“What do you think?” Sorcha goes.
Yeah, no, she’s trying to choose an outfit for the annual Vico Road and Vico Road-Adjacent Residents’ Association stort-of-summer borbecue and she’s been at it since nine o’clock this morning.
Honor’s there, “I just can’t believe you’re actually going this year? After, like, everything that’s happened ?”
Yeah, no, it's her first social outing with the neighbours since she was forced to resign as chairperson of the residents' association for being – let's just say – less-than-whole-horted in her support for Killiney and Dalkey's zero-zero zoning status, which prevents anyone from putting so much as one Lego brick on top of another in this area for eternity and beyond.
In fairness, she had a bit of a dilemma – as in, she’s made actual speeches in the Seanad about the housing crisis. And all she actually said was that we should at least have a conversation about the idea of allowing new homes to be built here. So they had a conversation. It happened mostly over WhatsApp and she wasn’t a port of it. And the upshot was they wanted her out.
So – yeah, no – she resigned the chairmanship of the residents association, giving up her €50,000 a year entertainment budget and her chains of office. God, she loved those chains of office, walking into Hicks butchers like she was MC Ricky D. They nearly had to break her focking fingers to take them off her.
“I’m not going to hide away in this house,” she goes. “I still have to live here – and so do you, Honor.”
Honor’s there, “Unfortunately – even though the people around here are dicks.”
“Dorling, just remember,” Sorcha goes, “there are millions of people who would give their right orm to live in Killiney.”
Honor’s like, “Well, I’m not going to live here – after you’re, like, dead, I mean.”
Sorcha’s like, “Of course you are! You’re going to be, like, the third-generation custodian of this amazing, amazing house.”
Honor’s there, “Er, no, I won’t ? The second you two are off the scene, I’m just going to, like, flog it to a property developer to build hopefully aportments. Then I’m going to move somewhere where the people aren’t stuck up their own holes?”
Every conversation in the gorden stops. She's suddenly got, like, 50 or 60 women with good bone structure glowering at her
“You’re just saying that to upset me,” Sorcha goes. “Come on, Ross, let’s go. We don’t want to be too late.”
So we pop in to Andrea's house next door – as in, like, Andrea Shotton, the new chairperson of the Vico Road and Vico Road-Adjacent Residents' Association, if what Sorcha read on the Dalkey Open Forum is to be believed.
The place is absolutely rammers when we arrive. Andrea’s got, like, professional caterers in and an actual string quartet playing in the gorden. I can smell meat burning and then I notice an actual pig being turned on a spit. Of course, I’m just presuming it’s a pig – it could be a member of her house staff who displeased her. Like Honor said, they’re pretty much all dicks around here.
Sorcha puts a big smile on her face and goes, “Hello, everyone!”
And I shit you not, every conversation in the gorden stops. She’s suddenly got, like, 50 or 60 women with good bone structure glowering at her, as if to say, “Who the fock does she think she is?” It’s like the year she spent as Head Girl in Mount Anville was a preparation for this moment. She uses all of her experience to try to just style it out.
“Andrea,” she goes, “your gorden looks gorgeous! We’ve let ours grow wild this year – doing our bit for the bees!”
Andrea smiles at her – except it’s the kind of smile you give to someone who’s ahead of you in the supermorket queue when the checkout girl, or dude, tells them that they can use another €10 voucher if they spend €3 more, and they run off looking for something that costs €3, leaving you standing there like a spare one, and then they come back with a packet of, I don’t know, Hob Nobs, except the Hob Nobs only cost €2, so they go off again on another focking supermorket sweep, and when they come back with tea bags, they go, “Sorry – you must think I’m a nuisance!” and you just smile and go, “Hey, it’s no problem,” while secretly wishing them dead.
Yeah, no, it’s that kind of smile.
It’s actually Joy Felton, our neighbour from the other side, who decides to say what’s on everyone else’s minds.
She goes, “I’m very surprised to see you here today, Sorcha.”
Sorcha’s there, “I’m still a member of the Vico Road and Vico Road-Adjacent Residents’ Association.”
“You’re not. You gave up that right when you said we should consider allowing them to build affordable houses right on top of us.”
“No one said anything about affordable, Joy. And besides, I thought we were an organisation that valued free speech and democracy.”
Everyone just looks at each other, wondering what the fock gave her that impression.
I watch Sorcha's eyes fill up with tears, then she turns on her wedge heels and storms off
“Because of you,” Andrea goes, “and your love of free speech and democracy, the Government has ordered Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to overturn their ban on development here. We’re going to end up with all sorts living on our doorstep.”
Sorcha’s there, “Andrea, I would point out that I only believe in development if it’s, like, sustainable development?”
“Frankly,” Andrea goes, “I don’t care what you believe in – and I dare say no one else here does either. I think it would be best if you left.”
I watch Sorcha’s eyes fill up with tears, then she turns on her wedge heels and storms off. I follow her, except she’s walking so fast that we’re practically home by the time I catch up with her.
I’m there, “Sorcha, it’ll blow over.”
But she goes, “No, it won’t, Ross. Honor was right. The people around here are horrible.”
“We live here for the view, not the people.”
“Well, I don’t want to live here anymore.”
I’m there, “Sorcha, think about what you’re saying,” because I’m remembering back in the day, when we’d be away on holidays and she’d be sending postcords home to her old pair, how she always wrote the words “Vico Road” in big, fock-you letters.
She goes, “I mean it, Ross. We’re going to sell the house, hopefully to a developer who’ll turn it into – this is what they’ve driven me to, Ross – but affordable aportments.”