The clean-up ahead of the Communion has turned into a mammoth task
Tierney and navigated by Egon Friedrich and support boat ‘ The Christine’ skippered by Pascal Ryan with the help of Liana Friedrich. Steven Ryan and Paul Morton will be on hand to help rowers transfer from The Christine to the transfer rib while Safety Crew on the rib are Peter Kavanagh Sean Barnes and Brian Bergin. Mick O'Neill and Cormac Kelly will be in charge of logistics..
Trainer Eamonn Kavanagh has been putting the rowers through their paces for months and says that they will have a tough competition on their hands.
‘ The girls have been training since October doing circuits, running, cycling, weights-you name it.
‘ This is one of the fittest crews I have ever sent from Arklow town and I have been involved in every race since 1993. We could have similar conditions to last time but only time will tell. Once of the Welsh teams are rumoured to have some London 2012 coaches so we have a tough competition to face,’ says Eamonn.
Crew member Tilly Jordan says that the journey towards The Celtic Challenge has been wonderful and that while the crew is fitter than ever that success is not easily won.
‘We are fitter than we have ever been but each challenge has its own twists and turns. One time our rudder got caught in the black of night in a rope tied to two small lobster pots in the middle of the sea miles from land. We could not see what was holding us back until the safety rib was launched to come to our aid.
‘We thought our first challenge was rough with high seas and winds, but then we found that it was calm in comparison to one of our challenges which was so rough that 10 of the 22 boats which left the start line had to return due to dangerous conditions, we continued relentlessly on, fighting the winds and waves, to win for our third time.
‘ The sea sickness lasts for hours, until you reach calmer sea. It is a case of feeling so ill, but still waiting for your chance to hop in for your next row and to row the way you have been trained to row, steady, with power, and striving for perfection as your oar yet again sweeps through the water, one more stroke, each one bringing us closer to the finish line.’ O THE clean-up has been completed. The skip arrived on Holy Thursday and Operation Transformation began Good Friday morning. I made myself scarce for the dirty bit and went to Tesco, leaving Himself and the Eldest to start filling it. But the Mother in Law arrived on the scene and as fast as they were filling it, she was emptying it.
‘What are you throwing that out for?’ she said as she hauled a kid's garage out of the skip.
‘Nobody wants it, the kids are never going to play with it again and it's too big to keep,’ explained Himself.
‘I'll take it,’ she says, lugging it over to her house where it will remain with all the other toys, out in the garage. I arrived back in time to stop her pulling out a big dirty barrel which she thought would be great for putting my firewood in. ‘I am NOT having that near my house,’ I said putting my foot down. ‘ There could have been rats in it.’
‘Have you never heard of Domestos?’ she scoffed. That woman thinks Domestos and Sudocrem can fix anything.
Meanwhile we had to tell the Communion Girl, who is the world's biggest hoarder, that all the rubbish was going off to be washed by the Skipman for her big day. To distract her, I brought her to Party World to get a few balloons.
I hadn't realised what a thriving little industry had been built around Holy Communions! Jesus, Mary and Joseph, there were balloons and decorations, (strings of pink and blue chalices, I kid you not!) and table cloths with the sign of the cross, there were communion napkins, cups, hats, streamers and flags. It was like a mini Vatican right there amidst the rails of costumes of Miss Piggy and Batman.
I conceded on the table cloths, napkins and cups but refused point blank to buy the chalice decorations. In the meantime she spotted a pink unicorn pinata (yes, Dora the Explorer has a lot to answer for) and begged me to get it. It was hard to refuse when she got down on her knees in the middle of the shop with everyone watching. E RETURNED home with our haul and thankfully the skip had been removed. Himself eyed the tableful of tat. ‘We're sending out invitations? Seriously?’ I sank into a chair and whispered, ‘ wine, beer, gin, alcohol, Give me whatever we've got!’
He got the two of us a beer and sat down opposite me. ‘So that's a skip, a bouncy castle, a party for both our families who will drink it off a sore leg and eat us out of house and home, balloons, pinatas and communion dresses. Jesus I hope she never gets married.’
Just then she comes bursting in the door, ‘Can we have a Karaoke machine for the party?’ ‘No!’ we shout in unison. It SO would have been cheaper to have been C of I!