NewsCommunityVal’s wonderful windows are a Limerick traditionBy Bernie English – December 3, 2018 3107 Val Holmes checking his handiwork at Brown Thomas.Photo: Cian ReinhardtIF THERE is an opposite to the Grinch who stole Christmas, it is Val Holmes.For 44 years, Val has been creating whimsical worlds of wonder to delight generations of children who have stood at the windows of Todds and now Brown Thomas, their eyes aglow, all words lost in a tumble of teddies, lights, fairies and snow scenes.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Val took up work as the store window dresser on December 16, 1974 and that has been his job ever since, the Christmas windows the highlight of his – and his team’s – year.This year will be his last window as he is retiring with every intention of travelling the world.“The year we did all the windows fully animated is the one I remember best,” Val tells the Limerick Post. “That was Christmas, ’79, the Year Of the Child. We usually had one animated window but people thought we were doing especially for that year but that was luck.“There was a great buzz about those windows. People come night and day to look at the Christmas windows because there’s something very special about the windows after dark and they just stand and look for ages”.Working in retail wasn’t originally his idea of an easy life, Val admits.“When I got the job and I was told that I would work Monday to Friday I thought all my birthdays had come together – no Saturdays. I was delighted. And I’ve loved every minute since – you couldn’t do this and not love it”.Val and the team are also responsible for all the other window displays during the year and the in-store displays. In the early days, planning for Christmas and the retail year started in April with a trip to London with the manager and merchandising manager to check out the big stores there for inspiration.Then it was on to Warrington, where many of the props for the coming year are bought, no doubt raising a few eyebrows at customs over hammer-wielding ailing and prancing reindeer.More lately, the travelling salespeople come to Dublin where Val and key members of staff from all of the Brown Thomas stores gather to lay plans for the year’s displays.Currently, the themes for the windows travel between the BT stores each year, with each store pulling their individual fashions and merchandise together in a Winter wonderland on the common theme.With no formal training whatever, Val’s eagle eye misses nothing.“You have to go outside and see what the public are seeing. There might be a mannequin posed the wrong way or something that isn’t quite in the right spot and needs to be moved. You just know when it’s right and when it’s not and you keep at it until it’s right”.Do things ever go wrong?Val admits there have been some bumps in the night.“You might come in and find a load of stuff has fallen down but the public never get to see that. The first job in the morning is to check the windows and the last job at night is to do a sweep and make sure everything is okay”.Another of Val’s favourite times are the sales.“At one stage, when it was Todds, the slogan was to wait for the real sale. And we would pile every window high with sale goods – household, fashion, you name it. They would queue from early morning for the 9am specials – it was like Black Friday in America long before that ever came here”.The father of two sons and a daughter and grandad to four boys and a girl is originally from Hyde Road in Prospect and has delighted in bringing his own family to see his handiwork at Christmas over the years.A spot of ill-health has seen Val off work in recent months but as well as being the man who puts Christmas front and centre in BTs he is is also the store ambassador, meeting and greeting customers during the Christmas period with a tilt of his top hat.“I’m looking forward to coming back for Christmas to do that – everyone knows me from the windows because at one time, there weren’t any blinds and people would wave to you when you were in the window getting a new display ready.“Now, being the ambassador as well is great. One woman asked me ‘are you the real Mr Brown Thomas?’Val is the longest-serving member of staff to hold the same position in the store. “Both my sisters worked here before me and we’re like a big family here in BTs,” he says.“I don’t think of myself as being in charge of windows – I’m part of a great team”.Val clearly has passion for his job, but does he have another passion, the Limerick Post wonders?