A holiday for me, roughly translated, just means that I can be a grumpy fucker outside Belfast too. You’ll know us, if you ever come across us on your travels, because we’re the crew looking perpetually bewildered. Always searching, rooting around in our bags, under tables, arses sticking out of the boot of our car. The pandemic has amplified the problem, because now we have masks and Covid vaccination cards to add to the mix. Most people, I am swiftly discovering, wear their masks up their arms in Galway. I keep thinking they are all stricken with a similar injury or are sporting bandages to cover up tattoos they now regret. I see the wisdom though, to stop them having to ferret about in their pockets or bags. I tempted to take up the ‘mask/arm band’ look myself to save me a lot of hassle.
This holiday I have been particularly fraught, and my packing was even worse than usual. This was so achievement, given that the children started packing mid-July. I didn’t dare get excited you see, since our first wee sojourn was cancelled at the start of the summer, when the Older One had to isolate. Crushed I was, when I saw them sadly returning their shorts and tee-shirts into the drawers. (Who am I trying to kid, they fired them onto the floor, it was I who put them in the drawers.)
So LSB neglected to bring flip flips and sunglasses and an extra pair of shorts. I got my denim skirt soaked when I blundered into the sea in Bundoran and a wave drenched me, so had to buy a pair of shorts myself. I also forgot that my period tends to arrive on holiday. First day and I’m like, what is that? Surely not- can’t even be three weeks since the last one. But no mistaking, there it was, complete with swollen belly, cramps and constipation. And not a pad or pair of period pants in sight.
‘There’s a pharmacy across the road,’ sighed LSB. ‘Off you go.’ The pharmacy, alas, had a disappointing selection of products. ‘I’ve just started today,’ said an assistant, when I inquired if they had any plastic free tampons. They didn’t. ‘I literally in the door, like five minutes ago,’ said the girl, so off I went, regaling her with the environmental benefits of period pants. ‘Wuka, they’re called,’ I informed her. ‘W-U-K-A.’ In through the door came the owner. ‘I’ll sort you out at the till,’ he says. ‘Have you heard of period pants?’ I ask him. ‘They’re brilliant.’
‘I haven’t heard tell of such a thing,’ he says, shoving my purchases into a paper bag with an alarming rate.
‘There’s a woman up the road makes pads,’ comes a voice from the back of the shop, ‘she has a website.’
‘You should sell those in your shop,’ says I. ‘I would have bought them. Today.’
‘Right you are then,’ says the man. The children are beside me, dying a slow death.
Two days later, I discover a Super-Value about two hundred metres up the road. ‘Check this aisle out,’ says LSB, ‘you’ll love it’. He’s right, there’s a whole display with a rake of eco-friendly products, period stuff included. Bearna, it turns out, is the village you need when you’re after a Laundry Egg and a moon cup and plastic free inter-dental sticks.
Anyway, it was one of those periods which floors you, and you look, and feel like a sack of shite. Stricken thus, it is ill-advised to drink two glasses of NZ Sauvignon Blanc at lunchtime in Pádraicins Seafood Bar in Furbo with your bowl of mussels, especially if you don’t want to waste the rest of the beautiful afternoon because you’re fast asleep. I blame the beds in The Twelve. Way too fecking comfortable, and the perfect place to retreat when you feel rubbish.
Poor LSB- he’s waited all year for a holiday and a rest, when really, the poor fecker just needs a rest from me.