Showing posts from September, 2013

Michelle Dooley Mahon


Now that there was another girl in the house I had someone to donate my clothes to, and try - in vain - to keep my dressing up dolls out of her drooling mouth. Siobhan was busy with this new baby, and Little Thomasina was busy with Barty, and I felt not sidelined  - oddly - but free. It was as if I could slip through the cracks and inhabit a strange nether world where I was at ease. I retreated further into a dreamscape where I was famous and beautiful, riding in an open topped car in a ticker tape parade in New York, with my soul mate, who was simply known as Joe. I even dreamed about him once, and felt this over-riding sense of completeness and connection, putting the lie to the old adage that you cannot miss what you never had.  One day when Nicola was only a few months old we went on a glorious summer’s day trip to Slade , a fishing village down the coast. Between all the kit we brought, the Hillman Hunter was packed to the gills. There was the 5 of us, a Tansad  for

Holy Plough !

Despite tweeting that a menopausal spinster required a lift to the Ploughing Match with the hashtag # notmakinganymoreland  and # farmerwantsawife , and being assured that there were grown men sobbing in drills lookin' a woman like me, I did not make it to the field in Laois where all the gallantry was going on until the last day. Record numbers visited the three day event this year with over 230,000 people flocking in their droves to Co Laois  - so I had to bate my way in.  They came in baby buggies, on mobility scooters , in cars, buses and on the backs of tractors.  If they  hadn’t come ready prepared for the muck with walking sticks, they bought walking poles for making their way about .  There were wild eyed men reeling from stand to stand clutching Done Deal bags, Farmers Journal bags, Stihl baseball caps, calendars and anything else that was free.  The event was well organised with plenty of NPA (National Ploughing Association) stewards on hand for ca


I am being harassed by a white van man.  I took his lordship out for a squint and a piss this afternoon - before settling in to do some actual work- and we lorded it around the streets for a while. The jury is out on which of us is the biggest poser. Amid a screech of brakes a white van mounts the path and holds up traffic in 3 directions while he shouts will I sell the dog. I will in my eye says I. After much effing and blinding from the motorists who are doling out looks that would split timber, he drives over the bollard and breasts me mid cross, one boot raised over the path, while he roars at me will I not sell the little aul dog? He parks sideways and a child with his trousers tucked into his socks jumps out and says howlt on howlt on.......... The man driving has a Bichon Frise on his lap and he holds her up like a talisman. "This yoke is in use and I'll give you twenty pound to let him cover her" says he. I feel faint and reel a little. "


The first reference to the word Floater was in the U.S.A. in 1890 and was a slang to describe a body found face down in swamps and creeks.  This piece is nothing about that.  It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I walked through the Bullring-Market to say hello and tell them I would be back for my usual - coffee, flowers, herbs, cake. I am on my way to lie down in a dark space filled with warm water and turn off for a while. “You have NO off switch, Michelle” shouted a man once as he hurled clothes into a case. For some the idea of floating in a soundproof tank completely cut off from the world sounds like Nirvana, but for others it sounds like a claustrophobic nightmare. This treatment was first developed more than half a century ago, yet there is still an air of mystery surrounding it. Understanding what the treatment involves will help you to determine if you would love it all up or prefer to eat your own foot. Flotation therapy is a process of s

Iceberg Ahead

By the time it was chocks away , I was in love and hysterical at the idea of being separated. Apart from bullying a friend of mine into knitting a jumper in a hurry - chessboard pink and white squares to wear in 40 degree heat - I played the single he had sent me in the post over and over.  “ I’m gonna KEEP  on lovin’ YOU and it’s the ONLY thing I’ wanna  DO … …..”    It had a black and white photo of him inside the sleeve. He is wearing his tennis whites and is pouting beautifully while pretending to serve a killer volley. I arranged to meet him on the day of the flight. Like all country people we got off the bus with our cases and marched straight  into McDonalds for a burger at breakfast time. Then we went to meet my love and his wing man.  Suffice to say a veil will be drawn over proceedings but that a lot of imbibing in various hostelries all day culminated in me singing on top of a piano in Casper & Giumbini’s  in Wicklow Street that night, watching as

The Haemorrhaging Humourist

Following my Uncle Ollie’s advice I had in fact “ put the white on the window” and closed the door of the Tookay Café in the arts centre for the last time. I was exhausted from running away from Denis and Jackie and the committee, who were trying to have a quiet word in my ear about little things like rent,  bills, esb.  Imro.    Stuff.   I should have been having a little word in theirs about telling the punters they could leg it to the Thomas Moore at the Interval and that Billy would ring the bell for them to come back. Chopped liver, I thought as I ran back downstairs to chop liver and whip cream after Juliet Turner had sung “ Burn the Black Suit ”.  With hindsight, it would have been easier to dispense with the middle man and just throw the money over the quay. I may as well have been nailing jelly to a tree. I was sitting in the foyer of an adjacent hotel when my phone rang. Can you join a ship this evening as a chef?  says a man. Begob and I can, says I.

DR SHELLSHOCK - or how I learned to love and not fear the madness.

On the sunlit morning of my Fathers 80 th birthday I watched my sisters tanned capable hands resting on the steering wheel of her BMW as she drove her fast car to an Asylum to have a battery of tests and psychological evaluations carried out on me. An actual   Asylum . I had come crashing back to earth after a period of being so high a therapist who tried to heal me with Bio-Energy  described me as not having my feet on the surface of the planet at all. “You are off playing with the angels and higher consciousness, and you must imagine your feet and legs grounded, like trees. You need to inhabit the earth.”  I am lying on her treatment table and trying to breathe without gasping or sobbing. I am trying to still my egoic monkey mind and quiet my thoughts, which are racing. Nothing is quick enough, I can’t type fast enough, the page does not load speedily enough. In the moment of doing one thing, I am planning 5 others. I will write a 4000 words, start knitting a hat, paint a

Capturing Moments

It has always fascinated me what we leave behind. The lingering smell of baking in a warm kitchen at evening time that tickles every hopeful nose, the smell of gel and toothpaste from a steamy bathroom, the indentation of a head on a pillow, sleep rumpled sheets.  These memories of a life. The things that hold the ene rgy of the owner. I never find it morbid, in fact the total opposite is true. The flotsam and jetsam of a life. I love unearthing treasures in the most unlikely places. The remnants of a day, a napkin pressed between the folded pages of a diary, a train ticket creased neatly into a purse. All of these tiny things tell the story of Us. In the rooms that house the people of no memory the very bricks hold the imprint of their story.  The slates above them witness their confusion and tears, the agitation, the frustration.  The halls ring with their calls and taps, a hand knocking, knocking softly on a closed kitchen door.  The handbags open and gaping and the

Don't break your hole, Bruce!

Walter is running amok. He looked so sweet and innocent in the cage. Yep, cage. We toted him back from Double Inn Citay at stupid o clock in the morning, apres gig,  after waiting an aeon for a battered sausage in a closed chipper in Arklow. My companion/driver is delirious with exhaustion and starvation and the smell of fumes from the rapidly emptying tank. The handsome Italian takes pity on her red rimmed eyes and fills the bag to bursting with new potatoes, chipped with  salt and vinegar. I take a small crispy one to give the new dog, Walter Eugene Mincealot Baxter the 3rd.  He sniffs it dejectedly and gives me the wide eyed Bambi's. He even shakes a little for added emphasis and poignancy. All through the gig, I am whispering EuGENE into her ear. I text her and laugh as she reads the message saying  Eugene wont collect himself, the blue neon light of the screen shining on her face in the darkness. This is before I realise that he has been called Walter since he wa