“I KNOW. And it’s STILL MARCH, like.”
Has there ever been a week like this one? Warm weather and sunshine with no equivocation, with no caveat from the weather forecasters. No mentions of: “Mainly dry apart from some showers but they’re mainly confined to western and northwestern areas” (as if these areas were being held by the rebels so it didn’t matter). There were some sea-breezes for the East coast – serves the hoors right. After a few years of getting nothing but grief, patronising advice and super levies from Europe, for a whole week all we got was a gentle blast of warm air that blew directly from a summer holiday campsite in Bordeaux.
With it came the sunshine. Such sunshine! There weren’t merely cloudless days. Clouds boycotted the sky as if it were a household charge.
Mega Watts of free energy hit the country – heat and light all the way from space. There was no Shell-to-Sea controversy, no fracking required. Unfortunately due to the relative infant nature of our solar industry, most of the energy was converted into sunburn. The special Irish breed of lunatic sunburn that occurs during the first sun of the year.
Like cattle let out to grass after being in a shed all winter, the population bounced giddily into the open air and got every type of bad sunburn possible. Necks, ears, elbows, knees, ankle – like we’d heard no warnings about ultraviolet light dangers ever. We just wanted the warm embrace.
You could see the endorphins all over the place. The parks full of people. I saw trees of green, red roses too (well, tulips anyway), friends shaking hands, saying how-do-you-do? They’re really saying “Je-know-something, I think you got a bit of colour today.”
Although a minority of people saw the sunshine as an opportunity to take their particular brand of Indian-inked, belligerent, can-drinking outdoors and no doubt were later helping Gardaí with their inquiries, overall the country for one magical week was in happiness surplus.
You could see it in the increased effusiveness of the salutes on the road between drivers. It is the custom where two strangers pass each other on the road to raise a minimalist right-handed forefinger on the steering wheel in acknowledgement of the other traveller. Apart from safety, it’s the main reason why the rules of the road mandate a Ten-To-Two position on the wheel – to facilitate laconic greeting. During the week this was upgraded to the full four-fingered salute, which is normally reserved for when you know the person.
If the person you met could be described as shtone mad/a character/cracked, the full military salute that was normally employed was not effusive enough. People were nearly waving themselves out through the window and had to be pulled back in by their passengers.
Nature was on the move too. At times, the countryside resembled those silly ads which say that some additive-laden tooth-rotting confection is a ‘taste explosion’. The annoying protagonists eat/drink/snort it and the world bursts into colour all around. You could almost hear the trees budding with a mpvapp!
The washing machines of the country were on overdrive. People were putting their duvets, bedspreads, net curtains, children, anything at all in there in an effort to get it out on the line to dry.
The weather arrived in the right week for this country too. Although we could never forget the grubbiness of Bertie, Pee Flynn and councillors being bought for less than the price of 2000 Ford Focus, at least the sun gave us something else to avert our gaze from.
The self-flagellation the country is doing now about how we elect dishonest people because they’re like us is at least a little more bearable. It’s a lot easier to take criticism when you’re examining the white mark on your arm where your watch was, rather than looking at your rainsoaked jeans steam on the radiator.
The surreality of this week was underscored by the fact that because it was still March and the nights were cold, you still could still enjoy the pleasures of tucking up by the fire after a day in the sun. It was like an ad for life.
It will come to an end over the weekend. Not that we’ll accept the new cool easily. When the winds switch around to the North we’ll still be shivering, claiming “it’s only cold in the shade”. At some stage over the weekend about 50,000 people will pick up one of those spring colds that will stay around until hayfever season and the mammies of the country will issue a legally binding decree.
“Will you put on a jumper for goodness sake. It’s not summer YET you know.”
Oh Mammy, but for a brief moment it was.