Ann, you’d better come down and get her yourself. We couldn’t be bringing her around the village in the squad car. A woman her age.”The Sergeant rang me to come and collect my mother. She’s managed to find her way to the offices of CountyTalk 109FM. Protesting. I find her in the lobby. They’re fairly understanding. They’ve given her tea and a purple Snack. Her little placard is by her side. I still can’t believe my mother had the wherewithal to make a sign and she won’t take her tablets when she’s supposed to.
(“Them tablets are keeping her docile,” says Denis. But he’s started going on about Big Pharma in the last while. He’ll be quick enough coming back to it when he needs his Rennies.)
It was Donie Long drove her down, seemingly. The latest in a line of sleevens looking to get themselves written into Mam’s will by pretending there are tiles that need fixing on the roof. Her little house is apparently “oozing with potential” now. I found that out when I caught an estate agent measuring the place one day. He’d been invited in by another “handyman” of my mother’s who thought cutting the lawn meant he could get his cousin in to value the place.
Mam isn’t happy about CountyTalk letting go one of her favourite presenters.
“It’s not right what they done to George, Ann. He plays lovely music on the Éire Go Brea show. Old show tunes. No one is playing that stuff anymore. I can’t even find Ronan Collins anymore.”
“He’s on RTÉ Gold Mam. You can listen to him on the telly.”
“How could you listen to someone on the telly. Anyway, poor George didn’t do anything wrong.”
“But Mam, he didn’t pay any tax on any of his money for five years.”
“Ah… shur what about it?”
Mam won’t hear anything against George Buckley. She’s listened faithfully to him on Éire Go Brea on Sunday mornings for years. She’s even skipped a few masses to hear the last hour. He wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea. My niece Freya calls him a shock jock because he’ll go off on some rant giving out about the length of young wans’ skirts and then go right into playing “Do You Want Yer Old Lobby Washed Down.”
A few years ago, he was saying the vaccine was a cod so my mother was a bit cool with him about that, but even then “shur let him do what he wants. We all have to go sometime”. All because he used to do requests for her birthday even when we forgot to send it in. I don’t know if she knew that side of it. Hopefully George won’t do a tell-all when he’s back on the air.
He won’t be back on CountyTalk though. They asked him to clarify his tax affairs and he spent an hour the following Sunday giving out about them in between playing a load of show tunes. Communists and thought police he called them.
That didn’t go down well and they gave him the road.
“And his lovely wife Leona. They all had it in for her too. Up in court in Dublin.”
“That was the labour court mam and it was over her bullying her staff”
This is his wife Leona. An awful weapon by all accounts, but any wife of George Buckley’s is a friend of Mam’s. “If that was bullying, then we’re all bullies.”
Now Mam is a woman who said she’d crucify whoever was pulling my granddaughter’s hair in Montessori and had no time for bullies, but apparently that was different. “Leona wasn’t pulling anyone’s hair”.
Although she did drive one of her staff up the mountains and left him there. Even then though, Mam was wondering what’s a man working in a tanning salon anyway.
I gently usher her to the car.
“I’ve a special relationship with George Buckley,” she says on the way out. “I never met the man. But I feel like I know him. I nearly know him better than your father.”
She has a point. She never made any sign for my father when he was in court. But that’s another story.