On the way to James’s Hospital this evening I sat down on the bench at the Fatima LUAS stop next to some guy in a tracksuit and hood. He, like me, was freezing cold. It was bitter cold afternoon, and it’s set to be an even colder night. I had no fear of being mugged or harassed at all for I am confident enough that my German Army surplus jacket sends out the right – or intended – vibe to any would-be assassin in the neighbourhood. So far this wardrobe choice has worked, if and when it fails me I will let you know or you’ll read it in my second obituary.

As is to be expected with Dublin’s public transport we had a ten minute wait for the next tram. If you know Dublin, you’ll know that this is more than enough time to walk between Fatima and James’s, but I was in no hurry and didn’t much feel like walking. He turns to me and says that he lives on James’s Street and that he hated this poxy area. Once we were chatting it became clear that the poxy area he hated was Fatima – the flats. He had to come up here because he was a travelling salesman… of sorts.

Now he was on his way back into the city to sell some more sleeping tablets. With the insomnia I suffer I was tempted to take him up on the offer. Only tempted, mind. Naturally I wanted to know where he got so many prescription drugs, so I asked, and I was taken aback to discover their provenance. There is this guy in a chemist’s shop, he says, who he buys them from. How naïve can I be? Of course the pharmacists – or some unscrupulous druggists – are selling them.


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