The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Saturday, June 06, 2009

the best day of my life

Morning trip to the village of Lucan just outside Dublin to give an English lesson to Jacub from Poland.
Sent flowers to the nuns via Interflora as a mark of my respect for their proclamation of the truth and their century of service to the people of Kilcullen.
Lord they are heroes.
Afternoon to meet the luminous Hyunjin for another English lesson.
Evening to meet Aljona to learn a spot of Russian.
She was luminous enough too, come to think of it.
Back home got a visit from Crookstown farmer Edward O'Meara. He told me that earlier today he'd seen Mrs Wright a one hundred year old local woman voting at the polling booth. She'd turned up with Claire her helper and voted from her wheelchair. There had been great excitement and fanfare in the polling station as she arrived.
The Mammy remarked: "Mrs Wright would remember when women couldn't vote. That's probably why she appreciates the importance of it so much."
The majesty of democracy.
Got my recently rammed car back from Pat Fahy Motors.
It looked like a new car.
He'd cleared up ten years of my dents along with the damage from last week's collision.
It's just like holy God has given me a new car.
Truly my cup runneth over.
Phone call from Doctor Barn.
Issuing dire warnings to me not to put money on the Lions rugby team.
Pshawww.
Who does he think he's warning.
It's not like I have a gambling problem.
It's not so much a problem, more an addiction.
The problem is I have no money to support my gambling addiction.
Phone call from Roman Erica looking for English lessons. I said English lessons were something I could definitely provide.
Phone call to The Perfect Fit. She's back in Madrid for a while. She is pure joy.
Email from Anissa Ladjemi, my expert in Arab affairs.
Never in the field of human history has a one line email brought such pleasure.
Went up to vote with the Dad.
On the way into the polling station, the aged parent advised me to give a vote to Seamie Moore an Independent who apparently has helped our family with advice at some stage.
The Irish voting system is Proportional Representation. You assign a number to each candidate you want to vote for. Number one for your favourite, two for your next favourite, three for the next, and so on. If you don't like certain candidates, you don't write any number opposite their name.
Today we were voting in two separate elections, ie for Local Councils and for the European parliament.
I looked at the local council candidates.
I was disinclined to give my vote to any of the regular parties.
I voted Number One for Seamie Moore the Independent.
I voted Number Two for JJ Power of the Greens.
That was all.
No more Numbers to hand out.
No, I'm not a Green.
But a few years ago as Councillors entered a planning meeting, some businessman had handed them all envelopes. JJ Power was the only one to hand his back. He is reputed to have warned the developer: "That better not be money."
I always thought well of him for it.
(He is a brother of parliamentarian Sean Power, an accomplished fellow who will go far. Without my help. But he'll go far.)
Now for the European voting.
I looked at the candidates.
Searched briefly for any Christians or anyone opposed to abortion.
Discerned none.
Still disinclined to vote for the main parties.
What to do.
There was a guy called Raymond Something Or Other, standing for a recently established party called Libertas.
They're supposed to have tried to expose corruption in European politicians expense accounts.
Some dirty tricks have been deployed against them.
I gave Raymond Something Or Other my Number One.
Anybody else?
I scanned the ballot which came complete with photographs of the candidates.
The Sinn Fein candidate Kathleen Funchion looked animalistically sexy.
Hmmm.
Legend has it that no one in my family has ever voted Sinn Fein.
Sinn Fein had always been the political wing of the IRA terrorist movement which from the 1970's was taking its orders from the KGB in Moscow.
I had once predicted that if the terrorists ever renounced violence, their energy and commitment would transform Ireland.
Little did I know how right I was.
I mean, Arooogahhhhhh.
Hoo boy.
I just never really realised that changing the political landscape would consist of filling up our elected chambers with sexalacious babes.
Ah Miss Funchion.
Take me to the drive in and swear that you love me.
I gave Kathleen Funchion my Number Two.
Again, I had no other Numbers to distribute.
On the way home from exercising the franchise, I stopped at the King's Garden Chinese takeaway and ordered European style chicken and chips.
Back at the old chateau, the Mammy rendezvoused with me in the kitchen to demand who I'd voted for and to steal my chips.
"I voted Sinn Fein," I told her.
The Lady known as Lil stared.
She became absolutely motionless.
Save for the barest rhythmic chewing of one of my chips.
"I can't believe you did that," she intoned accusingly. "I haven't been so disappointed since your Grandad told me thirty years ago that he'd voted for Charlie Haughey."
Outside the heatwave had broken.
Lovely kiss of rain.
Walked Paddy Pup in it.
Debate with MC Hamster about the ontological meaning of whiskers.
Full rosary.
A little time in front of the Divine Mercy image praising God for what he has done.
Bed.

