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Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I am feeling the pull of Dundrum today. Fundrum, I’ve heard it called. For me the whole “Town Centre” is a giant magnet, pulling mothers to it on school mornings (I can see them now, flying through the air like Mary Poppins, with buggies instead of brollies) where we feed on caffeine and sugar and wander around feasting our eyes in shop after shop after shop.

First there is that lovely feeling of an imminent latte as I drive towards the Dundrum Bridge. It is early and the morning stretches ahead, I won’t see a dishwasher until at least one o clock. Then there is the thought of the shops, containing the many new things that could be mine, mine all mine!  I’m Dundrum-ready too, wearing the uniform of black/brown boots, skinny jeans, cardigan/tunic/jersey top in muted tones, recently done meche highlights and understated but very nice make up. Throughout the morning I will see hundreds of other women wearing similar basics and we will all look like variations of the same doll. Moxie Women maybe? Best Friends Club Twenty Year Reunion? Big (old) Bratz?
There is:
The young mum with newborn doll,  
The forty year old looking very well doll, (this one is hard to find, even in Argos)
The foxy thirty something with beautiful child and her slightly less attractive friend with slightly less attractive child doll,
The frumpish mum doll (available everywhere)

What is Dundrum? A modern day Pump Room, minus the men? The Forum, with women instead of men? A medieval marketplace, but with makeup?  I think it is all of the above but with lots and lots of shopping.  The browsing, the trying-on, the decision making. The carrying of paper bags filled with clothes with many labels attached. Labels tied with string, ribbons and annoying plastic tags.  Labels with washing instructions, pieces of thread, buttons and metal snappers in tiny plastic bags. Labels to say these clothes are soft to touch, machine washable, reversible, wind proof, breathable or half price. The important thing is that everything is brand new: bag, contents and labels.

While driving over to Dundrum, I talk myself into a sort of worthiness.  I don’t do this often. I need some things. I’m really not wasting time. Conscience salved for the moment, I indicate left, drive down the ramp into the car park and find a space on level minus one. Thus placed, the last thing I do before leaving is a quick shop in Marks Food. It would be criminal to leave Dundrum without either a meal deal, a three for seven Euros or at the very least two packs of hot cross buns. Another advantage is that once parked I walk straight into Marks Homeware. Greeting me is a cocooning display of soft towels in all colours, shelves of matching plates and mugs and tea towels and an expanse of Egyptian cotton duvet covers. Everything is fresh and clean and sooo inviting. And on top of that are the Marks ladies. The kind, helpful, sympathetic, knowledgeable Marks ladies.  Never condescending, never bored, or certainly not that it shows. I’ve often wondered what kinds of questions are asked in the Marks interviews to find a staff so uniformly nice?
Do you wear footgloves?
Do you ever put on eye shadow without taking off your glasses?
Do you shake your purse to find the exact change when you are paying for things in shops?
Is Mamma Mia your favourite movie?
Do you pop in to see your aged mother every day without fail and not consider it a chore?
Do you always use low fat milk in your tea and then eat three biscuits?

Going to Dundrum is like a teenage night out; it’s the promise of it, the preparation that is the best part. Once there for an hour or more I long for daylight and fresh air. I
Find my way back to the car, put the bags in the boot and as the shepherd said to his sheep, get the flock out of there. I try to get home for a few minutes before the school pickup. Just to clean up and bit and make me feel like I haven’t wasted the morning looking at clothes I didn’t need and buying food I could have made myself.

Still though, it is very nice to know there is a fresh pile of profiteroles in the fridge.

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