Veronica visits Jonah

A few weeks after her wedding to Arthur, Veronica lies in bed, listening to the rain against her window and thinking about the letter she’d received the previous day from Kathleen. It had invited her and Arthur to visit them at the farmhouse and to meet Jonah. She’d talked it over with Arthur the previous evening and they’d decided that a one-night stay might be best – in case the visit didn’t go well. As she lies there, she worries, praying that Jonah will like her.

At breakfast that morning, she asks Arthur if she should do a painting of Jonah based on the photo of him that Kathleen had given her. Having seen that Veronica paints well, he encourages her to go ahead with the idea. She decides to do two versions – one for her own home and one as a gift for Kathleen. Arthur agrees, saying that Jonah may like it too. Some time later, when it was finished, they both think that she’d made a good job of it.

On the day of the visit, as Kathleen drove alone to the station to collect them, her heart was pounding. She could see that Jonah was nervous about it now that the time for the visit had arrived. She knew that Sean would help to keep Jonah’s mind off it until they arrived. Kathleen’s mam and dada were no less anxious, but felt that the visit would probably go well as long as Veronica didn’t expect to take Jonah back.

In the car, Veronica was quiet, but Arthur kept the conversation flowing. He was worried for his wife – he knew how much it meant to her. As they reached the farm, Kathleen could see the worry in her friend’s face and reassured her. Sean saw them arrive and told Jonah that Veronica would be worried too. The little boy went straight to Veronica, took her hand, said, ‘Hello,’ and asked her would she like to see his chickens. Seeing Kathleen’s approval, she told Jonah that she’d love to see them.

Kathleen, Sean and Arthur were all relieved that Veronica now seemed to have relaxed. Arthur thanked them and told them that they had no idea how much this visit meant to her.

Jonah and Veronica got on well together. He asked her how he should address her, and she asked him to call her Veronica. She asked him questions about his chickens and he promised, after a cup of tea, to introduce her to his pigs . Everyone was now relaxed after the stress of the morning. Arthur was looking again at the painting by Veronica in the kitchen that he’d noticed on his previous visit. He pointed to the male figure and asked Veronica if it was of Albert. She nodded: she still hadn’t seen Albert since she’d left England. She asked Arthur to bring the other painting in.

She handed it to Jonah, telling him that it was a gift for the whole family, but she hoped that he’d open it. Jonah recognised himself straight away. Kathleen was overjoyed and thanked her, saying it was a perfect present. Jonah wanted the Grandys to see it, so they walked over together for their lunches. The necessary introductions were made and the visit continued to go well. After lunch, Kathleen’s grandad, Arthur, Kathleen, Veronica and Jonah went for a walk. Jonah told Veronica all about the big fish he’d caught and asked her if she’d do a painting of him with the fish. She said that if she could borrow the photo she’d promise to do it.

The visitors stayed overnight in Kathleen’s old room – the room where Jonah had been born. Arthur tells her that he thought Kathleen had been worrying that she might wish to take Jonah away from her. She assures him that all she wants is to get to know him. She knows for certain now that she’d done the right thing in leaving him with Kathleen.

The following morning, even though Kathleen was up early, she was surprised to find Veronica walking in the yard, looking as if she’s been crying. Veronica tells her that she feels that she doesn’t deserve to be so happy after how she’d treated her so badly. It had meant the world to her for Kathleen to be at her wedding. After raising with Kathleen what Arthur had said, she promises her that she’d never dream of trying to take him from her. He’s Jonah Connelly now and all she wants is to be his friend – and hers too.

Kathleen assures her that she’ll always be her friend – as will Jonah. Veronica asks Kathleen if she’s OK with her doing the painting of the fish for Jonah and Kathleen agrees that they’re all dying to see it when it’s completed. She asks whether they can all come up to Dublin, see the picture and .have a day out together. Veronica says that they’d love that.

The two women agree that after breakfast, they’d all go for a drive before Veronica and Arthur leave so that Jonah can show them where the fish lives.

The story concludes by reporting that the following January, both women gave birth to baby girls within a day of each other. Veronica and Arthur were now living only eight miles from each other. Jonah was delighted with both his baby sisters. There would be a joint baptism service and Jonah would meet his nan and all his aunts and uncles from Veronica’s side. Albert would come too with his new wife.

This blog concludes my summary of my wife’s second novel. I hope that anyone who’s been following it has enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed proof reading and blogging about it. I’ve now reformatted it for kindle and published it as an e-book via KDP for her. She has now given it a title – ‘Friends for Life.’

