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Perfect day The pubs reawakening, savouring the first pint settling in front of you – life can begin again

Why we can savour the prospects of a perfect day...


15 months in the making, seeing a Guinness lorry back on the streets of Dublin

15 months in the making, seeing a Guinness lorry back on the streets of Dublin

15 months in the making, seeing a Guinness lorry back on the streets of Dublin

It was a chance car stereo encounter with the late Lou Reed and his deadpan New York poetry that invited the query.

Handed a blank canvass, what brush strokes will bring to life your own personalised portrait of a perfect day? What special ingredients are required to bake a dawn to dark without flaw?

From Reed's 1970s song, comes one line that hits the bull's eye: "Problems all left alone."

What else?

A retreat to a corner of the imagination that reality is impotent to invade; where fallen loved ones are re-animated, where time's impatience to keep moving relentlessly, rapidly onwards is stilled.

Where the clock ticks in reverse and lost days beckon you back to their bosom, reuniting you with your youth.

It is an accumulation of words on the page of a book, an image or thought so flawlessly crafted that it makes your heart chirp with a songbird's uncontainable happiness.

Or dozing in and out of sleep on a mattress of grass in a favourite park under an ecstatic July sun.

It is a day when nothing is planned; the only commitment being to make no commitments.

And the consoling music of waves crashing against the shore, the ocean's eternal symphony a reminder that we are tiny and merely passing through.

A perfect day is good health, a mind unclogged of worry.

It is friendship, that lovely uplift that comes with being in the kind of company that makes an afternoon better.

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Happily lost in the labyrinth of stories and mischief and slagging.

It is the few restorative pints on the morning after a wedding: Nowhere to be and nothing to do except to play the highlight reel of the day before over and over.

It is turning the corner on the 6th fairway at Lahinch and looming into view from behind the sandhills, a green framed by majestic, gleaming, breath-thieving Liscannor Bay.

It is pushing open the heavy wooden door of The Palace Bar and stepping into a gorgeous time capsule, into the history of other long-expired lives.

It is knowing you are loved.

It is the ladder of buildings rising to the sky on Dingle's steep, soaring Main Street, 100 shades of beauty.

And the scent of fresh-cut grass tickling the nostrils, the perfume of spring, the aroma of reawakening.

The walk from Briody's to Croke Park in high summer, the mighty amphitheatre appearing like a cruise liner on the horizon, offering a voyage to an island of happiness.

It is that clip you see on TV every Christmas, of excited relatives in an airport arrivals hall, awaiting a son or daughter or grandchild or sibling to return from afar.

And the joy, the damburst of teary love when they appear, and a family is made whole once more.

It is turning the pages of a photo album, seeing those faces frozen in time, and remembering.

It is strolling through the city-centre like an extra from Bagatelle's Summer in Dublin, young people walking on Grafton Street, a Luas arcing around Trinity, sunlight dappling College Green and understanding: These are the rare aul' times.

It is gentle wisdom, gift-wrapped and presented by somebody who has seen more days and knows more things.

It is the ripple of laughter, the anthem of people at peace.

A perfect day can be making up after an argument, forgetting what the row was even about, finding again the combination that unlocks the front gate to that happy place where easy affection and companionship reside.

It is the warm fuzz of anticipation, the giddy impatience to rush towards an approaching holiday, night out or match.

It is the couch, a box-set, and a mountain of Cadbury's, HB and Tayto treats within easy reach.

It is closing the laptop, the work done, the title deeds to the remaining hours in your back pocket.

It is the endorphins released by exercise, that vivid and visceral feeling that is the pleasant afterglow from playing a match, swimming, jogging, cycling or simply walking the pier.

It is a Parisian patisserie on a Saturday morning, the freshly made bread a hymn to the day's possibilities.

It is the first invigorating sight of the towering Manhattan skyline on the taxi ride from JFK, the unrivalled electricity of Gotham jolting through every molecule of your being, knowing you have arrived at the planet's epicentre.

It is the memory of Katie Taylor lapping the ring at London's ExCel Arena, her gold medal secure, the tension of huge expectation evicted from her face and something close to delirium colonising the Queen of Olympia's features.

It is Padraig Harrington's faraway look in Carnoustie and Birkdale and Oakland Hills, a sportsman in the zone, embracing his destiny, making magic.

It is the euphoric madness engulfing the Hogan Stand at the moment the final whistle sounds in an All-Ireland final, when the achievement hits like a Force Ten hurricane, the rush of joy thieving people's bearings, a beautiful sense of place and shared enchantment washing over the early evening.

It is a beautiful song beautifully sung.

It is a hug at a funeral and all that is unspoken but understood: Support, empathy, you are not alone.

It is being young and the girl with whom you have been smitten but terrified to approach saying yes.

It is seeing an elderly couple, after all the decades they have crossed together, holding hands, conjoined by love.

It is not being afraid, or being afraid and keeping going anyway.

It is breathing and understanding that, hopefully, there are a few more breaths still to come.

It is Monday June 7, 2021, the pubs reawakening, savouring the first pint settling in front of you, morphing from brown to black, its creamy magnificence an announcement that life can begin again.

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