It’s not my fault I’m late for work, I blame it on whoever it is who puts these lovely distractions in my way.
Life is short
I think you will agree.
And although I set out early to work with the best intentions of being on time, I often get diverted along the way.
Sometimes it happens as soon as I go out the door.
Yesterday morning for example, the sound of the song thrush was so beautiful that I had to stand for a full five minutes listening to it.
Which left me with a further ten minutes to cycle to the train, a journey that normally takes me fifteen at a leisurely pace.
And then the other morning as I cycled in the half light, a fox ran across my path.
I got off my bike so as not to startle him and greeted him with respect,
After all he was off to earn a crust too.
Back on my bicycle, the breeze in my hair, the soft morning air on my cheeks, the sky turning pink, I wavered and at the last minute, gave in and took a sharp right down to look at the ocean.
And there She is, with the lip of the sun just tipping over her horizon. How calm her waters, how silvery the sky! Well worth having to pedal speedily and breathlessly to the station and If I manage to get to the station on time well that’s half the punctuality battle won.
For If I miss the six thirty train there isn’t another one ’till seven. Which will mean I haven’t a hope of making it into work on time and though it does give me another amount of diversion time as the sun rises higher, it also increases the risk that (through powers beyond my control ) I may miss the seven am train too.
BUT I say ‘better be hung for a sheep than a lamb’
‘But with such wonder’s to see why bother with the train?’ You might ask.
‘Why not cycle all the way to work?’
A good point, but with each work day consisting of a thirteen hour shift. mostly on my feet, at a trotting pace and doing three or sometimes four in a row. I need all the physical assistance I can get.
Getting the train means I can rest my legs instead of pedalling up over bray head. (Hamstring hill I call it, already mentioned in a previous post) and thereby have lots of leg energy left to take me speedily to my patients when they ring their call bell’s looking for my attention.
Plus if I didn’t get the train, I would miss saying ‘hello’ to the very earnest and nice looking man of my age who presses the door release button for me when I get to my station
I feel our relationship is progressing along nicely .
In a matter of months we have gone from a smile, to ‘How are you?’ and more recently to ‘nice morning’ .
I like a man who takes things slowly and I’m confident he will ask me out in the next year or so.
Besides that, the journey by train is WONDERFUL.
I sit on the same seat every morning in the first carriage and on the seaward side.
With the window open , no matter what the weather is like (all the better to hear the sea bird’s M’ dear )
But first I lean the yellow bike against the rail and lock her to it (not because I’m afraid of her being stolen but more because she might slide down the corridor) I tell her to behave and look out the window which she does.
I pat her saddle find my seat and settle down, laying my coat on the seat opposite
‘DO NOT PUT YOUR FEET ON THE SEAT’ The automated voice announces. I lift mine up and put them on my coat.
Let the show begin!
The most spectacular part of the journey is the section between Greystones and Dalkey, with the train puttering along the coast.
I say puttering because one day I watched two pigeons fly past us and beat us to bray station and I would imagine that pigeons are not the swiftest of bird’s.
Actually I insult them by calling them pigeons (Those horrible flying rats of the city) these are Rock Doves whose aerial acrobatics along the cliffs astound me.
And they didn’t disappoint.
A beautifully executed loop de loop is followed by a fatalistic nose dive before they speed on ahead of the train.
Speaking of bird’s, watching the antic’s of the sea variety along the cliffs of bray head, is one of the great delights of this trip.
Cormorants, Fulmars, kittiwakes, Razor bills, Great black backs and Common seagulls all vying for, fishing ,flying and nesting right’s (sounds familiar)
Real estate appear to be in high demand along these cliffs…and there is some stiff competition out there, even some gazumping.
Especially among the Fulmars.
