Five Fun Facts — Micheál Cladáin

(Stuff you may or may not already know!)

We moved from Dublin down to the “Sunny Southeast” in Co. Wexford a few years ago. A strip of driveway and a back yard became an acre of lawn. My better half never liked my café racer and nearly hit the ceiling (in glee, not despair) when I told her I was going to sell it so we could buy a new ride-on mower.

The Honda doesn’t have anywhere near as much power, but it is still fun to ride.

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I was a contract writer and editor in the IT industry for many years. As such, I have lived more of my life abroad than at home. Over the years, I lived in Cyprus, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, and Italy, (including Rome, Naples, and Modena). I speak fluent Italian, as well as some Dutch and German. I never could get my mind (or tongue) around Swedish or Greek.

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When I lived in Rome, I was working for IBM. One summer, we had a visit from a senior executive. He wanted a guided tour of the Forum during his forty-eight-hour stay. None of the English-speaking tour guides were available at the time, so my department head volunteered me as interpreter for the tour. The Italian tour guide took it as a personal affront and refused to allow me time to interpret what she was saying. In the end, I had to make up quick one-liners so we could keep up.

There is an avenue of Doric Columns parallel to Trajan’s Column. During their day they were painted with multiple colours. The tour guide took five minutes describing their intricacy, which I boiled down to, “the avenue was long and brightly coloured”. The executive raised an eyebrow but said nothing.

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We are aiming for self-sufficiency when it comes to fruit and veg. Since moving to the “Sunny Southeast”, I have built eight raised beds and planted an orchard. The beds are good for spring and summer growing only, so last year a friend and myself erected a polytunnel, providing near all-year-round production.

It’s a wonder I find time to write.

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I completed my first novel when I was twenty years old. It was a tome of some 220k words. Monstrous. I didn’t recognize it as such and duly sent it off to literary agents in their dozens. Back then, it was frowned upon to submit to more than one agent at a time, so I spent the best part of two years getting rejection after rejection. Needless to say, there were many years between my first completed MS and the next one.

A couple of years ago, my sister was doing a clear-out and found a dusty old copy of the MS in her attic. Of course, I had to read it, thirty-odd years later. It transpires the tome was not only monstrous in terms of size.

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