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View Full Version : The rocky road to Dublin.



Olly Buckle
May 26th, 2012, 08:28 AM
this is pretty new, I have been over it a couple of times, but would be grateful for any nits or comments.


Dinner had been very pleasant, the coffee was good, the evening was summery and the talk turned to summer evenings on holiday, and then, specifically, to Ireland. It seemed we had all had an experience of it, and agreed, when the weather is good there are few places to match it; when the weather’s good. After a little further reminiscing someone turned to Mathew who had been sitting on the sidelines,

“Have you ever been Matty?”

“Once, many years ago,” was the reply, “We went touring in my old Triumph Roadster. Beautiful car, convertible with dicky seats, a bench seat right across the front, an aluminium body with big headlights on steel wings, and running boards; the eighteen hundred version rather than the two litre. That car was my only love and total obsession for a few years. It being a convertible was hell at times when it rained. It was the sort of Irish rain where you couldn’t tell where the rain stopped and the puddles began, and everything ended up wringing wet, but you are right, when the weather was good, it was glorious.

“I remember one summer evening with the top down, driving into Dublin. We were unsure we would be in time to find a place to stay for the night, and wondered if it might not be wiser to stop at the first place we saw doing bed and breakfast. It was a long, straight, slightly downhill stretch of road. A seemingly endless meadow ran alongside it with a river gleaming in the distance as though it was the sun that had liquefied it. There was no sign of habitation, when I spotted someone pushing a bike down the hill. It seemed wise to ask, he was the only human we had seen for some time. I should have known, pushing a bike downhill. We pulled up next to him and I said ‘Good evening’ in my very English accent.

“As he turned I saw that he was a man of late middle age, and although it had been a red hot summer’s day, he was dressed in a heavy duty, three piece, dark brown, tweed suit with a good quality, collarless, cotton shirt. His trousers were held at the ankles by cycle clips, and on his feet he had highly polished, brown boots. I could see his woollen socks between clipped trouser and boot, and somehow knew, if he had been rushed to casualty as an emergency admission, under it all there would have been a complete set of decent, thermal underwear.

“ ‘Good evening to you too Sir’ he said, ‘And a beautiful day it has been, I was just walking down here enjoying all the flowers in the meadow that the sunshine has brought out, the scents carry the hum of the insects visiting them, and the birds are singing their little hearts out, bucolic bliss; how can I help you Sir.’

“It was just as he had said, with that slight haze starting to rise off the meadow, and everywhere alive with the hum and buzz of nature, but I was young and impatient, and my mind was filled with the necessity to find a safe haven from the rapidly approaching night.

‘Can you tell me how far it is to Dublin please?’ I asked in my middle class English accent.

“ ‘Ah, Dublin is it, to be sure?’ He really did say that , it was a sort of filler while he gathered his thoughts to consider the unexpected demand. Then he continued, ‘If you follow this road down to the end you will find a T junction where it meets with another, larger, road. Right opposite you, set up against the bank under the hedge, is the sign pointing off to the right. That is the sign that directs you towards Dublin, you only need to turn right there and follow that sign and your nose as far as you can go, and the road will take you all the way into Dublin.’

“He gave me a look of triumph, as though he had just imparted directions to the lost covenant, esoteric knowledge that only he could provide, and even I, brash young fellow that I was, had the grace to be gentle as I explained to him that I had a fair idea of the direction I needed to go in, but wanted to know how far it was.

“Again he paused for a moment in thought, then said slowly, his accent broadening, ‘Well, I should tink it is about eighteen mile’. Then, looking behind me at the Roadster throbbing with power and gleaming in the fading light, his eye brightened suddenly and he added, ‘But in a big, fine, motor car like that you might even make it in ten.’ “

We accused Mathew of making it up, but he swore it was true.

garza
May 26th, 2012, 12:05 PM
Olly - Easy to believe what Mathew told. A delightful story.

One point was a hindrance all the way through. You call the Triumph a roadster, and in the next sentence say it's a convertible. I've always been told those are two different kinds of vehicle. A roadster does not have roll-up windows. A convertible, or more properly a drophead coupe, does have. A Triumph 1800 would have been a roadster, if I recall correctly.

Also, 'dicky seat' is redundant.

Otherwise a good story.

Olly Buckle
May 26th, 2012, 01:39 PM
The triumph roadster was the predecessor to the TR series, there never was a TR1, they started at TR2 so really it was the TR!.

