Bridie – Have you forgotten about me or what? Lucky for you I am still alive but no thanks to family, friends, Gruffalo and D of FA. I am now somewhere in Pakistan. Three of us (non-national women) were smuggled out of Afghanistan and across the border in a Red Crescent van. It was getting too dangerous for the local people to keep us and now in a safe house waiting to be moved over the border into India within the next few days. Unlikely to be back for Christmas but hopefully see you early New Year. Feel so out of touch and miss you. Listened to concert on illicit radio with the Taliban tenors singing Frosty the Snowman, which made me feel homesick. Can you let the ‘rents know where I am. Oh and Ronan. What news? Will come back to cybercafé in a few days…F
Fi…or should I call you Fatima. My God you are alive…we have all been so worried. OF COURSE I went straight to the Gruffalo and the D of FA and you went on to the priority list but it had to be kept out of the media. No one wants an international incident especially when there are so many headaches here on the home front. They’ve sent out a SWAT team of unemployed Poles to Pakistan who is looking for you as we link up. Can you give us a clue as to where you are? Ronan was deeply depressed and had you dead and buried and spent an entire weekend carving out a weird headstone engraved with your initials, which is embedded in the kale and cabbages. I told him this was premature but he’s such a pessimist. He has since perked up after a pep talk with Vera (how fickle is that!) and has been out marching in protest against the cuts (not sure why as he is not directly affected) and then went to Copenhagen for the big climate change conference (surely that’s been on Al Jazeera) where he got himself arrested! Nothing special about that as the police arrested everyone under the age of forty and kept them handcuffed on the pavements overnight and then released them. And you complain about the Taliban! Thank God you are coming home soon as we may have to close this business down in the New Year. Its not that there aren’t any celebs on our books – it’s the overheads. You ask about news. Well Jedward didn’t make it on the X Factor – but then you probably haven’t heard about them. Twins with hair like meringues on stilts. Tiger Woods so out of favour and all his sponsors pulling out. His wife totalled his car with a golf iron. Portmarnock wives should take note. We may be down to the wire this year promoting golf, snooker and boy bands, though politicians (especially north of the border) are in need of a pr dig out. Budget is published and its cuts all the way to the bone, but not to the bonuses (bankers once again off the hook).
Have forwarded your email to the ‘rents. By the way your mum is a local heroine. She organized a rescue boat during the floods out west and delivered fodder to marooned animals and looked quite the business on the 6 o’clock news dressed in purple wellies and fluorescent jacket. She also gave out about the developers building on flood plains and sounded less ditzy than usual and as a result ended up on Frontline haranguing a minister (can’t remember which one, so many of them getting it in the neck these days). Apart from the big chill, growing unemployment, lack of grit, overheads going through the roof and freezing fingers, we’re grand. Get home quickly…XXX Bridie
Darling Fifi – all is forgiven. We have been so worried about you (especially your father who remains a recluse, not that I’ve seen too much of him as have been too busy) and all we want is that you come home quickly and safely. Hectic schedule – what with first the floods (those poor people and the animals), now the arctic winter conditions (with people freezing and stuck in their homes because there is no more grit and nobody in the city cares about the countryside) and organizing local protests. I know you think I was mad to give up my job (but the HSE was being impossible) and with the times that are in it my country needs me. I am so proud you have inherited my DNA for worthy causes, but Fifi please not the Taliban – its too dangerous and so far away – there’s enough to be getting on with here what with Shell, the government, the church, global warming (freezing actually), shopping across the border and now Listowel. I’m organizing a protest there next month. Its high time the women of Ireland found their voice and said ENOUGH.
Love and kisses Mum
It is with great reluctance that I have had to resort to technology in order to request that you come home immediately. Have you any idea the torment you have caused your family – I refer in particular to your dear father whose mental state deteriorates daily. I cannot speak for your mother who now prefers the media limelight to her domestic responsibilities. Sadly it appears that you are taking after her side of the family. Betty Roche (she is no longer a Ferret as far as I’m concerned) is spending all her time attacking the pillars of establishment that have kept this country as a last bastion of virtue against the axes of evil and vice which threaten to destroy us.
I had tea with the Bishop the other day and he informed me over the scones that he was being forced to resign even though he has done nothing wrong. It’s a total disgrace. The pagans are taking over. Thank heavens the blasphemy law remains in place. The Pope needs to get over here and put some manners on us. Fiona I hope that you will be forgiven for the shame you have brought on your family and for the dishonouring of your faith by consorting with the heathen – I cannot forgive you but only for the sake of your dear father I wish you a safe return. Aunt Kitty
I am counting the days and cannot rest easy until you are safely back here. I gather that links have been made between the Red Cross and Crescent and with any luck you will be back home with us soon. Christmas has been and gone and we are now into the New Year. Christmas was very bleak without you and the snow and general arctic conditions forced me to stay put and have given me time for reflection. It is true that you don’t realize how much you miss and appreciate someone until they are taken from you. Yes girl I’m talking about you. I’m also referring to Betty who is never home as she is off finding herself in the pursuit of worthy causes. But I have to say she is doing great work and I’m very proud of her. I wish I could park my sentimentality and embrace her no nonsense practicality. I also wish I had her get up and go. Mine got up and went some time ago. I have suffered from moral cowardice and the compliance and naivety of my generation. It’s difficult to break the mould of conditioning and according to your mother I’m hopeless at expressing emotions. So at the risk of making a fool of myself here goes. I want to say girl that although you have caused us untold worry there is a small part of me that admires your spirit of adventure though I think taking on the Taliban is a bridge too far. It’s well and good to have a sense of justice and idealism but how easy it then becomes for the end to justify the means. Of course I know that I’ve sat on the fence for far too long crippled by ambivalence and paralysed by fear of doing the wrong thing – whatever that might be – possibly the disapproval of others – but I’m determined that 2010 is going to really be a New Year – a new dawn.
I get tired of all this worn out talk on the radio of getting the country back to where it was, restoring the property market, re-building the economy, getting back to shopping – what a lot of rubbish. There is no going back. We can only go forward and we have to find a new way. Our institutions are crumbling, their authority is corrupt and the systems are rotten to the core – why on earth would we want to go back. For years, many of us have stumbled along in blind obedience to a decadent authority and it’s made us lazy, greedy and dependent. Our biggest mistake was to follow the adage Thou Shalt Not Question (actually it was beaten into us) – well let me tell you girl, you and Bridie and all the rest of your generation, you MUST question everything. Accept nothing at face value. My wish for the New Year is to hand out large dollops of humble pie. Those who run the Catholic Church should go on a silent retreat for the next hundred years and learn to listen instead. Those who would sacrifice the innocent in the protection of institutions – be they tribe, church, family, media or a business should be given double helpings of humble pie. Life is short and precious, so girl make the most of it. Pick your battles wisely and for heaven’s sake don’t listen to the old clichés. History is all about repeating mistakes and the truth is we never learn from them – we have to keep making them. I know I’m rambling but you will be pleased to hear that I’ve shaken off my depression and got off my backside, shoveled my own driveway, fixed the car and am heading into town to go to the cinema. So girl let me know when you arrive and I’ll be there to meet you.
Love Badger/Dad/new man