You know those white houses with pillars on them?

ImagePhoto: The Guardian

City centre yesterday, eating a burger. Two girls at the table beside me, and I thought, one aspect of the world that shaped Maeve Binchy’s sensibility is back: the enterprising young Irish girl who goes to London and makes a success of it. Ireland is falling apart, no jobs, but for our heroine there’s nothing for it but to apply for everything and take what she gets.

The two girls were twenty-one, twenty-two. This girl was telling her friend she had applied for a load of jobs. “And then I got a phone call one morning. I didn’t have a clue who it was. You know, when you apply for a load of jobs you should keep track of what you’ve applied for. So I was all, yes, and yes.” Someone was calling from London. An estate agent. They wanted her to be their junior acquisitions manager. Even the title was something Maeve would use. Her job would be to scope out new sites, get planning permission, see that the legal work was done. All her friends were already gone. That went for both of them. Anyone left was going to be gone by May.

Someone was living in a house in Fulham. “It’s picturesque. You know those white houses with pillars on them? Their apartment is on the top floor. Lovely sitting room. Lovely bedroom, but the bathroom is bigger than the kitchen…I can stay with them till I get myself sorted…And I get a car!” “You are joking,” the friend says; “you’ll have to find a house with parking…”

Continue the story: Fall in love with a rogue – be dropped by the rogue – set mind to work and wholesome pastimes – get promotion – make success of career – have to return home to care for relation – meet man of dreams – by which time Irish economy has recovered – set up own estate agent firm in Ireland – happiness

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