Serenaded In Ireland

I'd been looking forward to the trip ever since Simon first suggested it. But as the train actually pulled into the station, my stomach was starting to flutter.

"I think it's about time you met my family back in Ireland. We could easily go for a week in February and still finish all the preparations for the wedding in time."

He came out with this as we were on our way to the west coast to visit my parents. The thought of going to Ireland had never occurred to me. But why not? It seemed so logical. Not so, now that the meeting was just two minutes away. If I could, I would have turned that train around there and then and headed straight back for Dublin and for France.

"There's Sissy!" cried Simon with delight and before we knew it, we were flying along the coastal road in Sissy's red mini.

"Where'd you learn to drive like that?"

Sissy blushed and it it took quite a bit of coaxing for her to admit that she too had found her beau - a Welsh racing driver who had seduced her with his singing and taught her how to handle a car.

"But don't tell anything to mother, yet. She's enough on her hands getting used to you two getting married."

I do my best to I settle back into my not very comfortable back seat, taking in the wonderful green of the countryside. Despite it being early February the sky was a cloudless blue; Ireland was certainly putting forward its best foot to greet her Celtic sister. And all the time I'm vaguely aware of Sissy's bubbling voice as she chats away to her brother next to her.

Simon's mother was a wonderful woman; plump and round with a pleasant face and and an apron that made you feel it was part of her life's calling. I did not, however, find it easy to understand all she was saying and sometimes had to ask Simon to explain, which he did with a smile, drawing me close to him and whispering in my ear.

"Oh look at the little beauty! Simon can't keep his hands off her. You're making him so happy love. I just hope he makes you just as happy."

I smiled a reply, a reply that sent Mrs. Brightwell into raptures as well as into the kitchen from which she emerged with one of her infamous 'upside down cakes' which of course I, being the guest of honour was expected to devour all on my own... with a little help from Simon.

Over the next few days there was the usual round of family visits, punctuated by some sightseeing, and a very occasional occasional few minutes together to stop us getting bored. One evening we went to a singsong at the pub and Simon surprised me with a beautiful rendition of "Annie's Song" just for me.

"You could make a habit of that." I suggested.

"But we don't have singsongs like this in France. It's one of the things I miss most about Ireland." It was only then I saw the faintest inkling of a tear in his eye. It disappeared the moment I saw it. But it told me what Ireland really meant to my soon-to-be, mystifying husband.

And so it was not only his family I was getting to know this week but also the man I was going to marry. I even got the chance to examine the competition I had been up against. Never once had I even stopped to contemplate this in Gensdouce. But here it became only too painfully obvious that Simon was a much loved and a much-wished-to-be-loved-by figure. Indeed, one young lady, Daisy I think her name was, seemed pretty cut up when she met me. She'd obviously been good friends with Simon before he left Ireland, and was quite star-struck... until she met me. But she did her best to put a brave face on it.

And so our trip drew to a close with the most enduring memory of that one week in Ireland as we walked in the moonlight along the shore of the Shannon. Simon sat me down on a the bench overlooking the bay and seranaded me with "Dany Boy", an old Irish favourite and one of the most beautiful tunes I had ever heard in my life. I made a mental note that I'd have to get him a karaoke machine for a wedding present.


He's a keeper, that's for sure!

20 August 2008 at 20:56  

i was just beginning to wonder is the story over?? is good to see happiness shared by all...

22 August 2008 at 18:53  

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