Planning to be spontaneous. 

Yesterday, we drove down to Limerick to see a doctor. (Who confirmed our daughter is autistic.) Seeing new doctors is stressful enough at the best of times. Seeing one in a city I’m not too familiar with, is incredibly nerve-wracking. I don’t do unfamiliar. I don’t do new. I don’t do surprises. 

So, I entered the address into Google Maps. It found the correct road, but not the exact location. Immediate heart racing situation. My husband, to calm me down, said I could phone to get more precise directions when we got closer. Which increased my panic, as I also don’t do phone calls. Especially to secretaries of doctors I’ve never met. 

So, we left for the appointment an hour earlier than we needed to. And, as always happens when I’m stressed and travelling, I was living off nervous energy and couldn’t eat. At least I brought plenty of snacks. 

As it happened, we got hopelessly lost. And nobody we asked had heard of the place. And nobody at the doctor’s answered the phone. I finally found it on a different map, and we got there eventually. Half an hour early. Phew!

And this is why I need to plan as much as I can. To limit the number of things that might go wrong. To try and have a sense of control. 

But maybe I should veer off my plan more often, try to be more spontaneous. 

The plan had been, doctor then lunch somewhere nearby, then straight home. But on the way home, we passed by Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. And my daughter expressed an interest in visiting it. Normally, she’s like me and doesn’t like going anywhere new. But since she’d asked, we decided to take a chance and go in. Just like that. 

We had only planned on a very quick visit. But it turned out to be a fantastic place, with so much to see*.The castle is quite extensive and the artwork in it exquisite. We saw the dungeons and the kids sat on wooden thrones and examined the drawbridge mechanism. Then we climbed the narrow staircase up one of the towers, to the top. Turned out to be a bit of a mistake, as my knees don’t like stairs and I ended up hobbling back down. While me and my daughter rested in the Great Hall, the other two examined the rest of the castle and came back with tales of all we’d missed. 

I had thought that would have been it, but the Folk Park part was too good to miss. For this, they transplanted actual cottages and houses from various parts of the country and recreated turn of the century Ireland. Everything from one room thatched shacks, to grand Georgian mansions. Even a two-roomed Schoolhouse, like the one I attended for a year when I lived in Ventry. And an old style pub like the one my husband’s family owns. 

However, as we explored more and more, my knees and legs ached more. And so I did another spontaneous thing I hardly ever do. I called it a day, and me and my daughter headed back to the car, again missing half of the exhibits, which the other two went on to explore. In the past, I would have kept going, through fear of missing out, while becoming more and more impatient and agitated, and finally having a meltdown. Instead, we chilled out in the car, but not before buying The Most Expensive Scones in Ireland, in the Tearooms. (€3 each!!!)

So, we ended up home much later than I had planned. Exhausted and sore, but calm and happy. I went new places, and not only survived but enjoyed myself. So, I think I might plan on being a bit more spontaneous in the future. But not too much! 

*unfortunately I’ve no photos, as my phone has no spare capacity for photos, and I hadn’t brought a camera, as I hadn’t planned on visiting anywhere worthy of photos. I might ask my husband if he took suitable ones, but think most of his included the kids. So including just a generic drawing of a castle! Not drawn by me! 
UPDATE: two days later and I’m still in pain and can barely get out of bed. Being spontaneous can have repercussions! 

[image of a line drawing, in black, of a castle, with two towers, one on either side of the main castle building, with a white background.]


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