'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2005


It looks as if summer is coming to an end again. I can remember saying that a few months ago, so you never know, I suppose.

My cousin Ronan was a member of a musical society, and just before Christmas one year, they were doing a musical about Vikings having a party in the snow. Ronan had once left this musical society after an incident with a Shetland pony, and he formed an amateur dramatics society with a few others who left with him. But after this failed, they were allowed back into the original musical society. Ronan wanted to play one of the Vikings, but he was given the role of an elf instead. He didn’t complain because he was just glad to be back with his old friends. Ronan’s sister, June, called in to see a rehearsal one day. She brought her kids, Daisy and Graham. There was a table-tennis table in the hall where the musical was, and two of the Vikings were playing on it. One of them had a box of chocolates on the table, and he was eating the chocolates as he played. The kids stared at him. He often looked over at them, but they kept staring at him. When the ball landed in the box of chocolates, both Vikings started laughing, but Daisy and Graham just stared. Neither of them said a word until after they left the hall. As they walked home through the snow, Daisy said to Graham, “Why were the Vikings playing table tennis and eating chocolates?” “I don’t know. Why were we staring at them?” “I don’t know.” Ronan and June’s sister, Rachel, won a Christmas hamper full of wine and food, but there was also a working model of a lighthouse in it. She had no idea why this would be in a hamper, or what it had to do with Christmas. She brought it to June’s house on that evening, and she turned it on. When June’s pet duck, Sleepy, saw the light, he moved towards it He stared at the light as it turned around. On the following day, Daisy and Graham played football in the snow outside the hall. They had drawn an owl’s face on the ball. Some of the Vikings were outside, and they stared at the ball. Daisy said, “We drew the face of an owl on this football.” The Vikings didn’t say anything. They just continued staring at the ball. When they went back inside for the rest of their rehearsal, Daisy said, “It’s so easy to transfix Vikings.” Daisy and Graham went back to the hall on the following day, and all of the Vikings were taking a break from the rehearsal. There were about twenty of them, and each one was eating crisps very slowly. The kids stared at them, and the Vikings just looked back, still eating the crisps. Daisy and Graham left the hall, and they thought they heard the Vikings laughing inside. Daisy said, “Why did we stare at them that time?” “I don’t know.” “I mean, there’s nothing odd about Vikings eating crisps.” “I know.” When the kids saw Sleepy staring at the light on the lighthouse, they got another idea for transfixing the Vikings. On the night of the first performance, the Vikings were throwing snow balls at each other at the back of the hall about ten minutes before the show was supposed to start. Daisy and Graham shone a torch on the snow nearby, and all of the Vikings stared at it. The kids walked away, and the Vikings followed the light on the snow. They led the Vikings to their house just down the road, to where Sleepy was staring at the lighthouse in the front garden. The Vikings stared at Sleepy. When Sleepy looked back and saw twenty Vikings behind him, he turned around and stared at them. Back in the hall, Ronan and the other actors went out looking for the Vikings. When the audience heard that people were outside looking for Vikings in the snow, they went out and joined the search too. Someone found them in June’s garden, and everyone gathered there. They stood and stared at the Vikings and Sleepy, with the light on the lighthouse going around. Carol singers started singing ‘Away in a Manger’. Sleepy finally fell asleep, and then the Vikings looked around. Daisy and Graham were pointing and laughing at them.

The moose’s head over the fireplace looked very happy after watching Mastermind. I think he deliberately tries to look happy just to show that he got more correct answers than the winner. The wife’s niece thought that the teapot on the sideboard looked sad. She never said a word about the happy looking moose or the surprised hen in the painting. The teapot looks just the same as ever to me. Maybe it wouldn’t look sad if the moose’s head didn’t look so happy.