Sunday 2 October 2011

Settling in

Well this is my second attempt at trying to write this, I managed to lose the first version just as I was about to finish it or at least a version I was happy with. So I'll try to redo what I was doing with the vim, vigour, passion and whatever other bollocks I try put into my work. Hope all you millions of folks out there appreciate the effort I'm putting in here. Funny you know I was talking with my old friend Siobhan yesterday and she was talking of how therapeutic writing might be for me. Well Siobh you might be right but the annoyance of losing a nights work has fecked me off. Lets hope I can match the heights of that magnificent piece lost in cyber world. Reminds me of a something that happened to favourite author of mine, Garrison Keilor. He travelled by train across America with the only copy of his first novel, Lake Woebegone, and the hope of finding a publisher. Well he left it on the train, never found it again and had to start from scratch. Its one of my favourite novels but he always claims the lost one was his best piece of work.

Well with the late Summer and Autumn my family have had I think we're finally beginning to settle into our new life. Ruby and I are almost on time for school each day, only one Stampa Deanach so far and if I can get away from work by five o'clock we're home by six. The terrible news is that Spin SouthWest can't be got from the top of the Connor Pass till we're beyond Castlegregory but every cloud has a silver lining as I can now listen to  5/7 Live or Classic Drive on Lyric for a portion of the journey.  Maybe RTE will realise at some stage that we're not all enthralled with the presidential race and we'll get some real news. Its amazing how the famine in Somalia has finished now that Dana and Co. have started their race. If the Aras was in Athlone would they be giving it blanket coverage? Anyway I've done a lot of driving these last few weeks much more than usual as I rarely leave Dingle and when driving on my own I'm always on the lookout for hitch-hikers. Not to chop them up and scatter their remains all over the county bounds... no, just for the company. Somewhere recently I read a piece that hitching was a dying occupation which would be a pity. In my youth I hitched all over.. from Cobh to Cork, Cork to Clonakilty, Dingle to Cork, Cahirciveen to Kenmare, Limerick to Dingle, you name the route in the southwest and I've hitched it. Well in those days when I was stuck on the side of the road for hours on end I made a promise to myself that if I ever grew up and got a car I'd never pass a hiker. Its a promise I've fulfilled as much as possible cept maybe for the drunk who's hitching outside of Moran's most evenings. Nothing personal as I used to pick him up but the stench got too much. With the smell of alcohol combining with the fact the last time he washed was when he was last sober it all got too much.

In July at a roundabout close to Shannon Airport, I'd just dropped my boy Thomas to his flight home, I picked up a middle-aged Frenchman down on his luck. The poor man had arrived in Westport for three weeks of fly fishing only to be robbed on his first night. "I was so stupid" the shrug of the shoulders, the hand movements were stereotypically french. He'd put all his money in his wallet and left it in his bag while he slept. In the morning he woke up to three empty beds and the money gone. They left the wallet. The insurance company would only pay up after six weeks so the hostel owner had paid for him to change his ferry ticket home and stored his stuff till he came back in September. With the money he'd left in his pocket he was trying to make it to Rosslare by Tuesday, it was Sunday afternoon. As we drove he spoke of his life, this was one of those fellows whose life just doesn't work out for. He'd been a merchant seaman all his life, had to retire on health grounds but wasn't due a full pension for two years. Now he was trying to live off the whatever the french system would give him. La wife of nearly forty years had divorced him taking his savings. His only child, a daughter, hadn't spoken to him in three years, probably a connection there I guessed. This Spring his only sibling, a brother, died of cancer and the reason he was travelling by ferry and bus to Westport was that he was off the road for drunk driving. If the journey was longer I'm sure there would have been more. "I'm not a bad man just wasn't nice to be around sometimes I guess" he said with a shrug of the shoulders "but now I don't drink."  I left him at the Waterford roundabout, I presume he made it!

Yesterday was spent emptying the old house of furniture and moving it all to a lock-up in Annascaul run by an interesting character of whom I will write soon. But the real thing about yesterday was the unselfish help I got from that man Aiden again. This time we were joined by Garry, another friend without whom I'd still be there. People helping me or my family always gets me emotional, I really do appreciate it. On the way home to Tralee Aiden rang to see how I was doing. I thanked him again for all his help "I know you appreciate it but there's no need I was glad to help. You know that"  he said. Have to admit I was in tears after hanging up!

1 comment:

  1. I am the same way, John. It's harder to accept genuine kindnesses than outright rudeness. I suppose its the feeling that you are soldiering on, bearing the weight of your own troubles, and someone sees it and lends a hand out of nowhere. It restores your faith in humanity. Hope Freddy is doing better and that you are all well...x