Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

PRIDE and the motivation behind picking up other people’s rubbish with Tom Butler, Ballincollig Tidy Towns

September 15, 2019

Ballincollig Tidy Towns

I’m always blown away when I bump into Ballincollig Tidy Towns volunteers up early on a Sunday morning as we head to the Regional Park to walk our two dogs, Honey and Bert.

Normally it is a person working diligently by themselves with their litter picker and their black bag. I always make a point of saying “hello” to them and saying “thank you”.

I quietly ask myself the question…. “What could possibly motivate you to get up on a Sunday morning and voluntarily start picking up other people’s rubbish and tidying up our town?

Our downtime is precious, time to rest, time to do our own chores, spend time with family and friends and to enjoy our hobbies, whatever they might be. As for these people, well, how do you explain it?

I was delighted to have the chance to finally chat with Tom Butler, a friend from back in the day who has been Chairperson of Ballincollig Tidy Towns for the last 20 years and ask him this very question.

To try to understand, I asked Tom about the influences in his life, lessons learnt from his scouting days, lessons from his dad, Jim, and what drives him to do what he does each day. He explained how he got involved and the incredible difference the awards have made to towns and villages all over Ireland.

Why does Tom do what he does? – it’s simple, it’s all about Pride.

Click here to listen to the chat with Tom in the Win Happy podcast 

A huge thanks to Tom Butler and the team in Ballincollig Tidy Towns for making our place so special.

Enjoy the show!


Greg Canty is the producer of the Win Happy podcast, which is brought to you by Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Marketing, Graphic design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork 


For information about podcast production, feel free to contact Fuzion

The Gardener

May 4, 2013

By the way ..not my garden!

I just knew it ..

When he came in the door with his notebook and pen and carefully took down the details I knew we were in trouble.

The garden was in a state, the grass was up to your kneecaps and it had been totally neglected since the end of last summer. I reckoned our poor Flymo wasn’t up to the job, so the idea was that we would try to find someone who could come in, give the whole place a once over and leave it in a way that we could look after it ourselves for the rest of the year.

Bear in mind that we have a nice 4 bedroom detached house in a housing estate with very average sized gardens both front and back.

After he left us we saw him pacing the front garden – It looked like he was measuring the area. Not good I thought.

The following day his quote arrived by email – €1,560 !!

Oh my god – I thought it must have been a quote for the whole year but when I read it carefully I realised it was for just the initial tidy up!

If there was ever a moment to spur me into action, this was it ..the next half dry evening the Flymo came out and together we attacked the grass – it took two more evenings and a few hours on the bank holiday Saturday but we cracked it!

We bought weed killer, moss peat, some flowers, a yard brush and spent pretty much the rest of the Saturday at it.

I totally despise gardening and this for me was a real punishment day (and evenings) and there is still plenty more to do.

I don’t care enough about the garden to have it perfect and I’m sure our expensive friend would definitely have had it spick and span but to me this was not worth it.

I guess at times we are like the “gardener”.

We do take careful notes, we spend time gathering as much information as we can, we try to fully understand the prospective client’s needs and issues and the challenges they face in their sector.

Armed with this information we go away, we do our own research and we write a Marketing and PR plan for them that will hopefully achieve their objectives. We then prepare a budget to execute the plan as economically as possible.

At times this is fine and everything proceeds but there are times when it is just too much for the prospective client and they must pass – sometimes they decide to cut their own grass!

Their garden will more than likely end up being like mine but sometimes with budgets being so tight that will just have to do.

The important thing is that we all do our best to drive forward and while that can be difficult with limited resources at least ..keep driving forward.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing & PR firm with offices in Dublin and Cork

Dog mess and the big lesson!

December 12, 2011
Bing watching telly

I love this show !

I must admit that I never wanted a dog – It was part of the deal that had Deirdre emigrating from Tralee many moons ago!

I’ll move to Cork as long as we can get a dog” she declared most definitely.

