Only ever lend books you love to people. Only lend books you know you’re never going to get back because they’re going to love them too. They’re the only books, books with enough power to find a new place in you and you want other people to know some of the words from that place too. 32 people shaped by 124 books, from Ireland 3 (West) to Men In Sheds to Magic Eyes to May You Live In Interesting Times.
It pissed down for two days when Eoin and I landed in Dublin but the lads were already cutting out a house within the shell of a real house, Andy’s gaff with the canal and Griffiths Barracks outside. Mike running an office in the rafters above Adam and Luke, the two of them happy as pigs in shit, in a chaos of buzz saws, Lucozade and Leathermans. Flush to the frame, you can have a chicken fillet roll every day of your life, then convoy up and off, two vans loaded with 15 railway sleepers, Chinese ply, builder’s plastic, 4 x 2s, carpenter’s pencils and 592 ft of stained cladding Luke claims we used to within an inch exactly.
Three lads in Pullamore saw the heads on us and wanted to sell us smokes, iPhones and weed, ‘This is what happens when you drive a Hi-Ace,’ Mike said and we kept moving, into the wide ochre of Donegal until the engine started to smell like Scalextrix just as we hit the Ghaeltacht sign.
The fossils leaked black into the lake, switching its colour like a joke when you’re not looking, steel, slate and ultramarine. Floating the railway sleepers across the lake thinking about Rio Bravo. Luke smiling at something, saying it’s not even tomorrow’s problem. Days of lifting until your thighs are pulling you down. No even ground, three pairs of socks, drills, Spax and bog juice. Course it snowed. Then nights of Football Special, Deep Heat, cans and the crackle of 45s. Challenged on the last night Luke built a tower of Lego and Adam, a gentleman ox, followed up with an even higher one. Lads who can’t drink beer at a table without someone reaching for a toolkit. Five Weathermen. A last trip to Mooney’s boat yard and scampi in the sun.
It’s solid now, on its sleepers firm in a bed of sponge green. It’s sitting there, a newly upholstered chair ready to be sat in with a good book and a view, framed now, of grouse and water and turf. See what’s gone before. It’s across the lake now when I’m writing this and it’s across the lake now when you’re reading it. There’s pages unturned in those books. Go open one.