Esther Murbach, born in the middle of the 20th century, was raised and is living in Basel. She studied languages, history and philosophy in Basel and Berlin. She is a journalist and translator. She has been a freelance author since 2008.
I’d Walk a Mile for Myles
By Esther Murbach
My wish has come true. Having become a migrating bird flying to and fro between Basel and Ireland, I have finally been able to build my own nest in Galway. Like I had been dreaming of for the last few years. A second home in my favourite city! I found it in a perfect location in Lower Salthill, but not in perfect condition. Some doing over was required. First I thought of hiring an interior designer, found the perfect person, too, but then she had to turn me down because a big and urgent assignment had suddenly come up.
My friends heard me. Good tips and recommendations and offers to give me lifts to the diverse floor, curtains, kitchen and bathrooms centres, plus several home stores, made me decide to organize the renovation on my own. Thank you Walter, Grainne, Aideen and Eamon!
And last but not least, thank you Myles! If I hadn’t met you when I did, I’d walk a mile to meet you!
Myles came to lay the new floor I had chosen. Soon I realized that Myles was a multitalent in every way. He sang while clicking floor boards into position, recited poetry and told me about his ambitions to write. So I sang to him as well and read some of my poetry to him while cleaning out the cupboards in the kitchen. We also discussed our family lives.
His only occasional shortcoming was a timing issue. When he said, tomorrow I’ll come ninish, it could happen that I had to call him at eleven, “Myles, it’s past nine.” He then informed me that his wife was sick, and that he had to drive the kids to school and do the shopping all by himself. So I couldn’t really blame him, could I? He did turn up at half past eleven and set to work with a vengeance.
On the second day of our collaboration, I had the brilliant idea to ask him, could he hang up curtains? Bathroom mirrors? Lamps? Did he paint? Would he be up to installing a new worktop in my kitchen? He knew only one answer to all those questions, “Sure!” I hired him on the spot.
Myles said his brother was conveniently a plumber. Together they could fix the kitchen and bathroom in my absence. As I had to leave before the work would be done, this was the answer to my prayers.
The ultimate test occurred when the electricity in my apartment was turned off. I hadn’t realized that I was supposed to get my own contract with the provider when the contract with the former owner ran out.
The first one to hear me was Barry, the caretaker, who laid an extension with a plug from the hall into my kitchen so that I could at least boil water for my tea and had a light at night. Hot showers and heating were out of the question, though, and that just when the weather turned, temperatures dropping to winter levels. Walter heard me also, but his intervention with ESB didn’t lead to immediate results. And Eamon heard me, in his capacity as my solicitor he could at least confirm formally that the apartment was mine.
I was a foreigner, not to be trusted. At least not yet. I had to prove that I existed not only abroad, but in Ireland too, that I was the rightful holder of the premises in question, that my quest for electric power was reasonable, that I could pay my bills.
Also it was impossible to get through to the provider from a Swiss mobile. Myles lent me his, made calls for me, vouched for me, took it upon him to organize my reconnection. As I managed to pay a deposit to the provider after my return to Switzerland, there is hope. When I come back to Galway now, which will be soon, I can look forward to a fully powered and done over apartment. And to sharing some bubbly or Guinness or whatever liquids with all those who helped me overcome the challenges of setting up house in Ireland.
Sláinte agus go raibh maith agaibh go léir!