Surf Mama in The Connexion

Connexion books page October 2014

Really nice ’20 minute book review’ in The Connexion.

Just a little disclaimer – I was only referring to my own ‘dowdy 70s layered haircut ‘- no-one else has one, except perhaps the sheep . Need to make that clear or I may never drink Guinness in Dingle again!

It had never occurred to me that wetsuit manufacturers do not offer a maternity range but Wilma Johnson noticed it as she was summing up the good (three children) and the bad (a few chickens) of what threatened to be the best days of her life in Ireland. That is when she realised that there was « a surf chick waiting to hatch » and she had to make changes. Ms Johnson swapped the dowdy 70s layered hair-styles of the Dingle peninsula in the extreme south west of Ireland for chic Biarritz in the extreme south-west of France, a place where even the « road-sweepers look like models ».

Moving to a new life in a new country is hard work ; worse still if it marks the start of the end of your marriage. Even worse if your total foreign language skills amount to the Irish for ‘kiss my arse ‘.

But as the French culture-shock rolls over Ms Johnson like the waves that gave her a broken collar-bone and finger, the answers come back little by little.

First, while shopping, she learns the real difference between the cultures. « In French, the lip gloss promises ‘irresistible seduction. In the English text, this is ‘translated’ as ‘long-lasting comfort’ ».

Then as she strats to rebiold her life she finds. Or rather founded, the Mamas Surf Club. And you find you have been reading for an hour and not 20 minutes…

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