FIONA LOONEY

KITCHEN SINK DRAMA

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - CONTENTS - Don’t miss Fiona Looney’s bril­liant col­umn, with her unique take on mod­ern Ire­land, only in the Ir­ish Daily Mail ev­ery Wed­nes­day.

There will come a time, in the fu­ture, when ev­ery­thing will be aw­ful again. For some of us, that time will come sooner; the lucky few will last a lit­tle longer. But at some point, there will be days, for all of us, of ab­so­lute mis­ery and wretched­ness. But at least now, we have our bridge over trou­bled wa­ter. From now on, when you’re weary, feel­ing small, when tears are in your eyes, just think back to the first week in June 2013, and I think you’ll find that’ll dry them all.

Where did it come from? Even Eve­lyn Cu­sack her­self would strug­gle to ex­plain that. I can tell you that just a week be­fore, I was do­ing some film­ing in Thurles and I fin­ished up wear­ing all the clothes I’d brought with me for a week in one go, just to try to get some warmth into my freez­ing bones. Less than a week later, Thurles was quite pos­si­bly the hottest place in all of Europe. Spain, we were re­li­ably in­formed, was cloudy; there was thun­der in the UK and most of Cen­tral Europe was un­der wa­ter.

Exam weather, said some — but even the swarm­ing gangs in school uni­forms didn’t seem too put out by the sun­shine, bask­ing in its rays be­tween exam ses­sions. I over­heard a woman in a café ad­vis­ing the waitress that ‘they say it’s go­ing to be even bet­ter to­mor­row’, and, prob­a­bly for the first time ever in this coun­try, I thought to my­self, that’s not ac­tu­ally pos­si­ble. It was so hot that I — I! — put on sun lo­tion with dou­ble dig­its on the bot­tle.

On the train back to Dublin, I watched a whole stretch of this coun­try, laced with beau­ti­ful bloom­ing whitethorn hedgerows, stretched out be­neath im­pos­si­bly blue skies and I was re­minded again that, on days like th­ese, there is no more beau­ti­ful place on earth.

We put up our pool. We don’t do this ev­ery year — and cer­tainly there was no jus­ti­fi­able cause for it last sum­mer — be­cause it takes a whole 24 hours to fill, which means that you need a guar­an­teed stretch of good weather to make the whole pesky en­deav­our worth­while. It was worth­while. The Dog, who pre­sumed the pool was the world’s big­gest drink­ing bowl while it was be­ing filled, spent hours run­ning round, beg­ging to be splashed. The Youngest

The Dog thought the pool was the world’s big­gest drink­ing bowl and ran round beg­ging

to be splashed

was the first to im­merse her­self fully in its freez­ing wa­ter, fol­lowed by a dive-bomb­ing Boy, whose voice ap­peared to un­break in the process. On Satur­day af­ter­noon, a tod­dler, lath­ered in fac­tor-a-mil­lion sun­screen, happily splashed around in it, and that night we had eight teenage boys in it. The Youngest brought a gang back from a birth­day party on Sun­day and when they’d gone, I fi­nally dipped my own toes into its brac­ing wa­ters and dunked right down in salu­ta­tion of the gods of good weather. In the city, peo­ple com­plained about young men reck­lessly jumping into the Lif­fey from a restau­rant roof. For a few days, it felt like wa­ter every­where de­manded to be jumped into.

Young Ir­ish men can pass wa­ter on 360 days of the year and never feel the slight­est urge to im­merse them­selves in it, but some­thing hap­pens to them when the sun comes out. Some­thing hap­pens to all of us. We eat too much ice­cream and drink too much wine and aban­don our cook­ers in favour of un­re­li­able fires in our back gar­den. I swear to God, for a whole week, Ire­land smelled of char­coal and siz­zling beef. When I went into my lo­cal butcher’s, the whole staff ap­peared to be on the verge of danc­ing.

Nor­mal ser­vice will re­sume soon enough. I am al­ready an­tic­i­pat­ing shiv­er­ing in a fleecy sweat­shirt in Din­gle over the Au­gust bank hol­i­day week­end. I hope it doesn’t rain too heav­ily when we go out fish­ing. I re­alise that the sun­glasses I will wear in Croke Park will, in all like­li­hood, be more of an af­fec­ta­tion than a me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal ne­ces­sity. I am pre­sum­ing that one morn­ing soon, we’ll run the cen­tral heat­ing for a while, just to take the edge off things.

And in a cou­ple of weeks, we will all hear the first bit­ter ‘well, that was our sum­mer’ of the sea­son. But when you do hear that sta­ple of the Ir­ish sum­mer, just take a mo­ment to re­mem­ber ex­actly what it was like last week, and then of­fer a hand of con­so­la­tion to the com­plainant. A bridge over trou­bled wa­ter, as it were. Be­cause for the rest of this year, the only ac­cept­able re­sponse to ‘well, that was our sum­mer’ is ‘yes — but oh, what a sum­mer it was’.

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