This afternoon was spent walking. Having arrived home yesterday evening, for a lunchtime appointment tomorrow, I had a day to myself. To do what I pleased. At my own pace. I could have done the countryside walk near my mother’s house. But that walk has been done so often I can almost see the imprint of my footstep on the road.
I could have gone to town to visit O’Mahony’s bookshop – one of my favourite bookshops in the world. But I decided against this as my pile of unread books has grown perilously high. A visit to O’Mahony’s would only have exacerbated that problem.
I went online and googled ‘river walks along the Shannon’. Bingo – this told me that there was a new canal-side and riverbank walk from the centre of town out to the University of Limerick. Not that the walk itself is new – the river is millions of years old. But not the footpath.
The plan was to get the bus to town. I missed it. Public transport in Limerick is reliable but infrequent. By the time the next bus was due I could have walked the journey. Which is what I did. Upon arrival in Arthur’s Quay park I noticed that the old tourist office had been upgraded to an art and fashion cafe called Chez Le Fab. Being such an achingly stylish person myself I thought I should be seen by the hoi polloi of Limerick this afternoon. The fact that I was bursting to use the facilities (as a result of the five mugs of tea consumed this morning) paid no part in my desire to be there. It is a very pleasant cafe – along with coffee you could buy second hand books and vintage clothes. Someone was playing 1920s blues 45s on the old school record player. Was I not a man on a mission I would have stayed for another filtered coffee.
Instead I hauled myself to the canal, as this would take me to the riverbank walk.
It was very scenic. And very quiet. The freezing cold weather probably played its part in discouraging people from venturing outdoors. The few people I encountered were either waking their dogs or jogging. Most people said hello.
It took about an hour to reach the university. The university where I obtained my deeply mediocre degree twenty years ago.
My feet were getting a bit tired so I decided to treat myself to a bus back to town.
The big green bus from Dublin to Limerick pulled in. I asked the driver with the wavy dark hair how much it would cost to get back to Arthut’s Quay. He looked at me sadly and said ‘We’re not supposed to take people that short distance’. Then he smiled and said ‘It’s cold, hop in.’
My heart lifted. I sat in the seat behind the driver. He was having an angry day as he gesticulated and swore at several other drivers on the four mile journey into town.
Who cares. A free ride is never a bad thing.