Monthly Archives

August 2016

The lost (hens) weekend

August 23, 2016

I went on my first ever hen’s weekend away a couple of weeks ago and it was fantastic!

It seems a distant memory as I type to the theme tune of Koray’s 30 minute tantrum downstairs because the battery died on my phone and that is somehow my fault even though he’s been on youtube all morning; grand, Ossie just lost his shit and let a roar at him… he’s quietened to whimpering about how much he hates me.

T’was a Friday afternoon and after much dropping off of children and hasty leg shaving I arrived at Jens, my cousin and the hen. I must give some background here…. Jen was an awful hussy and had her daughter before her wedding. The wedding was in a registry office and then a raucous party back at her house where not one person walked a straight line upon leaving (I was carried out). Poor Jen (and Chris, her husband) spent their wedding hangover dealing with a baby. Another baby came along and 3 years later she got around to organising a hens. I too was (am) a heathen hussy and pregnant on my wedding day so my hens has yet to be planned, almost 10 years later.

image-0-02-01-ca294b165b1d0975b67d034f28fb78cc8d3c59e2ffaa025c0fe5d38ea6306dcc-VFB_IMG_1471211875351The bus arrived and it was so comfy and me, Jen and my friend Susan hopped on… pinching ourselves that we were about to leave our kids for 2 whole nights! There were 10 of us all together and we started sedately on Bucks Fizz.. The driver, Ken amazingly let me plug my phone in and play my spotify playlist… his eyebrows raised when the Carpenters blared and I further emasculated him with lots of Whitney and Madonna. Jen had a large cooler in the back and produced many Coronas with lemon and shocker, I drank beer…. ME!!! and I might again. Jen and Susan made up a song about me called Tiny Bladder as I sprinted into pubs and petrol stations grabbing my crotch and shouting “don’t make me laugh!”

We eventually got to Carrick on Shannon and after another pee dash into a cafe we arrived at our suite which was so beautiful, I contemplated starting a new life there. I was to share a room with Susan, who is always my wife on nights out and Jen shared with her cousin Michelle. There was another apartment across the way that housed Jen’s in-laws who were all completely mental, in a fun way!

hqdefault (2)We realised that we were all more than a little hammered so coffees were made along with tayto sandwiches. My wife went for a little nap, (she’s not able) and me, Jen and Michelle laid all our makeup out on the table and extolled the virtues of this lipstick or illuminator and we cleansed, toned and moisturised while listening to the dulcet tones of Peter Cetera, Madonna (I got to sing an uninterrupted Live To Tell Bridge) and Bruce.

13679889_10154027054448138_2537699605268116884_oOutfits were tried on and discarded and I had a hair emergency when I used salt spray instead of hairspray to hold curls but was rescued by Sue of house Murphy (the other apt).

I got a bit of a fright when we went into the pub first .. Murtaghs… it was stag and hen heaven/ hell. There was an almost tangible wall of testosterone to be fought through to get seats which we did, followed by a couple of platters that we horsed down. There were many older.. dare I say culchie guys in their best shirts, dancing with their eyes closed. I was fascinated but Jen warned me not to make eye contact. We noticed that our wives (Michelle and Susan) were getting a bit slumped of shoulder, due to the fact that they both have a combined weight of maybe 10 stone and decided to get the little ladies home. Jen disappeared for ages to the toilet and I became enraged and stalked off to find her. She was chatting to a couple in the smoking area and I stormed up and shouted “your wife is drunk!”… I started to drag her away as she mumbled about not being gay but voted yes in the referendum and not having any problem with it. As soon as we got outside I realised it was all a ruse as Jen fell over a kerb and admitted to being drunk. I ferried them home like a military sergeant… Michelle went rogue through a field at some point and I had to pee alfresco. I noticed a small roped area and warned all making sure everyone stepped over safely with Jen by my side shouting rope! and careful now! She then became entangled somehow and ended up in a heap… I thought of drawing a chalk line around her but we made it back. Captain Morgan made an entrance and we decided to play old tv theme tunes and sing along. What fun! giphy (45)Three’s Company best for dancing while Family Ties best for a tear up. Me and Jen Blue Steeled to 90210. Much, much later I got into bed and couldn’t sleep due to all the caffeine and I took a Night Nurse and climbed into Iggle Piggle’s boat and floated away  yes my name is Iggle Piggle….

Day 2 and much medication later, we made a big fry for everyone and spent the day making ourselves beautiful… it took that long.

Maureen arrived, Jen’s cousin in law and a roommate for me and Susan. Things got complicated when she and Susan discovered a mutual love of Star Trek and hatred (they just don’t know) of Game of Thrones and I ended up calling Maureen affair…. To which I referred to her all night.

