All the time in the world for my lovely nieces!

Charlie Adley
Charlie Adley

Double Vision with Charlie Adley

My nieces hold a very special place in my heart. To be honest, they’ve been a constant source of joy ever since they were born, and now, as Hayley turns 40, my brainbox is full of images of our shared past: bus rides to Hamley’s toy shop to choose presents; endless photos in which the pair of them look incredibly beautiful; an evolving sibling bond, so steely strong and full of love it leaves me jaw-dropped in awe.

Mooching around Galway to find the right present to send Hayley for her birthday, my mind drifts back to her sister Michelle’s 21st.

Looking for a link between her life in London and mine here that might last a lifetime, I found a Galway Crystal mantle clock, which I asked to be fixed to a wooden base with a gold strip attached, engraved:

‘Happy 21st Birthday Michelle.’

When I went to pick up the finished article I immediately saw that the engraved strip was askew, while the right end was much wider than the left.

The whole thing looked ridiculous. Were they really serious about selling it to me like that?

“Erm, am I imagining it, or is there a slant to that?”

The older woman behind the counter sniffed and flared her nostrils.

“Hmmff. I think you’re imagining it, but I’ll see what I can do!”

That really bugged to me. Either I was imagining it, in which case there was nothing she could do, or she’d offered me a shoddy product.

“Now! Here you are so! Will I wrap it?”

“Please! Oh, actually, can I just have a quick look at it first?”

As she handed me the clock, her cold blue eyes drilled contempt into my brow.

“Yes, yes it’s fine!”

By then I’d have said it was fine even if it wasn’t, because I wanted to rid my universe

of her arcane disapproving ways. I wanted out of her torpid nasty shop.

As I watched her wrap the clock in tissue paper, I realised that it was telling the wrong time.

To read Charlie’s column in full, please see this week’s Galway City Tribune.