New Year's Day was a game of about four halves. Waking up in the middle of a forest is not really a new experience for me. Waking up in the middle of a forest reeking of beer is also mildly familiar. Waking up to the sound of the log cabin collapsing around me is a whole other experience that I'd never, until yesterday, experienced.
We arrived at Killykeen in the hours of darkness, and eventually crawled into bed at about 4am, to the sounds of the final party revellers creeping out the door, and the music still quite actually ringing in our ears (did I mention how powerful our sound system was?). Turning off the lights in the bedroom proved how out of the way we were - pitch dark blackness. I like very dark darkness. It's impossible to find in Edinburgh, Dublin or London, my three spiritual homes. Cavan has it in spades.
So it was with a certain amount of horror that we awoke to the sound of the very earth crashing in on itself. My vague recollection of events goes something like this - He Who Only Reads This Blog To See If He's Mentioned ("HWORTBTSIHM") muttered something about what the fuck was that, and I think I may have suggested that someone had just blown up the adjoining chalet, and not to worry. Strangely not having gathered that exploding buildings is not sufficient to rouse me first thing in the morning, HWORTBTSIHM pursued this line of questioning as a second earsplitting roar rattled the forest, and I was forced to sit up (not literally, though) and take note. I risked a peek over the duvet. The room, which a moment before was shrouded in a kind of twilight darkness, lit up like the front of our house on Christmas Day, and then collapsed back to darkness again.
There were only two explanations: someone was systematically blowing up every chalet in the forest, or this was one serious thunder storm.
Thankfully it was just the thunder, because frankly I couldn't have been forced out of bed at that point even if the bomber himself had walked in to the room and shown me precisely how much semtex he was planning to use in and around the bed.
So after lying in bed and marveling at the awesome power of nature for a bit, we risked getting upright and discovered that the hangovers we so rightly deserved had not yet turned up. I sat in the front room for a bit, eating Pringles with Dee and surveying the damage we had caused to the chalet the night before, only occasionally experiencing flashbacks of some of the more disastrous things I'd managed to say or do to the people that I loved. The only way to tackle the rest of the day was, we rightly decided, to go down the pub.
We found a superb pub in Killashandra. As we walked in through the front the four men propping up the bar turned as one and stared at us. We mumbled something about looking to watch the football and were shown through a back door, to a room that had a massive screen, a massive snooker table, and little or no furniture. The barman explained that when we wanted service, we were to ring a little bell located on the bar. It was absolutely perfect.
The rest of the day was spent in the bar. Some of us watched some football, some of us read some papers, some of us did both and some of us did neither. We all drank more alcohol, although it did take me a while to get enthusiastic about that particular idea. I managed a decent powernap on the arm of HWORTBTSIHM while some football team played another football team, and managed to be the perfect girlfriend by not dribbling even a little.
After about five hours of this, though, we all thought the chalets would be a better place to be, and tried to rustle up some taxis to bring us home. The barman provided us with a mobile number, which went straight through to answering machine. "Oh yes, of course", the barman said, by way of explanation, "he'll be at mass now. Ring him back in 20 minutes."
I was fascinated at the idea of living in a town so small that every single person would know every other person's business, in love with the idea that this kind of Rural Ireland could still exist, and so anxious to get back to civilization that I almost walked back to Dublin there and then.