Roisin Ingle on . . . the great outdoors


Outside. I’d forgotten how great it is, and not in a George Michael kind of way. Those poor, tormented people who live in California and the like don’t properly appreciate good weather because it’s always there, hanging around like an expensive perfume. In this country, after a sunny bank-holiday weekend we put a good weather news item at the end of the main evening bulletin with a montage of pictures of people eating ice-cream and turning dangerous shades of pink. Lots of of great things happened to me Outside recently. I hope that’s not the last of the good weather but just in case it is, I’m recording some of my best recent sun-related happenings here.

I Met Mufasa From ‘The Lion King’. There’s a playground in the Grand Canal Dock area of Dublin, a funny-shaped space sandwiched between buildings, which the locals don’t think much of; “it’s more of a folly than a playground,” one of them told me, full of docklander disdain. Folly or not, my children love it because there it has tyre swings. They swang and sang at the weekend going through their Lion King repertoire in the sunshine even though they were too young to know that the musical was going on at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre around the corner. They’ve only ever seen the cartoon.

“I just can’t WAIT to be king,” they sang, like the Billy Barry Kids I so want them to be. As we left the swings we bumped straight into a beautiful man who, putting two and two together and making a smash-hit musical, I correctly intuited had to be part of The Lion King .

“Who are you?” I asked him. “Mufasa,” he said. “That’s not Mufasa, Mum,” complained one of my children as I forced Mufasa to sing them a song. He told me his real name is Cleveland and he used to be a bank manager in Jamaica. He claimed he was really out of shape before he sort of accidentally got into showbusiness. “Out of shape? I can’t believe that,” I told him. (I have this problem where I flirt more in the sun). Around the corner we bumped into another beautiful man who turned out to be the actual Lion King Simba. “That’s not Simba, Mum,” moaned my other child cramping my style in that adorable way children have.

I Had A Five-Hour Lunch After I met my new musical theatre friends my mother kindly took the children for the afternoon. (She’s still talking to me after last week’s column but only just about. “Imagine telling people we had no Good Delph or crockery as if you ate your dinner off the floor like savages,” she harumphed. She’s not normally a harumpher. I’ve written all sorts about her over the years like the time she wore a nightgown all Christmas Day thinking it was a dress. Now she’s upset about my revealing something as throwaway as We Had No Good Delph. And she wonders where I got my contrariness. But still: Dear Mother, I wouldn’t swap the childhood you gave me for all the good china in all the dressers in the land. Love, your contrite daughter). Anyway, the lunch. I’ve been wondering for a few years now whether sitting outside shooting the breeze with friends and strangers and long lost acquaintances is one of the best things ever to do in the sunshine. And yes. Turns out it still is.

Some Nice Libyan People Gave Me A Burger We were in the grounds of Newbridge House in Donabate and the children had gone off into the forest to build a pretend campfire with their father, affording me the chance to compare and contrast the barbeque habits of the indigenous Irish and those people now living here who were brought up in countries where sunshine is not newsworthy. On the one hand, you’ve got a barbecue in a bucket on which a few sausages are burning and on the other you’ve got industrial grills lined up with scores of men attending to fragrantly marinated spoils. I sort of wandered over, out of curiousity and gluttony . It turned out it was the annual picnic for a local Libyan school. Without asking I was handed a burger and we got talking about differences between Libyan and Irish culture. One man explained that Libyan men are treated like “kings” in their homes so I scuttled off in case my own man got any crazy ideas. The Great Outdoors. More of it, I say. Oh and Cleveland, if you get a minute, call me.

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