Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Moon…and Back Again

Tuesday morning started bright and early…6am to be exact, and bright from the heavy frost that had developed during the night. Panic stations. There is nothing like frost or ice or snow to get you wondering if your going to make your final destination on time.
I got up at 6 because I think I’m bordering on the insane. Before I go traveling anywhere, I get incredibly nervous. Nervous that I will leave something very important behind, nervous that I wont get where Im going on time. So, 6 it was.
Everything in order, checked and double checked, I waited anxiously for mum to get up, having forgotten what time she said she wanted to be out of the house by. So, around 8, I tip-toed up the stairs and peeped into her room. She was awake, and just coming to terms with the idea of getting out of bed.
I let the dogs out, and once again, made sure that I had everything I needed: money, times, clothes, toothbrush, ipod, headphones, makeup, socks…the debated whether or not I should bother bringing my sketch book. I opted for not and Im relieved that I make that decision.
We left the house at a no hurry quarter to 9. Of course there was an internal tempest swirling around inside my head…the winds of which were howling, “YOUR GOING TO BE LATE!! YOUR NOT GOING TO MAKE IT”
But in fairness, when your travelling from the Moon, you have a long way to go, and anything can go wrong.
Mum started her rosary and asked me which mystery she should say. I half jokeninly, half seriously said “The mystery that prevents this car from breaking down” Because the last time we drove to Galway, the car died just before the first roundabout on the edge of the city. And I just had visions of that sad fate befalling us again.
Everything was going smoothly, and I was taking in the scenery. The lovely, sunny morning that it was, such a contrast from the previous couple of wintery days. Just on the outskirts of Tuam, I spotted in the distance a tiny blip in the sky, and realized quickly that it was a hot air balloon. All the way into Tuam, through it, and the other side, we got closer and closer to it. I was so excited by the sight, never having seen one before. It was so so beautiful, just hanging in the sky, still…a beacon and a sign of still, good weather. I mean, how often to you see a hot air balloon here??

The far side of Claregalway, I directed mum to where she needed to go, after having come to the conclusion that there was no way I would have enough time to bring her there myself and still make my bus. So once that was established, I hopped out where we had broken down before, grabbed all my stuff, and trecked into town on my footsies. Every so often I looked back, wondering if a bus would pass me, and none did, which I had figured. If there’s one thing Ive learned from living in Galway, its that, you cant ever rely on a bus. Sometimes you are lucky, and one will come to save you. But most of the time, youd be quicker walking. So that’s what I did. Pelt it into town.
Once in Eyre Square, I marched down to the bus startion, knowing already that the ‘mystery bus’ to Delivin, most likely, would not exist. Such a thing would just be too handy and wonderful, to actually be on offer. Even if the bus eireann website did plainly state that said bus, was in fact, a reality.
I prepared myself for the actual facts.
I went to the girl that I always go to. Im always nice as pie to her because I happened across her one day after a really nasty customer gave her a going over. So I think she sort of knows me…but I think maybe she was suffering from early onset aslheimerzs Tuesday morning, because she was as cross as a feral cat, and for no reason…
I went to the desk and first asked if there was a direct bus to Delvin…I didn’t even assume that there was going to be one.
“NO…there is no direct bus to Delvin. Youl have to go to Dublin first and then get a connecting bus to Delvin.”
I sort of looked at her. I didn’t have the energy to put up a fight. I don’t think I have any fight left in me. So I conceited defeat and asked how I was going to go about going to Delvin. She huffed and she puffed and I thought she was going to blow her computer down. It just appeared to be such a trial for her to do her job. So after a few minutes of computering, and several mintues of flicking though sheets of timtables, she tapled a bunch of them together and pushed them through the middle ground.
I looked at them as if they were written in Turkish. Bus timetables and me, don’t mix. I can get from one end of London to the other. Put me in America and I will get from the top to the bottom of the east coast, no bother. Push a bus eireann time table under my nose, and you mite as well be asking me to perform open heart surgery.
I cannot make any sense of them.
I side stepped, incase there was someone else who needed to talk to this abominable little woman, and looked at the numbers, places, solid lines, broken lines, and tried, tried very hard to understand this gibberish. After awhile, I realize that I was never much good at algebra, and this was as good as. So, sheepishly creeping back to my server, I asked if she could explain, because I just didn’t understand.
She basically carved loops around the times I needed, and made the time table look like a plan of defensive attach on  a football pitch.
In fairness, it did make some sort of twisted sense then, but, worn out, she walked off, and didn’t come back. Maybe it was her tea break. Or maybe she was just fed up of dealing with idiots like me. Whichever, Im never going back to her again. And Im definitely going to get in contact with Bus Eireann and ask them to sort their internet site out, because it just doenst work. EVER.

