Scary stories from a lovely place
“We are the Famous Five. Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Timmy the Dog!”
I loved Enid Blyton’s ‘The Famous Five’. I devoured those little paperbacks and imagined myself as a member of the gang, fighting harmless crime and having fun in the process.
The Famous Five were siblings and Timmy was their dog. George, the Tom-boy was my favourite. Her name was really Georgina, but she insisted on ‘George’ and sported a short hair cut because she really wanted to be a boy. She loved fishing, climbing trees, running and abhorred anything girls were supposed to do.
Oh, how I could relate to that. I used to get so mad at Anne who always insisted George help her ‘fix’ the tea whilst Julian and Dick went out and did the boy things. Oh how that Anne loved to play house! Her inante femininty drove George, and me, up the wall. But in the end, they all got to save the day and so I didn’t stay peeved for too long. And it’s nice after you’ve foiled the bad guy to be able to sit down and enjoy some scones and teacake.
Yesterday, as part of our lovely day trip to Wexford, there were elements that felt like it was torn from the pages of a Famous Five novel. There was no criminal intrigue, no suspicious character was trying to steal treasure from the bottom of a lake. And I didn’t have to play house and prepare the tea, while the boys went out and collected firewood.
We were visiting the home of my brother-in-law’s parents in law (question: is my brother-in-law’s wife my sister-in-law? Or not technically?) about 40 minutes north of Wexford, along the coast towards Dublin. Their home is at the end of a sleepy lane, hedged by blackberries and briars, and backing onto a caravan park, and then, a wild beach. It was magical, like a fantasy afternoon.
Nextdoor to the house was a small field housing two black and white cows that provided endless jumping over the moon pleasure to my children.
Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins of cousins, distant, barely related people were in abundance. Despite what you may imagine, lots of people, adults even, doesn’t make keeping the kids under control any easier. In fact, I think it’s harder. There are more distractions. At one point while we were in the house Roisín (who is Silas and Oisín’s oldest female cousin) ran to me and said “Silas is outside. Playing on the road!”
There was a speed bump at the bottom of the driveway that Silas ran over a thousand times with a little pram (he likes bumps okay). That’s what he escaped the house to do.
Apparently it was too early in the season, but we picked blackberries and fed them to our children.
We walked down a long, sandy path to the beach. It was lined with nettles and we tried to keep our children from falling into them. It was well past 5pm but the sun was shining, the sky blue and fluffy with clouds. We played on the beach – skipping stones, running down sandhills, throwing a stick to the family dog (Heidi, not Timmy) and flirting with the breaking waves.
When we got home we enjoyed a lovely ‘tea’. In Ireland ‘tea’ is taken as the evening meal and consists of….well tea, and any combination of the following – pikelets, sausages (we had some yesterday that were cooked in honey and mustard, so good!), fruit, cold meat, pickled things, cheese, halved boiled eggs (sometimes quail’s eggs) and more tea. It was very fitting for my Famous Five adventure.
Another great Dublin day.