Well that was a good six month break from the slavery of the screen.
Have been in Canada for this last month...don't knock it, it's a great country...Toronto is a great city...Soby's at Yonge and St Claire is a great supermarket...Jingles is a great pub...(with the exception of their "chef's salad" which is a few olives buried in a pile of lettuce leaves...)
And so, now that I'm a leading food writer, I have to mention that I'm barely back in Ireland when I see Madonna walking along by Monkstown Church in County Dublin...well I don't actually see her, not in the flesh (don't tempt me) but rather I see a photo of Madonna walking along by Monkstown Church in County Dublin...she is, the caption tells me, accompanied by her bodyguard and some female friends.
This bodyguard concept is a good idea, Monkstown is a notoriously dangerous area. I found it dangerous when I lived there. Though it must be admitted that most of the danger in my case was created by my female friends. Wrote a book about all that.
I tell my wife H, about whom I wrote that book, that Madonna has been in Monkstown County Dublin.
"What was she doing", says H, "adopting children?"
It's one of her sardonic mornings.
Life does that to a woman. Particularly life with me.
"No", I tell her, "it's all about food".
So what has Madonna got to do with food?
Ah hah...this is the thing...Madonna is going (in the picture on my screen) to the funeral of David Collins.
Oh God, David Collins is not dead is he?
Oh yes he is, and I don't even know who he is. Quick google. Oh God again. He's a celebrity architect from Glenageary in County Dublin. And he's designed every restaurant worth going to in London. And he wears velvet jackets. And Graham Norton was also at the funeral. And and and...the details pile up...but those relevant to myself are hidden, obscured...I search...it's much like poking through the lettuce leaves in Jingles pub at Yonge and St Claire, looking for the damn olives...
Olive one...Collins went to St Conleths School in Dublin...SO DID I ...
Olive two...Collins designed the Wolsley Restaurant in London...I HAD BREAKFAST THERE ONCE !
Olive three...Collins's father was an architect Jack Collins of Glenageary County Dublin....ah hah...ah bloody hah...I knew that old boy, vaguely, by repute...and long years ago when I was setting up my horticultural business (another blog, another day, another blog, be patient) I bought some equipment from a secondhand salesrooms which, I learned, had originally been in Collins's offices...
How about that then? It's eerie. The connections between myself and David Collins are obviously multifaceted and extensive. The cosmos does have an architect.
Dammit. I should've been at that funeral. I feel guilty now. I just should've been there. And what was I doing instead?
Well...back in Toronto I didn't spend all my time in Soby's Supermarket or Jingles Pub, I was actually working as well. And part of my work was to visit and meet and talk to a very elderly lady from Ireland. A jewish lady, she is the surviving sister of Ettie Steinberg, the only Irish victim of Auschwitz, about whom I have written in the past.
I did all that and came back to Ireland with my notes and my photographs and I went to my house and I cut my grass and then I sat down to write about the elderly Jewish lady and her life and all that, and how her murdered sister did not have a life nor a chance to be an elderly lady in Toronto surrounded by a huge loving family.
Yep, that sort of peripheral stuff.
When I could indeed should have been at the funeral of a posh restaurant designer.
Me and Madonna.