We made it! After weeks spent huffing ‘n puffing and dithering over 99 or more reasons why we shouldn’t, a penny or something dropped, and Mary, with arms outstretched, palms upturned for greater emphasis, declared.
‘To Hell with it, we’ll go. Only God himself knows how many more years we have.’
And so, with dodgy hips, fluttering tickers, and unreliable plumbing systems, we headed off for a bit of sun. Back to our favourite spot.
At the airport, check in was akin to Killorglin during Puck Fair, but we managed. The steps to the plane left me feeling as if I’d climbed the south face of the Matterhorn, but again, we survived.
On our first morning as we waddled along the path to the beach, we wondered if any of our old friends had made it this year.
Indeed, they had. An eclectic cosmopolitan mix of old fogies greeted us with handshakes, cuddles, and kisses.
We plonked ourselves down and slathered on copious amounts of factors 30 to 50, knowing in all probability the damage had been done years earlier. On picking up the hint of a not unpleasant smell from bygone days, I looked over at my friend Jim. I couldn’t help but giggle as I watched him mix a tube of Wintergreen with sun cream and cover every exposed joint with the concoction.
‘Big game today,’ I asked.
‘Yeah, Champions League Final tonight,’ came the reply accompanied by an infectious laugh which appeared to originate in the depths of a well-nourished tummy.
As the days passed, conversation, needless to say, frequently interspersed the beach routine of sun, sea, stroll and snoring. For us lads, problems with the prostate and related dangly bits were discussed at length, but the greatest dilemma was our inability to no longer hit the golf ball further than 150yards.
Meanwhile, the girls exchanged stories, many joyful, others sad, of their children, grandchildren, and, in one case, great grandchildren.
We grazed constantly. Each couple bringing along a contribution, and we feasted on strawberries, cherries, slices of melon and mouth-watering mango. Someone said it looked like a teddy bears picnic, although in fairness, I think our group was more like a cross between Last of The Summer Wine and Dad’s Army.
The week flew, and we regretted not booking for longer.
On our last day, Jim announced he’d brought no food. Instead, on opening his cool box, he produced a bottle of champagne and a supply of plastic glasses. After popping the cork and doling out the bubbly, he raised his glass.
’A toast and a wish. Good health and hoping we all make it back again next year.’
And once again, we hugged, kissed and high fived. On noticing a tear or two, I decided a song was called for and belted out a verse or two of Always Look on The Bright Side of Life.
As other bewildered beachgoers watched this group of geriatrics waggle their backsides and sing with gusto, I glanced at my watch.
It was 9.35am!