I’ve started work on a new book, but I don’t know where it’s going yet. I have a beginning and some thoughts about the middle but I have no idea how to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion. I’ll begin blogging about my progress tomorrow, but if it doesn’t look as if it’s going anywhere I’ll find an ending and kill the story – unless someone can, at that point suggest an ending.

Today’s photo is of the Skelligs – a couple of islands off the Kerry coast in the West of Eire. I took the shot with my Pentax K3-ii again but this time I used a 200 mm f/2.8 lens at 200 mm and f/11 with a shutter speed of 1/60 secs and ISO at 100. I rested the camera on a gorillapod.

My featured photographs, from tomorrow until early January, will be all black and white conversions to reflect the dark nights and, in many cases , the season.

A fishing trip for Jonah

When Sean and Kathleen arrived home, everyone wanted to hear about the wedding, and how Veronica had reacted to seeing Kathleen again. Her mam wished that she could have seen Betty and was pleased to hear that she was well. Everyone was asking questions except Jonah – who seemed quiet. Sean noticed and gave him some new football boots that he’d bought in Dublin. The lad couldn’t wait to try them out.

Later that evening, Jonah asked Sean if Veronica was looking forward to seeing him, and asked when he’d meet her. Sean saw that Jonah looked anxious and asked whether he’d rather not see her. Jonah explained that he didn’t want his mam, Kathleen, to be worried in case Veronica wanted him back. He felt that if he didn’t meet her it could make things easier. He told his dada that he wouldn’t leave them to go with her- she’d never wanted him before.

Sean explained that Veronica would love him, but that she knew that he loved Kathleen as his mam – and how happy he was where he is. He told Jonah that he could cancel the planned meeting, but that might make it more difficult if he later changed his mind. The decision rested entirely with Jonah though, and it could be in Dublin or at the farm. Jonah didn’t hesitate – she could come to the farm. Sean offered Jonah another fishing trip like their first – with a picnic. He was delighted. Jonah went to watch TV and Sean went to talk to Kathleen about his talk with Jonah.

The following morning, Kathleen was seeing to the hens before breakfast. She’d been lying awake worrying about not having conceived yet. It hadn’t seemed a problem when Jonah was younger and all the renovation work had been taking place, but now she was quite concerned. She decided to speak to Sean.

For now, however, she had breakfast with Sean and Jonah and prepared a picnic and flask to take with them. She watched them concentrate on their float and had noticed that Sean never baited his hook until Jonah had caught a fish. She was wishing though that she could give Sean a child of his own. Sean noticed how quiet she seemed. He wondered whether seeing Veronica again had upset her. He asked her if that’s what was bothering her. She assured him that it wasn’t that – although she’d noticed that they hadn’t asked to see Jonah. She compared their attitude to that of Albert. She told him that she was worried that once Veronica had met him she wouldn’t keep in touch with him – and worried how that would make Jonah feel.

The conversation was interrupted as Jonah shouted that he thought he had a whopper of a fish on his line. Sean helped him land it – which took more than half an hour. Sean had never known such a large fish to be in that lake. Sean photographed it. Jonah couldn’t stop talking about it all the way home. His grandad ribbed him about eating the fish for dinner that night. Jonah was affronted because he’d put his catch back in the lake so that he could catch it again every time he went fishing.

Sean and Kathleen drove to the coast leaving Jonah with the Grandys. They bought fish and chips which they ate sat on a bench overlooking the sea. She told Sean how disappointed she was that she hadn’t been able to conceive a child for him – even though they’d been married two years. She said that she was thinking of seeing a doctor. She told him what a lovely dad he’d been to Jonah and that he should have children of his own.

He told her not to worry: as long as he had her, he was the luckiest man in the world. They had Jonah, who needed them. He promised that he’d come with her to the doctor if that’s what she wanted, but suggested that they waited another twelve months.

She agreed and the conversation moved on. They agreed to invite Veronica to see Jonah.

Tomorrow – Jonah meets Veronica

The featured photo today is the final one from Sneem on the Ring of Kerry. Tomorrow will be the final one from Ireland. Today the image is of an inn seen from across the main road through Sneem and slightly below it. We were sitting in a café. I took the shot with my Pentax K3-ii and a 16-85 mm lens. The shutter speed was 1/200 secs, the aperture f/8, the focal length 23 mm and the ISO 400.

