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‘Pissing in a swimming pool is a bit like farting at Mass. The trick is to squeeze it out quietly’ – The Irish Times

It’s a cracking day in Quinta do Lago — but then aren’t they all? I’m having my first piña colada of the morning because I drank way too much last night and I’m feeling like dogshit that’s been stepped on twice.

“Honor,” I go, “this is beautiful,” because — to be fair to the girl — she’s as good at mixing cocktails as I was at her age.

She just shrugs. She’s like, “I put four shots of rum in it — you looked like you needed it,” and I can’t help but smile because I used to do the exact same for my old dear? “That’ll be €200. It revolutionized me.”

“Two hundred euros for a cocktail,” I go, smiling as I transfer the cash to her. “It’s like 2002 all over again.”

Sorcha walks in, looking tense.

I’m there, “It’s just a mocktail, Sorcha,” because — yeah, no — she wouldn’t be a major fan of me drinking spirits before 11 o’clock in the morning?

She goes, “Joy Felton has invited us over for a fight.”

She’s talking about Joy Felton, our next-door neighbor in Killiney, who has a gaff about a mile up the coast from us in QDL. The woman literally hasn’t said two words to us since we applied for planning permission to knock down Honalee and replace it with a block of apartments.

Sorcha goes, “You know what day it is today, don’t you? It’s the day that Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council announces its decision on our planning application.”

I’m like, “Maybe she wants to say, I don’t know, no hoard feelings, whatever the outcome — blah, blah, blah.”

She’s there, “So you’re saying we should go?”

I’m like, “Er — we?”

I’m not going,” Honor goes. “No fucking way.”

There’s, like, something red in the water, which at first I think is blood? But then I remember hearing about this chemical that people are adding to their pools that turns piss red

Sorcha’s like, “Come on, Ross — you and I will go and we’ll bring the boys with us. Do you want to drive?”

I’m like, “Er, maybe you should do the driving,” steeling myself by knocking back the rest of my breakfast in one.

Twenty minutes later, we arrive at the gaff, which is obviously humungous. Joy answers the door and gives us each a smile and a hug, then she goes, “Oh — you’ve brought the boys with you,” looking at them like someone’s let three piglets loose in a bridal shop.

They go straight past her then Joy leads us through the gaff and outside to the pool. There’s quite a few familiar faces around it — all people from the Vico Road. The Shottons. Roger and Tara Rhatigan. Ruadhri and Grace Giles. Rena Henaghan and the Uli Gilhoolys.

“Okay,” Sorcha goes, “why does this suddenly feel like an ambush?”

“I can assure you, it’s not an ambush,” Joy goes. “Look, we’re all here for the month of August. It seems silly that we wouldn’t meet up. And then, well, we’re all aware that today is the day that the council announces its decision. We just wanted you to know that, whatever they decide, there’ll be no hard feelings.”

No Horde feelings?” Sorcha goes — because it turns out I was right.

Joy’s like, “None whatever.”

I look around at 13 or 14 nodding heads. These are good people underneath it all.

I’m there, “Can I, um, have a quick dip in your pool, Joy?” because I’m bursting for a slash and I’m too lazy to go into the house.

Joy’s like, “Jump right in!”

Which is what I end up doing. Those four shots of rum have gone right through me. Pissing in a swimming pool is a bit like farting at Mass. The trick is to squeeze it out quietly without letting the relief show on your face.

Everyone is telling Sorcha how much we’ll be missed if we move — which is horseshit but nice to hear anyway.

Andrea Shotton goes, “We’ll certainly miss your sugar-free muffins!”

And Sorcha’s like, “Oh my God, you’re going to make me cry!”

Get off my property. And take your children and your urinating animal of a husband with you

Roger Rhatigan goes, “You’ve been a wonderful neighbor,” and then they all share their Sorcha Lalor best-bits.

Oh, fock. There’s, like, something red in the water, which at first I think it is blood? But then I remember hearing about this chemical that people are adding to their pools that turns piss red. I’m thinking, I have to get out of here before someone sees. But then I’m the only one who’s been in the water, so they’re going to know it was me?

I decide to do what anyone in my position would do — blame it on the kids. While the neighbors continue to blow smoke up Sorcha’s hole, I try to entice Brian, Johnny and Leo into the pool, which is mean of me, I know — especially given that they’re terrified of water.

I’m like, “Come on, guys, I’ll teach you how to swim!”

But they’re just, like, shaking their heads. I grab Leo’s ankle and try to drag him in, but he manages to kick himself free.

All of a sudden, I hear Rena Heneghan go, “Ross, have you cut yourself?” the nosy focker. “There’s blood in the water, look!”

Joy Felton chuckles. “That’s not blood,” she goes. “It’s a chemical we use to stop the grandchildren peeing in the pool.”

Sorcha’s like, “Oh! My God! I’m so embarrassed!”

I’m there, “It was Leo. He just whipped it out and I couldn’t stop him in time.”

No one believes me. But they all just laugh — like there’s no actual judgement here? And I’m thinking, these are very much my kind of people. How could we want to live anywhere else?

Uli Gilhooly goes, “Okay, has anybody else got a favorite Sorcha story?”

And Sorcha’s like, “Oh my God, you’re going to make it so horde for us to say goodbye.”

And that’s when her all of a sudden phone beeps? Sorcha looks at it. I know from the look on her face that it’s from her old man. He told her he’d text her as soon as the verdict was in.

“We got our planning permission!” she goes.

Then she looks at the others — all staring daggers at her.

She’s like, “You … already knew! This was just one last effort to butter us up, wasn’t it?”

“Naturally, we’ll be appealing it,” Roger Rhatigan goes. “We just thought it might be worth one last effort to dissuade you and save ourselves a lot of bother.”

Sorcha’s like, “I’m not going to change my mind.”

And Joy goes, “Then get off my property. And take your children and your urinating animal of a husband with you.”

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