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Sgt Mattie.

The Late Late Show


Pat is proud to support
Power 4 Good Ireland
19th Nov 2016

A Thing Called Love

During the summer it emerged that my friend and high stool partner Tom Cantwell is getting married.

From the start I thought it was an atrocious idea I mean hes 58 at this stage of his life the man is settled in his ways. Trying to change himself to suit his new circumstances is a big ask as they say in rugby commentary boxes.
He invited me to be his best man; its like being asked to hold his hand as he jumps down the Niagara Falls. I should have advised him to turn and run like hell but I was too late the momentum was with matrimony and as I write he is heading precipitously in that direction. Just like America galloping after Trump he cant stop himself.
As I said the man is at the wrong side of 55. The woman in his life Pamela is at the younger side of 40 a concertina player and a PE teacher.

You might remember they met on the Internet about three years ago. She got him out of his dufflecoat into lycra and on to a bike. They took to pedalling every high road and by-road in the country till they ran out of local road and went off on a trip to the Pyrenees where the cycling and the romance came a cropper on a bad bend.

We were all relieved when it happened - not the bad bend bit rather the end of the affair bit - we reckoned he wasnt ready for Pamela. I remember remarking at the time that a match between a sedentary bookish 50-something-year-old male and a fit determined 30-something-year-old female is a recipe for revolution. Quirke was rather more apocalyptic Lycra viagra and a young woman he said with that combination hell burst if hes not careful.

Well Pamela is back on the scene and while she hasnt quite gotten Cantwell back into the luminous yellow lycra they have taken to the more leisurely pursuit of hill-walking with the odd burst on the bike. Pa Quirke who has a nose for romance sex and infidelity has been observing them from afar and keeping the rest of us updated on progress. Cantwell himself hasnt said a word.
O twill be weddin bells this time Quirke announce a month ago he was spotted buyin a big bunch of flowers in Clonmel last week.
Sure the flowers could be for his mothers grave said Cantillon
Or maybe mourned Tom Walshe they could be for the burial place of his bachelor life.
Things have obviously moved on since. I was in the council offices a week or two ago when I got a call on the mobile from Cantwell he was in Clonmel and asked me to meet him for coffee in one of the swankier hotels. All this was most unusual: those of us who gather at the bar in Tom Walshes rarely phone one another why should we we meet every second night for two or three hours; we would never meet for a coffee and never in a hotel. I knew something was up.
We met and he got to the point fairly lively he asked me to be his best man. After I had agreed and pretended I was delighted for him he proceeded to tell me the ceremony would not be held in church chapel or meeting house but would be conducted by a civil registrar under a tree up the side of Slievenamon.
It got worse Well be travellin on bikes he said I know that you cycle to work at the recycling depot Maurice so youll be well able for it.
To cycle up Slievenamon? says I you must be jokin. My journey to work is as flat as a pancake thats why I can do it. If I have to cycle up that mountain youd better have a defibrillator and a team of paramedics waiting to attend to me.
How about the two of us going up on a tandem? he suggested. Seemingly himself and Pamela intend to come back down the mountain on the same tandem after the knot is tied.
Then therell be two of us in need of the defibrillator and well need a second team of paramedics says I.
The more he told me about the wedding plans the more bizarre it got. Finally I blurted out Cantwell this whole thing sounds like twas designed by Percy Pipplemoth Davis.
Oh says he did I not tell you Percy is performing the ceremony.
Tom says I have you lost the run of yourself entirely?
To quote Johnny Cash says he tis a thing called love.
He also called it a burning ring of fire I said.
Maurice says Cantwell I dont think youre very happy for me.
What could have given you that impression says I