Tuscany Downs 5: The Mysterious Mr. Jones

Tuscany Downs 5: The Mysterious Mr. Jones

It’s been a fractious week here in Tuscany Downs, this little nondescript dump in Cork City, where I wait in exile until the mass amnesia of the country will eventually dissipate in the heat of fiscal reality.

Not that there’s any sign of it, with the infestation of sanctimonious politicians that has suddenly beset us and everybody else in Ireland like a biblical plague of locusts. As if the mess we’re in had nothing whatsoever at all to do with them. As if they hadn’t jumped aboard the gravy train along with everybody else – ha, they laid the bloody tracks for it. Continue reading “Tuscany Downs 5: The Mysterious Mr. Jones”

Tuscany Downs 4: The Judge

Tuscany Downs 4: The Judge


A week like any other in Tuscany Downs – this little estate on the Banks of my Own Lovely Lee. Decrepitude is creeping onwards in its inevitable march.

I had another visit from my neighbour, that lady whose name I can never remember, two houses over. It appears she is being sued by one of those gurriers whom we are both unfortunately adjoining. A great pity that man was allowed to purchase the house at a ridiculously low price, with his ill gotten gains from a no-doubt spurious insurance claim after the bottom fell out of the market some years ago. I seem to recall his brother was a serial recidivist.

I don’t see what in the world she expects from me. I tried to explain the difference between the Circuit Court where I functioned and the High Court where she is bound in the unlikely event that her insurance company decides to contest the case. Of course I know the law but I have no intention of becoming involved. She will simply have to purchase the time of a solicitor – I tried to recommend one with an unusual level of honesty and ethics, but she seems determined to go with some Dublin firm who will undoubtedly part her with whatever life insurance monies she has managed to squirrel away when her strange husband died.

I spent a good hour this morning looking for my latest pair of reading glasses – to no avail. It is a real wonder to me how those infernal objects can disappear into thin air with such alarming regularity. I know that two of them broke in the washing machine, but that has been out of order now for two months so they cannot have been lost there. And another two went missing down behind the sofa – well they are a write-off without doubt. I found a few when I changed the bedding that time, but they’re not there now. Nothing for it but another trip to the pharmacy. That taxi company charges exorbitant prices but I can’t risk driving any more since that unfortunate collision on the Blackrock Road, which I still content was not my fault.

Of course if one of those alleged children of mine made the effort to visit their ‘father’ they could bring me into town to the optician and even arrange for someone to come and fix the washing machine. But the two plumbers that I phoned last week both hung up on me for some reason – I can’t fathom why. I’m sure I paid both of them the last time they did some work for me. Although I do recollect some words also…

No sign of the mysterious Mr. Jones, my other contiguous neighbour, for several days. I’m sure he’s a writer of some kind but I’m also of the firm belief that there is something clandestine going on there. That lady – she might be Cullinane, now that I think of it – never shut up about him both times she called. And if I’m not mistaken that was the girl of the Crowley’s paying him a late night visit the other night. I didn’t notice when she left. The mind boggles.

And that’s all the news from Tuscany Downs our little estate on the Banks of My Own Lovely Lee. Where I really do need to wash my clothes but dry cleaners are out of the question, I’m determined to get to the bottom of Mr. Jones’s secrets and I haven’t been bothered by that know-it-all at the top of the road for three weeks running – an all time record. Thank God for small mercies.

Tuscany Downs 3: The Sullivans

Tuscany Downs 3: The Sullivans


How’s the going, like? We’re all sound here in Tuscany Downs in Cork, where we don’t have no water meters and we won’t neither. Ever. Over my dead body.

I’m getting dirty looks from yerwan next door but it’s not my fault that she let the water run out on the road so that there was a sheet of ice outside her gate. Lucky nobody was killed. Tommy could have banged his head or anything. He could have an acute subdural haematoma, or something. Look what happened to Cilla Black, like. If there’s culpability, there’s culpability – it’s in the lawyer’s hands now, I’ll let justice take its course. They’ll settle anyway, they always do.

That’s deadly news about David Bowie. Between himself, Lemmy and that English actor from Harry Potter, it’s getting scary. Jesus if cancer killed all them, there’s no hope for the rest of us. Especially with excuse for a health service we have in this country.  I keep telling Sharon that we should all go vegan, and cut out the transfats, meats, dairy and all the processed food but no way, José. Isn’t that gas that the Spanish say ‘hosay’, and the Portuguese say ‘josay’. I never knew that until José took over Chelsea the first time. A disgrace that they sacked him if you ask me, after what he done for the club. Of course his full name is: José Mário dos Santos Mourinho Félix – not a lot of people know that, as Michael Caine used to say. Or that he’s a Portuguese Knight.

Anyway, still no sign of the water meter installers, even though Donie saw a Murphy’s van over in the Heights before Christmas. I’m telling you now. The second – the split second, man – they show up here I’ll have twenty people blocking that entrance and they’re not getting in, end of. I’ve a Group set up on the phone and all. Not that my so called neighbours will be any help to me. I’m after asking them all and not one, not one, would back me up with the picket. Bunch of Muppets if you ask me. They’ll all be cribbing and crying in a few years when it’s a thousand quid or something for the water – going to some private company, taking it out of their wages and pensions like that thing in America, what-you-may-call-it. Garnishing, that’s it. Heard about it in a podcast. That’ll be the next thing here now if we don’t mind our civil liberties.

