The Whole Hogge With Jacqueline Hogge
DESPITE the gale force winds and torrential downpours of the past few days, we are officially in summer season, folks, now that we’re into the second week of May.
While the predictability of Ireland’s inclement climate is enough to dampen any hint of a sunny disposition, I’m going to mark the coming months with a few light hearted activities in a bid to break the cycle of damp summers that we’ve been burdened with in recent years.
The inspiration for such endeavors lies in my inbox every morning when the deal of the day pops up from some kind of marketing company. When they first started to descend on both my work and personal accounts I hastily deleted them as I considered them a waste of time. However, as the months have gone by I found myself drawn to subject lines offering such tantalising treats as a five star retreat in Portugal or a flying lesson. Not that I’m in a position to catch the next flight to Lisbon, or indeed pilot the aircraft concerned, but it was the notion of being offered a shot at such fantastic escapism that delivered momentary pleasure.
Closer to home though there are a few deals that I may have to explore in greater depth, if for no other reason than to tell you fine people what is involved in a zorbing and zipwire experience. No, I haven’t the first clue either.
As far as I was concerned a zipwire is the contraption in the playground my two terrors get hours of fun from as they zoom along a suspended wire, while clinging to a rope astride a ridiculously inadequate seat. If that’s the sum total of the gig, albeit for bigger kids, I think I’ll pass, although until I’ve researched the zorbing element I’ll keep an open mind.
Another one that has caught my eye is a kite surfing lesson, which is a bit ambitious given that my balancing act needs a bit of work. I’m not sure either I’ve the upper arm strength required to sustain this particular activity but then I won’t know until I give it a lash, which I will do at some point over the next three months. A few friends have embraced actual surfing in recent years and swear by it as an energising way of keeping fit and having fun in the great outdoors. I’ve been tempted to join them when the sun has been shining, but the fact I’d be a beginner and therefore would be confined to learning the basics by lying on a board on the sand while they were whipping up the actual waves, put me off. As did my underlying condition of lazyitis, which is worsening by the day.
It’s not outdoor fun and adventure of course that clogs up the inbox on a daily basis. There are days when tacky jewellery and colonic hydrotherapy offers add to my disaffection with yet another wet windy Monday morning, and can lead to me back to the habit of deleting offers before I’ve checked out the details. That’s all very well when I’m binning the water filtration system deal, but it can lead to more attractive offers slipping through the net. One such opportunity was a sea safari that was dismissed as being another foreign holiday deal that even with 45 per cent off, was beyond my reach. But no, on further investigation I discovered the rather ambitiously titled offer was in fact based in Mayo. Yes, you read it right, a hop and skip up the road, they were offering a day’s sailing lesson with lunch and a glass of bubbly thrown in. This must be why I miss out on so much in life, I’m forever glossing over the fine print. Anyway, the sea safari tag was a bit of an oversell, given that the animals offered were seals and dolphins and there was no actual guarantee of seeing them. But the location, Clew Bay, would have sealed the deal on its own, had I bothered to find out where it was based. A day of basic sailing instruction in a keel boat, whatever type of vessel that might be, would be a pretty amazing way to while away a Sunday. If nothing else it would tap into this long held theory I’ve had that I will end up either living by the sea or owning a boat. I was once accused of snobbery when I voiced the hugely optimistic dream of one day having my own boat. It didn’t help that I made such a declaration on the marina of a very posh resort where the smallest boat we could find was a 50-foot catamaran, but hey there’s no harm in dreaming big now is there? Fast forward a few years though and the closest I’ve got to being on a boat is the ferry between Kilrush and Tarbert, and that wasn’t quite what I had in mind.
So while I missed out on the sea safari deal I’m very tempted to look up the company concerned to see how prohibitive the full cost of such a day trip might be. The weather of course will also play a decisive role in whether or not this mission is successful and given that those lovely people in Met Eireann have been a tad hit and miss with their forecasts in the past few weeks, it will most likely be a leap of faith and a child of prague on the porch the night before, if I do make it out on the water.
One deal I will not be availing of is the chance to spend a day partaking in a funglide experience, which is as daft an activity as you’ll find out there. The blurb on this one tries to entice me onto a motorised machine that will allow me to glide my way through the streets of Galway with the wind in my hair, speeding along with style and swagger. They’ve obviously not caught a glimpse of me power walking down the Prom, where I admit I have seen people on these motorised contraptions that look only slightly more bizarre than the helmet clad people riding them. I’m all for a bit of fun and adventure, but I don’t plan on requiring motorised transportation while ever I’m capable of going for a good walk.