I read that Meghan Sparkle and Prince Harry are to visit Dublin for a two-day “mini-moon” after their May nuptials. It’s probably best not to go rushing out to buy yourself a Union Jack fascinator just yet, however, as the visit is unverified, and anyway I tend to find my news in quite obscure places, such as under the cat lit. But should the starlit couple hit the Irish capital, it’s understood that their itinerary will include visits to galleries and historic sites as well as, apparently, some lyrical moments spent “getting lost on its meandering, haphazard streets”.
As one well versed in getting lost on those haphazard streets, occasionally by going into a bar through one door and exiting by a surprise second, only to find myself surrounded by a bevy of kitchen porters having a back-door smoke, or by being obliged to circumnavigate some bloke urinating against a giant wheelie bin, I have to say that the “getting lost” experience is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Temple Bar, which I once saw described in a tourist brochure as “Dublin’s charming riverside neighbourhood”, is bound to be included in a royal walkabout too. A perfect opportunity, then, for Meg and Haz to swap wedding tips with gracious hen-party members as they roll through the ’hood, replete with sagging bunnies’ ears and T-shirts reading “Buy Me A Shot, I’m Tying The Knot”.
The woman has legs so lithe and svelte, so finely attenuated, so sweetly fragile, that you could stir your tea with them
I'd be a little concerned about this part of the royal mini-mooners' visit, particularly with Meghan Markle tottering around on the Temple Bar cobblestones in her customary six-inch heels, navigating her way around the aforementioned shoals of peroxide blondes in ra-ra skirts and luminous cowboy hats, waving inflatable plastic penises around and singing Beyoncé's Put A Ring on It.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Ms Markle, an indisputably beautiful and elegant woman, has extraordinarily delicate ankles. The woman has legs so lithe and svelte, so finely attenuated, so sweetly fragile, that you could stir your tea with them. She surely won’t survive the rough terrain of the riverside neighbourhood, charming or not.
I notice other people’s legs the way my mother used to notice their eyebrows. “Christ, I’d love that woman’s eyebrows,” she’d regularly announce in a crowded cafe.
Having spent a lifetime plucking her eyebrows to a string-thin arch, my mother had, in her latter years, none left, hence the coveting of other people’s. I sent her eyebrow pencil with her to the undertaker last summer, accompanied by a note explaining the vital importance she attached to brows. The morticians did a truly amazing job; in her coffin, she looked like Bette Davis. She’d have been over the moon.
I can trace my other-people’s-legs syndrome to one afternoon, many decades ago, when I was sitting in a bar with a German man who was selling electronic candlestands to the Vatican. (I’m actually not making this up.) The German, after a convivial hour or so, leaned across his double vodka to tell me I had “bic legs” .
“Bic legs?” I asked uncertainly, thinking his pronunciation was a little askew and he must’ve actually meant “lissom and lovely legs”.
“Yes. Bic!” he insisted, slapping my thigh in a way that suggested “bic” was “bic” in any language.
So I covet Markle’s skinny pins, but in an indoor kind of way. I worry that they could prove a liability on Dublin’s meandering, haphazard highways.
I’ve had my share of worries this week, some pertaining to mortality and the environment, others somewhat less existential. It started when a home-shopping magazine came through the letter box, offering an array of gadgets to de-stress my life.
How, I fretted, having perused the glossy publication, slack-jawed, for quite some time, have I survived life so far without a universal splatter guard? What kind of existence have I known, devoid of a magnetic shoulder wrap, a portable urinal and a set of six miniature jelly moulds? Why have I reached my sixth decade without bothering to hide my messy cooker hobs under big plastic discs decorated with strutting cockerels?
I think, though, that the magazine may inadvertently have provided a solution to the Markle ankle problem. While contemplating the purchase of a microwave omelette-maker, I came across the perfect wedding gift for her: a pair of compression socks – durable, zippered, open-toed, and available in a fetching shade of khaki – which will provide the princess with all the necessary support.
What more could a girl ask for in springtime Dublin? Well, maybe an ice scraper with a waterproof mitt.