Mum loved animals and at one point we even had two chameleons and some tree frogs in our rectory menagerie and two ground squirrels inhabited a largish cage in our bathroom. One of the eccentricities of the house was that the bathroom was huge for no particular reason. It was where I experimented with ‘Hint of a Tint’ Shampoo.
I’m not sure if this product ever really changed my hair colour, but the name was alluring to a romantic teenager. Badedas bath oil was also highly respected because the ad said ‘Things Happen After a Badedas Bath…perhaps it’s to do with the horse chestnuts’. In the ad a woman who had just had a Badedas bath sometimes gazed through the window at a handsome man with a horse who seemed keen to meet her. I had many Badedas baths but no handsome stranger appeared out of the blue on the rectory lawn.
Sometimes the bathroom was also home to a nest of plump gorgeous puppies. My Mum bred dogs. I learned that when a puppy is really well fed and contented it frequently sleeps on its back and its small pink tummy looks completely adorable. My pony, Merrylegs, never made it up the bathroom. But I did bring him into the Morning Room to watch television when my parents were off shopping in Limerick. He seemed very pleased, and fascinated.
Though I’d read about Jesus in the Bible it was the picture of him on the rectory’s landing that particularly impressed me. Of course it was fab that he’d fed the Five Thousand. But as I approached adolescence I noticed something else. Jesus was extremely good looking in the painting. He was tall and well proportioned and had a beautiful, sensitive face. He was just the sort of guy I wanted to meet at a local dance…though of course if we had got talking I would have discovered he was the son of God.
My home is now a house in a terrace. Two big Caribbean paintings hang in the sitting room. They are mementos from my father’s sojourns abroad.. A carved wooden gecko climbs up a wall and a contented Buddha sits by the fireplace. It’s a hint of a tint of exoticism…though so far there are no tree frogs in the small bathroom.
Lots of love,