chessnutz

(our weekly chess puzzle)
*********************** Nubbin O'Toole versus Rimksy Korsikoff
Dublin 1927
************
White's next move finishes it for Black. Can you spot the cataclysm?
************
Solution: Nubbin O'Toole, a notoriously vicious chess player, was going to give Rimsky a kick in the bawls but instead played Rook to h6. This unleashed the white Bishop for a revealed attack on the Black Queen which therefore had to be moved or taken. Rimsky realised that if he moved the Queen to the only free square f8, then Nubbin could move his Rook to h7 checking the Black King. The Black King would be compelled to take the Rook while Nubbin would then secure a checkmate by sweeping the White Queen to h5. Rimsky Korsikoff was so disappointed with this episode of Chessnutz, that he never played chess again, and instead devoted himself to composing music. His most memorable composition would be the curiously titled Arse of the Flightlebee.

another hundred million dollars worth of journalism

This story has not appeared in any newspaper, radio or television report.
On the 20th of May 2009, an early morning flight from Dublin to Madrid departed at 6.30am.
The plane arrived in Madrid at 9.30am.
It did not taxi to the terminal.
The pilot informed passengers that they would be disembarking immediately on the runway.
Guardia Civil police surrounded the plane and searched it.
The passengers were moved to the terminal and kept there for three hours.
The passengers were informed that the plane was being checked for security reasons.
They were later told that an anonymous phonecaller had specifically claimed there was a bomb on board their flight from Dublin.
No bomb was found.
Questions.
Who exactly is preventing full reportage of continuing Al Qaeda terror operations in Western Europe?
Why are they doing so?

a rooskie in dublin

NO PENGUIN ME
by Irina Kuksova.
*************
There is one thing that is denied to Russian people living abroad, and that is sympathy when we're feeling the cold. Whenever we complain about the chill, we get the inevitable remarks...
"Cold? That's no big deal for you Rooskies. You must be used to it in your own country."
Ouch.
As a matter of fact the opposite is true. Having just made it through a Moscow winter where the temperature was minus 30 degrees, after my return to Dublin I do not willingly part with my scarves and cosy sweaters until the temperature is well past plus 20. Back in Russia half my compatriots spent the winter in bed. (The half who don't eat an organic apple a day to protect their health.) Anyway my point is that even in warmer climes, we do tend to stick to the winter woolies. Just to be on the safe side.
The thought of wandering around Grafton Street wearing tee shirts in January as Dublin men do, or exiting night clubs in October with midriffs bared like the Irish gals, just makes me shiver.
We Russians are not alone in finding Irish expectations as to our weather beaten hardiness slightly excessive. I was talking to a Spanish friend this week. She'd gotten sunburnt in the mini heatwave that Ireland is currently basking in. Her complaint? No one would believe the sun could have hurt her because her complexion is so naturally dark.
Which just goes to show we're all the same under the skin. Even if we don't always show it!