20160813_183442We went for dinner in the Courtyard Kitchen and then were picked up for a cruise on the Shannon… which was basically Murtaghs on water. We sat on the boat facing the most miserable hen’s party I’d ever seen… a bunch of women who had obviously had professional hair and makeup done that day and were doing their best  not to displace any of it. You know how make up artists are called Muas? Well I think of their prey as having been mua-ed. Some of our gang got some muscly guys to put Jen’s hens t shirts on and they wore them well while Jen lamented her innocent 18 year old face (image on t-shirt) being subjected to such lewdness.

Back to the pub and the ratio of men to women was quite high and we abused this… Jen had a boy carry our shots to the table only to realise that he wasn’t staff. We situated ourselves in the smoking area where we were besieged with compliments from hot nordy guys.. “You have 3 kids?” “you’re 40?.. I don’t believe it”… how delightful! They drifted away when they realised that we weren’t interested in a “my husband doesn’t understand me” scenario.

Poems,_Prayers_and_PromisesWe headed home on the promise of more theme tunes and Captain Morgans. Instead we made a mistake and played John Denver and we all sat there with tears dripping onto the floor as we thought of mothers, aunties and friends lost. As an antidote, we played Counting Crows and some early 90s stuff and sang till almost 4am. As I went to bed I left Jen and Michelle holding hands and crying to Hootie and the Blowfish…. I actually laughed myself to sleep.

The next day was not so funny and I don’t know how I packed or got on the bus but I know the journey home was a sombre one. I didn’t know if I wanted to puke or have volcanic scuts but I held it together and cured myself somewhat by eating 5 packets of Hula Hoops in a row… The Murphys were still upbeat but a glance at Jen and Susan showed shells of human beings.

Ken was surprised by our personality change but respected it with silence.

We were deposited one by one back to our families and we were grateful of some normalcy (except Jen who spent that night in Temple Street with her son who had a chest infection).

It took me about 3 days to get over the debauchery and have a glass of wine and I cannot wait to plan my own… all suggestions welcome.

Our family trip to Clare

August 6, 2016

We just spent 3 days holidaying as a family of five in Ennis, Co. Clare. I googled best hotels for families in Ireland and then whittled out all the really expensive ones and ended up with narrower options; Treacys in Ennis got good family reviews and I was swayed by the picture of a double decker bus as a bunk bed. It worked out at €330 for 3 nights including breakfast and kids club.

We set off last Tuesday afternoon and the boys spent their car journey time coming up with as many euphemisms for their nether regions as they could ….stuff like “sausage and meatballs” and in case these references were lost on me and Ossie, Koray would shout “get it! get it! while pointing at his crotch. We spent an hour shouting at them to stop and then decided that the radio was a better option… the boys continued to script a Kevin Smith movie in the back.

The hotel was grand… no frills but clean and the food was good; kids ran riot everywhere so I exhaled a little. We decided to go to the pool and I realised the joys of having boys as I got to go to the changing room alone. The boys were delighted and fearless as they dove into the kids pool, then the adult pool and back again. The lifeguard approached me and said “no jumping”.. I tried to relay this and no one gave a shite… a new lifeguard came on duty and I saw the previous one have a chat with her while looking our way. She came over and said that the small ones were not allowed in the adult pool at all and any joy I had evaporated as I sweated over all pool shenanigans… I glanced longingly at the jacuzzi and steam room and realised they would never be.

20160805_092502The boys settled in their bunk that night and I went to bed early. However, the surrounding on the bunk was metal and every time I would drift off, one of them would hit off the edge of the bed with a resounding tingggggg and jolt me awake. The next morning, fueled with coffee we set off for Bunratty Castle. I stopped at a chemist and explained to the girl that I had left my elderly mother back in the hotel, smothering with a cold and unable to sleep.. I asked what would be the best over the counter remedy to knock her out and I left there clutching a pack of Night Nurse capsules… actually looking forward to my night’s sleep.

2016-08-03 12.59.24Bunratty Castle was fascinating but had many, many narrow, treacherous steps and I walked behind the kids, terrified that they would slip.  The best part for me was the folk park… there was an entire village set in the 19th century. It was amazing as there were actors in the houses, telling stories or cooking food as a fire burnt in the hearth. I found it a really emotional and informative experience and wished I could hear more over the din of my kids. Conall wanted to buy a new flat cap but they were €30 there so I told him we could get one in Penneys when we got back so the whole way around he whinged very loudly that “this was boring and he just wanted to go to Penneys”. We found an olde sweet shop so they were quieted with giant lollipops. We visited a 19th century school there and I was struck that the desks were the same we had in school with the inkwells and all and I thought just how fucking old am I?