Veronica’s wedding

We begin with the day before the wedding. Betty, Elsie and Hilda – Veronica’s mam and two sisters – are on their way to Ireland on the ferry. The crossing is much calmer than they’d feared and, as they travel, they wonder whether Kathleen will remember them. Elsie remembers how close Veronica and Kathleen had been as children. Betty is wondering what her daughter’s life would have been like had she married Terry Dooley. She’s convinced that it would have been an unhappy marriage and is glad that Kathleen had come to the rescue – as she always had. She feels sorry that Kathleen won’t be at the wedding.

She tells Elsie and Hilda how Kathleen’s dada had helped the family when they were small and their own dada had been sick. How Veronica had stayed with Kathleen at her house to help out. She says that she’ll certainly never forget the help they’d been given by Kathleen’s family during the terrible winter of 1947. Hilda asks her mam about Dublin – will they be able to see where her mam lived when she was small, but is told that its sure to have been demolished. They take a taxi from the port to their accommodation in Dublin, not realising that Sean and Kathleen are only five minutes away.

On the day of the wedding, Kathleen and Sean arrive at the church half an hour before the service is due to start. The church is almost empty apart from three women that they hardly notice as they pass them. As they sit, Kathleen feels that someone’s eyes are on her and, when she looks around, she sees that it’s Betty and two younger women. She realises that they’re Elsie and Hilda. There are tearful hugs. Betty tells Kathleen that they’re there to surprise Veronica, but wants to know how Kathleen knew about the wedding. Kathleen explains and introduces Sean and assures Betty that Arthur is a really nice man. Soon afterwards, he arrives with his best man, Martin. Kathleen introduces him to Betty and the girls. He goes to let the priest know that there’s going to be a surprise reunion beforehand.

Mary opens the church door to let Veronica in. Veronica sees Kathleen and Sean first, and then recognises that it’s her family who’s stood with them. She’s overcome with happiness. Elsie asks whether they’ll be stood there all day. or will there be a wedding: that her groom is waiting for her.

Arthur feels that he’s the happiest man alive as he leaves the church with his wife on his arm. Taxis whisk them all off to an up-and-coming restaurant, where the owner is only to happy to cater for the extra numbers. Martin and Mary are getting along fine and Sean is taking photographs. Kathleen has provided a wedding cake. The happy couple defer the start of their honeymoon so that, the following day, they can show Betty and the girls around Dublin.

Kathleen and Sean are returning to the farmhouse that night, and when they say their goodbyes, they promise that they’ll arrange for Veronica and Arthur to meet up with them once Betty and the girls have gone home.

Tomorrow – a fishing trip with Jonah

Today’s featured photo is another one from Sneem on the Ring of Kerry. Taken with my Pentax K3-ii camera and 16-85 mm lens, the shutter speed was 1/125 secs, the aperture f/8, the focal length 23 mm and the ISO 400.

Veronica gets some visitors

Arthur is having difficulty concentrating at work. The wedding will be the following Saturday. He’s starting to doubt that Kathleen will come. At that moment he receives a phone call. His stomach turns over when he hears Kathleen’s voice asking can they talk for five minutes.

She tells him that she’d like to come to the wedding, but asks whether it would be possible for her to meet Veronica beforehand – to avoid her being upset on her wedding day, as would happen if Kathleen were just to appear out of the blue. She asks, if it were possible, if the meeting could be that night, as she and Sean were staying at a hotel in Dublin at the moment. She suggests that Arthur and Sean could go out for a pint together while she talks to Veronica. He agrees and the visit time is fixed for six that night.

Arthur worries that Veronica will never forgive him if it all goes wrong. When he arrives home, she notices that he seems edgy – he puts it down to wedding nerves. After their meal, when she’s loading dishes into the sink, the doorbell rings. He says that he’ll answer it. She hears Arthur speaking to someone and the door closing. When she sees Kathleen she begins to cry. Kathleen asks why she’s never told her where she’s been living. She replies that she’d thought that Kathleen would hate her.

Kathleen introduces Sean, and Veronica thanks Arthur for what he’s done on her behalf. The two men go for a pint and the two women begin their long overdue talk. Veronica asks how Jonah is – she refers to him as John James – his baptismal name. Kathleen presents her with a photograph. She sees the resemblance to her dada straight away. On the back of the photo is a message to her that Jonah has written. She is overcome that Jonah knows about her. Kathleen explains that he’s always known, and tells her about how Jonah helps around the farm. She tells Veronica that no-one hates her and that she’s missed her – that she will always be grateful to her for leaving Jonah with her. They have a long talk and Kathleen promises Veronica that she’ll be able to meet Jonah.

