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Posts tagged ‘Family’

Reign of terror

The battle was long and arduous. At least one of us was in tears at any given moment, and I’m sorry to say that most of the time it was me. I had experience and physical presence, but she had guile and stamina.

She was focussed and absolutely remorseless, employing a wide range of tactical manoeuvres. They were always unpredictable, pitiless, and admirably devious. She used all resources to hand, and many that weren’t. She demonstrated an impeccable line in psychological torture.

She played a flawless game of strategy and cunning; a worthy opponent indeed. I emerged victorious only after I threatened to dismember her teddy bear.

It’s not easy putting a four year old to bed

Train please, God

I called my cousin Michelle, and arranged to meet her at Green Park.

“You’re dragging Michelle and her baby in to the center of London?” said Róisín in disbelief.

“What are you on about? She’s used to it.”

By the time Róisín had finished with me I called Michelle in a torment of guilty anguish, and accepted her invitation to lunch at her home in Northfield.

Michelle still doesn’t look a day over fifteen; her two year old, Cormac, is already twice her density.

A couple of weeks ago, Michelle took Cormac blackberry picking. Cormac is a big fan of lorries, trucks, trains and anything that produces large quantities of carbon monoxide or, preferably, cement. So you can imagine his excitement when a train chuffed by beside the field.

Upon his strident demands for ‘nother!, Michelle advised him to pray to God to send a train his way. And so, her three year-old spent possibly the most passive two hours of his short life, sitting on a dried cowpat with his hands pressed together, intoning: “Train please, God. Amen.”

After two hours, Cormac started to get tearful, whereupon Michelle apprehended a passerby and desperately asked when the next train was due. Turned out there was only one a day.

“I can’t believe God couldn’t have sent the little fella a train,” muttered Michelle darkly.

With such promising capacity for pure evil, it may be hard to believe Michelle worships and praises the Lord on a regular basis. But indeed she does, and is otherwise a lovely, wonderful woman.

Long after lunch was over and Michelle and I had talked ourselves hoarse, Michelle asked if I would like a tour of their new house.

“I’d love to-“

“You can go to the bathroom,” she said.

“Oh. Er, do I have to?”

“Well, you want to, don’t you?”

“Actually, yes,” I said, surprised. “How did you know?”

“These days, I can sense these things.”


I’m not sure whether her newfound ability is similar to bowel-whispering, or more psychic and applicable to horse racing and blackjack.

“Poo poo?” enquired Cormac.

“No, wee wees,” responded Michelle. “That’s right, isn’t it?”

“Yes. But if you don’t mind, I’d like to keep my options open.”

Do you need a reason?

The Outlaws invited two friends to The Bro’s birthday dinner. Raewyn is a friend of Rosina’s, and I’m not sure whose friend Chris is. Possibly nobody’s. I’m not sure how it came up, but as everyone sat around the table surreptitiously burping, somebody mentioned Chris was into astrology. He recently told Sian, a friend of Rosina’s, that she had no relationship with her mother which apparently came as a surprise to Sian because she cried for a week.

“Sian, she is, the crab?” said Chris. “Cancer, yes. These people, their relationship with the maternal mother is, how you say? Bad. Complicated.”

“I’m Cancerian,” I said.

“How’s your relationship with your mother?” asked Brian.

“Pretty good, I reckon.”

Chris shot me a look and, if I had more sense, I would have been chilled to the bone. Instead I flashed him a smile which, if I communicated the sentiment accurately, should have said, “Shove THAT up your arse.”

“I’m Aries,” volunteered Raewyn.

“Aries,” mused Chris. “Yes. Aries, you are hard worker. You work hard. But you will be alone. Always alone.”

“Oh,” said Raewyn.

“Yes,” said Chris.

“At least you have your friends,” said Rosina.

“What about Aquarius?” I asked.

“Why you want to know?”

“Husband,” I said, pointing a thumb at the subject.

“There is no connection between you. This man and you, there is no reason for the two of you to be together.”

“Terrific,” said Husband.

“You will come to understand this later,” said Chris confidently.

“So, we’re poked?” I asked.

“Yes. I can tell you do not believe this,” Chris addressed Husband, whose waves of skepticism emitted their own frequency.

“Well no,” said my husband. “It’s just that . . . sort of . . . basically it’s a pile of rubbish, isn’t it?”

I guess silent adoration doesn’t count as a connection

Róisín and Tim

Róisín and Tim are engaged! I am so thrilled and excited for them. This is the happy couple on the night they agreed to shackle themselves to each other for the remainder of dreary eternity.


Looks like they can’t wait

Baa Baa Black Sheep to the tune of ‘Fernando’

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

Irish holiday

Deadlyjelly stuck to Eoin


Bertie and Mum on the road to The Farm



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