I walked into the kitchen last night and faced all the tidying up that needed to be done; groaned, moaned, guided a few plates into the dishwasher and OH arrived in. "What's up with you" he cheerily enquired. "Hate housework, hate delph, feel like a holiday but we're not going away until September...GAWD I HATE housework!". Monosyllabic answers, and two red spots on either cheek were enough to warn him that yours truly was in fed up and feisty form.
There comes a time when we need a break from routine, and routine has been the order of the day lately, particularly since I recovered from that dose in May. "Right," sez he masterfully! "We're taking the day off tomorrow and heading off to wherever a cent lands on in the map book. Open the page for County Dublin". I did, and just before I dropped a cent on the page I plaintively asked "what if it lands on where we live, or near too" - "then we're in the garden for the day" he cooed. Hmmmp! He'd love that of course. However, the Gods were kind and we chose Balbriggan for our destination. A town in North County Dublin.
We had intended to leave around nine a.m., after a good full Irish breakfast; trust us to fall out of the bed round ten thirty; stagger into the kitchen and throw something into a bowl each; using our inbuilt radar we found the dining room and then, fed, cleaned and presentable we hit the M50 for Balbriggan, having decided that we would go out the motorway and come back down the coast road.
Just near the airport we discovered IKEA. I have never been to IKEA before, and have to say from what I had heard, wasn't willdly enthused. It was complicated enough to get there what with twists and turns, but get there we did. Five minutes inside and I wanted out; it was like being in the Ghost Train with all these colours coming at me, and my lazy eye and I don't like overload. However, we eventually found ourselves in the kitchen area, and there I fell in love. It is white, square and porcelain. It is a kitchen sink. It will, when I go back to purchase it - grace my new kitchen; if, that is, our future builder ever comes back off honeymoon. I even discovered the sink I want for the shower room; so, although I was seriously underwhelmed by IKEA I have to say that I found exactly what I was looking for there. Getting out of it was another matter.
Two and a half hours after we went in we arrived in Balbriggan. A small town, as I mentioned, in North County Dublin. This is arrable farmland, home of potatoes, veggies - as in cabbages as high as an elephant's eye; and it is on the coast just three bays up from where we have our own piece of heaven. If you're not Irish or at least not from Dublin, you have to understand that the great and large County of Dublin is divided in two by the river Liffey. Northsiders regard southsiders with suspicion, convinced that only stuck up would be rich folk live south of the Liffey, and southsiders view Northsiders with EXTREME caution; not quite sure just what planet they come from. It's rather like the view Kerry people have of Cork people and vice versa. It always amuses me that a Northsider called Bono settled in the Southside...mind you he does get around a bit on a global basis so maybe he hasn't noticed he's southside yet.
North County Dublin is rather flat, whereas the South of the county is hilly, mountainous in fact, and - well, not that I am biased, you understand, of course, - spectacular. However, I was interested to see how this town had prospered in the Celtic Tiger, as it must be fifteen years since OH and I brought the children [as they were then] out for the day. In those times it was dull, grotty, down at heel in fact, trying to make up its mind was it a satellite town of the Greater Dublin Metropolitan area or was it a country town. Well, it developed, got a face lift, but it still doesn't quite know which foot it is standing on. We drove up through the town, hindered from stopping by non-stop yellow lines and well hidden parking facilities.
Eventually we turned at the top of the town, disgruntled and irritated with jaywalkers and bad town planning and, driving down the main street, we took a left hand turn which put us on the coast road. We spotted a likely place to get to what we imagined would be the seafront on Fancourt Road, - and what a lucky turn it was. It proved to be a private housing estate right almost on the water. Porpoises played, cormorants were diving, sea gulls wheeled overhead and there, closer to us than we usually see them were the Mourne Mountains in Northern Irelnd. Children played in the rock pools not six hundred yards from home under a gloriously sunny July blue sky and it was heaven. If only we had remembered the camera; left sitting on the hall table! Typical!
We enjoyed our picnic lunch sitting on the grass taking in the vista, with the Mournes on our right and Lambay Island on our left. What struck me was, apart from the three or four children down on the rocks, the place was virtually deserted. Are children nowadays so removed from such joys as hunting crabs in a rock pool in favour of Gameboys? Has WII taken over the world? Dear Lord I hope not.
We ambled down the coast stopping in Skerries to look across to our own headland; I was fascinated to look across from, for a change, the view I usually look at when having breakfast. We stopped off for ice cream in Rush, the market garden of County Dublin, and finally we decided, as he wanted to see the WC match, we would bypass Swords and Malahide and Howth and take the M50 back home again.
When we got back home I sat out in the patio relaxing and occasionally getting up to potter around the plants and to chat with my neighbour who is painting his brother's cottage. Overhead the magpies welcomed me back and the bullfinches flitted from tree to bush to plant - pretty as a picture with their salmon pink breasts, black backs and grey waistcoats. Arriving back here was like coming back to heaven. It was only a day away from home, but it felt like a weeks holiday. I feel invigourated and ready to tackle housework again; sometimes you need to step outside the comfort zone and see how the rest of the world is getting along.