Veronica thanks Kathleen for coming and, when the men return the two women agree to meet the following day. Veronica takes Kathleen to the café where she works and introduces her to Mary. They then go to Bewleys for a coffee. While they are there, Kathleen tells her about the trip that she and the cousins had made to Dublin some years previously, when Teresa had given some money from them all to someone they’d thought was a beggar. She says that Teresa had thought afterwards that it might have been Veronica, and how they’d gone looking for her. Veronica remembered when someone had handed her some coins – at the time she’d been recovering having fainted.

Veronica asks Kathleen what had happened that she hadn’t married Albert. Kathleen explains that the fact that nothing had happened, or seemed likely to happen, was the reason. She tells Veronica that she thinks that Arthur is a lovely man, invites her to come to the farm sometime and promises that they can put her and Arthur up. When they part, Kathleen wishes her luck for the following day and tells her not to be late. She returns to meet Sean and they return to their hotel. Veronica goes back to the apartment bursting with happiness.

Tomorrow – Veronica gets some more visitors.

Today’s featured photograph is yet another of the village of Sneem on the Ring of Kerry, taken, as usual for that trip, with my Pentax K3-ii camera and 16-85 mm lens. The shutter speed was 1/50 secs, the aperture f/8, the focal length 16 mm, and the ISO 400.

Kathleen gets a visitor

Veronica’s wedding to Arthur is now firmly planned, but she’s still sad because of what seems to her an unbridgeable gap between her, Kathleen and Jonah.

Back at the farm, Kathleen’s walking across the yard, followed by Crackers the cat, when she sees a man looking at the farmhouse and holding a piece of paper. He looks lost, so Kathleen asks him how she can help. He explains that he’s looking for Kathleen Grennan. She identifies himself, tells him she’s not called Grennan anymore, but asks him what he wants.

He identifies himself as Arthur Western and tells her that he’ll shortly be married to Veronica. Kathleen’s face drains of colour and she asks him coldly what she wants and why she couldn’t face her in person. He tells her that Veronica has no idea that he’s there; that he knows how sorry she’s been over what happened, and that she’s written to her family in England at last. Kathleen retorts that Veronica still hasn’t written to her own son – and that says a lot – that Veronica’s loss has been her gain. She says that she will never give Jonah up – not ever.

He pleads for a hearing and she agrees, inviting him in for a cup of tea. He admires the room, and sees a painting on the cottage wall of three young people. He recognises Veronica and Kathleen from it. He asks whether Kathleen painted it. She tells him that Veronica had painted it and given it to her before she’d left England. He tells her about the snow globe that’s the only thing that Veronica has kept from home. Kathleen asks him where Veronica has been all the time since she left the farm.

He tells her that she’s been in Dublin and how they’d met one Christmas when he’d thought that she was about to commit suicide. Kathleen was horrified. She asks whether she was really thinking of jumping in the Liffey. He admits that she probably doesn’t know the answer to that herself, but it had given him a fright. Kathleen recognises that he’s probably a nice man, but tells him that he still hasn’t said why he’s come.

He tells her that he just wants to know whether Kathleen could think of forgiving Veronica – her loss has been Kathleen’s gain as she’s said herself. He says that Veronica had never thought of taking Jonah back and that she’d never have dreamt of leaving him with anyone else. She hadn’t wanted her son brought up in poverty; she couldn’t return to England; and she couldn’t put him up for adoption. Kathleen had been her only hope. She’d never planned to leave in the way she did and has lived with guilt and shame ever since – thinking that everyone hates her.

Other than asking Kathleen to forgive her, he asks whether she’d consider being his wedding present to Veronica by being at her wedding. It would make her so happy. He asks her to consider it – he isn’t asking her to decide there and then. He tells her that he’ll have to leave so that he won’t be late home – he doesn’t want Veronica to know what he’s done. He leaves her with details of the wedding and thanks her for listening to him. She gives him a lift to the station.

When she returns she tells her mam and nan about her visitor and, that night, she asks Sean what he thinks she should do. They talk it over and, listening to him, she agrees to go to the wedding if he’ll go with her. The following day she tells her grandad who says that she’s probably made the right decision. She calls Jonah over and tells him what’s been happening and what she’s decided.

Jonah asks whether Veronica will want to take him back and she assures him that she won’t. He asks whether she and Veronica were best friends and she tells him that they were – ever since they were babies. He tells her that she should make friends again and go to the wedding. Kathleen was really proud of him and Sean asks Jonah whether he’d like to go fishing the following day. Jonah was delighted.

