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We were setting off later than planned, but having said that, all the boxes were ticked this time – the dogs were fed, the bins were out, the dishwasher emptied. Even remembered to stick the heating on timer for later! I had the goody bags crammed with junk for the journey, the phone was charged, wallet and keys in hand. And we’re off!!

Yes, we’re off. To Galway. From Cavan. For a ring. And back again. All in the same day. I must be mad. But given how odd the world has become in recent times, I think my definition of madness is starting to become more normal to be honest. To explain - the ring is a promised belated thirteenth birthday present for my daughter. The gift of a Claddagh for a girl’s thirteenth birthday is somewhat of a tradition. Long story short – a shop in Galway makes them, their outlet in Dublin hasn’t opened, and not knowing her ring size, ordering online is not an option, hence off we went to Galway. A promise is a promise.

So, head to Mullingar, then Athlone and a straight road to Galway. Sounds simple. Should have been simple. Probably is simple to most people. Wasn’t simple for me. I have an unfailing ability to take a long distance, straightforward trip last several light years longer that it should. My speciality? Roundabouts. Taking wrong exists and touring all the way around them. Lord help any tourist thinking that following me is a good idea. It has become apparent that no journey over fifty kilometres is complete without circumnavigating at least roundabout in its entirety. I’ve even been known to complete this diesel wasting feat twice – at the same roundabout. In succession. One roundabout on the way to Roscommon gives cause for shivers and shakes when mentioned here. We, (I use the term loosely given I’m the one driving!), turned that one into a real merry-go-round. Three times we (I), went around it.

It’s not that I’ve no sense of direction, or that I can’t plan a trip. Nor am I incapable of reading road signs (such as they are in this country!), nor am I inattentive to road markings. All that happened is I made a couple of navigational errors and now it has come to the point that “here we go round the roundabout” song is an expectation on our expeditions. It is even, quite possibly, self-fulfilling now. I second guess myself to the point of causing gross hesitancy thereby causing un-necessary journey extensions and “scenic route” scenarios Bord Failte would pay me for!

There was a time my, now teenage, passengers were oblivious to these faux pas as they entertained themselves in the back of the car with “I Spy” games and sweets. Nowadays however, heaven help me, they have an interest in where we are, (did we not pass here already Mom?), house design (That house looks familiar - I blame Grand Designs) and worst of all, journey times. What time did we leave the house, should we not be there by now etc. etc. It’s getting to the stage where there’ll be clapping & whistle blowing when a long trip is made without mishap.

But that’s life, isn’t it? Sometimes you have to keep returning to the same roundabout until you find the right exit. Sometimes staying on the roundabout while waiting for the right road to present itself is all part of the trip. Sometimes you reach one of life’s roundabouts with no clue which road is for the best. There are occasions you hit the jackpot first time, some days its absolute trial and error. What’s important to remembering to listen to your instincts and you’ll get on the right road eventually. Maybe via another blinking roundabout but at least that gives you another opportunity to get your bearings, to gather your thoughts, make new choices and set off again. So, take your time. Enjoy the sights. Laugh. Make memories.

Meanwhile, I’m on the lookout for a car with sat nav and I’m moving mobile provider to one that has decent mobile data connectivity!

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