THE HORSE AND HER GIRL: The Temporary Inconveniences of Childhood

March 09, 2014

Oh, I remembered the wind in Ireland alright. It has not changed. It seems to be blowing at its hardest and coldest in my parents’ home. Their house faces the Irish Sea in Portmarnock. The wind races over the sea, gusts across the beach and straight through the apparently always open windows in my parents’ home. My mother is a fresh-air fiend. I enjoy fresh air too. But I like it outside . . . where it belongs. I doubt if Ernest Shackleton ever felt this level of chill factor on any of his disastrous but oh so very glorious expeditions to Antarctica. 

Unwilling to come across as ungrateful, I made do with shuffling aimlessly around the house in the enormous duffle coat I wore while facing the blizzards we had in New York this past winter. I hoped that my parents would take the hint and turn the heat on full blast 24/7. But my mother’s only comment was that I looked like Bertie Ahern. Next, I adopted a more direct approach; I whined that it was freezing in every room in the house. My mother was a little preoccupied with a task and she replied, “Oh, run outside and play and you will warm up.”  (At least I hope that she was preoccupied and hasn’t forgotten my actual age). Her rather heartless rejoinder was maddening. I only just managed to restrain myself from stamping my feet and making cheeky comments.

For those of you young readers; don’t despair. One day in the future, you will have a job and the dubious benefit of footing your own heating bills. So you will be able to keep the temperature in your home at a level in line with your choice and your salary. 

This past week I’ve noticed the other annoying inconveniences of being a child or teenager but I’ll save them for another post. I think that one gripe per post is a fair policy. At least I don’t have to worry about my parents monitoring my blog/FB page. They have a lot more interesting things to do.

Anyway, I didn’t spend much time hanging around my parents’ home because it was the launch week for my book; Evie Brooks is Marooned in Manhattan.  There are a lot of animals in the book and the main dog is based on my own dog. That's him in the picture. Honestly I only make him wear silly stuff at Christmas. (Em, he's lost some weight since then).  

I felt pretty nervous heading off to my first book event -- meeting the fifth class from Loreto, Stephen’s Green, at Eason’s in the Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre. Early that morning I thought that I’d feel less nervous facing the nastiest opposing counsel in a New York courtroom; the one with the complete lack of knowledge of anything remotely connected with the law and the apparent indifference to the concept of deodorant. But the girls from Loreto were so amazing. They were incredibly well-read and enthusiastic and articulate. The following day I went to Dubray’s in Blackrock to meet a similar bunch of girls from Our Lady of Mercy school. If this is the generation of the future, the future looks very bright. We can all stop worrying about global warming because these girls are more than capable of fixing that problem and many other far more challenging problems as well. I’m contemplating asking them for some financial advice. I am hugely grateful to all of the students that I met. I don’t think I will ever feel nervous about doing a book event again. 

I read my first reviews of the book this week. That was pretty nail-biting but they were fantastic. No, I didn’t pay for them!  I don’t have that kind of spare cash to throw around. Here they are:

My Dad read the reviews and he said that he got a lump in his throat, and he is not a sentimental man. So that was a big highlight of my week. I felt like a kid again, a very happy albeit uncomfortably cold kid.  In the upcoming week, I’m visiting a heap of schools in Swords and Malahide. If you live in Ireland or in London and would like me to visit your school, send me an email at If I can help you avoid a Monday morning double your worst subject class, I’ll do my best to try and manage that.  I’ll write again soon. 

Back to the Blog