Monday 16 October 2023


Laurie Lee walked out one midsummer morning before he was old enough to vote and shortly thereafter found himself in the midst of the Spanish Civil War. I'm not alone in finding that romantically appealing. Ten years ago, at an even younger age Dau.II left home, bundled her few traps into a handkerchief, left home and went to Dublin. Later that year she settled in Cork and started working in the catering trade. In May last year that-all fell apart and Dau.II bailed out and came home.

For us, it's a bit more positive than the old saw "Home is where they have to take you in, when you have to go". She settled back into her old room and contributed to the commonwealth. She's been making and decorating cakes since she was old enough to get her nose above the kitchen table. In Cork she learned about Arborio rice, Burritos, Camenbert, DimSum, éclairs - through book-l'arnin', by the internet and on the stove-top. On the side she has taught herself cook's french. Bring it on sez me. Dau.II cooks, we all chomp it down and I wash the dishes.  

In 2012 when I was seriously under-employed, we used, on the reg'lar, to do The Pension Run: hanging out down the Déise with her grandparents, collecting the entitlements, splurging on coffee (and an éclair for Pat the Salt), doing the messages, mowing the lawn, having a light lunch and an afternoon of day-time telly. If the tide was right and the weather not too grim, there was time for some light beach-combing also. So many perfick days. There was a reprise of those days in 2022 in this sense: we seemed to find ourselves most nights eating dinner in a row along the sofa watching Taskmaster, Richard Osman's House of Games or University Challenge on a small screen. 

We were all settling into the new normal. Adjusting to a post-pandemic world where, for e.g., we could take a ferry to The Other Island (for the first time since Feb 2020), eat in a restaurant or attend Science Café. But it is intrinsic in the new normal that no rug is stable under-foot and Dau.II got ready to fly the nest again. On Friday the Thirteenth, she set off for (dear old, drear old, drizzly) Dublin [as L from the top of a #13 bus] for another cycle of seeking her fortune. In our family, fortune is only lightly coupled with money. She found that, if you don't smoke and don't drink, andif you lucked out on a long-term rental before rentals went mental then you could survive on the minimum wage. I'm sure she'll find some place where her contributions are valued.

So of course I'm bereft. But I'm happy that she's out there walking this dark world and wide again. Her laconic comments about University Challenge or the state of the union deserve a wider audience than 'er old man.

Dent in the sofa
Where my daughter used to sit
A dent in my heart

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