“I just want to hold your hand
I just want to hold your hand
I got, I got no other plans
I just want to hold your hand”

  • The Bad Seeds

Yesterday afternoon I went for a walk in Rossmore Park, my head full of thoughts. Throughout my life, whenever I’ve been troubled , I’ve always spotted a Robin, and all of a sudden I felt that everything was going to be OK. Since the age of 5, I’ve had the sense that a Robin appears whenever I’m in trouble.

So it wasn’t a complete surprise , that , as I started my walk along the River Muireann, from the carpark, I immediately spotted a Robin, bopping about.

I’m not in trouble, I hasten to add. At least, not that I’m aware of, but I have been feeling a little melancholic, and

‘Sorry, Paul, seriously ? A Robin ? The most common bird in Ireland ? That’s the one that ‘magically’ appears whenever you’re in trouble ?’

Yes ?

‘ It would be harder NOT to see a Robin ! The place is literally littered with them ! Even just along this path , before you turn at the Hydro-Electric Ram, there are almost 120 mating pairs of Robins.’

I turned around on the path. There was no one there, except for a Robin, who was bobbing his head a lot. Yes ,, I know Robins bob their heads a lot, but this one seemed to be doing so excessively, almost as if it was laughing at it’s own joke.

‘That’s exactly what I’m doing !’

I stopped. The Robin flew onto a branch in front of me.

Are you talking to me ?

The Robin pulled a face and touched his beak with the tip of his wing and said in a strange voice :

‘You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin’ to? You talkin’ to me? Well, I’m the only one here. Who do the f*** do you think you’re talking to? Oh, yeah? Ok.’

The Robin then started to laugh, and fell off the branch, holding it’s sides.

Was that supposed to be Robert de Niro ?

The Robin , jumped to it’s feet, and glared at me. ‘Supposed to be Robert de Niro ??? Of course it was Robert de Niro ! Best bloody de Niro you’ll ever hear ! Supposed to be de Niro indeed. The very idea.’

Sorry, didn’t mean any offence.

‘Only joking, none taken’ the Robin said, flying up to a branch, a little in front. ‘ Hurry up , you’ve 5k to do, and a lot of stuff to work out.’

How do you know ?

‘What that you’ve stuff to work out ? You’re human. All you bipeds are always trying to work out something.’

No, I meant , how did you know that I’m walking 5k  today ?

‘Oh that. I saw it on Facebook. You’re doing the LA 519 5k a day for 19 days.’

You’re on Facebook ???

‘Who isn’t ?’

Fair enough.

We walked on for a bit…well I walked, he flew.

‘I’m a she !’


We walked on for a bit…well I walked , she flew.



What’s your name ?

‘What do you think it is ?’

Jenny ?

‘That’s amazing ! Right first time, what a clever biped you are.’

Wow !

‘Technically it’s E~{}h5;y , Defiler of Worms,Lover of Many, Protector of the Wee Bit Between The Bridge At The Carpark And The First Turn Where Pete Always Overtakes You. But that’s a bit of a mouthful, so Jenny is fine.’

Hi Jenny.

‘Hi Paul, The Well Intentioned, Not Really Sure What He’s At, Dreamer’

That’s quite nice.

‘It is, isn’t it ? Just made it up on the spot.’

We’d reached the Hydro Electric Ram at this point. I stopped to look at the white water surging through the gap in the dam. I always marvelled at this piece of technnology which was built in 1880 and was first used to move water uphill and then in 1902 became the first privately powered electric plant in Ireland, to electrify Rossmore Castle.

‘Marvel at it a lot, don’t you ?’

Yes, it’s not the technology itself, it’s the foresight and pioneering vision that Lord Rossmore had in…

Jenny suddenly flew in my face, before landing on the bridge rail, and composed herself.

What’s wrong ?

‘The 5th Baron Rossmore, Derrick, was a bit of a prick. He drank, gambled, badger baited, shot at things, ruined the castle, and generally was an arse. It was his wife Nettie who installed the gasworks, electric system, engineered the water system through all of the lakes, and did her best to keep it all together.’

Never knew that.

‘Now you do. C’mon, hurry up, you haven’t even got 1k done yet.’

