In my previous post, I mentioned some of the ‘celebrities’ I have had tea with. This tea drinking was not as random as it might have sounded. I spent 9 years working for the Alzheimer Society of Ireland where I had responsibility for both fundraising and PR. One of my first tasks when I began working with the then fledgling society was to set up a National Fundraising Day. So National Tea Day was born and in the course of the following years I got to drink tea with a cast of characters as diverse as Dustin the Turkey and Meave Binchey.

But few can compare with my taking tea with The Boss on the lawn of his little pad in Kinsealy in North Co Dublin. In order to understand just how big an event this was, you should know that my dear ole dad was a former classmate of the man he called Cathal. And although my Dad was the straightest and most honest man ever he always held Cathal (who was anything but) in great esteem. So the day I announced that I was doing a photocall with the Great Man (who had retired at this time)was to my dad, the crowning moment of my career.

For Tea Day one of our corporate sponsors, Toyota Ireland, loaned us a small 4×4 which we had covered with decals of tea pots and tea cups for added publicity. It attracted a lot of attention and yours truly got to drive it for the three months leading up to the big day as I visited each branch of the Society all over the country.

So the morning of the big photocall dawned and off I headed in the Teamobile to Abbeyville. I arrived ahead of the press and parked slightly to one side of the front door. CJ’s secretary arrived and we set up our tea party on the lawn. The press arrived and we all waited. Finally the door of the house opened and Charlie Haughey strode across the lawn towards us. Thinking back on it now, I am reminded of the scene in Fr Ted when Ted is trying to explain perspective to Dougal, using a model cow and cows in a field. “This one is small,” he says exasperated “and those ones are far away.” Mr Haughey was small far away and still small when he arrived beside me. Not that that fact took in any way from his aura of power and slightly Mafia like charisma.

I poured tea and concentrated hard on not scalding The Boss and the snappers snapped away. I have to say that Charlie was generous and very accommodating. When we were done, he turned to leave and I accompanied him back across the lawn, gushing about how grateful the Society was to him for his time and his support He said little but then squinted into the distance and said (in the classic Scrap Saturday voice) “who owns that eyesore parked at my front door?”
I was immediately panic stricken. Had I committed some massive faux pas, parking so close to his front door.

“Oh, I do, Mr Haughey. Well I don’t own it, Toyota do. They loaned it to us for Tea Day. It’s great for added publicity,” I gabbled adding “it’s their new RAV4,” assuming most men like discussing makes and model numbers.

He clearly couldn’t have cared less.

“Grand little car for a woman I suppose” was all he said as he strode on his shortish legs back to his grand mansion.

I was grinning at this brilliant quote he had gifted me as I folded my 6 foot frame back into my “grand little car for a woman.”

It was pure Charlie Haughey and had me giggling all the way back southside to report it all to my dad.


That beautiful blogger, Ann over at Inkpots and Quills was recently awarded this ‘Beautiful Blogger Award’ (congratulations Ann) and has passed it on to yours truly for my lovely Kitchen Table!! I now have to list 7 interesting things about myself and pass the award along to 7 more beautiful blogs (not including those to whom Ann has also sent it).

The very scary thing is that I have had a lot of difficulty in remembering any interesting things about me. I have done my best, have probably stretched the limits a bit – one in particular is interesting but not directly about me. So here goes….

1. I am a Reiki Master. Ommmmm. You may now get up from your knees and read on!! I discovered Reiki after my youngest was born prematurely and was quite ill for the first two weeks of her life. She went on to have breathing issues until she was 2. I had heard of Reiki and was immediately drawn to knowing more. So as soon as I retired fully from the paid workforce I took my first Reiki Workshop.

I will bore you more about Reiki maybe another day. But suffice to say that it has been a huge help to me in my daily life (when I remember to use it). Occasionally I still give healing sessions to friends and family! Ommmmmm

2. I have had tea with Meave Binchey at her home, with Anne (You Are The Weakest Link… Goodbye) Robinson in the Conrad Hotel and (best till last) Charlie Haughey on the lawn of his mansion in Kinsealy. So there…. (feel another blog post coming on).

3. I am a total Hispanophile (dictionary said this was a word) loving all things Spanish. Well, I definitely don’t love Bull Fighting, but other than that. I love the language and speak a very small smattering which improves greatly in when in Spain, late at night, after lots of red wine! I love the passion and the energy of the Spanish and have been known to hang around beside groups of Spanish students just to let their words wash over me. I have always had a dangerous weakness for Spanish men who pronounce my name with its full three syllables and roll both the ‘r’s. Ohhhhh…..

4. My love of Spain actually predates the two winter seasons I spent working in the Canary Islands – both in Gran Canaria and also in Tenerife as a Holiday Rep! (This won’t result in a blog post! Some things must remain sacred!).

5. Ok – here’s the dodgy one. My maternal Grandfather was a bit of a local hero in North Cork during the War of Independence. He was involved (with a few cohorts) in the kidnap of some British General who they ran around safe houses in the Fermoy area for a couple of weeks before releasing him (sounds like a not fully thought through plan to me!!!). My Grandfather’s notoriety was assured however when he was captured by the British (probably on suspicion of knowing the whereabouts of one missing General) and managed to escape – out through a toilet window! He was a handsome, very tall man and he met with Michael Collins (another of my heroes) on many occasion. Unfortunately he died when I was about 6, so I never got to talk to him about any of this!

6. I have spoken on air to Marion Finnucane, Gerry Ryan, Pat Kenny and Ryan Tubridy on live national radio!

7. I have an unfulfilled ambition which is to swim with wild dolphins in warm water somewhere! If you think you can help with that one – please let me know!

So that’s it. Wake Up! I am handing this award on to the following beautiful blogs:

Paul at Paul Sherwood Photography
Maria at Write Now Mum
Hazel at Hot Cross Mum
Niamh at Irish Wanderings
Aisling at Strictly Inkwell
Dorte at DotCom
And finally Mia – here you go – catch this award…. Mia’s Room