Well guys and gals and all those in-between, how the hell are you? I myself am splendid, and yes, you read that right. You know the craic with me: I’m usually a whingy auld bastard, and if there’s nothing to whinge about (to be fair, there usually is) I’ll think long enough until I come up with something. But this summer, bar the HELL that was when the Older Child had to isolate for the first few days, has been glorious.
In advance of the holidays, and with self-preservation at the forefront of my mind, I organised to wheel the kids into different summer schemes for most of the break. Yes, this is an extravagance, but booking yourself into the The Priory isn’t easy on the pocket either, and there’s where I’d have been headed if I hadn’t taken matters in hand. I thus consider the expenditure to be worth it, and I’m enjoying something of a holiday too and I’m not even cracking open the gin at 5pm every night either.
Beside myself with delight I have been, pretending I’m abroad. Last week saw me sauntering around Holywood while they’ve been at Tennis and Sign, and this week I’m in Ballynahinch while they hang out at a farm at Kinesdale Donkeys. The downside of this is the sustained campaign to adopt a couple of donkeys, a plan which the Small Child has all worked out. She is invoking me to make a proposition to the man who owns the field behind us, so we could buy part of it and build a paddock. She almost has me convinced, though LSB may be seeking a decree nisi at this rate.
It’s not a bad way to spend a mornings, pottering about wee towns that you normally just speed past. Last week I dandered around Seapark with the dog, ogling the houses on the seafront. (Jeez Louise, said LSB, and I thought YOU were posh.) I stood peering at the palatial residences, trying to work out which one belonged to Van Morrison, so I could lob so rotten fruit over the fence, because he’s such a cantankerous auld fucker.
Seriously though, seeing the cloudless skies and feeling an actual WARM wind kiss my shoulders, made me feel as though I was in Spain, and I felt that same frisson of excitement I get when I go step off a plane. That almost never happens here, and it was bliss.
This week I have discovered Blue Cedar Landscapes which is a garden centre slash coffee shop (could it BE* any more Presbyterian?) and I’ve been sipping lattes and eating raspberry and almond slices, while trying to motivate myself to write. It’s a grand place to install yourself for a couple of hours, because there’s no way I’m motoring back and forth everyday to Belfast. What on earth would that do to my environmental credentials? They are ever so nice here, and fill up my keep cup and refill my water, giving me a princely 10p discount for bringing my own container.
I’ve sought the shade and sat at a little wooden table, looking out at their terracotta planters of roses and clematis. A pot of crimson or cerise begonias adorns every table, and the same little robin has flitted over every day to see me. He’s the punk rocker of robins, with a few fluffy feathers which stick out on his back, reminiscent of Hardy’s thrush with his ‘blast be-ruffled plume.’ It’s been every so serene, even if you’re beside a crowd of auld dolls lamenting that Boris is ‘off his trolley’, (were truer words ever uttered?) and frazzled mums with hot and bothered toddlers. It’s always better when the children aren’t your own.
The best bit however, is that you can’t mop floors or fill the dishwasher when you’re out of the house. You can however, put a wash on before you leave, then text your husband and remind him to hang it out. He loves it when he sees my face pop up on his wee screen with such requests.
So there you have it folks. A rant free post. Stranger things have happened, (and fuck me they are, all around us with this freak weather we’re having.) But shoosh- I’m making hay right now, and and for a little bit, I’m going to enjoy it.
* Note the Chandler Bing intonation.