The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Snurdface Is Still My Name

Missed my flight to Rome.
Traffic jams, and parking shortages, and blah blah blah.
I missed it.
Didn't mind too much though.
Maybe the extra day in Ireland was somehow meant to be.
I wandered around Dublin in the rain. Savoured a few coffees in my usual haunts. Visited aunty Marie in hospital.
The next flight I'm booked on, takes off at 6.40am in the morning.
What chance I catch this one?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

ETHICS FOR BEGINNERS (with your genial host Uncle James)

The General Post Office in Dublin.
An august building.
Well really a May one.
August isn't for another two months.
Arf, arf.
Anyhoo. We're in the post office. A man called Heelers has arrived to pay his phone bills.
As usual the treatment meted out to the public by the heroic trade unionists of the Irish postal service, touches on those elyssian heights we call dreadful. After twenty minutes in limbo, I reach the top of one queue. There is a lady of middle years and sombre mien behind the counter.
She takes one look at me and barks a few phrases of ripe gibberish.
I have no clue what she's gabbling about. Her voice is audible but not distinct.
She shuts her window and disappears.
Maybe for lunch. Maybe for a date. Maybe just to get away from the sight of me.
I join another queue, right at the back.
The General Post Office hums with, well not exactly activity. It hums with hmmmm. Resentment maybe.
It takes a quarter of an hour for me to get to the top of the second queue.
Reaching the top of it, I am confronted from behind the counter by another dour Dubliner, thick set and with an apparently religious aversion to smiling.
Ah my countrymen. Cheer up.
"Yes?" he growls.
I hand him the phone bills.
"Three hundred," he says with all the cheeriness of a young Clint Eastwood. I give him the money.
I leave the post office.
Half an hour later I discover fifty spondoolicks in my pocket that shouldn't be there. (NB: The spoondoolick is the Irish unit of currency.)
Could I have underpaid my phone bill? By fifty lids? (NB: Lids is the slang term for spondoolicks.)
I can think of no other explanation.
Yet the receipts Lord Haw Haw gave me are stamped and show that I paid the full amount.
And here are fifty snurdlinghams in my pocket that I definitely shouldn't have. I had only brought the exact amount that I needed to pay the phone bill. (Oh, another NB: I just made up the word snurdlinghams.)
I pause amid the bustle of Grafton Street.
Now gentle readers...
What would you do in this situation?
Would you...
(a) Return to Jolly Roger and say: "Sorry I underpaid you by fifty flurgendorfs."
(b) Phone the postal service the next day to enquire had the bill been underpaid.
(c) Walk on up Grafton Street in search of a fancy restaurant in which to enjoy a slap up meal of sandwiches and ginger beer.
(d) Go home and make up lots of new names for money.
(e) None of the above.


Tune in next week when Uncle James, fresh from his weekend in Rome, will give you the answer.


Driving with the Mammy to Newbridge in bright May sunshine.
We pass Father Benson our old Parish Priest strolling along the verge.
His face is red with the exertions of his walk. He looks like a character from Charles Dickens.
I mean one of the good natured ones.
He waves cheerily.
We wave back.
"Is he mad or what?" sez my venerable parent. "Walking everywhere like that. They think if they walk everywhere they'll live forever."
Truly she is the most pass remarkable old age pensioner I've ever met.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Return Of The Heeler (dedicated to Scrapper and Genevieve)

Home from London.
Did you miss me?
Saw a bit of footage on a news programme tonight of a cat falling from a tall tree.
She was doomed.
No hope for her.
The camera caught it all.
About three quarters of the way to the ground the cat bounced off a branch.
The branch hit her a terrible thump.
Then she hit the ground.
She immediately jumped to her feet and scampered off.
The branch that hit her saved her life.
It made me think.
So often something hits us out of the blue. We get a terrible thump in life. It hurts like hell. But it has saved us in ways we do not dream until long after.
There is no growth without suffering.