11.30 pm, the night before St Patrick’s Day — and my husband and I are in bed, making plans for tomorrow.
We have got as far with our schedule as “sodding the parade.”
But after so many years of taking the children to watch it, the parade still feels compulsory and sodding it, wrong.
“We could use the bank holiday as an opportunity to crack through some of the jobs out in the cabin,” my husband says.
“I was expecting something a bit more ‘Carpe Diem’ from you,” I say, surprised.
But my husband has decided there is no time like the present to “get on top of the gravel” and allocated every daylight hour of St. Patrick’s Day to physical tasking at the cabin, with two shovels and a wheelbarrow.
“It’s a good use of our time,” he says, with immense positivity, “the kids are all away. And imagine, afterwards, how good we’ll feel.”
11.50pm. Positivity is catching. Tomorrow we task!
10.00am. St Patrick’s day morning.
“Carpe Diem,” my husband says, throwing back the bed covers.
10.15. I put out my arm to retrieve the bed covers.
“You can’t just go flinging ‘Carpe Diem’ at any old situation,” I say crossly, rolling over in bed.
10.20. My husband is standing by the bed, holding out a cup of tea. But positivity isn’t catching this morning.
“Whoever came up with ‘Carpe Diem’, I say, “did not have a wheelbarrow in mind at the time.”
10.30. My positive outlook is in tatters.
11.a.m. Midday. We are ordering eggs Benedict in a cafe outside Bantry, en route to a Bed and Breakfast in Allihies, with the dog and a hastily-packed suitcase in the back of the car.
“Good call you made,” my husband says, “criminal to waste this opportunity. Ooh, I think I’ll have bacon with mine. Car...”
“What did I say about flinging?” I say.
11pm. We are in the Bed and Breakfast, watching House of Cards on my laptop in a vast, clean comfortable bed.
This afternoon, we walked along the Beara way from Eyries up along the coast, in not a breath of wind. The sun shone, the sea glittered and fish jumped.
“Imagine,” my husband says, “we’d have missed all this for the gravel.”
“Today,” I say, “was a magic, stolen day.”
“Seize the day,” my husband says.
“That’s a direct translation,” I say, “and just out of interest, are you going to say ‘Carpe Diem’ all day tomorrow too?
8.30am. We are packing a picnic upstairs in the Bed and Breakfast.
“So what time is the ferry to Dursey?” I say.
“What ferry?” my husband says, looking shifty.
“The ferry across to the island,” I say.
“There’s no ferry,” he says, “just a cable car. Leaves at 10.”
“What cable car?”
“Been going since 1969,” he says, “safe as houses.”
“But you said it was a ferry,” I say.
“I didn’t mention the word ferry,” he says.
“You didn’t mention the word cable car either,” I say.
9.30am. We are looking at Dursey Island. All that stands between us and Dursey Island is a 1,000 foot drop, a cable car and my intractable fear of heights.
“You have lied by omission,” I say.
9.40am. I am trembling at the back of a small queue for the cable-car.
“It says six persons only at a time,” I whisper.
“So?” my husband says, “there are six of us here.”
“That lady at the front definitely counts for two,” I quaver.
“Shh,” my husband says, “she’ll hear you.”
9.41. “She definitely counts for two,” I whisper.
9.42. “Do you think they do safety inspections on this thing?” I tremble.
9.43. “Can you find out from someone?” I quiver.
9.44. “She’s easily two of me,” I hiss, “she’s even two of you.”
9. 50. The cable car arrives.
“I am never, ever going to forgive you for this,” I cry, “you said you’d never do this again after what happened on the ski-lift…”
“Shh,” he says, “everyone can hear you.”
9.55. “I’m not getting on it,” I say.
9.57. “Seriously, I’m not getting into a box on a string.”
9.58. My husband gives me a gentle little shove into the cable car from behind.
10.00. I am sitting between the lady who counts for two and my husband, with my eyes tight shut.
10.00. My husband cups his hand over my ear.
“Carpe Diem”, he whispers.
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