"Mum, I'm bored......what can we do? Can we go to Dundrum? What about the cinema...Leisureplex? Can I play on the X-Box? But I've watched all my DVD's!" This is what most parents hear at the weekends and now the kids are off school for our sins, i mean the summer holidays it's a twenty four seven thing! So over the weekend it was lasing rain and the kids and i were playing bombardment, the rules are simple, the kids fire questions at me in a high pitched moany voice until either they get what they want or i go postal and it's game over! I suggested to the little angels that we go "for a drive", "to Dundrum? No Leisureplex!" There was some confusion as i struggled to explain the concept of just driving around for the sake of it, destination unknown (maybe that's what that bizarre song and video are about?)You mightn't think that a nine and three year old can show disdain, but you'd be wrong.
When I was a young girl it was the highlight of the week if we went for a drive! It was even better if it was raining, my brother and i would follow raindrops down the window seeing who's raindrop would "win"! My parents in the front of the car, either talking about the friends they were out with the night before or not talking! Some oldies show on Radio two, sometimes they'd sing along. We'd set off with our comics, Sindy dolls and matchbox cars in our laps in the back seat, sometimes we'd kneel up in the back seat looking out the rear window at the drivers in the cars behind (no pesky seat belts or car seats around in those days to limit our fun). My dad had certain places he always headed to depending on the weather and how much beer he'd consumed the night before. There was over the mountains to bray, through (then deserted on a Sunday) city centre to clontarf or the Botanic Gardens, out into the wilds of Kildare to the Curragh. There was some variation on these destinations and routes but not much.
Once the car was moving my brother and I started to complain of the hunger, our huge roast dinner of an hour ago forgotten (never mind the fry with all the trimmings my mum made before mass), so after some pestering mum would hop out at a shop....the suspense killing us, if she took one of us with her it meant we were gonna get "99"'s, otherwise it would be bottles of Cadet cola (strange metallic taste), bags of Tayto crisps, or if she was in great form Sam Spudz smokey bacon, then the big bags of sweets, always one bag of jelly's and one of hard sweets, Fox's glacier mints, iced caramels, fruit juice jelly's, clove rock (my favorite), jelly babies, choc toffee eclairs, those lime or orange sweets with the chocolate centre...yumm!
Now about half an hour after the food was consumed, slowly handed out by my mum, my brother and I hit the boredom threshold, we'd start poking at each other, verbally and physically, my parents agitation would escalate, if they weren't talking to each other it didn't take much to piss them off! Sometimes there would be an extra treat involved in the "drive", maybe a trip to Wigidors shop in the Crumlin shopping centre for some wallpaper, or perhaps Texas Homecare to look at power tools and flat pack furniture! The most exotic thing we ever did was visit Show houses, my parents have moved once, when I was three but we visited every show house in the greater Dublin area in the 1980's! This was only on the days when mum and dad were getting on well, obviously, they'd bring us in the houses, with hissed warnings not to touch anything or else! I remember that everything matched, the curtains the lamps, the wallpaper and I remember seeing "Duvets" for the first time!
Heading home depending on how the day had gone we'd be laughing and joking or all driving in silence. On a good day Dad would stop the car in Inchicore outside the Tara Bakery and he'd buy a brown soda round wrapped in paper and either a Viennese whirl cake or mallow cake each, if he was feeling generous an apple tart and cream. We'd head home and mum would butter the bread brew the tea and we'd eat in font of the TV (only time it was allowed), we'd watch last of the Simmer Wine or Holiday!
Back in the day, huh? My kids would look at me like i needed medication if I offered that up as a day out, but those rainy afternoons are some of the clearest memories I have of my childhood!