Yes. Well, I have a theory. I don't think the dear man wants to leave his precious garden, but, being a country man, and an Irish country man at that, the thought of having something for nothing is eating into him. He longs to avail of "free travel", but his ponds need cleaning out or the tadpoles may not turn into frogs. That hedge has grown 50ft in the past ten minutes, it could have the whole place covered if we go away. Ah sure the rain might come.
Take this month for example. On the first Tuesday in July he announced that this is IT, we are going to Galway on Tuesday, hail, rain or snow. [Remember, it's July and it's heatwave time]. I had been the cause of one missed trip in June due to a stomach bug, but on the first Tuesday in July I arose at 6a.m., got my back pack loaded with necessary book, notepad, and CD player to while away the journey. I went into the bedroom to call the little darlin' at 7. Eldest daughter was bringing us into Heuston Station to catch the 9.25 to Galway. Gently shaking him, I told him it was time to be up and about. "Ah, sure there's another twenty minutes yet before we have to get up" says the intrepid explorer. Twenty minutes later he tells me that the weather forecast said it might be raining in Dublin, [on Ireland's east coast], so we might as well not chance it raining in Galway [Ireland's west coast] in case we got wet.
Still, the day had benefits. I texted Eldest daughter and told her she was off the hook for taxiing us into Dublin. Packing a lunch, I pushed him out of the garden [the rain having missed us by the breadth of the Atlantic] and into the car. "Where to" says the Alan Titchmarch-fan; "The Dublin Mountains" replies the long suffering "!Are we going tomorrow!" wife. God can be very good. He gives us delights when we least expect them.
Over the years I have travelled the length and the breadth of the Dublin Mountains. As Mountains go, in global terms they're only Very Large Hills, but they are the mountains of my home county. I have seen them in all weathers, but this time we found a small boreen that we had never seen before. In Irish boreen [boar-een] is a lane that is not quite a road, but definitely not a dirt track. This one descended down into the valley in stages. The further we travelled, the more beautiful it got. The air was heavy with the scent of roses, honeysuckle. Ox-eye daisies large as plates lazily swayed in the delicate breeze; rabbits sat in smaller lanes leading onto farmland looking for all the world as if they had hopped out of Watership Down. Bee's drunkenly wafted from flower to flower and hover flies darted about not quite sure which blossom needed attention next.
Around a corner we saw Scottish Highland Cattle milling around a pond, completely unexpected, another bend in the road revealed a gaggle of geese strolling up the middle of the boreen. If Tess of the d'Urbervilles had stepped out from a cottage it would not have surprised me. We did come across the local Tess, but she was too busy with her mobile phone - Facebook - no doubt, to pay much heed to what beauty surrounded her. By now we were right down in the bottom of the valley, I half expected the Doones to come riding past, and then we saw it. A beautiful lake, placid with mallard sailing on it. Surrounded by trees and fields full of wild flowers.
We decided there and then that, if we can find the boreen again, we'll be back in the autumn when the colours will make this place truly heavenly. It was only as we ascended up the winding road out of the valley that it suddenly struck me that we had been in Bohernabreena. I had often heard my Mum telling me about a girl she worked with who came from there. A place of which you could say "the land that time forgot".
Two bends over the length of half a mile when we reached the top of the valley put us back on the main road to Tallaght in Dublin. Traffic roared up and down, and no rabbit worth his carrot would risk his cottontail to go near that road. Still, it didn't take the magic off the day. We had had our picnic beside the lake, watched intently by a flock of sheep who commented endlessly and reinforced my dislike of sheep. I'll take cattle any day and dairy cows are Number One.
The following Tuesday was nominated Travel to Galway day. This time I packed the bag the night before and waited for Himself to get out of the bed before I stuck a toe out. He was sure he heard a rattle of thunder, it was too hot to travel [right enough it was 25 degrees and rising and this at 8 in the morning]. We'll go next week he announced. No, we won't came the reply. I had shoved all the things I had to do into one week to be free to travel with him, and nothing and not even love would make me change that week. This Tuesday the Galway races were on. The train, I was told, would be too full; too many people drinking and making things uncomfortable so - next Tuesday I hear we're off to C O R K! I'll let you know if we get there!