My wife is amazing. For a number of reasons.

First, she doesn’t communicate with me on our Facebook news feeds. I like that about her. For those couples who do: please, get a room! Like a living room or drawing room or parlour or something.

Secondly, she doesn’t wish our infant children, “Happy birthday!” on Facebook either. I like that about her too. Neither of them has a Facebook account and, if they did, I suspect they wouldn’t even ‘Friend’ me. To whom are these well-wishes aimed at? And didn’t you, like, see them that morning, like, at breakfast, or something?

She is also amazing because she has had to spend the summer entertaining two kids alone. This has seriously cut into her Facebook time but she has not complained. For kids whose parents are busy with work, there are not that many options out there. Coupled with Dublin’s unpredictable weather, it can make looking after kids in a summer holiday … difficult!

In Ireland, it seems like a lot of busy parents take advantage of the wide range of summer ‘camps’. However, these are nothing like camps because a) there are no tents, b) the kids come back at 5pm (!!!), and c) ‘camping’ is supposed to be a cheap alternative for cash-strapped, frazzled workers in need of a holiday. There is nothing cheap about them. Our local gym offers a swimming camp which is over €100 for a week’s course. Multiply by the number of weeks in a summer holiday and you may start to consider moving to a landlocked country just to be on the safe side.

There’s an almost infinite range of camps: Starcamps (which builds your little angel’s confidence and prepares them for the cutthroat world of show business), photography camps, computer programming camps, even camps which advertise, seriously, that your child will spend 70% of the time on an iPad. Are these camps are only popular in Ireland? We never had this kind of thing when I was a child but that was a long time ago. Answers on a holiday postcard, please.

My wife has been scouring the Internet looking for ideas to keep them occupied and found this gem: a giant bubble maker. These things can be bought on Amazon for about £20 but it cost us next to nothing to put one together.Of course, we had to buy the bubble mixture from the nearest Euro shop – washing up liquid and water is always a poor substitute.

First, you need to get hold of a few pieces of junk mail: takeaway leaflets are particularly good. They have a waxy texture to them which make them quite resilient and waterproof. You need enough so you can make a pair of strong sticks (for more information on the forgotten art of stick making, look here). You then get two pieces of string: one short one and one longer piece. Tie the two ends of the strings to the two ends of the stick. Make sure the long piece overlaps the short piece, in order for a complete bubble circle to be made. You should have something that looks like this (or, most likely, better).


And … er … well … that’s it!

I’m sure the manufacturers of more expensive versions will assure you that theirs have been expertly crafted and optimised through hours, days, weeks, months of laboratory testing and that their product produces the biggest, boldest bubbles on the block. Good for them!


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