JOAN BUR­TON

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - DOWNTIME AND ME -

Politi­cian It’s a tremen­dous priv­i­lege be­ing Tanaiste and Labour Party leader, but it nat­u­rally means down­time is rare. When there are a spare few hours, usu­ally on a Sun­day morn­ing, I hugely enjoy walk­ing. I’m a mem­ber of Fin­gal Walk­ing Group, and love do­ing long walks with friends along the Royal Canal, over Howth Head or on the Bar­row Way, for ex­am­ple.

I love the the­atre, and the last play I saw was the Abbey’s ter­rific take on The Shadow of a Gunman. Like most peo­ple, I also enjoy read­ing, and Colm Toibin’s Nora Web­ster was a par­tic­u­lar re­cent favourite. I’m not great at making time to un­wind — the de­mands of po­lit­i­cal life are pretty con­stant, but I’m not com­plain­ing.

The scale of our cri­sis meant many fam­i­lies had no es­cape from fi­nan­cial pres­sures, no un­wind­ing from wor­ries, th­ese past few years. The peo­ple put their faith in my party to res­cue the coun­try from the brink, and that has been a 24/7 job th­ese past few years.

Ire­land is in a much bet­ter place now, al­low­ing us to be­gin the process of rais­ing liv­ing stan­dards for ev­ery fam­ily. I want to fin­ish that job, and the time to un­wind can come later.

that en­cap­su­lates my idea of re­lax­ing. Bing Crosby’s song with the lyrics, ‘ We’re busy doin’ nothin’, workin’ the whole day through, tryin’ to find lots of things not to do’.

My plan is to dress in T-shirt and track­suit bot­toms; then not wash, shave or change my un­der­wear for as long as pos­si­ble. An en­tire week­end is ideal. The joy on Mon­day morn­ing of a shave with a new blade, and the drench­ing of a power shower, sets me up for the stresses of the week.

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