Tuscany Downs 1: Mr. Know-it-all (After Garrison Keillor)

 Well it’s been a hectic week here in Tuscany Downs, my little park in a very good area if we would only look after it, in Cork City by the Lee.

We had rain and then more rain and then Storm Frank came in and nearly flooded the whole country. But not our little park, because it’s on a hill – yes the same hill that people complained about so much when the big frost happened a few years ago. But I’m not one to complain.

I still have not received any reply from Gerard Fleming from the Met Office about my letter suggesting that they change the system of naming these storms. Imagine if a family was drowned in their car by Storm Frank and their neighbour’s name was Frank – he’d be horrified. A terrible stigma. I doubt if there are many Katrina’s christened in New Orleans in the last ten years. But what about all those who were already called Katrina? They should consider these things. It’s not rocket science.

Mrs. Cullinane next door in Sunville still hasn’t fixed her gutter at the front of the house. The flow of water out her small gate the other night would have washed away a small child. If it froze on top of that, and one of the Sullivan’s from Ardville slipped on it, they would have a case against her. It’s a wonder The Judge below in Stella Maris doesn’t tell her. She won’t listen to me. I think it’s been broken for five years but Josephine says it’s less. But I fixed our gutter with that Mastic five years ago, and I’m sure I offered some to Mrs. Cullinane then. I wouldn’t mind but the tube and gun is still in my shed and I felt it lately and it’s still soft. I’d only have to cut another bit off the cone at the top and I’d have that gutter sealed in twenty minutes. Twenty-two at the most. And a screw and a bit of rawl plug would attach it again at the bottom and she’d be safe from any litigation. But all I can do is offer.

The bin collection was very late this week and I don’t think Christmas is an excuse to be honest. I’ve a feeling it’s all down to more cutbacks in City Hall. It’s a real shame that nice woman Cathy in the Environment Department has moved to Finance, she was the only one to take my calls and give me some information. You would wonder where all our tax goes at times, you really would. And I don’t care if it’s privatised now, the legal obligation is with the local authority. The lorry blocked Peter from going to work for at least 8 minutes and it could have been worse if the The Okonjos and The Students had their bins out too.

I’m amazed at how little waste The Okonjos produce. They seem to only put out their bins once every two months, even though it doesn’t cost anything extra. I wonder is it that they eat every single thing they buy or what? I suppose they are used to that from their time in Africa when food was scarce. Still, you’d think they’d have packaging or something for the recycling – they can’t eat that, can they? I do wonder why there is smoke coming out of their chimney even during summer, but I can’t get near their back garden to have a look at the living room fire. Not that I’m racist, or anything, but it is a concern.

Holly Crowley from Bellevue was out nearly every night last week. Three forty-four in the morning she came home last night and in a strange car, parked outside for at least half an hour whatever they were doing. I notice too that she doesn’t leave the house for work until well after nine every morning. I’m not one to judge but you would wonder sometimes if Peggy and John have any control at all. And she was always wild. The stream of boys hanging around there when she was at school and them leaning up against the wall and against her below in The Heights was a disgrace. Those skirts could hardly be called skirts at all. More like handkerchiefs. Well they have been warned.

The daffodils are up in the garden and on the green. If Mr’s Jones’s dog hadn’t dug up half of the bulbs last November after I went to the trouble of setting them we’d have a great display altogether. I still can’t believe he is using the Number One for his post and on his gate instead of the house’s proper name: Mimosa. I told him about the Daft.ie research on the relation between property values and house names. But no point in opening old wounds. I don’t hold a grudge.

That’s all the news from Tuscany Downs, my little park in a very good area if we would only look after it, in Cork City by the Lee. Where our twelve little houses perch in harmony and the bins are collected on Mondays, and the seven street lights come on at four fifteen in the evening and turn off at eight fifteen in the morning . (There should be 10 lights, of course, and I told that engineer about the health and safety standards that are being applied now in France, but then what do I know?)



Novelist, short story writer, essayist, sports writer. Crime novel: Whatever it Takes due out 31 July 2020. The First Sunday in September, debut novel, published in 2018. Mercier Press, Stinging Fly, Irish Examiner, Irish Times, The42.ie, Holly Bough, Honest Ulsterman, Quarryman, Silver Apples.

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