Trasna an uisce

Anne Joyce McCarthy is chief bottle-washer, wife of one, mother of three (eleven year old boy, eight-year-old twin girls), student, newbie blogger and occasional jogger. Originally from Corrib Park, Galway, she moved last month from Galway to Oxfordshire w

I didn’t have a complicated life. I was run of the mill, still am. ‘D’ya fancy livin in England, there’s a secondment up for grabs in Windsor for six months’. It was one of those fleeting comments in June 2009. ‘Are ya jokin, the kids would never cope’. Sure what would we want livin’ over there, Galway was home. We had made our move back from Dublin. We were happy, ploddin along, wingin it. But when the boss highly recommends he considers it, I know there may be trouble ahead but without the moonlight and love and romance. More like, fasten yer seatbelts, turbulence to come.

Thus it began. Delayed flights, clouds of ash, disappointed children when Dad was late again. The Middle reckoned ‘the green planes are always late’. It proved draining, physically and emotionally, what with the wear and tear three active, lively, loud, brilliant children (biased of course ) have on mind, body and soul. They flew us over for a weekend to Windsor where Himself was based in a dinky shoebox, perfect for a single man, not for a rowdy bunch like us. We rang the castle doorbell, thought there’d be a cuppa tay from hersel. She must have been out, the flag wasn’t flying. We did the touristic thing but glad to get home. We kinda felt our next trip would be reconnaissance.

There was always going to be a chance of it becoming permanent, definite. The time came when we had to decide. How would the kids cope? What about the house? Sell it, rent it? What about my study? Shtone mad, leave Galway?! What about our folks? Well into it, high flyin to here there and everywhere, a taste for the new job was had and ego took over (Himself would argue to the contrary ). I would have the final say, no pressure. Me...well you’d never know, shake meself out of my comfort zone...a change for us experiences...a stone’s throw from London...only across the water...sure they’re not that different over there...the Nannas and Grandads will have to get with it on Skype. Say yes and just do it, worry about the minutiae later. ‘Why not sure, go for it!’ says I like the way I decided to do the Dublin City Marathon but not really knowing what was ahead of me, until I crossed the finish the way I took on a degree to fill the time in the evenings and keep the grey matter tickin over (sin sceal eile! ). The decision was made. Off to the Belly of the Beast. Give it a blast. If it didn’t work out we’d just come home. Sure the economy was makin’ like Domestos anyway.

School to find, house to find, relationship and sanity to hold together. Talk of catchment problems and schools, near drove me to drink. Went to New York for his 40th. We stood in JFK arrivals, gone wrong with jet lag and slightly hungover. We took the call where we had to decide there and then on a 12-month lease on a house we had never been in, in a town we really knew nothing about, all based on getting the children into a decent school. Manic.

I underestimated the emotional carnage that ensued. Heart-wrenching goodbyes to the children’s friends and teachers. Stomach churning hugs and kisses from the Nannas and Granddads, aunts and uncles in Galway and Tipp. An all merciful party that saw grandad givin it socks in the nightclub to AC/DC, with the brothers, sister and I givin it up on the dancefloor to ‘Your sex is on fire’ with ‘the luveens on fire’ complete with leg guitar! As the tears and snot abated, the coffin ship awaited. Nothing ventured....children are resilient...time will tell.

And now we are here, lock, stock and garage full of unopened boxes in Thame, Oxfordshire. The house in Galway, our once home, lies vacant. And how is it I can find the teak oil and I can’t find the iron? Although, it may come in handy for cricket!



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