Mammy Walsh's Problem Page

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Those of you who have read any books featuring the Walsh family will be familiar with Mammy Walsh. I hope others will enjoy this too.

Introducing Mammy Walsh, mother, wife, home-maker, troubleshooter. She won’t dress it up, she won’t tone it down. Mammy Walsh tells it like it is.

Hello everyone, my name is Mammy Walsh. Send me in your problems and I’ll do my best to help. Now, just so as you know, I haven’t had any official training. Instead I have learnt at ‘the university of life’ – in other words I have five daughters who, at various times, have been a heartscald to me. My eldest, Claire, she was always a bit wild, but she got married and got pregnant and I thought she was all set up until that scut of a husband of hers ran off on her the day she had her first child. I mean, it all worked out in the end but at the time it was no fun, let me tell you.* Then the middle daughter, Rachel, decides she has a drug problem and has to go to this rehab place that cost a bloody fortune.† Myself and Mr Walsh could have gone on the Orient Express to Venice and stayed in that Chipper-iani place for a month for the same money. Then, and this was the biggest shock of all, Margaret, the only good daughter, does a runner on her – admittedly, dull as ditchwater – husband and hightails it to Los Angeles where her pal Emily lives.** Anna, the second youngest, was always a bit of away in the head. To be perfectly honest I thought she had a bit of a lack. But it just goes to show because, after years of being useless, isn’t she after getting a great job in New York, working for a cosmetic house. You’ve probably heard of them, they’re a ‘hot’ brand called Candy Grrrl and me an the rest of the girls get a rake of free stuff, often before they’re even on sale in the shops. We’re all very proud of her, even though it’s still a bit hard to believe. And Helen, the youngest, she was another one that was worse than bloody useless but now she’s after getting a great job too. She’s a private investigator, ‘a private eye’ we sometimes call he, or ‘a PI’. (Or ‘a pain in the backside’ Mr Walsh is telling me to put in, although that’s just his little joke.) Sometimes, when she’s very busy, she begs me to go ‘on stake-out’ with her and if it’s not my bridge day, of course I do, because I don’t like to let her down. Twice I’ve helped her break into people’s apartments and look for documents and yokes, and I’m telling you something, you wouldn’t believe the dirt of other people’s houses when they’re not expecting visitors. Of all my daughters, Helen probably has the best job – apart from the night that someone threw a brick through our sitting-room window during EastEnders to ‘put the frighteners’ on her.

Q. Dear Mammy Walsh, I am writing to you because I have no one else to turn to. I think my wife is having an affair. We’ve been married only seventeen months, but five times in the last month there have been tyre marks in our drive that aren’t from my car. They might be from a Saab. (I drive a Ford Mondeo.) Then I found a small piece of foil wrapper under my pillow which looks like it belongs to a condom packet, but not a brand I use. Also my next-door neighbour has taken to looking at me very sympathetically, like someone had died, and he has never been that pleasant before now – he didn’t invite my wife and me to his homebrew evening. I really love my wife and this suspicion is doing my head in. I’ve asked her straight out if anything is going on, but she has denied it. What should I do?

David, Dublin

A. Dear David from Dublin, you’re in luck. I can indeed help you. My youngest daughter, Helen, is a private investigator and she specializes in just this kind of work. I believe her rates are quite high, but this is because she is amoral and has no fear of breaking the law. However, I can ask her as a favour to me if she’ll knock a couple of euro off. She gets great results; she sets up cameras in bedrooms and catches people up to all kinds of shenanigans. Also she hides in garden hedges and photographs people going in and out of houses. I wish she wouldn’t do this, she’s always catching throat infections and I’m the one who has to listen to her whingeing. She also happens to be very ‘good-looking’ and men are forever falling in love with her; there’s a chance that you might too and the situation with your wife would no longer matter. It’s only fair to tell you, however, that in such an eventuality, Helen will still charge you.

PS I spoke to Mr Walsh and he tells me that Saabs are very good cars, much better than Ford Mondeos. Actually he said Saabs were ‘sexy’, which I find highly annoying. Everything has to be ‘sexy’ these days. Tell me, how is a car ‘sexy’? Bottoms are ‘sexy’ (or can be). Eyes are ‘sexy’. Not white couches or risotto or indeed cars… Sorry, I lost my train of thought there, where was I? Oh right, Mr Walsh says – and I can only apologize if this sounds harsh but I’m just passing on what he said – he said if he was a woman he’d sleep with the man in the Saab.

Q. Dear Mammy Walsh, I wonder if you could advise me. I have a boyfriend whom I love very much. We’ve been seeing each other for over two years and recently we moved in together. Last night he told me that his parents, who live in Nottingham, are coming to spend the weekend with us. This is really not a problem, the problem is that he says his mother will expect me to cook a large roast on Sunday, and I am a vegetarian. I find meat disgusting, and the thought of even touching it makes my skin crawl. However, my boyfriend is quite insistent that I must do this; his mother won’t approve of me if I don’t, he says. What should I do? Should I insist that he cooks the roast lunch and pass it off as my efforts?

Angie, London

A. Are you off your skull? Do you want your flat burnt to the ground? Men are hopeless in the kitchen, everyone knows that. No, you need to cop on to yourself and knock off that vegetarian nonsense. My middle daughter, Rachel, was a vegetarian for a while, but she was only looking for notice. Then she became a drug addict and tried to kill herself and was able to stop being a vegetarian because she got all the attention she needed. The thing is, Angie, that meat is delicious, there is no point in a dinner without it and you need it to get iron and other essential nutrients. Otherwise, you’ll get ear infections and dropsy, and who’ll end up running up and down the stairs minding you? That’s right, your mammy. Start with some chicken – Marks and Spencer do some very tasty all-in-one dinners – and before you know it you’ll be on the fillet steak!

Good luck!

* You can read about it in Watermelon.

† You can get the gory details in Rachel’s Holiday.

 ** You can get the full story in Angels.

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⏰ Last updated: Feb 06, 2013 ⏰

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