Daire picks up carpentry jobs around Kenmare so my niece, Ceara, spends a lot of time at the Rectory. When Ceara was not occupied ordering her devoted granny around, I was Chief Executive Babysitter (the perks of the job made up for the salary). She has just turned four and a gorgeous little kid – although she seems to have inherited my cheek and distinctive passive-aggressive leadership qualities. She never walks when she can run and is always singing, making up the words as she goes along.
Whoever puts her to sleep has to sing her a bedtime song, so I introduced her to a medley of seventies classics. One night after putting her to bed, I joined Daire on the doorstep outside.
“What the frig was THAT?” asked Daire. “It sounded like . . . was it Abba?”
“Well spotted. Fifty quid if you can name the song title, year and position in the Irish top 40.”
“The tune was ‘Fernando’-“
“But the lyrics-“
“Baa Baa Black Sheep. Yeah, I don’t know any words after ‘Can you hear the drums, Fernando?’
Eoin is a full-time card-carrying member of the hippy community in Sneem, about 10 miles out of Kenmare. He lives in a log cabin on top of a hill, hangs his food from the ceiling so that rats won’t get it, craps al-fresco, and says he has never been happier.
I’m taking his word for it; after all, Andrew and I aspire to his lifestyle, although without the rats and with more insulation and a bathroom equipped with walls and, preferably, a shower