DIARY OF A DEMENTED HOME WORKER: Baby oil, bum bags and blistering heat!

July 25th, 2021 6:25 PM

By Emma Connolly

This week’s sweltering heat had me reminiscing of foreign sun holidays back in the day, when getting a tan (like Magda in Something Like Mary) was the be all and end all.

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DIARY OF A DEMENTED HOME WORKER: It’s week 72, the heat is getting to me and as I’m slow to take to the skies,  I’m remembering those sun holidays of yesteryear that are looking most attractive right now

• JEEPERS, you’d be half bate from the heat wouldn’t you? It seems a bit, well Irish, to be complaining considering the extreme weather conditions in parts of the world right now, but still. We’re a great nation all the same for not being able to cope with even the slightest deviation from damp and drizzle, so it goes without saying this week’s scorching temperatures had us in a bit of a lather. I know I shouldn’t say it but … it was nearly a bit too hot at times wasn’t it? And the flies? Don’t get me started.

• Once upon a time, and not that long ago either, I loved nothing more than putting in a whole day sizzling in the sun, turning on the hour every hour to ensure even coverage. Of course my décolletage (love that word, even if I can never remember how to spell it) hasn’t thanked me for it, and there’s a chance I may end up looking like Magda from Something About Mary, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

• I’m certainly old enough to remember slathering Johnson’s baby oil all over me (am shuddering even thinking of it now), and drenching my hair in lemon juice (did that even do anything besides attract every bee within a five mile radius?). But I’m not so old that I’d have thought it ok to balm out on a sheet of tin foil between two cars (horrifying, but an actual thing for a certain generation).

• I have to admit though I was a mega fan of the classic sun holiday, the cheaper the better. Remember eyeing up the deals in the travel agents window? You were either the type who put down their deposit early and had it all planned out, or winged it with something last minute. I was a bit of both, and to be honest I didn’t know where in the world I was half the time, except that it was usually around two hours out of Cork.

• Accommodation was always pretty ‘basic.’ Sometimes a bit scarily so. You’d arrive late at night, baking in the heat, and would hope to god the place would look better when you woke in the morning. It usually didn’t but you sort of rolled with it. I remember being in Kos and once our suitcases were in the room, we couldn’t actually all fit in at the same time. There were five of us but still. But when you’re young these are only little details getting between you and that all important tan.

• Dining out was always easy because restaurants were all pretty much the same, and very helpfully most had pictures on the menu if you needed any help understanding things like chips or … chips. We were picky enough though and avoided places that served an all-day breakfast, unless of course that’s just what was needed to sort ourselves out. The other gas thing was that we’d all go home raving about that one gorgeous fish restaurant we discovered, somehow forgetting we were an island nation ourselves and never touching it for the rest of the year.

• Of course one of the best things about the annual sun holiday was getting to wear all the slightly dodgy gear you mightn’t quite chance at home. I had a denim mini that used to get pulled out year after year, when it should really have been retired for good reason. In our defence though we never fell for the fake Burberry bags on sale in the local markets, but there are photos to prove we sported bum bags (sure how else would you keep your travellers cheques safe?).

• I was always the designated towel girl on the holidays, a responsibility I took very seriously. I’d be out at the dawn to book our sun beds for that day’s roasting. I was usually even ahead of the Germans, who were gracious enough to look impressed by my speed and stamina. They’re sound like that.

• Of course you wouldn’t be going to these places for the cultural attractions which was just as well as not even one of the Seven Wonders of the World would have been enough to lure me from the pool (unless it was outdoors and I could continue my tanning). Remember how you’d meet your holiday rep in the ‘foyer’ (loose description) of your accommodation and she’d try to sell you trips to a safari park (regardless of where you were), or a boat trip (I was always on board for that – sea breeze for the tan), or a ‘traditional evening’ where they’d load you all on a bus, serve you local cuisine (with chips and rice), washed down with a local liquor (that would start a tractor)? Funnily enough, all happy memories.

• West Cork is beautiful, stunning, tasteful and all things lovely but for some reason I’d flipping love a few days in a spot like that now, the more chav-tastic the better. I have my Covid-papers and I can travel but given the uncertainty of the situation right now, I’m staying put. In the meantime though, if you see me in the denim mini you’ll know the heat is really after getting to me!

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