i understand now why everyone comes home from Ireland with stories.
While I was with him and Maureen in Enniskillen, Joe Corrigan mentioned the matchmaking festival, Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare, that farmers, who had little time for the slow-burn niceties of courtship, would attend in the hope of sealing a quick marital deal. Joe is a Thomas Hardy fan so I'm sure we both thought of The Mayor of Casterbridge as he told the tale.
So, I remembered that I needed to tell you about Gerry.
I pulled into the beachfront parking area to watch the Atlantic roll in at lovely Kilkee, County Clare. As I stepped out of the van I came face to face with a hulking man - I would guess he was in his early 80s - who was tightening the wheel-nuts on his pickup.
Gerry and I got talking. He took a slow walk around my van and gave me an appraisal of my tyre treads. There was a big hurling match on that day and I think he was heading into town to watch it in the pub.
Gerry: "You don't have the hurling in England and Wales, do you? It can be rough. You see this scar on my forehead? 14 stitches. And I lost a front tooth."
Gerry told me a great story about John Wayne attending a hurling match when he was filming The Quiet Man, in Mayo. He described the action by swinging the wheel-brace that was in his hand.
On a day off from filming, John Wayne travelled to Croke Park in Dublin with a member of the crew to see the fiercely-fought All Ireland hurling semi-final between Wexford and Galway. At half-time, the crewman said to him: ‘You’re a big athletic man, I bet you’d love to be down there with a hurley in your hand. Wayne took a drag from his cigarette and drawled: ‘Well, I sure as hell wouldn’t like to be down there without one.’
Tom Sweeney - Failte Ireland
Gerry: "I like music. I met a musician once, a big fella, from Derry. I don't recall his name, but he gave me one of those CDs and I played it and played it. And Van Morrison. You like Van Morrison?"
Kate: 'You play CDs?"
Gerry: "Well, not really, no. I'm a farmer. We don't have much time for things like that.
I've spent far too many years farming. I'm going to go touring now, maybe buy a camper van and go out on my boat. I have a friend who goes to Denmark every Tuesday on the trucks and I'm going to go with him one Tuesday and come back with him the following Tuesday. And, of course, I'll need to visit you now, in Wales. Will you give me your number?"
Kate : "No, Gerry.
"Anyway, I'm seeing someone. He tells a good story. You'd like him."
Gerry: "Oh, he won't disturb us. Take my number. When you get a quiet evening you can text me and we'll have a chat and a joke."
I gave Gerry a copy of Mother Indigo.
I hope this doesn't mean we are engaged now.
Pure Camping, near Kilkee
At The Greyhound, Kilkee