These Moments

“Give me these moments back
Give them back to me
Give me that little kiss
Give me your hand”

  • Kate Bush – ‘This Woman’s Work’

Any moment in my life is different to yours. Even if we’re in the same place at the same time watching the same thing, your perception and later memory can be, or mostly is, completely different to mine. Mine is better, obviously.

This popped back into focus this week when we had a quiz on Zoom involving our family and our sister/friends/archnemeses/cousins/goddaughter, the Liddys.

We have holidayed frequently and extensively together since before the kids were ever dreaded…I mean dreamed of. One holiday in particular stood out as we all stayed in Pembrokeshire, joined by the Coopers. The holiday involved camping, getting wet, jumping off things, jumping off even taller things, jumping into things, climbing out of those things, floating on things, long walks, getting wetter, floating on slightly different floaty things, building giant sandcastles, burning food, drinking warm Theakston’s Olde Peculiar, and staying up way past our bedtimes.

The kids were wonderful at that age, wonderfully gullible. I had told them a story years earlier featuring their Great-Granny Clerkin, in which she was a pirate. And that she kept her treasure map in her wooden leg. In real life she had a walking stick, but no wooden leg….she was a bit of a pirate though, especially when it came to bingo. God, she was a demon for the bingo. She lived on her own in a flat off Mill St. in Monaghan and when the Liddys stayed with us they would call in for a visit. On one particular visit Barra, aged 8, actually tapped her leg to see if it made a sound. She thought it was hilarious, but I was never offered a Viscount biscuit by her ever again.

Most nights in Pembrokeshire I told stories to the kids. The stories involved their football team , Monkeyhead United, and they each got a mention each evening in the story. As there were 8 kids altogether, Jake, Dylan, Barra, Robyn, Eimear, Jordi, Caolan, and Elliott, it became quite a mental feat to remember which kid played what role in the evolving story, especially as we entered the second week of the holiday.

It was only the upcoming quiz that prompted me to look up a notebook from that time and I found that I’d written up part of one of the stories, The Pembroke Affair, featuring the aforementioned Monkeyheads, and their latest archnemesis, who was one of their teachers at the time, and whom I can’t name as she is still living, or still undead. Reading it back I could picture them all listening to me telling the story in the awning of the Liddy caravan, getting giddy when their own name was mentioned and when one of the adult characters cursed, farted, or stood in poo. It was an epic tale and even featured a rap with the memorable verse :

“Look at me,
What’s not to love,
I like wearing spandex,
And it fits like a glove.”

At least, it was memorable to me. When it came to my turn in the quiz to ask 10 questions, it appeared that very few of the kids remembered much of the story, they simply recalled me talking a lot, but that they got to eat a lot of sweets as I did so. This may account for the giddiness that I attributed to their fascination with the story.

In another round the Liddys asked us a question relating to a visit we all had to the Marble Arch Caves. The question was “ Who snorted out a soft drink in the car on the way home, and what drink was it ?”

The Bonds all agreed that it had been Caolan Liddy , with Fanta.

The Liddys all remembered it as Elliott Bond, with Sprite.

Another question related to our many evenings spent at Hollywood lake. Dave had made a wee ramp at the end of the jetty and we brought an old bike. The kids, and Dave, took turns tearing down the jetty and ramping the bike into the lake. The question was , who had the biggest ‘air’ off the ramp.

The Bonds all answered that it was Barra.

The Liddys all swore it was Jake.

The question as to who was the biggest cheat at Monopoly had to be qualified by excluding Aunties Eileen and Geraldine.

The Bonds answered Robyn.

The Liddys answered Eimear.

 We were intimately involved in all of these times together and yet had different memories of the very same incidents. All that we agreed on was that they were fantastic times and we missed not meeting each other this year. We also agreed that at all times, on all our adventures I was very, very brave. We were also of one accord when it came to feeling great sympathy for Holly, Barra’s South African girlfriend who had to sit through the whole thing. We hope that she is still happy with her life choices.

In my minds eye when I’m running I’m exactly like Ben Cross in Chariots Of Fire. Yet, in every single photograph of every single run/race I’ve ever been in , I either look like a baby kangaroo climbing out of it’s mother’s pouch for the first time, or someone trying to move whose elbows are bolted to his hips while he’s hopping on one leg.

But that doesn’t matter. In my dotage I will be comforted by great memories of fantastic holidays, where I was briefly important to the kids, where we went on many adventures and where I was always, always, very, very brave.

And in the meantime there are many more moments to be created. Remember that quiz we had on Zoom, where everyone laughed at my questions as all of the memories came flooding back and the kids, grown adults with boyfriends and girlfriends of their own now, laughed as they all joined in and sang that old rap song ?

Yeah, me too.


P.S. This is on repeat Dry The Rain by Beta Band

Author: paul

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *