Memories of August

Ross as it was

My memories of August are;

Sensory…………Real………..I can feel, see, hear, taste, smell them.  They bring the past to life, bring me back to a time of smiles, and laughter, and love: to holidays surrounded by family and friends long since gone, but never forgotten.

August is,

Constant warmth, day and night, the feel of it, the smell of it, the way it seared, the way it clawed down to the bone.  The smell of calamine, it’s pink tackiness turning to a light blush chalk.  The clawing sheets like sandpaper against raw, burnt skin.

The smell of the sea, the salty inhalation, the freshness that it left, the aftertaste at the back of the throat.

The glare of the sun, the brightness of the reflections of sparkling light on water, the dancing of the sun across a static blue sky.

Sand, cutting, irritating, or ingrained on sticky, gooey sun-screened legs, yuck.  Sand, superficially hot, cool and moist  deep down where feet buried themselves, little toes digging in, curling back, scraping and twisting.

The harsh hardness of a slapping wave against bare skin; the saline choking from swallowing the sea.  The laughs and screams piercing the air.  The rush.  The struggle against the tide.  The trickling of sea water down the legs walking back up to the rug and the towels and the feeling of elated exhaustion, just for a while, the power of the water overcoming limbs that were still growing, not yet matured.

The green lushness of the lawn, trimmed and manicured, dark, glossy emerald grass, the scent getting deeper and sweeter as the night draws in and the dew falls.

The crunch of the gravel leading from the gate to the door.

The vermillion painted woodwork, the creamy pillars, the cool mint coloured bedrooms, the inviting magnolia of the sunlit lounge.

Purple, blue, pink and white Hydrangea.  Brilliant Montebretia and Fuschia, dangling and waving and humming with bees, alive with vivid colour and releasing the sweetest scents.

Montebretia                                   Fuschia

The stillness of the golden lagoon in the early evening, the call of the curlew, the chatter of the gulls and herons.

The end of day rumble of the tractors, moving away up to the top field, and later, the squawk of the corncrake. calling for a mate.

Oilcloth and vegetable soup and Farola, a wooden dresser and a Belfast sink, with those funny rubber covers on the taps.  Old smells, familiar smells, faded into the then.

Cigarette smoke, cigarette ash, Silk Cut red and Foxes Mints.

Talcum powder and twinkling blue eyes and thick wavy grey hair.  A laugh that’d put a foghorn to shame and a temper that flared hotter than flame.  But alive.  Always alive.  Always doing and talking and cleaning and laughing and being.

Nana – a sound never used anymore.  Never said, never uttered except in remembrance, story telling.

Our summer holidays, August, every year. Happiness and Love.


I can be a bit of a Noddy…..and today was a case in point!


Sometimes I can be a bit of a Noddy………..and today was a case in point.

Firstly, the noddiness started last night when instead of getting an early night, I stayed up chatting and gossiping, and, therefore ipso facto, imbibing 3 gins and not getting any shut eye til at least 1am.  Not so good when you have to be up early for a city centre based tennis lesson (90 minutes tennis lesson at that!). get outta bed on the wrong side and that was the way the day went – downward trajectory before I even got up!

I had to rush around, dress, get out of the house and speed down the road to catch a bus before my eyes had even fully opened.  The brain was definitely not switched on, more of that later.  All went well, arrived on time, sun shining, all good, or so you’d think.  Except being slightly hung-over and a tad tired, direct sunlight and sun-heat were definitely not conducive to any movement quicker than crabwise staggering.  It was not pretty. Definitely feeling like a Noddy, never mind looking like one.

Only 4 out of a class of 12 showed…….oh dear.  We were under the microscope, no court 3 down the back; nowhere to hide.  Forehand and Backhand.  BOTH. Oh my God.  6 balls each go, go, go, move, move, move. It was painful, I was painful, and now I am just in pain.  My shoulders feel like someone jumped on them, A LOT.  I had the single worst lesson so far, mainly because I couldn’t think and move at the same time.  If I did think, by the time I reacted the ball was gone past me.  In the end, during our doubles game, the other 3 played amongst themselves: the ball only came near me accidentally.  It was really that bad.  I (CAPITAL) WAS really that BAD.


And then things improved.

I helped the coach bring the gear to her car; strolled to the bookshop, bought the papers; went to the deli, bought some niceties; went into Butlers, had a flat white; did a “walk through” M&S, picked up some bits; and walked around the corner to the bus-stop.

The time, was 2pm,

The sun was shining.

Elec Time

Picture this……electronic bus timetable.  We have them in Dublin.  Yes, we do.  Thing is, they don’t bloody work!

There I was all calm and warm and contented.  The timetable said bus due in 5 mins.  Good.  4mins, 3mins, 2mins, 1min, DUE.  And then, like Spock in the Enterprise, Scottie beamed the bus up into outer space.  Well he must have done.  Cos it disappeared.  One minute it was DUE, the next minute it had been and gone and we all missed it.  In Dublin, in the blink of an eye, you can miss the passing of one of these……………..Bus – big yellow and blue glassy metallic two storey moving vehicle and you can just miss it by flicking yer eye for 1 second!  Boom. Gone.

