Val’s wonderful windows are a Limerick tradition

first_imgNewsCommunityVal’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 center_img 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 WhatsApplast_img read more

How to Have a #Vandog

first_imgWith Tom Tom Festival in the books, the Road Team is ready for the full festival season to really get underway. We’ve left the comfort of Charlottesville, Virginia and embarked toward the woods of Brevard, North Carolina landing in Charlotte for Tuck Fest this weekend. While we travel, Henry, our scruffy trash dog, lays on the bed behind us, starring out over his tiny home kingdom. Our #vandog goes everywhere with us, and because of that, he deals with a lot. We drag him to festivals, sit next to him during long car rides, and have him lay inside while we reorganize the van for the third time that day. But being a #vandog has its perks too. Free reign at campsites, new smells every night, dog friends all over the place, and pets from almost every human that walks by. Check out below how we make the best life for our #vandog while living the #vanlife ourselves.Food and WaterThe most important of all things. We have a special container we keep his food and water in so his food doesn’t get wet and we don’t have to pour water out every time we move locations. Henry self-regulates his food intake so we make sure he has the opportunity to eat whenever we stop. This means taking more time at gas station stops, finding places to put his bowls at friends houses and closing it before we sleep every night so critters don’t get to it. It also means packing in extra food every time we backpack or hike. He’s worth the extra pounds.ExerciseOn long travel days, Henry is just as antsy as we are in the van. Gas stations usually have a grass plot to stretch both human and dog legs. I like to do a walk over first to check for broken glass and anything else dangerous he may encounter. We play fetch with him at whatever location we end up at to get a bit more energy out before bed. The glow in the dark ball really helps with that.On non-long-travel-days, Henry tires himself out and puts himself to bed early. These are the days that make #vandog travel so rewarding. When we hike, he is often off leash if the regulations allow it.“Your dog behaves so well!”Thank you, it didn’t happen overnight. I spent hours and hours with Henry as a puppy training him after work. I’m still training him. We work on behavior every day so I can continue bringing him everywhere. If you’re curious, I used a softer version of the Koehler Method. In essence, you and your dog are a pack of two and the human is the lead dog at all times. Order the book (we’re not getting any money for it, it’s actually what we used years ago), take a look, and post with questions. If you’ve met Henry, you know he behaves 95% of the time, is calm, and will put up with two-year-olds pulling on his ears while he eats. That’s a win in my book.Dirt in your HomeIf you’re choosing to live in a van, then you’ve already chosen to live a life with dirt. Your bed will get dirty, your floor will be a mess, and your dog will love it. Henry sleeps on a dog bed at the foot of our bed in the van, but we still invite him up on our bed every once in awhile. Shake everything out, bring a broom in the van, and embrace the dirt.HealthTick check, shots, rest after injury. Henry blasts through fields and scrambles rock walls. He’s become graceful in the outdoors. But that doesn’t mean he comes home clean and injury free every evening. His paws get cut up, he gets ticks under his coat and is exposed to a lot of weird bacteria. We make sure to give him the rest he needs, check him for ticks EVERY night (also ourselves), and get him to the vet whenever we’re in town for a checkup. He takes heartworm medication monthly and gets all his shots on time. He is most definitely more healthy than Ben and me. The other thing to take into consideration is leaving your pup in the van during the summer. We try to leave him in the van as little as possible. It gets dangerous very quickly when the van starts to heat up. We have multiple fans, water, and always park in the shade if we know he’s going to be in the van for an hour or two. But it’s all worth it.Having Henry with us changes the game when we come back from a hard day and he is really to cuddle. He raises moral every chance he gets, everyone at festivals loves him, and he’s living his best life from this van. Not all dogs are meant for #vandog life. Temperaments have to be taken into consideration when changing lifestyles. But Henry is a #vandog through and through!There is one way for this tour to be a reality, our sponsors! Sending a thank you shout out to our title sponsor Nite Ize, and all of our other awesome sponsors like Crazy Creek, National Geographic, Sea to Summit, Mountain House, Lowe Alpine, Old Town, Leki, HydraPak, UCO Gear and Wenzel.last_img read more