I think we are running into the differences between American and English terminology, I would call anything with a roof that comes off a convertible, first time I ever heard 'Drop head coupe' was W C Moss in Bonnie and Clyde, it sounded great but I had no idea what it meant, thought it had something to do with the cylinder head up to now.
http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=triumph+roadster&hl=en&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=-MzAT7jNC4e08QPp_-3eCg&sqi=2&ved=0CHYQsAQ&

Dicky seats are not redundant, where would your bird sit otherwise? :) ouch!

Divus
May 26th, 2012, 01:42 PM
A delightful piecy of wimsy.

Only one thing, I am not sure about the two times 'when the weather is good'.

PS, Anyway the reason why Ireland was located on the edge of the Atlantic was to keep the English dry.

Potty
May 26th, 2012, 10:34 PM
Olly, I bow to your writing experience, so I comment on this tentativley as I risk completely missing the point in places. But here is what I thought:







Dinner had been very What's the name for that thing; where you use words like "Very, really, extremely etc." What ever the word is... you've done it here. pleasant, the coffee was good, the evening was summery and the talk turned to summer evenings Sounds a bit wobbly as you've used evening was summery and summer evenings quite close together. Maybe "The evening retained it's heat from the summer sun. Talk turned to evenings like it spent away on holiday." on holiday, and then, specifically, to Ireland. It seemed we had all had an experience of it, and agreed, when the weather is good there are few places to match it; when the weather’s good. Again, you've used a similar phrase twice in close proximity seems a bit wobbly After a little further reminiscing someone turned to Mathew who had been sitting on the sidelines,

"Have you ever been Matty?" Been where? They were talking about ireland, but then they talked about places that could rival it. I'm confused if we have gone back to the subject of ireland or not.

"Once, many years ago," was the reply, "We went touring in my old Triumph Roadster. Beautiful car, convertible with dicky *Giggles* seats, a bench seat right Insert the word that alluded me above, remove the word "right" across the frontover all could be better as "With dicky seats across the front" but as I understand it, a dicky seat is across the back isn't it? , an aluminium body with big headlights on steel wings, and running boards the eighteen hundred version rather than the two litre. That car was my only love and total obsession for a few years. It being a convertible was hell at times when it rained. It was the sort of Irish rain Maybe, "It was that typical Irish raid where etc." where you couldn’t tell where the rain stopped and the puddles began, and everything ended up wringing wet, but you are right, when the weather was good, it was glorious.

"I remember one summer evening with the top down, driving into Dublin. We were unsure Since this is dialogue, I think it would sound tighter as "We weren't sure if we would be in time etc." we would be in time to find a place to stay for the night, and that it might not be wiser to stop at the first place we saw that might do bed and breakfast. It was a long, straight, slightly downhill stretch of road. A seemingly endless meadow ran alongside it with a river gleaming in the distance as though it was the sun that had liquefied it er... perhaps "like glass, melted from the intense heat of the sun" since really the sun would dry it out . There was no sign of habitation, when I spotted someone pushing a bike down the hill There was no sign of habitation but there is a someone pushing a bike? Bit of a contradiction. could be better as "There was no sign of habitation untill I spotted someone etc." . It seemed wise to ask, he was the only human we had seen for some time. I should have known, pushing a bike downhill. We pulled up next to him and I said ‘Good evening’ in my very there's that word again. "I said, trying to tone down my English accent" English accent.

"As he turned I saw that he was a man of late middle age so, what. Late 40's? , and although it had been a red hot summer’s day, he was dressed in a heavy duty, three piece, dark brown, tweed suit with a good quality, collarless, cotton shirt Are all those commas really necessary?. His trousers were held at the ankles by Maybe change 'by' to 'with' cycle clips, and on his feet he had highly polished, brown boots. I could see his woollen socks between clipped trouser and boot, and somehow knew, if he had been rushed to casualty as an emergency admission, under it all there would have been a complete set of decent, thermal underwear. Overall I liked this, gives a good image of the man you're trying to describe :D

" ‘Good evening to you too Sir’ he said, ‘And a beautiful day it has been, I was just walking down here enjoying all the flowers in the meadow that the sunshine has brought out, the scents carry the hum of the insects visiting them, and the birds are singing their little hearts out, bucolic bliss; how can I help you Sir.’

