My parents go to a market in Bantry the first Friday of every month. It’s like the flea market at Port Clingnancourt but with less attractive people, a lot more rain and a surprising array of chickens. Unfortunatly I had a writing deadline looming, had a lot of work to do and really couldn’t afford the time to go with them….and yet an hour later found myself wandering around stalls featuring decapitated dolls and huddled baby rabbits. Discipline has never been my strong point.

Now I spent my last week in Paris whinging about having to go home to Cork, but be honest, it’s actually been rather pleasant. The weather has been, let’s say, flirtatious. At times bright and sunny at others, sombre and moody. It keeps you guessing, it’s ‘rules’ weather. And at the risk of sounding twee, water pistol fights with hyper young nieces and nephews can be as heady as any amount of glasses of wine over looking the Eiffel Tower.

And by God, people are nice! I travel a lot and I have to say, more often then not, national stereotypes hold true, and while the Bantry marketeres were a lot let stylish and attractive then those in Paris, they were far more friendly and pleasant. Indeed the affability and general good humour even seemed to dispel some the heavier rain clouds.

What’s more there was something to appeal to each of our interests.

When not reading history my mother is obsessed with charity shops and tat, the tattier the better, which she buys and adds to the other mounds of tat which fill the family home to dysfunctional bursting point. Hence she was in her element.

Over at the livestock side of the market my Dad was bargaining over chickens. Ever since I can remember, any trip with my father has involved either the buying or selling of fowl or dogs, his twin obsessions. As you can imagine these two passions often clash with bloody results and the ensuing carnage means he has to maintain a constant turnover.

And as for me, I found myself locked in the back of a dirty back Hi-Ace Van.

No, I’m not particularly into machinery or being kidnapped but I am into psychics. To some a dirty van in the middle of a fair might not be the most auspicious or inspiring of environments in which to hear of one’s future but Mystic Moria’s sign did say ‘as seen on TV’ and she was only a tenner hence I found my self locked in a van with a wall papered interior, with a 200 pound traveller woman, in the middle of a small country town. The Eiffel tower never felt so distant.

Mystic Moria: So make three wishes.

Me: Ok. Done. (No bother, I always have at least five to hand in case of just such emergancies ) It is a tenner right? (Be sure to establish the price off the bat, you don’t want to find yourself paying 150 quid for a two minute reading. )

MM: Aye, the palm is a tenner love, but the palm and the crystal ball together is twenty.

Me: Just the palm so please.

MM: Ah but the ball is very good.

Me: I’ll just stick with the palm today.

MM: The tarots is twenty, now them’s the best.

M: Ah now, if I got them all you’ll seeing poverty in my future.

Stoney silence.

So she picks up my palm, I resolve to give nothing away, neither by word nor expression.

She stares at it at its tangle of lies and starts to recite in a monotone.

MM: Oh love, you’re very up and down, you’re going through a very tough time, very tough.

Me: Hmm. (Hardly, I’m just back from a summer Paris. I’m free loading off my poor parents for a couple of weeks. I’m tad bored and broke but other then that, not a bother.)

MM: One of your wishes, it was about your family. You’re concerned about one of them and are wishing the best for him or her.

Me: Hmm. (Nope, my three wishes were entirely self centred involving money, men and me. Now I feel slightly guilty)

MM: And I see you have a man, a wonderful man that loves you and thinks the world of you.

Me: Hmpf. ( No, I bloody don’t, I have a couple of loopy internet blokes that seem to like my online alter ego, but otherwise there is no man, wonderful or otherwise thinking of me one way or the other. By now I feel kind of depressed.)

Her: And he’ll have a diamond on your finger or around your neck before the year is out.

Me: Huh! (Now she’s rubbing salt to the wound. NowI feel somewhat despondent)

Her: And I see you in two years time with a husband and childer.

Me: Whatever. (Okay, what ever about reading the palm, can you not just SEE how old I am?)

Her: And you are going have money, lots of lot of money.

Me: Silence (Not if I keep giving it to shite psychics in Hi-ace vans.)

MM: And you’ll come back here next year and give me a hundred pounds because everything I have told you is right.

Me: Glare. (Now I feel just bloody stupid.)

And my palm had curled to a clenched fist.

For all of two seconds I debated whether or not to pay the tenner. However, locked in a Hi-Ace with a very large rather tough looking traveller woman I decided against getting into any arguments. I handed over the cash with almost Parisian bad grace.

MM: Oh and be sure not to tell anyone of anything I’ve told you, or you’ll give away your good luck.

As you can see, I’ve decided to risk it.