Friday, June 05, 2009

tilting at windmills

Rambled into the Newbridge Silverware Cafe to have a look at the Russian waitresses.
They are Aroogahs.
Oh and one of them is a Natassia.
Finished coffee and wandered upstairs to the Hollywood Museum.
Lots of memorabalia.
I strolled among the glitz.
Then I came upon something strange.
It was an alcove.
Open to the public.
Yet not immediately visible.
There was an aura of mystery about this alcove.
The implication was that it contained something that could not be permitted in the main display centre.
Most intriguing.
I walked in.
Nudey pictures.
Silly sad little girls with silly sad faces contorted into silly sad fake grins.
Apparently the results of a collaboration between the Sunday Independent newspaper and Newbridge Silverware.
Tackiest of the tacky.
Not fit for the main display area indeed.
Not fit for here.
Not fit for anywhere.
Infinitely depressing.
I headed to the exit.
Found me the guest book.
Time for a comment that would stand out from the usual run of the mill excellents, marvellouses and wonderfuls.
I wrote:
"The Sunday Independent photoshoot is cheap and tawdry. Do you really want to be associating with these people? They're dragging you down."
Much pleased with myself I returned to the cafe for a revitalising cup of Russian waitresses.
I mean coffee.
Coffee finished I headed back to the exit.
And lo!
In the guest book.
My comment had been annotated.
That is to say, someone had written a refutation in the margin.
The refutation was unsigned but I recognised the free flowing handwriting as that of the manager of Newbridge Silverware, Mr William Doyle.
His unsigned refutation went:
"Adam and Eve were naked.
Get a life."
Ah yes.
The argomento ad get a lifeo, as the Romans used to call it.
Classy indeed.
Obviously the management prefer comments like excellent, marvellous, wonderful, etc etc.
There were forty pages of those and not one had provoked the management into an anonymous reply.
That little vein above my left eyebrow which some of you have come to know and love, gave a gentle throb.
I picked up a pen and drew a large X through Mr Doyle's remarks.
Then I wrote in the now crowded margin:
"No comments on the comments you anonymous twit.
I would also seriously advise you to take down the pictures of the girl who died in a drug overdose last year. It's an insult to her memory to celebrate the lifestyle and the people who killed her. Or were Adam and Eve coke heads as well?"

an open letter to the journalists and media groups of the free world

When reporting about the French jetliner which was downed a few days ago over the Atlantic with the loss of 250 lives, whatever you do, don't mention Al Qaeda, the peaceloving religion of Islam or terrorist bombs.
I mentioned them once but I think I got away with it.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

when the revolution was expected in china

in the garden of my father
i first heard the gunshots from tiananmen square
i will never drink again this beauty
without hearing first the crying of the dying there

we will pray sometimes in the evening
as the shadows lengthen into years
for there are prayers much softer than silence
and silences softer than tears

