We are busy getting ready to leave for a trip to the continent, to show our baby to friends and family. It had been unusually hot, indeed, a heatwave giving this damp island a Mediterranean feel.
So here I am packing our bags with my baby girl in her swing seat throwing up and crying. Just what we need now, six hours before we are to board the night boat to France. Quick: wash, feed and isn't she a bit hot? Well, who wouldn't, in this heat. Get on with the job, sing to her, maybe she will calm down. Surely she will calm down.
In walks Tony. A visitor, brother of a friend, home - as they say in Ireland - from living abroad. We never met before, polite greetings. As he lifts up my crying baby trying to soothe her, the expression in his face changes to serious and I watch him moving his hands around her neck, feet, arms, head.
He hands her back to me and tells us to bring her to the doctor, now!
What?? Now?? Who is this guy?
But there is something in his voice that makes us run to the car.
Thirty minutes later I am arguing with the receptionist nun at the hospital emergency desk who cannot understand that this baby isn't baptised. We push past her and the next thing I know is we are standing high up on the top floor of the hospital, holding each other while the doctors are doing a spinal tap to confirm what Tony suspected: meningitis.
He saved her life. And mine. I haven't met him since. But he knows.