Thursday, August 18, 2005

A very Derry holiday

FOR THE last two weeks I have been taking a break from the hectic pace of life at work and enjoying the annual fortnight of rest and recuperation which I treat myself to every year as the summer draws to a close.

Of course, finances and a cranky toddler marring any grand plans I may have had for a fortnight in some sun kissed secluded beach with nothing but the latest Cathy Kelly novel and a bottle of chilled Sauvignon Blanc for company- I have had to settle for a holiday at home.

It’s hard to get excited about staying at home for your two week break. As I switched off my computer and set my voicemail to inform all callers that I wouldn’t be available to retell their stories for a fortnight, I felt really rather disgusted that the next two weeks would be spent in Costa Del Northern Ireland.

I took comfort in the fact that I would, at least, be able to batter my rather grungy looking abode into something more habitable and that I would get to play the full time mum role for a while again (Though, I’ll admit that is more daunting than it sounds when you are used to escaping to work for some peace and quiet!).

So with two weeks stretching ahead of me (well, us- grumpy pants Allan the 18-month-old equivalent of Victor Meldrew accompanying me every step of the way) I had to set about forging a plan of action that would A) Make sure my house was still standing at the end of it, B) Allow for much quality time with the entire Lola family and C) Make sure I wasn’t fit for Gransha by the time I returned to work.

Luckily my beloved mammy is also on her holidays so we decided to tag team it with Joseph and my niece Abby to allow them to enjoy some of what Derry has to offer.

For a long time we had been promising Abby a go on the “big bus” (the double deckers doing a tour of the city)- so we figured now was time to bite the bullet and climb those steep steps to the top deck of the tour bus to learn more about our home town.

Of course being a born and bred Derry wan, I thought I knew all there was to know about this fine city. But the bus trip was an education in itself. From our high vantage point we were able to get a good gleek into the Ebrington Barracks and we enjoyed the craic as our guide filled us in on the history of the Craigavon Bridge.

Abby- being all of three and a half- managed to look interested most of the way round and has mimicked our guide ever since now referring to her home town as “Derry City” and nothing else.

Next on the agenda was swimming. Now anyone who knows me will know that hither to now, me and swimsuits don’t really go. I never wanted to be accused of scaring small children with my ginormous butt and orange peeled thighs but now having a small child of my own I decided some sacrifices were in order.

I squeezed my lumps and bumps in my swim suit and headed to a place where I had whiled away many an afternoon as a child- Lisnagelvin Leisure Centre.

Long gone is the scary twirly slide which always seemed to shake a bit as you climbed the stairs (maybe that was just me?). It has been replaced by a new, state-of-the-art climbing frame with multiple slides to suit all ages, abilities and (thankfully) arse widths.

My son is a real water baby, but if there is something he loves more than throwing himself around the swimming pool like a man possessed, it is cars. Find anything remotely rounded in shape (bowls, dummies, sweets, volume controls on his grandad’s precious stereo) and Joseph will make like Michael Schumacher and mimic driving like a man (albeit a very short man) on a mission.

The fact that the climbing frame at Lisnagelvin has many such spherical wheel type objects on them means that after a relatively short time of me hiding in the relative safety of the water, I found myself stood, exposing my swim-suited body for all and sundry to see while Joseph played “Car” for 20 minutes.

It was around that time that two things dawned on me- first that I needed some time away from the 2ft maniac my child has become and secondly that if standing on the climbing frame is to become a regular occurrence then I really need to do something about body image.

Hence me breaking one my own golden rules and joining a gym. I have always been the sort of person who rolls my eyes when someone mentions a gym membership knowing full well that three weeks down the line their gym bag will be lying untouched in their front hall as they sprawl on the sofa with a pizza for company.

So there was no one more shocked than I to find myself at the City Hotel on a cool Friday night signing my name on a dotted line and receiving a membership number.

And, to be fair to me, I’ve only missed one day since (and that was when the Apprentice Boys had made escaping from the Waterside too arduous a task even for me). It has given me an hour away from the wee man each day- a time to think, plan and get thin and if we happen to stop off for a bite of lunch after our swim- sure that’s no harm- we are on our holidays.

The swimming, combined with haring around after a manic little man has meant this holiday hasn’t exactly been relaxing- but it has been fun, non-stop and for the first time ever I’ve actually lost weight while on a break from work!

Of course we have only had a taster of what Derry has to offer. Today, weather permitting, we might brave the Toucan One or I might go for the ultimate work out by pushing a buggy around the City Walls.

Then again, I might just do what every good Derry person should do and head out to the shops; buy a couple of floury baps, a copy of the Journal and catch up on the gossip. Isn’t that what all the tourists do?

1 comment:

Lainey said...

I'm so impressed! Your holiday sounds fab. I've never been to Ireland but I'm desperate to go.

Well done on the gym front. YOu are going to be honed and toned in no time!

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