Someone Else

“You bring my hand to my heart
You fling all my plans to the wind
You wrote me a better part
Just in time to wind the clocks to the start”

 Six Words – Elbow

Everything’s fine until it isn’t. And then it is again.

That is the best synopsis of my mental health and general well being.

I think we all have something in our past that we rather we didn’t. We can compartmentalise it, bind it up in a large wooden box, weigh it down and lower it into a bottomless lake, and carry on with our lives. But then either a tendril from the box weaves it’s way out and ensnares us, gradually, and so slowly that we don’t realise it’s happening…or the box is suddenly sitting on a screaming  juggernaut and runs us off the road.

Either way , we can’t escape it.

Someone recently asked me “What do you do ?”, and shortly after someone else asked “What are you doing ?” and I couldn’t honestly answer either one. That may have been the start of it.

Someone else reminds me so much of myself, and all of the mistakes that I made, that it hurts. It hurts because I’ve done my best to help them avoid those mistakes, but they know best. Like I knew best. That hasn’t helped.

Someone else was arguing with someone else else about nothing. They thought they were arguing about money, but they weren’t, I know because I used to think that’s what I was concerned with, but it wasn’t. I love them both. I really didn’t care about what they were arguing about, but I was being expected to take a side, and it caused me great stress.

Someone else , that I’ve consciously avoided for years, popped back into my life, through someone else. I decided to take the opportunity to apologise to them. I walked across that burning bridge. And when I did, they had no idea what I was apologising for and told me they’d missed me. And then something caught in my eye…or I had an allergy to something….

Someone else grew up , much quicker than I’d thought, and I felt  had outgrown me. She’s a girl I’ve never met. I dedicate my running to her. I was introduced to her family by my friend Carol Dublin who administrates a group called ‘I Run 4’, which matches runners with ill children who can’t. I have no running medals, I send them each year to Hailey, along with packets of Keogh’s crisps, bars of Cadbury Dairy Milk, and a Monaghan jersey. The last two years have seen a dearth of races, so I hadn’t been in touch as often , and then I saw a photo of her and she wasn’t a wee girl anymore.

I’d run previously for another boy, and when he hit his teenage years I felt that maybe he’d outgrown the concept. His mother confirmed that he had, but that he hadn’t wanted to hurt my fee87

So I asked Hailey’s Mum if it was OK to send the few medals I’d gathered this year. And she replied “That would be cool, Hailey was only asking after you yesterday.”  Would you look at that , something else is caught in my eye….I’ll really have to get that allergy test….

One of the characters in something  I should be spending more time writing is William Henry Fortescue, who , like myself, was born in Dundalk and, again like myself,  had the great fortune to marry a Monaghan lady, Frances Murray in his case, my Soulmate in mine. Henry owned an estate outside Dundalk, the  Ballymascanlon hotel was once his home, and Frances owned what would become the Rossmore Estate in Monaghan, including Monaghan town itself. This being the 18th century, a glorious time of repression and rotten boroughs, they controlled three MPs between them. This led, in the space of 7 years from 1770 to 1777, to Henry going from a commoner to an earl. The Earl of Clermont.

Henry and Frances bought 44 Berkeley Square in London, and quickly established a reputation for  being generous, lavish and entertaining hosts. Henry was a betting man, owned horses, and lived well beyond the means of a man with two ‘modest’ estates in Ireland. Although much older, he became firm friends with the future King, George IV. Frances was incredibly popular at court, and they spent two months of every year in Versailles as guests of Marie Antoinette. This in turn led to an introduction to her brother Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, of ruler of the Hapsburg empire.

Versailles could feel like the centre of the world. Every nation on earth had a presence there through ambassadors, royal relatives or simply socialites attracted by the sense of power and intrigue. The American War of Independence, heavily financed by France was raging and yet the British ambassador, the Duke of Dorset, could happily sit with Benjamin Franklin, Louis XVI, and Lord Clermont and chat about horse racing, politics and fine wines.

Similarly, the Austrians, Russians, Prussians, and Ottomans were fighting numerous wars with, for and against each other, but again all could meet, dine, chat and bet with Lord Clermont in Versailles.

And all of their wives would be entertained by Frances, a favourite of Marie Antoinette.

They knew everyone. And they were such friendly guests and hosts that everyone inevitably told them everything. Knowledge in an age of warring Empires was an incredibly valuable commodity.

In 1782 negotiations began in what would become the Treaty of Paris in 1783, between the American colonies, Great Britain, France, Spain and the Dutch. Largely it was to grant independence to the Americans from Great Britain, but as the French , Spanish and Dutch all had possessions and claims in America they were all involved. They had all been at war with each other in some fashion or other for many , many years, and wars were very, very expensive. All of the countries involved sold government bonds to finance their war efforts, and as wars stretched on, financiers could become very nervous about losing everything. A market developed in London, trading various government bonds. This market was reaching fever pitch in 1783, as the Peace negotiations continued. Not everyone would get what they wanted, there was the potential for great gains and devastating losses.

Henry knew almost everyone sitting at the negotiating table, some of whom owed him money for  bets. And Frances knew almost all of their wives and mistresses. Between them they knew better than anyone else what each side wanted, but more importantly , what each side would compromise on.

They were very active in the London markets.

Henry knew a full six hours before the British Government did that the preliminaries of a final agreement had been signed in Paris.

A man can make a lot of fortunes for a lot of friends in the space of six hours when he knows something no one else does.

Contemporaries simply referred to him as ‘Old Clermont’, and dismissed Frances as a gossip. Little did they know.

The only reason I tell you this is that , I think, one of the greatest things about Henry and Frances was a quote about them :

“One is not entirely sure what it is that the Clermonts actually do, but all are agreed that they do it exceedingly well.”

I’d take that.

Try your best.

Let others be free to try their best.

Let others sort things out themselves.

Love them.


Accept forgiveness.


Never grow up.

Keep on rocking in the Free World !



P.S. Sort of related, this is Pulp singing ‘Common People’ live in Reading in 2011, and Jarvis introduces it ….” If Pulp are only ever remembered for this song, I don’t care, it’s a good song. You know Black Lace are only remembered for Agadoo…hmmm…so it could be a lot worse.”

Author: paul

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