Archive for ‘dublin’

March 18, 2009

The wearing of the green

Advised by sage and experienced friends, I fled the country early on the morning of St. Patrick’s day. But here is a (slightly belated) present to the internet on a related subject. It’s from Angela Brazil’s The New Girl at St. Chad’s:

Honor looked without enthusiasm at the knitted woollen coat, and with marked disfavour at the white sailor hat, with its band of orange ribbon.

“I can’t wear that!” she ejaculated.

“Why not?” enquired Vivian, in surprise.

“There’s an orange band round it.”

“Orange is the St. Chad’s colour,” explained Vivian. “We all have exactly the same hats at Chessington, but each house has its own special ribbon—blue for the School House, pink for St. Aldwyth’s, scarlet for St. Hilary’s, and violet for St. Bride’s. I thought you knew that already.”

“If I had, I’d have insisted upon going to another house,” declared Honor tragically. “You ask me to wear orange? Why, the very name of ‘Orangeman’ sets my teeth on edge. I’m a Nationalist to the last drop of my blood; we all are, down in Kerry.”

Vivian smiled.

“Don’t be absurd!” she said, in rather an off-hand manner. “Our hats have nothing whatever to do with politics. Here are two long pins, but if you prefer an elastic you can stitch one on,” and without deigning to argue further she walked away.

Honor stood turning the hat round and round, with a very queer expression on her face. She was a devoted daughter of Erin. Her country’s former glories and the possible brilliance of its future as a separate kingdom could always provoke her wildest enthusiasm; to be asked, therefore, to don the colour which in her native land stood as the symbol of the union with England, and for direct opposition to national independence, seemed to her little short of an insult to her dear Emerald Isle. There were still five minutes left before she need start for chapel, so, making up her mind suddenly, she rushed upstairs to her bedroom. She would show these Saxons that she was a true Celt! They might compel her to wear their emblem of bondage, but it should be with an addition that would proclaim her patriotic sentiments to the world.

Hurriedly hunting in her top drawer, she produced a yard of vivid green ribbon and the bunch of imitation shamrock that old Mary O’Grady had given her as a parting present. Then she set to work on a piece of amateur millinery. There was little time to use needle and thread, but with the aid of pins she managed to twist the ribbon into several loops, and to fasten the shamrock conspicuously in front. She looked at the result of her labours with great approval.

“One could almost imagine it was St. Patrick’s Day,” she said to herself. “Nobody could possibly mistake me now for a Unionist. I’m labelled ‘Home Rule’ as plainly as can be.” Then, hastily pinning on her hat before the mirror, she ran downstairs, humming under her breath:

“So we’ll bide our time; our banner yet
And motto shall be seen,
And voices shout the chorus out,
‘The Wearin’ o’ the Green’!”

December 2, 2008

Christmas Ridiculousness

The carolers are out. Yesterday they were grouped around a statue of James Joyce, so he looked like one of them, and singing ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’.
Jim would not approve.

November 2, 2008


A couple of weeks ago I found myself at the launch of Conor Kostick’s new book, Move. I had no right to be there, since I’d never actually read him before. But I was with a friend who had read Epic and Saga, and it was YA and therefore theoretically my sort of thing. (The free wine had nothing to do with it).
So this week I picked up a copy of Epic from the college library and finished it over a couple of days’ bus rides. Epic is about a computer game. Games (and maths, but that’s a mere inability) are where my geekishness fails; I simply have no interest in them. I honestly did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did.
Anyway. Violence is forbidden on New Earth, and everyone spends most of their time playing the game Epic, in order to advance socially or financially. Erik Haraldson keeps dying, much to the consternation of his parents, but has used his various deaths to figure out a weakness within the game. When his father is exiled, he uses this knowledge, and suddenly he’s and his friends are heroes. This leads to a treasure hunt, betrayal, fighting the authorities, fighting the game itself, and much excitement in general.
I have nothing particularly intelligent to say about this book, except that it’s very good and a number of people who read this thing would probably really enjoy it. The library’s sole copy of the sequel, Saga, is out at the moment, but I’m looking forward to reading it.

October 17, 2008

Conspiracy theories

(From last weekend in the NIE)

On a Saturday evening in Dublin I was startled suddenly by a gang of women in short pink wigs apparently running towards me. At the last moment, though, they turned towards the street and I realized that they were merely trying to get a taxi. As they ran across the road into a waiting cab, I realized that they were all accomplishing this in most unstable looking pairs of high heels.
I’ve been traveling rather a lot recently, and at every airport and station I have been struck by the athleticism shown by women in stilettos. They walk briskly along main roads. They negotiate traffic. Cobblestones. Huge amounts of luggage. Or even all of the above. When I wear stilettos I teeter. I can barely negotiate furniture and a handbag. If there is any soft ground anywhere I will find it and sink into it. I catch myself wondering if there were secret classes held to teach people how to negotiate these shoes that I somehow got left out of.
It’s the same with a number of other minor skills. Each year during the monsoons I curse my inability to competently roll up my jeans so that they won’t get drenched in the rain. One leg will always be longer than the other, and the minute a dirty puddle appears the whole thing unravels and rushes lovingly down into the mud. It’s like one of those old myths about how certain animals came to be the way they are – “one day the gods summoned all the animals to teach them how to roll up their jeans. Only one animal did not arrive. Aishwarya was asleep in the forest and so had missed the message”.
Comfortingly, I am not alone in the “secret lessons” theory. Stephen Fry (actor, author and genius at large) has also voiced this suspicion. In a post on his blog a few months ago he spoke of his inability to dance and his bafflement when, as a child, all his classmates seemed to know how to do it. “Here were boys and girls my age twisting, spinning and jumping at each other and they all seemed to know what they were doing. Had I been confined to the sick room with an asthma attack the day disco dancing was covered in the syllabus?” Evidently I’m in distinguished company. A friend of mine believes that the art of whistling, too, might be said to fall into this category of mysterious skills. She’s been trying for years, asking for help from anyone who might provide it, and no amount of practice or instruction has ever coaxed a sound out of her. She’s beginning to suspect they are giving her the wrong directions to keep her out of the club.
As a whistler myself, however, I can assert that this is not the case. I can remember exactly where I was and how old when I first learnt to whistle, the ability just arrived out of nowhere. Perhaps dancing, and walking in high heels, and rolling up one’s jeans; all these and countless other actions are also just instinctive – some are lucky enough to have them and some aren’t. But it all seems terribly unfair.

October 10, 2008

The Return of Project Objectify: Kevin Pietersen

I have walked right into a city of Liverpool fans (from my taxi driver at the airport down to random people in pubs) and this pleases me. But what with no television, a residence hall largely populated by American students, and, well, being in Ireland, I’ve been having minor cricket-withdrawal. Cricket-based manflesh is the obvious answer.

So here’s someone obvious for you to salivate over – the startlingly pretty Kevin Pietersen.

September 28, 2008

Oddly enough…

Every “No Parking” sign I’ve seen so far in Dublin has been subtly altered to read “No Barking”.

I haven’t been posting this week because I’ve been busy moving to Dublin. It is an excellent city.

In the intervening time people have been visiting my blog having searched for:

little boys dhotis and kameez
show photos of men clad in dhoti between the legs
does aishwarya shave her g-spot
waist size japanese teenagers
anil kumble shirtless
what is it like being a hindu

I’m sorry I could not help them.