Earlier this week I left the 52 degrees of Qatar and looked forward to arriving home to a nice damp 17 degrees with a drizzle. It wasn’t to be, we pulled into the coach station to a splintering 29degrees and not a promise of rain.
As we reluctantly discarded our fleecy hoodies which we have been looking forward to cosying up in all year, the sun bore down on our shoulders, as if it had followed us from Qatar and was silently saying, ‘you can never escape me, ever’. Looking up to the sky for the hint of a cloud but none in sight, I resigned that we would have to make the most of it, the reality being that it was surely a pet day, but alas it was not, it was set to last the week!
You might think that coming from Qatar that a heatwave in Galway would be a piece of cake but not altogether so. While 29 is no 52, it is still a consideration, at 25 you can pull out the paddling pool, at 29, you need to keep the young kids in shade, at 25 you have a picnic at 29 you can’t. That’s the technics of it, the other side and real issue I had that is that not having lived in Ireland for nearly 10 years and not experiencing weather like this in Ireland since the summer of 1995, I didn’t know how to ‘be’ in the sun in Ireland anymore.
In Qatar, we’ve it off to a fine art, below thirty, you get out in parks, playgrounds and feed the ducks in the man-made lake on the man-made landscape surrounded by a man-made cushioned running track. Most of everything is in either in shade or in AC so it’s no issue. In between all that, we live in the swimming pool, below 30degrees the pool is heated, over 45degrees it’s chilled so its an all-year-round activity.
But this week in Ireland there was no AC, no outdoor swimming pool, no shade over the metal slide in the playground and no serviced cabanas for rent on Silver Strand.
Not often at a loss for a plan, I found I was stumped this week. Thirty years ago I was making daisy chains in the back garden in Claregalway. Twenty years ago, a week like this would have incurred a unofficial beer garden down Quay Street, a long neck bulmers, a mini-skirt and the tight feeling of sunburnt shoulder after the sun goes down. Ten years ago it would have been a hill walk around Maam, followed by a long lunch of some kind of chargrilled chicken salad with a chilled glass of pinot grigio on the terrace. But today, age and circumstance has taken their toll. There will be no beer garden and the only long neck in sight with be a baby bottle of Aptimal. Forget pinot grigio on the terrace with kids in tow, no-one wants to see Chickatees crunched into the decking or the sound of a football repetitively hitting off the wall. The beach has no respite for junior, playground no shade, restaurant no kids area, shopping centre no outdoor area, there was no-where to be! Back to the daisy chains of youth… and the back garden, which had gained more inflatable toys by the day until it looked like page 1572 of the Argos Catalogue.
Thing is, when the weather is glorious it instigates a bit of excitement, we feel we need to do something to make the most of it, but it seems the sunny spell singles out the men from the boy or in this case the girls from the women, because when you whittle down the options, crossing off the beer gardens of your twenties and fancy terraces of your thirties the best thing to do is bring half the house outside and spent the week in the back garden, and you know what as the days pass, turns out a day in the back garden in back garden in Claregalway in your knickers and bra is ten times more fun than prancing around Jumeriah beach in a Jennyfer thong. Forget expensive sun loungers and cabanas and bring on the daisy chains, because just like the heatwave, it won’t last forever.