It’s Week 70 and we’re back under canvas for the second summer in a row, and while I might be double jabbed, that meant nothing to the attacking midges
• IT was kind of a week of two halves for me, the first was bathed in endless sunshine and the second was a bit of a damp, squelchy mess. Guess which half we chose to launch the tent for Summer 2021 in that most exotic of destinations known as ‘the garden’? Answers on a postcard. The first right one gets a Southern Star umbrella. There’s a cryptic clue hidden in there.
• As soon as we had the tent up I was triggered right back to last summer … in the words of Celine Dion it was ‘all coming back to me now.’ I imagined her belting out: ‘There were nights when the wind was so cold,’ and I’d come in with ‘and the mornings so hot you could hardly blink with dehydration.’ I might need to work on the tempo a bit but you get the picture. The weather wasn’t the only thing a bit off, so was my timing for a weekend under canvas as it was also when I got my second jab. I’d heard that lots of people felt a bit rough after their second Pfizer vaccine so I had actually been fantasising about legitimately taking to the couch, or even the bed for a bit, but I was robbed clean of that opportunity and literally had to carry on camping. I probably should have known it was all going to be a bit challenging when the day before I looked out the window and a solo magpie was sitting on the garden table smirking in at me.
• I actually don’t mind camping. Not that much. I mean I’d prefer a night in The Europe, but there you go. What really gets to me though is the zips, and the endless zipping. You’d be just settling down for the night on the three inches of airbed your offspring had left for you when one of your co-campers pulls a zip up, and then a zip down. And on it goes, until you’re begging for them to zip it. And then just when silence descends that thought creeps in. The one where you think you might need the loo. And try as you might to convince yourself it’s just your imagination, you can’t ignore it. There’s nothing for it, but to zip up…. Oh blessed Jesus. But I do love it honestly.
• While the tent definitely triggered me, I don’t really remember that much about last summer to be honest. That’s probably just as well as I think it was a bit hit and miss for lots of us. I’ve no problems recalling summers of old, all of course with rose tinted glasses. We had this thing in our family where we’d go the end of the driveway (it wasn’t very long), and our dad would ask ‘right or left?’ and we’d take it from there. He had a weakness for roads with grass going up the middle and we’d spend hours driving up and down lanes and boreens, only to emerge, hours later, back on a road around three minutes from where we started. And then we’d make a mad burst for our destination which was usually Killarney. Once we cut it a bit too fine and everything was booked out. It was getting late (like 11pm late), and some pub owner in Annascaul took pity on us and allowed us stay in a caravan in his garden. At the time I couldn’t understand why my mother was a bit cool with him for the next day or two, but yeah, I can totally get that now. I nearly have to have my dinner order in before I’ll contemplate leaving the safety of my home and I have the breakfast room service order filled out before I even unpack.
• On a completely different subject, I’m a big fan of those catalogues that come usually with the Sunday papers, advertising the coming week’s bargains in discount supermarkets. It’s just the looking bit that I enjoy, and I usually exercise enough restraint to stop myself buying another extension lead, potting shed, ladder, tool bench etc to put with all the others. I usually indulge my guilty pleasure with a quick peep before tossing it into the recycling. This week, the five-year-old intercepted it and got eyes on a monster of a pool that was hitting shelves for a pretty monstrous price that Sunday morning. She pledged to pay for it herself, to be good for a year (I won’t even go there), and over the coming days she wore me down so much that I eventually caved. So I’m now the owner of a gigantic, unenvironmentally friendly plastic pool that requires constant adult supervision, is potentially breeding all sorts of nasty parasites , takes up most of the back garden and is a nasty blight on the landscape. Apologies neighbours (although a small part of me is just a bit sore that I’m too big to hop into it myself).
•It’s probably enough though for me to be feeling a bit deflated by all this Delta talk, and wondering where we’re headed. Let’s hold our nerve and keep up our guard. As it happened I felt completely fine after my second vaccine, but what got me were some nasty insect bites. Bugger that.