On Tuesday I walked to the Coliemore Harbor slipway for a swim. There was the sea, as always, my greatest consolation. It looked like mirrored glass and Dalkey Island loomed before me in all its ancient earthiness, the smell of seaweed everywhere. It was what locals would call a pet day.
who did i meet Ken the Ferryman. My buddies at Dalkey Rowing Club recently ran a charity race in memory of Ken’s lovely brother, Ger Cunningham, who died suddenly in Spain.
“I’m glad so many people came out to support us,” said Ken. “We raised a lot of money for the Kevin Ball Repatriation Trust. They brought his body home for us, did everything, went through all the paperwork. Without them we would have been lost.”
He’s right. It was an amazing day, despite the sadness and heartache, and seeing the lines of rowboats dotting Dalkey Sound was absolutely breathtaking. There was great excitement as rowers from all over Dublin’s east coast set off from Coliemore and back. Bless you Ger.
“We would love for you to come to Rathfarnham and share your life with our ICA members,” said Breda Ahern, Vice President of the Marlay ICA. “My husband John can pick you up.”
“I’d be happy,” I say.
Some people hate speaking in public – but I have to say I love it. I don’t get nervous at all. It’s almost cathartic.
And do you know something? It was a great night overall. The Irish Countrywomen’s Association is an incredible organization with a combined membership of 15,000. These amazing ladies promote the Irish language, revitalize traditional crafts and improve standards of living in rural and urban Ireland. love what they do.
I was about to leave for the airport for my little trip to Milan when there was an almighty knock at the door. It was the Russian with the broken heart.
Oh no, I thought. That will delay me a lot.
“Can I come in for a moment?” he says, bubbling with his usual vitality. “I want to show you something.”
“Jesus, you really do choose your moments,” I say. “I’ll be taking a taxi to the airport in an hour, so you better hurry.”
I put the kettle on.
“Well, what’s new? That’s a mighty big haversack you’ve got on your back.”
“I have a new plan for my life,” he says.
“I left my apartment. I refuse to pay €1,200 a month for a tiny room in Glenageary,” he says, staring at my cozy loft.
“Where are you going to stay?” I say, eyeing the lock on half my door.
“In a tent in the woods,” he says.
“You’re going to freeze your ass off,” I say, handing him a coffee and one of my homemade oatmeal cookies.
“Nope, nope, I’m a survivor,” he says, munching. As I rushed into the bedroom to get my passport, I heard a mighty bang in the front room, the Russian loaded a mountain
things from his haversack.
I couldn’t believe the arrangement he laid out on the floor.
“Look what I have to survive,” he says, sorting his belongings carefully and meticulously. “First, a bag of organic honey, good for energy, nut tools for climbing, waterproof Patagonia pants, an inverted compass, and Indian toothpaste.”
He doesn’t put fluoride on his lips and only drinks raw milk.
“It’s going to be hard to find raw milk in a forest,” I say. “And what are those little cans?”
“Burt’s Bees cream for my chafed knees, Badger Balm for my lips,” he says as the stuff kept coming.
I watched in fascination as he unloaded a blue plastic shoehorn, a pink file for his feet, a tiny thermostat, a micropump for his inflatable bed, a wooden comb, a radiator key, a large Moleskine notebook, and spare batteries in case he ran out , the side of a pair of broken Tom Ford glasses so he knows the exact model to reorder, a fishing knife, a black belt with silver studs from Sendra, a deadly looking American Estwing hatchet, and polishing brushes on his boots.
“Finally,” he says, “two external hard drives. These contain 500 black and white films that I can watch on the iPad.”
How is the new girlfriend doing with the move?
“She’s not happy that I live in the forest. She has a room in her house for me. It’s very cozy, but as you know, I like solitude and nature,” he says. “I will save €7,200 by early March and add that to my savings to buy a plot of land and build a log cabin. The rent is killing me and everyone else in Ireland.”
He’s right about that. Then he lovingly laid all his belongings on top of each other. They would know he was in the military. But what he really wanted soon became clear.
“Biddy, have you ever considered putting an outside shower on the side of the cottage?” he says. “Every time you come out of Coliemore after your swim, could you take a quick shower outside? I could install one for you if you are not in Milan.”
Jesus, he is deadly. The Russian always knows what he wants, what is useful to him, even if it is not clearly stated. I’m sure I’m way ahead of him. And he knows it.
“No thanks,” I say, knowing damn well he’d be outside lathering up like the kid in the Levi’s ad.
After clearing out my fridge and arming myself with four bags of oatcakes, he slung his bulging haversack over his shoulder and whistled down the Coliemore. God bless him.
When I told the taxi driver that I was going to Italy on a blind date, he started questioning me.
“What kind of guy are you looking for?”
“Well, he must have a sense of humor,” I say, “and a robust appetite, the kind of boy who loves his food so much he’d almost pick the pattern off his plate.” Oh, and he must like wine and hugs.”
“What about the looks?”
“It doesn’t bother me at all,” I say. “Sure, an ugly Italian could try harder. I could just close my eyes and listen to that beautiful accent.”
“Does he have to be wealthy?” asked the driver.
“Oh god yes,” I say, “preferably wealthy with a bad cough.”
As we sped to the airport, I racked my brain trying to remember what my Italian looked like. I only saw him once, the night he FaceTimed me after the wine tasting at the Barnhill Stores. He wasn’t bad at all.
“What happens if you don’t like him?” says the taxi driver. “Wouldn’t you be very disappointed?”
“Oh god no,” I say. Back to the rear view mirror…
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/im-off-to-milan-on-a-blind-date-with-an-italian-does-it-really-matter-if-hes-rich-and-handsome-42029835.html I’m flying to Milan on a blind date with an Italian. Does it really matter if he’s rich and handsome?