Friday Dec. 2nd
This was the day that Michael and I travelled back to Ireland for his dad’s funeral the following day, and though I’d got everything meticulously planned down to almost the last second things weren’t as straightforward as I’d hoped they’d be. The first spanner in the works came when we got to the local station and found that the 9.30am train to Manchester airport was running at least forty minutes late – Michael was going to Ireland ahead of me and with a train journey time of fifty minutes the next train, which could also have been delayed, may not get him to the airport in enough time. After a quick discussion he decided to jump onto a train to Manchester Victoria station, get a taxi from there to Piccadilly station then get the first available train from there to the airport. He sent me a text later to say the change of plan had worked out well and he’d arrived at the airport with time to have a coffee before his flight was called.
Fortunately things went more smoothly for me. My 12.30pm train was on time, and with not many stops I was at the airport a good two hours before my flight. With only hand luggage to deal with I was soon through security and relaxing with coffee and cake, but not long afterwards I was hit with a very unexpected piece of bad news. Michael, who was by then outside Dublin airport waiting for the 2pm coach to Roscrea, rang me to say that Nellie had just phoned to tell him that Jimmy had died in the early hours of the morning. I felt absolutely stunned – we knew he’d had a heart attack a couple of days before but as far as we knew there was no reason for him not to recover so that piece of news was shocking for both of us.
The next spanner in the works hit me later on. I’d landed in Dublin just before 4pm and though my coach to Roscrea wasn’t until 6pm I didn’t mind the wait too much as at least I had plenty of time to get another coffee and relax for a while, but what should have been a fairly pleasant two-hour ride to Roscrea turned into a three-hour ten-minute marathon. The coach left the airport bang on time at 6pm but unfortunately it was rush-hour in the city centre and the whole place was chock-a-block with traffic, meaning we crawled through at a stop-start snail’s pace. It took an hour just to get through the centre itself and I was rapidly getting fed up; I’d got so far into my journey with no delays and I just wanted to get to Roscrea as soon as I could. As it was dark I couldn’t even take any proper photos as the coach went through the city but I did manage to get a shot of the illuminated front of the Custom House across the river.
I should have arrived at Roscrea at 8pm but it was gone 9pm when I finally got there. I’d sent Michael a text as we got to the outskirts of the town so he was at the bus stop to meet me when I got off the coach; Nellie had plated up a meal for me earlier on and it only had to be microwaved when I got in so I was soon sitting down with a brew and something substantial to eat. The long day finally caught up with me though so it wasn’t long before I took myself off to bed; it was much earlier than I would normally go but I had an emotional day ahead and I didn’t want to face it without having had a decent night’s sleep.