The first school tour of the year happened on the hottest day of the year. The day Met Eireann issued a Yellow Warning.
I remember the school outing information reaching me via the monthly newsletter. I diligently took note of the date and paid promptly.
Then I forgot all about it as I am wont to do.
The bus was leaving school at 9am sharp and to return at the usual home time of 1.30pm.
On the hottest day of the year.
Parents received a text message about the need to apply layers of sun block, provide a hat and supply plenty of fluids.
They were going to a venue suitable for both Junior and Senior Infants and although I had never been to the supposed designated place of fun, I was worried about the heat.
I contacted a friend about my concerns.
“No shelter there at all.” Was her response. “It’s very open. Drench him in sun block and put on long sleeves.” Or words to that effect.
This is the child who sweats watching television. He would be slick with melted sun cream within ten minutes of stepping off the bus and long sleeves were not an option.
I didn’t even have a hat for him.
On the hottest day of the year.
I did think about keeping him at home such were my reservations but I decided to play it by ear.
Who knew what might happen? He could kick up the mother of all kick ups at the school gate and refuse to go as far as I knew.
School Tour Morning arrived bright and early. And hot. He was delighted with himself.
Looking good so far.
I lashed on the sun block. So much of it he was snow white for about ten minutes until it absorbed. He performed his usual fidgety dance, concerned about being late and missing the bus on this most important morning.
I attempted to distract him by telling him what his lunch box contained. A lot more sweets than usual. This was allowed. It was School Tour Day.
“You have to pick me up today so I can tell you all about it.” Were his words as we all piled into the musty and hot-air laden car at 8.30am.
This was looking very promising indeed. There were no obvious signs of him thinking about not going.
On reaching the school, he had his seat belt off and was out of the car like a hot snot before I could wish him a lovely day.
By the time 10am came round I was a hot and bothered sticky mess. What on earth was he going to be like, running about in the open? I fervently hoped the Múinteoirí were keeping a close eye on all of their charges and making sure none of them were being sizzled under the hot sun.
Then I received a message from the school to say the show had been late starting (Show? What show???) So the bus was expected to arrive back at the school twenty minutes later than previously thought.
At least the kids were inside for part of the morning.
I rocked up to the school just in time to meet the bus as the kids were climbing out of it. Not a sunburn in sight.
Yes, it was the first thing I looked for. They all looked fine and no-one was crying with heat stroke.
Then I spotted my boy. He gave me a big wave and pointed me out to Múinteoir Daithí.
“Well?” I enquired when he reached me. Big white streaks of sun block contouring his cheekbones. “How was your tour?”
“We didn’t go to the place you said we were going to. We went somewhere else. And there was a show. With people in it.”
Jesus. Where was he then?
“Where were you then?”
A shrug. “Some place called Little Red Riding Hood.”
“Oh.” Who knew? “And did you enjoy it?”
“That’s the main thing. Now, let’s go home for some ice-cream.”
And so I can google where the blue blazes you were for your school tour!