Donegal is great but if I was completely honest I would have to admit I dream of a cottage in France. What I really dream about are sun-drenched mornings and late afternoon tea on a patio surrounded by a garden of lavender and hummingbirds!
I know I promised in my first column that I would not bang on about our temperamental climate but that has proven difficult. After all, the weather is everything in this corner of the planet. It controls us, it affects our mood, the way we think and how we spend our day. A flicker of sunshine can cause us to shed like an onion. All of a sudden we see smiles, bare legs and ray bands instead of hooded heads, hunched shoulders and scowls. It’s the best pick-me-up ever. Problem is, it doesn’t last.
The bones have been warmed up a little earlier than usual this year and since then it has snowed, teemed, and cut a cold air that would lift the skin of your face. The summer clothes don’t know what has happened. They are back in the spare room wardrobe again. Is it any wonder I am dreaming about a place in the sun? I’m having serious withdrawal symptoms.
I suppose if you are in the indoor entertainment business or marquee trade you have no reason to complain. You are probably doing good business due to the Irish weather and there is certainty a bright side to that because you will no doubt be in business for a long time to come but the rest of us pray for good weather for nearly every occasion under the sun; birthday parties, school holidays, sheep shearing, the list is endless.
Of course, a good day here in Irish terms usually means cold but dry. As long as it is not raining, snowing or blowing a gale. We are unbelievably competent on looking at the bright side when it comes to Irish weather. If we happen to get the same temperatures during our Spanish vacation we feel we may as well have rented a caravan in Bundoran but I still dream of a sunny abode, preferably south facing with a pool and sea view. As you can see, I’m not fussy. I just want to heat up my bones and I am not talking about filling the oil tank or taking a hot water bottle to bed!
When I shared my dream with a couple of ex-pats recently they thought I was raving. I came across them in sunny Porthaw. We were all in our bare feet and the sun was beating down, you know the usual March weather. When we met on the beach we started talking about yeah…you’ve guessed it, the weather and I spilled my pipe-dream on how lovely it would be to live in some far flung sunny place. That’s when they told me that after living in sunny LA for the best part of twenty years they would give it all up in the wink of an eye for the peace of Donegal. As I listened to their yearning to be back here we sat on the rocks while the Swilly played with our feet and shimmered the whole way to where a sultry purple hue was raising over the Donegal hills. It has to be said, we may not always have the weather but we do have the peace—a peace that settles in your bones and causes ex-pats to dream of a cottage in Donegal. A cottage in France? A home in Donegal? Sun or peace? Hmmm… it’s a hard call.