Belfast Telegraph

Home Life Weekend

Kerry McLean: Looking at all of our faces watching the film, I thought back to where it all began, in another cinema, holding hands with my husband

By Kerry McLean

Where has the summer gone? I know we had more glorious days of sunshine than we'd normally get, but the downside is that, after three or four weeks of waking up to the sun's rays streaming through the curtains, it's hard to go back to our typical grey July days. One of the very few plus points to this less than wonderful weather is that I can once more head to the cinema without feeling I'm missing out on some sun.

I've adored watching movies on the big silver screen since my very first trip to the Portrush Playhouse, at the age of four, to watch Herbie Goes Bananas. I remember racing ahead of my daddy, pushing open the door and crossing the bright orange and brown geometric print carpet to get to the ticket office and the concession stand.

It's burned in my memory, the excitement I felt, walking up the stairs, laden down with popcorn and a can of fizzy pop, into the darkened room and taking our seats just as that oh so recognisable Pearl and Dean theme tune kicked off. I loved it all instantly and from the time I was working and making my own money a good whack of it every month has gone on trips out to catch the latest releases. Most come and go without leaving a big mark on my memory, but of course, like my trip to watch Herbie, there are films you'll never forget and not always because of the action on the screen.

Like thousands of other couples, my husband and I had our first proper date at the cinema. We'd worked together for years, been friends for ages, but when it came to planning our first trip out as more than mates, we were both more than a little nervous. Luckily, the idea of a visit to the movies popped up and it was perfect - we're both big film fans so we knew it would be something we'd enjoy, there would be no pressure to constantly talk (not that that's ever been a struggle for either of us chatterboxes) and it offered the chance to sit beside each other, snuggled up, without it seeming weird.

We went to an afternoon showing of Lord of the Rings and it was about halfway through a huge, grizzly battle scene, when I felt my husband reach out to hold my hand for the first time. I confess, I had to go back and watch that film to find out what happened because my concentration wondered somewhat after our wee romantic moment.

This week, another memory was made at the cinema when we took our youngest at just two and half to see her first film on the big screen. We went with her and her big brother and sister to watch Incredibles 2, though from past experience I wasn't expecting to see too much of it.

When we sauntered into the cinema with our eldest for the first time 10 years ago, I had no notion of how badly it would end. We bought the tickets and a tonne of sweet treats, only for it all to be thrown up in the air and down on the ground when the lights went out and the first trailer began.

She screamed in panic, hating the dark and the loud noises and I had to grab her and run out, leaving my poor husband to gather up our possessions in the gloom and stumble out to meet us in the foyer. It was a good few years before we tried taking her again ...

So I was understandably a wee bit nervous about history repeating itself this week. I'm glad to say I had no need to be! Apart from occasionally forgetting to whisper during the most dramatic, action-packed sequences and once shouting, "You're very naughty" at the villain, she behaved perfectly.

It was really quite emotional, to look along the line of seats where all five of us were perched, watching the faces I love most in the world, turned up to the screen, lost in the film and thinking back to where it all began, in another cinema, holding hands with my husband.

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