Worst. Hangover. Ever.
Prone in bed, Tam and I try to look at each other through dry, red eyes. Neither of us can speak for a little while, as the room rights itself. Slowly, we croak through the inventory of alcohol, as if in bewildered search of why we have ended up like this. There is no need to act surprised. This hangover was on the cards from bottle number 1.
I stick my head under the shower. Breakfast is calling. That desperate, bodily plea that stems from the instinctive reasoning that shoving something down our gullets is the only way of preventing anything coming up.
We breakfast at Hobart’s which has a meal dedicated to our state of distress on the menu. The Hangover Cure. A bap stuffed with egg, sausage and bacon. As I wait for it to emerge from the kitchen in all its salty, greasy glory, I rest my eyes by gently and continuously focussing them on another patron’s large, full Irish. He notices my ongoing gaze and offers me a piece of toast. I politely decline, even though I want to snort it through my nostrils, I am do desperate for food. He insists, placing it tenderly on napkin on my table. I eat it obediently.
‘Whilst I am mortified to be eating your breakfast,’ I tell him, chewing slowly to avoid any rapid jaw movement, ‘I am not mortified enough to stop. Thank you. These are desperate times.’
We spend the rest of the day on the couch underneath a blanket, watching episodes of Take Me Out and Anything to Declare, the Australian Border Patrol rebranded for the Pom audience. The Australian accents of the over zealous customs officials are harsh and soothing as they coax a French tourist to remove a joint from his bottom.
We move only to order pizza.
Before bed, I ask Tam if it was a big fall the night before, because my arse is really hurting. She looks at me and says ‘the music stopped. You nearly crashed the stage.’
Fresher, ready for a coastal jaunt, the mane and crop re-emerge into daylight. The day sparkles – we managed to avoid the lone day of rain by spending it prostrate on the couch – and we skip once more to fetch a coffee from Moda.
Howth blows away the last of the cobwebs with its seaside air and sunshine. We stop in at a little food market that is home to a total of about 6 stalls, all bearing home made produce. We buy sun dried tomatoes in garlic and parmesan, a huge jar of fresh pesto, bread, brie and strawberries and enjoy our lover’s picnic in the sun.
The day oscillates between strolling in the sunshine and sitting in the sunshine. We say hello to the Howth seals who loll about in the water waiting for someone to throw them fish and then take a seat with a bunch of Spanish tourists at the end of the pier. When we decide we’re too tired to continue the stroll/sit oscillation, it‘s a matter of choosing a café.
We go with Panorama, the baby of an Aussie and an Italian business partnership. The Victorian owner heckles us for being Sydney-siders and gives us a Caramello Koala. We buy a packet of Tim Tams to have with our coffee and end up staying for two glasses of Australian white. This is despite vehement proclamations that, post Johnnie Fox’s, I would need some time away from alcohol. That lasted a day. Will power.
We dine that night at Green 19s and I wedge in a burrito and another couple of glasses of white. This is despite the recent 9kg revelation. Will power continues.
I farewell Dublin in fitting, farcical style, but getting in the shower at 3.35am. It pays to change the time on one’s mobile phone if they are setting an early alarm with it. I am alerted to the fact I’m an hour ahead of schedule by Tammy who rouses herself from her toss-and-turn slumber to say, ‘dude, what the fuck are you doing?’
‘It’s 4.45 Tram, my cab arrives in 15 minutes.’
Waiting for the Air Coach, I read a sign that forbids cabs from soliciting passengers from the Air Coach stop. Moments later I am solicited by greasiest cab driver alive, who, as it transpires has given himself a route that involves driving around to all the Air Coach stops on a schedule that runs exactly 5 minutes ahead, poaching passengers. Mixed with my instinctive good-girl guilt that I allowed myself to be solicited despite the sign clearly saying it was forbidden, I have a moment of paranoia that he isn’t going to take us to the airport, that he’s actually a serial killer and I have just done what my mother has always told me not to, gotten into a car with a stranger, albeit a car with a Taxi sign on the roof. This could be a rouse. A horrible rouse. My eyes dart around at my fellow passengers. They all look as uncomfortable as I do. It’s either the cabbie’s hair, or they read the sign at the Air Coach stop and are suffering from a similar surge of guilt.
The plane is devoid of beautiful horse riders and I sleep with my face smushed against the wall. It’s sunny at home and it feels good to be back.
Tam texts me and thanks me for an excellent night’s sleep. I tell her she’s welcome.