It was the day of Wee Wifey’s arrival. I got up early and zipped around the cottage like a flatulent sprite – washing, ironing, shopping, writing, editing and having a shower – almost all at the same time. I finally got the house polished and shiny, and stocked up on a month’s groceries from ASDA, Sainsbury’s and Lidl. At that point I ran out of supermarket chains.
I hosed myself down, applied plenty of Filler For Middle-Aged Man’s Cracked Skin, and put on the best togs I could find. I wanted to look smart for the little lady. I received a text that Wee Wifey was on her way to the airport on her side of the Irish Sea – then set off for the airport on mine. A mild, creeping insanity had caused us to book her a flight to Dublin. From Castlerock, that’s like driving to Birmingham from our home in southern England. Off I went. It’s simple. Follow signs to Belfast. Follow signs to Dublin. Get off at airport junction. Easy.
The tricky bit was when, hours later, I arrived at Dublin Airport. That’s when the challenge started. At the time they were constructing a new terminal. There was so much building work going on, it had actually hidden the airport.
As I approached the complex, a workman gave me a spade so I could gradually dig my way through to the main entrance (not really). Finding a parking space was another feat of superhuman skill. Thankfully, the airport authority supplies a special jig that squeezes your car into the only available bay that can’t even fit a Citroen 2CV – never mind the beast of a vehicle I had at the time – the Citroen Synergie.
I was concerned that Wee Wifey might not recognise me, as I’d sweated off several pounds in the process of fighting my way through to her. But my ‘cake belly’ was holding up. She’d still be able to spot that. I walked into the terminal building and, crouching down low, looked for her tiny form among the passengers’ legs.
‘Looking for me?’ came a shrill cry. I nearly jumped out of my skin. The little lady had crept up from behind and startled me. It was great to see her after ten days. But less of the sudden shocks. The life insurance isn’t that good.
Absolutely fed up with the endless motorway, I decided to take the scenic route back to Castlerock and show my lady most of Ireland. But then hunger hit us both. In desperation, we searched the car for old boiled sweets. I found one and gave it to her. I know, chivalry isn’t dead. Finally we found a hotel still serving food. We bought a couple of generous bar meals, tomato juice, Guinness and two coffees – all for 25 euros. The little lady watched me woof the lot. The boiled sweet had filled her up, so she didn’t need much else in her miniature tummy.
Welcome to Ireland, Wee Wifey! (Photo: The original ‘Wee Wifey’ character was a rude little ornamental dish/ash tray that we found in the cottage. And here she is!)