Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - SEASONS IN THE SUN - Pauline’s best­seller ‘80: a Me­moir’ is avail­able from paulinebe­


We lived in Kil­leagh, near Ken­mare, in County Kerry , and my mother Harry made a plat­form for us to sleep on, un­der the stars.

It was be­side a stream by an ash tree, there was a meadow over the stream, full of wild flow­ers. We would tuck our­selves up all cosy, lis­ten­ing to the corn­crake, crak­ing. Af­ter talk­ing of the stars, Orion’s Belt and the Plough, we’d fall asleep, fresh air sharp in our noses.

When the sun rose in the morn­ing, it dried the dew off our bed. The corn­crake was still crak­ing. When the full sun had risen above the ash tree, one could ex­tend an arm and then a leg out of the bed­ding, ly­ing there lov­ing the sun’s heat. Then, tak­ing the bed­ding, we’d carry it into the house and have break­fast of por­ridge and our own hens’ eggs. We’d then go down to the peb­bly sea for a swim and to col­lect stones, the shape of dogs’ heads or cars, which we’d paint as gifts for our neigh­bours.

Nowa­days, in a heat­wave, I some­times sleep out with my two grand­sons; how­ever, we’re of­ten driven back in­doors by midges. Strange, in old age, I no­tice midges, yet have no mem­ory of any­thing neg­a­tive about sleep­ing out when a child.

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