're ‘avin’ a larf.  
This is an airport isn’t it?
Back in arrogant Heathrow, remote-controlled sensors supplied hot water and soap, while under-mirror blow-heaters dried your hands.
Filthy toilets and no soap.  
Is this why all these folk are happy?
In England they expect everything and are permanently disappointed. Here in the West of Ireland we have zero expectations most of the time, because that brings no disappointments
The woman at the baggage carousel spots my UK passport.
“Over for a visit, are you? You’ll be back home for Christmas, I suppose?”
“Home for Christmas? Yes!” I smile back at her. “I’m already here.”

Charlie Adley

Sunday 10 December 2017


In case you were wondering, I only squeezed another 24 hours out of my manic upswing, beyond the writing of last week’s colyoom.

As predicted, a comedown arrived, accompanied by a collapse of mood and energy, but  nothing too extreme; nothing a couple of solitary hours on a beach wouldn’t solve.

Off I head, back to my old stomping grounds. The cliffs are dark and defiant; the sand white, strewn with felled forests of diverse seaweeds.

I walk up to the distant headland, with the cold wet wind behind me, and sit on a rock. Then I choose another rock out there, at the water’s edge, and watch and marvel at how quickly the tide is pulling in.

This is my meditation, my mindfulness if you must: I just call it sitting on a rock.

Waves gradually encircle my staring rock, offering the illusion that it’s drifting out into the ocean. Once the water has risen enough to completely cover it I stand, stretch and realise I’m bloomin’ freezing.

Time to head to a nearby town for a cuppa and a toastie.
Into a pub I’ve visited for over 25 years, a place where sentimental memories abound, but today the lass behind the bar tells me she can't do a toasted sandwich ’til 12:30.

There’s a couple eating soup and brown bread to my left, and over there a fella is tucking into his Full Irish, so I ask her if she is serving food.

Sticking her chin up and out towards me, she charmlessly states


At which point I put on my coat and leave, frosted with sadness.

Off down the road to another pub where far more locals are found: always a good sign. Loads of young smiley staff are whizzing around and when I thank her for bringing my tea she says

“You’re very welcome!”

Music to my English ears, which still struggle a little with the ubiquitous Irish server’s: “No problem.”

Unlike the Gents in the other place, where a feeble machine wafted warm sparrow farts onto my wet hands, here there’s a hand dryer that really drys hands.

Lovely staff, great food, and I’m feeling just a bit pleased to have broken with routine and found somewhere new, and then it hits me.

I’m a bit too pleased. 

How pathetic. 
How miserably sad and cowardly we have become. 

Yes, I know I’m writing about myself, but you too have rituals and habits that you’ve created to protect you from unknown threats.

Trouble is, there are very few significant unknown threats in our everyday lives. Today’s First World society offers us a pampered plush existence. The vast majority of you reading this will not go to bed hungry tonight.

You will not have ice on the inside of your windows in the morning. Your toilet will flush and your shower water will be hot. You will not go to bed fearful that someone you love will be taken in the night. If you become unwell you will be cared for. If you are poor, there is help available.

Yet everywhere you look, people are suffering from anxiety. Stressed out, exhausted, depressed, they are prescribed pills to calm them down, because even if the reasons for their fears are not justified, their fears are as real and frightening as finding a lion in your bedroom.

Does changing the pub in which I eat my toastie represent the extent of adventure in my life? If so, I need a lot more. We all need more, because our technology has outpaced our evolution.

When you suffer stress or panic attacks your system has been flooded with adrenaline, produced by your body’s ‘fight or flight’ mechanism.

Back in the days before Netflix and tea bags, when your ancestor was facing up to a wild animal that she was hoping would be her dinner, or another that wanted her to be its dinner, I don’t think she wrote a To Do list.

She didn’t ask Siri or Alexa what percentage chance she had of success. She didn’t google “How to kill a sabre toothed tiger.”

She acted. She either fought or fled, and her chances of success were massively heightened by the presence of adrenaline coursing through her veins.

Years ago I experienced a massive panic attack and let me tell you, whoof, those babies are as scary as life gets, and that’s kind of my point.

Is all this anxiety that’s destroying so many lives today the result of us leading cumfy wumfy existences, that rarely require life or death decisions?

Our bodies are still designed to deal with such extremes, yet instead of chasing a gazelle that you fancy roasting on a spit, or outwitting the snake that was sitting on your chest as you awoke, the most stressful part of your day comes while you’re watching tele, when that dialogue box appears on screen to tell you that you’re recording too many programmes and have to cancel one of them.

I’m not a medical professional, so if you are one, please refute my lay theory that if we had real encounters with dangerous things, we’d feel less stressed.

With eyes on the front of our faces, we are designed to be predators. We used to kill or be killed, and now we worry about where to eat toasties.