It’s five years nearly to the day since we’re here in Tuscany Downs now. Unbelievable. I know we could have stayed where we were and all, like, but no way, man. Property was the best investment we could have done at the time, they all said it and after I got the compensation for that accident, I’d have only frittered it all away or else she’d have got a hold of it and God only knows where it would have ended up. And the value of the house is up 150K now at least. It was worth it too to see the face on that Judge when I told him he sent my brother away twice for robbery – his new neighbour! He’s not so high and mighty now. And the face on Sharon’s Mam too when we told her, pure jealousy – and all the stick I got from her over the years. That showed her.

I’ve my eye on that black family over, I can’t ever remember their name. Nigerian anyway, he told me the one time I could nab him to get some information out of him. I know they’re only renting but I’d love to know who’s paying for it and how much. I’ve nothing against them or nothing, but what about all the Irish families who are homeless, like? The same with all them refugees now from Syria and half of them are probably jihadists anyway, for all we know. I’m not racist or nothing but you have to look after your own first, like. He wouldn’t tell me where he worked too, but I think he might have a taxi or a cab or something. Half the taxi drivers in Cork are black now as far as I can see.

Not to mention them students, they’re all on grants too, I’ll bet, even though their fathers are rich farmers and stuff. You’d want to see the size of the cars dropping them on Sunday nights. Fine Gael will look after them anyway. Can’t wait for them chancers to knock on the door when the election is called, Jesus, they’re going to get some land when I show them their Manifesto from the last election, what I kept – Kenny’s ugly mug on the cover and all. The amount of lies and false promises on it, I have them marked and all. I have it kept, handy in the drawer in the hall – the look on their faces, I can’t wait.

Between them and the water meters and them pollsters, no way are they going to pull the wool over my eyes. And that census shower can shag off too, if they think I’m going to give them ANY information about me and my family for their ‘data collection’. Yea, right. As if. We all know what that’s going to be used for. More privatisation and selling off the birth-right of the nation that good men fought and died for a hundred years ago. That’s another thing – Jesus, don’t start me.

And that’s all the news from Tiffany Downs. Where no way is there ever going to be a water meter, Fine Gael are going to get some land when they call and we’ll celebrate 1916 in style, so we will, next Easter.

Tuscany Downs 2: The Widow

Tuscany Downs 2: The Widow

It’s been a terrible week here in Tuscany Downs in Cork City, just terrible. And it’s only Tuesday.

We had frost and you’ll never guess what happened. My gutter was leaking and with all the rain the past few weeks, the water was flowing down my path and on to the road. Well, that froze over last night and didn’t Tommy Sullivan next door slip on it and he’s after hurting himself. I can’t get the rights of it from his mother, that little rip, but he’s on crutches and she says he has ‘severe trauma’ – whatever that is. I don’t think anything is broken, though.

I wouldn’t mind but that know-it-all next door has been on to me for weeks, months, about fixing it. But I kept putting him off. I just couldn’t bear being beholding to him, Jesus I’d never hear the end of it. Of course the minute he heard, he was over again and this time I did get him to fix it, even though he made a huge song and dance about it, the ice on the path and his ladder, and insurance and all the bloody rest. I don’t know how Josephine puts up with him, I really don’t.

So I went down to the Judge about it – he made me, in case there’s a claim. Well, he’s a retired judge but we’re supposed to call him Judge forever, it seems. And the state of the place! Oh my God, it’s like a bomb hit it. And the smell off him, you never saw the like of it. I think he must have early dementia or Alzheimer’s or something. That pants had more food on it than a working man’s dinner. I’d love to have given the place the right once over, but it’s none of my business. He has two children to do that for him, even if they never call, the ungrateful wretches.

Now, of course, I’m a nervous wreck, sure how can I afford a claim? I won’t get a wink tonight I’d say. The Judge recommended a solicitor but I hardly have enough for the gas, let alone pay for one of them. I’ll have to call Norma, but I hate to worry her. She has enough on her hands with poor Robbie, but I think she knows a solicitor so that might be a way around it. Sure Dublin is full of them, I’d say.

I see the students are back after the holidays. I hope they behave a bit better now. I’d say they will after The Turners ringing the Guards that time and all the publicity on the news about the student parties over on Glasheen Road. When I think of the time I picked up that unfortunate skin-and-bone girl with the dyed grey hair before Christmas and put her inside the house. She hadn’t a clue where she was and DYED GREY HAIR! Lord save us and guard us, what’ll it be next?

They say they’re all at it – those students – and you know what: they’re dead right. They might as bloody well because they won’t have the time or inclination later, when they’re having babies and raising them. Too late then, that’s for sure. Mustn’t be thinking about it, sure didn’t I have Pat for forty years, God rest him. What’s the point, anyway, that bird has flown.

No sign of Jack and his dog this week at all, I wonder is he sick. Maybe I should call down but I don’t want to give the wrong impression.

I’ll go to Mass tomorrow morning and say a prayer to St. Jude that nothing will happen about that fall. They might just sue the council instead of me. I’ve meals and wheels on Wednesday and Thursday and that always takes my mind off things – there’s  many a lot worse off. And I’ll have a nice bit of fish on Friday, after I visit the grave. I’ll go into the market and get it from that chatty man there.

And that’s all the news from Tuscany Downs in Cork City, where the students are back, there’s ice on the road and, please God, nobody will be suing anybody else for a long, long time.

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

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?)