‘I considered driving over a cliff just so I wouldn’t have to hear their focking voices’

Ross O’Carroll-Kelly: Tempers fray as the family are landed with some cling-ons

'Honor is taking the whole thing in her stride. She goes, 'I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. I won’t be going anywhere with them tomorrow.''

'Honor is taking the whole thing in her stride. She goes, 'I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. I won’t be going anywhere with them tomorrow.''

 

He’s called Rob, his wife is Sinead and their little girl is called Willow. Literally that. Willow. And I know from the very second that Sorcha falls into conversation with them at the baggage carrousel that we are going to be hanging around with them for our entire week in Cap-d’Ail.

Sinead had watched Sorcha strap Brian, Leo and Johnny – still effing and blinding – into their stroller and went, “Looks like you’ve got your hands full there!” a line you hear a lot when you’ve got triplets who swear like dockworkers. I usually counter with either a filthy look or a straight, “Does this look like the face of someone who gives a fock what you think?”

But not my wife. No, the Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Hort taught her that every stranger is a potential friend or networking opportunity. Within 60 seconds, Sorcha had discovered that we were all staying in the same aportment complex and had offered them a lift there in the nine-seater MPV rental.

And I know that’s it. They’re going to be hanging around us for the week – like a surgical collar on a dog, except about seven times more annoying.

Rob goes, “So what do you think about the World Cup?”

This is while I’m driving.

I’m there, “I’m very much looking forward to it. I think Ireland have a chance of actually winning it as long as Johnny Sexton stays fit.”

“No,” he goes – this is word for word, “I’m talking about the soccer World Cup. I have to say, I quite fancy Croatia,” and I stort looking around the dashboard on the off-chance that Ford have added ejector seats to its Tourneo range.

The wife is even more irritating? She keeps asking Sorcha what we paid for various things – our flights, our stroller, our house – then she tells her about the borgain they managed to get in comparison? One of those people – always looking for an ‘attagirl’ for being basically cheap.

I nearly had an anxiety attack listening to her talk about that former’s morket where you can buy a sack of vegetables for €10

And Willow is worse. She keeps trying to engage Honor in conversation, then going, “Oh my God, Mom, Honor doesn’t speak French!” or, “Oh my God, Mom, Honor can’t swim!” or, “Oh my God, Mom, Honor doesn’t play hockey!”

I’m thinking, she’ll be lucky if Honor doesn’t pull that slide door open and shove her out. Just to be on the safe side, I hit the button to centrally lock the cor, then I look in the rear view mirror in time to see Honor testing the door handle.

Listen to Ross

Anyway, we finally got to the aportment complex and that should be that: ‘It’s been emotional, have a nice life and don’t leave any of your shit in the cor because I hate saying goodbye and good riddance twice.’

But that’s when this Sinead person goes, “What are you doing tomorrow? We were thinking of taking Willow to this amazing water park if you want to join us? It’s actually one of the cheapest in France.”

Sorcha’s like, “A water pork?” mentally flicking through the Mount Anville playbook for a polite way of telling her to hop off. “That sounds, em, great.”

She basically lands us right in it.

Ten minutes later, we’re in the apartment and I’m finally able to offload. I’m like, “That is the most annoying family of knobs I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet. I actually considered driving over a cliff just so I wouldn’t have to hear their focking voices any longer.”

I’m talking about Chris Rea’s Welsh cousin, Dai. You wouldn’t want to put me in water today

Sorcha goes, “I nearly had an anxiety attack listening to her talk about that former’s morket where you can buy a sack of vegetables for €10. She said you don’t know until you get home what’s in the sack. Some weeks, it’s a mixture of everything. Some weeks, it’s all carrots. Can you imagine anything worse, Ross?”

“Er, yeah, I can actually – he wants me to watch a Soccer World Series match with him – in some Irish bor. Why did you have to encourage them, Sorcha?”

“I was just trying to be nice.”

“And look where that’s got us. It’s got us a day with them at, I don’t know, Verruca Splash World. Honor, weigh in here. Your old dear’s hooked us up with a family of annoying cling-ons. Don’t hold back.”

Except Honor is taking the whole thing in her stride. She goes, “I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. I won’t be going anywhere with them tomorrow.”

Anyway, me and Sorcha do end up losing sleep over it? We spend the entire night practically trying to come up with an excuse not to go. The best I can do is to say that Sorcha has the trots. But Sorcha has a better idea – to say that I have the trots?

So that’s what we end up telling them when they appear at the door the next morning.

Rob’s like, “The what?”

And I go, “I’m talking about Chris Rea’s Welsh cousin, Dai. You wouldn’t want to put me in water today.”

Sinead goes, “Well, maybe we can do something tonight if you’re feeling better then. We’d love to have you over – to say thank you for saving us the price of a taxi. I was going to do a paella. It costs nearly nothing to make.”

And that’s when Honor, behind us, goes, “Can’t you take the hint? My parents can’t stand you.”

Sorcha turns instantly red, then laughs and rolls her eyes, trying to play it off as one of those Children Say the Darndest Things moments.

But then I hear my own voice coming from presumably Honor’s iPhone, going, “That is the most annoying family of knobs I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet. I actually considered driving over a cliff just so I wouldn’t have to hear their focking voices any longer.”

Well, that does the trick. Rob goes, “Sinead, Willow – let’s get away from these awful people,” and off they jolly well trot.

Sorcha turns around to Honor and goes, “That was a horrible thing to do!”

And I’m like, “Yeah, Honor – we really appreciate it.”

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