Get­ting back to na­ture and house ex­or­cism make for great week off

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - OPINION - david looby [email protected]­ple­

GO­ING off­line is something I don’t do enough but a get­away to a Wick­low camp-site with the chil­dren has me con­vinced of how vi­tal it is for your head to switch off and put the phone away.

We all know the warn­ing signs of tech ad­dic­tion. That feel­ing of dread, as if you’ve had a limb ap­pendaged, when you leave your phone behind and are with­out it for a few days; the sense of apoc­a­lyp­tic hor­ror when only one per­son likes your so­cial me­dia post.

We sense the warn­ing signs but don’t heed them and be­fore we know it are back on the Time-line, do­ing the zombie scroll, catch­ing up on other peo­ple’s ‘per­fect lives’.

It was with a sense of sheer joy then, that I was in­formed by a colleague that the camp­site we were go­ing to had very lit­tle by way of wi-fi, (well, un­less you stand in a cer­tain corner of the re­cep­tion area). Ac­com­pa­nied by two very ex­cited chil­dren we set off on our big ad­ven­ture, driv­ing through the back-roads of Co Wick­low, be­fore ar­riv­ing at our fi­nal des­ti­na­tion. The hut that was to be our home for the night couldn’t have been more invit­ing. We ac­tu­ally missed it so taken were we by the rolling fields com­plete with black pig, don­keys and other an­i­mals.

Set­ting up camp in­side, (OK un­rolling sleep­ing bags and mak­ing the beds), I im­me­di­ately re­gret­ted not mak­ing a list as I dis­cov­ered that apart from a ket­tle, fridge and microwave, there were no cups, bowls etc and I had for­got­ten some other ba­sics too.

Un­de­terred we sol­diered on and quickly fell in love with our gem of a get­away, play­ing foot-golf, ta­ble ten­nis and visit­ing the play­ground, all the while keeping the phone un­der wraps.

The camp-site was quiet – the sum­mer crowds not ar­riv­ing for a few more days – so we felt like we had the place to ourselves and that night, as we nod­ded off: the Whirl­wind Won­der and The Lit­tle Fella up in the loft ac­cessed by a ladder – and me in the bed un­der­neath reading Shad­ow­play, (a great book by Joseph O’Connor), the an­i­mals some­where in the field out­side – all was in­deed right with the world.

The next day we break­fasted out­side on the pic­nic ta­ble hav­ing en­joyed an early morn­ing ram­ble around the vil­lage in glo­ri­ous sum­mer sunshine and vis­ited a com­mu­nity play­ground.

Our next stop was a place called Clara Lara, which we also found to be very quiet, de­spite the won­der­ful weather. I hadn’t been up to Avoca and Rath­drum for years and we couldn’t have picked a bet­ter day, even if the bald spot got a roast­ing; the fun and games at the wa­ter park made it all worth­while.

Not a photo was taken, shared or posted on­line (something I don’t like do­ing any­way), and we rocked up at our cousins for a sur­prise visit, cap­ping a great few days in Wick­low and north Wex­ford.

Get­ting back home on Fri­day, with the lock tick­ing on my week off, I re­solved to at­tack the place and ex­or­cise some ghosts and an­noy­ing feng shui demons. A clear out was in order: old chil­dren’s toys, bug­gies, rock­ers, chil­dren’s clothes and with the help of the chil­dren’s Mam we got a han­dle on the years of items, (which came with con­sid­er­able emo­tional at­tach­ment), and sold many at a car boot sale. Op­er­a­tion clear out of mind and house com­plete!

En­joy­ing some of the area’s scenery in Graigue­na­managh, Co Kilkenny, on my week off.

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