WOMAN ON THE VERGE: The highs and lows of an Irish summer

August 2nd, 2022 3:30 PM

By Emma Connolly

The summer is flying by at a fierce rate and the back to school ads have already started. If you fancy ending on a high, there’s a local charity bungee jump. I’ll be mainly on night watch for potential insect predators.

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We’ve hit the August Bank Holiday marker, and if you haven’t already run out of steam or money, or been eaten alive by nasty insects like me, summer 2022 is all still to play for

• I WAS full sure I had a case of monkeypox this week. Let me backtrack a bit. One evening we spotted this beetle, no joke it was the size of a small baby, loitering with intent on the wall by the back door, literally inches from gaining entry. I can’t be sure but I’d swear it was wearing shades and had a backpack. Now, the six-year-old is a lover of all creatures great and small and begged for his (I’m making assumptions here) mercy; but there was nothing for it, when her back was turned I sort of nudged him not-so-gently down the drain. I should have stuck around to be sure of his demise as I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that he was strong enough to rockclimb his way out (or text for help) and seek revenge. I imagined coming home from work the next day and he’d have moved in the family and changed the locks.

• Well, that wasn’t the case but I did wake up a few days later with some insanely huge bites on both my ankles. We’ve all had them after a holiday abroad or a camping trip (something about Irish skin) but these were epic. The photos I took wouldn’t have looked out of place in a medical journal – with an article about leprosy. The only person I could share the swollen, puss-oozing images with was my sister who isn’t at all an alarmist but she was so horrified she wondered if I’d got monkeypox. Naturally that sparked off frantic Googling, and lots of indulgent pondering if I actually was feverish (or if it was just the general mugginess that was in the air last week). Anyway I’m sure you’ll all be glad to hear it wasn’t the pox, although I still think the beetle had a hand in it. A few days later I spotted an exotic looking spider on a skirting board, but took care to put him carefully outside and point him in the direction of the main road. I wasn’t going to risk a further reprisal. Evolution is real. I think we need to watch our backs.

• There are lots of visitors around at the moment, aren’t there? It’s a case of now or never, I suppose. I saw a family of four Germans, mum, dad and two primary schoolgoing kids in my village the other day on a cycling holiday. It was one of the recent rainy days and I was tempted to ask them if they wanted to come home with me for a lie down, or to do a load of washing. Although to be honest, they seemed entirely unfazed by the drizzle and looked delighted with life. I even heard them enquiring in the local shop for a map. God bless their energy. Could they be on to something – embracing our country regardless of the weather? That definitely wasn’t the approach I took during last Saturday afternoon’s downpours when we headed straight to the cinema. Seemed like everyone else had the same idea too. Before the lights went down on Minions: The Rise of Gru (it was no Sing 2), I turned around and all I could see were rows of frazzled-looking adults and sugar-high kids, all trying to kill a wet afternoon. When the sun shines in Ireland during the summer it’s a no-brainer – pack the picnic basket and head to the nearest beach. On the other multiple drizzly, damp, rain sodden days there’s a bit more resourcefulness required, not to mention all the cash (or cashless) transactions at every turn. The afternoon in the stuffy cinema was in contrast to a blissful Saturday afternoon just two weeks earlier spent on a whale and dolphin watching boat trip when it felt like we had it all sussed. Sure it’s a great country if you could only put a roof on it. I can’t help but wonder how the poor Germans are doing!

• Some random questions that occurred to me this week: has every child in the county got a Cúl Camp tshirt at this stage; have we all had enough BBQs until next year; is it just me or are we scared we haven’t made enough ‘memories’ for summer 2022; but are we also a bit scared that we’ve blown our life savings (or the vast amounts of money we’ll need for home heating oil this winter) on trying to make the memories; after all the fuss and upset caused by AIB last week, do I need to bite the bullet and set myself up with Revolut; does anyone really use the automatic bread slicing machine in the supermarket; did we all hear the back-to-school ads on the radio and nearly get sick; is it too late to go next level and plan a swim around the Fastnet or something just as epic?

• Hold that thought. It probably is too late to take on the Fastnet, but instead you could take a leap of faith for some local charities. There’s a chance to take part in the country’s highest bungee jump off the stunning Coolim Cliffs near Courtmacsherry. It’s not for the faint-hearted but all funds raised go towards Courtmacsherry RNLI and the Cork City Hospital Children’s Club. I have to admit that even driving on the Ring of Kerry makes me absolutely freak out, but for the dare devils among us, it’s on August 27th and 28th. That would wrap up the summer on a high for sure. 

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