great commies i have known

Flicking through a copy of the Irish Times which someone has left at an adjacent table in the Costa Cafe.
And lo!
What light through yonder article breaks.
It is the east.
And Ellen Hazelkorn is the sun.
I goggle at the name and check the short biography which the Irish Times sometimes gives its guest writers.
It informs me that Ellen Hazelkorn is in charge of some Third Level Education think tank funded by the Irish government.
Bloody hell.
Memories come flooding back.
Alas poor Hazelkorn.
I knew her Horatio.
Well you know what I mean.
Back in the dulcet Autumn of 1992, when I was a young man (okay, youngish) with a jutting jaw and sparkling eyes, ambitiously, nay ruthlessly, pursuing a Certificate In Journalism course at the College of Commerce in Rathmines, no less a personage than Ellen Hazelkorn herself had given me a few classes in political science.
This very Ellen Hazelkorn.
The Ellen Hazelkorn now writing for the Irish Times.
She and no other.
I remember her clearly.
She was a crackpot.
A New York commie intellectual crackpot.
I mean, I don't want to go casting no aspersions.
But we didn't see eye to eye me and Ellen.
For a start she never quite appreciated the rich elagiacally humorous import of my referring to her as Hazelknut.
It was almost as though we were destined to disagree from the word go.
Or at least from the word Hazelknut.
Hilarious, no?
But our relationship wasn't all fun and games.
In my own humble studenty way I did attempt to cross intellectual swords with her on a few occasions.
I remember once she was telling the class about the inequities built into western societal norms and the attendant evils of capitalism or some such nonesuch.
She'd met my gently proffered admonitions with a series of rapier thrust put downs, the most salient of which was: "James you just want to build a wall around the unemployed."
Ironic, eh?
Ellen if you're reading this, the unemployed is me.
Anyhoo.
I had then challenged her to name a single communist society that we might legitimately aspire to imitate.
My exact words were: "Just one. If you can name just one communist society that is a success, I'll accept all your criticisms of the Free World. Just one communist society that works. One communist society where they don't murder their own citizens with gay abandon. One communist society where everyone isn't secretly dreaming of escape. One communist society in history that wasn't a heap of crap. In all history. Just one."
Ellen Hazelkorn fixed me with a beady stare.
"Bologna!" she cried.
I took a step backwards.
It wasn't easy since I was sitting down.
"Pardon me?" I murmured, my voice imbued with a delicious note of confusion.
"Bologna!" she cried again.
I shook my head in bemusement.
She hastened to explain.
"Bologna in Italy," she said. "It has a communist administration. Has had for years. Things are going pretty well there."
It was the best she could do.
I wasn't really in a position to argue.
Of all the societies on earth, she'd managed to find one I wasn't familiar with.
Proof enough of her genius, I suppose.
I let her have Bologna.
Sweet memories indeed.
Me and Ellen Hazelkorn may have absolutely nothing else in common, but we'll always have Bologna.
A few weeks later, the same Hazelkorn would have cause to dispute with me again in the same classroom watched by the same intellectual duds who are now, let it be said, the mainstays of Irish journalism.
Bitter, moi?
Ah folks, you don't know the half of it.
She was describing how the conservative mores of western countries forced certain political figures to hide their sexual proclivities.
I thought she was implying people who believed in the sanctity of marriage were somehow hypocrites.
I commented that I didn't think womanising had hurt any politicians recently.
"Give me examples." she shrieked calmly.
"Bill Clinton, Paddy Ashdown, President Mitterand," I answered without hesitation, "when their pecadillos became public knowledge, their poll ratings went up."
"They're not typical," she shot back.
I let her away with it.
She'd be grading my exam paper in a short while.
Best not to belabour the disparities in our knowledge.
Teachers rarely like to be too far behind their pupils.
Me and Ellen shared a few larfs about Catholic doctrine too.
She thought abortion was a human right.
I thought it was the murder of unborn children.
She argued that overpopulation created hunger and starvation.
I replied thusly and to the point: "The problem is never too many people. The problem in Africa and Asia is too many wars. In South America it's too many dictatorships. But people themselves are never the problem. People are wealth. And where the population control policies you advocate are introduced, whole countries simply cease to exist. The very notion of wealth becomes impossible. The future ceases to exist. The British, the Germans, the Italians and the Austrians are already terrified of the demographic time bomb they've unleashed with their abortionist condom cultures. Those countries are being referred to as the glittering coffins. They're rich. But they've got no one to leave their wealth to. The next generation has been aborted."
In ringing tones my adversary roundly rejected the notion of the glittering coffins.
A strange high eloquence seized her.
The class applauded.
I was red as a beetroot when she finished.
She'd kicked my lily ass and I knew it.
But I still wonder which of us will be proved right over time.
My final run in with Ellen Hazelkorn came towards the end of the school season.
On the wettest day of the year, I walked across Dublin to get to the College in time for the Summer exam.
An Irish Summer.
Pouring rain.
It was like a bloody monsoon.
Like many Irish people I heroically refuse to use an umbrella.
At the time I was also boycotting the Irish bus company CIE because of the rudeness of their employees.
Le plus se change le plus se reste meme.
So I walked in the downpour which was of historic proportions.
A veritable deluge.
Doe eyed foreign immigrants peered at me curiously from under their own umbrellas as I splooshed up the road to Rathmines.
I arrived at the classroom looking like a drowned rat.
No sign of any other students.
There was no one there except Ellen Hazelkorn.
She looked at me owlishly as I entered the room.
"Class has been cancelled," she barked. "It's too wet. We'll have the exam tomorrow."
I walked into the room and sat at a desk in front of her.
Then quite deliberately I began to bang my head upon the table.
I gave the old Heelers noggin some fairly decent bangs.
Ellen Hazelkorn watched me with the firstlings of amusement touching the edges of her Patrician features.
I stood up and walked to the door.
I turned and faced her.
"I've been Hazelkorned," I said bitterly.
That was the last I ever saw of her.
She lives now only in my memories.
And as Head of the Irish government's policy unit on educational something or other.
And, it goes without saying, as a guest writer in the pages of the Irish Times.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

