The Toy Toy Late Show
An institution it is here in Ireland.
First Friday of December, dozens of barely prompted witty kids, hundreds of toys, one tall skinny star presenter wearing a headline-making Christmas jumper, hundreds of overheating relatives in silly Christmas hats in the audience, and the most costly-per-second advertising slots of the year for any TV channel in Ireland.
So, at Mrs Raheny's request, I lit a fire in the chimney, set up a laptop and a desktop to stream the most eagerly awaited show of the year (we still do not have a TV - over my dead body), and off I went for my Friday night 40-minute-mile swim in the Blue Pool (I still don't know where the name comes from, it would be more relevant as the Floaty-Balls-of-Hair-and-Discarded-Plasters Pool).
Upon my return they were all cosy on the couches, watching the Late Late Toy show, feeling content and drowsy with the lovely Christmassy fire roaring in the fireplace.
An evening to remember.
Then, late, as in Late Late, after the Late Late Toy Show, we realised that Luca's braces were missing.
The ones that Mrs Raheny had been fighting tooth and nail to obtain from the constantly budget-conscious health service.
After 10 minutes of searching the most obvious places (the orange box where he keeps his braces, his trouser pockets, the table where he watches YouTube videos on his tablet), it became quite obvious that they were missing.
It was just past midnight by then and after an unsuccessful interrogation session ("where the f&^& did you leave your f%$$%% braces, Luca, for f%%&&" sake???!!!), we let the exhausted boy collapse into his bed (not before having searched it thoroughly) while we devised a cunning search plan for the missing braces: Mrs Raheny freaking out and searching frantically randomly, and me searching calmly and methodically square meter after square meter, room after room, while listening to Mrs Raheny shouting hysterically that there was no f%"%% point searching inside Finnzy's toy cars box.
In the end we didn't find them.
Not even after transferring each item from the bin into a twin bin bag beside it (I was very pissed off when finding a barely half-eaten smoked salmon sandwich that had transited in Mimi's lunch box three days prior).
Not even after pocking the fire to check if perhaps the braces had not been thrown in accidentally, among all the nose-bleed tissues that Luca produced during the Bloody Late Late Toy Toy Show.
At around 2 AM, we had to give up and go to bed (me methodically, step by step, and Mrs Raheny swearing frantically).
We found the braces the following morning.
Or rather, we found the twisted remnants of the wires that made up a small part of the braces.
The resin part had disintegrated in the lovely Christmassy fire that had roared in the fireplace.
It turns out that in his haste to gobble some Tobblerone, Luca had wrapped his braces in tissues.
And they were thrown into the fire with the rest of the many nose-bleed tissues produced in industrial quantities.
Last night's Toy Toy Late Show was a particularly memorable one.