Malcolm was, once, himself a merry ploughboy: well, he sat in the cab, and looked back as the Fordson Major carve those chalky fields of North Norfolk.
Shortly after this, tomorrow morn, at dawn, he’s off to Dublin for a couple of days. And in the green of Aer Lingus out of Heathrow: book ahead, and compare the real prices — suddenly Ryanair does not match up.
It’s something of an adventure: the reunion of fifty-years-gone High School boys. Then, all we had in common was daily presence in a crumbling end-terrace building in Harcourt Street. Today: probably even less.
Malcolm attended three secondary schools. In later life he taught at several others. The High School of that era was, in many ways, the most decrepit of the lot (which was why the school subsequently moved out to Danum). Yet, of all of them, those three years at The High School, doing Leaving Certificate and Trinity scholarship exams, have the greatest pull.
About the same time the Ronnie Drew Ballad Group (later The Dubliners) was being booked at O’Donoghue’s in Merrion Row. There the barely-of-age Malcolm crept in to sip the odd pint, observe the quality and keep his West Brit mouth firmly shut. The beards, the fame and the fortune came later.
Why does the memory hold?
Perhaps the next weekend may tell.