Saturday 2 July 2011

Summer holidays

Rowan was very excited about going on his holidays to Ireland. He was also very excited about his graduation from pre-school nursery on Thursday. He was the first to speak, welcoming the parents to the graduation ceremony. His last time wearing the red of the "P-zero": in a few weeks' time he'll be in the navy sweathshirt of a bona-fide P1 schoolboy. Rowan's teacher for four days will be Eleanor Cooke, who taught Sean in P1. Fortunately the guddle caused by an excess intake of primary one pupils has sorted itself out as a few have declined to take their place, meaning there will be three P1 classes rather than that plus an additional P1/2 composite which would have had a knock-on effect up the whole school. Sean has just made it into a P5 class, being the youngest in it. Finn's P2 class will move, unsullied, into P3.

On Friday we were up at 0530 and in the car and away by 0600 for the three hour drive to Stranraer. The major job of packing the car was undertaken the night before, although Sharon was doing a show. A combination of the early start and the rather bumpy and winding A702 resulted in a rare appearance of the sick bag, both Finn and then Sean falling foul of the Biggar bends and the Dumfries dips. Not the best start to the holidays for those lads. We can't dally on that leg however, as the clock is ticking and we don't need any delays en route to the 0930 sailing. We got there with 30 minutes to spare but all the other cars were already on.

Sean and Finn were also miffed at missing their last morning at school, just days after getting their gold merit certificates and 100% attendance certificates! We were on the slower ferry across to Belfast, which takes three hours. I watched Open Season 3 in the cinema with the boys then sat out on deck with Angus as the boat laboured across the calm North Channel. We may have seen the last of the high speed ferries on the Stranraer-Belfast route. We had lunch on the boat, Angus devouring more than his brothers. Once he gets on a roll (and a bag of crisps and a yoghurt and fruit and biscuits and...) he's a hard man to stop. No wonder he weighed in at 2 stone 9 pounds last week.

From Belfast we made excellent time to Athlone via Dublin, cruising along the new N6. 2 hours 40 minutes beats the old cross-country route by an hour. The boys had a much needed run about and play (and curreny buns) at Ardilaun then we set off on the last leg of the journey, to Kinvara in County Galway. This too was swift, the new N6 now extending all the way to Galway. We were at our holiday house by six in the evening, twelve hours after setting off from Edinburgh. We've been fortunate with the house. Our original selection was double-booked but fortuntely the chap's sister had just finished a new house that they were intending renting and so we got that instead for the same price. €600 for a fine five-bedroomed detached house in which we are the first tenants! There's plenty of running about room outside and inside too and we are surrounded by fields and silence, looking south-east to the Slievecarron mountains, reminiscent of our "own" Pentland Hills. Bizzarely, Angus ended up in a double bed on his own whilst his three older brothers are sharing a room as they couldn't decide amongst themselves who was sleeping with who. The first night was a late one as they excitedly chattered and carried on before finally falling asleep.

Outside was blissfully quiet as dusk settled after ten at night. There was no breeze and only the occasional distant bleat of a sheep or teaaring of grass by a cow disturbed the silence. Until Rowan woke the next morning of course...

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