mister gap goes to washington

Wandering down Kilcullen Main Street on the hottest day of the year.
A professorial looking chap hoves into view.
Why if it isn't my brother.
The eminent Doctor Barn.
"Hello old Doctor old brother old pal," I cry all bonhominous joviality.
The brother casts me a look of some asperity.
"Where did you get that jumper?" he enquires coldly.
I am a tad nonplussed.
"I bought it," I lie.
"Let me see," sez he.
"No," sez I.
"It's mine," sez he.
"It's not," quoth I.
"You're wearing my ephin jumper," quoth he.
"Possession is nine points of the law," sez I looking around frantically for a quick exit.
"You stole my jumper," he intones in some disbelief.
"I only borrowed it," I lie.
"Give it back," insists he.
"You'll never take me alive coppeur, I mean docteur," I roar.
Surgeons hands restrain me.
I hand him his jumper.
Truly it is as the Bible says.
The Doctor Barn giveth and the Doctor Barn taketh away.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

jack prepares to dine


moment in town

low clouds threaten rain
mankind takes no notice
i sit on a little wall
looking at a lamp post

LOL was here in 84
Boole rules okay
CB Binksy and Dibs
hereby scrawl their names

and FG, NO, and TC
and somebody called Nevin
Deirdre loved Barry the world should know
August 5th 1987

eyre square on a dull day
seeking the secrets of the universe
i saw the immortals enduring names
graffiti on a lamp post

a rooskie in dublin


SORRYLAND
by Irina Kuksova
****************
As a foreigner the first thing I realised about myself in Ireland is that I am absolutely shameless and utterly ungrateful. Compared to an Irish person, I fall far behind on "sorry" and "thank you."
Well, why wouldn't I? These words are of little use in everyday Russia. A sorry won't help you on the Moscow metro during rush hour. Russian people will rarely take your sorry as a cue to let you make it through to the exit. It's your own fault you happened to be so far away from the door in the first place. Deal with it.
Same goes for "thank you" as far as most Russians are concerned. Although the phrase is useful in a number of official situations and it seems to be making its way back into social interactions between friends, the communist generation still see it as flimsy trickery. Think of it in comrade manner: If you're giving someone a square deal, there's no need for adornments, whereas if you've got something to hide, only then will you need all those social graces to cover up.
You can see now why at first I kept the number of my sorry's and thank you's down to a bare minimum. That was until I discovered that in Ireland these words work like magic. Literally. They have the power to displace people in shops or make space on the Luas. (Dublin's tram system.) They can manifest cups of tea and make people smile. I'm still discovering the effects these simple incantations can produce in this country.
Thank you for reading and if I bored you, er, sorry about that.

prototypes for irina's byline picture







***************************
Jean Paul Sartre comments: "Dieu n'est pas un artiste. Monsieur Healy, non plus."

Monday, June 01, 2009

miscellaneous extraneous aneous

A Little Light Relief.
Evening at the Chateau De Healy. MC Hamster is doing her Phantom Of The Opera routine. That is to say, she's standing at the bars of her cage, up on two legs, staring at me fixedly. Her body is half turned away, a swirl in her fur for all the world like a cloak billowing about her. She is the picture of poignancy.
"Give it a rest Hammy," I tell her.
"I'm really sad," she replies.
"Go play on your wheel," I murmur.
"My wheel is broken," she sighs.
"So why did you chew the bolt off the axle?" I ask without sympathy.
"It seemed like a good idea at the time," replies the golden mouse.
"Well I can't play now, I'm disapproving of Southpark," I insist firmly.
"I want to get out of my cage," she says.
"You've got the biggest cage in Ireland," I remind her.
"If you hadn't taken my freedom I wouldn't even be in Ireland," proffers Hamilton.
"What do you mean?" quoth I.
"By rights I should be roaming the Syrian desert playing with other hamsters," she proclaims triumphantly.
I'm not letting her away with this.
"Hammy have you been reading those Amnesty International pamphlets again?" I ask severely.
"Free the whales from Guantanamo Bay," roars Hammy with radical left wing aplomb.
There is a moment's awkward silence.
"Anyway," I continue, "you know full well that hamsters are solitary. If hamsters meet in the wild for any purpose other than mating, they eat each other."
"We do not," sez Ham.
"You do too," sez me.
"It's an urban myth," sez Ham.
"It's a fact," sez me.
"It's libel," sez she.
"Science," sez me.
"Superstition," sez she.
"My Korean friend had two pet hamsters and one ate the other," sez me.
"Never happened," sez she.
Presently I can take no more of this sparkling badinage. I walk to the cage and remove her from it. She busies herself for the next hour making interesting new hamster doorways in the front, back, and sides of my jumper.

