Sunday 25 August 2019

Please Bale, if you have a tattoo, keep it hidden

Tuesday: Every parent, I imagine, has a daily 'window of silence' that they crave, in much the same way that a deserted islander might wish a rescue ship onto the horizon. Mine usually arrives at approximately 8pm, when the young lad and younger lad are bunked up in their beds playing Hangman, or chewing over the events of the day in their school and crèche respectively.

Tonight, after reading them a story about the merits of goats, I sat down to watch the Champions League encounter between Borussia Dortmund and Malaga. All was peaceful, as I semi-snoozed to the dulcet drone of the commentator, until Malaga found the back of the net. With that, the young lad sprang from his hiding place behind the sofa and danced a celebratory jig, as though he had some affiliation with the hitherto unknown to him Spanish side, of which I had not been made aware.

'What are you at?' I asked, once I had regained some composure. And he told me that he couldn't sleep, so he had sneaked back down to watch some of the game. For the previous ten minutes, he had been silently peeping over my shoulder – the cunning imp. As if on cue, five more little fingers drummed on the living room door and in skipped the younger lad, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as a parent might wish for, at a different part of the day.

Picking a lad under each arm, I began carting them back upstairs, and the young lad put a question to me. 'Can you put some gel in my hair in the morning?' he pleaded. I asked him why. He explained that the footballer, Gareth Bale, wears gel in his hair, and he wanted to be just like him.

He climbed down and began to hobble towards his bed. I asked him if he had hurt himself and he shrugged my question away, revealing that he had been recently transformed into the Welsh winger and that he had hurt his ankle in a very important Europa League game. With that he climbed into bed and said he would pray for a full imaginary ankle recovery by morning. I turned off the light and left him to it.

With Gareth Bale exerting such an influence on his thoughts, and image, it was with some level of dread that I read about the footballer recently getting an 'AVB tattoo' inscribed onto his skin. It is rumoured the gesture was not in honour of his Portuguese manager at Tottenham but in tribute to his daughter, Alba Violet.

I can only hope that if these rumours are true, Mr Bale will keep the tattoo hidden from this impressionable five-year-old's sight, as we can just about live with gelled side partings, and fake injuries. Having to look at Bale's elfin features imprinted on his anatomy would be more than an all-footballed out good woman could possibly take.

Wednesday: The good woman is a big fan of the hotelier, Francis Brennan. Tonight RTE aired his TV show, Francis Brennan's Grand Tour, and I have rarely felt such sympathy for reality TV participants.

During a holiday in Monte Carlo, a Utopian destination which conjures up images of such classy acts as Cary Grant and Grace Kelly idling away the day, the animated Brennan barked orders at them like a drugged-up terrier until I was sure someone would eventually send him for an early bath in one of the city's fountains.

The good woman laughed her way through the whole show and while I cannot figure out why RTE continues to serve up one forgettable half-hour show after another to fill the 8.30-9.00pm slot, I will admit Brennan is highly entertaining. Just don't put me on a bus tour with him – it could never be big enough for the both of us.

Enniscorthy Guardian