In my last blog I asked if holidays are a different experience when a person is retired. Are they in fact holidays as such, isn’t life one long holiday when one is retired? Well, here’s an addition to that debate. I’m writing this on Thursday and if we were only here for one week, as has previously been the case, we would have only one more day of our time here and that would be a bit depressing, ergo, if running out of time is depressing, then this must be a holiday in the old sense of the word and therefore retirement is not simply one long mindless holiday. I rest my case and can now turn my thoughts to the proper subject of this blog – Irish happenings. Strange ones, so.
Wednesday, we were walking along one of our favourite beaches at Ventry, giving the pups their two a day when we came upon a grave yard or, as the sign post said, a burial ground, sounds more mysterious I think. We’ve walked this beach quite a few times before but never noticed this place (see above). Being Ireland you could almost believe it had just this very morning risen up from the sea, it was certainly close enough. It actually did appear out of the mist. We decided to explore when, out of the mist (it really was misty) we could discern something a little more prosaic. Three bodies, true, but more or less alive. Hard to tell because they were wedged in the front of a Transit truck but they must have been alive because their mouths were moving as they consumed either late breakfast or early lunch (it was about 10 o’clock). At the side of the truck was a bright yellow, digger. Ahh, I thought, they’re here to dig a grave but, as I moved closer to the munching men, I could see the excavator had a very large ‘bucket’. By this time I was level with the cab of the truck, it had tarmac in the back. This is Ireland after all and they are famous for their tarmac. Ahh, I thought, these men are not here to dig a grave or, if they are, it will be a mass grave, unlikely in this part of Kerry. With a bucket that size you could have put the whole of the village into it, assuming they were dead of course. Also, as far as I am aware, you’re not supposed to tarmac over the grave unless of course there are vampires (not impossible in light of later experiences) in the area and you were trying to prevent exhumation. I digress.
I don’t know why I felt compelled to speak but I did. I thought you were digging a grave I said, Ha, ha, I can see now this is not the case. Three munching heads turned as one. Their spokesperson was polite and suggested in few words that I was correct in my deduction. I did not leave it there, dear reader. Giggling like a young girl I said, I wonder if any of my relatives are buried here? What’s your name? the, up until then, spokesperson, asked. Galvin. Plenty of Galvins round here, the middle one said. Really, wow, I replied, great conversation this I thought. Galvin is not a common name in England. Then, indicating the one still chewing who had taken no part in the conversation so far, the middle chewing man said, he’s a Galvin. I said really – again and, just to check, spelled out my name. He nodded and spelled out his name – G-A-L-V-I-N. Even through the sandwich I recognised the letters. Maybe we’re related I said, in a humorous, light-hearted fashion, just to show what a great guy I was. Then the middle one said something strange (the right-hand chewing man, as I looked at the cab didn’t reply to my suggestion). He said, you won’t be related to him, indicating his still chewing friend. I might be, whether I said this or merely l thought it I’m not sure. The middle chewing man turned to his friend and said, go on say something. He declined.
Had he spoken, what was this meant to prove? What did this oblique request really mean? That the mere act of speaking (through his sandwich) would reveal him to be the village idiot and therefore could not possibly be related to someone as erudite (as my conversation was surely proving) as you, sir. Now Paddy here’s a good man with the shovel but not much of a talker. I really don’t know and couldn’t work it out at all, but stop the stereotyping and get on with the walk. Go and have a look (at the graveyard for Galvins) the middle one said, I indicated the dogs and suggested that might not be a good idea. The middle one said, the dogs will do no harm. Lovely turn of phrase and almost like he knew something about our dogs that we did not. We declined even so, maybe another walk when there’s no tarmacking going on.
We returned to the burial ground the next day to check the graves for the name of Galvin (a common name in these parts remember). Couldn’t find a single one although enough O’Shea’s to fill the phone book, so I took some photos of the place as in the photo above for this blog. There was no sign of the three sandwich eaters, nor of any tarmacking either, so off we went with the doggies for their afternoon walk. Then we drove home and this is where the day got really weird. In case you might have thought that the encounter with the three chewing men and one’s obscure, but surely meaningful, comment about his workmate, was as strange as this part of our holiday got, I have to tell you differently.
On the way home we stopped off for a drink in this pub at the crossroads, you know where they used to hang people and leave them swinging from a gibbet. I admit no hanging bodies today but inside the pub were probably 500 photos of various celebrities with somebody I took to be the landlord. On the wall was a photograph of JFK, Gerald Ford, Jack Ruby and wait for it, Lee Harvey Oswald and the weird bit, apart from why should any pub landlord elect to have such a photo on his wall, is that they were all signed. How the hell did Lee Harvey Oswald come to sign his own photo? I mean when did he have time? Ditto Jack Ruby. I said to the barmaid, that this was the strangest photo I had even seen in a pub. Why did the landlord have it on his wall? She replied, he liked it, so. I thought afterwards she probably had no idea at all who the people were in the photo/s and thought I was the strangest man she had ever seen in this pub. At this stage you are going to have to take my word for the existence of the photo because, even though I took a photo of the photo, when I got home it was not there. Weird. I may go back at a later date but then again I may not. Vampires maybe?
So, avoiding the funeral (there’s a theme here and again I thought of the vampires) outside, we drove ‘home’. And there we are, just more Irish happenings, the kind that happen quite frequently to a retired person on holiday. I thought you might like to know what kind of adventures we are having on our Irish holidays. And remind me to tell you about the man who threw his dog into the river and the dog was OK but we thought it a strange thing to do – again. Retirement, holidays, grand, all grand.