Monthly Archives: June 2017

The End Came Very Sudden

Off we set this morning, Nora and myself, for our weekly summer cycling adventure, full of confidence and with the adrenaline pumping. We were feeling so cocky after surviving the first three cycles, that we decided to actually go outside the county bounds on this trip. ‘There’s a level stretch of road all the way from Castleisland to Ballyseedy Garden Centre, on the outskirts of Tralee,’ says Nora ‘and it’s only ten or twenty kilometres, we should be well able for it.’

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Well, I have to say that woman would sell freezers to the Eskimos because before I knew it, she had it all planned and ’twas too far too late for me to say that there’s a big difference between ten kilometres and twenty kilometres, and was she sure we’d survive the trek without ending up in Tralee General Hospital? I mean, I’d have sounded like a right wimp and anyway, there’s no stopping Nora, once she’s her mind made up about something. So I closed my mouth again and saved my breath for the ten or twenty kilometres cycle into Tralee.

So this morning at the crack of dawn, well ok, 11am, we’ve only to throw up the two bikes, on the bike carrier at the back of Nora’s car and we’re ready for off. Well, in theory, that’s what was supposed to happen. But that was without taking the complications of the bike carrier into account. I was under the impression that these things were supposed to make life easier for people. Well, that’s what Nora said anyway. But not a bit of it.

But what fecking sadist invented the bike carrier and why did he have to make it so bloody complicated! Just how long do you think it took two women, both with a third level qualification, to work out the conondrum, of how to position the bikes on top of that bloody contraption safely, so that it wouldn’t be a death trap to the poor innocents driving behind us?

Well, suffice to say, it seemed like half the bloody morning. We were pushing and hoisting, and gasping and pulling, for what seemed like hours. I was mortified, I mean, fair enough, if we were in the privacy of my back garden, I wouldn’t have minded looking ridiculous, but we were in full view of the neighbours(mine) They, honestly, would have been forgiven for thinking that we were having a workout in a mobile gym, with the amount of grunting and groaning and hand signals and swearing, that were going on from behind the car. I know they’re already talking about the state of my mental and physical health from the first cycle, and to see me behind the car, playing some sort of game with a bicycle is going to do nothing to improve my reputation, that much is pretty obvious.

So there was my bould Nora, holding half a dozen elastic ties in her hands and she not having a bull’s notion what she was supposed to do with them. To be fair now, I will admit that I was no help at all, because my arms were only breaking from trying to hold up the bicycle, while Nora tried to figure out what to do with the elasticated ties. Finally, someone Up There must have taken pity on us, because one of my neighbours emerged, and in an embarrassingly short period of time, the bikes were on the carrier, the ties were no longer in Nora’s hands and I could, at long last, free my breaking arms, without the bicycle falling down on top of my head, rendering me totally brainless.

By the time the two of us were inside in the car, ready for off, I was fit to crawl back into bed again, after first putting a generous dollop of arnica on my broken arms. But Nora wouldn’t hear of quitting. You know, I think in a previous life, Nora might have been a Jesuit missionary.

To be continued.

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The Decision is Made!

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It was actually Peggy who spotted the poster below in the library window, during her weekly knitting circle morning. Mavis, our local librarian is only brilliant at organising all sorts of activities for every age group in our local branch. We’ve had rap bands, writers’ talks, talks on how to grow your own yams, some sort of yoga from Pakistan, Indian meditation, Far Eastern meditation, Zen mindfulness and oh, God only knows what else. We’ve had everything in that library, bar Sliabh Luachra set dancing, psychic readings and seances. Although Peggy claims that one morning when she was doing a row of purl, the table moved. I wouldn’t set much store on that bit of information though as the whole village knows that building was thrown up in about six weeks during the Celtic Tiger years by Baldy Biggane, the Fianna Fáil TD, who’s in the construction business. Whenever anyone mentions Baldy and construction in the same sentence, Peggy nearly gets apoplectic, rolling her eyes to heaven in the most grotesque fashion and ranting on about destruction, brown envelopes, corruption and the planning system. And of course, this being Peggy,  we have to have a spiel about the brave men and women of 1916 and how the heroes above in the GPO, must be only turning in their graves, at the shoneens and the gobshites running the country now. She says all this without pausing for breath even. Jesus!

To be honest, part from swallowing mikado biscuits like she’s been on hunger strike for a week and upsetting the spirits enough for them to start messing around with the tables, I’m  not quite sure what Peggy actually does down at the library every Wednesday morning. I mean,  I haven’t seen anything like a finished product and she’s been part of the knitting group now for at least eighteen months. Wouldn’t any normal person have half a dozen blankets knitted in that amount of time, for Christ’s sake? As far as I can make out, it’s a pure gossip shop and the needles and all their talk about fancy stitches are only for show. Peggy and Lourda came near to putting each other’s eyes out only the other week with the needles, in a row over Brexit, and only for Mavis coming between them, God only knows what would have happened. That poor woman must be a walking saint to put up with Peggy and that Lourda Kennefick in the same room.

