Discover Christmas gifts we know they'll love

Introducing Ann Devine

Meet Ann Devine, a riddle, wrapped up in a fleece, inside a Skoda Octavia. Here, the woman of the hour from Ann Devine, Ready for Her Close–Up tells us a little bit about herself.


I’m 29 and a bit and the bit’s my own business. Although the ‘bit’ is getting harder and harder to ignore. They say now that we’re all supposed to be living longer so now I’m apparently still middle aged. My middle is definitely ageing.


Image of Ann Devine

My husband Denis is a grand solid man with a touch of devilment. He bought me an ice-cream below in Killarney and said ‘We might as well get married what do you think Ann?’ And I said ‘Go on so we will’. I mean we were going out a good while at the time. He didn’t just come up to me at the Mr. Softee.

We like the wildlife documentaries – me and Denis. We’d be watching out to see who on the Serengeti would remind him of a local. That’s like so-and-so says Denis about some fella he works with and the next thing the hippo would destroy the watering hole out of his own hole.

‘Who am I then?’ I’d say, ‘Don’t say hippo.’

‘Lioness’ says Denis straight away. But then in the next minute David Attenborough would show the lioness up to all sorts with ten lads with big manes. And that wouldn’t be my style.


I work as a carer for a big elder care company. I mind four people in the local area. There’s Neans who is a pure ticket. ‘Stick with me girleen she says to me. I’ll tell you where all the bodies are buried around here.’ Another is poor Johnny Lordan. A harmless man who’s main hobby was going out in his van to warn people with his headlights if the speed trap was on the road. ‘Flash’ Lordan, they call him. He’s alone, like all of them. A flighty wife ran off with a burglar alarm man. The poor man can get visibly excited when I’m changing the dressing on his leg. I tell him I don’t mind. I’ve seen worse. Or better says he!

My boss Tracy has been on lots of training courses and comes back from each one with a new pain for my arse. She wants everything put into the ‘system’. ‘You have to upload it Ann. There has to be an audit trail.’ Do you want me to put Flash’s visible excitement into the audit trail? I nearly say to her. I nearly say a lot of things.


I like popping into Leona’s local shop for the bit of local gossip. I use Lidl for the ‘big shop’. You couldn’t feed a house on Leona’s prices, but you’re not going to get much news up in Lidl with the speed of the items they’d throw at you. So I go into Leona’s to get the bare minimum that would qualify me to get a bit of gossip. A few scones maybe. I let on they’re the rarest of scones and you couldn’t get them anywhere else. Even though she buys them in Lidl and sells them on for twice the price.

I love getting the bag of chips at the chipper. If Nawaz is on he'll give me an extra scoop and then try and sell me a Dairy Millk.  


I hate red wine from the fridge. ‘What type a wine do you want Ann?’ asks Johnny in the pub. ‘Is it the cab sav? ‘Cab sav’ he says when he hands the wine over the counter to me as if he’s a connoisseur and the wine comes out freezing cold. Now I ask just for the bottle and I sit on it for a half an hour before drinking it and take sips out of Denis’s pint. We must look half-quare with one pint in front of us and me sitting on half an arse warming the wine, but I suppose people might think I’m odd anyway.

I don’t say anything outright about it of course. I remember complaining about too much garlic in a thing I got at the hotel one night and it was a year before they stopped mentioning it. ‘Is that too garlicky now Ann?’

My hair. I haven’t been able to do a damn thing with it since my Communion. And certainly no hairdresser around here is going to change that. So I always just ask them for a tidy. I play it safe with what I have. That’s my style.

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more