We started off from the back end of Castleisland town in the teeth of a ferocious gale. To be honest, the whole of Castleisland reminds me of the back end of something, though I don’t really mean to be offensive to anyone by making that remark now. ‘Still, ‘says my bould Nora, and she hardly able to get the words out of her mouth with the force of the wind,’at least, ’twill be behind us on the way home.’ Well now, I can’t say that piece of wisdom comforted me greatly, seeing that we had to cycle all the way to Ballyseedy Garden Centre before we could turn around to come back. Anyway, I hadn’t breath to answer as I was having a right job, trying to mount the bicycle in the midst of the swirling wind.
At last, we succeeded in pedalling off and we found ourselves wobbling out of town in the general direction of Tralee and trying to avoid the few motorists on the road at that time of the morning. Is it my imagination or do Kerry drivers drive awfully close to the ditches? I mean, don’t they know that a bicycle wobble is legal, and they’re supposed to allow for it when overtaking cyclists; particularly when there’s a high wind blowing? I nearly ended up in the ditch three or four times, before we made the relative safety of the open road.
Well, to say that was the most torturous cycle we ever undertook is definitely an understatement, my God, how we suffered, the two of us. There was no escaping that gale, cross winds, wind in our faces and then, trying to control the bikes which were weaving all over the road. It would have been far easier for us to climb Croagh Patrick, barefoot! I swore an oath anyway that I wouldn’t be caught again doing a run in bloody Kerry, what with the weather and the appalling drivers, not to mention, the godforsaken aspect of Castleisland as we took our leave of it. It truly perplexes me that they can coax so many thousands of tourists into the place. Jeez, give me West Cork anytime, at least, they can drive properly there.
At long last, just when I thought I could pedal no more, I spied that roundabout not far from our destination. Jeez, praise the Lord. We’d make it after all. I pulled in to tell Nora the good news. Her face only brightens. ‘Well, says she ‘ didn’t the end come very sudden after all?’ I looked at her and if looks could kill! Very Sudden, I almost shrieked, shure, we’ve only been pedalling like mad women most of the fecking day. How on earth did she come to the conclusion that the End had come Very Sudden and it hadn’t anyway, shure, hadn’t we still all that distance to travel back? Nora is one of those people that can take positive thinking to total extremes!
It took us over two hours to reach the garden centre and we were only in bits by the time we bounced into the car park. We’d had to stop every so often because our helmets kept falling down around our ears, to the back of our heads and down over our eyes. From time to time, there would be a screech from Nora, and I’d risk life and limb turning around to see her wrestling with the bike like a dervish, with the helmet completely blinding her and she making straight for the nearest ditch. When we parked the bikes in the garden centre and took off the helmets, we were fit to be anointed. Worse, we found there were big pink circles around our eyes, which were only streaming water and both of us had hairstyles like Sid Vicious and the Sex Pistols , all standing to one side like a drunken stalagmite! I wouldn’t mind so much but I’d got my hair washed and blow dried the day before; fifteen euro it cost me and now that money was gone down the fecking drain, shure, I might as well have burnt it.
We staggered into the coffee shop there, taking care to stop first at the ladies, to tidy our hair and wipe our eyes, so we wouldn’t be frightening the children and drawing attention to ourselves for all the wrong reasons. Then, we ordered a large pot of tea, a massive salad and sank into the chairs, nearly crying with relief at being on solid ground again, without the swirling wind and the buck lepping bicycles. We could hardly hold the forks and knives properly because our whole bodies were vibrating like a drill hammer.
It took us over an hour to recover and we still sat there, dreading going out into the elements. At last, we had to move because the cafe was closing and we were getting some right funny looks. The only thing that was keeping us going was the thought of the wind to our backs as we pedalled homewards to Castleisland. We finally got our noses outside the door and then, Nora only stops dead in front of me, so I crash into her and we both nearly fall over.
‘Jesus, Mary and Joseph,’ says Nora, ‘ I don’t believe it, it simply CANNOT be happening -‘
‘What, what, ‘says I in a panic, cos I couldn’t see beyond her and Nora never swears so it must be something right bad.
‘Nothing at all, ‘ says she wildly, throwing her arms to the heavens,’only the bloody wind is after changing and ”tis going to be right into our faces the whole way back into bleddy Castleisland again’
What, what? Did I just hear that right?
Well, for ……….sake, could the two of us be any more unlucky?