Tomorrow – Veronica gets a visitor

Today’s featured photo is another from the village of Sneem on the Ring of Kerry in Ireland. As with all my Irish photos. I took it with my Pentax K3-ii camera and a 16-85 mm lens. The shutter speed was 1/100 secs, the aperture f/8, the focal length 28 mm and the ISO 400.

Betty gets some letters

Thank goodness! Veronica has finally written to her mam, Betty. When Betty sees the envelope from Ireland she’s afraid to open it. She knows Kathleen’s handwriting, and that on the envelope isn’t hers. She worries in case something has happened to Kathleen or Jonah.

She know that her daughter, Elsie, will be calling that afternoon – as every afternoon – with the twins. She’ll wait until they arrive to find out what the envelope contains. As soon as she arrives, Elsie sees the worried look on her mam’s face and asks what the matter is. Betty shows her the envelope and tells her that since it isn’t Kathleen’s writing, she’s worried. They agree that Elsie should open it. She does so and her eyes go straight to the bottom line. She sees that it’s from Veronica and that she’s alright.

She passes the letter to Betty to read. Each line of the letter excites Betty more and she reads aloud sections as she goes. Veronica’s living in Dublin; she’s sent her address, so they’ll be able to write back; she’s had a job in a café for the past eleven years and enjoys the work. Veronica is sorry for what she did, but at the time couldn’t see any other way forward; that she thinks about Kathleen and Jonah every day and that she’d love to know how they all are. She doesn’t want anything from them other than to know – from time-to-time – how they all are. She hopes that Kathleen doesn’t hate her. She wonders whether Jonah looks like her own dad. Finally she asks her mam to write to her.

Betty replies the following day. She doesn’t write to Kathleen about Veronica’s letter in case it worried her. She assures Veronica in her reply that everyone loves her and hopes to see her again soon.

Veronica’s second letter to Betty arrives a week later with news of the engagement and the plans for the wedding. She tells her mam about Arthur and how long they’ve known each other. She also assures Betty that Arthur knows all about the baby. She tells Betty that she’d love to see her family at the wedding, but realises that it’s very short notice. She ends the letter by informing Betty that she’ll be coming to see her with Arthur soon and that they’ll stay in a hotel.

When Elsie hears about the wedding, she arranges with her sister and Betty to travel across together to be at the wedding. Elsie’s husband books the travel and a bed and breakfast hotel for them and Albert promises to take them to the port and to collect them on their return.

My featured photo today is one that I took while in holiday in Ireland in 2017 again, but this time while in Sneem on a day trip around the Ring of Kerry. I used my Pentax K3-ii camera – I won’t repeat the details except that the shutter speed was 1/125 secs at f/8 and 35 mm. The ISO was 400.

Veronica’s luck changes

In Veronica’s story we move on to 1966, two years after Kathleen’s marriage, and the day before Jonah would be eleven years old. She’s still working at Mary’s café, but Mary’s mother Violet is ill at the moment so Veronica is running the shop alone.

After work and a bath, she sits in her nightdress and dressing-gown reflecting. She thinks about Jonah and wishes that she knew how he is. She decides to write to her mother that night and to post the letter the following day before her planned walk with Arthur. They’ve grown quite close over the past few years in friendship. A year ago, she’d told him about her life in England and her friendship with Kathleen. She’d finally told him about the baby, even though she’d worried that the revelation might end their friendship. He’d known all along that there had been something that she hadn’t felt free to tell him. He’d comforted her as she cried in his arms. He’d wanted to do something to help her to become reconciled with her family but she’d refused at that time.

The following day, as she walks with him, he remarks how quiet she seems. She tells him that she’s finally written to her mother, but worries how it will be received. He tells her not to worry. She tells him that she doesn’t know what she’d do without him as her friend. He asks her why she’d never married and she tells him that she doesn’t feel that she deserves another chance after how she’d abandoned Jonah. He tells her that, if he hadn’t been so much older than her, he’d have already proposed, and that he’d loved her for a long time. She tells him that she’d loved him too, but had always thought that he was too good for her. He tells her that he couldn’t say anything before for fear of scaring her off – after all, he was old enough to be her dad. He asks her out to dinner for the following night.

