Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Losing the Run of Ourselves

Obviously encouraged by the recent bouncy castle success, we threw caution to the wind and booked a short family holiday, on an island no less. Our now ├╝ber-normal nuclear family casually committed to ferry timetables like it was second nature to us. Admittedly, the planning did start back in the late spring as we haven't quite arrived at the 'spur-of-the-moment-family-break' stage yet but we're damn close! Jess decided that it would be 'good for us' - her words exactly- to have a holiday where we could all cycle together somewhere safe. After much consideration, an island without any sheer cliff faces was considered the best option. Inishbofin - just off the Connemara coast was a no-brainer: close to home, few cars, beautiful beaches and best of all a house with an enclosed garden to rent - what's not to like?

That, of course was the easy part, the difficulty was getting a date to fit with Rory's ever increasingly frequent 'olgist's appointments and the other kidney's hectic work schedule. This short break was subject to some of the most elastic scheduling ever witnessed by any aspiring tourist! The elastic finally snapped when the school bell rang again in September, so we opted for the first weekend after the dreaded school return, figuring it might lighten the back-to-school blues for our less-than-enthusiastic pupils.

And so off we went, I stressed as usual over the packing, with copious lists and then some lists about lists and more just-in-case supplies than your average UN African peace mission. When we arrived at the quayside I was marginally concerned that our luggage may sink the rather tiny looking ferry. I say tiny only because the patch of Atlantic that stretched out between the pier and the island looked so vast and I, not being blessed with a pair of sea legs, was not relishing the short but inevitably bumpy crossing. Boy wonder, on the other hand was positively buoyant at the prospect of having his guts rattled by the waves! While the local insect life feasted on my face (judging by the trail of bites still visible across my cheeks, I was clearly a rare delicacy in those parts) we loaded on to the ferry set sail for our own little treasure island.

What followed were two days of sheer bliss. The sight of Boy Wonder's be-helmeted head thrown back, arms out-stretched in joy as he sailed down the fuchsia-filled lanes on the back of his father's bike will keep me warm right through the cold winter ahead. Jess got her wish and we cycled every navigable lane on the island - and as it's been a while since I've been on a bike, I now have the John Wayne walk to prove it!

It was a fitting salute to the brave Tour de Picnic crew, cousin Dave and Auntie Mags, who cycled the 90km from Dublin to Stradbally in aid of Temple St. Hospital that same weekend. Thanks to all of you who supported their fundraising so generously, because of your help, the event raised almost a half a million euro for the hospital's neurology department.

You could say it was a great weekend all round.

Cheers,

Ann