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A Christmas miracle


Diary of a homebird
Ciara Galvin

I could have done with Jesus on Christmas Day. I know it was his birthday and everything, but I needed a miracle. I foolishly thought I was ‘all set’. And compared to last year, I was, with all my presents wrapped early. Last year I was such a disaster that I ended up preparing the starter for Christmas dinner at 2am on Christmas Eve. Let’s just say there was a lot of improvising and the mushroom soup tasted a bit ‘chickeny’.
This Christmas I didn’t have to worry about the starter (cannot fathom why I was demoted!), and a week before the big day, I had all my shopping done. My level of smugness was through the roof as I looked at all the presents wrapped on December 21.
Never be too smug though, it’ll come back to bite you. Let the story come to ya. This year my sister suggested we do Secret Santa among those that would be attending dinner – the couples, plus this kid, basically.
I got my brother-in-law and immediately knew what I was going to get him, a bottle of red wine from the owners of Ashford Castle’s very own vineyard in South Africa. Don’t worry, it’s easier get your hands on a bottle than it sounds, they sell it at the estate’s boutique shop, Mrs Tea’s. A bottle of Bouchard Finlayson Hannibal, a red described as having the ‘elegance of a ballerina’ and ‘the balance of a martial arts expert’. Unfortunately, the prospective purchaser had the organisational skills of a drowsy toddler.
As I knew exactly what I was going to purchase, how much it was, and where I would get it from, I was in no panic whatsoever in the lead up to Christmas. ‘Sure I’ll pop out one of the days and pick it up’, I thought.
Christmas Eve, 6pm, not a child in the house washed, or a bottle of ‘Hannibal’ purchased. And in typical fashion I used the denial tactic, telling myself it would all work out. How? I didn’t know, but I’d think about that in the morning.
After mentioning my predicament to friends they suggested I order tickets online. For what, not the foggiest, but at least it would be a piece of paper to hand over (I didn’t get around to buying a card either).
Christmas morning and still no present, I did what I do best. I called in a favour. From who? Only the best in the business, Robert Bowe, Restaurant and Wine Programme Manager at Ashford Castle. Like Andy Dufresne contacting Morgan Freeman’s character in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ to get a poster of Rita Hayworth, I knew Bowe would come up with the goods.
Quickly dropping Madre to Mass I made a beeline for Cong. Pop’s car had never got a quicker spin as I tore into the castle grounds hoping I wouldn’t knock down any unsuspecting golfers.
After manoeuvring the car into a non-existent ‘spot’ outside Rory McIlroy’s choice of getaway, I ran up the steps to be met by a doorman, ‘Good morning Miss, how can I help you?’.
Out of breath, I gasped, “I’m looking for a bottle of wine.” He looked understandably confused, but thankful a nearby Robert quickly cleared up matters appearing with the Holy Grail wrapped up in a wine bag. Quick pleasantries and off I popped, back to the car to find all four windows down, for some bizarre reason. No harm done. I even caught the second half of Mass – and had a little smile to myself at the ‘water into wine’ bit, thinking of my very own Christmas miracle.
Thanks Robert!

In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something year old still living with her parents.