Joc Pederson’s catch, Adrian Gonzalez’s 12th-inning single lift Dodgers to win

first_imgNicasio exhaled, then sat through two more scoreless innings on the edge of his seat. In the 12th inning, Adrian Gonzalez singled off Dale Thayer with the bases loaded to lift the Dodgers to a 4-2 win. The former Padre finished 2 for 5 with three RBIs against his former club.The takeaway, for Pederson: “No one has to put the team on their shoulders.”As for his catch, Pederson said, “The situation makes it bigger than it was.”Maybe. The catch certainly prevented a walk-off win, hushing Petco Park in the process. It also served to separate Pederson from his peers, the type of play that will be recounted when discussing National League Rookie of the Year candidates. SAN DIEGO >> Justin Upton bent over at the waist, staring toward the outfield in disbelief. Upton, whose eighth-inning home run the day before won a game for the San Diego Padres, thought he’d beaten the Dodgers again Sunday afternoon. Swinging on a 3-0 count against pitcher Juan Nicasio, Upton’s fly ball screamed toward the warning track in dead-center field.Center fielder Joc Pederson got there roughly the same time as the baseball. Pederson caught the ball over his head, hit the wall face-first, left a nice big crinkle in the padding and fell down — with the ball in his glove.The ninth inning ended there, tied 2-2 with a pair of Padres marooned on the bases. Pederson jogged back to the dugout as if he hadn’t just made the catch of the year. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Pederson has an “old school” method of tracking fly balls. He picks the spot where he believes the baseball will land off the bat, puts his head down and runs to the spot. “It’s something my dad (former Dodger Stu Pederson) has taught me since I was little,” he said. Few major league outfielders catch baseballs this way. Few will do it better than Pederson did in the ninth inning Sunday. “He’s definitely one of a kind,” said Mike Bolsinger, the Dodgers’ starter. The Dodgers (37-26) won two of three games in the series against their division rivals. The San Francisco Giants (34-30) dropped their third straight game at home to the Arizona Diamondbacks to fall 3 1/2 games out of first place in the division.That gives the Dodgers a temporary cushion as they head to Arlington for a pair of interleague games against the Texas Rangers on Monday and Tuesday.Bolsinger dominated for four innings. He had retired nine straight batters in a scoreless game when the opposing pitcher, James Shields, batted with two outs in the fifth inning and singled to right field.The next three batters all reached base, on two hits and a walk, including an RBI single by Upton that gave San Diego a 2-0 lead. That was the end of the line for Bolsinger, who struck out seven batters in 4 2/3 innings but also allowed six hits and walked three batters.Bolsinger will remember the no-decision as a side note to the weekend if he remembers it at all. The bigger decision came Saturday when his longtime girlfriend, Lauren Georgia, accepted his marriage proposal on Coronado Beach.The Dodgers got on the scoreboard with a solo home run by Andre Ethier in the seventh inning. That was the only run — and one of five hits — allowed by Shields, who walked three batters and struck out six.Joaquin Benoit took over in the eighth inning and walked Yasiel Puig. The next batter, Gonzalez, punched a double through a heavily loaded right side of the infield to drive in Puig, tying it at 2-2.The Dodgers’ bullpen pitched masterfully in relief of Bolsinger. J.P. Howell got the final out of the fifth inning, retiring Yonder Alonso on a bases-loaded groundout. Howell ran into trouble in the seventh inning, leaving Chris Hatcher to face a first-and-third, one-out situation with Upton and Matt Kemp due to bat. Hatcher froze Upton with a 96-mph fastball for strike three, then got Kemp to fly out.Nicasio survived a rough ninth inning, his first appearance since the nail on his right middle finger cracked earlier in the week. The injury left him unable to throw a breaking ball, and all of his 16 pitches Sunday were fastballs.Josh Ravin (2-0) took over in the 10th inning in his fourth major league game. He allowed one hit and struck out three in two innings. Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his ninth save of the season.“We hung in there with pitching,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of the three-game series. “Honestly, it was a sloppy series for us. We made way too many mistakes. Hopefully, we correct some of that and get better.”last_img read more

FIFA probes Uganda FA chief Magogo over illegal ticket sales

first_imgSources told AFP on Monday that Swiss prosecutor Cornel Borbely, who was chairman of the ethics committee’s investigatory chamber before being removed last month, had opened an investigation into suggestions Infantino might have sought to influence the election of Madagascar’s Ahmad Ahmad as president of CAF in March.The investigation stemmed from evidence provided by African representatives, a source close to FIFA said.Several African witnesses had been set to travel to FIFA headquarters in the Swiss city of Zurich but at least one of them had their summons cancelled after Borbely was removed from his post, the same source said.British newspaper The Guardian reported on Sunday that Infantino was being investigated for claims he had promised, along with FIFA general secretary Fatma Samoura, to accelerate payments of development money to national football associations if the presidents voted for Ahmad.FIFA announced their decision to remove Borbely and Germany’s Hans-Joachim Eckert from their posts in the ethics team during the organisation’s congress in Bahrain last month.Borbely said the decision was “a setback in the fight against corruption” as there were “several hundred cases” of corruption pending.RELATED STORY Share on: WhatsApp Uganda’s Magogo with Infantino at a Doha meeting early this year. PHOTO FUFA MEDIAKampala, Uganda | AFP |  The head of Uganda’s football association Moses Magogo said Tuesday he was under investigation by FIFA over his alleged involvement in the illegal sale of 2014 World Cup tickets.According to a letter sent from FIFA to Magogo that was seen by AFP, the football chief is accused of selling the complementary tickets allocated to Uganda.“We got the communication from FIFA on the allegations raised and my legal team is handling the matter,” Magogo told AFP, confirming he was under investigation.The probe comes after Ugandan lawmaker Allan Ssweanyana — who also co-owns a local football club — petitioned FIFA in May, accusing Magogo of selling all 177 tickets allocated to Uganda to an agent in the United States.FIFA allocates tickets to all national associations to ensure that all fans worldwide can be able to access them at affordable prices.Magogo, who has been in office for five years, is set to have his term extended after the football governing body Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) on Tuesday disqualified his lone challenger, ex-international Mujib Kasule, for his post in the August 5 elections.Magogo has recently been elected to several Confederation of African Football committees after playing a key role mobilising regional support for the elecion of FIFA president Infantino last year, and also for the new CAF president Ahmad Ahmad early this year.Prior to the CAF elections, Infantino visited several African countries including Uganda.Legislator Ssewanyana (middle) has brought the charges against MagogoNo investigation’ opened into Infantino over CAF, says FIFALausanne, Switzerland | AFP | Football’s world governing body FIFA assured Tuesday that “no investigation” had been opened into president Gianni Infantino after sources said his role in the Confederation of African Football’s presidential elections was being looked into.Maria Claudia Rojas, the new president of the investigatory chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee, “has confirmed that all files have been handed over to her and that there are no open preliminary or investigation proceedings involving the FIFA President”, the organisation said in a statement.“It is in FIFA’s interest that the work of the ethics committee is not disrupted by conjecture of any kind,” the statement added.“Therefore, FIFA will refrain from commenting any further on baseless speculation and will instead concentrate on providing concrete information.”last_img read more