I am easily distracted
Or maybe it is more that I like to change direction on a whim.
Its not as though I go round in circles chasing my tail.
I just let the sequence of the day dictate and I am always satisfied with the outcome.
It is probably why I travel better alone.
I could be seen as an embarrassment as I grumble and stumble, wandering down alleyways , tramping up steep steps, crossing rickety looking bridges, wading through streams, pushing the yellow bike along railway lines (yes really! I did that once) or lowering it down into hard to get back out of places.
I am not a follower and like to go wherever it pleases me, when it pleases me, without having to consult anyone else.
Selfish of me? Probably.
But a lot of my life is spent doing things for other’s so this is my not so guilty pleasure.
When my children were small, they would groan when they noticed a certain look in my eye or a certain determined bounce in my step,
They would shout ‘no’ and sit on a rock, stubbornly refusing to go any further, before I could even start to utter that sentence I became famous for….
‘Lets just see what’s over the top of this hill/mountain/sand dune or beyond this road/forest/bog or across this river/ravine/inlet’.
But the years have passed and I didn’t lose either of them to fall’s or drowning’s and they are safely and independently and happily (for them) out of my grip, with good men who take good care of them.
Today I am heading out with the yellow bike to have coffee with my eldest daughter.
But we both know that although this is the plan, it may not necessarily be the end result .
She lives presently in Dun laoghaire about 14 kms further along the coast.
The suburban railway line built in 1834 cuts out an unnecessary piece of uphill cycling for me. That is, the road up past Wind-gates and down into Bray town.
I often see racing cyclists struggling up this stretch. But I do not need such bulging thigh’s, plus though I cycle almost everywhere, I am a lazy creature by nature.
My planned stop is Dun laoghaire, still a few stops away, but I find myself suddenly struggling to unlock the yellow bicycle from where its held to stop it sliding about the carriage and we squeeze out through the gap just before the train doors close at Dalkey Station.
Not the best idea as I forgot this small station has neither a lift or a bicycle turnstile.
After hollering in vain though the SOS speaker for the station master to release the gate, I finally give up and manage to lift the yellow bike over the pedestrian turnstile, drop it onto the other side and then let myself through with my swipe card.
I was grateful I was not in a wheelchair or I might be still there.
I ring my daughter.
‘Don’t tell me’ I can hear the smile in her voice ‘you’ve got off a killiney and are going for a swim first?’
‘Now there’s an idea, ‘ I reply ‘But no, I’ve got off at Dalkey, I just want to have a quick peak across at Saint begnet’s church,I’ll see you in half an hour instead’?
She Laugh’s ‘Ok and if you’re late I’ll blame it on a saint’
‘Maybe give me an hour’ I say.
She sigh’s in a resigned fashion ‘Tell you what, mom, ring me when you’re five minutes away’
‘I’ll do that’ I say, hanging up and tossing my phone into my front basket’
We both know there are no distractions within a five minute cycle of her place.
The sun has come out as I trundle down through Dalkey village,
The Irish for Dalkey is ‘Deilginis’ meaning ‘thorny Island’
I like that name.
I take a right and pass Finnegan’s pub on my left,
Bono’s local (or so I am told).
I pass some cute artisan cottages on my right. I think Maeve Binchy (the Irish novelist) lived in one but I’m not sure.
An Bord Failte would certainly NOT want me as a tour guide.
I stop at a junction.
Which way will I go?
Left or right ? I relish the delicious luxury of this decision and even tease myself.
left? no! right? no! left? no.
The ‘beep’ from a large BMW Jeep behind me spoils my game and I take the right hand junction.
Unfortunately so does the driver and the road is so narrow she cannot pass.
Even though I’m whizzing down the hill and probably going as fast as she would be able on such a small road, I take pity on her and hop off onto the pavement and let her pass by.
I’m glad I stopped. There, inserted in the wall is a still functioning post box.
Last collection 5 pm it states.
I try to peer in to see if there are any letter’s but the over lip prevents me.
An old man passing with a dog ask’s politely if he can help me, but I know what he’s thinking. (what devilment is this middle aged woman on her scruffy bike, peering into our letter box, up to?)
I step back off the pavement guiltily and cross the road to the harbour.
Beautiful Coliemore! with its boats pulled up on the slipway and it’s perfectly constructed Stonework.
I wander down the slip way.
The tide is out.
I try to imagine how it looked in the 14th to 17th centuries when it was used as one of the main ports for merchant ships when the River Liffey silted up.
I have read that a lot of the castles in Dalkey village were actually store houses for wealthy merchants to keep their goods in when they arrived off such ships. Though the harbour itself wasn’t completed until 1868.
I look across at Dalkey Island (thorny Island) There is an open boat making it’s way back across the strait’s .
The current is pulling it down stream but it has a good engine and the Ferryman knows the journey well.
It pulls in safely within minutes.
I can easily see the Martello tower
But it is the ruin of 9 th century St Begnets church to the left that catches my eye.
How it must have looked to the pilgrim before the Martello tower was built (1804)
On their way to pray or to visit Saint Begnets Holy well with its cure for Rheumatism.
There is a bit of mystery about Saint Begnet (some say ‘she’ was a ‘he’ but I prefer the female version).
Here below is a link to her history. An interesting read and I will leave it to the experts to fill you in as I could be distracted and side track you to other things
I am glad to know her feast day is the 12 of November which makes her a Scorpio just like me.
I promise myself a trip to the Island to take a closer look at the church when the weather improves and also a visit to her holy well ( I have no sign of developing rheumatism but that may change in the future if I continue to linger here in the cold on the harbour wall).
I lean my yellow bicycle against the newly red painted doors of Dalkey rowing club, which started in 1931( see I do remember some things )
And return for a final view.
The sun has vanished behind a cloud, giving an air of mystique to the thorny Island.
Cycling back down the road I see the woman with the BMW.
This time she pulls in for me and smiles and waves like a long lost friend.
Her Jeep is now packed to the gill’s with school aged children whom I hope she will never whisk off on mad cliff top/ over sand dune/down ravine type excursions .
I am now within five minutes of Dun Laoghaire and I dutifully ring my daughter.
We arrange to meet in the Promenade cafe on the seafront.
I am about to get back on the yellow bike when something catches my eye!
A beautiful sculpture? is it a sea urchin?
I’ll just cycle over and take a quick look…..
Oh I know she will be cross…
But she should be happy I named her Hanna, after her Grandmother , I could easily have named her after saint Begnet.