“Oh my God,” Sorcha goes - this is while we’re sitting in the airport deportures lounge, “what if someone, like, recognises me?”
I’m there, “Sorcha, you’re wearing Ray-Bans, a face mask and a baseball cap. How is anyone going to recognize you?”
"Sorcha! Lalor!" a voice goes. It ends up being Stephanie Spangler, a girl she was in, like, school with? "I haven't seen you in - oh my God - years!"
Sorcha’s like, “Oh my God, Stephanie! You look ah-mazing - as in, like, teeny-tiny! You’re obviously still going to spinning classes.”
Well, we just felt that - given the whole Coronavirus thing - holidaying abroad was definitely the wrong thing to do
"I'm actually an instructor now. So where are you goys flying to today?"
I’m there, “Quinta do-”
"Farranfore, " Sorcha quickly goes.
Stephanie laughs. She’s like, “Quinta do Farranfore? I’ve never heard of it.”
"Yeah, no," Sorcha goes, "it's just our little staycationing joke. Because we usually go to, obviously, Quinta do Lago. But this year we're doing the whole, like, Wild Atlantic Way thing?"
“Is that not a bit random for you?”
“Well, we just felt that - given the whole Coronavirus thing - holidaying abroad was definitely the wrong thing to do.”
"You always had a really strong sense of social responsibility," Stephanie goes, "and that's not me being a bitch. I remember when you chaired the Mount Anville Peace and Justice Committee. "
“Yeah, no, I was the one who actually set it up.”
“That’s like, oh my God.”
“So the Wild Atlantic Way? I’ve heard good things - again, not being a bitch.”
“Yeah, no, we’re going to rent a camper van and really take our time doing it, aren’t we, Ross?”
I’m like, “Er, yeah,” but at the same time I’m actually shocked at how easily the lies are tripping off her lips behind that mask. She’ll have to be watched more closely in future.
Honor and the boys arrive back from the shop then - perfect timing.
Honor goes, “I got the factor fifty, Dad.”
“Factor fifty?” Stephanie goes. “I hope you get the weather you’re expecting.”
Sorcha’s like, “It can get really hot in Kerry, Stephanie.”
Honor’s there, “But they didn’t have any mosquito repellent.”
"Mosquito repellent?" Stephanie goes. "Er, do they even have mosquitos in Kerry?"
Sorcha's like, "Massive ones. A girl I know from Erasmus got bitten in Sneem. "
“That’s like, Oh! My! God!”
“That’s exactly what I said at the time, wasn’t it, Ross?”
I’m like, “Words to that effect, yeah.”
Stephanie once gave me a love bite up at the Witch's Hat and I had to tell Sorcha that I got it playing paintball
Leo is just, like, staring at Stephanie, his big Coca Cola bottle glasses fogging up above his mask. He has a definite eye for the ladies - takes after you know who.
"Who's this focker?" he goes.Stephanie puts her hand on her chest and acts all shocked. You'd swear she'd never heard a five-year-old drop a fock bomb before - and her from, originally, Glasthule.
Sorcha’s there, “Please don’t react to it, Stephanie. We’re trying not to create taboos around certain words in case it makes them more attractive to them.”
"Yeah, who the fock is she?" Johnny goes.
I'm like, "This is a friend of mommy's from school - who I also knew back in the day?"
Stephanie once gave me a love bite up at the Witch’s Hat and I had to tell Sorcha that I got it playing paintball, although I decide to not add that detail.
Brian goes, “We’re going to Quinta do focking Lago.”
Stephanie’s like, “Excuse me?”
“Again,” Sorcha goes, “please don’t respond to it, Stephanie. We don’t want to derail all the years we’ve put into ignoring the problem.”
“It’s not the swearing,” Stephanie goes. “He said you were going to Quinta do Lago.”
Sorcha’s there, “Errr,” because we’ve been busted here in a major way.
"Yeah, in make-believe," Honor goes, suddenly rescuing the situation. "Just because we're not going to Quinta do Lago doesn't mean we can't pretend we're all there in our minds."
"Exactly," Sorcha goes. "The best caldo verde I ever had was in Milltown Malbay. "
“Because for a minute there,” Stephanie goes, “I thought you were one of those fakecationing families.”
Sorcha’s like, “Fakecationing? As in?”
"Oh my God, you must have heard about the fakecationers. All these people who are pretending that they're holidaying in Ireland because they're ashamed to let people know that they're actually in, like, France, or Spain, or Portugal. "
"That's so random," Sorcha goes. "So, so random."
Stephanie's there, "And - oh my God - the lengths that some of them go to just to maintain the lie. My sister knows a girl who was posting other people's photographs on her Instagram to convince everyone that she was in West Cork when she was actually in Ibiza - obviously the nice bit."
Yeah, no, in her orchive, Sorcha has Amie with an ie’s photographs from her caravanning holiday in Connemara, as well as Claire from Bray’s photographs from her sponsored cycle around the Ring of Kerry, ready to post.
“That’s, like, oh my God,” Sorcha goes.
Stephanie’s there, “You took the words out of my mouth, Sorcha. But then there’s, like, no way you’d do something like that - er, former Chairperson of the Mount Anville Peace and Justice Committee?”
“You’re just one of those people who always, always, always does the right thing.”
“And that’s not intended as a criticism.”
"No, it's a genuinely lovely thing to hear. Oh my God, I'm so rude, I haven't even asked you where you're flying off to."
And, without missing a beat, Stephanie goes, “Quinta do Lago.”
Sorcha’s there, “Excuse me?”
"I know, I know, I know," Stephanie goes, "none of us should be travelling to countries that aren't on the green list. But Graham and I had a really good think about it and we just thought, 'Fock it.' Anyway, I'd better go. We're on the six o'clock flight."
I’m there, “The six o’clock flight-?”
“To Faro,” she goes.
In other words, our flight.
She goes, “Enjoy, em, wherever you said you were going. And watch out for those mosquitos!” and then she focks off.
Sorcha sits there saying nothing for a good sixty seconds as we watch Stephanie join her husband in the queue for the gate.
I’m like, “What are we going to do?” because there’s no way Sorcha is going to get on that plane now.
“We’re going to have to change our flights,” she goes.
I’m there, “I’m not sure there’s another flight to Faro tonight.”
“We’re not going to Faro,” she goes. “We’re going to Farranfore.”