Bunk Beds

Image: The Unthanks

So, my last post was clearly a function of a little too much to drink the night before and nobody to wake up to the next morning. After lunch with friends and some fresh air, existential angst just becomes existential quibbles. The questions are still there, but no one’s pulling their hair out or gnashing their teeth anymore.
So, Sunday started off at Jake’s Cafe, ‘a Bandon Tradition for over 20 years’, according to the menu. Me, the other Australian au pair, the French au pair and the Swedish au pair all sat down for a lovely lunch, though most of what we wanted was not available to eat. The design scheme (presumably all original) drew criticism from the other girls, but I have a great deal of fondness for the place, probably due to the fact that a ‘slice’ of cheesecake at Jake’s is actually a quarter of a cheesecake. Definite value for money, if not value for thighs.
We then headed out to the ‘Hunter Trials’, something I have never experienced before, but the Australian au pair was enthusiastic, as she is a country girl and did a lot of horse-riding back in Australia. Basically, with the hunting season over, the horse owners run these competitions to keep their horses in shape. You have to take the horses through a short cross-country course and a series of jumps, and you are marked on your ability to do so. Not the most exciting thing to watch, really (the Aussie au pair promised there would be falls, which would still not be my most favourite thing to watch in the world, but it does have a sort of sick fascination to it), but there’s not much else to do in Bandon, especially not on a Sunday, so though 3 of us were unenthusiastic, all 4 of us went.
In the end, it was a lovely afternoon in the half-sun, with the majority of the time spent gossiping, squealing and cackling at an almighty volume, most likely annoying all the farmers and horse riders, or at least intriguing them (we certainly did get a lot of confused looks – no one knew who we were or what we were doing there. It was like the pub all over again, except this time, we weren’t the only women). The best part of it was the views – we were on top of (yet another) green hill, with rolling green hills surrounding us, ever-changing grey-blue-purple clouds billowing across the skies and out to sea. Its hard to feel existential pain when everything around you is so beautiful. ‘Well, I don’t know why its here, it certainly doesn’t make sense, but at least its very pretty and would look good on a postcard.’
That evening I took myself off to the Cork School of Music to see a band called The Unthanks. This was a band I had wanted to see at the Sydney Festival, but managed to miss due to the huge rush of things that needed to be done before heading off. They were certainly worth the wait, as was their support act, ‘The Trembling Bells’. Both bands take influences from a wide variety of places, including minstrel music, folk music, rock, free jazz, glam rock etc. as well as having fantastic accents (Geordie and Glaswegian respectively). It makes for a very intriguing sound, not like other things I’ve heard. Check them out (both of them), because I can’t describe them well enough. All I’ll say is that any band that combines violins, a trumpet and clog dancing is a good one in my book. The problem with me seeing bands live, however, is that I inevitably develop crushes on most… well, lets be honest, all of the band members. This is compounded by the fact that I insist on sitting in the front row, spending the whole gig convincing myself that said band members keep looking at me during their songs, because they are so blown away by my beauty and/or dress sense and/or enthusiasm for the music and/or completely obvious deep and totally unique connection to and/or understanding of the music. This is despite the fact that I know, deep in my heart of hearts, that because of the stage lighting, they cannot see a single person in the audience (let alone their dress sense and deep and unique connection to the music) and, besides, most of the time they’ve got their eyes closed, and furthermore, they’re probably shacked up with/married to the gorgeous singer with the wavy, long hair, the good skin and oh-so-soulful eyes. Of course, in spite of this knowledge, I then convince myself I HAVE to go and talk to the band afterwards, just in case they need the opportunity to pledge their undying love for me (all of them, or, at least, any of them….). When that doesn’t happen, I sign up to their mailing list, in the hope that they’re just too shy and will put a mark next to my name on the mailing list and send me an email declaring their undying love and inviting me on tour with them in a few days time. I must think my life is actually being written by a B-grade Hollywood rom-com screenwriter. I mean, honestly.
Of course, what actually happens is I walk up to the band with no clear idea of what to say in my head, gush ‘thank you’ a lot and ‘it was beautiful’ and ‘ I really enjoyed it’, until we’re all of us embarrassed and uncertain where to look. Then, in a misguided attempt to continue the conversation, I ask some dumb questions about the tour, which they answer politely, whilst I turn bright red, start saying ‘thank you’ and ‘it was beautiful’ again and then walk backwards into another audience member, who, in my attempt to apologise to, I end up hitting again. And then I knock over their companion. Whilst the band looks on and mentally crosses me off their mailing list. Basically, I have never been, and will never be, able to ‘play it cool’.
Well, that’s all very nice and amusing and self-deprecating, Jenny, I hear you say, but none of it has to do with bunk beds, which is the title of your post, and was the reason I clicked on it to begin with. So, on a completely different topic, because I’m finding it harder and harder to write posts about a single topic or idea, last week, my eldest charge’s bunk beds finally arrived. I have never seen such enthusiasm and excitement about something before. Honestly, drought-stricken farmers never anticipated the rain as much as these bunk beds have been anticipated by my eldest charge. I was first informed about the bunk beds’ imminent arrival when I got here in February. Since then, I’ve seen pictures of them on the internet. I’ve heard descriptions of them. I’ve been filled in on who is going to be allowed to sleep first in them and when this will occur. And, finally, finally, last week, they arrived.
The extra exciting thing about these bunk beds is that the bottom bed is a double bed, enabling THREE (yes, you read correctly, THREE) people to sleep in the same room, in the same bunk bed AT THE SAME TIME. That’s right, people. I’m not even joking. Its a disassembled slumber party wrapped in plastic and packed with styrofoam into an IKEA box. The bunk beds were also accompanied by a specially bought new linen set and decorative pillows (I don’t want to brag, but my skills at setting up these pillows and sheets have been highly praised. In fact, it has been suggested that I could get a job in a hotel. I may get this in writing, just in case I ever decided to pursue such a career path).
So, it was a three day long assembly process after the bunk beds finally arrived. However, at long last, Thursday night a week ago, they were set up and ready to go. I was informed that I was allowed to sleep in the bottom bed, was nigh on expected to sleep in the bottom bed on Thursday night. However, coming home late and tired from my course, I forgot to do so. I went to breakfast expecting fire and brimstone, but nothing was said. Nor was anything said the next day, or the next or the next. So, yesterday I casually mentioned that I had never gotten to sleep in the new bed. I was enthusiastically invited to sleep in the bed again last night, which I accepted on the proviso that I was allowed to stay up until 11:30pm as usual and sneak into bed then (instead of going to bed at 9pm with my bunk bed companion).
Now, as much as I have been making jokes at the enthusiasm of my charge in regards to the bunk beds, I have to say, that it was an incredibly comfortable bed, and a really lovely feeling, sharing the room with her. The famous Murray dog was also sleeping on the bottom bed with me, which cheered me no end. In the morning, I was woken by the youngest girl as well as her mum, because we all slept in. Another invitation to share the bunk beds was offered for this evening, which I have accepted. Obviously its not something I can or should do every night, but it actually makes a lovely change. And, it certainly stops me from falling asleep on the couch in front of the TV, or just sitting in a TV-addled haze for the last few hours of the night before stumbling into my bedrooom.
That’s probably enough for now. I should start getting ready to go to bed 🙂

Image: See? See? See how exciting they are???

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