Roll up, roll up, it’s week 76, the circus came to town, my losting battle with flies continued and I’m worried I didn’t pack enough ‘fun’ into my annual leave
• At this point in the summer I’m staring to feel a little resentful that I’ve spent 80% of my life savings on ice-pops for small people and the other 20% on stuff to make up for the fact that 50% of these ice-pops end up on the ground within 10 seconds of landing in their little hands (Twisters are the most hazardous, Icebergers less so). I’ll admit my interpretation of the ‘five second rule’ can be a bit loose (I’ve pushed it out to at least 35 seconds with no adverse reactions), but with outdoor diners looking on, ready to judge me if I scoop up the fallen treat from a filthy footpath, I feel I have to tow the line. Anyway, just when I reckon I’m done with Summer ’21, a back-to-school ad comes on the radio, some smartass points out that it’s only 18 weeks to Christmas, and a recipe for pumpkin pie pops up on my social media feed. Era, who needs savings? The choc ices are on me!
• It seems like everyone has their ‘out of office’ notice on this month. You wouldn’t want to be trying to get anything done in a hurry, but sure what about it. I had some lovely time off myself. At the start of the fortnight I couldn’t help but fret that my precious, much-looked-forward-to days were slipping by too fast, and we weren’t doing ‘enough’, (tell me I’m not the only one who struggles with a touch of holiday anxiety?) but then I found my stride … and then it was time to go back to work. There you go. When I first started working, I couldn’t fathom how my older colleagues would live for their two weeks annual holiday. There’d be a protracted countdown, and a huge build-up and then the inevitable downer when they were back at their desk. What a waste of a life, I smugly thought to myself. You can surely fit fun into every day! Yeah, now that I’m older I totally get how you tend to reserve ‘fun’ for days off, and try to cram a year full of adventures, memories (and sleep) into your annual leave (while also catching up on essential life admin, deep cleaning the house and having a dental check-up). It’s all part of being an adult, I suppose. Anyway what I’ve decided I’ll do is try to blur the lines a bit between ‘a bit of fun Holiday Emma’ and ‘absolutely no fun at all Work Emma.’ I’m going to try to become a hybrid version of me! I’ll keep you posted.
• See the OPW are looking for a head gardener for Garinish Island? What a pet job for the right person. We actually visited the island while I was off. It was my first time there in years and I had forgotten just how gorgeous it is. The short ferry trip over from the Blue Pool was just magical, passing by seal island, taking in Glengarriff Castle and Maureen O’Hara’s former house which is up for sale. Glengarriff itself was absolutely buzzing too. I’d totally recommend it for an easy afternoon out. And of course now I want to re-do my garden, complete with a Martello tower and Grecian temple!
• Anyway, whoever had the job of marketing the drive-in circus that was in West Cork last week, I have to say did a fantastic job. Top marks. Great effort. Every highway, byway, back road and boreen I travelled on had a poster announcing the show. There wasn’t a lamp post from Timoleague to Drimoleague or Bandon to Ballydehob that was left unpostered. And that’s exactly why, last Friday night, I found myself parked up ring-side with the five-year-old and her seven-year-old cousin. I had warned them in advance we wouldn’t be buying a single thing (we were those cheapskates that came with our own popcorn), but of course within five minutes of arriving we were all so giddy with excitement we were tucking into candy floss (which is a bit like garlic cheese fries: lovely while you’re eating it, but it makes you feel like death five minutes later). There were cute performing dogs, gas looking geese that went down a slide, and our own favourite, Spider Man. It was a great show, even if at one stage I thought I might have a burst ear drum
(instead of clapping we all had to beep our horns to show our appreciation. That one did wear a bit thin alright I’ll admit). The five-year-old has now decided she wants to work in a circus when she grows up. New, Fun Emma is on board with the idea.
• I’ve held off so far this summer on ranting about flies, but I’m afraid I’m at breaking point. Haven’t they been beyond odious for the past few weeks? And very clever, too, the way they skulk about on dark window frames, and hide in crevices to dodge the swat. I’m convinced they’ve evolved and are plotting some sort of evil takeover. One particular evening I took out quite a few in a bloody massacre, and then found myself under attack by the lone survivor who would swoop in under the desk and bite my ankles. Horrifying. Then, the other night, I was just sitting down to watch TV (The Serpent on Netflix. Quite watchable if you haven’t already seen it) when one of those blue bottles started buzzing around me. Torture of the rarest form. I got him in the end, but he put up a good fight. I could go on, I could devote an entire column to my dislike of flies, but that would probably be a bit weird (or would it? If anyone wants to keep the conversation going, email me!).
• Finally, as if middle-age spread wasn’t bad enough, turns out we now have to deal with middle-age shrinking. Researchers in Sweden and Denmark found that middle aged women suffer height loss as they grow older. There’s more – it’s linked to a greater risk of early death, particularly cardiovascular disease. Nothing for it but to take the high heels out of retirement I suppose. And that’s about the long and short of it really for this week.