DIARY OF A DEMENTED HOME WORKER It’s week 85 and, with escalating Covid cases, along with Hallowe’en and the upcoming mid-term break, I’m feeling properly spooked
• IT’S been pretty unsettling this week to have Covid numbers and talk of potential restrictions back in the national conversation again, hasn’t it? For many, of course, it has never stopped, but by and large, for lots of us the pandemic had ceased to be front and centre in our minds every day. It was a bit of a frightening reality check to hear that it is too early to declare the pandemic officially over here just yet.
• Anyway, is anyone else feeling a tad misty-eyed, or a touch nostalgic for this time last year? Remember, when Hallowe’en was cancelled due to Covid? Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be joining the crowds and making the trip to the Scarecrow Festival in Leap alright, try and stop me. It’s just everything else I’m a bit allergic to, like decorating the house and trying to figure out trick or treating when you live in the countryside (the high viz jacket sort of kills the buzz, and the costume). Of course, anyone with small kids will know the scariest thing about this time of year is when they’re allowed to dress up on the last day of school before mid-term. It’s a proper horror show. They’ll have spent a solid two weeks getting into character as a bat/zombie/princess witch whatever, and you’ll have got them kitted out accordingly. You do the dutiful thing and get up a bit earlier to do the face painting while also trying to control expectations about the finished look (I’m not sure when my daughter thought I had time to do that course in special-effect make-up, especially when I can’t even manage eye liner, jeepers like, give me a break), and then it comes. They go all Chuckie-like and say they’ve changed their mind, they want to be a ‘zombie cheerleader’ instead. There’s nothing for it but to bundle everyone into the car, drive as fast as you (legally) can, throw the bat/zombie in the direction of the school entrance and let the poor teacher deal with the fallout (chances are he or she has already been through it already at home, poor sod). The only thing scarier is Book Day. God be with the days when we had to make do with a mask made out of a cereal box, tied with a bit of wool (which never kept it in place) and something fashioned out of a bin bag (basically just a bin bag). In other Hallowe’en news, I panicked and bought the pumpkins and toxic trick or treating jellies too early; the pumpkins now look past their best and so do I, after eating all the jellies. Don’t judge me, I feel ashamed enough already. Also, is it weird that I’ve only just realised that it’s ‘barm’ brack and not ‘barn’ brack? Surely it can’t just be me?
• The only thing in shorter supply than antigen tests right now is tickets for the Opera House Panto. They went on sale last week and the rush was epic. For a time it looked like the only seats I could get were in early December, when we wouldn’t yet be in the zone (oh no we wouldn’t) or in the new year when we’d be over it (oh yes we would). I absolutely love the panto. We always went as kids, and going all the way ‘to Cork’ was a massive adventure. The late and brilliant Billa (‘you dirty eejit’), getting the tubs of ice cream at the interval with those little wooden spoons, and falling asleep on the way home, are all good memories. Anyway, thanks be to the Lord I eventually got tickets on a vaguely acceptable day, but you know when a cast member will inevitably at some point say ‘he’s behind you!’ Yeah, well we won’t be falling for it, because we’re literally up in the last row. I’ll remember to pack the altitude sickness tablets.
• The weather is totally nuts, isn’t it? I’m permanently feeling really hot, and not in a ‘hot, hot’ way, but in an unpleasant, boiling sort of way. My wardrobe in general is a bit tragic, but I’m very strong on coats. And the glorious thing about coats is that they cover a multitude of sins lurking underneath (you can even dispense with wearing a bra if you feel like living dangerously). If it would only drop below 15 degrees, I’d be laughing.
• I know you’re all dying for an update on my mites – go on, admit it! Right, numbers seem to be reduced so I’m feeling hopeful, but I’m not out of the woods yet. I’m told these creatures feel a bit frisky when it’s nice and cosy, so I’m dialling down the temperatures in a big way (another reason I want the mercury to drop) and am hoping it will be a case of ‘not tonight love, it’s just too cold.’ Anyway I came home the other evening and my husband had the stove blasting in what was our first fire of the season. Ordinarily it would have been a lovely touch, but I nearly lost the plot, flinging open windows and doors. There was a bit of a chill in the air for everyone after that, to be fair.