I got my ticket off the other woman, a direct ticket, all the way to Delvin, and Im glad I did, it defiantely saved time in the long run.
So, on the bus I hopped. Thankfully it wasn’t full, so I got two seats to myself, which is really the only way that bus travel is enjoyable. It left galway at half 11, and we pulled into the bus station at 3, on the nose. As we were circleing it, I could see my connecting bus, the 111 in the loading dock, and crossed my fingers hard, hoping that it wouldn’t pull away before I was on it.
As soon as we were stationary, I hopped off and skipped down to my next bus, and sheepishly asked if he was going to Delvin.
“Devlin? No”
“Oh, actually, you get off at Athboy, yeah, hop on”

That’s when my poor brain began to rattle. The bus reminded me of the one out of the 2nd Harry Potter…double decked and strangly narrow. The dirt of the windows made it impossible to see where I was, and I searched the distance for road signs, anxious that I would miss my stop , and end of God knows where…
We passed through Trim, I knew where I was. I think I have either driven through there before, but I cant remember how. The castle is SO impressive, its no wonder Emma did a whole body of work on it. She rang me just as I was leaving the city and asked me where I was, and we arranged that she’d collect me from Athboy instead of me having to wait for another bus to bring me to her town. Athboy is the next village, and also very cute. I got dropped off opposite a londis, where I picked up a bunch of tulips for herself and a malteesers bunny. I wasn’t waiting long for her, and I was so relieved when she pulled up J

We headed down to her nan’s house, which is in Trim, and just up the road a bit from the Library where Emma’s Stitch in Time solo show is on, for the next two weeks. Trim is as cute as a button, all of it. The estate her nan lives in is sweet and compact. Even her nan’s dog is sweet and compact. She was sitting on the back of the settee ‘smiling’ out at us as we pulled up. Emma’s whole family are warm and welcoming. They have that earthy realness that makes you feel instantly at home, even if it’s the first time you’ve met them. After a much longed for cup of tea, we walked up to the exhibition to make sure that everthing was where it needed to be, and I stuck the first of many red dots on the piece that I was only delighted to bring back to the Moon with me.
The moon indeed. Everyone I was introduced to, was regaled with my story of that day’s travels, to which they all responded, “ah, God love Ya! Aren’t you Great for coming all that way..” With sighs at the appropriate points and that lovely dub sensitivity in every word. I started to realize that to people on the other side of the country, Mayo is a world away, which it pretty much is. In the amount of time it took me to get to trim via Dublin, I could have been in America, or Russia…or, it began to feel, the Moon.
We walked back to her Nan’s and got ready for the opening.
The opening went off without a hitch, even if none of the advertising for it had the time of the opening included, and the man who was meant to be opening it, sent a representative because he couldn’t make it himself. All in all though, there was about 20 – 30 people that came through, and from everyone, there was a great interest in the work. They weren’t coming because they felt they had to. They came because they wanted to, and I think that’s definatly worth saying. One man chewed over Emma’s mounted paper work for what seemed like, the guts of 45 minutes anyway. He was really looking, which is great to see. In the end, he bought two pieces. There was a lovely relaxed atmosphere, and Emma just looked, in her element.
I would imagine that it is quite a feeling, to put your work up, on its on, with no one else’s work around it, to distract from it, and see people really enguage with it. It must be a wonderful feeling.
And I know art isn’t about making money, but when someone loves something enough that they want to take it home with them, that feeling must be amplified tenfold. I am so happy for her. She is truly amazing, and an absolute inspiration, and a treasured friend.

