Me as a balloons

Pope Sylvester II’s Jambon

Sylvester II’s Jambon

“Everybody had a hard year
Everybody had a good time
Everybody had a wet dream
Everybody saw the sunshine
Oh yeah, oh yeah

Everybody had a good year
Everybody let their hair down
Everybody pulled their socks up
Everybody put their foot down
Oh yeah, oh yeah”


In no particular order , the things that concerned me on Monday were :

  1. Money
  2. Absence of wheaten bread at breakfast
  3. Annoying warning light on dashboard that I can’t switch off
  4. A business meeting
  5. No reply on a proposal someone had chased me to complete a couple of weeks ago.
  6. The wrong reply on a different proposal I’d also completed weeks ago.
  7. Still no offers of an advance on my book.
  8. Meaning
  9. No cheesy garlic bread in Flemings
  10. Something else

All of those concerns disappeared in a phone call from my Soulmate saying that what we’d all thought was a simple doctor’s visit for our kid was turning into an urgent dash to Cavan A+E. You convince yourself and herself and the kid that there’s nothing to worry about as you all travel through Clones ( that’s Clo-ness , for my Yankee and European readers), but you’ve convinced no one. By the time you’ve reached Cloverhill your Soulmate has to remind you to stop asking our kid if he’s alright’ or ‘if there’s any change’. When you reach Butlers Bridge the podcast has finished and you haven’t heard a word of Neill Tennant’s interview with Neil Gaiman.

You pull up at A+E your Soulmate and our kid get out, I wish them well, and drive off to get a coffee and something to eat. Due to Covid only one parent is allowed in with our kid. I get a coffee, a bottle of water , a banana, a jambon, and a nutty bar that has healthy written all over it but has more sugar than a Snickers…you leave it back and get two Snickers.

And you sit in the car , sending texts to our other kids, my Mum and Dad, my brothers telling them that I’ll let them know as soon as I know, but not to call as I want to keep the phone free.

I eat my jambon while it’s hot. I drink some coffee. Then I eat the flakes of the jambon’s pastry that have fallen onto my jumper, the seat and the steering wheel.

I had always thought that the jambon was French, until I asked for one in Paris and was handed a slice of ham. I then assumed that it must be English, but was asked to leave Gregg’s in Gloucester when I tried to describe it. It turns out that it’s a completely Irish invention, and is only sold here.

Again for my Yankee and European readers a jambon is a square of puff pastry with a cheese and ham layer with further triangles of puff pastry almost sealing it over. It’s sold heated, and it is delicious.

My phone vibrates, my Soulmate has texted to say that they’ve made it through reception and are waiting on triage.

I pass this message on to everyone.

I eat my banana and one of the Snickers and finish my coffee.

Snickers tasted much better when they were Marathons.

Time passed slowly.

I blamed Pope Sylvester II for this, the alleged creator of the first mechanical clock in 966. I’d been reading up on him lately due to time itself featuring a lot in my book, he has stolen a book of spells from al-Hakkam II in Cordoba, and is being chased by Karl. Karl can trace the whereabouts of the book in the stars but Sylvester cab sense that he is being pursued and hides , hanging from a rope under a wooden bridge. Karl has power over the heavens and the earth, but as Sylvester is suspended between the two, he is invisible to Karl….

My phone vibrates again.

Our kid has been seen by a doctor and blood tests have been sent. The doctor wants a consultant to have a look. My Soulmate tells me to go home for a while, feed the cats, and she’ll let me know what’s happening later.

I pass this message on to everyone.

I listen to Spotify on my way home, Nick Cave sings ‘Bright Horses’ , I sing along, I start crying at the

Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, well, this world is plain to see
It don’t mean we can’t believe in something….

Those damn ‘Oh’Oh’Ohs’ get me every time, like a prayer.

I haven’t prayed since this morning, since before this.

I start to pray.

I’ve just passed through Clones when the phone rings. My Soulmate tells me that the doctor thinks its blood related, the consultant doesn’t and wants an x-ray, they can leave now and come back in the morning. I turn around and drive through Clones again. I make it as far as the bit in no mans land where the boy racers are always doing doughnuts when my Soulmate rings again to say that they’ve decided to do the xray tonight , so carry on home.

