My grandmother, an inflatable doll & a toupee


I’ve been writing about my Grandmother quite a lot recently. Today would have been her 105th birthday. Here’s one story that won’t be in the book…

Every time I left the house Nana would assume that some awful fate would befall me. A stack of books might collapse on me in the library, I’d catch my death sitting at the wrong angle at an open window, if I sat on the grass I’d catch a chill I’d never recover from.

While I lived with her I drove her ancient Fiat Uno. It had a sunroof that a previous owner had cut inexpertly into the roof. It leaked prodigiously when it rained (but only on the passenger side). I drove it across Dublin to UCD every day and Nana was convinced that as soon as darkness fell the city streets were lined with men just waiting for a lone woman to pull up at traffic lights so they could hop into the car and make off with them.

But she had a solution that would save me from such a fate – I should get an inflatable doll and strap it to the damp passenger seat. She’d dress it in her Clare hurling jersey and place her dead brother’s toupee on its plastic bald head. My safety would be guaranteed. My safety perhaps, my sanity was a whole other matter!


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