on being a grown up

There were huge queues for the U2 concert on Wednesday night. We were searched and swiped before going into the venue. A helicopter hovered over head; sirens and blue flashing lights were about. I was really uncomfortable.

But why? I’d been here before. I grew up during the time the army could and did stop and search anyone on the street. We were all searched going into shops, evacuated from buildings regularly for bomb scares. We heard the bombs and the gunshots. We had nothing on the scale of recent attacks, but music and fun were targets and many people were killed when they were out to spend time with their friends and family. Later in the evening, our experiences were recognised by U2 as they showed fabulous artwork by Oliver Jeffers on the screens.

u2 oliver jeffers

Northern Ireland is different now. Not different enough in its politics, but very different in its everyday.

But it wasn’t just the years away from heavy security that made me uneasy. I’ve changed too. Specifically, I’m a parent.

beach dancing


Spurs Fan and I huddled in the long queue and I wondered “Should we both be here?” Girls 1 & 2 were home alone. What if we didn’t make it back? Would anybody know to go to the girls? Who would wrap them up and love them? How would my wee people cope with the horror?


I have decided that we should behave like royalty from now on, and not all be in the same place at the same time. I’m going to sit at home, with my tiara on, coordinating with my pyjamas. I will expect a state carriage  and individual security should I have to leave the house. The roads will be cleared and safe before I travel. Spurs Fan will travel by stealth, like the Milk Tray man.


I’m sure that’s a better way of protecting ourselves from the baddies than dropping more bombs.



4 thoughts on “on being a grown up

  1. These are all our memories in Northern Ireland – for me hearing my parents decide not to go out visiting friends … they would have to drive home … after dark. How much of ordinariness and belief in safety is disrupted? My answer to myself is ‘trust’ even if it makes me feel naive and foolish. Someone would go to your girls. Someone, one of them? would help each other grieve – but then even as I write that I am tearing up. Well, crying is good and so is trust in goodness. Thanks heavens for humour and tiaras and pjs – we have that too. [and I am just thinking, some of us did leave, was I a refugee all those years in London, thinking don’t really want to bring the boys up there?]

    1. All would be well, but it was an unwelcome thought! Language is interesting- My mother in law, a former nurse from Co Clare, living in England since about 1960, is very aware of conversations about immigrants- ‘but we don’t mean you’, she’s told.

  2. If your going to drop anything, a truth bomb like this does ‘a World’ good, I hear no ‘naive melody’ here. And as for what elspethe said or remembered, she is not ‘dead on’, as she is more ‘live on’ in her words.

    Growing up, living, and breathing in Canada is to live for the most part in relative peace and seclusion – a lesson in living in obscurity not absurdity. A billion trees, with a small scattering of people running a muck. Yes we had La crise d’Octobre or FLQ crisis; where then Prime Minister Pierre Eliot Trudeau in 1970 used the War Measures Act. Yes, we had more recently a wing-nut running through the Parliament Building with a hunting rifle. I could go on but I won’t. My point, we never really had to live in a war zone, never live in fear for an extended time and we don’t think anyone else should either. Once upon a time, we referred to our military as Peace Keepers, I wish we could go back to that way of thinking…..Now tell me, is it I who sits in my PJ’s and Tara?

    BTW, i watched some of the U2 concert being live streamed on my laptop, and no I didn’t see you there. You and Spurs Fan might have been disquieted but everyone there showed true colour, and defiant resolve….. dare I say ‘balls’

    1. Everybody can sit in pjs and tiara- I may make a proposal to the gods of Human Rights…
      Spurs Fan is more sensible than I. He was too excited to have unpleasant thoughts. I got over myself soon enough and had a fantastic night.
      Girls *may* have been extra squashed with hugs when I got home

what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s