I pass this on to everyone.

Once more for my Yankee and European readers, the road from Monaghan to Cavan passes through the border with the Fermanagh a couple of times, so you’re in and out of Irish/UK jurisdiction for brief periods. Some stretches are a kind of no mans land as neither side bother to police them.

I drive through Clones for the 4th time today.

I get home. Tuna is glad to see me, and Pasta is…not as nasty as usual, she’s our kid’s cat. I feed them both and give them milk. They never get milk. They love it. Our kid maintains that cats are lactose intolerant, but I find that very hard to believe, it would make a mockery of my earluy devotion to Tom & Jerry.

My Soulmate rings again, the x-ray has been done so they’re waiting again to see a doctor. Our kid is on a drip, it may be a while until they know what’s happening. I say I’ll head back over now anyway and we can swap places.

On my 5th visit to Clones I decide to steel myself with a fish & chips from Domenico’s. I stop place my order, and pop around to Matthew’s to get a coffee, Private Eye magazine, and another Snickers…those things are much better than the old Marathons used to be…when my Soulmate rings, “We’ve been discharged, back tomorrow at 8, are you here ?”

Just passing through Clones , I say.

I go back to Domenico’s and collect my fish & chips, and scald myself eating them as I now race to Cavan.

It’s good news if they’re letting him out over night , I tell myself, and I pass this on to everyone.

I collect our kid and my Soulmate. The car smells wonderfully of fish & chips…they haven’t eaten since lunchtime…I have indigestion from jambon’s bananas, Snickers and Domenico’s fish and chips.

We pass through Clones, second time today for them, sixth time for me.

I drop them home, and go to get them pizza.

My Soulmate and I don’t sleep.

Oddly , I pray a lot, when I run especially, when I’m worried, when someone is ill, in trouble, or if I happen to pass a quiet ,lonely church, but now I drift off, prayers half said, then I jolt awake, start again…Sylvester II has now replaced Warren Ellis in The Bad Seeds, and he’s playing Bright Horses live in Copenhagen with Nick Cave….my Soulmate’s alarm goes off, she is taking our kid to Cavan A+E this morning for 8.00am for more blood tests and another xray.

I say I’ll get up in a moment. I don’t. I fall asleep, I hear the car leaving. I pray…and fall asleep again.

I get up in time to go to the Park to meet Donal to review the site where we’re staging the Drumlin Giant’s Outdoor Cinema this Saturday. We talk about insurance, event plans, risk assessments….well Donal does…I tell him I have complete faith in his ability to sort all of that out. We discuss the weather, it looks poor for Saturday…very poor. It’s going ahead anyway I determine. I don’t care if I have to sit and watch the BFG, The Goonies, The Princess Bride, and A Monster Calls all on my own …and eat all of the popcorn…it’s going ahead OK ! Donal and I agree that we’ll both get Carmel to sort everything out. Carmel sorts everything out. I love Carmel…and Donal…a bit.

I go to my office. Look out the window.

My phone vibrates. Elliott is on another drip, and has had more bloods taken.

I pass this on to everyone.

I look out the window. I sometimes see a Red Kite gliding in the distance, it’s cry is like the eagle sound you used to hear in Westerns , especially in lonely desert scenes. It’s not there today. I keep looking anyway.

Hours pass.

I go home. The cats are anxious. They make me a cup of tea.

My Soulmate rings, no news, just waiting on results, but they’ve both left home without their chargers and batteries are low.

“No problem, I’ll leave now.”

When I pass through Clones the phone rings again, “Bloods have improved dramatically, no danger, we’re coming home”.

I pass this on to everyone.

They are all delighted.

I am delighted.

I pass through Clones for the 8th time in 24 hours.

Everything is back to normal.

Nothing will be the same again.

I will walk away from negativity.

I will survive without McCambridge’s wheaten bread.

Money kept longer than three days stinks.

I enjoy writing , even if no one reads it.

I think I’d miss that wee warning light on the dashboard if it went out now…it has a comforting, warm , amber glow.

Business is just business.

I have meaning.

There is always something else.

Please pass this on to everyone.



P.S. I’m going through Changes

Author: paul

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