Fulmars are really petrels, true bird’s of the sea, spending most of their lives on the wing soaring above the waves and diving for food,
They start nesting in June and when they find a site along the cliff ledges and rocky clefts, become extremely vocal, singing loudly as they have to guard their homes fiercely against other fulmars, (This is the reason I keep the window open)
I love the cormorants. Iridescent dark blue plumage. They having no oil in their feather’s, so stand still and upright with their wings extended , drying in the wind. Living washing lines, someone once described them as.
Then of course the black guillemots with their bright red feet against their black bodies and the razorbills, both birds flying tight to the waves.
And the great black backed gulls always on the prowl for an easy meal, but have to be admired all the same for their majestic graceful flying techniques.
If I am lucky I will see a pair of gannets far out to sea.
And looking down at the waves myself I often see a seals head bobbing.
As for the waves , they may be calm or rough or down right stormy, crashing hugely against the cliff’s
Before I leave the birds of the cliffs of bray head, may I impart an interesting piece of information?
The gape of a bird!
The gape is the inside anterior region of the mouth often red or spotted in the chick and juvenile stage. This maybe an indicator of the health, fitness and competitive ability of the chick and based on this the parents decide how to distribute food among the chicks in the nest. Even if the colour cannot be seen with the human eye it may show up on ultraviolet which can be seen by birds but not humans.
How extraordinary is nature.
I lean back on my seat to digest this amazing piece of information.
The train is now passing Killiney beach with its early morning dog walkers and the odd swimmer (usually someone of about 90 who swims all year round, emerging skinny legged and wrinkled from having spent the night in the sea…..just kidding about the night in the sea )
Then Dalkey…yes I know! home to Bono and the edge. So what! they don’t have a yellow bicycle.
and on we trundle.
At Sydney parade ‘Himself’ gets up to press the button. I think I will call him ‘Tom’
We smile shyly at each other.
He is just a bit taller then me, glasses (a literary man)
He wears a small rug sack on his back (we walk Bray head on our first date and stop to watch the sea birds courting which might give him romantic notions of course I wouldn’t let him kiss me yet but I will allow him to take my hand and assist me over the stiles even though I know I could leap over them no problem and I may even pretend to stumble and fall against him with a tinkling laugh which brings to mind what will I wear a frock maybe which would blow up in the breeze and give a suggestion (not too much though)of my legs and later when we reach Greystones we would have lunch at the Gavistons though we would have preferred the Happy Pear but it does only vegetarian nice at the best of times but He needed something more substantial and manly which would involve a bottle of sancerre and a bowl of Moule Marniere to give a French romantic touch and his hand will touch mine accidentally as he pours me another glass which is OK as neither of us will have to drive home and we will sit chatting about Oscar Wilde and D H Lawrence and he will tell me I look pretty even though my hair is wild and tangled from the sea wind )
I smile and nod in agreement .
It is a lovely morning indeed.
He stands back to let me through the door and I am careful not to roll over his toes with the yellow bicycle. I note His shoes are sturdy hiking shoes( let me tie your lace for you he stoops in a gentlemanly fashion as I lift my skirt over my knee and sit on the wooden stile while he performs the knot with such manly deft fingers ).
around the corner I nearly miss the house…(lets paint the door blue he smiles at me Our blue the blue of the sea off bray head but its too expensive I reply thinking of my bank balance nonsense he laughs throwing back his head to reveal a smooth jawline money is no object when it comes down to making you happy)
Old and run down and clearly derelict. this house is an unusual sight in such a well to do area of Dublin. I wonder happened? Was there no will? No family?
The paint work is peeling and the gate rusted, I push the yellow bicycle in for a closer look .
An untidy clematis Montana scrambles despairingly up the walls. and the seed heads of dandelions promise to do what nature intended and reproduce themselves everywhere.
I’m aware of time ticking. The people who got off the train with me , most of them working in the hospital, have long gone, the sound of their clicking heels lost in the noise of morning traffic.
