Wheels Within Wheels: The Making of a Traveller

Wheels Within Wheels: The Making of a Traveller

Dervla Murphy

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 1906011400

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In this beautifully written and searingly honest autobiography, the intrepid cyclist and traveler Dervla Murphy remembers her richly unconventional first thirty years. She describes her determined childhood self - strong-willed and beguiled by books from the first - her intermittent formal education and the intense relationship of an only child with her parents, particularly her invalid mother, whom she nursed until her death. Bicycling fifty miles in a day at the age of eleven, alone, it seems only natural that her first major journey should have been to cycle to India.

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intervals my mother would remark on the advantages of growing one’s own vegetables. Then my father would borrow some implements and might on the following Saturday be observed reclining beside a minute pile of cut brambles reading Plato’s Theaetetus or the latest Dorothy Sayers. Like myself, he lacked the urge to cultivate. Our genes have perhaps resisted change since the Age of the Gatherers. Although our new home was very nearly a ruin we tolerated it for the next twenty-one years. My mother

to the Ursulines in Waterford. I’m sure you’ll like them – they are the only nuns I ever really liked. Isolde and Niamh went to the Ursuline Convent at Forest Gate when we lived in London and they loved it. I know, of course, that they were day-pupils and how lonely you will be at first – but I know too that you have plenty of grit and backbone and that you’ll do your best to be happy when you know that the only reason you are being sent away from home is that your wonderful mother is an invalid

girl. That very evening she and I established the foundations of a comfortable, easygoing, dependable friendship. Our devotion to each other was deep, but undemanding, undemonstrative, unsentimental, almost masculine; and throughout the next two years we never once even came near to quarrelling. However, my new friend was of no help when I woke for the first time in my cubicle. I had slept well, but as I opened my eyes homesickness engulfed me. It was almost a physical sensation, like being

statutory shilling. Three years and three children later the young couple returned to Dublin, my great-grandfather having found the American way of life insufficiently civilised. For the rest of his life he practised civilisation by drinking too much port and collecting coins while his wife – an energetic and courageous woman – ran an Academy for (very) Young Ladies. As she had been illiterate on her wedding day her husband perhaps deserves some credit for having taken the trouble to teach her

might have made him a rich man. Nearby was a second-hand clothes shop where he quickly flogged his Sunday suit and bought threadbare trousers for a few shillings. The substantial balance, added to his original allowance, just about paid for Sismondi and his tram fare home. He arrived at Charleston Avenue in a state of advanced euphoria. But as he was also in his shirt-sleeves, and very nearly indecently exposed, it is not surprising that his wife failed to appreciate the Histoire des Républiques

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