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DIARY OF A DEMENTED HOME WORKER: Pack it up, pack it in ... staycation struggles are real

August 23rd, 2020 6:25 PM

By Emma Connolly

People all over the country have risked their sanity by packing up their lives for a staycation this summer.

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DIARY OF A DEMENTED HOME WORKER: Week 23 and it’s been a big one, with major flooding and newly announced restrictions as we’re reminded the country is at a critical point if we want to control the virus

• THINGS got a bit biblical this week, didn’t they? The skies opened, roads were washed away, houses and business premises destroyed. My heart goes out to all those affected by the devastating downpours. It’s hard to believe that just a few short weeks ago there was a hosepipe ban in place. Although if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that things can change completely, in an instant.

•And change they did again this week with all eyes now fixed on September 13th as we make fresh strides to get a handle on fluxuating cases. It’s probably just me but some of the restrictions announced seem a bit random, and I do feel very sorry for the over 70s taking a hit again. I’m also not sure how all the crowd control measures can reconcile with schools reopening but I’m sure someone has it all figured out (I say in a slightly scared voice).

You’d nearly have to hand it to chairman of Failte Ireland Michael Cawley for sheer brass neck though, wouldn’t you? How on earth could he not have anticipated the public outcry that ensued once his Italian break became public knowledge? The fact that it was ‘pre-arranged,’ is somehow meant to have excused him, despite the fact that most of us responsibly cancelled all foreign trips, getting hit in the pocket in plenty of cases. Pretty mind-blowing, in fairness.

• It’s even more galling when you consider that people all over the country have risked their marriages (and sanity) by packing up their cars, kids, dogs, grannies, and doing what they were told and holidaying at home. And while yes, I’m sure they had (some) moments of happiness, they also had many others when it all felt like an awful lot of hard work, mainly when the weather didn’t oblige, and it seemed that it might cost them their entire life savings. At least when you’re abroad there’s always the default option of the pool or the beach. I know this because I was one of these people, and I met plenty others along the way. Sure, it was only the knowing looks of suffering that got us all through.

On a more positive note, I had a most welcome invite to a night in the newly refurbished suites at the Old Head of Kinsale Golf Links this week. I always thought that golf wasn’t for me but it turns out that I just hadn’t been to the right golf course. I’m hooked – and I was only watching on! Having said that, it might just be the gear that I’m most seduced by. I’m a bit impressionable like that. I’m a very mediocre skier but going by my ski wardrobe you’d think I was in training for the next Olympics. Anyway, more on my night away in next week’s paper.

• I was talking about things being biblical earlier, now it’s the turn of miracles. How utterly incredible was it when the safe rescue of Galwaycousins Ellen Glynn and Sara Feeney was announced after 15 hours at sea? I felt so relieved I had to ring my mum immediately. It’s the stuff movies are made of and thankfully it has a happy ending. We all need more of them.

• And staying with a religious theme, watching my dad’s anniversary mass being live-streamed in my TV room last Sunday morning with my family was, without sounding disrespectful, a bit of a novel affair. It was far easier to be ‘in the moment’ than I had imagined which may have been because we weren’t as uptight as we would be normally about smallies acting up. I confess we did get a little rowdy during communion time as we were spotting people in the crowd, and I did find the temptation to empty the dishwasher very strong at one stage, but it’s wonderful to have this option available and people committed to delivering it.

• On a completely different topic, the dinners are getting to me now in a really big way. I remember a time when I never thought about dinners. I lived in a house once for 10 years and I never once boiled a potato. It genuinely never occurred to me. Now dinners are all I seem to think about. I’ve taken to ringing my sister and ask what she’s serving to her crew. Donegal Catch and pasta pesto are coming up a lot these days. Then there’s the teas. They’re even harder. I honestly didn’t think we ate out that much before, but we must have. Anyway, hopefully we’ll have the school lunches to think about soon enough. For some inspiration see our information packed Back to School supplement with
this week’s paper.

• Finally, once I got over my shock at the reckless behaviour of people in the Berlin D2 bar in Dublin last weekend, I was reminded of a bygone time when dancing on bar counters wasn’t the stuff of national headlines. In more normal times, I’d also be quite impressed that this was going on at 4pm (not 4am)… that’s when I usually start thinking about the tea.

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