Tuesday 16 April 2024

Never Mind the Weather by Eamon O'Leary, strong tea

 So far this year, we seem to have spent most of our time grumbling about the weather. Thankfully, that came to and end when grandchildren arrived to spend a few days with us over the holidays. Before suitcases were unpacked, and despite hail peppering the kitchen window like gunshot, the eight and four-year-olds, as excited as if it were Christmas morning, wanted to know.

‘Can we go to Rocky Bay tomorrow, Granda?’

It may seem daft for despite the ominous forecast, we struck off for our favourite spot around midday, the boot packed with wellies, footballs, numerous changes of clothes and lunch. Oh, yes, lunch! For there is nothing to match the taste of a sausage cooked outdoors.

Our luck was in for the tide was out. We’d acres of pristine beach to ourselves. Giant love hearts, all our names and the occasion – Easter 2024 were soon etched into the sand. The caves proved popular for hide ‘n seek and ideal for sheltering during the random showers.

We played football for ages with Granny and Granda on opposing sides. With no VAR, there were a few contentious decisions, but we resolved everything by declaring a draw.

With appetites whetted by the crisp air, I set about lighting the disposable BBQ. A wonderful invention and far removed from the days of the primus. These three-legged contrary contraptions required endless patience, paraffin, methylated spirit, a primus needle, and an abundance of good luck to get them going. Success was never guaranteed and the hissing sound when in full song could be scary.

As we set about devouring our sausage filled burger buns and drinking scalding cups of tea from the thermos, the sun made a welcome and prolonged appearance. With skewers in hand, the lads set about the all-important task of toasting marshmallows.

Our tummies satisfied, buckets and spades were used to prise periwinkles and clams off the rocks, and wishing to test the efficacy of his waterproofs, I’m told they are known as onesies, Archie lay in one of the rock pools. They worked although he weighed a ton and when with the sky turned charcoal grey we called time.

After gathering our rubbish and packing away the sodden gear, we headed for base camp. As two tired boys settled into their car seats and called.

‘Granny, can we come back tomorrow?’ I launched into the vocals with …Never mind the weather, never mind the rain, long as we’re together, off we’ll go again.

About the author

 Eamon's collection of humorous childhood memories entitled - I'm a Big Boy Now will be published later this year by Gill James and the team at Bridge House Publishing. He regularly reads his short reflections on RTE Radio ( Ireland's National Broadcaster). 
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