Category Archives: Childhood

Forking Spoons !!

​Language we were repeatedly tolf was a beautiful and wonderful thing it was not to be abused.there should be healthy respect until one had a full command of its opportunities …sounds could bring a tear to the most stern face …It is language…


The Wall

​The air is different here .. The sun requires a furrow of the brow …entering the courtyard  you see bodies and their faces pressed against the sun drenched South facing walls .. a firm but benign hand on your shoulder suggests you forward into the heat association your now flushed cheek finds shade in the act of pressing yourself onto and into the wall … The insinuating disembodied hand withdraws .. a voice enters your  cranial cavity and instructs you to listen to the wall breathe ..Theirs is not rushed ..on the first breathe you hear ..hold yours …on the second return the breathe … then and only then can you leave…


​”JESUS Maurice do something about your toe nails!!! ..your scaring the children!!!!! “…fathers big toe  frrquently made unannounced appearances on sunday afternoons during a matinee..his argyll socks were no match for his virile talon … just as yul brynner was about to draw his gun  mother would rise from her high backed arm chair with  light sherry in one hand …and with much distress lobby  for my fathers toes to withdraw into the tired recesses of fathers slippers … father was under some secret agreement which meant no toe clipping was ever carried out unless it was a leap year ..


​And finally the fetid truth found its way into the  threshold of our auburn utopia …Mother screams in horror …”Where did you find that ?”…Father rocks to and fro  suggesting “We all get some fresh air “…I remember the day as if it was 39 years ago …In fact it was …we were seated in the lounge in our shorts profoundly  sun burnt ….Lee Marvin had an unfortunate hanging from a window …we all ahhhhed in terror and dermal discomfort… Our shouting dislodged an etching from the mantle piece ….mother twisting in her maxi skirt reached to block our gaze …at what I was later to discover was our true origin….The horrible truth was our nobility was not from two successive campaigns including Rourkes Drift nor Tibetan exploration ,or leading thousands of men to their graves in the great War ..not from warning of a possible rising of nationalists while in the employ of Dublin castle  and sadly not from being the only family to supply anaemic bears with extra blood at dublin zoological gardens but a much greater provenance, that of the oldest accolade of man that of buffoonery. …

Uncle Elizabeth

​Our Uncle elizabeth and Auntie morgan   played host to our family each summer in the idyll of their farm in the southwest of Ireland  …while fuel prices soared and armoured cars delivered money to the banks …..ourselves  and our cousins dressed in the trophies of my uncles participation in ww2 …my aunts contribution were mounds of purple hair  discarded by her mobile hairdresser … the german   helmet and desert shorts were most popular ….despite my fathers protest at our attraction to siding with the enemy   we found ourselves very  triumphant as baddies … although none of us choose  to be adolf….we seemed unconvinced by the allied expeditionary force ….

Pony hound 

​Sylvie stared at it in silence  then back at me ….what is it daddy ?….with a grin on my face I pronounced ”   I believe it to be a pony hound  the perfect pet for a young girl  a combination of a pony and a dog what do you think ?  “… “But daddy  its a thing  not a proper pet !!… “well sylvie   I think  this is more manageable … lets take it to the vet and to find out what it eats ….”


​Although we grew up during the 1970s  our domestic lives were free of the political turmoil that visited other parts of the island at that time …..however    my  mother, she carried a derringer in her bag ….. every now and again we would be asked to get her hand bag …and as if she dreaded but anticipated an eventual day …she would bring out a small pistol …much like bette davis in a film noir  with smoke issuing from her nostrils …backlit by our standard lamp… she would lean forward in her armchair pointing  the nozzle at us and say calmly “I brought you into this world and i can take you out !!!”  The pistol was on her person most of the time ….fathers hunting rifle was underlock and key …. with that in mind we as children  kept  tennis rackets under our beds just in case everyrhing got out of hand …