On the way to the restaurant where they are to celebrate their declaration of love for each other, they walk by the spot on the river where they first met. They pause, looking again at the river and he proposes marriage to her. She’s thrilled and, over dinner, they plan their wedding for six-weeks time. She moves into his apartment with him until they decide where they will live permanently. The days following in that week are a blur as she buys a dress and they book the church and a restaurant. Mary, the café owner, will be maid-of-honour and a friend of Arthur will be best man.

The bliss evaporates instantly when a letter arrives one morning from England. She fears what it might say, and waits for Arthur to be with her when she opens it. In fact, when they are together that evening, she’s trembling as she asks him to open it and read it first. He does so and tells her that it’s only good news from her mam.

Betty, her mam, thanks her, in the letter, for writing, and that she’s been praying for her. She passes on news about her sisters, who are now grown up and married. Her brother, Tom, works with Albert and Robert is a mechanic. She informs her that Kathleen and Albert have split-up and that she’s married someone else. She assures her that Jonah is well and loves Kathleen, as she and all at the farm love him. She begs Veronica to come home to see all her family.

Veronica cries with relief. Arthur tells her that they can go and see her mam while on their honeymoon. He asks her whether she’d like Kathleen to know. She says that she would, but she wouldn’t want Kathleen to think that it was because of Jonah, and she worries that if she went to the farm she’d be met with hate in their faces. She resolves to write to Betty to tell her about her planned marriage.

Tomorrow – Betty gets some letters

Today’s featured photo is the last in the series from Eyeries on the Beara Peninsula. I took it while walking from the cottage where we were staying on the approach into the village. I used my Pentax K3-ii cropped sensor 24MP camera with a 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens at f/16 and 16 mm. The shutter speed was 1/20 secs and the ISO 400.

Someone gets dumped, someone proposes and someone gets married.

We leave Veronica’s story for a while – so much is happening in Kathleen’s life. The first thing is that she’s finally had enough of Albert’s dilly-dallying. He’d delayed long-enough in her mind, and had even wanted her to move to England because it would be convenient for HIS job! What about HER commitments? It would allow them to buy a house near to HIS mam – no thought to her having to be so far from HER family! She writes to him to tell him that he’s dumped.

By 1963, things have moved on for Kathleen. She’s really happy with her life. The businesses are doing well; her grandad has a newer car; they have a television set and a telephone; Jonah, now eight years old is happy at school and knows about his adoption. Kathleen has told him that his birth mam might come looking for him one day, but he protests that he doesn’t want to go with her – he wants to stay with Kathleen, whom he sees as his real mammy, and his grandparents. James, her dada has started work on refurbishing the old place that Kathleen had fancied as a piggery.

As he starts work on the old building, he realises that they’ll need outside help – especially with the roof, which needs doing first to keep the rain out while they’re working inside. He phones a local builder – Sean Connelly who comes out to take a look at what’s going to be involved. Sean says that he can do the job on Saturdays, but he’ll finish it faster if James helps him. That’s fine by James. Sean has noticed Kathleen playing with Jonah. He thinks that she’s really attractive and wonders if she’s married. Kathleen has kept looking at Sean with interest too. Her grandad notices, and asks Sean, will his wife not mind him working on Saturdays. Sean tells him that he isn’t married – hasn’t found anyone YET, but he’s sure there’s someone out there for him – as he looks pointedly at Kathleen.

The following week, Sean starts work. Jonah tells him that Kathleen’s made some tea in the kitchen. As he goes in, he ruffles Jonah’s hair and asks his name. He then asks where his name comes from, as Jonah isn’t Irish. Jonah tells him that his other Mum had named him John James when he was born but that he’d let out such a wail that Grandy had said his nickname should be Jonah. Sean wonders what this ‘other’ mammy was all about. He asks Jonah whether he like fishing and the boy says that he’s never been fishing, so he doesn’t know. Sean invites him to come fishing with him and the lad pleads with his mam, who isn’t sure. Sean invites her to come too, and it’s all agreed.

On the day, Kathleen’s made up a picnic and Sean has brought a child’s rod. Jonah catches a fish and Kathleen sees how gently Sean helps him to land it. He promises Jonah not to kill the fish, but to put it in a keep net and let it go later. He and Kathleen talk and he asks her about Jonah’s father. She explains the whole Veronica business and he’s horrified. They’ve all enjoyed the outing. They’ve caught seven fish in all. Sean asks Kathleen if she’ll come out with him for a meal so that he can get to know her better. She really likes him and is thrilled to be asked.

