Profession: agitateur de caca
Most of the day was marked by meteorological conditions of appalling poxitude. I felt so bad to send the kids to school through sheets of rain and howling wind. It was heart breaking. I accompanied them in my thoughts as they battled the elements, while I put the kettle on for my second cuppa of the morning and decided to wear socks in my slippers for extra warmth.
The weather could still be described as shite-verging-on-crap at lunch time, so no quick trip to the West Pier.
But miracle of miracles, the rain abated somehow around 4.00pm and stopped altogether at 4.30pm just as I logged off.
I cycled to the Forty Foot but the swell was just that bit too exuberant to make it safe to swim. I retraced my steps back to Sandycove, which was well sheltered.
The swimming crowd is on average very easy going and welcoming but that's not the vibe that I got from the half dozen Sandycovers in various stages of preparation for their daily swim. They sensed that I had come here today because it was sheltered while they on the other hand always swim there. Always at 5.00pm. Rain or shine. Or snow or nuclear meltdown in Sellafield across the Irish Sea. The looks were not warm. They were not welcoming.
Not to worry, I quickly changed and headed for my swim. On my way I clearly heard a woman say to her swim-friend "the colour of him, bet he was abroad, so much for essential travel only". I must admit that I was quite annoyed. I have scrupulously followed all guidelines but I did not feel I had to justify myself in front of these two.
The plan came to me while I was swimming. There is a lot to be said for the correlation between cold water and clarity of thought.
As I headed for my clothes and towel I countered their still suspicious look with a bright smile. And while I was towelling myself dry, I pretended to pick up the phone vibrating in my rucksack.
I spoke loudly, in jovial, booming French:
Salut Christophe – non, non, ça va bien – oui, je suis rentré hier matin – oui, j’étais dans un ashram à Goa – non, il y a eu un problème. C’est Eric, il a attrapé le COVID, en INDE ! Oui, le variant indien du COVID – non, je suis parti tout de suite – j’ai pris l’avion à New Dehli, vers Londres. Après j’ai pris l’avion pour Belfast et je suis rentré à Dublin en train. Je te rappelle plus tard, je suis à Sandycove.
I (pretend) hung up, finished getting dressed and left without looking back. I gave these two nosy old bats something to be genuinely worried about. Their dislike for the French, and the yogi, has been cemented. My work here is done.
When I told the crew at dinner time, Mrs Raheny was horrified. Luca thought it was hilarious. Mimi and Finn were the jury that is still out on that one.
One thing they all agree on, their dad is an unapologetic shit-stirrer.