I agreed to this request in the genuine hope that she would forget about it in time. This strategy worked for about 9 months but unfortunately she did not forget and the day of reckoning finally arrived .. she ganged up on me with Ellen, my daughter and I started to receive emails at work with pictures of  “rescue” dogs, each with very sad tales.

I gave in eventually and we made the trip to the West Cork Animal Rescue Centre and chose the poor quiet fella in the corner who already had the name “Bing”. He had short hair – we were told be wouldn’t grow much bigger and that he wouldn’t shed much and true to their word neither came true! He grew to quite a size and he has totally destroyed the house with his light dog hair.

Now, I have eventually grown to love him but he is definitely Deirdre’s dog. He is quite a funny fella and one particular quirk of his is that he loves watching TV – if there is an animal on a programme he gets particularly interested but he likes plenty of other stuff. As I write he is actually glued to the Mel Brooks war movie “To be or not to be”  (check out the photo – he has good taste Mel Brooks is hilarious!)

In the 10 years that we have had him I have become quite used to most of what comes with the whole package of having a dog except for … you guessed it, dog mess!

It’s bad enough that the garden is destroyed (grass cutting was always a pain but now it is a very perilous operation) but the worst moments are when we are out walking him and he decides to mortify you in public. To be fair to him he reserves this embarrassing practice for grassy areas but I absolutely cringe when he has his moment of glory (sometimes I think he does it deliberately to me) just as someone is passing by.

They never say anything as they pass but you know exactly what they are thinking as they pass: “Disgusting, and I hope they clean up the mess that their dog has made“. Of course they are right to think this and quite correctly there are laws to back this up.

According to the 1997 litter laws  – It is not an offence to allow a dog under your control to foul in a public place, however it is an offence to let your dog foul and fail to remove and dispose of the foul subsequently

The horrible reality behind this law is that when you walk your dog in public places you must be armed with your little plastic bag and when your precious four legged one decides to do his business then you have some awful business to do. This is one of the most horrible things to do and when it happens I insist that the ownership laws are applied strictly, “DeirdreHe is your dog!”

As horrible as this task is, it makes sense and as law abiding citizens we need to be fully responsible.

Quite’s your dog, so its your mess and you are expected to clean it up.

Imagine if every mess was sorted out in this way..

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Me and my Flymo!

June 14, 2010
Me and My Flymo!

Me and My Flymo!

Before you get any sudden ideas that I am a grass cutting, green fingers, gardening enthusiast let me promise you that there is nothing I hate more!

The very sight of the lawnmower makes my stomach churn, when the grass growing weather kicks in I always see the clear downside – grass that starts growing ..

For some reason last Saturday one of those strange once off events occurred – having returned from a meeting with a prospect (Saturday was the only day that suited, that’s us for ya!) a weird feeling came over me and I “wanted” to cut the grass and I was actually in good form about it.

I just don’t understand where the feeling came from. I was nearly whistling as I took the trusted Flymo from the shed (if it had feelings and could talk it would have been in fear watching me approach and would definitely have had a thing or two to say).

I grabbed the extension cable, grabbed my iPod and headphones, set the music on shuffle, hit that start button and off I went & what an eventful hour and a half I had.

The kids from the estate, recognising that this was an unusual occurrence were all excited and arrived over and started chatting (despite the headphones) with me and then started teasing by unplugging  the machine – did it bother me, nope .. I was in great form.

The music was kicking – I went through Human League, Faithless, Eels, Oasis, Free, Reuben Steiner and whole pile of other cool stuff, I had a great think about work, life and the universe.

A gentleman approached me (he had put me in the position of expert, I guess!) and asked me about the virtues of the Flymo as he had been warning his son against buying one .. “would you get electrocuted easily with the lead dragging behind you?” was his worry

Nah, just be careful and besides there is no need for petrol and servicing .. the Flymo is great I told him! I changed his mind but he did turn down an opportunity to try out the orange machine  for himself – he had his chance.

Before I knew it the job was finished, the grass was looking respectable, I cleaned the machine, put it back in its home and grabbed a bottle of cold beer and savoured a great job done and this very unusual occurance!

What next I wonder ..

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

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