You have to get to the Clara Market early. It’s important to have a parking space close to the gate for all the shite you end up buying. We got there around 9 and it was already packed.
Sunday morning, bargain worship.
` There was a fella struggling to carry an armchair to his van. He was like a starved African carrying a bag of food aid after it being dropped from a plane.
Behind him there was a woman leaden down with cans of paint in a bag and up ahead there was a family carrying a collection of hatchets, engine parts and hacksaws.
We had to park down near the end because there was loads of cars and SUV’s parked up on the hedges, in driveways, half way around corners and generally in disarray.
‘Hurry up,’ Said Michelle. ‘All the good shit will be gone.’
We got out and loaded up Nairobi in the pram and clattered in through the iron gates and passed the security cabin.
Inside was an ocean of tarmac populated with stalls selling clothes, work gear, engines, books, phones, phone covers, statues, toys, clocks, watches, cookers, microwaves, kettles and food.
I looked around and Michelle had evaporated, quantum leaped, gone.
Then I recognised a fella selling tarts.
White coat. Red cheeks. Late fifties.
Somewhere in the past he’d started calling me Jimmy and I’d never corrected him. So here he was: ‘How’s things, Jimmy?’ he said.
‘Not too bad, Padraig. Yourself?’
‘What time did you land?’
‘Here since 7.’
‘Tis, but do all you can is all you can do, isn’t that right? You can’t make halves of yourself.’
I let my mind work that out, partially succeeded, then said: ‘Will you sell me a tart?’
‘I will, Jimmy, I will. Fiver for yourself ok?’
‘Tis. Will you leave it in the van and I’ll collect it after.’
‘Sound sound sound, Jimmy, no problem at all.’
Walked on passed the Buddhist statues and the books about dogs. There was a few battered laptops and a big stack of wires and plugs.
I was looking for a car radio. Preferably with Bluetooth.
Suddenly Michelle breezed past with Nairobi in her arms and the pram full of toys. There was V-tech laptops and talking dolls and illustrated books. With all the noise and colour she was like a travelling circus. Nairobi was flat out trying to pull the door off a miniature house. She looked up at me and smiled like this was great craic, then went back to what she was doing.
‘Did you buy anythin?’ Asked Michelle.
‘I bought a tart of Padraig.’
‘What do you want a tart for?!’ She asked
‘Dunno. Sure he’s sound.’
‘Right I’ll keep goin.’ She said.
And she was gone again.
I walked down to the informal tech section. This was a corner of men in peak caps sitting inside the doors hi ace vans with a selection of technology thrown in the gravel in front of them.
Did I want a PlayStation one?
Google Cardboard Glasses for €20?
No, I’m lookin for a car radio.
Oh, over there.
There was four car radios in a silver broken bucket. I think they were all made before Bluetooth was invented. Your man selling them was busy negotiating the price of a broken generator. When he was finished, he turned and said: ‘Now chap, what’s for you?’
I picked one up, asked: ‘Will this fit my Passat?’
‘Twill, it’s working perfect.’
‘How’ll I connect it?’
‘Just use the leads.’
‘What leads, is there none with it?’
He frowned, took it, shook it, held it up to the light and said: ‘Ways tis I’ll tell ya, fella that shtole that now never thought of bringin the leads too…but sure the leads in your own car will do…”
He laughed like he was joking. Who knows. I gave him a fiver and brought it out to the Passat.
Ask me if it worked?
Did it work?
Kinda. (If you’re big into static.)
Went back and picked up the tart.
“Thanks, Jimmy.” Said Padraig. “Enjoy.”
Intercepted Michelle and Nairobi shortly after. Went to the car and loaded up the boot. Could barely see out the back window cos of a gigantic white teddy bear. Nairobi loved it. What can ya do? Turned the ignition and put it first, turned up the static, and drove.