“Rugby. What else?” Advertisement Print Population of Mid West region increased by more than 3,000 in past year Twitter Unstoppable Sean shows that all things are possible Previous articleWATCH: Andrew Conway believes there is plenty more to comeNext articleWATCH: Dreams snippet – reaction to Nickie’s save against Cork Bernie Englishhttp://www.limerickpost.ieBernie English has been working as a journalist in national and local media for more than thirty years. She worked as a staff journalist with the Irish Press and Evening Press before moving to Clare. She has worked as a freelance for all of the national newspaper titles and a staff journalist in Limerick, helping to launch the Limerick edition of The Evening Echo. Bernie was involved in the launch of The Clare People where she was responsible for business and industry news. TAGSCommunityFestiveInterviewLimerick City Housing 37 Compulsory Purchase Orders issued as council takes action on derelict sites Facebook Vicky calls for right to die with dignity New parklet changes Catherine Street dining experience RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Linkedin Thefts of catalytic converters on the rise #crimeprevention Email WhatsApp
The wild eyed guitar and bass antics of Hall don’t obscure his impressive skill on whatever stringed instrument rests in his hands. His back and forth eye contact with the man on the marque, and the keys, Ivan Neville, had the element of a soldier and a general, setting the plan of attack. Neville makes playing the organ look like a dance, as if each keystroke is an extension of a connection to a higher groove that he is trying to share. Whether he was entertaining the crowd with tales of their day of travel or extorting them to sing along as Dumpstaphunk shook the rafters, Ivan Neville gives the same full-tilt commitment to the moment, and it’s invigorating to see.For nearly two hours, Dumpstaphunk laid down slabs of pulsating funk that seemed to subsume the room and made the people marionettes in the hands of musical masters. Guitarist Ian Neville continues to carve out more lead time in the mix, with several blistering leads and slinky rhythm lines that drew appreciative cheers from the packed house. When the last notes faded, an appreciative and somewhat bewildered audience greeted the band’s outstretched arms with an uproarious cheer, showing their appreciation for the mind warping display they had just undergone.The night’s festivities kicked off with Joytribe, a funk & soul collective based out of the Rose City. Led by sax player Chelsea Luker, the band was trying out some additional players, and the thick sound made a serious impact on the early arriving crowd. With show-stopping turns on the mic singing and playing Luker grabbed the listeners attention, but the funky vibe of the band kept them riveted. Their set was very well received, and it appears an answer was given to the band’s musical question of whether adding a few more hands was a good idea or not.It will be fun to see what the future brings for Joytribe! Dumpstaphunk is touring the Pacific Northwest, acting as funk ambassadors and making it their mission to bring the get down vibe to the people who need it, wherever they may be. Their noble quest brought them the Star Theater in Portland, OR on a clear Thursday night, which they filled with waves of bass, organ and slinky guitar that swept away everyone like a groove tsunami.There’s no adherence to the age old wisdom “Too much of a good thing” when it comes to Dumpstaphunk, as the trance dancing audience was delighted to hear. Nick Daniels possesses one of the deepest, sweetest bass tones of any living player that strikes listeners at their centers and takes hold. Over the course of the set, he ranged from precise to sludge-thick, while sharing lead vocal duties in a powerful falsetto. As always with Dumpstaphunk, if one is good then two must be better, and Daniels was joined in the deep end by multi-instrumentalist Tony Hall.
The Olympic committee of B&H will organize the third consecutive event “Selection of athletes of the year 2013”, that will be held on 10 December at the premises of the Olympic Museum in Sarajevo, announced the B&H Olympic Committee.The selection will be done in category terms: 1. The most successful male athlete; 2. The most successful female athlete; 3. The most successful junior or cadet male athlete; 4. The most successful junior or cadet female athlete; 5. The most successful team; 6. The most successful trainer; 7. The most successful athlete in competitions that are not included in Olympic games; 8. The most successful team or athlete in competition of the Pre-Olympic group sports; 9. The athlete of the year; 10. Special award of the Olympic Committee of B&H.The expert jury had its session yesterday and after detailed consideration of the proposal of professionals sports federation of B&H composed the list of “Selection of athletes of the year 2013”, and B&H executive Olympic committee will have to confirm it.(Source: Fena)