A recently purchased new-old second car has changed things. As he needs to be able to attend meetings here, there and everywhere, and puffing around on public transport, showing up wet/late/disorientated was beginning to lose it’s appeal, we began to moot the idea of a purchase. The mooting was seized upon and accelerated by marque 1 who happens to have an avid interest in cars. He set about researching for good reliable bargains with a touch of class, and before we knew what was happening we found ourselves at a garage gazing at what seemed to fit the bill exactly. Now taking a major steer from a 13 year old child on the purchase of something as significant as a car may seem like mere folly. Time will tell. I had to concede that the unusual dark colour – highlighted by the cream leather seats – was to my liking, and this fact combined with the bargain price ticked all my boxes. I took off in the tatty older synthetically upholstered jeep and let the lads ensure the mechanics were equally as appealing.
The purchase threw us into a quandary. For the first time ever we mooted the idea of taking two cars to the Connemara. He might need to be free to attend meetings from the holidays. To pop backwards and forwards. We could divide up the crew. Flexibility. Space. A no brainer really, except in my brain which had clocked up all sorts of potential difficulties, the first of which being the fact that I’ve never done the drive, and will probably end up in Sligo.
‘But you don’t know the way’ marque 2 chirped cheerily when we told him of our two car plan.
The second difficulty was how we would divide seeing as they would all, surely, fight to go in the ‘new’ car.
‘I want to go with you’ marque 2 announced immediately after possibly seeing a flash of a crest fallen face. ‘I want to go in the jeep with you’. Even though it’s tatty, the air conditioning doesn’t work, and I don’t know the way. Ah god, that’s loyalty.
Buoyed up by his support we put the plan into action. I was assaulted by niggles of doubt though. It was the choosing that did it to me. My mind set to catastrophic mode I felt like a bystander watching them select their fate. What if they choose me and something goes wrong? What if they choose him and something goes wrong? Marque 2 and 3 are thick as thieves and did not relish being separated for the journey. When it came to the moment, they left one another doing their secret handshake, promising to be reunited at the stop off in the city. What if?? On the plus side I could collapse the whole back row of the jeep and bung in all we needed with ease. I got to take marque 1 (directions), marque 2 (loyalty) and marque 5 (safety). It was argued that the jeep is safer than a smaller car, adding to my niggles about why the hell we were splitting up in the first place.
We nodded to one another, us parents, setting off on this perilous mission. And then I stalked him all the way to Galway. He did not make one lane change without me mimicking, and it turned out to be great cat and mouse fun. Marque 2 and 3 were skyping one another (ah god) and there was plenty of leg room and no complaints. It was all pretty civilised. Except for the one ultra hairy moment, when I thought right, this is it, brace yourselves.
The sky opened to a torrent and no kidding, there was un-windscreen wiper-able whiteness, zero visibility, and I knew he was ahead but I couldn’t see him, I couldn’t see anything and we were on the 120 km motorway and I didn’t know if a vehicle doing the 120 ks was up my arse or not, so I couldn’t slow down or change lanes or do anything but keep going and pray that it’d be over as suddenly as it started. Which it was, in fairness.
We pulled in to our stop off place in Galway and parked side by side. Grinning it has to be said, all seven delighted to be reunited for the re-fuelling. My own grin wide and unshifting, chuffed – all safely here and not one car got between us all the way from Dublin. The lads swapped around cars for the last leg. Usually we arrive, all falling out of the jeep, sweaty, sticky, irritable after the cramped conditions. A civilised crew disembarked from the two vehicles, not a squabble in sight. Usually we feel we have to get them to the beach for a run, immediately. Not this time. We relax. Have a cuppa. Stroll around the town. They purchase body boards at a bargain price, stash them under their arms and stroll back around the town. People on the street put their thumbs up at the boys and say ‘cool’. One tourist, smiling, counting puts four fingers up and then asks ‘four?’. ‘Five’ I say smiling back at him and his smile broadens further. We have arrived.