Mike sent me this short message with his entry:
"This one was easier - maybe I'm getting the hang of it! Thanks actually for stirring up a very pleasant memory. The old shepherd kept us chatting away for 15 minutes, telling us where to go, who to contact, who not to deal with, about his cousins, other Cavanaghs he knew of, etc etc. It was a wonderful lesson in making an attempt. We eventually parted, both laughing and waving like long lost family."
Wrong Way - Right Words
Lost. Some sheep track in south-west Ireland. We’d past an elderly, local shepherd with his collie on the way in. I’d waved hello; he’d largely ignored us; just more tourists.
U-turning at a locked gate in the dry-stone wall, we headed back down the track. The shepherd stood aside as we neared. I stopped and asked directions. He answered briskly, pointed vaguely.
“Go raibh maith agat!” – ‘Thanks’, I said.
He grabbed my arm:
“Begorrah! You have the Irish!”
Well, a few words – but his smile beamed. Not tourists now, but a long lost relative, to be sure, to be sure.
Mike Cavanagh is now in his sixties and has no idea how that happened. He lives with his wife, Julie, and two black cats in Bateman’s Bay, New South Wales, Australia. Three adult children, mostly left home, complete the extended menagerie. The house Mike and Julie live in is quirky and in need of regular maintenance, as are its owners. Mike writes poetry, plays guitar and composes music, is doing a PhD in Zoology, and spends far too much time playing computer role playing games. None of these very well, necessarily, but he does them.