New Year at Peggy’s

Isn’t it awful how flat you feel after Christmas and facing into January? I mean, beforehand, you’re flying around like a blue-arsed fly and then; nothing and you’ve eaten and drank so much that you feel wicked enough to fight with your own finger nails.

Anyway, there I was on New Year’s Day morning having a lie in. I had a thumping headache from all the wine I’d drank the previous evening. Suddenly,  I heard all this tatarara coming from the garden next door, Peggy’s garden that is. At first I tried to ignore the thumps and whacks by burying my head under the pillow but there was no way you could shut them out. So I gingerly sat up, holding my head and swearing that this was the very last time I was imbibing too much. It wasn’t even the wine, I’d swear but the bottles of cider. What with all the talking and laughing,  I never know until it’s too late how much I’m actually after putting away.

To be honest, I don’t even know why I celebrate the arrival of the New Year, I actually hate all the festivities – all these strange people joking and grinning at you – I mean, the celebrations, they’re obscene. Why I continue to do it year in, year out astounds me and must put me down as a feasible candidate for the biggest mug in the Western Hemisphere Award.

I actually blame Peggy. Left to myself I’d quite happily read a book and eat my way through a box of Black Magic. But no, nothing will do Peggy but we must have a bit of a get-together in her place to mark the end of the year and welcome in the new one. Then of course, Bridie and Dolores are invited (Not Mick, thank the Lord for small mercies) and naturally Lourda Kennefick drops in for a small one and before you know it, we’re eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow.

As the night wears on, Dolores does a few turns of a sean-nós dance, Peggy and Lourda do this totally bizarre version of the brush dance even though Lourda had a hip replacement a few years ago. That woman quite honestly hasn’t the sense she was born with. At the end of the night, we normally all catch hands together and sing Auld Lang Synge and then Lourda starts crying, Peggy starts lamenting that she mightn’t be around for the next New Year and starts snivelling into a paper serviette, I start sobbing because the place wouldn’t be the same without Peggy despite all her faults so’s in the end Bridie gets everyone to sit down cross – legged on the floor to do a bit of yoga and deep breathing to calm us all down before we go home.

Well, between the deep breathing and the fumes from the alcohol we’ve consumed, we all gather ourselves and stop the snivelling and sobbing and stand up rightly embarrassed with ourselves. Eventually, after a whole load of long drawn out good byes – I swear if the village wasn’t already awake celebrating the New Year  that Lourda Kennefick would wake everyone up with all the shouting, laughing and back slapping she goes on with. It’s at this time every New Year that I get an almighty desire to give Lourda wan right belt across the kisser to shut her up. I have never, ever, drunk or sober, in all my born days, met a woman that irritates me as much as Lourda Kennefick. Finally, I escape next door and throw myself down on the bed without even undressing and I’d say in two shakes of a lamb’s tail, I’m off in the Land of Nod.

But I’m wakened as I say by all this whacking. First of all, I think I’m dreaming but no, when I open one eye(the light from the window almost blinding me) I realise that all the thumping is coming from next door. Jeez, it’s like someone has taken an axe and is whacking it off my head. I stagger out of bed and make it to the window. I can tell you my head is only splitting open with the pain. And when my eyes eventually become accustomed to the brightness of the day, who do I see but the bould Peggy and she out in the middle of the garden, taking huge chunks out of this old press with an axe. I mean, an axe at her age, she must be nearly eighty for God’s sake. With great difficulty I get the blasted window open, stick my head out slowly and ask her softly (Because my head is killing me, stupid) to stop making such a fucking racket at this hour of the morning. But of course with all the racket, she can’t hear me. In fact, the woman can’t even see me there at the window with wan right wicked looking head on me.

After what seems like an age, she looks up and my wicked head puts her so much out of her stride that the axe narrowly avoids clipping her foot. Jeez, the woman is an accident waiting to happen. So what exactly is she doing, I ask through gritted teeth, breaking up the old press and annoying the bejasus out of the neighbours? She’s breaking up the old press, she informs me, which by the way is only massive, and putting it into bags for kindling to sell  below in Gilhooley’s Mace for 4 euro a bag. People these days are too bleddy idle to go out and gather cipins to start the fire, she says so she’s got it into her head that her New Year resolution is to make a killing out of selling bags of kindling. And the words are no sooner out of her mouth than she’s back swinging that axe like a madwoman again.

As I look at her there in the garden, my mind is filled with the most evil thoughts. I mean, how long would I get if I actually killed the woman – I could always plead diminished responsibility. And with that thought, I slowly gather myself and holding my head, carefully begin the long walk down the stairs.

See you next week

Vanessa.

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