Me, Eileen , Ger and the kids after Ghyll scrambling in Wales

What Do You Do

Nine years ago we went Ghyll Scrambling with the Monkees
What. Do. You. Do ??? 
“Just what is it that you want to do?
Well, we wanna be free, we wanna be free to do what we wanna do
And we wanna get loaded and we wanna have a good time
And that’s what we’re gonna do (away baby, let’s go)
We’re gonna have a good time, we’re gonna have a party”
Bobby Gillespie /Robert Young
Many moons ago my Soulmate and I found ourselves in a crofters cottage on Eskin Farm, half way up a mountain somewhere near Kendal in the Lake District. We were visiting my Soulmate’s twin sister Ger’ and her shiny new boyfriend Liddy. They were sharing this ancient dwelling with Scott, Pete, Coops, and Parky B. It was very cosy and sort of falling apart at the same time. It was owned by Lord Fortesque- Fortesque de Havaland… or something , and he was charging them a nominal rent , just to keep the heat going and stop the roof falling in.

It suited this bunch perfectly. My Soulmate and I loved to relax by watching television, and spent weekends socialising and recovering from socialising, this Eskin Mob couldn’t sit still for two minutes. Paragliding, fell running, mountain biking, climbing, kayaking, potholing…anything that had a higher than normal risk of death basically.

The second evening we were there I was sitting out the back having a beer with Ger and Parky B when Ger pointed to the mountain on the other side of the valley.

“Oh look, there’s Dave !“ Dave being her affectionate nickname for Liddy.

Liddy waved at us from the distance then retreated out of sight.

“How long will it take him to get back ?” I asked , imagining him gingerly climbing down the other side of that mountain and walking the few miles back.

“A minute.” Ger answered.

I followed her gaze back to the other mountain, just in time to see Liddy run and jump off the mountain.
“Sweet Mother of Christ !” I exclaimed, standing up and knocking over my beer.

A parachute type thing opened behind Liddy as he fell, and he then proceed to glide towards us, landing in the garden, and immediately being handed a beer by Parky B.

We were just getting used to all of this when the weekend arrived.

At the weekend all of their friends escaped from civilised society and crashed in Eskin Farm, arriving Friday evening, and immediately headed out , kayaked, climbed, paraglided, biked, and potholed to their hearts content  before arriving back to cook industrial quantities of pasta, vegetarian lasange and other tasteless delights. Everyone then marched a mile or so down the mountain to the main road where there was a Wheatsheaf Inn and we agonised over the wide selection of draught beers available, Theakstons, or Theakstons Olde Peculiar. We left the bar at 11 , or so, carrying bottles of dog , ( Newcastle Brown Ale) , for the walk home.

I got up at the ungodly hour of 9 am the next morning, to discover that everyone was already gone out trying to kill themselves it an outdoorsy fashion. I comforted myself by making a large mug of tea, some toast and watched Going Live ! and then Football Focus…I had a great day. That afternoon Coops’ sister arrived late and while hurriedly getting ready to make up for lost time fell running, throwing herself off something, and as I made myself another mug of tea and some more toast she asked :

“What do you do ?”

“I sell shoes.”

“No, what do you do ?”

“I sell a lot of shoes. Skechers ? I sell all of the Skechers in Ireland.”

“Not that.” She was getting exasperated and started speaking to me as if English wasn’t my first language.

“What.” She hunched her shoulders and moved her arms out with upturned palms.

 “Do.” She made a running motion.

“You.” She pointed at me.

“Do?” She made a paddling motion, then a climbing motion…or her knickers were itchy.

“Oh ! As a hobby ?”

“Yes !”


She looked disappointed. And so did I to be honest. I only really played golf reluctantly.

“And squash !” I added , hoping that this would make more of an impression….despite the fact that I hadn’t played squash since I’d been at school. It didn’t.

She rolled her eyes to heaven, finished lacing her boots and didn’t speak to me for the rest of the weekend.

That night we had industrial quantities of vegetarian Bolognese…yes, it was as wonderful as it sounds…headed back to the Wheatsheaf, back home, and this time danced until dawn to the tunes provided by Eskin FM and our DJ, Parky B, smoking very thin cigarettes, and drinking bottles of dog.

It was a wonderful trip, so out of the ordinary for my Soulmate and I, and yet all of these years later the thing that pops into my head is :

“What do you do ?”

