Parents – you have a yooman rite to bring the kids on holliers
It was a summer break I'd never forget – if I'd been allowed to go, that is.
I was in secondary school and the old man had stumbled across a random opportunity to visit Yugoslavia for a few weeks. An eternal optimist who had spent his life being disappointed by socialism, he still saw Tito's Yugoslavia as the last European bastion of effective politics. He admired how a country riven by the kind of ethnic and sectarian hatreds that made Norn Iron look like a cake sale could unite together under one flag and he wanted to take the opportunity to see this workers paradise. Just one problem – for the family to go, I'd miss the last week of school.
I wheedled, pleaded begged and cajoled – all to no avail. Damn it, I even read up on the history of the place in an effort to show how interested I was. The Ma pointed out that she wasn't going to take her precious one and only out of school for anything, least of all some trip to a country which, at that stage, was trying to turn itself into a tourist destination to rival Spain.