Waking up in Limavady this morning, Daddy announces “Today family, we shall to the Giant’s Causeway go! And on the way, Daddy shall impart impressive knowledge of myth and legend that will excite you and awe you and suitably remind Mammy of the fountain of knowledge that I am.”
And of course Mammy was impressed, but Mammy also wondered how the hell Daddy can remember stories and mythologies about Giants who pretend to be Babies from 35 years ago, and yet he can’t remember that the bin goes out on a Thursday night…like EVERY Thursday night. But Mammy does not say such. No Mammy has had an idea.
“I shall drive Husband of Mine. I know the area better than you do.”
“OK Wife.” agrees Daddy, “Then I shall be the imparter of knowledge and wonder upon our children while you drive.”
Mammy is delighted. Because Mammy shall now be able to take a small detour. Mammy shall swing by her old University where she shall point out her old stomping ground to her children and Husband, who shall be suitably impressed. The girls shall Ooooh and Aaaaaah at Mammy’s trip down memory lane and Daddy shall imagine how hot Mammy must have been as a hip and cool student (Big HAHAHA here!) and Mammy shall be dramatically nostalgic and quietly reminiscent, as she tells her minions about how wonderful life was at UUC. She shall smile to herself as she recalls the memories that shall never be told… well not until the girls are approximately 28 years old and Mammy has had too much gin.
And so off we went.
“I’m just going to swing into my old college for a quick look” quips Mammy as she turns left instead of right.
And yet now, Mammy wonders why she did. Because Mammy got an awful shock.
Mammy was not prepared for the fact that things have changed so dramatically. Sure it has to be only 5 or 6 years since I was here? And yet in that short time, some Tossbot has taken it upon themselves to CHANGE the whole campus. And I’m not just talking new signs and buildings. I’m talking MOVING entire buildings.
Firstly. The gate was blocked with those ticket bollards. Apparently students can now afford carparking? WTF?
Secondly. Yes indeed there were LOADS of new buildings and fancy constructions. There are even windmills on the campus. This, I could deal with.
We drove past the old halls, which seemed to have shrunk slightly. “Oh look, there are the front steps and there is the computer lab. It had internet you know? 24hour…” Daddy is looking at me as if I’m a lunatic. The girls are less than impressed.
“There’s the diamond and there’s the theatre Oh and that was where I used to get the bus home and OOOOH LOOOKIT, there’s the big walkway. This takes us to Mammy’s favourite part of the campus. It was where the Student Union was.” (Where Mammy was a student rep, where she was opinionated and indignant in meetings and handed our flyers on Student rights and STDs along with free condoms and where we thought we were changing the world as we drank our cheap pints and loved life…)
“Yes, it leads to the South Building, where… where… ”
“Where the fuck IS IT?”
“What are you talking about woman?”
“The South Building. It’s GONE?!”
“Maybe we’re in the wrong place?” Daddy is now certain that Mammy perhaps shouldn’t be in charge of a moving vehicle, which she has stopped at the end of the walkway, which goes to NOWHERE!
“What the FUCK? I went here for FIVE years. I walked down there EVERY day. It had the library and the bar and lecture halls and the Union offices. WHERE THE HELL IS IT?”
“What did you lose Mammy?” asks Mini-Me.
“Mammy lost a building Darling.” answers Turbotwat.
“I did not… I can’t… WHERE THE HELL?”
“I’m sure they didn’t demolish a full part of the uni Darling. Look there are trees and everything.”
I want to kill him, but I can NOT argue with the trees. Not just little baby trees. No. Full sized feckers that I could climb if I weren’t in such shock.
“It was here.I’m telling you!”
“Of course it was pet. Do you want me to drive?” He’s enjoying this way too much.
“No. I don’t.” Because I know where I’m going. I’m going to drive around this campus until I find a site map to prove that I am NOT mad.
And I do.
And just as I thought, the building is now a field.
I take a snap and send it to two of my old college buddies with “WTF is South Building?”
Within Minutes, I have messages back from them both, providing me with suitably shocked and aghast responses to share with Turbotwat to prove that I am (as usual) right.
In fact one of them goes so far as to send me an ariel shot of the college from when we were there, just to shut him up!
“When were you last here?” asks The Him, who is only teasing me in fairness. (but who for a split second had me doubting my own mind!)
“Not long enough ago for thon tree to have grown…”
“What year did you leave?”
“Darling 2003 was 15 years ago…”
I didn’t speak. I drove straight to Portstewart to find my old flat. And there it was. The pub next door is now a Christian Church and there is a Shopping Centre at the gate, but all I wanted to know was if the door of Number 6 was still yellow.
For some reason, this was important.
And thankfully, Yellow it remains.
A bit like myself who thinks that things stay the same as you remember them.
It’ll probably be another 15 years before I return. And then I shall find that tree and I shall climb the fecker, if not to remind myself that I still can, to embarrass the hell out of whichever daughter I am dropping off!
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