I couldn’t really answer it then, and I’m not entirely sure that I could answer it satisfactorily now.

I certainly wouldn’t answer ‘golf’ though.

Golf featured a lot in my childhood. Mam and Dad played regularly, both were captains of our local golf club, and the house was littered with pieces of Aynsley china, Waterford crystal and Belleek pottery that they’d won as prizes. My brothers and I played a little. Juveniles were permitted to play  on Tuesday mornings before 11 am, placing them slightly lower down the pecking order than the ladies, who got a whole day to themselves…Wednesday. My brothers and I were quite good at golf, and would have been better if we’d practised…but we didn’t.

As I got older some friends wanted to play , so I joined them occasionally, I enjoyed the chats and the craic. What other sport can you play while smoking …other than darts or snooker ? But as we played over a number of months some started to take it seriously and the fun went out of it.  

I think the last time I played was in a footwear golf society day out, twenty years ago. The Irish Footwear Golf Society organised one or two outings a year , mostly at a course near Dublin. It was run by, and for, footwear retailers and suppliers were invited to take part, and sponsor prizes and rounds of drink. Over the years some resentment built up among retailers from outside Dublin that there was too much of a focus on Dublin based retailers , so a rival society was set up, The Footwear Golf Society of Ireland, or the Popular Front Footwear Society, something like that. This meant I got hit for two sponsorships, as I was the Irish agent for Skechers at the time, and you couldn’t be seen to sponsor one and not the other.
The rebel society had an outing in Athlone and we played in Glasson. I was drawn to play with my friend Pat McCabe from Leixlip and a chap from Athlone. As Pat and I didn’t play regularly and weren’t members of a club the society gave us handicaps of 21. The Athlone chap was a proper golfer, he had a handicap of 12, and was very generous with his advice.

Without really thinking about it Pat and I parred the first hole. The Athlone chap didn’t. He queried our handicaps.

“Beginners luck” we answered.

I had a birdie on the next hole, Pat parred and the Athlone chap didn’t. He mumbled under his breath about the handicaps again.

On the third hole I parred, Pat birdied, and the Athlone chap lost two balls.

On the 4th tee we offered to reduce our handicaps to the same as his. This drove him over the edge. He teed off with Herculean shot into the rough, and refused our offers of help to find his ball. We stood on the fairway, smoking, as he eventually found his ball and swung wildly at it, moving the ball a metre further into the rough. He swung at it again and missed. He then broke his club in two by hitting his own gold trolley. He picked up the ball and threw it away.

He didn’t speak to us the rest of the way round.

Life’s too short for that.

I haven’t played golf since.

Now I try to do whatever interests me, or intrigues me. And I also do things on the spur of the moment.

Last Friday we went to see Fontaines DC play in Belfast. It. Was. EPIC !

Last Saturday I mowed the lawn, threw sticks for Mollie, our neighbours dog, and then mowed their lawn. It too was epic…with a small ‘e’. Some people say that I should get the kids to mow the lawn, but I like doing it. Headphones on, listening to the best playlist on Spotify, mine, or ‘The Rest Is History’ podcast, and I’m content. I finished in time to watch the Mayo v. Dublin semi-final, and treated myself to more than one Moretti. Epic.
This week my SoulMate and her sister decided that they’d like to visit their cousin AnneMarie in Macroom and then climb Carrauntouhill. I love meeting AnneMarie and her partner Gerry and her folks, Maureen and Tim. We’ve had manys a great night that only finished when the whisky did. But climbing Carrauntoohil? Hmmm.

My leg, hip and connecting bits were still sore from my near death experience on Innis Oirr , so I had the perfect excuse not to go. I’d even discussed the idea of a Marvel Universe movie binge with Robyn and Elliott, and Moretti, while the girls were away. I went to see my physio , Alexia, looking for treatment , and confirmation that I was in no fit state to climb the stairs, let alone Carrauntoohil. I got treatment, and despite offering to pay extra, got permission to climb the infernal mountain.

I could have just said I wasn’t going, but then, when will I next get to chance to meet up with Annemarie & Gerry, drink them out of house and home, and spend a wonderful day on the top of Ireland’s highest point with my SoulMate and our best friend…and Gareth ?

That’s what I’ll do.

And you ?

P.S. This is Primal Scream’s Loaded
Author: paul

Leave a Reply

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