'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Around the house.

I cleaned out some of the sheds at the back of the garden. Well, I took some stuff out and put it back in again in a slightly different order. It’s been years since I last did that. I cleaned the windows. It’s been years since I did that too, so the sheds are much brighter inside now. At least when they were dark they didn’t look as if they needed to be cleaned out inside.

My cousin June’s daughter, Daisy, has a friend called Stephanie, but everyone knows her by the nickname ‘Season’. She had been given the nickname ‘Sesame Street’ because she liked carrot cake so much. When she explained that to people they always said, “Oh right,” even though they had no idea why she’d be called ‘Sesame Street’ just for liking carrot cake, but they got the impression that they should know. Stephanie didn’t really know either. But the name Sesame Street only lasted for a year because her father thought that Stephanie Sesame Street was too long, so he decided ‘Season’ was short for it. Every spring, Season would talk about the leaves coming out on the trees and the flowers flowering, and then in Autumn she loved to walk over the leaves on the ground. Daisy wondered if the name ‘Season’ was making her more conscious of the seasons, so she started calling her brother, Graham, ‘Me’ to see if he’d become more conscious of her, Daisy. She tested it out by saying things like, “Hey Me, get me an apple.” But it didn’t really work. If anything, it only made him more conscious of himself, so she started calling him ‘You’, but that didn’t work either. There was too much room for confusion with ‘Me’ and ‘You’ so she started calling him ‘Paintbrush’, and he did become more conscious of paintbrushes. She used to leave paintbrushes around the house, and he’d throw them at things. When Daisy saw a programme about hot air balloons she wanted to go for a ride on one, so she started calling her brother ‘Phileas Fogg’. She knew it was a bit of a long shot, but it was worth trying, she thought. She observed her brother closely to see any effects of the name on his behaviour. She didn’t know how the name would affect him, apart from a vague idea that he’d somehow get her into a hot air balloon, but she thought she’d recognise the effects when she saw them, especially if it was something involving a hot air balloon. She only had to wait a few days to see the first sign of the name’s influence. Their aunt Rachel was going out with a man called Robert, who took her to a ball. He was wearing a top hat, and as soon as Graham saw him, he threw a paintbrush at the hat and knocked it off. Daisy felt that this was a result of the name’s influence, but actually he’d been waiting for an opportunity to throw something at a top hat for years. She called him ‘Fogg’ as often as possible, and she emphasised the name. “Look at what the dog is doing to the curtain, Fogg.” He just stared back at her. When Season called around one day she took no notice of the flowers in the garden or the birds singing in the trees. Daisy asked her what was wrong and she said, “My father wants me to go to a dog show and walk our dog around the ring because at the last show he called one of the judges a centipede.” Daisy said, “Don’t worry about that, Cruella. I can get you out of that one, Cruella.” Season just stared back at her, like Graham did when she called him ‘Fogg’. When June was having a party, the kids’ cousin Scott came over, and he played in the garden with Daisy, Graham and Season. Graham had a cake in his hand and the dog kept jumping up and down, trying to get it, so Graham threw it away and said ‘fetch’. The dog turned around and ran, but he didn’t see where the cake landed, so he just kept running. They were at the side of the house and they saw him disappear around the front, and a few seconds later he appeared again from around the back. He ran towards them and then kept on running around the front again. When he went past them, Daisy said to Season, “Look, he’s running away from you, Cruella.” The dog ran around the house again, and Daisy said the same thing to Season when he ran past them. He ran around five times, and Daisy said it every time. And then Scott said to Graham, “I bet you can’t run around the house faster than the dog.” Daisy said, “Yes, arounnnnd the house. He’s betting you that you can’t run around the house in eighty… arounnnnd the house.” They all just stared at her. So the next time the dog came around, Graham set off after him, and when he came to the front door he saw a possible short cut that he couldn’t resist. The door was open, so he ran into the hall, and he hoped that he’d be able to make it through the house without any serious obstructions. Robert was standing near a door, and when he saw Graham running towards the room he felt a need to be somewhere else. He hid behind the door, and he stood out again when Graham had run past, but unfortunately he stood right in the path of the dog, who had seen Graham take his shortcut and followed him into the house. The dog had to jump on the table to avoid running into Robert. He slid all the way across the table and onto the floor at the other side, taking the table cloth with him, along with all the plates with sandwiches and cakes, the cups and glasses. Rachel had been standing where the dog landed, but she jumped out of the way and hit a sideboard, which wobbled from side to side, and most of its contents fell on the floor. Daisy, Season and Scott ran inside when they heard the noise, and everyone in the house went to the room. Daisy stood near the table and as she looked at the destruction before her, a balloon floated gently to the ground at her feet. “I’m very, very sorry about all this,” she said.

The moose’s head over the fireplace hates horses, so it’s a bit awkward watching Chelthenam on the TV this week. But we’ve learnt from past years - we put blinkers on him to shield his eyes from the TV. You’d think this would only remind him of horses, but he doesn’t mind as long as you put headphones over his ears. He’ll be listening to David Bowie during the Gold Cup. He seemed slightly bewildered by Schoenberg during the Champion Hurdle. Today it’s Francoise Hardy for the Queen Mother.