• Michael Noctor

Ah Ma, Not Peas Again

Throwing out food is one of my pet hates. I’ve been doing too much of it since moving into my new pad. I be like – maybe if I just cut away the moldy bit. The last loaf of McCambridges brown bread, I only had one slice. That’s ridiculous.

When we were growing up in Tallaght, each day of the week had its specific dinner. This rarely altered.

Sunday: The Sunday joint, normally ham but sometimes beef, with spuds etc.

Monday: A similar dinner to use up the rest of the Sunday joint.

Tuesday: Stew

Wednesday: Stew – always nicer the second day – ah, I’m only kidding, we never had the same dinner two days in a row, but the stew was in the background if you didn’t fancy potatoes, mince and veg.

Thursday: More potatoes, mince and veg; forget what I said about two days in a row. The veg I hated most was Bachelor’s peas – beyond gross. I haven’t eaten them for decades!

Friday: Chips. Proper homemade chips.

Saturday: A fry

There were always goodies: creamed rice made in the pot by my ma, sherry trifles, sultana cakes, apple and rhubarb tarts and my da used to bring home an abundance of chocolate from Urney’s.

Back then my ma had a book in which she wrote down every spent penny. The dinner regimen probably fit in with her budgeting and maybe it has stayed with me and could be the reason I hate wasting food.

Today is October 15th, which is the date I ended up in Tallaght Hospital last year. My sister was on the phone to her friend, Steve, who worked for Dublin Fire Brigade/Ambulance Services while I was running around her house looking for a little Indian girl. ‘Did you see the little Indian girl?’ I asked her. ‘Ambo on the way,’ Steve said.

(There was no little Indian girl)

In so many ways the past year has been one of the most bizarre of my life … forget ‘one of the’ coz the past year has been BIZARRE. My mate summed it up once when he said it’s as if my brain took a beating. I’d experience a moment of clarity and think, ah, I’m better now. Two weeks later I’d experience another lucid moment. This happened over a period of months. I sometimes wonder has it healed fully.

Speaking of little Indian girls, my friend in El Paso picked up the virus. She’s been through the worst and has been cleared to come out of quarantine. Leona is like a sister to me. I was delighted to hear her good news, and I told her so. She said, ‘Remember, we all die.’ In fact, she said, ‘Hahaha! Remember we all die!’

She’s dead right, no pun intended. It’s a beautiful day. I haven’t driven my car since Sunday. I’m going to pop out to the countryside – Tallaght – and turn her over. I need to do a big shop, a big food shop. I’m about to enter a healthy as fuck period, not a healthy period, a healthy as fuck period.

That doesn’t mean I’m not aware that we all die. Believe me, I’m more aware than most.