The meal, at a nice restaurant, goes well and they talk a lot, finding out a great deal about each other. Kathleen has enjoyed the evening and, on the way back, he asks if she’ll mind him pulling into a layby. He tells her how much he likes her and they agree to see each other regularly. They kiss – at first gently, then passionately. She tells him that she and Albert had never had sex and that he hadn’t even tried. Sean is incredulous. They agree to meet again the following Saturday.

They start going out regularly and Sean rents a flat nearby so that they can have time alone together. She gets to meet his family and invites them to the farm for a meal. By the time the building work is completed, he asks Michael, her grandad, does he agree that it’s time to move on to the next phase with Kathleen. Michael agrees. Sean makes a date for himself and Kathleen to go for another meal at the same restaurant as the first time. During the meal, after ordering some wine, he makes an excuse to get something from the car. Kathleen thinks that he looks nervous, but when he returns, he proposes on bended knee and she accepts to applause from the other diners.

The following day, they inform Jonah, who’s thrilled that he’ll have someone to call dada. They tell him that his name will be Jonah Connelly. Plans are made to turn the old building into a cottage for Kathleen, Sean and Jonah by the following Spring. The following year, they are married in the local church and take a honeymoon in Killarney. While they are away Kathleen’s Mum and Nan make nice curtains and cushions for the cottage. Jonah loves his new bedroom.

Tomorrow – Veronica’s luck changes.

Today’s photo is another I snapped in Eyeries on the Beara Peninsula of County Cork. I took this because the address plaque says that it’s the Pink House yet it’s painted pale blue! My camera was the 24 MP Pentax K3-ii with a 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens at f/16 and 28 mm. The shutter speed was 1/30 secs and the ISO 400.

What’s Veronica’s side of the story?

Up to now, for a few days, we’ve followed the story of Kathleen – from birth to settling on her grandad’s farm in Wexford, and to dumping Albert as a lost cause. She starts to see a life without him. We saw how Veronica went with Kathleen and her family to Wexford to have her baby away from England and the awful father, Terry. She then, however, abandoned baby Jonah, leaving him for Kathleen to bring up. That’s the last we saw of her – except, perhaps, it was her whom Teresa, Kathleen’s cousin, took pity on in Dublin some years later.

Today we hear from Veronica, telling her story in the first person. She’s realised that she can neither continue to expect Kathleen’s family to support her and the baby, nor can she return home with the baby. She doesn’t have the same maternal instinct that Kathleen has, and feels that it would be better for baby Jonah if she left him with Kathleen. When circumstances allow her to leave, in ‘creep away mode’, she disappears from the farm, travelling to Dublin, leaving Jonah and a letter for Kathleen.

In Dublin, after trailing around, she rents a room for a week, paying in advance. After a poor night’s sleep she goes looking for work in a shop. Feeling tired after lots of unsuccessful attempts, she notices a café and goes in for a drink. The owner stops to talk to her and offers her a job in the café, where she’s provided with a room above the shop as part of her wage.

She works hard in the shop, showing initiative and she impresses the owner and customers. By the end of the first week she’s become established enough to collect her things from the room she’d rented on arrival. She gets on well with the café owner, Mary and her mother, Violet. After two years she’s become so much a part of the shop that she spends Christmas day with them.

All this is very well, but her conscience is constantly troubled by her past. She misses Kathleen and hopes that Albert would be now married to her and be a good surrogate father to Jonah. After the Christmas meal, she bursts into tears, missing her family and friends. She misses having someone like Kathleen to put their arms around her to comfort her. She decides to go for a walk along the banks of the River Liffey.

As she stands, looking down at the river, someone speaks to her, checking that she’s alright. It’s a man, who’s worried that she’s thinking about jumping to her death. She assures him that she’s alright and was just in a reverie. He introduces himself as Arthur Western, and they walk together along the river bank. She learns that he’s much older than her, single and was once to have been married but his fiancée had died of consumption at the age of twenty-three. He works at the University. Veronica tells him as much of her story as she’s prepared to divulge. As they part, she thanks him for his company. He tells her that he’d be at the same place the following Sunday if she should wish another walk.

During the following week she resolves to write to her mother and buys some writing materials and some painting equipment. While she’s out, she calls into Bewleys for a coffee and buys a newspaper to read while she drinks it. As she reads, she senses that someone is looking at her. It’s Arthur. They sit together and talk. They introduce each other properly and are now on first name terms. By the time they leave, they’ve arranged to meet again the following Sunday. That becomes a regular fixture. He continues to be open with her but is sure that she is concealing something that she’s worrying about. He feels that she’s very young to be carrying such a burden.

