In 1962 Summer Holiday was in the cinema, John Glenn orbited the earth, Sean Connery became the first James Bond, just about everybody was twisting again like they did last summer and we decided to make our home in Ireland.
When my very Irish husband Peter and I decided to ‘emigrate’ to Ireland in 1962 we bought an old Austin car complete with running board for £35.
We loaded it with all our worldly possessions and set off. The car looked good but rattled a lot, a bit of a bone shaker as they say. Amazingly enough it got us all the way to Holyhead to catch the ferry. At Holyhead the car was hoisted on to a crane and lifted on to the ferry something like this.
I was sure bits of it were going to fall off or fall out but all went well and we drove off the boat at Dun Laoghaire to start our new life.
I was a little sad as we left London behind us but I loved the idea of riding off into the sunset with the man I loved with no knowledge of what was before me. Ireland for me was a foreign land and during my brief stay for a Christmas holiday I thought that although the English and Irish spoke the same language (well almost) they were a different breed. I embraced those differences and never wanted to move, even when Peter died.
All these years later I feel I am accepted as much as any English born girl can ever be, especially one who never lost her accent. My Irish born children and grandchildren laugh at the way I talk sometimes. Whenever I make a visit to England my accent becomes more pronounced for a while and this never goes unnoticed.
My latest trip to England was by Ryanair, alone, no car, no ferry just a lot of walking from the departure gate to the boarding area. By the time I arrived I was ready for a sit down. I saw a long queue of people waiting to get on the plane. Why I asked myself are they queuing. There has to be a place for them so what is the point. I sat and sat until the very last person was ushered through and then I boarded and the seat I got was in the second row so I was first off too.
When I was talking about this to my much-travelled wandering son, who is here for a brief visit, he was very impressed and said he does exactly the same and remarked “that’s the only thing we have in common”.
If that’s true it certainly says a lot about both of us.