The plan for today was to write a short story. The submission deadline was midnight tomorrow. I realise that this takes leaving things to the last minute to a whole new level, but there was little I could do about that now. I had the story semi-plotted when I decided to check the submission guidelines one more time. To my joy, I saw that the date had been pushed out by two weeks. This meant I could have a day off. If I was more disciplined I would have written anyway. I had another scheme in mind however. I was going on an excursion.
To the National Print Museum. This is located about a twenty minute walk from my house on the other side of the river. Before I embarked I prepared a cheese sandwich (gubbeen cheese from county Cork – it has a noxious smell as all good cheeses do) for my lunch. I opened the balcony door and sat at the table next to it, enjoying the mild winter weather. While daydreaming and staring at the Royal Canal, my peace was suddenly and harshly interrupted, by a flurry of movement close to my head. In horrified disbelief I stared at the seagull swipe my sandwich from my plate.
I understand that seagulls are not dangerous – despite their insolence – but my heart was pounding in terror. It was so sudden and so unexpected. A home invasion. By a bird. As I felt both nauseated and traumatised, I left the house without eating.
Arriving at the Print Museum – which is located in the same grounds as the Labour Court, I discovered that it was closed. Of course it was. This was turning in to one of those special days.
At a loss, I switched on ‘maps’ on my phone to see if there was anything new worth seeing in the neighbourhood. The most recent search on my phone had been for the Jewish Cemetery in Limerick. In the scroll down menu beneath it was the name of the Jewish Cemetery in Ballybough in Dublin – which is not far from my house. Living in the city centre is a gift.
As my legs were slightly sore from my three hour walk visiting graveyards in Limerick the previous day, I decided to take the train to Clontarf Road – thereby saving myself a thirty minute walk. I trudged up Fairview Strand, to discover that the cemetery was walled and inaccessible. I knew it was the right place as the derelict building at the front had a plaque above the door, stating that the building dated from the year 5616. The sheet of paper tacked on to the boarded up front door was depressing – giving the number for homeless outreach if it was required.
The whole neighbourhood was pretty grim. Why were so many city centre buildings boarded up when with a bit of work they could all be turned into homes?
I made my way home, and stopped counting the boarded up buildings once I reached twenty.
I was going to buy a spice bag in the Chinese takeaway on Sheriff Street, as a late lunch, seeing as my original lunch had been stolen by an obstreperous seagull. This would mark my second physical visit to the notorious street I can see from my bedroom window. It was not yet open, being as it was only four o’ clock.
Forlornly I made my way home to make another cheese sandwich. I left the balcony door open. I’m not going to let a seagull dictate when and where I can eat.