If You Can Remember the Sixties, You Weren’t There. . .

I live in Portstewart. How I got here is another story for another day. But on days like today, I can hardly think of a better place to be. The sun is shimmering on the sea, Donegal is just about visible through the hazy sun. The beach is packed  with cars, many of them day trippers down to the ‘Port’ happy to pay the £4.50 or whatever the National Trust is prepared to take off them for the privilege. Now there’s one happy charity.

The fellas and girls that work down there on the beach have a grand time, apart from the occasional time when the lifeguards might have pull people and their children out of the seas, as happened last summer. A father, three children nearly gone in one sunny afternoon due to a bit of holiday stupidity (or bravado). The lifesavers, Nicky  a young girl and Bernie went on about their business perhaps unaware of what they had just done.

Portstewart is blighted with developers. The recession has calmed some of their passion, but a couple of years back every corner in the road had a sign up saying ‘Development Opportunity’. The residents in a five or six house estate across from where I live clubbed together an interested a developer in taking their houses as a job lot in return for loadsamoney. One resident wouldn’t shift tho’ and the multimillion deal fell through. Amidst their greed the residents can sit today in the sun and wonder what might have been.

One developer has a town centre site under construction that caused the footpath to be temporarily removed. The parents in the primary school and the local community association decided to organise a demonstration on Friday afternoon to protest and demand the reinstatement of the pavements on the grounds it was unsafe for young children. It may be for the few that actually walk to and fro the school, the rest are picked up in an impressive array of 4x4s, MPVs, BMWs. And often that’s only the childminders.

One parent of my acquaintance took an active if not militant part in the protest. As I drove past on my way to the Ice cream shop with the boys – the value of the good weather is you don’t need an excuse to go to the ice cream shop – she signalled for me to honk my horn in support. That I did, more than mildly amused at the utterly middle class militancy unfolding before my eyes. Encouraged by the laughing I let rip on the horn a bit longer, and being unable to find a parking space looped the block again for a bit more hornblowing. I thought no more until I met her later dropping the weans at hurling.

‘Did you hear me on the radio’ sez she bright eyed. ‘No,’ I replied truthfully, the local radio wouldn’t be on my play list. She had been interviewed and expressed some angst at who may have heard her. Reminded of Berni from Meet the Focker (whom I referenced the other day) I asked her did she know the scene from the film and the line about the sixties. Before I had the words out she says ‘There’s no way I am burning my bra. . .’

That wasn’t the route my train of thought was taking at all. Still, if it leads to the reinstatement of the pavement it may be worth it, despite the resulting ash cloud. . . and it certainly might get a few more honks on the horn.

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