Thursday, 9 June 2016
Coffee and time with an old friend
in a quiet corner in Rathfarnham
My busy week of three days at Swanwick for the meetings of the trustees and the council of the Anglican mission agency USPG was combined with the pleasure of lengthy walks in the countryside in both rural Staffordshire and rural Derbyshire between Sunday and Wednesday.
It came to end when I returned to Dublin late on Wednesday night, and I hit the ground running today. They may say a change is as good as a rest, but there was no rest today as I headed into the work of a busy academic committee in Trinity College Dublin this morning and the Dublin and Glendalough Diocesan Councils in Rathmines this evening.
When I arrived back in Dublin last night, the airport and the M50 were smothered in a thick fog, and the residual haze was still hanging around early this morning. But the sun was soon shining as the morning moved on, and in between those two demanding meetings, there was a chance in the mid-afternoon to meet an old friend for coffee in Rathfarnham Castle.
In the mid-afternoon, as the school day ends, the café at Rathfarnham Castle can be crowded with parents who meet up as they collect their children from school. While I was at Swanwick I missed my essential daily diet of double espressos, and thankfully the café was quiet – almost deserted – so that my caffeine habit could return to having its normal demands met.
The conversation lingered a little longer that we both expected. There were stories to share about friends we knew in The Irish Times and at Kimmage Manor, where we had both worked and studied; there were family friends and members to catch up and to share news about; there were travel experiences, holidays and city break alike, to share and compare; and we almost came close to solving all the political problems of these islands, from Sinn Fein to Brexit, from labour law to human rights; from taxation to the mobile phone bills.
Whether a change is as good as a rest, I have yet to find out. But time with friends certainly acts as a good antidote to the demands and busyness of committee meetings.