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OUT THE GATE After hearing about her aunty, nana and little sister’s epic battle to get to the shops, Saran later volunteered to help with the post-Ophelia clean-up efforts.

Diary of a home bird

Ciara Galvin

IF I’m not inadvertently breaking into houses (namely, my sister’s) I’m trying to break out of them. In the last column I filled you in on my woes with the sis’s house alarm. Turns out, getting out of the house can also prove to be tricky. So tricky in fact, that it required a phone call to the UK, an email and a knife.
Some days I really do think my life is just a never-ending show of ‘Beadle’s About’ or (for those of a different vintage) ‘Punk’d’.
I’m not entirely sure how I manage to get myself into these bizarre situations, but this latest one I’m blaming on Ophelia. Myself and Madre hit for Dublin to look after my nieces, while their parents took a deserved ‘no kids’ break. The instructions were simple: Saran needs to be dropped to crèche at 9am and collected at 12 noon, and Fiadh needs to be watched like a hawk because, well, she could escape at any time.
All was going well. The girls slept until 8am. Mother enjoys a good plan, so I told her that while the eldest was at crèche we would pop to Dundrum with Trouble, as I affectionately call the littlest one. At 9.45am, with ‘Trouble’ strapped into the buggy, we set off, or attempted to anyway. We dialled in the code to the electric gates (installed for child safety, my sister’s family aren’t royalty or anything), and the gate jammed. Cue panic from Madre.
To explain, my mother gets panicked at the best of times, so the realisation that she may have broken iron gates and effectively locked us in, immediately sent the blood pressure soaring. With poor Fiadh looking on, wondering why Aunty ‘Kee-ah’ and ‘Nana’ looked so perplexed, I set about correcting the problem.
It was clear the motor that operates the gate was working overtime, and I was afraid this would end up exploding (maybe Madre’s propensity for panic is hereditary). I entered the code once again, and the gate stopped even trying to open.
It was just three days after Ophelia, and I thought maybe fallen leaves were the problem and began clearing any possible debris from the gate. Leaves cleared, still no joy.
Googling the make and model of the gate, I rang the manufacturer, only to be met with an answering machine. After trying the gate again a number of times I sent them an email with the subject entitled ‘URGENT’ and rang them once again. I meant business.
On my hands and knees I assessed the situation one last time and finally pinpointed the problem. Debris from Ophelia had indeed accumulated and caused a blockage. Running inside screaming ‘get me a knife’ I was met with mother praying to everyone she could think of, including every Irish saint that was ever canonised.
After scraping away the debris I sheepishly entered the code, and like the parting of the Red Sea, the gates opened and we were allowed to reach the Promised Land (Dundrum Town Centre).
Still on edge, Madre nearly collapsed when a sign swung in the wind on our walk, causing a loud bang. As we laughed, she explained she thought she had been shot. I assured her that her profile in the capital definitely didn’t warrant a targeted drive-by assassination in the Dublin 16 suburbs. Tune in for the next episode of ‘Breaking and entering’ or should that be ‘The Great Escape’?

In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something year old still living with her parents.

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