A Walk at the Athlone Institute of Technology
          A grey blanket of damp cloud hung over Ballinasloe as the B.A.R.A. walkers prepared for their usual Tuesday morning walk .       But this was no ordinary Tuesday!    Jimmy Lyons had arranged a visit to the A.I.T. International Indoor Arena at the college complex in Athlone.... the first of its kind in Ireland ! 
With military precision the cavalcade of sensible cars, some even the proud wearers of tow-bars, emerged from the damp carpark of the Fair Green, and led by our Chef d'equipe,     we headed east, where the wise men came from and left the lonesome west behind.    Some mavericks attempted to strike out on an independent forray ,but were quickly restrained.   At 1100 hours we slyly slipped off the M6 at th Birr/Athlone exit, and craftily made our way to gravelled carpark within the campus.    "No Parking Tickets needed here ", group leader announced to his relieved troops.
        Out of the shadows our tropical guide Dermot appeared and warmly welcomed us . Logistics reported no loss of vehicle or personnel, and so our visit began.
       What a visit it was! The new Indoor Arena is a wonder... an example of what can be done when the correct people are in charge.  The warm colourful arena with acres of light is worth seeing.  It is no wonder Eamon Coughlan said that his only regret was that he would never break a world record on it !  For most of us it was a reminder of how things have changed for the better , and perhaps made us slightly jealous that we somehow belonged to the wrong generation.   Still , no sour grapes .  The younger generation are, and will continue to make excellent use of the facility.     Olive and Julie ran a full lap.... no bother! Everyone completed the usual walk, but most preferred the flat to the banked area.
        Then from nowhere, the college president , the man responsible for the project appeared to greet us and remind us of of the work Jimmy Lyons had done for athletics over the last 50 years .   It was good to hear this from an outsider.   Very often we do not appreciate the prophet among us.     Then Photo calls were arranged with the Malaysian Ambassador, the Malayasian Head of Education.   Charming and gracious they posed for shots which included the National Champion, John Travers, a Gold scholarship athletic student at A.I.T.
        Eventually after a question and answer session , we hungrily made our way to the college canteen, with its many located dining areas.   An impressive multi-choice menu was carefully examined and Antonio got more salmon than she bargained for.   Noelle as usual played mother and picked up the tab !
       The day was one to remember.   Sadly we wound our way over the Shannon through showers of soft summer rain, back to the west, where young men went to seek their fortune ..... but not recently.
Report from special agent  J*HN  B*L*ND 

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