We wandered on, past the Walled Garden, the Yew Tree avenue, towards The Morrigan. I walked around The Morrigan, our giant red wolf, making sure that she was OK. She was.

‘ The noise is deafening here some days.’

Really ?

‘Yes, kids love the Morrigan. You can hear them shrieking as they approach. She’s the most popular of all the Giants.’

Roddy is still my favourite.

‘I know’

We still have to complete 5 more Giants.

‘I know’

I think sometimes we’ll run out of time.

‘You won’t.’

You don’t know that.

‘I do.’

You don’t. Everything is so fragile. Health, relationships, the economy, society, it’s all so fragile.

‘Jesus, when you get melancholic, you go all in , don’t you ?’

I suppose.

‘C’mon, we’ll walk and talk.’

We walked and talked.

‘If I’m lucky I will live to be six years old. That’s quite a long time for a Robin. Most of my children live for a single year, if that. We are one harsh winter away from oblivion. That’s fragile. You , yet again, just don’t know how lucky you are.’

I suppose.

‘You suppose right. If I get ill, I die, quickly. If you get ill, there’s a fucking Star Trek array of things that are marshalled to save you. I’m on my 4th partner. I’ve grieved so many times over great loves of my life. You’ve had the same SoulMate since you were 17, you lucky bastard ! If the winter is harsh our economy and society are gone…except for us here in the Park, now that we have Tom’s Coffee Dock, and a ready supply of decent Souls who feed us bits and bobs of the brownies, shortbread, and muffins.’

What do you think of the Gluten Free buns he’s doing ?

‘Jesus wept ! I’m pouring my heart out to you here about life , being and everything, and you’re asking about Tom Melarkey’s gluten free buns ???’

Sorry, but you started talking about brownies and muffins and

‘ I was talking about them in the context of  saving our lives out here as an analogy or comparison to the problems you think you have !’


‘It’s OK, I was finished , more or less.’

So ?

‘So, what ?’

What do you think of gluten free buns ?

‘It would need to be a really, really, really harsh winter.’

Fair enough.

We walked on. We passed by the Cauldron of Plenty, and stopped for a minute at the Giant Redwood.

‘Why do you all punch it ?’ Jenny asked, flying over to the part of the bark that was worn away because so many people punch that spot.

It’s just because it’s so big and looks so powerful and grand, and yet when you’re up close touch it , or punch it, it’s soft and yielding. It’s odd and comforting at the same time.


We walked on to Lady Rossmore’s cottage.

Do you know that up until today I’d always wondered why Lady Rossmore had needed a cottage of her own , this close to the castle, but after what you said about Derrick being an arse, it makes sense now.

‘I get that a lot.’

Get what a lot ?

‘Making sense of things.’

We walked on , silently this time. Just before the turn back along the Oak Trees toward the car park, Jenny broke the silence.

‘What are you thinking ?’

Oh, I’m processing what you said earlier about how lucky we are.

‘What are you really thinking ?’

I looked sheepishly at my feet. I was wondering where Jesus went between the ages of 13 and 30.

‘And ?

And how many Radiohead songs will be in my Top Songs 2021 on Spotify.

‘Back to normal then.’


‘I’m going to head off now, I’ve spotted Gerald up ahead.’

Who’s Gerald ?

‘Potential partner number 5…if he plays his cards right.’

Best of luck !

‘I don’t need luck, I make sure Gerald always plays his cards right. Give Eileen a squeeze for me.’

Will do.

And with that she flew off through the oak trees. I called after her.

Jenny ! Thanks !

She didn’t look back.

JENNY ! THANKS ! I NEEDED THAT TODAY ! SO LONG E~{}h5;y , Defiler of Worms, Lover of Many, Protector of the Wee Bit Between The Bridge At The Carpark And The First Turn Where Pete Always Overtakes You……

I could hear someone behind me on the path.

“Paul, are you OK ?”

Yes, Mr & Mrs Johnson, I’m great.

They looked concerned.

C’mon, if we hurry we’ll catch Tom before he closes, and I’ll treat you to a coffee. Have you tried his new gluten free buns ?  



P.S Hoppipolla

Author: paul

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *