Carrie O'Hara

The pouting and ponderings of a single 30 something year old

The summer holidays: Blessings #51- July 12, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — carrieohara @ 4:38 pm

Dear Reader(s),
This next blog has taken days to write: and will take longer to read- there is little in way of compensation for your time. A summary: I love sunshine, coffee, food, the cinema, reading, family and friends…I’m blessed X

That’s the key to having it all: stop expecting it to look like what you thought it was going to look like.
Cindy Chupack, Sex and the City 2002

I’d… wellhated seems a harsh word, but it’s an appropriate one-Baz Lurhmann’s The Great Gatsby when I went with my book club. I’d hated it for the very reasons I’d loved and revisit his Romeo+Juliet and Moulin Rouge: the decadence of it all was too much: which was Fitzgerald’s point of course, but it didn’t look like how I’d imagined it would and I was unforgiving of that.

I’d hated it so much I re-read the novel: needing to reinstate my imaginings.

I went back, a solo cinema trip and appreciated it for the rather gorgeous piece of cinema it is.

This was one of those days I hope to remember in the fading light of a rainy November or ‘when I am old and grey and full of sleep.
A rather flawed beautician’s appointment brought my friend A out to play earlier than anticipated. We drank a perfectly mixed pitcher of Pimms at my favourite local, had delicious dinner and Prosecco and our new favourite eatery and had a ‘medicinal’ port for the road. It was sunshine and friendship: great food and just the right amount of alcohol. It was one of those easy afternoons and evenings that make you wish every day could be like this one.

A had convinced me to come help grease the wheels of a cinema trip with a mutual colleague. I’d said yes because of the sunshine & Pimms and because QFT and a French movie is one of those things I say I will do but never quite make work. This review says all I wanted to about this rather obscure if at times rather pretty film.
Still I’m glad I went…

My friend J is getting married at the end of the month. I’m going to the wedding: the ultimate hanger on: as the other ‘all day’ guests I know are bringing their husbands/ wife: and actually teach in her department. I feel I always get ‘the outfit’ wrong at weddings: impossible to pinpoint how so I can’t correct it.
Five dresses have been ordered and returned. The bigger girl formerly known as me never seemed to have such dress choosing trouble: and I’m still far and was slipping further from my ‘target’ self.
I spent too much time critically gazing in various Victoria Square changing room mirrors and while I’m not delighted with the choice: that took over two hours to make,I feel a little closer to the goal.
My friend TR and I met at The Mac to see a Belfast Exposed photography exhibit. I enjoyed it much more than the artistic and critical TR did. I go to exhibitions with him because he makes me question my response and always offers one so contrary to my own.

I rather serendipitously managed to make my and delicious dinner (and a sneaky gin Collins) amalgamate with my plans with TB to go see Man of Steel TB and I go to admire the beautiful men in such movies, TR was glad to not have to suffer the ‘chick flick sh**t’ I usually ‘force’ upon him.
I cared little for plot and the SFX so distracted I was by the beauty of the ‘man of steel’ himself.
For a single gal: I get great joy out of the men in my life.


Ok so on this rather long catch up I’ve hit the first ‘What did I do on…?’ snag. Let’s say sitting in, reading, walking and adoring all things sunshine and use that as a recurring theme for the next few days…


Another glorious day. One of the many things on my ‘Summer Holidays To Do ‘ list was to start running again. I’d done a ‘couch potato to 5km’ programme (anyone who actually knows me: giggle skeptically now) last summer and found various excuses to stop. I walk: a lot. No really, I do: and I love it. I try to convince myself it is exercise by putting on joggers and trainers and doing that alarming/ rather ridiculous ‘I am
POWER walking’ arm swing…
I did run in the heat: death seemed more likely than it has in a while: dehydration and stupidity the cause.

Some day,later rather than sooner I hope , but some day, it is going to pour again: this blessings of the weather Gods will return to that unknown place from whence it came. When that day comes I will run again. Until then I’m giving myself a proxy: I walk, not in joggers and trainers but in sundress and flip flops: I will appreciate my coastal corner and it’s sea breezes: it’s boats and dreams, and the beauty of creation.

Another blessing today was watching my Mum will Andy Murray to his Wimbledon victory. She gave him quietly voiced encouragement & support: while patiently reminding me of the rules of tennis. She sat proud and contented while I, no fan of tennis, cried and shrieked and danced around the kitchen.


To reminisce with my old friends, a chance to share some memories, and play our songs again.
Ricky Nelson

There are people in my life I’ve known for my forever: the daughters of my parents’ friends who are a huge part of what keeps Daddy close to my heart.
A ‘we’re in the park, call down’ text became coffee in the sunshine populated with kids laughter and easy conversation: this became a delicious lunch even though J (our ‘make gourmet look entirely do-able’ cook) was heading to the hospital to see her lovely husband who had been taken in the day before. There’s an inner strength and vitality to these girls that I sit in awe and admire: hoping it’s contagious.

A picnic in the park with a work friend I don’t see enough of. With the time and space away from school: it was good to see each other as people again: not just the cogs that try to keep the machine of teaching turning (although: tight rope walking/ plate spinning is a better analogy I feel!). What is it about dining alfresco that makes everything taste better? Also discovered a coffee shop/ bistro to which I must return.

It always shocks me. Just how quickly your world can go from the carefree bliss I’ve spent too long describing: to an earthquake: the ground beneath your feet changes from a terra firma cocoon to a chasm, a precipice you dangle with fear on the edge of.
A phone call, that someone you love so entirely is sick has such power. There is a horror to the utter helplessness I feel in the face of such news, The blessing here is that he reached out to the people he knows loves him and that I too, have Guardian Angels who spread their wings of wisdom and give me calm and courage.

It’s always a difficult thing to find the equilibrium: between showing concern and being a pain/ a drain on an already fraught and difficult situation. Is it ok that I meet people and laugh, sunbathe, walk continue to glory in this weather while someone I love is unwell?
It has to be.
There is a musical entitled Stop the world, I want to get off: I guess we all understand the sentiment but it’s not possible. The sun keeps rising and setting and a day is there to be filled. So I filled yesterday with list making and bag packing: turning my few days at Mum’s (I decamp every 12th July to avoid ‘the culture’ of my Protestant brethren that is celebrated outside my bedroom window) into a holiday. I substituted my seaside town for a country retreat.

Every time I settle myself to sunbathe I can hear my father’s sincerely incredulous dismay. As a farmer he made hay (literal and metaphorical) while the sun shone. This ‘lying around on your arse’ was anathema to him and those like him. Typically at this time of year: my sister, brother and I were (we felt) slave labour ‘gathering spuds’ for the unhandsome sum of 25p per hour. Sunbathing was something other people did on their ‘fancy foreign holidays’.

As I lay in Mum’s garden: a farm continued to work around me: crops were sprayed, a complex irrigation system set up… My uncle J (I’m from proud agricultural stock on both branches of my family tree and cant keep a pot plant alive: go figure) yelled from his tractor cab to inquire if it was warm enough for me; in the same incredulous tone my Daddy had used.

The guilt of sunbathing while others work I can make some peace with: my job is hard too… the guilt of living life, experiencing joy while those you love are in pain (or gone) is a more difficult needle to thread but there isn’t an alternative: and there is grace, I hope, to be found in the perspective of ‘gather ye rosebuds’.


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