Miriam’s Musings

Style challenges under spotlight as summer sun sizzles!

As a nation bereft of decent summers, we generally haven’t got a clue how to deal with the likes of our current heatwave. Take me for example – when I hear there’s going to be a bit of sun, I go into full-on Kim Woodburn (How Clean Is Your House?) mode. I rip the bedclothes off the bed, (even though hubby’s still glued to the mattress), and I go through the drawers and the linen basket, throwing every item that doesn’t have a ‘dry clean only’ label into the washing machine. Why? Because there’s great dryin’ outside!

As an Irish mammy, I know only too well there’s not a single t-shirt, pillow case, duvet cover, or pair of colour-faded armpit-hugging knickers that wouldn’t benefit from the spellbinding effects of a bit of glorious Roscommon sunshine. Oh, and not just any bit of sunshine readers, nay, one that promises us 27 degrees of heat! One that gives us permission to drink a nice glass (okay, bottle) of Sauvignon Blanc during the day whilst sitting in the garden, supervising said rays as they crisp-dry the washing. This sudden heatwave also provides us with the unwritten authority to shout insults at anyone who stops us in the street to complain that, “Oh God it’s fierce hot”.

Yes folks, in recent days it’s fair to say that for once in its life, the Irish weather didn’t completely ignore the fact that it’s officially summer. Indeed, given the mercury had risen off the scale, it’s been perfectly acceptable to wear shorts and a t-shirt to work. However, apparently it wasn’t acceptable to wear an itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny bikini! Oops!

Mind you readers, try as I might, I found it difficult to maintain my daily walks. When I did however, I couldn’t help but notice that everywhere I turned, the sun-scorched look was the order of the day. Yep, ‘burnt’ bald heads, bare bellies, and sun-seared limbs were being proudly exhibited as fair-skinned middle-aged men cheerily shouted at me, “I’m getting a good base for the holidays”. Nice!

Now, while that’s all very well lads –and by the way, sure you’re only gorgeous – can I remind you that you’d carry off that smouldering Mediterranean look so much better if you’d ahem, free the feet. While the old white socks and sandals combo might generate a casual comfy vibe for you, the thing is, where us women are concerned, they’re, er, a real turn-off!

Personally, the sight of socks and sandals makes me want to ring the Gardaí to see if my eyes can enter the witness relocation programme. While I’m at it, seeing someone wearing a pair of those ‘don’t-bother-making-an-effort-just-come-as-you-are’ crocs generates the same level of panic in me. These chunky, clumpy crocs, which really look more like rubber cheese-graters than footwear, have somehow become the sartorial choice – nay, are probably the prerequisite item of many a male’s summer wardrobe, and indeed may even be the ‘go to’ footwear solution for lots of adults.  Please don’t take offence, but crocs are meant for kids, as in they’re not really proper grown-up attire, now are they? In fact, rubber shoes have committed so many crimes against fashion,  I believe that if  you chopped them up and dumped them in the bin, they’d reform, climb back out, and resume their position in your wardrobe!

Full disclosure: my own sense of style has slipped a bit during lockdown. However, I’m relieved that things never escalated to the stage where I panic-purchased ugly rubber shoes, and definitely not ones whose claim to fame features a series of ‘ventilation holes’, which, according to croc-wearers of my acquaintance, ‘allows the air to flow through’. Well I’ve got news for you croc-wearing people – it’s not just the air that’s escaping from those ‘ventilation holes’, your pride and your dignity are also taking flight!


Digital Covid Cert helpline is very unhelpful

Non-essential travel opened up for us on July 19th. Yippee! However, while many are buzzing at the prospect of leaving on a jet plane, or even booking a getaway, the rest (me included) are still waiting on their EU Digital Green Covid Certificates. This is despite the fact we were told they were issued on July 12th! Mind you, this service was officially implemented across Europe on July 1st, but hey, our government didn’t get where they are today by doing things on time, now did they?

Hubby has received his, so he’s sorted. Yet, even though we were both fully vaccinated at the same time, while sitting next to each other, and are living at the same address, mine appears to have gone AWOL! In fact, it would be fair to say that everyone I know who has been fully vaccinated (except for me) has received their EU Digital Green Covid Cert.

And don’t talk to me about the so-called Covid Cert Helpline facility. My attempts to access this service – which have been numerous – have been constantly thwarted over a number of days! Yes – days not hours…days!

Either I cannot get through, or when I do, I’m left hanging on, listening to an annoying automated, Dalek-like voice telling me my call is ‘very important’ to her. Clearly it’s not love, or you’d provide enough operators to deal with the demand. To add insult to injury, when said throaty, staccato, monotone woman has run through her checklist of excuses for ignoring me, my auditory senses are then assaulted by an irritating, teeth-grating arrangement of ‘hold’ music! Exterminate!

Hell hath no fury like a woman who can’t go on holiday scorned! However, do you know what really ticks me off readers? It’s finding out that Green Party Minister of State Ossian Smyth (the person in charge of this massive fizz-up) is, wait for it, ‘on holiday elsewhere in Ireland’. The phrase ‘not fit for purpose’ springs to mind Minister – as do so many others, but as this is a family newspaper I’m unable to fully and colourfully express how I really feel!


Delay in HPV testing is scandalous

The revelation that some 180 cervical smear samples taken from women tested positive for HPV, but were not sent on for cytology examination within the required period of 42 days, is absolutely scandalous. This is not just unacceptable – it’s also typical of the type of second-rate, second-class citizen status we Irish women have come to expect from our health service.

I’ve got no medical qualifications, but I do know that any woman who may be affected by this, while they should be justifiably annoyed (I’d be livid), should try, if possible, not to worry. I know that a positive HPV test, while it must never be ignored, is not an indication that a woman will develop cervical cancer. However, as HPV is a common virus with no noticeable symptoms, the thing is that in some cases (not all) it can develop into something serious, and medical advice should be sought and given without delay.

If you’ve been affected, I’m sure that if you give your own doctor a call, they will be able to offer you advice and reassurance.