Gerry Moran: All a quiver

Just back from my ‘summer’ holidays in Tenerife. Summer is out for ‘summer’ holidays in our house and so we take our ‘summer’ break in the Fall. It’s been ten years since we were in Tenerife and boy how it’s changed. All, all is changed and a terrible something is born. I hardly recognised Los Americas which has mushroomed into a massive hub of pizza parlours and karaoke bars.

Just back from my ‘summer’ holidays in Tenerife. Summer is out for ‘summer’ holidays in our house and so we take our ‘summer’ break in the Fall. It’s been ten years since we were in Tenerife and boy how it’s changed. All, all is changed and a terrible something is born. I hardly recognised Los Americas which has mushroomed into a massive hub of pizza parlours and karaoke bars.

Ah but ‘The Irish Fiddler’, run by Ger Murphy formerly of Tennypark House is still the same and I found myself chewing the fat, and a prawn cocktail, there with a fellow Kilkenny man who I bumped into in the street. And nice to see the Billy Cleere Memorial Golf Cup neatly encased in the corner of Ger’s neighbouring pub, the ‘Temple Bar’. The cup is competed for every January since Billy passed away a decade ago.

The missus and myself didn’t play any golf in Tenerife but we took a break from the glorious sunshine to try our hand at archery, one of our hotel’s many ‘animacions’ as they call them. Only five of us showed up – three Germans, two males and a female, and my good wife and I. It immediately occurred to me that we, the Morans, must avenge our recent 6 – 1 drubbing at the hands (or rather feet) of Germany in the World Cup Qualifiers by whipping these three at archery.

The words of Winston Churchill suddenly sprang to mind: “We shall fight on the beaches…..we shall fight in the hills….and (my addition) we shall fight with bows & arrows. And we did. And we lost. Again. And thank God Mr. & Mrs. Moran weren’t on the beaches of Normandy back in 1944 with our bows & arrows or it would have been a bad day for the Allies. And thank God we weren’t on the beach at Clontarf in 1014 with a quiver-full of arrows or it would have been a bad day for Brian Ború. Which it was but with us present it would have been worse!

Anett, our coach, asks if we have any experience at archery. Answers are not forthcoming and I am half thinking of telling her about Daly’s Hill and ‘killing’ ‘cowboys’ with our home-made bows & arrows but I don’t think that’s what she has in mind. Anyway after Anett straps us up and instructs us in the use of the bow and the five arrows which we will shoot (twice) the ‘games’ begin.

Whatever about my wife – I was pure useless. I couldn’t even hit the target. My arrows went left, went right, went over, went under. And yes I should have gone to Specsavers, but it wouldn’t have mattered. Indeed but for the fact that we were in an enclosed area my arrows could still be whizzing through space on their way to Mars or the moons of Neptune. The missus, at least, hit the target and notched up some points. But not enough. The Germans easily outscored us – the best of them, by the way, being the woman who consistently scored and who later confessed to having played before. Ah, ah. No wonder they ended up taking gold, silver and bronze.

But ‘all’s well that ends well’ as the Bard wrote and the Morans exacted fulsome revenge on the Germans – on the pool table where we massacred a German by the name of Kurt and his twelve year old daughter. Okay so Kurt was playing with a cue that had no tip (but he was so bad it didn’t matter) while his daughter could hardly hold the cue. But then again my own missus was no great shakes either and might as well have been blind folded.

And so, thanks to my misspent youth playing snooker in the former CYMS hall in William Street, I hauled Ireland back from the abyss of German annihilation and humiliation at soccer and archery and the Morans, with their dignity in tact, returned to what they do best, and for which they will definitely get bronze(d) – sunbathing.

Getting on

Following are three good indicators that you’re getting on (how far on you have to decide for yourself) when on holiday:

a)You lapse into a pool of goose-pimpling nostalgia when the resident hotel band strikes up any, or all, of the following songs: ‘Sweet Caroline’, ‘Please Release Me’, ‘Que Sera Sera’, ‘Crazy’, ‘Wooden Heart’, ‘Hello Mary Lou’ or any Abba number

b)The Jacuzzi isn’t just fun – it’s therapeutic, for that arthritic hip, bad back or banjaxed knee

c)You are pleased to note that the hotel dining room requires males to wear long pants and long sleeved shirts for evening dinner – indeed you are slightly disappointed that management doesn’t require men to wear a tie (even though you hadn’t packed one).