off the cuff

Letting your hair down ...

To us my sister is a beacon of life who reminds us that it’s not that bad as the years creep up

17:18 September 2, 2017

As you read this, a group of wide-eyed and wild women will be wondering wistfully through a couple of fields in the bowels of Ireland to attend one of the biggest and best festivals on the Emerald Isle.

With our rucksacks, sleeping bags and insect repellent, our destination for the weekend is a wonderland called Electric Picnic. It’s a festival of music that’s become an institution in Ireland and attracts thousands of revellers each year to a few fields in county Laois (That’s pronounced Leesh, for those not acquainted with the Irish vernacular). From big acts to up and coming bands, to comedy acts and a bit of random fun thrown in for good measure, the weekend is a welcome retreat for all those Irish looking for a final fling at the tail end of the summer.

Myself and this gang of girls have gathered for an orgy of fun this September to celebrate my sister’s 40th birthday — she’ll howl in existential dread if anyone discovers this. Sorry sis. And I can understand how she feels as the horror of horrors is mere years ahead of me. There’s such a comfort in having an older sibling, I recommend it to everyone.

We’re a motley bunch of women, some parents, others happy, all stressed with the daily toils of life, all seeking an escape from the heavy burdens and shackles that for most of the year box us all into our separate categories; mother, workaholic, single, married, ‘looking-for-love’ — that oft repeated phrase from which oozes the stank of desperation and fear of commitment, yet would be a fitting description of every human on this planet who has ever pined for beauty, for peace and for a hint of life apart from life, a touch of magic.

True sign of wiser years

I’ve no idea what to bring for this festival shindig, not being a frequenter of music festivals, but I’ve packed some wellies and will bring some edibles with me — the true sign of my wiser years — and a lot of wet wipes. But there’s no need to fear the conditions too much. There was no way that this group of worldy wise women would be slumming it with the plebs in the camping trenches. No, we’re staying in the boutique camping section — glamping I tells ya! We’ll be reserving our contempt for those in the lower levels of festival society, throwing looks of horror at the mud-covered mounds of human flesh that will be writhing around in the ‘everyone else’ section, while we lounge like lords of grime in the VIP area. My hopes for this are high, certainly not ‘Dubai-high’, I’m not expecting butlers to wipe the dirt from my wellies when entering our special ‘pod’. But there will be showers.

It sounds amazing and I’m sure my sister will have a great time forgetting that she’s been around the sun 40 times, which isn’t that many really. To the sun, my sister is like a tiny twinkle in Mother Nature’s eye; just another little human, scrambling around the earth and looking up occasionally to catch the light.

To us, my sister is a beacon of life who reminds us that it’s not that bad as the years creep up, she’s as beautiful as ever, still smart as a whippet, has her whole life in front of her and wonderful memories behind her.

Christina Curran is a journalist currently studying a Masters in International Relations at Queen’s University, Belfast.