Adventures in winterland

My Dad arrived on the first Thursday in December: the day that Dubliners woke up to find their city looking like a newly iced Christmas Cake....for the first time this winter.  I had warned him about the weather forecast, but he was determined.  At 80 he's starting to think that his children fuss over him a bit too much.  He was expected at a Go tournament in Cork (Go being a strategy game a little like chess - only don't say that to Go players!) and he was determined to go.  So early the next morning he disappeared through the snow clouds in his macho 4 x 4, and I waited in trepidation for news of his safe arrival: he does have a mobile, but only turns it on when he wants to use it.  Of course he arrived safely and, like everyone else I know who visits Ireland, had the best time.  It's the little things that make the difference: hotel staff who cleaned his car windows every morning, the local tourist information centre that opened up an exhibition specially so he could view it.  He stayed another night on the way back, and told me how much this adventure meant to him, he saw beating the snow and ice as a real achievement.  It's just as well that he was feeling so confident, as his arrival home in Wales was not a happy one.  My brother had kept an eye on the house while he was gone, but disaster struck on the very day that Dad returned home - the water tank in the attic burst, brought down two ceilings and flooded the entire ground floor.  This was what faced him when he arrived home late in the evening.  Once again my brother stepped in to save the day and organised a team of people to get the house habitable by Christmas.  This was very important to my Dad because.....I was due to stay at Christmas with the kids.

Meanwhile the snow melted and, like everyone else in Northern Europe, I hit the shops big time to get everything in before the bad weather set in again.  Ice and snow storms were forecast for the third week in December but Christmas Eve - the day we were due to travel - was supposed to be the day the thaw set in again, so I wasn't too worried.  

But as the days went by and the the weather got worse I started to wonder if this trip was going to be possible.  Sure, the ferries were running, but I had to get to the ferry.  Smiley is still without her buggy and I hadn't risked taking her out in the snow in her wheelchair.  The day before, another Thursday, was supposed to be dry and bright, but someone's crystal ball was on the blink cos the snow just kept on falling, and I just kept getting more and more nervous - I've never eaten so much chocolate!

On top of everything else I had organised a photographer to take some portraits of myself and the kids to give to my family as an extra special Christmas present and, due to the snow, they were delayed.  Finally, and fair play to him, he hand delivered them at 11.45pm...the only problem being that my alarm was set for 4.30am!

And so it was that I found myself following in my Dad's footsteps exactly three weeks later and heading off on a 6 hour journey in six inches of snow.  It took me an hour to dig out the car and defrost it but we made the ferry and it was an easy crossing.  I wondered how bad the roads in Wales would be: my brother told me they were gritted but I was still amazed when I drove off the boat to find that the surfaces were completely dry and clear of snow!  I even ventured over the mountains to his village on St Stephen's Day...and the kids got to go sledging with their cousins, for first time ever.  

Christmas Day was almost perfect.  It did start a little earlier than I was hoping, but it was a very happy extended family who sat down to Christmas Dinner, cooked by everyone else - including Angel who made the stuffing.  I even got my walk, and a couple of glasses of wine in later :)

Two days later the thaw began.  Ireland was green again and 20 degrees warmer when we returned.

And so ended the family adventures in winterland, at least for now....
Note: this is not a sponsored post


  1. Oh, how lovely and you write it with the deft of a mystery-writer! Happy New Year! Barbara

  2. That sounds perfect, so glad you made it and had a good time. xx

  3. I want your Dad to adopt me. Does he take in Irish strays? XXX

  4. Delighted you made it over and that yours Dads house is ok, phew. I like the sound of your Dad very much and sure if he loved Cork he would love a Cork girl :D Jen *pushes Jean aside*

  5. Oh, sounds like a really beautiful Christmas for all of you! I am so glad that it all worked out in the end. You were so brave to tackle a ferry trip with your family. Then again, bravery runs in the family, as your dad and brother prove. Your dad is amazing!

    xx Jazzy

  6. It's so nice to hear that you had a wonderful Christmas with the family including your dad who seems like a winner at 80!

  7. Lovely to meet you via blog gems, thank for you comment at mine :) your dad reminds me of mine, he is always disappearing for long walks in the middle of nowhere without taking his phone or telling anyone. Man and the elements eh? Glad your christmas plans came together.

  8. @Barbara - thank you for the lovely complement :)

    @Helen - and thinking of you in sunny Spain xx

    @Jean and Jen - well I'll ask him!

    @Jazzy - it was great, thank you xx

    @Lora - he is:)

    @The Alexander Residence - that's it! and thanks for the return visit.