A friend in need is a friend indeed, or to paraphrase Placebo-or possibly brutally misquote them, a friend who bleeds is better.
I am back home now having spent the morning and the top end of the afternoon up at the 'house'.
I was going to save this story for Monday, but because poor Sam is having a crappy day, and I don't like that one little bit, I shall recount the morning I have had so that she might smile and remember that whenever the clouds come out the sun is usually right behind it.
The paramour has hired a skip and was off at the crack of jajoba to do the horrible job of clearing as much of the shite out of the house as possible before the real worker chaps arrive on Monday.
My job is to try make some headway into the garden. He might as well have asked me to attempt open heart surgery using a spatula, but I digress.
Because I am: A- an awful bloody wench, B -a beeg beech and C-a sister, I was lucky enought to enlist the help of my brother and my good
friends Country and French gay. I did not use any form of blackmail. I prefer to think of it as...well, favour calling in.
We all piled into country gay's terrible car, complete with one spaniel and two over excited beagles who barked at dogs on the street and drooled and shook their heads spraying slober everwhere. They are remarkably skilled at this and hit most of us fairly evenly. The slurm to my brother's actual eyeball was particularly thigh slappingly funny.
Eventually we arrived at the house, a bedraggled, slurm/hair covered, hungover band of beverly hillbilly lookalikes, and spilled out of the car.
I wore jeans and a t-shirt as did CG and my brother, FG wore tweed and wellies and a flat cap. It looked like he might bag us a brace of grouse or go big game hunting in the Colonies.
The paramour, covered in dust and cobwebs and hauling a fridge up a set of planks into the skip sort of laughed, but disguised this with a fit of coughing.
'There's beer in the cooler.' He said, when he had recovered.
I held aloft a dog trodden paper bag that seemed to be leaking something. 'And I brought sambos and a rhurbarb pie for later.'
The paramour winked at me and I resisted the urge to fling him to the dusty ground and roll about for a while.
The dogs all wagged their tails furiously and as soon my brother shouldered open the side gate they took off with delighted yaps, yaps and aruuus, disappearing into the bushes and vanishing from sight.
French Gay looked worried. 'Can ze-'
'Nope, walled the whole way round.' I said.
Then he saw the state of the garden and his mouth clamped shut. Yep, it does seem to have that effect on folk.
We worked, oh my we worked. Brazilian forresters would have stood back in awe and taken notes as we slashed and burned a swathe through the undergrowth and hedges.
I was given the job of Chief Chopper Upper, meaning I got to stand there with the bluntest seceteurs and chop up all the bigger branches into managable chunks to bag, which -being sorta guilty greenies- we are going to bring to a recycling palnt in Crumlin.
French Gay led the expedition, swinging a scythe and complaining loudly and exclaiming over every nettle and spider. Country Gay attacked the hedges with gusto, my brother donned massive gloves and set about taking over the earwig infested hotels and razing them to the ground. He was stung and bitten aplenty and did not complain once. The only remark he made was that he had been chased be 'real spider' in australia. He said this aside to country Gay as they watched French Gay shriek and flail about when he got tangled in a flimsy web.
'Cat! Look! Look what I 'ave founz!'
'What is it?'
We all downed tools and rushed over. FG hauled back a sheet of ivy and bowed slightly.
'It's a shed you french poof.' Country Gay said.' I bet you have them in France too.'
'No no mon ami' he said slyly and pushed open the door partially with his foot. 'Eeet ez anozer bathroom. Alorz, norf norf, you' he points a finger at me, 'you alwayz say you want one? No? Well 'ere eeet iz! Regard!'Then he booted the door open.
The French poof was right, behold, it was an outhouse. A real honest to goodness outhouse. Filled with junk and yet more spider webs and a pink toilet.'
'My god.' I said in shock, 'It's pink!'
'Perfect for ze ladies, norf norf norf.'
Yeah, he was tickled pink, as pink as the toilet, as pink as my face, as pink as pink can be.
'Does it work?' My brother asked, peering into the gloom. 'Must do there's even toilet paper on the roll.'
'Paramour!' I yelled. 'Come see this.'
My filthy love came out of the house, pulled off his gloves and wandered down to see what had caught our attention. 'It'a a toilet.' he said upon inspection.
'An outhouse.' I corrected.
'A pink out'ouse!' The Frech spiv said, tears forming in his eyes.' Especial for ze lady ov ze 'ouse.'
The paramour nodded and put his gloves back on. 'Great, something else that will have to come down. Anyway, gotta get back to it. Hey FG, I think your dogs found something down the back there.'
'The dogs, they're rolling around in something, didn't you hear them barking?'
'I deed not!' French bolted and moments later we heard. 'STOP ZAT! What...what izzeeet? What iz zat...Oscar? NO! No!'
Ah but yes! yes! The hounds had found the decomposing body of a fox and were very busily rolling about in it, taking turns in fact, over joyed and polite at the same time, oh those french.
'Bags going back to town with you.' I said quickly to the paramour.
'Me too.' My brother said. We high-five each other because we're dorks.
'Ah fuck!' Country Gay said and kicked the outhouse door closed.
One hour later we were all drinking beer and sitting on upturned rainbarrels, gazing around us in- if not quite delight - general satisfaction. We had begun to make some effect on our surroundings.
Suddenly I was hit with a glowing feeling of wellbeing so strong I almost burst into song.
It was a balmy beautiful September Saturday. There was a garden somewhere underneath all the trash and filth and jumble and I had an extra bathroom, the sun had come out and I was with men I loved and by our feet lay one happy spaniel and two reeking happy hounds.
All was right with the world.
ANNIE: Mulligans, Poolbeg street near Tara Street DART station. The Guinness there is top class, better than most places, creamy, holds its head, soft and robust, bar's not exactly top notch, but if you and your daughter are looking for the perfect pint go there. Tell 'em a drunken hussy with auburn hair that may or may not have broken a lot of their glasses one christmas sent you. Actually scrap that, it might get you kicked out on your bottoms.