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Drumlins and Doldrums

Writing.ie | Member Blog

Deirdre Conroy

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I found love…

Took a break from Landlady house over the weekend and headed midland to rolling drumlin country. I hadn’t seen my friend Major Morris for quite a while; last time was when he’d flown his 2-seater to a country wedding in France and told me he’d give me flying lessons. Can’t wait.  But this weekend I just needed some time to write that pesky submission to the Oireachtas review committee on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. Not something I do every day, you understand.

Major Morris has never knowingly been in the army, but he does have a real tank in his woodland, the deer rub themselves on it. I’ve named him after one of his cars. I sat in it and found the key in the ignition, what a joy to play with that gearstick and clutch, like learning to drive all over again. I want it, I just want it so much, the sky blue leather interior, the little grab handles, the perfect chrome mirrors. I might have to move in for a few weeks and get a go in all his motors, there’s tractors, quads, range rovers, obviously, as it’s a working farm, not suburban Dublin where the ‘Ailesbury Tractor’ is de rigeur. In fact, the boot of the range rover converts quite handily into a bar banquette, as Racquel and I found when Major brought us to his local on the sunny bank holiday Monday and we sat dangling our legs from the boot, protected from the wind, basking in the setting sun, with a vodka and tonic, nary a slice of lemon or lime to be had, and one cube of ice if we were lucky.

The local pub is like a stage set, only better as it’s real. There’s the display stand of Jacobs biscuits, with packets of stuff not seen for twenty years. Yellowing packets of cornflakes, tins of mushy peas. In essence, essentials, especially creamy Guinness as Major attested.

He’d put the lamb of leg (Racquel’s contribution to our vocab) in the Aga that afternoon, and went foraging with her in the walled garden, while I chewed my pen. All we had to do was return to the cosy kitchen and tuck in. Four V and T’s later we thought we’d better get back to check the animal. Alpha Romeo was on his way down from Dublin and timed his visit as the cornucopia was set on the table with everything from the garden, except the wine was from Li
Major Morris is another petrol head, like Baron Von Richterscale and Ironman II and indeed my Alpha Romeo, they all fly planes, drive fast and push life’s edges, whether that’s foolhardy or using the gift of life to the max is their business. I’m more of a wimp, with a wonky knee, from my last speedy excursion, that’s put a halt to my gallop for the next three months. Literally, I’ve got three horse-riding Groupon deals and they’ll be out of date soon.

It was the first meeting of Major Morris and Alpha Romeo, once they got onto motor racing, they were away, leaving Racquel and me to play DJ. 

Quite a contrast to the night before, when Major and I were alone reviewing how life had changed immeasurably in the last five years and the paralysis that comes with the stagnating financial regime imposed on this country’s citizens. The paralysis is one thing, but there’s another dark, hidden side, one we all know about, but when it stares you in the face, the bewildering facts of suicide are very different to hearing it on the radio. Two of MM’s very close friends, one man, one young woman, have taken their own lives recently. We will never know why they decided they couldn’t take any more. Could not take ANY more of this life. If our society is getting more broken, and it is, because the number of suicides is massively increasing, not coincidentally with the mountain of financial misery that abounds, how is it going to be repaired? Because nobody seems to know how to fix it. And reports of banks assisting mortgage borrowers are not quite as altruistic as they sound, sure, interest-only is great for a few years, but the principle piles up, and a whacking great bill awaits you, while, of course, there are expensive charges for the favour. But enough.

Lady in Waiting

By Tuesday I had my submission beaten into submission and went to have a look at the two mares in foal, they don’t have to worry about the Health in Pregnancy Bill, though all the men on the farm were worried about them. There are the three wwoof-ers (guys from France, Spain and Vietnam getting farming experience through the World Wide Opportunities in Organic Farms) who were going to take it in turns to get up during the night to keep an eye on the leading lady. And there was Major Morris’s friend, Peter Porsche who wandered into the kitchen on Tuesday morning to find Racquel dressed for work.

He’d only wandered in for tea and toast, a break from the crop spraying or something like that. And there she was at the Aga sipping her cappuccino, in full special green kit, hair and make-up in splendid condition, the navy heel highs and security tag dangling, as if she’d dropped from the sky. As he picked his jaw up from the floor, she said, ‘Yes, I am the Major’s new cabin crew.’

I hope MM gets a laugh, he deserves it.

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