Great Nicknames Of Our Time.
A British Prime Minister from a few centuries ago was known as Pitt The Elder. A more youthful member of the same family who also became Prime Minister was referred to as Pitt The Younger. Rowan Atkinson in the Blackadder television series referred to Pitt The Younger as Pitt The Embryo. I think of this whenever I see teenage British Foreign Secretary David Milliband on the news. Millipede cannot trahaise the Free World fast enough or often enough. Every broadcast rises to new heights. First he was telling us (and Al Qaeda) that the War On Terror was "a mistake." Then he was informing us (and the Chinese communist party dictatorship) that China was the world's most significant superpower. I would suggest that a suitable name for this most neglible of political talents might be "Milliband The Spermatozoan." Let's see if it catches on.

How Stands The Empire.
My cousin Frances dropped in for a coffee this evening. She's the teacher. The one who can stop a charging hoodlum at fifty paces with one blow of her tongue. During a lull in the conversation she remarks: "You are generally very critical of the media. How do you stand on The Sunday Times?" The noble Heelers considers carefully before replying. "I normally stand on The Sunday Times sort of like this," I say, dropping my left foot heavily on the ground by way of demonstration and grinding the heel against the carpet. "But then again sometimes I stand on it like this, repeatedly, you know, a good stomp, good and hard, stomp, stomp, stomp, because they're just another bunch of fervourless useless atheistic courageless faux intellectual anti Catholic pornographic conformist Al Qaeda sympathising galoots." When I had finished there was a momentary hush. "You misunderstood my question," pronounced Frances drily.

Elect Me A Babe Tonight
Sinn Fein, once the political wing of Ireland's main terrorist organisation the IRA, has clearly taken to the electoral process like a duck to water. The party has been to the fore in promoting attractive women candidates for the upcoming elections. It might truly be said that the one time extremists have moved seamlessly from using semtex bombs to sex bombs. Sinn Fein candidate Toiresa Ferris has even been nominated in some laddish survey as The Sixth Sexiest Parliamentarian On Earth. The takers of that survey were clearly blind, deaf, dumb and drunk. For Sinn Fein candidate Louise Minihane is much sexier, much much sexier, sexier, sexier far, than Toireasa O'Brien. I mean in her posters. I've never actually met her. I've never actually met either of them outside of my dreams. But I feel I know them. They've been coming on to me in their posters for months now. Louise Minihane could smoulder for Ireland. She can introduce Marxian dictatorship into my Republic any day. Hubba hubba. Sorry. I lost it there for a moment. Anyhoo. The other political parties are not being left behind in this new and ever more sensuous electoral strategy. An unprecedented herd of politicised lissom lovelies are currently vying for pole position on lamp posts across Dublin. Again I am referring to their campaign posters. The female politicians are clearly not climbing the poles themselves. Except for one particular Fine Gael candidate in the town of Newbridge near where I live. She might be up for a bit of pole dancing alright. Let me explain. She's published a rather controversial photo of herself on the internet. The photo shows another girl cupping the Fine Gael candidate's breasts (which are not bared) and leaning forward as though to lick them. A third girl stands at the shoulder of Miss Fine Gael leering suggestively. I kid you not. A journalist writing for the Leinster Leader described Miss Fine Gael's photo this week as being not too out of the ordinary by internet standards. Clearly this comment says more about the Leinster Leader and its journalist than it does about the debased and debasing photograph. Standards have certainly fallen since they fired me. Let me this way put it. I've been surfing the net for years, and I've never even inadvertently come upon a picture quite like Miss Fine Gael and her breast cupping buddy and their enthusiastic companion. Lovely lovely classy people. I wonder do the Johnston Press, who bought the Leinster Leader two years ago and fired me, I wonder do they know about the conservative demographic which makes up the core of the Leinster Leader's remaining readership. I'm sure they'll find out eventually. But I digress. Where were we? Ah yes. The women on poles. Aside from Miss Fine Gael, it is solely their posters which are vying for position on the lamp posts. Driving home in evening traffic has become all the more hazardous with these political supermodels leering down seductively . It's all getting a little bit overwhelming. I can't concentrate. Ladies please. Be gentle. I thought politics was meant to be boring.

