Posted by: smithdavid | March 18, 2012

The Purple Turtle

I jam on the brakes just in time. Again. Another red light. That’s five out of the last five that have gone against me. Even though I know it’s futile, I urge it to change. Because a few seconds are going to make all the difference!

I’m thinking of everything I still have to do when I get back to site. It’s going to be a long afternoon. And evening. But I need to get the wetsuit repair kit – we’re going to Lahinch tomorrow and it’s November and the water will be cold and it will fly into the Purple Turtle in its current state.

Sure I’ve left it late – it’s over two weeks since Emmet dropped the Turtle on my couch on a rainy Thursday evening. I thought there’d be plenty of time.

'...the last throes of garish Day-Glo...'

I tried the wetsuit on when he brought it. After much exertion Emmet had to help get it over my shoulders – an awkward moment.

‘This is nothing,’ said Emmet, ‘_____ had just moved into a shared house and had just got a new wetsuit. He wanted to time himself getting in and out of his suit – you’ll understand when you’ve surfed a bit – and thought it would go quicker if he put Vaseline on. So there he is, lathered up in Vaseline, wetsuit half on – and his new housemates get back…he didn’t stay there very long…’

The Purple Turtle wasn’t made for surfing – canoeing is its purpose. And it’s not a one-size-fits-most large wetsuit. No, this was custom made for Emmet by O’Dare wetsuits in Wicklow at the turn of the century (during the last throes of garish Day-Glo). Of course O’Dare no longer exist – I found this out in The Great Outdoors in Dublin when I went looking for a repair kit. And of course The Great Outdoors didn’t have a kit but could give me a tube of Black Witch.  And of course I realized that the Black Witch would never plug the gaping holes in the crotch and underarms of the Purple Turtle later. This is what led me to order a kit on-line, and the fact that it was too big for An Post to deliver to my apartment is what led me to be making the trip in the middle of the day to suit their opening hours. And that in turn led me to cursing a traffic light and the half-wit in front of me who hasn’t noticed that the colours have changed in the last half-second.

That evening I get home after ten – I got the kit but work dragged on. I read the instructions – leave for 24 hours before use. Eight on the radiator will have to do, I think as I patch the Purple Turtle.

We leave a little late the next day – it’s foursih by the time we make Lahinch – the car park is sparse and the sun has dipped beneath the horizon.  Emmet is in his Rip Curl in no time – I toil with the Purple Turtle. But we’re at the sea and the waves are crashing and we’re breathing in pure air and everything is good. Now all we have to do is surf.


  1. And did the purple turtle survive?

  2. you’ll have to keep following 😉

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