So there I was this afternoon exhausted after a day of getting ready for the move when this man walked in. All morning I'd been doing man's work taking things apart and unscrewing big slabs of MDF off the walls. The afternoon was being spent filling bags with rubbish, recycling stuff and putting stock into boxes. Lisa told me that I wasn't to bring anything home. Either throw it out or put it in the new shop was the instruction I got this morning. Hope she doesn't look under the bed in the spare room.....Anyway this fellow walked in holding his phone out in front of him. There was something about him that made me think he must be from Cork. Maybe it was the clothes or the walk I don't know but I knew he was straight off Patrick Street. "Hows it going bud?" he said in the strongest beautiful city accent I've heard in a long time. Looking up at me through his glasses with a slight stoop in his stance he made me smile after a long tiring day. "Grand boy, grand" I said hearing my own accent thicken. "De phone stopped working on me like. I only had it in de pocket and when I took it out it was dead like and I'm scared stiff of them" he said looking very worried. He looked like he was a couple of years older than me. As he handed it to me he said those immortal words "Its not my phone at all, its the old dolls" The old doll. I had to turn away to hide the laugh that was building inside. There's a phrase I hadn't heard in years. I'd forgotten it and here was this fellow in all innocence using it about his wife or girlfriend. If I remember it correctly the old doll never liked being called the old doll either. Is it a Cork slang? I've never heard it used anywhere else along with many other classic Cork slang words. Bazzer-haircut, on the lang-dodging school, jagging-kissing (jagging the old doll), gowl-fool, getting a fifty-when the old doll doesn't turn up for a date, fla-ubiquitous term used for sex, messing, attractive person, tired ( I'm flaed out tonight), lash-good looking woman, claim-I want to fight you, rubber dollies- sneakers. There are many many other words which make up the language for those of us who grew up on the Lee and its always great to hear them still in use. Two Cork people could talk in code for years without the CIA, MI5 or Mossad having a clue what they were on about. The fellow with the old doll's phone made me laugh after a long day and I was glad to help. He didn't ask me where the best place in town was for Murphs. Probably cos he knew that it isn't possible to get a decent one outside of the real capital!
Another program we enjoy watching is Big Love. On Sky Atlantic it stars Bill Paxton as a Mormon businessman who practices the Principle or polygamy to the rest of us.. the difference is that he lives in the suburbs not in a compound with other polygamists. He has three wives and they try to live a normal live hiding the fact they are all married to each other. The story line is well done and kept very believable. The series is funny whilst also being very dramatic about a serious subject. Everything is touched in Big Love..religious freedom, child abuse, women's rights, mental illness you name it its in there. Why any man would try to keep three wives happy whilst searching out a fourth is beyond me though!
Well today my darling daughter turns thirteen. Yes my little darling baby girl has become a teenager in a seemingly very quick time. No doubt its the same for every parent but those thirteen years went very quickly indeed. Today I've been remembering her at different stages of her young life and I have to admit getting quite teary at times. The little curly haired bundle of joy who came into our life after much screaming and swearing from her mother, the laughing joker who didn't want to go to "big school" after Montesorri and now the teenager beginning secondary school in three weeks. So much has happened in between that has gone to shape this wonderful young lady and we really are proud parents. The teenage years will probably be full of anguish, heartbreak, joy which I'm looking forward to and I will emerge the bruised, battered parent of a twenty something in seven years time. Ruby will have aged seven years but I will probably have put down about twenty!
Moving premises is quite a stressful business but today things started coming together. Simon, who I tracked down yesterday, has been in and finished the paint job I began. He seems to care a lot about his work and I'm glad I found him. The next couple of days should see me ready and moved in in time for opening on Monday. Today I began throwing out six years of accumulated rubbish from the soon to be old shop. Why I kept so much stuff I'll never know. Another day of clearing out tomorrow should complete the cleansing process. I'm almost over the stressful part now and beginning to look forward to the new start
Tonight we're going to watch The Killing. Adapted from a danish series and apparently its a very close adaption too. You can almost feel the grimness around you of the situation the cops and the family are in as you watch it. I don't want to give too much away but it deals with the murder of a teenage schoolgirl and the two police officers trying to solve the crime. Its not a thriller full of twists and turns, its a very subtle show probably very like what an actual investigation might be like. Certainly four episodes in I haven't an iota who the killer might be. Being a parent of a now teenage daughter I really feel for the parents involved. The acting is great,the script really tight and the settings perfect. Worth a watch.
