This Irish mammy wants to hang up her apron and search for peace and quiet

Barbara Scully wants to ditch domestic drudgery and escape to Antarctic isolation.

AS MARTIN Luther King said more than 50 years ago: “I have a dream...” Although, my dream is somewhat less lofty than his. I dream of peace. Peace and quiet.

I dream of time to dream. And time to read just some of the ever-increasing pile of ‘must-read’ books beside my bed.

I dream of long hours gazing out to sea waiting for the inspiration that would doubtless come. Inspiration that would result in my writing a literary classic, a book so fabulous that I would be able to make my dream of peace and quiet and constant inspiration a reality.

Dreams are great. I often retreat into dreams and imagine a life very different to the one I currently live.

Not that my life is unbearable. Far from it. I know how lucky I am. And yes, I do regularly try to count my blessings.

But some days I just get fed up of the constant drudgery.

The endless washing, folding, ironing. The daily grind of making dinner. The grocery shopping which, dear husband, is not a treat like shopping for handbags (if one had the money for a new handbag, that is).

The cleaning up, the wiping down, the hoovering. The minding the schedules of everyone in the house, not just my own.

And the falling over my four-legged friends who trail around after me, particularly at meal times.

Oh yes, woe is me, in a very ‘first world problem’ kind of way.

This morning, as I crunched on my Rice Krispies, one arm batting away the cat who loves milk (it’s very bad for cats, although so is sharing your breakfast with them), alternating my masticating with roaring at the teenagers to “hurry the hell up”.

I read a newspaper report about the latest survey which proves that, in Ireland, women still do most of the housework. Of course we do. That’s why I am wrecked all the time.


That’s why I often feel like an untrained juggler with 10 balls to keep in the air while attempting to remain upright on a treadmill.

Irish men apparently do 49 minutes of domestic chores a day, which is roughly the time I spend making dinner EVERY DAY. JUST THE DINNER... EVERY DAY. Sorry I am shouting.

I turned the page before I lost the plot altogether and my eyes were drawn to a photograph. It was of a small black and red building, set by the shore and surrounded by penguins and snow covered mountains. I was struck by an urgent urge to climb into the photo.

I wanted to greet the penguins as I made my way, through the snow to the door of the building.


Inside, this little house would be dominated by a squishy sofa covered in thick blankets in front of a stove blasting the room with heat.

There would be a cosy kitchen and a fully heated bathroom. The bedroom would be small but with big soft nest of a bed with duck-down toppers and duvet.

I could while away the hours in front of the stove while the snow fell softly on the penguins outside.

I read the accompanying article. A postmaster is being sought for Port Lockroy in Antarctica.

Oh imagine. Now, granted there are certain drawbacks to all the peace and quiet and penguins and cold.

There is no running water. Presumably one melts the snow for ablutions, etc. Night-time is a bit scarce. And penguins smell, well, stink I think was the word used in the article.

But still, it does hold a certain appeal. All that peace and quiet.

Lie-ins in the big cosy bed (I have no confirmation of the big cosy bed but there would have to be one, wouldn’t there?).


No timetables to remember. No driving here and there at regular intervals determined by the schedules of the teenagers. No housework. No shopping. No internet.

Here, at the bottom of the world, I would plumb the depths of my soul and my being to discover that, in fact, I am a writer of breathtaking talent. A latent talent that has been dampened by the two pronged evil of having to earn money and also having to do the domestic chores.

I fold the paper, bat the cat off the table, muttering “cats shouldn’t be on the table”, and take my bowl to the dishwasher, roaring as I go “will you hurry up, you’re going to be late... again”.

Himself arrives into the kitchen, all set for a day in the world.

“Bye dear,” I say as I plant the customary kiss on his cheek.

“If I’m not here when you get home, I might be in Antarctica, sorting post, talking to Penguins and finding my brilliance”.

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