So there we were at Malahide Castle; ancestral home of the Talbot family. Photography of the fantastical centuries-old furnishings and portraits are strictly forbidden so when we left the castle interior, I sprang like a cat to snap anything I could. While photographing the arched gate-cum-portculis (complete with a mini door for the Puck, the castle ghost, to pass through), I heard a roar:
“Take a picture of me!”
I moved my eye from the viewfinder and saw a little boy clad in a green sweatshirt. A quick glance around the castle walls showed that he and I were alone.
“Come on!” he cried, pulling himself up onto a stone ledge, his arms crooked like a prize fighter’s.
“Okay.” I stood back to include as much of the castle turret as I could into the frame.
“Wait. Annie!” At his call, a little girl scampered onto the wall from behind a topiary shrub. “Come on, then!” A third child – older, wearing a red sports jersey – dived into the shot.
“Okay, guys. One, two, three.”
The children grinned and the flash went off. They congratulated each other heartily and scrambled off the wall, preparing to vault into the walking trails, I assume, to find their parents.
“Thank you!” said the boy in the green sweater as they dashed past me. Had I really done him a favor? I wondered if it had occurred to him that he’d never get to see the picture.
I remembered a solitary trip I took to Rome 4 years ago. My mission: to duplicate a photo of my 9 year-old self standing in front of La Bocca Della Verita. At the site, my camera battery conveniently died but a kind Spanish couple took a photo of me with their own camera. We exchanged e-mail addresses and within a couple of weeks, they sent me the shot. It, and the old picture that inspired it, are still two of my favorites.
It’s too bad that those kids won’t get to enjoy the picture taken of them in front of Malahide Castle that day – although I’m sure their parents took plenty and that my shot, taken at dusk, will be much worse than the ones in their parents’ collection. Nonetheless, I’m sure they’d like to see it. I haven’t got their e-mail address and I somehow doubt they’re avid expat blog readers, but just in case:
After all, stranger things have happened.