I Do Like To Be Beside The Sea Side


by Anne Le Marquand Hartigan

Book Cover: I Do Like To Be Beside The Sea Side

Originally written in the 1970s but resonating with relevance today, this lively tragi-comedy by an award winning Irish playwright reveals what it is to be old and vulnerable, frail but feisty.

In a dreary, seaside care-home in 1970s Ireland, Eve and Francis's spirited friendship has made life worth living. Threatened with separation by their selfish families, Eve and Francis take matters into their own hands, with dramatic consequences...

Published:
Publisher: Chiswick Books
Excerpt:

MISS MORGAN
Mr Mulcahy, will you please be quiet. This is a
drawing room. Have you no consideration for
others? We wish to watch television, and we keep
it low so as not to disturb others. I ask you to
stop. For the sake of everyone.
Turns.
Such a vulgar tune.
Returns to her seat.
MR MULCAHY shows no sign of having heard
anything but he stops singing. MISS EVANS
slowly takes knitting out of her bag and attempts
to knit with badly stiffened fingers. MRS
MORGAN hops up and down changing the TV
programme without any consideration for MISS
EVANS who is watching. MISS EVANS makes
feeble gestures in an attempt to stop her but she
is helpless against MRS MORGAN of whom she is
a little afraid. MAURA and TESSIE return with a
fresh pot of tea.

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MATRON enters on another tour
of inspection.
MATRON
Right. That tea’s a bit strong girls. Put in more
hot water. Ah, good afternoon, Mrs Morgan. All’s
well?
MRS MORGAN
Grunts.
The Pope is on the telly tonight, I believe. We
must all watch His Holiness.
TESSIE carries the teapot over to MR MULCAHY.
Speaks loudly.
TESSIE
Would you like a little more tea, Mr Mulcahy?
This is lovely and hot. Fresh.
MR MULCAHY makes no reply but she fills his
cup all the same. Returns to trolley. Speaks to
MAURA.
What bloody weather. It’s lashing.
The girls exit.
MR MULCAHY
My feet are cold. I can’t remember, what was it
like to have warm feet?
He peers over his knees to look at his feet.
There they are, my feet, away down there. They
make me laugh.
He laughs. Pause.
You try this. This oldness. Come on tell me.
What’s the good of it? Where does it get me?

Pause.
She won’t be able to see me when I’m dead. At
least she can’t interfere with that.
Chuckles.
She would have enjoyed that. That’s one place
she can’t interfere with. She’d have loved to be
there with her busybodies. ‘He makes a lovely
corpse,’ they’d say. Damn idiots. What’s lovely
about an empty skin, falling jaw, no smile? No
love. What’s that? Love? She put a stop to that.
Silence.
All women are whores.

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