independent

Monday 22 July 2019

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

Opinion

David Looby

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 camp-site 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!

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