Memories to last a lifetime: Mazing Time

I have a severe dislike of getting lost. I’m sure there’s some Freudian reasoning behind it (vague childhood memories of wandering around Woolworth’s alone and distraught,) but I think in adulthood it shows a lack of planning, or at the very least a lack of Google. Unless you plan to get lost, which I suppose would be ok… I digress!

With a blink of good weather finally upon us, Jenn and Amber and I decided to head for Castlewellan forest park to tackle the Peace Maze for the first time. I had every intention of using the left-hand rule to satisfy my aforementioned need to know where I’m going (always go left, unless you can only go right, or keep your left hand in contact with the wall,) until I remembered that the method doesn’t work if the maze contains loops. WHAT IF THE MAZE CONTAINS LOOPS?! Disaster of disasters. Research was required.

Opened in September 2001, made up of 6000 yew trees and covering nearly 3 acres with over 2 miles of pathway, the Peace Maze held the Guinness world record for the largest permanent hedge maze in the world until 2007. Not exactly a lightweight! Using an aerial photo I planned our route, which you can find below if you’re that way inclined. It’s worth it just to see the reactions of the wanderers as they realise that you know where you’re going; we had quite a following by the end!

There’s also a great little play area beside the maze which we all very much enjoyed, and after a leisurely stroll around the lake we refuelled with tea and buns in the café. A bit of forewarning though- there’s a £5 National Trust entry fee to the park which you can pay by card, but the café only accepts cash so stop at a hole-in-the-wall before you get there.

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Much to my delight, Amber has recently taken a real interest in reading. She’s had at least one bedtime story every night of her life, but over the past few months I’ve started to find Mr Men books strewn across the bed when I go to waken her in the morning. Despite the fact that it’s nigh-on impossible to get her up for school, I really can’t scold her for it; one of my very favouritest things as a child was reading under the covers with my torch! I couldn’t deny Amber that, and if it encourages her to read then I’m all for it. Irish Children’s Literature Laureate Eoin Colfer described it brilliantly to Mary-Louise Muir on The Arts Show, and it applies just as much to adults as it does to children-
“(Not reading a book) is like you’re at the gates of Disneyland and you decide ‘nah, I’m not going on any of the rides.’ So, you know… read the book and be happy forever.”

I couldn’t agree more!

Until next time, may your joys be many and your troubles few.

Tommy x

Post Author: Belfast Times

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