Daily Wonders

“I don’t mind
As long as there’s a bed beneath the stars that shine
I’ll be fine
If you give me a minute
A man’s got a limit
I can’t get a life if my heart’s not in it”

Noel Gallagher ‘The Importance Of Being Idle’

The garden outside is white, covered in a skift of snow, and on it light is shining from the moon which is reluctant to leave, and the first hints of our ever-hopeful sun. It’s very early, and the only reason that I’m awake is that our evil cat, Pasta, has come into our bedroom , hungry and bored, and after hopping on the bed and being kicked off, is scratching the carpet and purring loudly. This morning my Soulmate is better at pretending to be asleep than I usually am, so I harrumph, and stagger down the stairs, to feed our, what I lovingly refer to as ‘that bloody cat’.

In the kitchen we are joined by Tuna, our lovely cat. I feed them both, and then notice the snow. I boil the kettle, make a cup of tea, fill a hot water bottle, and am now sitting in the living room looking out at the snow. It’s glorious. I’m marvelling at it.

Pasta is now sitting on the rug in front of me and silently telling me that if she hadn’t called me, I’d be missing this. I begrudgingly agree, I hate it when she’s right,  and am about to ask her if she’s looking forward to Elliott coming home for the weekend, when I realise….I’m talking to a cat….an evil cat.

I start to think about simple things and memories that give moments of joy in that moment, or in recollection.

Hugs – in the past few days I have had the most delightful hugs with Richard and Joan, my two favourite Presbyterians, who I hadn’t seen in well over a year. I had a sneaky , sort of reluctant hug from Elliott before he headed for the bus last Sunday. A hug from Annmarie and Briege at a businessy thing. A hug from Milo, one of my oldest and dearest friends. A hug from Robyn in MoChara after our lovely lunch. And most of all , cuddles in the kitchen with my Soulmate…daily.

Food – Following ‘Tuxedo Gate’ when I couldn’t get my once generous suit trousers over my knees, drastic action was called for. This action is being directed by Darren Gallagher, formerly of this parish, and his DGC Easter Challenge. This involves some regular exercise and a Jesuitical analysis of your daily calories. This challenge would have lasted until lunchtime on Monday, the first day, only for the fact that my aforementioned Soulmate is also doing it. I no longer graze through the day and REALLY savour and appreciate my food. I no longer share the remnants of my poached eggs and toast with Pasta, as there are no remnants. My plates are licked so clean that putting them in the dishwasher seems like a willful extravagance. I have savoured tuna with mayo on toast, overnight oats…with a cheeky spoonful of Subh Fraoc Ban strawberry jam, chicken curry with two WHOLE pappadums …and yesterday I sacrificed lunch so that I could have two sausages and a fried egg in a ciabatta roll for breakfast…………………………sorry , I just had to wipe the drool off my keyboard there.

Phone calls – Do you miss phone calls ? Almost everyone seems to text or WhatsApp now, and it seems like a personal assault if someone dares interrupt your serious work, or that podcast you’re listening to, to actually ‘talk’ to you. It’s a habit I’ve gotten into and I only realised how much I missed actually talking to someone on a phone when Jake called us from Portugal on Monday. We chatted for an hour, discussing everything and wonderful nothings. A bonus of this phonecall was that during it while he was speaking to Eileen about our ‘diet’ I was able to work out that , on Saturday, if I only have two slices of toast, I could then have three bottles of Rioja and still stay under my calorie target for the day. “Rolo no Sabado !” as they say in Portugal.

Running – On Tuesday I collected Ray and gave him his copy of the DGC Easter Challenge sheets, detailing his exercises, targets and food suggestions. Emma , his long suffering partner, asked what they were for and when I told her said it was a great idea.

“When does it start ?”

‘Yesterday’ I answered.

“Tell Paul how many Cadbury’s Crème Eggs you’ve had today.”

Ray looked at his feet and said “Seven. But Paul started the challenge yesterday, I’m starting tomorrow.”

We went down to the Greenway, it was bitterly cold, but beautiful. And we ran , without stopping, from Sam’s Bridge to Old Cross Square and back. We felt like Olympinans ! Goddamnit, we are Olympians !

It is such a joy to plod along, chatting , saying hello to all the people walking faster than we run, and just taking it all in.

Books – I’m reading Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Breakfast of Champions’ and loving it ! Last week I had to attend the wake of Pat O’Connor, an old family friend. I was chatting to her sons Barry and St.John as we had coffee and sandwiches and told them that when we were all kids and we visited their house we were always told to be careful with the hardback covered Book of Kells that they had on the coffee table in their sitting room. One day in school Master McCague asked the class if any of us had ever seen the Book of Kells. I put up my hand.

“When were you up in Trinity College ?”

I wasn’t, Sir  

“Then where, pray tell, did you see the Book of Kells ?”

In O’Connor’s house, Sir.

Music – It’s FORTY years ago this week since New Order released ‘Blue Monday’. FORTY YEARS !!! I remember buying it in Devine Records on Dublin St. and carrying it around the town, without the bag, so that everyone could see that I had it. I remember they used to play it early on in the night at the disco in the Hillgrove on a Saturday night and that Looby Smyth and I were the only ones that got up to dance to it…forgetting from week to week that it lasted 7 minute and 29 seconds , which is a long time on the dancefloor when only one of you has any rhythm.

Another old friend who’s taste in music is almost as good as mine told me this week that when we were all at school together, he foolishly decided to sell off some of his vinyl records. I think I bought a Stiff Little Fingers double album from him, Milo and Barry O’Connor also bought a few. Over the years Shane has been replacing each of those records in his collection, but the one that eluded him was an EP by The Clash, ‘Capitol Radio’, featuring the single ‘I Fought The Law’, which Barry had bought off him.

He recently came across a second hand seller of vinyl online in the UK who had listed ‘Capitol Radio’. He messaged him to say that he was very interested in buying it, but just wanted to check what condition it was in.

“Practically mint…except it has someone’s name written inside the sleeve.”

He bought it , and a week later it arrived. As he eagerly took it out to play it he saw the name written inside…’Shane’.

All life on this Earth is carbon based.

All carbon on this Earth arrived here from a dying star like our sun. 

We are all the living remnants of a distant dying sun.

I take great solace and comfort from that, especially when I get frustrated or start to take things for granted.

Then I think, we are all made of stars.



Author: paul

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