First world problem alert, but do you want to know what is really pissing me off? Now it shouldn’t be a biggie, when you think of the atrocities worldwide and the ever-present threat of the virus (no matter what that f**king clampet Boris says, back to normal by Christmas MY ARSE), but what is annoying me is this week is WHAT TO WEAR. Let me elaborate.
If you go on holiday to Spain you pack a few dresses, your swimsuit and your trainers if you fancy a run. (Yes, I used to do that until lockdown snuffed out all desire to exercise). So here I am, in Northern Ireland where earlier, as I sipped a coffee on the Ormeau Road in the sun I was sweltered, but within 20 mins I was home and the breeze had the goose bumps on my bingo wings standing to attention.
All this outdoor living, it’s a whole new fecking pain in the hole, isn’t it? Normally, when entertaining, we sit inside because we’re Irish and that’s what we do. And it was fecking great because you only had the interior of your home to clean and your garden could be a right shithole because no one saw it. But now you have to tidy your kitchen, your bathroom AND the patio area, which for me is no easy feat when everybody and the hound are home and trashing the joint constantly. It is not, and never has been, my natural inclination to get a yard brush and sweep up nature’s debris before guests arrive but now it has to be a regular occurrence. Pebbles, leaves, dust, and a tiny dead shrew deposited by the cat, that’s the shit I had to deal with last night prior to friends arriving.
To return to my original point: there are many added complications when it comes to dressing for the season here. When entertaining al fresco, my attire of choice is an empire line maxi dress which conceals my portly tum, the evidence of my current penchant for cake. My choice of footwear would be my trusty Camper sandals which LSB bought me three years ago and are still in decent enough nick. But I can’t wear these can I, because I’d be f**king freezing. I don’t even think that Rhianna can get away with the socks and sandals look and I think we can all agree that she’s ‘some wagon,’ as the Derry wans would say. So last night, I had to don jeans, warm socks, my Converse, a top and then a light jumper on top of that. And as the night wore on, I needed to wrap a pashmina round my shoulders.
And this is AFTER I took a trip to Hillmount yesterday where I splurged. I bought, (and fecking near emptied my account in the process), a GAS HEATER FOR THE GARDEN. I have to tell you folks, I don’t spend that amount on things under normal circumstances. The usual way of things is buying from Action Cancer on the Ormeau Road and heaving stuff out of skips. (The children are beyond scundered with my current obsession with skip diving). But considering the money I’m saving by not going to Spain I concluded that by sinking the money into a heater I could instead enjoy a semblance of summer living here. I decided on a gas heater since I knew that I just couldn’t relax and have any craic at all if I also had to keep a fire pit going. I know they’re atmospheric and I’ll miss out on the crackle and the burning embers but I had to kill the poet within and go for practicality. Let’s be honest, nice as they are, fire pits are a flipping nuisance and you have to be watching them steady, and be flinging on logs all evening. There’s also the potential hazard of sparks flying out and singing the shins off your guests, or an annoying child clattering into it and burning their bottom. No, none of the above thank you; I’ve enough to be doing.
Back to last night and all my layers. The heater did throw out some warmth , but we have to face it, we are living in northerly climes here and gas heater or not, you have to cosy up with coats if you don’t want a foundering.
So tell me before I go, how are you all coping with this new outdoor life malarkey? Do you layer up with leggings under your long skirts, have you swapped your sandals for shoes and your frocks for fleeces? And sorry, but BORING BASTARD ALERT here, any hints you have for keeping the place tidy without losing your absolute mind then send them my way. I got a few good suggestions from a reader recently and I’m slowly managing to sort my shit out, the key word being SLOWLY.