Well those of you in the know will be aware I'm moving to a new premises. Yes John of John Street is moving to Main Street. A move not of my choice but now I'm actually doing it and have the premises got I'm quite excited by the idea. Last weekend was spent ripping bits off walls and painting layers of undercoat over the existing dirty red velvet paint job. The dirty red velvet was all over the walls and the ceiling giving the impression of being enclosed in a hooker's tomb. Being aware of my limitations I know that I'm no painter so after two days of slapping on undercoat it was time to find a proper painter to finish the job. After calling a few friends who were all busy till next week I remembered a very nice quietly spoken guy who's been in the shop a few times who is also a painter. Now I know him only as Simon and didn't even have a number for him, good going for a phone shop eh? So how do I find him? Driving round town looking for this guy I was reminded of doing the same thing with my father when I was a kid. In the Ireland of the 1970s and 80s the best tradesmen were to be found in the pub, there wasn't any official work, everything was under the counter. A booming black economy existed in those high tax high unemployment days. Any pay gotten from jobs was seen as a sort of bonus and spending it in the local bar was always an option. Having been born in a bar and part raised in one too my father would have been aware of this. Also he knew that Lent was the best time to get these men as they would have been off the drink. I remember him stipulating that the job had to be done in a certain time, before Easter. They always delivered on time more than likely cos they knew they wouldn't get paid otherwise. He always got the best guys, you certainly wouldn't have seen a bubbled wallpaper or chipped paint job round our place. I remember being amazed that a man who I'd watched effortlessly doing the most intricate painting work could have such a shaking hand when Dad would be paying him. Little did I know of the effects of drink in those days. Not that I'll have the same problem with Simon. A friend had his number and he's starting work finishing my poor beginnings tomorrow. I'm looking forward to dealing with him
Now that BBC4 has come to the Sky platform I've been watching a lot of excellent documentaries. None of the titles seem very exciting but I haven't found a bad one yet. One I recorded last night was The History of the British Fairground. Some brilliant old footage of the traveling fairs from the 1890's on and an eye opener for how important these fairs were. For the general public the fair was the first time they encountered electric light, moving pictures, boxing and many other things of the modern age. The fair people would go to a town a few weeks before the fair, film all the local people then charge them to see themselves on screen when the fair came to town. The footage of a man whose show was his twelve year old son boxing a kangaroo was bizarre, the kangaroo won by the way. The christian brothers weren't a patch on these guys. The hurdy-gurdys are in town here for a few weeks maybe I'll suggest a few acts to them.....
A beautiful day here today plenty of sunshine and pure blue skies. Can't say there wasn't a cloud in sight but you get the picture. The tourist season is in full flight as it should be by this time of the year. There is a glut of visitors at the end of July beginning of August time but by this early next month it will have all dropped off. Traffic jams, no parking, queues in the shops, packed footpaths all part of daily life for the next three weeks and we should be glad of it too. Tourism is the lifeblood of our town and without it the winter would be very long indeed. We all get annoyed at our town being taken over but we have to remember how important to our economy tourism is. More importantly these people are on their holidays and have to be treated as we would like to be on ours. As I say tourist numbers will drop off anyway in a months time, not too drastically thankfully as our tourist season is almost at the all year round stage which is a great boon to the town. The great thing, or one of the great things, about living here is that people visit from all round the world. Its great that friends and family come to visit lessening the burden on us having to travel to see them! In fact I've met people I haven't seen in twenty years just by the chance that they came here on holidays. What is true for our little town is the same for the country all over. Tourism brings in a shed load of money for very little outlay and the more than can be done to attract them the better it will be for the country. Failte Ireland or whatever the marketing people call Bord Failte these days should realize that tourists love our two greatest natural resources...the people and the scenery. A photo of Paddy and Brigid sitting at Slea Head looking out on the Blasket Islands will bring more in than any "focused campagn" ever will!
I'm still watching Frasier. Its on nightly on Comedy Central and no matter how many times I've seen each episode I still laugh as if its the first time. Its nearly ten years now since it finished but its still streets ahead of most programs for consistently good lines and acting. Hopefully I'll still be enjoying it in another ten years.
Well I managed a lie-in this morning at least until I got a text from my sister at about 10am. Even though I always tell myself the night before a bank holiday that I'll get up at 8 and do all those jobs I'm usually too busy to do, I never manage it. The temptation to take a lie-in when you're working 6 days a week is just too much. Now I know I don't have it too bad....during the week I could get up at 9am and still be at work by 9.30! Maybe washed and not fed but I could do it if I had to.. but I'm sure all of you with kids know that such a luxury never happens. The text from my sister wanted me to call her which I duly did. Now a call from a family member so early on a holiday morning is usually not good news and so it unfolded. Her son who is struggling with alcohol and depression has gotten himself in trouble again and now a previous suspended sentence kicks in and he's facing a five year prison term. His depression hasn't been treated as the court ordered service is understaffed and he was only assessed by an intern, once. He doesn't drink because he knows alcohol makes hm do stupid things. But he did Saturday evening and set fire to a wheelie bin. Too drunk to run away he was caught, brought before a special court sitting and sent away that evening. Our hope is that now this gentle 26 year old will get the help he needs when in jail but realistically what are the chances of that? We know he did wrong, he knows he did wrong but is sticking him in jail for five years because its what the law decrees going to help anyone? The Irish judicial system needs an overhaul badly but that's not going to happen when we need to bail out the banks now is it?
On a lighter note I had my first bottle of my homebrew last night. This is the first time I've tried brewing since I was sixteen. Glad to say the final brew was a lot nicer last night than the one brewed twenty-nine years ago. A nice IPA which was quite potent and a couple more weeks in the bottle will do it no harm at all.
Whats on TV?
I recorded the Italian movie Gomorrah a few weeks back after watching a very good documentary on BBC4 about the Napoli Mafia. The hold the mafia have on that city is incredible and it looks unlikely to be broken anytime soon. If Berlusconi's party aren't connected then I'm a Dutchman. The refuse hasn't been collected in eighteen months! Watching the movie last night was almost no different from the documentary. The movie was a very accurate telling of life in the city from five different viewpoints, each one dealing with the Gomorrah in some form or another. Harsh viewing but worth watching.