Every Cloud Has A Doctor Barn.
Wandering through the house this evening, my eye fell upon a rather nifty looking jumper lying on a chair in the kitchen. Unlike most of mine, it had no hamster holes. I picked it up and examined it. The label proclaimed that the maker was a Mr Gap. I liked his style. "Whose is this?" I enquired of a passing Mammy. "It's your brother's," she replied. I donned the jumper. "The Lord giveth and the Lord giveth some more," I pronounced happily. I gotta tell you gentle travellers of the internet. Warm weather, sexy crazed politicians, free jumpers. Things are finally looking up.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

the happiest half hours of life

Afternoon tea at Gargoyles Cafe in the South Kildare heartland town of Athy.
The proprietor Caitriona Edgar approaches.
"James," she says brightly. "Myself and my sister are getting our heads shaved for charity next month. Could you give us a little publicity?"
It is as if the whole cafe falls quiet.
"Well Caitriona," sez I, "The Johnston Press have fired me from the Leinster Leader. So I wouldn't really be in a position to publish anything there."
Caitriona doesn't bat an eyelid.
"No, no, no," quoth she, "I meant on your blog."
I thought rather well of her for it.
She disappeared towards the kitchen.
At an adjoining table I could see Irish member of parliament Sean O'Fearghail and local Councillor Mark Dalton quaffing and chewing rhythmically.
They are both members of Ireland's kleptocratic Fianna Fail governing party.
It was a while since I'd had any contact with either of them.
Let me see.
The last time I saw Councillor Dulltone was three years ago in the Town Council chamber in Athy where he'd declaimed during a political debate: "James Healy never reports anything I do in the Leinster Leader."
I for my part had risen slowly to my feet and eyeballed him dangerously from the press bench.
The other Councillors had looked at me a tad warily.
They thought I was nuts and weren't absolutely sure I wouldn't do something nutty.
I gathered up my things and strolled across the chamber, giving the door a good bang on the way out.
The last thing I heard was Labour Councillor John Lawler saying to Cllr Dulltone: "I don't think you'll be in the Leinster Leader this week either."
Ah memories.
Deputy O'Fearghail had always been a much more polite kettle of kleptocrats.
My last contact with him was to write to him after being fired from the Leinster Leader.
I think I asked him to lobby the President or something.
(President of what? - Snake Plisskan note.)
Anyway O'Fearghail's the old school Fianna Fail.
They may destroy the country but at least they've got people skills.
Back to the present.
The cafe hummed with life.
The two politicians stood up.
I wondered would they make any smart remarks on their way out.
What on earth would I say if they got cheeky?
I could try my standard patented shouting obscenities routine: "F--- off you corrupt b-ll-x-s."
The problem being that Fianna Failers aren't shy about standing up for themselves.
They're notoriously well walked, as we do say in the heckling trade.
Apparently they've learnt a thing or two during their fifty years governing the country.
They probably wouldn't hurry away from any embarassing confrontation.
There'd be a significant chance they'd give as good as they got.
They might even out vulgar the vulgarian.
How about this...
What if I said: "Good afternoon gentleman. How the mighty have fallen since I saw you last. I am of course referring to myself and not to the sad position of Fianna Fail in the opinion polls."
Too wordy.
I'd never remember it all.
Or I'd muff it in the heat of the moment.
Something simpler is called for.
Along the lines of...
"What an irony that I should be eating in Gargoyles cafe and you two gargoyles should appear!"
Great Scott no.
Much too dangerous.
Councillor Dulltone is a member of Fianna Fail but his brother Des is National Vice Chairman of Republican Sinn Fein.
Republican Sinn Fein is a splinter group from Sinn Fein, which Sinn Fein considers too extreme even for Sinn Fein.
Let me put it this way.
They're not pacifists.
What if Councillor Dulltone set his brother on me?
"James Healy called me a gargoyle. Boo, hoo, hoo."
Aiieee caramba.
I gotta tell you folks.
It would be a braver man than me that would call any Dulltone a gargoyle to his face.
And now they're approaching my table.
Councillor Dulltone stalks by head in the air.
Deputy O'Fearghail says: "How are you James?"
And exits.
That's it.
A certain dearth of high drama.
Almost an anti climax.
But hey.
At least nobody died.
And it's Sunday in the heartland.
I gotta work with the material they give me.