Sunday 4 December 2011

Christmas Rejects

Now this is heaven. Its raining out, its cold out, its getting dark out. All this and I’m under a blanket on the couch, the fire is blazing and Freddie is cuddled up to me, so much that I can hardly move. Ruby is on the other couch reading, cranky as only a teenage girl can be but if you don’t disturb the beast it will leave you alone. The dog is walked and in his kennel. We got caught in a hailstorm in the woods but that all seems so long ago now. Lisa is out meeting a friend for coffee. Before she left my darling wife brought me a cup of tea with a chunk of homemade porter cake. When I say chunk I mean a slice that would feed both Klitchsko brothers for a week. What a woman, I may tease her incessantly but I love her to bits.

After the walk in the woods this morning I collected Ruby from the bus. A friend’s Mum had taken the two plus one other friend to Cork for the weekend. A weekend of Christmas shopping, they headed off Friday morning giving them almost two full days in the real capital. They stayed in the Clarion hotel just in case they needed any extra comforts. Now exhausted after two days of shopping and room service she’ll only communicate with hand signals, tired dismissive ones at that. Christmas shopping for me was a trip with four or five friends to the city by train, lunch in BurgerLand on Patrick Street and trying to stretch what little money we had to buy presents for all the family. One year I stretched it by buying all my presents from Woolworths and came home with such tat that my sisters made my father bring it all back the next day. There was I proud out that I had money left over but the imitation brass ornaments and “Best Aunt in the World” mug went back to be replaced by soap on a rope, folded cotton hankies, patterned drying-up cloths. All still probably lying untouched at the bottom of wardrobes throughout the Great Island.  It took a while for me to get over the shock that my original presents weren’t good enough but whenever I hear Woolworths being mentioned I think of the poor rejects.

Freddie always misses his sister when she goes away. Even though they fight daily and he says at least once a day “I hate Ruby”, he really misses her on weekends such as this. Last night he sat up between his Mum and Dad watching The Fantastic Mr Fox which made him very happy. He’s a funny little chap; he’ll take against something for no reason only to decide months later that he loves it. The Fantastic Mr Fox is a perfect example. Lots of times I’ve tried to get him to watch it, I really wanted to see it myself, but no way would he budge. Then last weekend he spotted it whilst flicking through the movie channels and decided he loved it. The DVD was bought during the week and he’s watched it so often now it’s a wonder it hasn’t worn out. He’ll be the same with food, green Granny Smiths being his current obsession. After falling asleep on the couch in his mother’s arms, Freddie and I went to bed about eleven or so. Fred normally sleeps in with me these days as we have to watch out for nightime seizures. The little fellow can’t even escape the epilepsy when he’s asleep. The privilege I feel of having him wrapped around me in the bed is immense. Usually I’ll read for a while then whilst still sitting propped up on pillows the book will be put down, the light switched off and I’ll drift off to sleep ensconced is his arms. Bliss!

Dingle was rocking yesterday as the Other Voices music festival was in full swing. Other Voices, now in its tenth season, is a series of concerts put on in the local St James church over the first weekend of December. Only capable of seating 80 souls  St James has seen Amy Winehouse, Elbow, The National, Jarvis Cocker, Damien Rice, The Frames, Ray Davies, Snow Patrol among countless others perform over the last decade. It’s a great week in town in what is usually a quiet time of year. The dark streets are full of musos in their trendy clothes and designer glasses happy not to be disturbed as they go for a stroll or pint. The big trucks with the staging and lighting begin to arrive on the Tuesday and town only returns the normal about a week later. Unfortunately this may be the last year as the costs are becoming too high for the production company to cover. Let’s hope someone can see sense and help finance this increasingly popular event. If Tourism Ireland are awake it’s been shown live on The Guardian Website, covered by The New York Times and a video of Rufus Wainwright performing a coupe of years ago has reached 10million views on YouTube. You can’t buy coverage like that or come up with it at a marketing workshop!

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