It’s week 98 and with a needle-phobic little one, getting the vaccine was never going to be without a good deal of drama, even with a McDonald’s and a trip down memory lane thrown in!
• I WAS in Cork on Sunday for the five-year-old’s Covid vaccination. I hadn’t actually been to the city since early summer and had been really looking forward to it. It was going to be a lovely girls’ afternoon out. Now, my side kick is pretty phobic about needles so I didn’t share the exact itinerary with her until we were on Patrick Street and making our way to the vaccination centre on North Main Street. She was under the impression we were on a trip up just to go to McDonalds. You have to love the innocence all the same. Anyway, my strategy didn’t go well. At all. Her initial response was to stage a sit down protest outside Penney’s. No one paid a blind bit of notice to us in their rush to get to the bargains (fast fashion on the way out? I think not). I managed to coax her as far as Paul Street where, through the tears, she somehow negotiated a toy shop visit, and by the time we eventually got to the centre in the old Dunnes Stores in the shopping centre I honestly wasn’t sure what I’d agreed to. And I was already sweating.
• The centre is just for kids and they were all really nice there, but if I could offer a word of advice to anyone who has yet to attend, it’s to dress light. The heat is unreal. Savage. Hotter than a swimming pool changing room, and we all know the hell of those. I was obviously a bit extra bothered and was trying every trick in the book from the softly softly approach of ‘c’mon now you’re well able for this,’ to a slightly more threatening ‘oh, I think I see some people from your class outside, don’t let them see you being afraid.’ In the end we had to resort to the tried and tested hold/jab technique. She got a sticker and a lollipop and behaved like it never even happened. I wasn’t worth a row of pins and of course bumped straight into someone I hadn’t seen in years, and could hardly manage a coherent sentence. As I’m every inch the cliché and doing Dry January, I couldn’t even console myself with a G&T that night, but I certainly hope our vaccinator did, as she earned it!
• Anyway, the toy shop was another ordeal. Now I’ve nothing against this well-known, and very large toy shop at all, except that I’ve never had a joyful experience there. Just saying. I think that for a kid, it’s the equivalent of me going to a restaurant where I’m given a 10-page menu (front and back), and after spending 30 minutes trying to choose between the beef and the fish I make a last minute and ill-thought-out switch for the pasta and then spend the rest of the meal regretting it. So the edited version saw the five-year-old hurtle manically from an electric motor bike (it was never going to happen), to glitter pens (I was ok with that), before randomly settling on a bow and arrow. At that stage neither of us felt like we’d hit the bullseye (even after a Happy Meal) and we hit the road for West Cork. What’s that they say about a Sunday well spent? I just hope enough people end up vaccinating their kids so that all that pain (mainly my own) will have counted for something.
• On the drive back down I couldn’t help but feel a bit nostalgic about more pleasurable trips to Cork from down through the years. I remember when we were small, the trip up was a huge deal, and the highlight was ducking down in the car going under the viaduct. I’ve also got a very vivid memory (and possibly a touch of PTSD) of getting lost in Roches Stores when I was around four. Is there anything scarier? Of course once we got a bit older it was all about the shopping and The Moderne (pronounced ‘Modren’) was Mecca in our search for jumpers down to our knees (extra bonus if they were reversible), big belts and those bubble skirts made popular by Pepsi and Shirlie. All in mint green too, going by my photos anyway. The Body Shop was also another huge draw to stock up on White Musk, the scent a whole generation of us wore for years. Either that or Sunflowers by Elizabeth Arden, or Anais Anais if you had been on a French exchange (I’m triggered right back to my boarding school dorm in Clon where, on any given morning, you’d be half choked by a noxious mix of all three).
• Someone asked me recently for suggestions for a good spot to meet for a coffee in the city, and I actually didn’t have a clue. Not a notion. Is The Green Door still there? I’m joking obviously! That was such a great spot though; and so was Mary Rose’s in the Queen’s Old Castle (remember when it was the height of sophistication to put a big dollop of cream in your coffee? I miss those days); the canteen style coffee shop upstairs in Roches Stores and Mandy’s? I felt a bit misty eyed for them all as we passed back under the viaduct. Although, the tears could have been down to the fact that we have to do it all again in three weeks’ time for the second dose of the vaccine. Pray for me.