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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Good Friday agreement

We were in agreement. Good Friday morning would be spent clearing out the upstairs cupboards and, in the afternoon, we’d head for the Dublin Mountains to get a bit of fresh air.

The kids attempted, as they usually do, to cut a deal. “I’ll go if you take us to Smyths Toy store on the way home.” “I’ll go if you set me up a YouTube account” and, slightly more reasonably, “I’ll go if you bring a picnic.” (I blame myself. Years of supernannying, rewards and behavioural contracts have taken their toll. These guys are intent on turning the tables.)

 After making clear that we were just going, with no addendums or codicils, we busied ourselves with the clear-out upstairs and successfully blocked our ears to any mutinous mutterings.

It was only when everyone was strapped into the car that I realised we weren’t headed where I thought we were.
The kids and I were expecting The Scalp to be our destination. A pleasant woodland spot where, after a shortish walk through pretty woods, keeping a careful eye out for the Gruffalo along the way, you reach a manageable rocky outcrop. It’s a pleasant spot to sit, eat crisps and enjoy the view below.  The forest floor is dry and bouncy underfoot and sunlight dapples through the branches above.

However, my husband thought it was a good idea to head for the Featherbeds, near Kippure. For a change. "We might see some April snow" he said, in an attempt to tantalise us. (Different strokes, I suppose.)

On our approach the rain started. Most people will know the area around the Featherbeds is flat. If it’s windy (it was) you feel it. There isn’t a car park; you just pull in on the side of road that heads straight across a moonscape of rock and gorse. Of course gorse can be a pretty yellow sometimes. But courtesy of someone who lit a fire up there a few weeks ago it is now burnt black as far as they eye can see.

We headed to the left and beyond a metal gate post I was greeted charmingly by the sight of a used condom, a pile of dog poo and a few empty beer cans. Ahead of me the rocky path stretched far into the middle distance. Burnt gorse to the left and to the right and a light drizzle overhead. I suggested we play either “refugees” or “moon landing”. The kids ignored me and ran ahead.
 “What’s this?” they shouted.
“Shotgun shells.” Said their dad,
“And that thing?”
“Probably an old cage used for dog fights.”
“Fighting doggies Daddy?”

It pains me to admit that in the end it was fun. We got an abundance of fresh air and the kids loved it. And on the plus side they found neither a dead body, a used syringe nor a loaded weapon.
Which, you could say, made it a successful family outing.

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