Monday, 7 July 2014


Sometimes it all just becomes a little too much. My energy levels crash, my scribbling buds dry up and finally, I’m unable to organise or prioritise.

Sometimes I just can’t face another ‘ise’ but thankfully I know exactly what to do.

There is no finer medicine for your colyoomist than to pack Blue Bag and drive off in my car Bennet, early on a sunny Summer’s morning.

The sky is pure blue but I suspect that as the day heats up it will fill with towering storm clouds. It’s only 7am but the temperature’s already up to 19c, so it’s going to be a scorcher. Dew steams low-slung clouds that hang above the long grasses at the roadside.

The hay has been cut, leaving green fields of pasture lying beside acres of golden stubble: the visual signature of a warm summer.

To hasten my feelings of escape, I play a little game, trying to decide when I’m really free of the city, all the time knowing that it has to be beyond the last roundabout past Oranmore. Just as it was in my hitching days, once on the road to Clarinbridge I know I'm on a Blue Bag adventure.

Of course now there’s also ‘Dead Tiger Roundabout’ to negotiate. Built for an estate that was never started. I hope that as you drive around it, you revel both in the wondrous absurdity of a roundabout that goes nowhere, while paying heed to how it perfectly reflects the way society goes when driven by greed.

Sunday mornings are absolutely the best time to hit the road. The curtains of Ireland are drawn, hiding sore heads and mouths open and dry. It’s just me and the livestock, both awake for hours, staring at each other across the sweep of tarmac and grass

Shooting down an empty M18, I’m south of Limerick before the shops have sorted their morning papers and by Abbeyfeale I realise I must slow down. In fact, I have to stop, because I’ll arrive way too early.

Amazingly there’s a wee cafe open but I really shouldn’t have the Full Irish, as I had my regular Saturday brekkie yesterday and

“Hello? What can I get you?”
“I’ll errr I’ll have the oh pfffp, I’ll have a Full Irish thanks!”

So weak and yet so right. Perfect, in fact, snarfed down with gallons of strong sweet tea and pages of World Cup drivel from a Sunday red top.

Stuffed and blissed out, I head past Tralee. Half way to Dingle the narrow twisty road is blocked by a couple of cyclists riding 2 abreast.

Many of my friends are cyclists so I listen to long horror stories of how badly they are treated by drivers, but what am I to do? It’s a hell of a long way past Dingle to my friend Angel’s new gaff, so am I supposed to just sit behind them for the next two hours?

Am I supposed to try and overtake them, thereby endangering my own life, theirs and those of any unseen approaching traffic?

Of course they know I’m there but they make no attempt to move. As each mile slowly passes, my grump grows into a growl, until finally I drop a gear and pull out. As I pass them I wind down the window and shout

“What gives you the right to block me? We all have the same right to travel this road!”

Although I feel fairly proud to have used such calm and fair words, when much coarser and more primitive types where looking to escape my moodbox, by the time I’m past them my bliss is gone, my sorrow at the arrogance of others washing away my early morning thrill of freedom.

Thankfully this dark blip does not last long, and within a couple of hours I’m sitting on a grassy ridge, on top of a cliff with my friend Angel. The breeze is cool on our backs while the sun beats onto our faces its full Midsummer heat.

Before us the headlands and distant mountains of The Kingdom are fronted and fringed by a perfectly waveless Atlantic Ocean, bluer only than the clear sky above.

The promised storm clouds never materialised, but my head is soon spinning in cyclones of its own, as Angel expounds his latest theories:

“The sun isn’t setting in the right place. It has moved since last year.”


“There are portions of the Dark Side of the moon that are now visible on random days. You can see it though binoculars.”


“There’s a planet 5 times the size of Jupiter that is heading for our Solar System and - ”

“Blimey!” I interrupt him. “That’ll put the cat among the astronomical pigeons, mate!”

“Too right, pal!”

“Don’t mind that, really. If there’s something out there that’s so huge and impossible to affect, then I might as well just give myself up to it. No probs.”

“Yeh, it’s like a metaphor for death, innit? Look mate, I’m burning up here. Let’s go back to mine and have a cup of tea.”

“Now you’re talking my language mate.”

Early the next morning I awake and experience that unique feeling of your first day away. Today I can do whatever I want.

Sitting in the shade on the front step, I eat a banana, staring at the sun already high in the sky.

Maybe I’ll just sit here all day long.

Instead I pootle around Slea Head. Evidently ‘Pottery Caf├ęs’ are this year's thing. They are everywhere along this road. A slice of carrot cake and an earthenware jug, please. 

Whatever takes your fancy

Some Austrian tourists in a camper van mistake a passing place for a lay-by, setting up their picnic in a space no bigger than a Ford Fiesta.

The traffic, now blocked in both directions, clings to the steep cliffs as far as the eye can see.

I sit back and laugh. There is no rage in me any more.

Mission accomplished!

Charlie Adley

No comments: