‘Do you know how difficult it is to get a window cleaner on this side of the city in Communion month?’

Illustration: Alan Clarke

Illustration: Alan Clarke


I ’ve always had this, like, rule, that whenever I see my wife sitting at the kitchen table with her day-planner and her colouring pencils, it’s time for me to run and hide. Unfortunately, despite my famous acceleration from a standing stort that the great Gerry Thornley wrote about in these pages back in the 1990s, sometimes I’m still not quick enough.

“Ross,” Sorcha goes, “sit down here with me and help me work this out, will you?”

I’m like, “I was just about to do something, erm . . . something else.”

“Well, now you’re not. You’re going to help me figure out this scheduling problem I have for Saturday.”

Saturday, I should mention, is the day of Honor’s First Holy Communion – which, in this part of the world, is basically a dry run for the debs. It’s a massive, massive deal, in other words, not least for Honor, who’s had the money she thinks is coming to her spent since the first day of January.

“No matter what way I look at it,” Sorcha goes, “there aren’t enough, literally, hours in the morning to do all of the things I have to do . . .”

She’s talking at a pace that I would usually associate with, like, proper crazy people.

She’s there, “I’ve moved my tan and my pedicure to the night before. I thought that would free up some time, but it actually hasn’t?

I’m like, “Okay,” deciding to just go with it, like drowning, “explain it to me – what do all these colours represent?”

Just looking at her desk diary, it’s obvious that more planning has gone into this than the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

“7.30am,” she goes, “I’m getting my hair done in Glasthule.”

I’m there, “Okay – and does your hair really need to be done?”

“Is that a joke?”

“No, it’s a genuine question. I think it actually looks nice.”

“Okay, I’m just going to ignore that. After the hairdressers, I’ve got to – oh my God – rush from Glasthule to Blackrock to get, like, my make-up and nails done at nine. Then I’ve got to drive to Stillorgan to collect my dress, which is being altered. I want to wear my red maxi dress, except it’s, like, an inch too long? Then I’ve got to get back home by half-ten because the window cleaner is coming.”

“The window cleaner?”

“Ross, we’re having, like, 90 people over. I am not having dirty windows. This is a major event for us.”

“Could the window cleaner not come, I don’t know, the day before?”

She laughs – like I’m the one being ridiculous?

She’s like, “Do you know how difficult it is to get a window cleaner on this side of the city in Communion month?”

I’m there, “I’ve never given it much thought, Sorcha.”

“Yeah, that much is obvious. It’s like getting a hair or make-up appointment. You have to book, like, the previous September? Do you have even the faintest idea how big a deal the Communion is, Ross?”

“Of course I do.”

“Well, you clearly don’t. And, anyway, I have to be home at that time anyway because the photographer is also coming at half-ten.”

“We’ve hired a photographer?”

“Of course we’ve hired a photographer. We want a permanent record of the occasion. These are the days, Ross . . .”

“When you wished you’d stayed celibate – I know.”

Actually, I say that last line in my head. I might be thick, but I’m not stupid.

“So it’s, like, hair at 7.30,” she goes. “Make-up and nails at nine. Collect my dress at 10. I don’t even know if I’ll have time to try it on. Then back here in time for the window cleaner and the photographer. And then the caterers are arriving at 11.”

“We’re getting the event catered?”

“No, Ross, I’m going to spend three hours on the morning of my daughter’s Communion wrapping lumps of goat’s cheese in filo pastry and putting pieces of melon and prosciutto on skewers! Of course we’re getting the event catered!”

“Okay, chillax, will you?”

“They’re coming at 11. They’re doing mango and crayfish vol au vents, mini ginger burgers with lime mayo and arugula, then quince, ham and blue cheese pintxos. Then, at half-twelve, we’ve got the morquee coming.”

“I’m just thinking out loud here, Sorcha – so keep the head, if it’s at all possible – but is the morquee not something that could be put up the night before?”

“No, because it has to go in after the bouncy castle? And the only time the bouncy castle can be delivered is at 12 o’clock.”

“I’m presuming the bouncy castle people are pretty rushed off their feet around Communion time as well.”

“Exactly. So they’ll arrive at 12, which will give us just enough time to get that and the morquee up before the first guests stort arriving at one. Look, you know where I’m going with all of this, don’t you?”

“Er, not really, no.”

“The thing is, Ross, looking my schedule for the morning, it’s pretty obvious that I’m not going to be able to make the whole, like, churchy-churchy part of the day?”

I let that sit for a few seconds, before I go, “When you say ‘the whole, like, churchy-churchy part of the day’, do you mean the actual Mass?”

“The Mass, yes.”

“Our daughter’s Communion Mass, in other words. You’re saying you’re going to be too busy preparing for our daughter’s Communion to make it to the actual Communion itself?”

“Don’t make such a big deal out of it, Ross. You can bring her.”

“Yeah, no, I just wanted to get that straight in my head.”

“And make sure you get loads of footage on your phone. Like I said, these are the days.”

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