We picked up a chinese on the way home. I had totally forgotten how hungry I was, until I walked though the take aways doors. Food in paw, we made our way back to Emma’s house, which is, Ill admit, in the middle of no where. It was lovely J
Red Door, snap, it reminded me a lot of my house, if my house was all one level. So I just instantly felt at home. I think Im getting better at being in new places and meeting new people. I don’t know if that’s just a growning up thing that just happens, or a conscious thing…well, whichever it is…Im glad of it. We all sat around the kitchen table and ate and talked. Emma’s family is, Ill say it again, lovely. They asked all the usual questions: where are you from, oh your parents are Irish, so how did you find it, oh, oh really, those inbred bastards!
It was a nice little chat J
Then after food, we made tea and curled up on Emma’s ‘comfy as the underbelly of a seal pup’ couches, where Toto entertained us to no end. What a caracterful, lovely little pooch. I could have ate him up with a spoon, he was just that cute! I also met the infamous Jillian, Emma’s older sister, who I had heard so much about. She was really nice, and asked what I was doing with myself post college J
Wrecked from the day, me and Emma made up a bed for me, consisting of 4 duvets on her floor, which Toto christened by curling up on the end of, and then pretending that he was deaf and paralyzed when asked to move. And basically, I passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow.
When I was still in America, I used to find it very hard to fall asleep. Like impossible. And half the night I would spend fighting with myself to go to sleep. But since living on my own, and then all through college, I have no trouble sleeping anymore. And even if I wake up in the night, Ill just turn over and go straight back to sleep. Its something I don’t take for graunted at all. Emma, who is just 4 weeks shy of her due date, was up and down like a yoyo all night. Stretching and what-not. Getting love filled phone calls from her ‘baby daddy’ in England. Bless her cute head.

Yesderday, she made me the most awesome porridge Ive ever had. It was so creamy, it was like custard. I could have eaten all three bears’ bowls, if I wasn’t so full after the first one! And of course, the mug of tae, never an irish breakfast, elevenses, lunch, dinner, or pre-bed is complete without tea. Toto curled up next to me on the couch, where I get the feeling he isn’t usually allowed, but seeing as he knew I was a total soft touch, and didn’t know the rules of the house, he just latched on to me. Pure dote.
We got ready to head into the library. I said my goodbyes to Emma’s mum, and thanked her profusely for her hospitality. She is so lovely. A real mummie. And of course said goodbye to Toto. Cute little dude.

When we arrived at the Library there was something on, and all her boards had been shimmied over to the side to make space for a crowd of kids who were doing some sort of irish table quiz type things. So we decided we’d walk down town and get a cup of tea and run a few errands. I can’t remember the name of the little café we landed in, but true to what I wrote earlier, it was button cute. The two tables at the front, were sun flooded and warm, but opting for more space, we went to the back. There were framed colour posters of Tin Tin, and robin’s egg blue paint cooled the walls. Ive always had a soft spot for that colour. The staff was friendly and attentive, buzzing round the full café. Everyone was smiling and chatting happily. There was such a nice energy about the place, if you didn’t have anything else on, you could sit there quite happily, whileing away the hours.
We got a large old style brown tea pot and shared the contents between us. Emma got an almond crossiant, and I got a plate of brown toast, that came out pipeing hot.
I must have looked pleased as punch because at one stage emma smiled at me and said “I could see you living here”…and funnily enough, it definitely won me over. Trim has that ‘small town’ feel, but its busy and alive. It has this quaintness, without seeming secluded or appearing backward. I was trying to describe it to mum this morning, by compareing it to other towns, but I wasn’t giving it justice at all, because its nothing like Ive experienced before. It really isn’t like any other town in Ireland. I don’t know what its like. But its lovely.
After tea, we popped over to the bank. Banks are all the same, aren’t they…
Then back up to the Library, just in time for their lunch break, at which time Elaine passed us in the bus. So we got the car and drove down to collect her from the bus stop. True to form, Elaine was a burst of sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. God, how I adore her.
As soon as she settled herself in the back of car, Elaine shot us with a barrage of questions about how we were doing, how was the opening, how amazing it was that I was on her side of the country…etc…you get the drift. Emma drove us to Knightsbrook…I think it was called, but I could be wrong. Its just on the outskirts of Trim, and consists of a large housing estate, and a massive hotel, and golf corse.
The ceilings were very high, and the main dining room was full for lunch. Women seated round tables, were choosing mini deserts off tiered cake stands, and talking with their cups of tea in hand. Teachers, Emma pointed out, from the local secondary school, ate their lunch at the next table, and from the large window, we had a view of the rolling greens outside.
The three of us got toasted wraps, which came with a little side salad and a handful of tortilla chips. After which me and Elaine got profitteroles and Emma got a sticky toffee pudding, which looked very sticky and yummy. The wraps were lovely and all conversation pretty much stood still while we were chowing down.
After our lovely lunch, we headed back in to Trim, and brought Elaine to the library, until it was time to drop us to out respective bus stops. It was SO good to see Laine0, really and truly. I miss her cute head more then I have words to sayJ But it gives me great comfort to know that no matter where we are all scattered in the country, we can arrange to meet up and it is just like old times. That makes me very happy to know.
Then Emma dropped me off at my bus stop, and that’s when I went back into slight panic mode. I know I wont be as nervous the next time I visit, because I know the area now, and Ill know what to expect and how to get there. But in my haste to jump out of the car, so she wouldn’t become an obstruction, I accidently ‘stole’ Emma’s scaf, which I had been holding onto in the car, and didn’t realize it until I was standing at the bus stop, and she was driving around the corner, on her way back to the Library. I rang her to let her know, and she laughed and just said to post it back down to her, which I will happily, if not slightly embarrassedly do tomorrow, after the town gets back to normal. Standing at the bus stop, I half listened to the couple sitting on the bench. They were planning on getting out at O’Connell street too, so that gave me some relief. I would get on to the bus that they got on to. When he did arrive, albeit a bit late, the driver didn’t have change to give me, so I gave him my 50 in good faith that he would remember me when I got off, and I wouldn’t have to pick a fight with him for my change.
I have a terrible habit of falling asleep while being transported, be it by train, bus, car, plane…once there is movement involved, I will generally fall asleep…So I really had to fight with myself to ignore the sun in my eyes and stay awake, so I wouldn’t miss my stop. I think it roughly took an hour to get in, and when I was getting off, the bus driver had my money in his hand for me.
The stop was about 4 streets away from where the luas line cuts across O’Connell street, so I walked up purposefully, like I knew exactly where I was going, and not like I was just visiting here from the Moon for the day. Getting the Luas ticket always unnerves me. There is usually some old crusty, dodgey looking fecker  standing right next to the machine waiting for you to give them money. Mostly Im with someone when I venture to Dublin, and this makes me feel that bit braver, so Im not as bothered by people asking me for money, I just pretend that I don’t understand English and ignore everything that’s going on around me. But lady luck was on my side and there wasn’t any of the regular folk skulking around the Luas stop. Maybe it was the time of day…roughly around 5 in the evening…maybe they are all in doorways and squats, shooting up around that time…So, I got my ticket and waited, making sure that I was on the right side of the street, and that I was going to the right place.
