Many Irish kids of my generation (the 1990s) were raised on a staple diet of spuds and Lego.
While also being a fun toy for children to play with for over 80 years, it also has educational benefits for kids as it develops their problem-solving skills, focus and attention to detail.
Also ideas of symmetry, balance, shapes and sizes are explored during play with Lego.
However, sadly many give up their beloved blocks long before adolescence and they are resigned to a miserable existence gathering dust in the attic, waiting for the next generation to come along to discover their joyous uses.
Thankfully, not everyone drops this pastime. Some people continue using Lego into adulthood and with enough passion and hard work they are able to produce pieces that are a sight to behold.
Take Polish man Michal Skorupka for example. A logistics department manager in a distribution company by trade, but his real passion is in Lego.
His speciality is in constructing realistic agricultural machines from Lego, but he has plenty of experience with military and off-road vehicles, too.
As he says himself, he “focuses on combining Model Team–style bodies with complex Technic innards and likes to push the boundaries of size and scale”.
Seeing as a “simple” model can take three to four months to complete, with a more complicated one rising to 12 to18 months, it really is a labour of love.
Coming from a farming background Michal developed a love of machinery from a young age, as he spent his youth driving tractors and repairing them with his father, which gave him an invaluable insight into how machinery works.
As he grew older he was able to marry his passion for LEGO with his love of machinery, to create lifelike tractors and agricultural machinery from LEGO.
LugPol, or Lego Users Group Poland, is a website that brings together adult Lego fans from all over Poland.
Although Michal uses web-based platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and online forums to display his work (his online name is Eric Trax), he still takes part in exhibitions all across Poland and plans to take part in the Skærbæk Fan Weekend, an event in Denmark which modellers from all over Europe will attend.
When asked if he treats making Lego as a hobby, Michal gives a simple, definitive answer: “It’s my hobby. I’ve never treated it as a source of income, although I have received various proposals, even from machine manufacturers.”
Police in Northern Ireland are appealing for information on the theft of a slurry mixer. \ Philip Doyle
A slurry mixer was stolen from a farmyard in the Mullycarr Road area in Co Tyrone last week, according to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
“It was reported that sometime between 5:00pm on Saturday 7 July and 12:00pm of Tuesday 10 July, entry was gained to a farmyard and a Slurry mixer was stolen,” Constable Brownlow stated.
The PSNI is appealing for anyone with any information or anyone who might be suspicious of items offered for sale online to come forward and contact the police in Dungannon or on 101 quoting CC 989 of 10/07/18.
“Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111,” Constable Brownlow added.
A tanker drawn by a tractor hit the front of a bus.
A crash this afternoon in Newtownards, Northern Ireland, involving a tractor trailer and a bus has left 15 people injured.
A PSNI spokesman told the Irish Farmers Journal that the collision occurred on the Belfast Road in Newtownards.
"It was reported that shortly before 4.10pm a tractor, towing a trailer, was involved in a collision with a bus close to the junction of Ballybarnes Road," they said. "Fifteen people who were travelling on the bus were treated at the scene, a number of them were taken to hospital for further treatment. None of their injuries are believed to be life threatening."
The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust said it was treating 11 people at its Ulster Hospital in Belfast on Monday night as a result of the crash, including one in a serious condition and one stable.
Pictures of the scene show extensive damage to the front of the bus, which was hit by the tanker trailer. An eyewitness decribing the accident on social media said that the trailer came off the tractor before hitting the bus.