Never mind thought I, the timetable says another bus is due in 5 mins.  Cool.  5mins, 5mins, 5mins, 7mins.  It was going to be that kind of an afternoon.  Now this isn’t the first time I’ve had issue with these buses (25a and 25b to be precise).  It seems to be an habit of Dublin Bus now to pull a fast one between 2pm and 3pm on a Saturday.  Buses on timetables that disappear, buses due that don’t even make it onto the timetable, and so on.  When I complained I was told – they didn’t know where “it” was; they have to share the drivers with another garage; “oh the 25b isn’t running now, there’s no driver”; “‘oh yeah, you must have missed it CUZ is did leave the terminus’, ‘which terminus?’, ‘the one on the quays’, ‘it doesn’t go from the quays, it goes from Merrion Sq.’, ‘oh does it, well then I don’t know'”, kind of thing.  Anyway says I, no harm, the bus will come eventually.  And it did.  15 Mins after it was due.

So there I was, sitting on my seat, listening to some jazzy dance song on the radio, for less than 5 minutes, when I noticed a kerfuffle up around the driver’s door.  Next thing a woman is telling us that she is sorry for having to discommode us but she has to stop the bus as she needs the Gardaí to come and sort out the matter of the gouger who robbed her iPhone!  Yes, she was in Temple Bar with her mate, the scumbag robbed the phone, but that was ok cos the mate had GPS and they tracked ‘Johnny not so smart now are you’ to guess where, the 25A on which yours truly was currently sitting.  Oh dear God.  The chap was sitting upstairs whilst the woman was downstairs recounting her tale of woe, and talking so loudly that I was convinced Johnny the thug would come running down the stairs at any minute, and peg it off the bus.

To be fair to Johnny, he either has a cool head or his Dr Beats were turned up so loud he couldn’t hear the racket below stairs.

Anyway, the driver pulled the bus in at Merchant’s Quay, whilst the woman was onto directory enquiries to get the number for the cops?  Really?  Seriously.  11811 to get the number for the Gardaí? Doh!

So yours Noddily decided in her unwise state to get off the bus………..oh yeah, I’m going to get off the bus, and get another bus, and leave them to it I don’t care, I’ve enough drama in my life, my head is beginning to hurt, I need some food, I want to go home. HUH!

So I did.  I asked the driver to open the door and he duly obliged.  I walked back to the previous bus stop.  And looked up at the 21st century electronic timetable.  Next bus heading my way, 11 minutes: all the buses that had been due around that time had already gone.  Ok, 11minutes, I can do that.  After all, they’ll all be sitting on the bus waiting for the cops right?  And they were. Nice and comfy on their seats. Whilst I stood there. And waited. And then, 8 minutes later, the engine started up and the bus pulled out and drove off. Not so smug looking now are you, your Noddiness.
(There had been no sign of Johnny. He didn’t get off the bus, or appear to make a break for freedom. Maybe the ‘passengeratti’ had him pinned by his hoodie to the floor, threatening him with that dinky little break glass here hammer they have to activate the fire extinguishers).

***********Please use your imagination to bring the story of Johnny and iPhone woman to a conclusion. I’m sure you can come up with various scenarios. Prize for the best storyline*****************

Where was I, oh yeah. And there I was, staring at the bus’s backside, alone at my little bus stop on Merchant’s Quay. Me and the uber-wonderful fad gadget timetable. Yep, no problem, bus due 2 mins. Ta-Dah….bus came in 2 mins.  FULL. And didn’t stop.
Okeydokey, another bus due in 5 mins.  Bus came in 5 mins.  FULL.
You can probably guess that I’m now getting a bit “issuey”!  Bit of tension starting to creep in.  Smidge of pissed-offed-ness beginning to descend on furrowed brow type thing.

Did I mention that it had started to drizzle?

And then rain?

And then rain heavily?

And then POUR DOWN? Like God had a very large bucket and was well up for a laugh.

The sense of Noddiness was beginning to sink in.

Upset Noddy

………………………………………….And then, apropos of nothing, a cop car pulled in off the road, pulled out, and drove off!  The two cops inside had that, “where is the bus then” look about them…..!! It’s not like you can not see a bus, or miss it really, unless of course, it was never there in the first place!

And then, positivity. (Cue happy music).

As if by magic, the timetable flashed me a wink of hope. The 26!  The good old 26 bus. Due in, erm, 3 mins.  Whoop.
That was at 14.48.
At 15.05 it was still due in 3 mins.
At 15.07 it was due in 2mins but at 15.10 it was due in 3 mins again.
At 15.12 the 26bus that was originally due at 14.51 finally arrived.  “Story” says I to the driver (I didn’t really…I asked what the hold up was!).  “*&^%$£ Protest March isn’t it, again!”  Said HE.

I went upstairs to get a seat only to be met with big clumps of hair. Animal, human, who knows. I moved on.

The journey was fine, the sun came out, (all I’m missing here is the birds were singing) and I arrived at the end of my bus journey at 15.30pm.  Not bad going, no traffic, all good.
But my expedition (for that’s what it had become) had started at 14.00 and it was now 15.30.
It had taken me 1 hour and 30 mins to get home (and I still wasn’t home), normally a 20 minute affair, 30 at most.

I don’t know what happened to Johnny, I don’t know if he got off the bus alive, or if he was sat on and squashed by a horde of angry public transport ne’er do wells.  I don’t know if the woman got her phone back, or if her mate is still staring at her GPS tracking system trying to work out where in Lucan the iPhone is currently hanging.

All I know is that sometimes the right decision is the wrong one.  Sometimes being proactive is not better than being reactive.  Being patient is a virtue, and virtuousness is something I seem to lose when I’m tired (for tired read hung-over).

What’s the moral of the story…………….well, next time I stay up late gossiping and necking gin, the correct course of action is – switch off the alarm, stay in bed and give the tennis the elbow (tah dum tish!).  And there’ll be no Noddiness, just rest and relaxation, and a lot more time with which to do nothing.


noddy sleeping