Herself was in Cork at the weekend for a conference. She stayed in my parents’ house and her uncle and aunt ferried her around. It was reasonably successful. She says that her grandfather is unused to having teenagers in the house and when she failed to materialise for breakfast by 9 on Sunday morning he rang my sister and got her to drop round to check that the Princess was alright and not lying in the bed at death’s door. She was alright.
My brother: There was an event in the golf club last night for members who died during the year and I went along.
Me: That was nice, was there anyone you knew there?
Him: Yes, lots of people and they said nice things about Mum. Do you remember her friend, M from up the road?
Me: Yes, she died at almost the same time as Mum.
Him: Well her son was there as well and I was talking to him.
Me: Oh I don’t know the sons at all, they were all a good bit older than us.
Him: Did you tell me one of them died?
Me: No, I never heard that.
Him: Well, somebody told me that.
Me: I’m sure I’d have heard. I don’t think any of them died.
Him: Well, yes, I know that now.
I was in Cork at the weekend with herself. Nothing really happened but here we are in November and I have committed to posting every day. It’s only the 11th and I’m exhausted already.
I took herself to the cemetery to see my mother’s grave and almost missed it because the enormous overgrown hydrangea bush nearby, which is a handy marker, had been chopped down by somebody in an excess of enthusiasm. We went at dusk and it was quite beautiful. I couldn’t help feeling that had she known, my mother would have been delighted to be interred in such an interesting cemetery.
My father and my aunt were pretty remarkably perky. I made herself consult with my father for his live take on the rise of fascism for her history essay but as he was only 15 in 1940, it was a bit underwhelming – he just summarised what we knew already – but he did comment that his views were formed in part by the papers his aunts and uncles took: the Daily Mail and, oh God, the Express. I can only rejoice, I suppose, that he himself is a Daily Telegraph reader.
We went out on Friday night for my sister’s birthday which was a bit disastrous as both she and my brother were quite ill and herself was exhausted. We ate our way around Cork over the weekend. After our ill-fated dinner on Friday night, herself and myself had a satisfactory breakfast in the Crawford, then picked up lunch ingredients in the Market and in the evening she had chips and Tanora from Jackie Lennox’s; the following morning we had breakfast in the Nano Nagle cafe (aside, is it too early for the return of Hanora as a girl’s name?). All in all a culinary tour de force.
How was your own weekend? Much food?
A couple of years ago, I rescued a ceramic hen from Cork . She was a feature of my childhood when she would be brought out on special occasions to sit on boiled eggs. My father slightly resisted her departure to Dublin but the house in Cork is so full of stuff that he yielded and let her off to the bright lights of Dublin.
When I got her to Dublin, my family felt she needed a name, so she was called Olga Bracely after the character from the Mapp and Lucia books although in character she was much more a Mrs. Mapp type than an Olga Bracely as the latter, despite her great name, is in fact a lovely individual whereas my hen clearly had a very difficult personality.
Until this week, she sat on the shelf above the sink superciliously surveying her domain. Sadly, though, the other evening I stuck something up on the shelf leading to a domino effect which broke a picture frame and knocked Olga Bracely to the ground where she was smashed to smithereens, only her head and tail remaining intact. They are currently sitting forlornly on the shelf but they may have to go. Alas. Call me craven but I just don’t think I’ll mention it my father.
When I was 10 the Fastnet Yacht race was a disaster and a lot of people died. I don’t really remember much in the news from when I was young but I remember this and the Whiddy island disaster because they seemed local catastrophes and my parents spoke about them. Along with the Tuskar Rock air crash which happened the year before I was born, they were background disaster news which was local to us. Even then, like all Cork people, I was a Cork partisan.
So, on that basis when RTE put out a radio documentary about the 1979 Fastnet race, I was curious to have a listen. The first thing that struck me was that many of the voices on the radio were old men who sounded just like my father – all restraint and composure and very Cork . These are people you don’t hear so much on the radio here – it’s mostly Dublin voices of all ages. And I heard some names I knew because this is Ireland, and my father used to sail a lot, and one of the people speaking was a colleague of a friend.
And I was surprised how very terrifying it was and somehow the calm, low level way these (mostly older, mostly men) spoke about it made is seem somehow more terrifying. I was fascinated. Highly recommended if you think you might be at all interested.
In a highly competitive field, I think that recommending a radio one documentary may be my most middle aged move yet.