Saturday 17 March 2018

My daughter, a workman, and a brush with the law

'The guards did not crack a smile. Not even a little one.' Stock picture
'The guards did not crack a smile. Not even a little one.' Stock picture

Katy McGuinness

The discussion about the things that we are going to miss about our house and the neighbourhood when we move continues. I wrote about our neighbours a couple of weeks ago and, true enough, one of them texted last night with a food emergency. "Do you have any spare Parmesan? €40 spent on wild sea bass and two of them don't eat fish." Told you it's bourgeois around here.

When our children were younger we took it in turns to host a St Patrick's Day gathering, and I'm thinking of doing a final one next week. I was writing recipes for a feature the other day and it's put me in a mood to make corned beef with parsley sauce. One year that same neighbour who borrowed the Parmesan prepared an elaborate buffet of Indian food. It had nothing to do with March 17 but was still delicious, although the younger children struggled a bit with the vindaloo.

One of the people that I'm not going to miss is one of our fleet of local parking attendants - the one who ticketed me the day that I changed my car because of an interregnum between my old resident's parking permit and my new one, despite the explanatory note in the window, and kept on ticketing me every day until the new permit arrived.

Nor will I miss the workman who I'm pretty sure shopped me to the gardai one day, and nearly had me arrested.

I was at home working and my youngest child was up in her room playing. There wasn't a peep out of her. The workman had taken to sitting across the road from our house on the wall, for his well-earned cigarette break. The doorbell rang and I opened the front door to find two guards standing there, faces solemn. Once we'd established that no one had died, and that awful, stomach-sickening moment of dread had passed, they got to the reason for their visit.

"Is there a child in the house?" they wanted to know. "We've had a report from a concerned member of the public that a child is being held here against her will. He said that she was crying for help from an upstairs window."

I laughed, which turned out to be the wrong response. The guards did not crack a smile. Not even a little one.

I explained that my daughter was playing upstairs and that she was absolutely fine. That she likes a drama and it was probably her idea of a bit of fun. They didn't appear to believe me.

"Do you want me to get her?" They did. So I called her down and eventually she appeared. The guards questioned her and were appeased. She had the grace to look a tad sheepish. I thought to go looking for the concerned member of the public to castigate him, but I held back. It might not have been a prudent move, given how hard it is to get good tradesmen these days.

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