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Living

Diary of a home bird
Ciara Galvin

MY first Diary of a Home Bird column appeared on these pages six years ago, on Tuesday, November 13, 2012. Today, November 13, it appears for the final time.
I know what you’re thinking, ‘Well she planned that one well’. However, anyone who knows me knows I’m not capable of that level of foresight, to have the bookends of this column aptly coincide on the same date. Sure look, I once had to take a year out of further education due to missing a masters-application deadline, so disastrous are my organisational skills.
We’ve had a good run of it though. To commit to writing something like this consistently over such a long period of time isn’t easy, and at the risk of sounding completely self-indulgent, I’m pretty proud of myself.
Sharing close to every aspect of my life, and that of my nearest and dearest, has only been possible thanks to my parents, AKA the roomies. In all the ups and downs and adventures along the way, they never once criticised me for over-sharing, or asked me to toe the line. I’d like to think I knew where the boundaries were, but I could yet stand corrected.
The roomies have always been there when I needed advice or guidance (literally, like that time I was trying to find Belmullet and found myself in a farmyard in Newport).
As time went by the male roomie nearly started writing the column for me. He has a keen eye for calamitous situations, golden sound bites and hilarious musings. If I wasn’t there to document or witness them, he felt it was his duty to mention them to me – and hey, it was for the good of the column.
And I’ve put him through the ringer – from that time I locked him and the female roomie out of their own house, resulting in him having to break in, to that time I reversed his car into a wall. Pops has never got angry, even when I lost patience while showing him how to book a flight to Alaska he was never going to take, or explaining the workings of ‘one app’ (WhatsApp).
Luckily, when Pops knows I’m not on hand for technical advice, he has others to rely on. Just last week he rang his colleague Mary for advice on how to print out a document. Assuming she was at work in Ballinrobe, Pops quizzed her at length on how to go about it. Turns out poor Mary was in fact 12,000 miles away in Perth, but thankfully after the long-distance advice was dispensed, the document was printed.
The female roomie was more cautious than her male counterpart, aware that when her youngest offspring was around there was no such thing as ‘off the record’. Fortunately for me, there were some occasions when there was no escape. Like the time we were held hostage by an electric gate in Dublin and the female roomie prayed to everyone from St Fillan, the patron saint of the stressed, to St Clotilde, the patron saint of disappointed parents.
Again, thanks to the roomies for putting up with me, Willie McHugh for giving me the confidence to pitch the idea, Ciara Moynihan for editing it all these years, the late Neill O’Neill for agreeing to keep the column on, even from the jungles of South America, and finally to all of you. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
I’ll leave the coop sometime soon. I’ll miss Pops enquiring, ‘How’s everything on Fleet St?’, and Madre expertly wrapping pyjamas around my hot-water bottle, but I’ve finally faced the fact that this home bird needs to fly.

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