"It was just as he had said, with that slight haze starting to rise off the meadow, and everywhere alive with the hum and buzz of nature, but I was young and impatient, and my mind was filled with the necessity to find a safe haven from the rapidly approaching night.

‘Can you tell me how far it is to Dublin please?’ I asked in my middle class English accent. This is twice you've mentioned about his accent; once should be enough.

" ‘Ah, Dublin is it, to be sure?’ He really did say that (I doubt it. I remember watching an irish standup give a sketch on popular irish phrases that the irish don't actually use, and that, if you ere to say "top o' the mornin' to ya" to an irish bloke, you're likely to get a your face smashed in. Food for thought perhaps.) , it was a sort of filler while he gathered his thoughts to consider the unexpected demand. Then he continued, ‘If you follow this road down to the end you will find a T junction where it meets with another, larger, road. Right opposite you, set up against the bank under the hedge, is the sign pointing off to the right. That is the sign that directs you towards Dublin, you only need to turn right there and follow that sign and your nose as far as you can go, and the road will take you all the way into Dublin.’

"He gave me a look of triumph, as though he had just imparted directions to the lost covenant, esoteric knowledge that only he could provide, and even I, brash young fellow that I was, had the grace to be gentle as I explained to him that I had a fair idea of the direction I needed to go in, but wanted to know how far it was.

"Again he paused for a moment in thought, then said slowly, his accent broadening, ‘Well, I should tink it is about eighteen mile’. Then, looking behind me at the Roadster throbbing with power and gleaming in the fading light, his eye brightened suddenly and he added, ‘But in a big, fine, motor car like that you might even make it in ten.’ " "Is about eighteen mile but in that car you should make it in ten" ? Can the car traverse space and time? Maybe: "Blah blah blah car like that, you might even make it in ten minutes."

We accused Mathew of making it up, but he swore it was true.

As far as an anecdote goes. I struggle to see the point of Matty's story. I think I'm missing something big, as to me this is just a story about a bloke asking for directions... getting them... and everyone finding that amazing.

that being said, it did capture the summer drive ell. I was transported to the meadow you described and felt that golden glow of bliss. So as far as the imagery goes, good job!

I hope this help, not sure if it's what you're looking for though :(

garza
May 27th, 2012, 04:43 AM
Olly - Odd about the nomenclature. Growing up in the U.S. the only term I ever heard used to describe a car with a folding top was 'convertible'. It was later in the East I learned the term 'drophead coupe'. More recently I've been following the online European automobile magazines and that's the term most often used for smaller folding top vehicles other than roadsters. It may have been used in one movie (I had to Google to figure out your reference.) but I suspect the average person in the U.S. has never heard of a 'drophead coupe'.

Going by Oxford Concise, 'dicky' by itself, used in reference to an automobile, is a British term meaning a folding seat in the back of a vehicle. That is why I called 'dicky seat' redundant. In the U.S. it's called a 'rumble seat'.

The TR3 was my favourite of the series. My sister had one and it was a delight to drive - not as impressive as my old E-type but a real sports car in the best tradition.

Potty - The anecdote serves purely to introduce the line, '...you might even make it in ten'. That is analogous to the punch line in another favourite story of mine: 'Cut the extra large pizza in 12 slices instead of eight. I've very hungry.'

Jim Alias
May 28th, 2012, 08:40 AM
Very funny, but I almost feel like the natural response that Matty's audience would have had would be to presume the Irishman he'd asked for directions had been asking for directions had been joking, rather than had such an abysmally poor sense of the function of space and quantity. :wink: Still, a charming story that gives some insight into both Matty and the type of people he's talking to, and it feels really nicely abstracted and whimsical; that much buildup for a silly punchline makes it feel like a fragment of a larger work. When I started to think about it like that, I realized how well it worked on its own too; to use an awful metaphor, the story feels like a jigsaw piece with filed off edges in the best way possible. Smooth, easy to read, and rewarding at the end. Great stuff.

(none of this is particularly constructive and I apologize, but hey, you did an excellent job).

MeganB
May 28th, 2012, 09:47 AM
Loved it!

Olly Buckle
May 28th, 2012, 10:55 PM
Very funny, but I almost feel like the natural response that Matty's audience would have had would be to presume the Irishman he'd asked for directions had been asking for directions had been joking, rather than had such an abysmally poor sense of the function of space and quantity. One of the reasons I like it is because I can never quite decide who is sterotyping who and taking the Mick.