Snowed in for seven days with the family...I'm really going stir crazy

'They walked out to the road and stood. There were tracks in the snow. Some kind of wheeled vehicle.' -- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Ian Mallon

OKAY, so this is not some sort of post-apocalyptic nightmare -- this is far worse.

'The Man' in McCarthy's classic novel didn't have to contend with three screaming kids, one wife and two parrots for 144 hours of cabin fever...and counting.

His only consideration was surviving hell with one very quiet, albeit hungry young boy, who didn't need an hourly diet of Super Mario, Peppa Pig and peace brokering. And at least he was able to get up the bloody road in the first place.


Here in the bowels of County Kildare on the Wicklow border, thanks to the wonders of Kildare County Council an entire community has been left stranded.

If Kildare Co Co had any involvement in The Road it would have remained ungritted and the journey would never have take place.

Seven days non-stop is way too much time for any man to have to spend with his family -- not to mention how bad it must be for them.

And it could have been so, so different -- or so we were led to believe thanks to another blockbusting production from our Abominable Minister for Snow.

Some laugh.

A week on and it's certainly no laughing matter in Kildare's equivalent of Death Valley, Calverstown.

The once joyous occasions of family life have become so tedious that they merely now fill the empty hours, than stimulate happiness and contentment.

Meal time, once the only place all five of us were likely to sit together for any period of time, is not what it used be.

Before the snow someone would have tales of adventure from the day as we all converged for the daily 5pm appointment of witty banter, food and fun.

But how do you get excited when your wife tells you her only news since the last time she saw you was that one of the Loose Women likes big knickers, or someone on Magic Mum has asked bloggers if self-medicating on red wine, Desperate Housewives and Prozac is really all that bad.

Meal times do however break the monotony of reading Horrid Henry books aloud, and sitting through the 45th viewing of The Gruffalo -- I adored it once, now I just wish he ate the frickin' mouse.

Last time there was a Big Freeze, it was followed nine months later by a baby boom -- this time around a child cull could be in order.

No longer is an infant's cry of: "Look Daddy, it's snowing", met with anything, other than a glassy manic stare.

Even the once reliable Tesco delivery trucks have stopped coming, and an oil lorry lies abandoned outside the village pub.

It was in this local hostelry on Wednesday night that I learned that I am not alone in this vast wasteland of hopelessness sponsored by the local and national Governments.

As I snuck over with a pal for a well-earned quiet pint we opened the door to find hordes of middle-aged men who too could no longer take the monotony of the once magical family home.

They too had been chucked out by their wives with that rarest of cry: "Why don't you go for a pint, love?"


And so in front of the roaring fire with a pint of the best Guinness in Ireland, we all exchanged tales of how many children's books had been read, fights broken up, with one poor sap even admitting that he had watched the All Ireland Talent Show to hoots and howls of laughter.

Thanks to pints, multiple Sky boxes, good books, and yes family, things weren't so bad after all.

But rest assured, the very vaguest sign of a thaw, I will be on my way to Dublin ready to live out the rest of the Big Freeze in the four-star luxury of a family free hotel.