Collage of four photos, running, college, Pasta the cat , and The Morrigan sculpture

Just Because

“I give to you
I want nothing in return
Just the softest little breathless word
I ask of you
A word contained in a grain of sand
That can barely walk, can’t even stand
I ask of you”

The Palaces Of Montezuma – Grinderman

I begged her, I pleaded with her before she left. Robyn ,our daughter, was finally heading to college, having studied online for her first year. She was heading away to live in Dundalk, away from home for the first time.

Please Robyn.

“No Dad !”

Please ?

“No ! “

Why are you making such a big deal about this ?

“Why am I ??? I am not taking Pasta with me to Dundalk !”


Robyn is gone to Dundalk. Pasta is still here, glaring, and plotting my death.

Why is Pasta trying to kill me ?

It’s not just because she’s a cat. We have another cat, Tuna, who’s lovely, and to my knowledge hasn’t attempted to kill me. Pasta, on the other paw, is definitely trying to kill me.

Why ?

Just because, that’s the why.

At this point it was still Monday, and Pasta wasn’t the only thing trying to kill me. I went to see my physio , and as I was lying there, before we started , she said “I’m sorry.”

“What for ?” I asked , confused.

“For what I’m about to do to you.”

What happened next wasn’t a crime, technically, as , technically, I’d asked her to do it, and subsequently paid for the privilege. But I’m sure it was illegal, and if it isn’t , it should be.

It did work though, and on Tuesday I was able to jog slowly around the block. My Soulmate kept me company. She wasn’t keen on me running up the Hill of Death at Rosefield.

I’m sure I can do it.

“I know you can do it.” She smiled sweetly.

Then why can’t I do it.

“Because this is your first run in 5 weeks and you’re an absolute pishmire when you can’t run, so I don’t want you to overdo it.” She smiled even sweeter.

Pishmire ? Moi ??

She had a point, but, obviously I couldn’t acknowledge that.

Why ?

Just because, that’s the why.

A lot of people, usually business people, are very reluctant to attribute any part of their success to luck. They generally claim hard work, genius, persistence, and worst of all something called ‘hustle’ as the reason they achieved some success. I know from personal experience that there are lots of people, the majority of people in fact, who worked harder, were cleverer, and in a lot of cases had a better idea, but just missed out by dint of a little less luck.

My luckiest break in business was many moons ago when I was offered the agency for Skechers in Ireland. This was in the distant 1990’s. Caterpillar boots were all the rage and everyone was trying to copy them, or ‘emulate’ their success. Skechers looked at Caterpillar’s success and decided, “We can do that.” And they did. CAT’s biggest selling boot was the honey coloured style called ‘Colorado’, Skechers decided to do multiple colours, red, yellow, green, blue, purple, AND to include a steel toe cap, that was revealed at the toe, by cutting out a piece of the leather at the toe. They called them ‘Chrome Domes’.

In fashion footwear retail the shops bought their fashion styles a season or two in advance. In Ireland and the UK every brand went to see Shelley’s in London , and Schuh in Scotland, and if either of those bought the new range, that’s all your sales people had to say to every other customer. Shelley’s loved the Skechers ‘Chrome Domes’ and placed a huge order, in fact it was the biggest opening order they’d ever placed for a new brand.

Practically everyone in the fashion footwear trade followed suit.

The autumn came…the deliveries of the Skechers Chrome Domes did not. Demand had been so large worldwide, that the factories couldn’t cope. Deliveries trickled into shops.

Shelleys had one of the corner shops in Oxford Circus , and they filled their windows across three floors with multi-coloured Skechers Chrome Domes.

No one bought them.

No one bought them in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow or Dublin.

Shops were praying that their deliveries wouldn’t make it on time so that they could cancel them.

The UK distributor for Skechers went into liquidation.

Shelley’s are no longer in Oxford Circus.

Skechers was a dirty word in the shoe trade.

A year later a new UK and Ireland distributor was appointed for Skechers. They appointed an Irish agent , Owen Hughes, and he in turn looked for someone to actually go out on the road and sell Skechers to shoe and sports shops.

He asked the best fashion footwear sales person in Ireland. He said no.

He asked the best sports footwear sales person in Ireland. She said no.

He asked the second best fashion footwear sales person in Ireland. He said no.

Absolutely no one wanted to have anything to do with Skechers.

I was the 8th person he asked.

I was offered commission on each sale. If I didn’t sell anything I didn’t get paid anything. Not the most tempting of offers. The commission was generous, but ‘Skechers’ ?

I chatted it over with two friends that owned shoe shops, Felim and Pat. They both said it was ideal for me in that no one expected Skechers to sell, so if I sold any, it would be a bonus, and if they didn’t , no one really knew who I was anyway, and they’d blame Owen.

I said ‘Yes’.

They took off almost immediately.

My orders for the first month were more than all the other sales people in the UK combined.

I remember going to see Simon Hart in Dublin, carrying a huge bag of samples up the stairs to a tiny office. Every single style I showed them was ridiculed. I was reminded of how much money everyone had lost on Skechers the last time. I was told to get another job.

Two weeks later I received samples of a new style from Skechers. It was called ‘Paris’ and it was a leather soled, square toed Chelsea boot , made in Romania. It came in black or brown waxy leather.

I don’t know why , but I decided that the first customer I was going to show it to was Simon Hart. They reluctantly agreed to see me. I took a deep breath and climbed the stairs.

They ordered the Paris boots, and from memory ordered some of the styles I’d shown them two weeks previously. They’d wanted to have a go at someone from Skechers because of the previous ranges, and were then surprised that I wanted to see them again.

I walked down the stairs with the largest order I’d ever taken. It just got busier after that.

Other brands at that time, British Knights, Ellesse, Kangaroos, Travel Fox, Acupuncture, Fly, Steve Madden, Buffalo, SPX, all could have made it , but didn’t. The people that worked for them tried every bit as hard as we did, and a lot of their styles were better. But they didn’t click.

Why ?

Just because, that’s the why.

It had nothing to do with ‘hustle’, time , effort.

The Drumlin Giants asked my friend Glenn and I to host a free open air cinema evening in Rossmore Park for all of the tiny hoomans that visit. So my friend Glenn and I asked the council for permission and they said yes. Glenn has designed a poster. The Giants have picked their favourite movies. The popcorn will be free.

No one will be paid for anything.

No one will be charged for anything.

Why ?

Just because, that’s the why.

The Drumlin Giants also asked me to introduce them to a nice chap from Wicklow, Pól Ó Conghaile, on Wednesday. Pól is an award winning travel writer and all round good egg. I introduced him to Roddy, Banba, Spike, Dagda, The Morrigan, and Big Ross, and showed him where Aoife, Muireann, Thoth, Richard, and Airmid, will eventually appear.

We chatted about music, our kids, life , being, and everything in the universe. At one point he asked what I did, what was my ‘title’, and I began telling him that I was plotting to dominate the Irish agri-science market, disrupt the Irish sportswear market, write the second part of the trilogy, and…I realised that I was talking to myself, Pól was distracted by one of our Giant Redwoods.

And then..


Yes ,,

Why are you calling one of the new Drumlin Giants ‘Richard’ ?

Just because, that’s the why.



Author: paul

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