Well that’s a trifle unfair. We worry about money and rent, mortgages and bills. We worry about our childrens’ use of social media and whether we can afford to run two cars any more.

All these fears are substantial and real, but the amount of stress they create goes far beyond the worth of the problems they represent.

I’m pretty sure that if I was going face to face with a hungry lion, the last thing I’d do is have a panic attack.

©Charlie Adley

Sunday 3 December 2017


Listmania in action...

Good luck with reading this because I’m enjoying what I reckon is a minor manic upswing, after months of that low-level depression I’ve been scribbling about.

This manic upswing business is pretty amazing. A pumping living energy, it lifts my chest up to the sky, injects my body with energy and fills my brain with possibilities.

Truth is, I’m starting to think that maybe this one’s not so minor. It’s difficult to judge accurately when you’re trying to diagnose your own brain.

Usually sleep is my achilles heel. If I lose a few hours I’m nasty and useless, but recently I’ve been waking up at five in the morning, which for a 57 year-old man is not remarkable. 

All us middle aged blokes need our nocturnal micturations, but rather than going straight off to sleep again, I’m hitting the mattress with my mental surfboard riding the back of a 40 foot breaking wave. 

Thoughts cascade and crash around and I’m lying there, working on my breathing ...

... in like soooooooooooo … 
... out like ehhhhhhhhhhhhhh … 

and then the thoughts come back and I fail to swamp their insistence by reading, so then it’s off to the living room to do back stretches in the dark.

Point is, I’m sitting here after three nights of this nonsense and I feel great.

Most strange, or as we Londoners say: well odd. Experience has taught me to be a little suspicious, because as we learn from life, when it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Maybe there’s a mood collapse out there, a crash awaiting me, but what a waste of an exceptional opportunity it would be to tinkle-tonkle around my mania on tiptoes.

There’s no point in living with the dark times unless you let rip in the upswing.

So this week’s colyoom comes to you from the Ministry of Multitasking’s Department of Stress Management. Despite popular opinion to the contrary, volume one of Multitasking for Men is called Me Hole - We Do It All The Time!

Whether manic, down or floating somewhere on the edge of acceptable normalcy, I multitask. Admittedly right now I've a lot more energy than I usually do, but I am actually writing this while sending emails, checking facts for other stories, watering the houseplants and dealing with clients and students.

All this fine madness coursing around my system needs to be controlled, harnessed for good, otherwise I might turn into a Bond villain.

Far more prosaically, instead I try to ease those unwelcome storms of tumbling To Dos at five in the morning by writing lists. 

A good list is great, but a bad list is a killer. If you create a list that will never be completed, it will only get you down. Best to start with a very small list of three things that you absolutely know you can do today.

Well, that’s what the therapists say anyway, but my reality is that I will find comfort only when I know I haven’t forgotten something, because right now, as it happens, there’s a heck of a lot going on, and none of it is trivial.

Given that I know this period, as everything else, will soon pass, I’m allowing myself a melange of lists, because the more I get to cross off, the better I feel.

It’d be bloody silly of me not to also acknowledge the potential for stress in all these lists, but I’ve got the mania right now, so I can achieve three, four, five times what I’m usually able to do.

I’ve got Macro lists and Mini lists, Today lists and Get In Touch With lists, shopping lists, and timeline lists, more usually referred to as calendars.

There’s two cars to service and mend, one to pass a test and one to sell. There’s courses to book and sell, colyooms to write and clients to keep happy. There’s the dog’s worming tablets and the citizenship applications.

Aye, that’s quite a major one. 
Watch this space.

And oh yes, the book. I’m writing a book. Not good to forget that, but in a way all the other minutiae of life are furniture on deck, and right now they’re all over the place, demanding attention, so I’ll give my responsibilities the time they deserve and then focus on the book.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not waiting for the perfect time. That does not exist. I’m working on the book all the time, either silently in my head or physically on paper, but life has to be lived alongside the writing process.

I have to play the adult, pay the bills, carry out my duties in a way that satisfies society’s need to tick boxes, so that for moments, long and short, I can live and work as if the book is all that matters.

If that sounds all melodramatic and rather head up the backside, I apologise: it’s not me, it’s my mania!

Attitudes in the West of Ireland don’t help minds like mine. My local friends unwittingly conspire to keep me beholden to lists. This Englishman suggests someting crazy like hey, let’s meet up next week, thereby scaring the bejazus out of my Galwegian friends, who tell me that I have to text them back on the day before whatever it is, to remind them.

Great. Now I’ve got something else I need to remember.

Another thing on another bloody list. Hmm, I’d better watch this pattern. In my eagerness to know for certain about something, I’m setting myself up to be a sucker.

Thankfully, my friends have to be people who can take a slagging. When I tell them to get their acts together, they laugh long and hard at me, as well they might.

They don’t need a reminder app: they’ve got a manic Charlie.

©Charlie Adley