and there’s more (melodrama #2)

I’ve never been accused of being adventurous. Edinburgh isn’t far away. We speak the same language, we use the same money. The Brother lives down the road. I’d won a scholarship to attend the conference.

These are the reasons I stayed when all I wanted to do was get the bus from outside the hotel door to the airport and come home to hide, defeated by the outside world.

I’d just about coped with the drama of getting lost and hunting out essential tablets.

I coped with rain so heavy it seemed an Ark may be imminent. I was drenched. My conference papers were soaked. A raincoat with a hood wasn’t up to the task. I bought an umbrella. I’m not easily beaten.

I coped (no bother at all) with 2 nights in a budget hotel by the train station, all on my own. I had no issues with a view over the city, a huge bed to myself, copious amounts of breakfast pastry, and a fabulous shower.

But still.

I thought it was the fault of the rain. I’d walked back from the conference via the pharmacy. As a result, everything was soggy. Everything in the cloth bag, everything in the handbag, everything under the coat.

My phone just needed a little recovery time.

That seemed to do it. Until it stopped altogether.

And I could do nothing. I was in a different city, unable to access phone numbers or the internet. Even if I found a phone box, I have no idea what the Brother’s number is. The bus to the airport was very tempting.

But that would be defeat and I wasn’t letting my not adventurous at all adventure defeat me. And anyway, if I ran away, I’d miss out on time with the Brother, Arty Lady and the Not So Little People. That was what was keeping me sane.

If only I could work out how to let them know when to collect me from the station…

I woke early in the morning, convinced someone had spoken to me. Odd. A few minutes later, a train grumbled or squealed or moved.

And Siri responded.

My phone had taken to responding to the trains, but not to me. What sort of surreal farce had I wandered into? I was having a hugely stressful 24 hours, and I couldn’t begin to work out how to resolve it.

It was 5 am. It took me a while to work out that Siri might in fact respond to me speaking if it were answering the traffic sounds.

Eventually I could send messages. I had contact with the world. I promised Arty Lady I’d send a pigeon when I got on the train.

They took pity on me. The Brother came to get me, to leave me off the next day and collect me again.

They’d figured I couldn’t be left on my own. I didn’t get lost, or soaked, again and my phone dried out eventually.

I didn’t have to ask Siri about phone repair places after all.



chronicle of an empty nest foretold

Off they went, both my little people, for a week. A week of Irish dancing and carrying on with others from different parts of Europe, in Poland. Parents and grandparents scoured social media for updates from the festival or dancers. It’s entirely possible that one of us actually waved with excitement at a screen on seeing a pic with daughters in it. (Technology, eh?)

pier jumping not dancing

And back in Belfast we looked at each other, and around us, a bit like meerkats. Is this what the rest of the world is like? What do people do with their days?

We had adventures, doing things we don’t normally get a chance to do. There were cocktails, afternoon tea and a fancy lunch or two. We explored Parliament buildings, listened to music in a pub, and went to a different beach. We watched a box set, read multiple novels and had boring financial conversations with someone who understands these things. The house stayed tidy. There were no random explosions of energy or noise. No complex taxi arrangements negotiated with known unknowns via snap chat. No daytime TV. All was calm. Ordered.

We’ve had fun, of course. But yet…

Half of us are missing. Jake keeps having a sniff about to figure out where they’ve gone. We haven’t laughed as much. I remember now that watching soap operas is meant to be a social activity. My arms have ached with the empty. I didn’t start counting down the days until they were half way through; now I’m at hours. They’re coming home today, and I’m very excited.

A week, people. It’s only a week. They’ll be grown up in the blink of an eye, and we’ll all be laughing at my excitement of today.

This evening chaos, noise, squabbling and laundry return in full force. My arms and my heart will be overflowing.

(Expect the next post to be grumbling about chaos, noise, squabbling, laundry and teenage attitude.)

a travelling tale

Once upon a Sunday, there was a car packed with people and playthings and overnight bags.

The car left home about 11am, and the occupants got to see Handsome Husband, have lunch and catch up with all rabbits friends and relations at the blessing of the graves. There were many mysteries, including the Missing Holy Water Bottle, the Moving Tree and the Stolen Vase. Biting of cheeks to retain some solemnity. After the hugging and the chatting and the laughing and the praying, the occupants of the car loaded up again, and headed further west.

About 6pm, the day’s destination was reached. Sea and mountains and emptiness. Hurrah! Deep, invigorating breaths all round. Six people bundling out of the car, stretching. Girls buzzing to show off the caravan to grandparents. Yay!

You know what happens next, don’t you?

Yep, the hunting and pocket emptying was to no avail. The caravan keys were safely in the bag at home. The one that didn’t get brought to save on space.

Caravan Man doesn’t have spares.

Spurs Fan demonstrated what a proper teacher he is by doing that “livid, but very, very quiet” thing, and planning on getting back into the car right now and driving home. I considered what a fun journey that would be, and wondered about B&Bs.

In the meantime, girls and grandparents were dispatched to the playground, and Caravan Man was rounding up the neighbours to see if any of their keys might work.

With a wiggle and a jiggle, one did. The neighbours, relieved that it was somebody else’s crisis, loaned us a gas bottle as ours was safely locked in the wee room with the boiler. Nobody’s key fitted there.

There was wine.

There were beaches. Calming, restorative beaches. Relaxing beaches. A day in the sun. A gift for the neighbours.


A visit to the key cutters is imminent.

what the post brought

On closer inspection, it’s more like a starship trooper than Wham.

Torch by Girl2

Spurs Fan will be carrying the torch on Tuesday 5 June, in Banbridge. According to the letter, he’ll be starting at approximately 5.59pm. He has to be somewhere else to get a bus and be part of the convoy from 2.40pm. The chances of keeping that outfit clean? Nil.

In big non fashion news, Girl1 was accepted to the school of choice. All those months of anxiety (her), hair pulling (a deeved Spurs Fan), and huffing and complaining (yes, that one was me) had the desired result. There was great excitement. The teeniest pupiltobe at the big school is very chuffed.

Adventures. Adventures.