After the road workers cut through the cable that seemingly connects us to the rest of the world, i.e. internet, landline telephone, radio and tv, after it got very very hot, humid and rainy, we went into paradise mode but without the pestering insects of the rainy tropics.
For the entire time we lived there without radio, tv, newspapers and all the other stuff we now pretend are our social connections I don't remember ever being bored or at a loss the way it felt for a brief moment when we stood by the kerb with the two bits of cut cable sticking out. In fact, I admit to a tiny wave of triumph washing over me. Ok, I had just read The Circle by Dave Eggers, but still.
As it turned out, I read four books back to back in the last two days. As in: finish one, put it down, pick up the next, read the first page, make more tea, read on, etc.
If I had one thing that worried me while we were living in paradise it was that I may run out of books to read and on my visits to the two small but quite well stocked public libraries I sometimes tried to calculate how much reading time I had left and when I would have to start learning French or resort to those fat James Michener novels someone must have donated years ago.
(I didn't. Run out of books. improve my poor French or read the Michener tombs.)
Whereas R doesn't read. It sounds awful and even after so many years (35 in fact) I have not given up hope. He conned me during our first couple of months when he told me that The Magus was one of his favourite novels. I am still waiting to find out about the others.
But we are different, he enjoys teaching maths for goodness sake, he gardens like the god of all horticultural scientists and his poetry is the periodic table of the elements. There was a brief time in our early romantic period when we attempted reading to each other - in bed, no less. It lasted exactly one half of a chapter of Lord of the Rings before we both fell asleep. And this was during our active romantic period!
But last Sunday, as I was starting on the second chapter of TransAtlantic I started to read bits out loud because not so long ago, we both stood up there by the monument in Ballinaboy overlooking the bog where Alcock and Brown landed in 1919. And like the young boy he must have been once, mad about flying and still dreaming of becoming a pilot, he was lying there next to me, his eyes closed, listening and when we came to the bit where the plane took off, he whispered, chocks away, chocks away. And we both watched them flying off and out across the Atlantic.
Anyway, the cable has been fixed and we are back to the world of lit up screens. And apart from reading as if my life depended on it, I also got down on my knees and cleaned the stained stone tiles in the downstairs hall. Only I used some godawful stuff that apparently contained a minute amount of acid and now it looks worse and dull and blotchy. Any ideas?