Dublin was nice yesterday…it nearly made up for all the bad experiences Ive had there. People were nice on the Luas, one man even offering his seat to me, which I declined, knowing that I would be sitting soon enough, for a long time on the train. Everyone seemed in good form, maybe it was the sunshine? Heuston was busy, but I still managed to get a seat after I had bought my ticket, and picked up a National Geographic and a drink. Then I just waited. Its better to be places early and have to wait, then be running late, and not make it.
Maybe I was sitting in the wrong place, because I didn’t notice the Westport train pulling in. So I was one of the last people to get on, eventhought I was boarding the train a half hour before departure. Ill definatley know for again to prebook my seats, because as soon as I had found an empty one, taken off my coat, and started reading the article I had bought the NG for, this old-ish man came up to me, and informed me that I was in his prebooked seat. Now, I had checked before sitting down at the little elongated digital oval just over the seat, to see if there was someones name spelled out in little green lights. So, seeing there was none, I sat down.
But no. He showed me his ticket, and then just stood there, nearly sitting in as I was getting up, and while I collected all my truffery, he didn’t seem best pleased. I tried to explain that pre-booked seats usually have the persons name above them, so unfortunate people like me don’t end up sitting in them, but that didn’t matter. Figureing that this would most likely happen again at the next seat I occupied, I went along into the next carriage, and hoped for the best.
I sat next to a girl with a lap top, and across from a lad. As we pulled off, another woman joined our table, with curly hair and probably in her late 20s, or early 30s. She started reading her book, so I opened my NG and started the article again, now confident that I wouldn’t be ousted from my seat.
I would safely say, about 20 minutes into our journey, an man joined our carriage. He  sat ontop of the table at the next group of people infront of us, and started talking, well, pure shite. Things about the economy and Bertie, and I don’t know what else. And inbetween statements, f-ing and blinding, and telling short stories, he played the spoons. No one was impressed at first. The two people sitting next to me, sort of sniggered at him under their breathe, and the woman sitting across from me shot me a glance that I could feel mimicked on my own face, one of slight irritation and annoyance.
That’s the best way I could describe him. Annoying. I couldn’t understand what he was saying because there were so so many curses in every sentence, that they lost all meaning halfway through. And the spoons, the one sequence he knew, was aggravating, not charming. After having the craic in our carriage for about 20 minutes, and totally destroying all my concentration to the point where I had to reread the article I was so looking forward to, all over again, he made his way into the next carriage. There was a audible sigh of relief from a lot of the passengers, and also a half whispered discussion about the man after he was safely out of earshot.
But he came back, about 10 minutes later, and this time, the lads at the top of the carriage were ready for him. The lads, about 16 or 17, weren’t going to let this guy have all the fun. So anytime he came out with some jem of shite, they had a comeback for him, and the whole carriage would laugh. At one point, the man said his philosophy for life, which I didn’t quite catch, mostly because it didn’t make any sense, to which one of the lads shouted up “Obviously didn’t work, did it!” to which most of the people chuckled along with. The man was quiet for a good long while, then started talking about how excieted he was for Paddy’s…and I stop listening, and hoped he would get off soon, because the constantly rattleing of his spoons was cutting through me. One of the lads asked him to play Rhianna, everyone laughed, it went on like that until he, and quite a few people got off at Tullamore.
Maybe it was the dark outside, but the train journey seemed to take forever. Eventually we got to Claremorris, and I jumped out. I had to wait for Eoghain to collect me, which didn’t take long. I don’t think Ive even gotten the train to Claremorris, so I didn’t risk walking in to the town, because I didn’t know  which direction the town was in, or how close it was.
He pulled up, and we sped off home. He asked about the exhibition, and how the girls were, and how everything went in general. He seemed tired, I guess he was travelling a lot yesterday too. Mum was just home from work when we got back, and she was making herself dinner. I showed her the piece I bought off Emma and she oooed and ahed, and liked it a lot. Eoghain gave me the break down for Paddy’s, and I had a cup of tea and went straight to bed, too tired to do anything but sleep.

This morning, I woke up at about 9, I have no idea why, because I could have slept for a lot longer. After I let the dogs out and had a bit of breakfast, mum got up, and we went for a walk down to the river, because I had a pounding headache and she thought the walk would clear it. We talked a bit about different things. And she mentioned how she wants to put a rought iron bench down at the river over the summer so she can sit and listen to the water. I thought that was really sweet, so Im going to make sure that happens soon.
I made pancakes for me and eoghain when he got up, and mum went to mass. It doesn’t feel like Paddy’s day. I don’t really know what paddy’s day is supposed to feel like, but today just feels like anyother day, except eoghain is here.
Im just after dropping him into town, and I have my phone next to me, awaiting a txt from him, at some stage asking for a lift, somewhere else.
The sun is breaking through outside, and the worst of today’s weather seems to has subsided for the time being. Hopefully the next couple of days will be nice.   

1 comment:

  1. hi shelly ...oh my , I have just read all your last five posts , for some reason , this blog(I had the other one up) has dissappeared off my reader ....I really enjoyed your vivid writing and I laughed a lot ! also loved your pick of images from n.g ....I too loved the embroidered truck. have a lovely weekend xx