The joy of ironing

On the Saturday morning of the Ascension Day bank holiday, I swung down the stairs and ladder to the little bedroom-cum-book room and did the ironing. For me ironing is therapy. If the internal critic becomes too negative or noisy, I stick a playlist on and steam flatten the commentary line by line. On Saturday morning the internal critic was going full blast. ‘That’s it, mate. You’ll be brown bread by Michaelmas and forgotten by Christmas. What a shame you fizzled out like that. Lazy and unfocused right to the end. All those bright hopes you entertained to change for the better, to make some money to pass on, to

I found a confused elderly man in my bedroom

There are several cave houses built into the cliff. Ours is the highest and can be reached only by a precipitous footpath with a lot of puffing and panting. The postbox is at the foot of the path, but occasionally the postman carries up something or other that needs to be signed for. When you go to the door to answer his knock, you find him doubled over, his hands on his knees, pouring with sweat, gasping pitifully, unable to speak. Guests likewise. The path up to the house is a public footpath that is part of a tourist trail called ‘Visit the Grottos’. One pays €2 at the tourist