Wear Your Scars And Your Colours Proud

“Follow me through the darkness
Will you, won’t you
You bleed love like I do
Don’t you, don’t you
But When it’s too much
You’d give it all up
To feel it’s enough
Not deal with the fuss
So peel back a rush
And jump on a cloud
You’re a captain of the sky
Who wears their colours proud”

Bohlman/Finnigan/Ramey ( Monophonics  ‘Warpaint’)

Our daughter Robyn sent me the song above earlier this week, ‘Warpaint’ by Monophonics. We trade songs every week or so, all of my suggestions are obviously brilliant and Robyn’s…are almost as good. Our son Jake and I trade Behan or Tom Waits quotes and anecdotes, And our other son Elliott and I trade witty commentaries on the days events…or rather I do and he glares at me…lovingly.

These lines resonate :

“You’re a captain of the sky
Who wears their colours proud”

I am, and I do.

This week Mam’s best friends, Anne and Geraldine , paid her a visit and I called over to say ‘Hello’. I still call them Mrs. Whitmarsh, and Mrs. Hurley, just can’t help it. I always thought Mrs.Whitmarsh was very cool because when we were kids she had ELO’s ‘Out Of The Blue’ album, while Mum and Dad had Demis Roussos albums. Mrs. Hurley was cool, and aloof…or maybe it was just that she lived in Cork. They are always great craic when they get together. Icons.

While they were there my brother John called out with the newest addition to his family, Barley, a lemony coloured Basset pup. He’s a wee dote, but I still argue that Snickett would have been a better name.

I left Mum’s to head out to Rossmore Park to meet Ray for a 5 mile run, another instalment in our Dublin City Marathon training. Our rigorous training is often interrupted by selfie opportunities, hills, large trees we haven’t seen before, and swans. While we run we discuss history, politics, Yankees, space, and food. On Monday’s run Ray asked how does WiFi work, and clearly dissatisfied  with my answer , and said  “It was a shame you didn’t study Physics at school.

“I did !”

“Who taught you ???”

When I said Mr.McCarville, it turned out that he’d tried to teach Ray as well. We jogged on a bit further and we arrived back in the car park to see Mr.McCarville himself walking to his own car. He hadn’t taught us in 40 years, and we’d never discussed him, or physics before, and lo and behold, less than 10 minutes after chatting about him, there he was. We flagged him down as he passed in his car and told him that we’d just been talking about him. We went on to discover that he’d retired many years ago, and that now local history was his passion. Well his words fell on fertile ground and Ray immediately bombarded him with questions about the Rossmores, the graveyard, Kilmore, tunnels…and never once mentioned WiFi.

We said we’d attend his next talk, and said , in unison “Goodbye Mr.McCarville.”

“Vincent, call me Vincent, please.”

And again we both replied in unison “OK Mr.McCarville.”

We ran on Monday because I had to go to Dublin on Tuesday for an eye appointment. I’ve had a series of eye injections over the last few months in my left eye to try and reduce a swelling right at my optic nerve.

“Well Paul are you noticing any improvement ?”

“Not really.”

“You seem to be able to read at least two lines better on the chart, since March.”

“I think that’s because I’ve been tested on those charts a dozen time since March and I think I’ve them memorised.”

He laughed.


“I see…well the swelling has gone down 18 microns as well. So it’s doing something. I suggest that we try another three injections.”

I agreed , and I walked away thrilled that there was progress. Yes ,, I was thrilled at the prospect at another three injections into my left cornea, awake. Life is funny.

I then drove out to Malahide , a lovely part of Dublin that refuses to accept that its not Dalkey. I met my old friend Fintan for lunch and a  decent oul’ chat. Many, many moons ago, in the 90’s we would go drinking around Dublin several nights a week, ending up in The 51 on Haddington Road if we were lucky, and ending up in Strings on Leeson Street if we weren’t. I arrived at 1.30 pm and left at 4pm, and we had put the world to rights in the mean time. We also said that we’d try and round up some of our classmates for another proper night out, so I’ve set up a WhatsApp group called ‘Not Dead Yet Dinner’ and we have 10 ‘yes’s’ for November 18th.

On Wednesday I got word that we have the go ahead for another Drumlin Giant in Rossmore Park. This one will be Thoth, the inventor/blacksmith/engineer and his story will involve local legend Richard Pockrich, Mozart, and Benjamin Franklin. Work will start in September.

I also met Freddie for lunch, and we chatted about recent Monaghan matches, the Barbie movie, holidays, our Jake, and trampolines. He had the soup, I had the sweet and sour chicken with half and  half , aka, rice and chips. That always reminds me of a take away I used to call into in Edgewortstown on my way home when I sold Skechers all around the country. It had the usual large acrylic sign bolted to the wall with the menu and prices, but with a large sheet of foolscap paper taped over the ‘Extras’ part which said in bold capitals “NO HALF & HALF !!!”.

For non-Irish-Chinese aficionados, a side order of half chips ( Yankee fries) and boiled rice , is the side order accompaniment to most main dishes.

Today, Thursday, I again went for a 5 mile jog around the Park with Ray, discussing Oppenheimer, climate change, American Diner food, Coldplay’s gig next year in Croke Park, and how Jacobs got the figs into their Fig Rolls. As we made our way back along the river Muireann, we bumped into Mr.Duffy, another former teacher of ours who had escaped the school to become general secretary of the GAA at one point. Ray stopped to say hello.

“Hello Mr.Duffy…”

“Paraic, please.”

“…yes, Paraic, Mr.Duffy, we bumped into Mr.McCarville the other day and….and…”

“Yes Raymond ?” Mr.Duffy asked patiently.

“…and…can you get me Coldplay tickets ?”

“No Raymond. I’m retired.”

“C’mon Paul, say goodbye to Mr.Duffy.”

“It’s Paraic.”

“Goodbye Mr.Duffy !” we chanted as we ran away, giggling like second years who were mitching French class…

Later I got a call from Shane, another old school friend, and fellow ex- student priest, also now happily married. He’d had health issues earlier this year and we ended up chatting for over an hour on the phone about health, that very ELO album Mrs. Whitmarsh had, and the new Post Party EP I’d sent him, our wives, our kids, Sligo, careers, stress, and how damned lucky we both were.

Sometimes I write about the minutiae of my life, because I simply love it, and I absolutely do appreciate the privilege I have to live it and marvel at it all.

And sometimes I write about it because this very week last year I was one day after having a kidney, my bladder, several lymph nodes, and a prostate removed. I still marvelled at the wonder of it all…but wasn’t able to write about it.

In a few days, but 12 months ago, it took me 15 minutes to shuffle along a 5 metre corridor. And if I managed it three times I would sit down and fall asleep.

In a few days I’ll be running in the Castleblayney Rockets 10 Mile Run…possibly at a similar pace, but not snoozing every 30 minutes.  

That’s pretty cool , isn’t it ?



Author: paul

Leave a Reply

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