13667972_10154002679323138_1121823064396585295_oConall got arrested by a bobby who was an amazing actor but too nice and may have spoiled my “I’ll have you arrested” threat.

We had dinner back in the hotel and there was a hairy moment as I asked Conall what he’d like to drink at the bar and he adopted a culchie accent and proclaimed loudly that he’d like “some cock”… he then made it worse by clapping his hand to his mouth and saying… “shit, I know what that means…. I meant Coke.”

The boys went to the kids club that night back in the hotel and I was visited by some good friends from my repping days, Elaine and Pamela. I ran up to get Conall from the kids disco and he was soaked to the skin in sweat and a boy pointed at him and said “he caused loads of fights”. To which Conall replied proudly “There was 2 of them versus me and I won cos I punched one in the stomach!

Down in the bar a debs was beginning and when I was in the loo, a girl asked if I’d unzip her dress so she could wee.. I did and she had no knickers on and not a shred of embarrassment; I’d to wait to zip her back up and it was a struggle. On the way out I begged her to enjoy her night as it goes by so quick… I think I meant life and I felt a bit teary. I got to bed and took 2 night nurse and slipped into a coma.

article-2120332-12451E70000005DC-974_468x403I was woken at 2am to the squeals of the fire alarm and after a long denial, I opened the door and it was like a scene from the Titanic, people leaving and kids wrapped in blankets. I came back in the room and said… “I think there’s a fire”… Koray was awake and I got our shoes on and Ossie told me to check out the situation before waking the others… “What’s keeping you?” he asked… “I’m hardly going outside with no bra on”… I replied while hooking it under my Harry Potter nightie. I contemplated eyebrows but threw caution to the wind. Outside there were 3 fire engines and as a hot fireman approached, I was glad of my bra. He told me there had been a small fire in the nightclub (feckin debs) but it was out. It took my body ages to relax as the sleepy drugs fought with the adrenaline.

The next day we went to see the Aillwee Cave which was spectacular. We attended a Birds of Prey show first and it was my first time to see vultures up close… they are fascinating creatures… they digest everything, even bones, fact! I marvelled at the handlers, they wore a pouch and controlled the birds with food from the bag.

Ireland-FlagTo go inside Aillwee Cave we had to go through a gift shop first and Conall spotted an Irish flag…. He wanted it and he wasn’t bloody getting it as he’d tried to ruin last years holiday to Turkey over an Irish flag. As we made our way through the 1km in length cave he started to freak (a bit about the flag, but mostly sensory issues) and I had a brainwave…. I was wearing a brown leather bag over my shoulder and I had emergency smarties. I popped one in his mouth, silence… I fed all 3 like little trained birds and we made it through without embarrassment. There was a fantastic mountain behind the cave and Ossie encouraged the boys to climb. I followed for a bit but my nerves were gone watching them and I let them go and perched on a rock, marvelling at the beauty of the Clare countryside.. I thought that if anything spiritual were ever to happen to me, it should happen here… I tried to force it… almost like a fart but I remain a heathen. I felt smug that my phone was dead and that I was living in the moment and then I was sad as I imagined how stunning a photo of me from behind, contemplating stuff while gazing at the fabulous scenery would be…I will forever mourn that photo.

Conall returned gleeful… he had found €2 on the mountain and ran off to buy the damn flag.

13765773_745221555620344_172698546270517995_oOn the way home, I insisted we went a little out of our way to find the Father Ted house which we did and it was glorious. Ossie went to turn the car and I tried to take a selfie.  A woman with a car of kids and Kerry plates pulled up and said it was her 4th time to visit and that she’d take a photo. She told me to get up on the wall… it was  a major struggle, but I managed and composed myself in a bid to have a presentable photo. It wasn’t until later when I checked back that I saw she’d photographed the struggle of my generous bottom.

On arriving back at the hotel Conall marched in front waving the flag as if we were a delegation at the Olympics… he did so for breakfast the next morning also. I was filling up my plate when I heard a little girl saying “mam, mam, that’s him… that’s the boy I told you about that bit me”… I looked down to see a smirking Rian and chose to ignore the entire situation as did the other mam.

There was loads more I wanted to do.. Like the Aran Islands, the Cliffs of Moher etc but we will definitely go back at some point.

Ossie had an epiphany as we drove home to the sound of Koray teaching Rian to sing “use your private parts as piranha bait”. He said that he realised that the boys were happiest when climbing and being outdoors exploring nature and I concurred… adding that he’d be very busy on his day trips as I stayed at home riding the Night Nurse wave.