‘And now the end is near.
And so I face the final curtain
Your man is always the one for the dramatic outbursts.
‘It’s only the end of the holidays’. I cut into his Sinatra impersonation.
‘I did what I had to do ….
‘What was the best part of this sos, this r and r, this vacation ?’ I
asked. ‘for you?’
‘What was your best bit?’ he responded.
‘There were lots of best bits. Being away. Not reading newspapers for a
‘I saw you reading newspapers!’ he butted in.
‘You saw me reading the Andytown News once. Cos I cud only get it once.
But when I am on holidays I don’t listen to radio news or television news
and I don’t get the newspapers except for Andytown News which is very hard to get in these parts and on a Saturday I get the Irish Times but that’s more for the review section and the magazine. So from Saturday to Saturday I don’t know what is happening in the world.’
‘But you can’t say you don’t get newspapers!! You may not get as many
newspapers as you do at home but you do get some.’
He looked at me in a contrary sot of a way.
‘Maith go leor’ I conceded. ‘Okay. But that’s one of the things I like.
Not knowing what is happening in the rest of the world. Or here for that
matter. At least for the duration of the holiday.’
‘You said activists don’t take holidays. We just regroup.’
‘Are you in bad form?’ I asked.
‘No!’ he lied emphatically.
‘Well you’re grumpier than usual’.
‘Aye… I suppose I am a wee bit cranky’ He reflected.
‘I liked everything about the last few weeks’. he went on ‘Walking every
day. The abundance of red wine. Swimming, boating, cycling. Good food. Climbing them two mountains. The spells of glorious sunshine….
‘ Between the rain’.
‘Well this IS Ireland!! So you expect rain. But look at you. You’re as
brown as a berry. People will think you were away in Spain or …Portugal or some place warm like that.’
‘So why are you in bad form?’ I queried.
‘I nivver said I was in bad form.’
‘Okay. But you did say you were cranky.’
‘A wee bit cranky’.
‘So why?’ I hissed between clenched teeth.’ ‘Why? Before you drive me mad!’
‘Its youse in bad form’ he shot back. ‘and I know why. And it’s nothing to
do with me. It’s because the holidays is over and its back to porridge for
‘Its back to porridge for you too.’ I reminded him.
‘Aye but I don’t have to deal with all the crackpots and looney bins like
‘Tell me about it’, I said.
But my irony was lost on him. Your man doesn’t recognise irony. If it’s
directed at himself.
‘Know what I mean?’ he continued. ‘Don’t you think I don’t care. I know
what you put up with . That is why I am behaving the way I am today. This is the last day of our break. We can’t have you going from here straight into Stormont without a wee bit of preparation. After all the bliss and harmony of recent days. God knows what you might do if you weren’t prepared. This is what I’m at. I am trying to get you ready. It’s an act of friendship.’
He sighed and stopped to gather his breath.
I sighed with him. An act of friendship indeed! He was cranky because the break is over.
Blast it! So it bloody well is.
‘And now the end is near’ I broke into song.
‘And so I face the final curtain.’
Your man ignored me. Just like a DUP backbencher.
Back to porridge indeed.