I jump up on my saddle and pedal madly , shooting across the busy junction with the light’s, thankfully. in my favour, up the lane which recently someone painted a ‘no cycling’ sign on and turn left into the hospital. I park and lock the yellow bicycle and take the stairs two at a time and change into my uniform in the staff toilets (not really allowed) and stroll nonchalantly into the nurses station only 10 minutes late. This does NOT escape the beady eye of my ward manager who looks up pointedly at the clock.
‘Sorry I’m late’ I mutter.
I am working a stretch of three days so I vow to be on time for day two.
On day two all goes well.
The sun is out as Tom presses the button.
‘What a lovely morning it is’
‘Indeed’ I reply noting that his sentence has proceeded from two to four word’s, a promising sign.
Then I do something that I have promised myself I will not do.
I follow him.
Which is difficult because he is so gentlemanly that he indicates that I should go through the turnstile first.
My brain is frantic trying to think of a delaying tactic so that he will walk on ahead.
I decide my best bet is to take a different route and double back, but that’s the road he takes.
then I see it !
With a perfectly tidy clematis delicately climbing its red brick exterior , its freshly painted timber and white wrought iron fencing gleaming in the morning sun but best of all its perfectly painted yellow door
‘look’ I tell the yellow bicycle, ‘Our house’
But she just stares sadly down the empty street. Tom has disappeared from view.
‘Never mind’ I tell her ‘ Its not good for a woman to appear too eager’
Oh no! looking at my phone, I jump on my bicycle and pedal furiously,
My ward manager looks at me distractedly as I arrive red faced and breathless, fifteen minutes late according to the clock on the wall.
‘Your patient is here and they are calling for her from theatre’
I head down the corridor at a trot, medical chart under my arm.
‘Where were you’ A colleague hisses out the door of the clinical room ‘Herself has it in for you, we’re hectically busy’
I trot faster.
Day three arrives
This will be my day, I know it.
I will have two patients admitted and down in theatre before the anaesthetist has had a chance to finish his morning coffee.
To my dismay Tom is not on the train.
As I press the button and the door slides open I wonder if he has got into another carriage by mistake! then it hits me like a ton of bricks . Of course he is not on the train. A small smile escapes my lips.
(as we round the corner of the cliff walk He gets down on one knee and holds out a small red velvet box his hands trembling slightly as he fumbles with the latch I clasp my hands to my fluttering heart as though to still it as he says the words will you marry me oh I will I will and we embrace there on the cliff tops watched by the sea birds as his lips close on mine)
The yellow bicycle screeches to a halt as we nearly run into a man hurrying out his gate and unlocking the door of a large black shiny Mercedes.
(what is your favourite car I ask as we sip champagne that night oh I like to cycle mostly but if I was to choose it would be an little sports car not a Mercedes or BMW I tease him oh no maybe a porche but a classic one or a Citroen de Gaul )
I get off the yellow bicycle.
‘Oh what beautiful wisteria’ I tell her.
But she is watching the man who is watching us suspiciously .
I pretend to fiddle in my basket whilst he pretends to fiddle at his radio.
My finger’s close around my camera but he dawdles watching us in the mirror.
Eventually I give up and hop on the bicycle and cycle around the block.
My plan has worked, By the time I come back ,he has well gone.
This time nearly all the parking spaces are taken when I arrive, I don’t even take the time to lock my yellow bicycle. I’ve bigger concern’s than bicycle theft on my mind just now.
My ward Manager is not at her desk and the ward was eerily quiet.
I glance up at the clock and quickly drop my bag into the staff cupboard and go out into the ward, It seems in a bit of disarray.
A colleague comes along pushing the crash trolley back into position and plugging the defibrillator into into the wall.
She looks a bit flustered.
Seeing me she grimaces as she says the dreaded word’s
‘Cardiac arrest!’ you missed it by thirty minutes’
She looks over her shoulder at the small figure marching up the corridor and whisper’s ‘ The patient survived but I don’t hold out the same hope for you!.
(when we are married said Tom putting his arm protectively around me you will never have to work again)