But to get back to the point I wanted to make. Ah, the point about the poster Peggy saw below in the library window, shure what other point is there? You see, Dolores’s only daughter Imelda, is getting married next year to some doctor working above in Beaumont, and Peggy, Bridie, Marilyn and myself are all shoe-ins for an invite to the wedding. Well, Peggy says that many’s the time she wiped that girl’s arse when she was in nappies and it would be a right slap in the face if she, Peggy, didn’t get an invitation. She got right aggressive, saying that whatever about anyone else, (meaning me, Bridie and Marilyn, of course)she had certainly earned her right to be there, and if she wasn’t invited, neither Dolores nor Imelda nor the fancy Beaumont doctor she’s marrying, would ever put a foot inside her door in the future, blah, blah, blah. Jesus, I wouldn’t mind, but the wedding is not till next summer, for feck’s sake. Anyway, Dolores put Peggy out of our misery by saying the whole lot of us were going to be asked. It’s going to be a right posh do, according to Dolores,  the whole thing is taking place in Dromoland Castle. Well, that got our attention alright, I can tell you. We were all in great form, sitting outside on my patio, drinking wine and toasting Imelda and Harold(the fiancé, the fiancé, shure, who did you think Harold was?) in fact, we toasted everyone in both families. I think the evening ended with us toasting the Minister for Health,  but my memory is none   too clear on this point….

It was the following morning, in the cold light of day, that the reality hit us! I was barely up when Peggy arrives in with a face on her that would stop a clock and the kettle was only just boiled when the other three appeared, looking as tragic as Theresa May on the steps of Downing Street, when she was trying to persuade the whole world that she’d won the election. It was Bridie who summed up our dilemma most clearly. ‘Jesus,’ says she and she waving the mug of scalding  coffee dangerously close to my head ‘ we’re going to be a holy show below in Dromoland Castle, in front of all the doctors from Beaumont, shure the four of us are like a herd of heifers after being fattened up to be taken into the factory.’

There was a short pause and then, all of us slowly put down the the ginger snap biscuits we were about to bite into and looked at ourselves. I mean, really looked at ourselves. It was Peggy who broke the awful silence.

‘There’s a notice below in the library window,’ says she ‘for something called Fairy Tale Slimming Camp. It said something about maximum weight loss being guaranteed with minimum pain.’

To make a long story short, the whole lot of us are going down to the community centre tomorrow night, to sign up for the classes. Shure, what choice have we? We can’t be waddling into, like, Dromoland Castle, swaddled in rolls of fat and making fools of ourselves.

I have a strong gut feeling this could be a very long year.

Vanessa

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The Return!

Well, no more excuses. The rain has cleared up, it’s blazing sunshine, the bike is sitting there looking at me expectantly. Luigi, the Maltese, has returned my helmet from wherever in the garden he hid it for the last five days and praise the Lord, it’s not chewed totally beyond redemption so…IMG_0252

Mind you, I feel very aggrieved as my cycling companions have all deserted me. Nora has just fecked off in the camper van to Waterford, with the pretty lame excuse that she hasn’t been to Tramore in years ( I mean, Tramore, for God’s sake..)and Eoin is studying for his Junior Cert music exam next week. Between you and me, I’m beginning to worry about Nora’s stamina and commitment, because prior to that she was so busy with exam supervision, that it was too late when she got home to wheel out the bicycle, at least, that’s her story. I think she might not be up for it as she looks very shifty when she’s trotting out these excuses, and refuses to look me straight in the eye. A sure sign, my mother always believed, of someone who was hiding something. Come to think of it, I didn’t see her for a whole twenty four hours after the last cycle.

Still, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt for the moment. Instead, I’ll practise being cunning and crafty for a change and use this solitany spell to get fitter. To steal a march on the two of them, well, Nora anyway, not so sure about Eoin though, he’s got youth on his side. Anyway, if I’m a bit fitter, I won’t be frightening the neighbours into thinking I’m having a heart attack, and making a show of myself in front of the whole road by gasping and spluttering, puce faced, as I come up the hill, looking like I’m fit to be anointed.😡 God knows, in this day and age, what with a comedian leading the Free World and the prospect of the DUP allied to the Tories, not to mention Brexit, hard or soft, people have enough on their plates to be worrying about besides the state of my health.

Jeez, the thought just struck me. Am I being completely irresponsible altogether going off on my own? What do you think?  Shure, if I collapsed off the bike, I could be  stuck in a ditch somewhere between Greenane and Allensbridge until Nora and the camper come back from Tramore and Eoin’s music isn’t on till next Friday. Jesus, I could be dead from my injuries and extreme malnutrition by the time all that happens.😟

Maybe I should think again.  I suppose I could always alert Josephineto keep a look out her window, just in case, like. Better be safe than sorry, all the same.

Jesus, I’d just so hate to be stuck in a ditch for the weekend and then be the talk of the parish for the rest of the summer. Well, wouldn’t you? I mean, like, the ignominy of it….

Image courtesy of Stock Photos.

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Cork Midsummer Festival

Beautiful sunshine in Cork yesterday made it seem like continental Europe. Strolling along Oliver Plunkett Street, I was struck by the crowds of people sitting outside bars and cafes eating, drinking, having a relaxed afternoon. Outside Market Lane Restaurant, I joined Mary-Anne, Darius, Margaret and She Who Shall Remain Nameless for a chatty, relaxed lunch in the balmy sunshine, IMG_0352before heading to Crane Lane Theatre to catch Sharon, the latest play from Charleville’s Katie Holly, following on from last year’s highly acclaimed Marian. 

Sharon was excellent with Irene Kelleher in the main role and well worth a visit. It’s being performed again this afternoon and next weekend. It’s funny, poignant and moving with some great acting from all three actors.

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