My earliest memory is of being bought by my current owners at a bric-a-brac stall in the Blackrock Market in Dublin sometime in the mid-nineties. I’d like to think that it was love at first sight on their part, but I strongly suspect that they bought me by accident seeing I was sold in a job-lot of miscellaneous items. I am pretty certain that Her Ladyship was solely focussed on the Art Deco jug that was lying on top of me and probably didn’t even notice that I was there.
My owners’ cat, Brian the Frog, was not impressed with my arrival. As a result, I was unceremoniously stuffed in a cupboard and I recall little after that until, early in 2002, I found myself in a removal box along with some kitchen paraphernalia, some tins of baked beans and a year’s supply of Tayto crisps.
The box was opened some weeks later in the Dordogne, France. I was not impressed. Until I discovered that Brian the Frog had been left behind in Dublin. Things were finally looking up.
Not long after arriving in their new French home, my owners decided to recreate a little bit of Ireland in the basement in the shape of a home-made Irish bar. Soon every bit of junk they owned that remotely related to Ireland – and believe me, this was long before their minimalist stage, so it was a huge amount of junk – was stuck up on the walls or jammed onto shelves. ‘Oh, a seagull’, exclaimed Her Ladyship, whilst poking through all the useless knick knacks the over-zealous removal men had packed. ‘There are lots of seagulls in Ireland. He’s an Irish seagull. Let’s call him Seamus’, said she as she positioned me between a box of Barry’s teabags and a cracked mug with a Guinness logo on it.
Life in the Toilet
My time in the Irish bar was a fair bit of craic. My owners often had visitors and there were plenty of hooleys and theme nights. The discos were a bit hard going though.
I thought I’d get a bit more peace and quiet, at least in the summer, when the wingless wonders decided to build yet another bar (for god’s sake!) by the pool. Alas, this time the pool had a marine theme, so of course I was pressed into service again. I tried to make myself inconspicuous amongst all the Jameson jugs and hurley sticks that had been added since the Irish bar’s inauguration, but once Her Ladyship cast her beady eye on me she insisted that I move to the poolside bar or, to be more precise, the poolside bar toilet.
In the process of revamping the old toilet in the pool house, His Lordship had added piping for a future new septic tank, which meant that there was a piece of 100mm pipe protruding about a metre out of the floor. Her Ladyship stuck a lid on it, painted it blue and white, called it a bollard and plonked me on top.
This was to be my home for the next five years.
To the Austrian Alps and beyond
I was left in the loo when my owners moved to Austria and I thought that I would end my days there. However, a year or two later I flew to Austria. I can’t remember if it was with Lufthansa or Austrian Airlines.
Anyway, when on a trip over to France, His Lordship spotted me, wrapped me in his dirty laundry (I know … yeuch!) and stuffed me in his hand luggage. On my arrival in their flat, I was given a hero’s welcome and a place of honour on a window sill. For once, I had a home with a view.
Yet again, I thought I would remain on my sill for evermore and that my story would end there. My aging owners’ migratory instinct has been rekindled, however, and I am now accompanying them on their (disorganised, chaotic, itinerary-less) trip around (a bit of) the world.
It seems that my story has only just begun.