She does some paintings which she frames and hangs in the café, but she still hasn’t written to her mother. In the March, she remembers that it will be Jonah’s third birthday and spends some time wondering how he is. She images him playing.

Later that month, walking through the town one evening to buy some aspirin for a headache she feels faint, collapses and someone props her up outside a pub. While a passer-by is trying to get her to drink some water and someone else is offering her whisky to revive her, she becomes vaguely aware that someone else again is pressing money into her hand. She remembers murmuring a ‘Thank you’. The next day, the shop owner, Mary, comes to see her when she doesn’t show up for work and calls a doctor, who diagnoses a bad case of flu. He orders Veronica to have three weeks proper rest.

It’s almost a week after that period, when putting her hand in her coat pocket, she discovers more than three pounds in loose change. She thought that she’d dreamed it, but wonders why she was given it.

It seems to me to be a strong coincidence. I bet that the donor was Teresa, don’t you?

Today’s featured image is set, once again, on one of the colourful streets of Eyeries, Beara Peninsula, County Cork, Eire. I took it with my Pentax K3-ii 24 MP cropped sensor camera using a 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens at f/16 and 16 mm. The shutter speed was 1/15 and the ISO 400.

A weekend in Dublin with the girls

It looks as if Kathleen may finally be fed up with Albert, and the letter she sent should have made him realise. Still in 1958, she leaves on the train to Dublin with Teresa and the other cousins instead of waiting for him: more fool him for putting a prospective work order first in his priorities.

Teresa puts her foot in it on the way there, when she asks Kathleen if she doesn’t miss the nights of passion she’d had with Albert on his occasional visits. When she sees the look on Kathleen’s face, she realises that there hadn’t been any such nights, and apologises. Kathleen explains that she’d thought that he’d just been being respectful, but had, nevertheless, been surprised when he hadn’t even had a try. Teresa tells her how insulting that was and wonders what the matter was with him. They both have a laugh about it.

When they get to Dublin, they check into their hotel then go to Bewleys for lunch. Kathleen was fascinated by the city. The girls had a trip on a tour bus then walked down O’Connell Street before going into a bar. They were having fun.

Later, at the hotel after having a shower, Teresa and Kathleen talk. Teresa apologises again for what she’d said on the train. Kathleen laughs it off. Teresa tells her that she wouldn’t even buy a dress without trying it on let alone commit her life to a man. They have a nap before dinner and wake up just in time.

After dinner, they all walk down to the River to see the sights by night and ‘gawp at all the lovely fellas’. Lots of other people were out enjoying themselves. Other folk were drunk, but it was some people outside a pub that drew Teresa’s attention. One of them seemed to be begging. She tells the others that she’s going to give the beggar some money. The others chip in. When she re-joins them, she’s concerned about the beggar having to sleep on the streets. They go back to the hotel to have a drink and decide on their plans for the following day.

The next morning, Teresa and Kathleen arise early and go for a stroll beside the River before breakfast. As they walk, Teresa comments that there’s no sign of the people who were begging. Back at the hotel, she confides to Kathleen that she’s worried. She hadn’t said anything to Kathleen the night before – not wanting to spoil her evening – but she thinks that the girl she gave the money to may have been Veronica.

Kathleen is truly upset. She feels a sense of obligation to find Veronica and help her. She remembers a promise that she’d made to Veronica as a child. Teresa makes her go down for breakfast and they agree to try to find her. Following their route from the previous night they locate the pub outside which the girl had been begging and ask the owner what he knows about her. Veronica’s name doesn’t ring any bells with him, but he suggests that if Veronica had been there ‘after business’ the previous night, she might be in the city centre during the day.

Kathleen asks him to explain, but Teresa drags her out of the pub and has to spell out to her what he meant – and that they need to move elsewhere, as it seems that they may be in a red-light district. She doesn’t fancy being propositioned. They search the city but find no trace of her, so they visit Bewleys again for a coffee. They then head towards the university, nearing which Teresa ponders whether they offer degrees in that kind of ‘business’. They give up on their hunt and have lunch before going to the shops to look for clothes and for presents to take back to the family.

What happens next in Dublin for the girls isn’t revealed because the next couple of chapters tell Veronica’s story. Tomorrow’s post will have a look at that.

The featured photo today is again one that I took while on holiday in Eyeries on the Beara Peninsula of County Cork, Eire. I took it with a Pentax K3-ii 24 MP cropped sensor camera paired with a 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens at f/16 and 16 mm. The shutter speed was 1/15 secs and the ISO was 400.