One of our neighbours was 70 recently and another neighbour had everyone round for a mild afternoon celebration. It was nice in a low key way. The 70 year old was born on our road and had all kinds of stories. He remembered when only five families on the road had cars. One of them was the family who lived in our house. The father would take the battery out of the car and bring it in to the house every night to make sure that it didn’t get too cold. The 70 year old remembers that one morning he heard the man who lived in my house offer a girl from another house a lift to school with his own daughter. “No thanks Mr. R,” she said, “I’m in a hurry.”
When I was in Cork a while back, I very kindly and generously gave my brother a lift back from the pub about midnight. As we got back to what I suppose at some point I will have to stop calling my parents’ house, we saw a girl – late teens maybe – sitting on the pavement, propped against a wall, alone and passed out.
We parked the car and went back up the road. She seemed extremely vulnerable to me in her skimpy summer outfit. We tried to wake her up but to no real avail. Then her phone beside her started to ring so I answered it and it was a friend looking for her. I told him where we were. In the interim, the girl woke up and threw up on the pavement several times. She got up on to very shaky feet, pulled down her skirt and started to talk. I was actually surprised by her level of recovery. Her friend arrived and we handed her over and she wended unsteadily off into the night with him.
I suppose I know that young people get drunk. It’s not like people were particularly sober when I was in college. But I don’t ever remember seeing someone abandoned by friends like that on the side of the road. Maybe she slipped away from her friends. I’m not sure what the moral is here – I mean several leap to mind but who am I etc – but it made me feel a bit gloomy all round.
I went into one of those phone fixing shop and there were two women behind the counter. I said that it was nice to see women running the shop as it’s quite unusual in these kinds of shop. They were quite pleased. One of them said that only the other day a man had come into the shop and asked them whether there were any men working there because “no offence, but women are no good with phones.” Another man came in the door, took one look at them and threw his eyes to heaven and walked out. If you don’t believe this, I can recommend this podcast.
As I write, the Italian exchange is somewhere over France. Everyone in the house, except Daniel, remains Covid free.
We took the Italian to visit the Guinness Storehouse which I have to say, I found pretty tedious but he seemed to find mildly interesting, or perhaps he was just being polite. Aside from the staff, Michael and I were the only Irish people in the building.
We also took a day trip to Howth which was pretty much perfect. The weather was beautiful and the Italian threw himself into the sea with admirable enthusiasm.
He was delighted to see two seals in the water nearby. It turns out seals in the water are not a feature of the Mediterranean. He dried himself off by lying on the beach looking like some kind of golden Greek god surrounded by pasty Irish people. Then we went for a very nice lunch on the pier and we were home before the rain started.
This morning it was lashing but I took him into town to buy presents for his mother and sisters (his father and brother got Guinness tat but he felt he needed jewellery for the women in the family). He cooked us all lunch – pasta amatriciana – which was delicious and we dropped him to the airport where chaos levels were medium/high. It took us an hour of queuing to get him to the security check where we left him to carry on alone. It was only his second flight alone ever but he seems to have managed to get off alright a mere three hours after his arrival at the airport.
He was a really nice young man and in himself no trouble – in fact, very chatty and engaging for a teenager whose first language is not English – but God, the timing turned out to be very awkward. I am exhausted. I’m still a small bit sub par from Covid and the energetic entertaining was well, energetic. I am hopeful that our French arrival, due Monday, may be put off until the end of August.
We were supposed to be going to a 50th birthday party at the weekend but we have cancelled in case we give anyone Covid and to tend to poor Daniel who is really not very well. I am off to Cork on Sunday to see my friend from America who is back for a couple of weeks and I really hope nothing intervenes to stop that. I am holding my breath here.
So Daniel was a bit under the weather yesterday. We tested him – negative. For this relief much thanks. Michael and I took the Italian for a walk up to Eagle’s Crag.
We had lunch in Wicklow. That evening we went out to dinner and the theatre – Translations in the Abbey, not a great production I thought and a bit hard for the Italian but, you know, fine. Daniel felt a bit miserable so didn’t come.
This morning Daniel announced that he felt pretty sick and a bit dizzy. He took another Covid test. I honestly despair. Of course it was positive. He and the Italian have been sleeping in the same bedroom. We can only pray at this point. We’ve moved poor Dan into a camp bed in the study. On mature reflection maybe we should have moved the Italian but we’re committed now.
Meanwhile herself has received a communication from a close friend that he has Covid. I despair further. She tested negative this morning but has a bit of a sore throat so really who knows what tomorrow will bring? If we could just get the Italian – currently symptom free! – on a plane home, that would be great. His mother is looking at options. I mean if he has to stay here for 10 days in quarantine his English will be amazing but I’d say he’d rather be in Ischia on holidays with his friends.
And our French exchange is due to arrive on Monday. Pray for me.