Newton’s third law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Apparently that applies not only to the violence, but also to my finances.
One week I’ll be humbly boasting in this column about how great my life is, the next I’ll be telling a tale of woe about the abject poverty I’m forced to exist in. Column A is about my fine whiskey collection; Column B will be a lament about not being able to afford school books for my children, or it will be a column about how we got a dog followed by a column about how we were forced to eat the dog, to survive. There is no balance here – there isn’t Angela’s Ashes or Real housewiveswith nothing in between.
So, after last week’s column about not being able to pay for the diesel in my car, this week I’ll delight you with stories from my city trip to one of the original seats of the British Enlightenment – Edinburgh. In my defence, I brought two of the kids with me, so it’s technically more of a family vacation than a real vacation where I can drop the many of them to drink whiskey until I pass out.
This year my wife and I made the decision to skip the big family break, when we all get in the car and drive off to yell at each other in another province, and instead break it up into more affordable trips spread out over the summer are months. My wife was away with her sisters and mother for a long weekend in June, then I took the two older children to Scotland and the two youngest – and therefore most easily content – are allowed to visit Kerry. No disdain for the kingdom, but they’re at an age where air travel doesn’t define a holiday, so we need to milk that innocence.
The older two got the best deal – several days of trekking through the beautiful surroundings of Edinburgh with me as my guide, Google Maps squinted and murmurs that I was sure the statue of Greyfriars Bobby was where the statue of Adam Smith was now . Ah well rub his nose for 10 years good luck financially now let’s empty our sinuses with the heart of Midlothian.
Edinburgh is a great city for visitors of all ages, but especially young people – partly because the hilly terrain suits younger legs, partly because there is a Harry Potter Tour, an officially licensed Harry Potter Merchandise Shop or just something everywhere George Heriot’s school on which Hogwarts was based can be seen. The city looks like a movie set, even more so in August for the festival when all sorts of entertainers flock to the city to try and make it big. But it’s not a cheap city. Using the internationally recognized economic barometer for the price of a pint, Edinburgh’s classier public houses give Dublin a run for its obscene money.
Edinburgh gets even more expensive in August as the festivals take place but as we were staying with friends we avoided the worst. Flights, transport, good food and drink, tickets to a show, some duty free gifts for the family and yes, a bottle of fine Scotch whiskey for me all came to over a thousand euros. Not bad for our family finances as back-to-school costs continue to land, but it was good value for money, not least with the cheap flights, which may have to change soon.
The timing of our trip meant that as we flew north our home in Cork was hit by a heatwave. Not the kind of good weather and damn jealous people people like to argue about, but weather where it was too hot for our kids and pets to be outside. As we enjoyed some warm sunshine in Scotland, the other half of the family in Cork avoided going outside between 11am and 4pm as the heat was too intense. It was like JG Ballard The Drowned Worldwe had fled to the North Pole while those left south were slowly going insane from the heat.
These were our only flights this year and we have significantly reduced our domestic travel, working from home as much as possible and minimizing travel in general. Travel comes with a cost – the planet used to bear the brunt, but consumers will eventually take the hit. The era of the £20 return flights to Costa del Wherever will eventually come to an end, if that’s only because Costa del Wherever is being ravaged by wildfires. For now we get to enjoy an overseas trip, our first in three years and our last in some time, and while Newton’s big pendulum swings back, next week’s column will be another sad tale of paying €700 for half a tank of heater oil.
https://www.independent.ie/life/family/parenting/we-finally-had-a-holiday-overseas-but-it-will-be-the-last-one-for-some-time-41932743.html We finally had a vacation abroad, but it will be our last for some time