We Irish are self-professed obsessives when it comes to the weather. We talk about it, scrutinise it, plan around it. When the sun shines, Ireland is the best country you could possibly live in – unless it shines too much and we suddenly run out of water and berate ourselves for not installing an in-home air conditioning system. An icy spell can draw the country to a complete halt and clog our newsfeeds with sand-delivery updates for gritting the roads (which are already treacherous due to pot-holes from the volume of heavy rain we experience), while the lack of a ‘good frost’ will be blamed for all Winter illnesses. Just as well we’ve got a sense of humour!
At the heart of this often mindless chat however, is a failure to come to terms with the fact that the weather is out of our control and only vaguely bound by seasonality. In Summertime, we feel particularly betrayed. A barbecue in June with more than ten minutes notice for friends – is that too much to ask? I once attended a wedding in July where wedding guests had to be driven as close to the church gates as possible before sprinting (and I mean sprinting) to the church door while being canopied by the one umbrella and two macs the groomsmen had managed to forage from the boots of cars. Really July? You’re giving these good people this? On their WEDDING DAY?
Four Seasons? More like seventeen – in any given day
What to do? Like a harshly-dumped, heart-broken teenager who’s slowly moving on, I’ve finally started to get over the Irish weather. I now see through its empty promises and I no longer need it to “complete me”. It’s a force I should always have realised I couldn’t control or predict and I’m letting go. Basically, I’m doing a meteorological Beyoncé on it (just with wooly hats rather than hot pants). I figure all I can do is make plans, expect the worst and dress/pack accordingly. It’s all a girl can do to survive the Irish Summer – and it’s started to make me enjoy the great Summers we do have that little bit more. Feel the (not-forecasted) breeze and do it any way, kind of vibe. I recommend it! It’s quite liberating.
At the start of the Summer we attained some hens. Four feathered ladies courtesy of LittleHill Animal Rescue, who organise Hen Rescues from battery farms every so often. I picked up our dishevelled, work-weary crew in the Aldi carpark in Gort. They were stressed, skinny and balding but, like most things tend to do in Summer, they’ve really blossomed, slowly but surely. A battery hen doesn’t know time or weather – she doesn’t know a breeze in her face or the warmth of the sun on her feathers or a brisk, mucky bath in a rain puddle. But, given the chance to discover the real world, these gals are out in every bit of it – wind, rain and shine – loving and living their clucky lives regardless of what the day’s weather delivers. They have no expectations of Summer. They’re just happy to have a daytime and a nighttime and some weather in-between.
You go girls!
So, with the outlook for the August Bank Holiday ‘mixed’, I’ll most likely wear crop jeans and runners with a t-shirt under a light cardigan with my rain mac tied around my waist (a hat in it’s pocket, maybe gloves to be sure, to be sure). Factor 50 on the face (obvs – I’m completely anti aging, whatever the weather) and an umbrella under my arm. Depending on my mood I may carry flip flops in a bag, just in case. Do say ‘Hi’ if you spot me.
Incidentally, we called the hens Joan, Jean, Siobhán and Nuala after, you know, some of our favourite members of the Met Éireann crew (Ireland’s Meteorological Service) – the country’s much-respected weather girls. Well I did say we’re a nation obsessed!
Check out what LittleHill Animal Rescue are all about at their Facebook Page