I have a £800 Nikon strung over my shoulder and a JVC camcorder around my neck and I’m prayin’ to Mary that I don’t slip on the cobbled stones of Penrose Quay into the Atlantic waters while I'm here to make a video.
Those colourful boats on my Vision Board (top left) have been working their Irish magic again. Only a few months ago they took me on an all-expenses paid trip to a rural suburb of Dublin as a visiting “tour guide”. This time they've led me to Cork for a week.
I’m working on a building site in a cleverly reclaimed wharf, accompanied by two engineers. It was never supposed to be a building site but work is so far behind schedule that I’m surrounded by men of all trades doing their thing. It’s dirty, noisy and fascinating.
I've never worked alongside men who use their bodies and hands each day. I'll be honest and say I held a prejudice there would be a lot of testosterone flying around and vying for position in the hierarchy. What struck me more was the courtesy and respect shown by the men towards each other.
The only firework moment was when a man pasting vinyl didn’t realise the touch-activated shower on the wall behind it was switched on - and it drenched him. His swearing in a Cork accent, incomprehensible at the best of times, was really more entertaining than scarey.
I was on my feet for 8-9 hour days filming. So were the engineers I was accompanying to install the two float rooms.
It went through my mind how satisfying it must be to make something and see it materialise before your very eyes, channelling all that masculine energy into it rather than just being sat behind a desk every day.
Meanwhile I was very grateful to be able to retire to a comfortable, elegant spa hotel and peel off my dusty clothes to relax and freshen up.
This is a float room (right) by the way. It's a private, ambient bath tub where you lay on your back in silence, darkness too if you prefer, suspended on a dense Epsom Salt solution - a bit like floating in the Dead Sea.
For the past three years I’ve worked part-time for the market leader selling their float rooms around the world. The UK, Holland, Canada, USA, New Zealand and Australia are the biggest markets. I even attended a Float Conference in Oregon last year; it's a growing industry.
The people who gravitate to this business are inclined to be spiritual by nature and have a desire to foster that in others. I enjoy encouraging them to establish their havens of floating tranquility where they can let go of all the stresses, tensions and worries of life for an hour at least. For those of you who've worked with me will know how well this sits alongside my own modus operandi.
How did my floating life transpire? Just over three years ago my practice was fledgling while I was slowly emerging from the roughest, toughest period in Mary Nondé recorded history. At that time I attended a Tango dance lesson and found myself paired with an Aussie. When I heard he was a business owner, I asked whether he knew of anyone who could offer me part-time work. He wasn’t looking but he liked the sound of what I could do. No CV, no interview. Just a month’s trial - and I've been working for them ever since.
Yes, there's a woman floating on my Vision Board below! I made this board before the floatation company came on my scene six months later. Up until then I'd only floated once at a Spa. She was a premonition for sure, alongside the three photos of the ocean and including the bed-on-the-rocks beside the sea (to dream for), and Daniel Craig walking towards me.
So here's the craic. The floatation company I've been working for is called Ocean Float Rooms. It's like having a bed by the sea.
And the owner has the body and stature of Daniel Craig, as far as I can tell.
Warm and ambient wishes, Mary
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