Em­brac­ing the great out­doors a per­fect an­ti­dote to screen time

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - OPINION - David.looby@peo­ple­news.ie

PHEW! What a week! The Oc­to­ber mid-term break is al­ways one I look for­ward to. As the days wound down to this year’s annual week off, I felt rough around the edges and in need of a re­lax­ing break.

With ex­cite­ment lev­els at fever pitch with Hal­loween, I strug­gled to keep up with the pace of get­ting enough of ev­ery­thing in to the house. The vam­pire make-up set and cos­tumes were or­gan­ised but the lo­gis­tics of Hal­loween night and trick or treat­ing posed myr­iad prob­lems.

For one I for­got about the pump­kin. A car­di­nal sin! Hav­ing missed out on the bar­gain bin pump­kins, I ended up al­most pay­ing €9 for one, be­fore sav­ing Hal­loween and buy­ing a cheap but solid pump­kin which was cut in the nick of time for Hal­loween night.

Two huge bag loads of sweets and crisps later, we ar­rived home to de­mands for Hal­loween games. The ‘bor­ing brack’, as The Lit­tle Fella calls it, was cut and there was great ex­cite­ment at all the warm prom­ise that the ring brought for the Whirl­wind Won­der.

Com­ing in to the week I had a men­tal list, some­where, of things I wanted to achieve, from the ridicu­lously sim­ple but an­noy­ingly eva­sive, to the am­bi­tious. The lat­ter be­ing an ac­tion packed week­end home in Kerry.

I awoke with a Hal­loween ex­haus­tion han­gover Thurs­day and didn’t man­age to get on the road un­til an hour later, hav­ing a new ‘don’t stress, you’re on hol­i­days’ shift­ing mind­set.

The boot was packed to the brim with way too much clothes, (al­though with Kerry’s weather you can never ar­rive over-pre­pared!).

Hav­ing glanced at the phone I saw, to my hor­ror, lots of blue rain ticks over grey clothes on my weather app while above the skies blazed blue and yel­low.

The jour­ney was punc­tu­ated with ‘are we there yet’ and ‘how many more towns left Daddy’ re­quests from the back, along with calls for Mad­ness songs, Our House be­ing their cur­rent favourite.

I had only told a few friends about my im­pend­ing ar­rival and their avail­abil­ity is not what it was, so the long week­end yawned be­fore me. After a few scoops Thurs­day night which re­sulted in the han­gover from hell the next day, I found my­self awake, at 6.30 a.m., with two ex­cited faces star­ing at me ex­pec­tantly. The rain, as ex­pected, was buck­et­ing down and, as an­tic­i­pated by my won­der­ful charges, we had over two hours in the play zone, fol­lowed by toy and arts and crafts shop­ping. Conk­ing out on the sofa that evening I re­solved to re­claim the hol­i­day for my­self and by 10 a.m. the next morn­ing we were on the Kerry Camino be­ing blown along hill­sides and over river bridges. The chil­dren loved ev­ery se­cond of it and I, for one, loved the com­mu­nion with na­ture that few out­door ac­tiv­i­ties can match. Set up for the day there were more vis­its with cousins and friends as my men­tal check list was ticked with brio.

The next morn­ing we ab­sconded for moun­tain lakes just out­side Tralee, the sun hav­ing mer­ci­fully emerged with re­newed bril­liance from be­hind the gun­metal grey clouds. Joy­ful af­fir­ma­tions of ‘best day ever’ could be heard ring­ing out among the peaks as two flush faced chil­dren com­pleted the 40 minute looped walk, be­fore skim­ming stones on the lake.

Back in work mode and skim­ming through so­cial me­dia on Sun­day night the thought oc­curred to me how much time we all spend on screens not notic­ing the won­der­ful around us.

Get­ting away from the screen and out­doors to Glanteenas­sig lakes made our mid-term.

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