Over breakfast on our last morning at Ballycreggan, we chatted with another pair of guests - a mother (Maggie) and her daughter from Dublin. Their family had built Ballycreggan house back in 1903 and it was clear that Maggie felt a bit put out that it had fallen out of the immediate family's hands, but was somewhat appeased by the fact that she really liked Hannah, our proprietoress, the new owner and wife of one of Maggie's distant cousins.
Our conversation covered a lot of ground, but Maggie kept coming back to the meaning and purpose of her life. She kept insisting that “her life was her art” and told me she’d once seen an artwork that – at the time- she’d thought rubbish. Regardless and despite her sensibilities to the contrary, the piece stuck with her and had worked its way into her mind a number of times to become – more or less – her personal mantra. The work, done by a German artist had consisted only of the words “Ich bein” scrawled over and over onto the surface of the wall. However, in the years since she saw the piece, Maggie had modified the message somewhat...into Ich Bloody Bein – and from a simple statement almost into a battlecry.
Over the next several days and everytime we felt oursleves pushed, Jim & I said “Ich Bloody Bein” to each other (in as Irish an accent as we could muster, then laughed ourselves silly).