Tales from Lockdown Life Part 2

As you will have gathered from last week’s blog, I am constantly on the lookout for ways to keep my four kids occupied during lockdown life. Those of you who know me will also be aware that I have a certain penchant for table quizzes which I appear to have passed on to my kids, genetics eh! So you can imagine my delight when Kahoot was introduced to our lives. I mean it’s a “make your own quiz” site (apparently it can do other things related to so-called “learning technology” but that is definitely not relevant here), where you can either act as a contestant or a quiz-master. As a quiz-master you get to set your own questions and then provide 3 to 4 possible answers (obviously including the correct one as an option). In the past, I was never a fan of multiple choice questions as it tended to introduce some randomness into the purity of table quizzing (even if you hadn’t the foggiest idea where the Battle of Trafalgar took place, you had a 25% chance of getting it right, off the coast of Spain near Cadiz by the way) but given the option of coming up with witty incorrect answers it suddenly becomes a lot more fun e.g. where did mommy live before she met Daddy? (a) Heartache Hill, (b) Despair Drive, (c) Love Lane, (d) Grumpy Grove! I’d have loved the answer to be (d) but it was in fact (c). While I have learned to tolerate multiple choice questions, I have drawn the line at the option of True or False which I regard as the true nadir of table quizzes, something my fellow housemates / family should take note of (you know who you are). You can also allocate the amount of points which are available for each question so I like to finish off all my quizzes with a double points “daddy round” which usually covers my favourite topics of Liverpool FC, Dublin GAA and computer games! Unsurprisingly Niki (my wife) normally comes last in these rounds!! Once you have formulated your questions, you send a code to your participants who then get to answer on their mobile devices in real time, the quicker you answer, the more points you get. The advent of Kahoot has led to some epic battles in the Doyle household and for a moment it overtook the PlayStation as the boys favourite form of evening entertainment and that is saying something. Needless to say I am undefeated as a contestant and as a quiz master I am now working on a 100 question mega quiz for when the weather actually remembers that this is Ireland and not St Tropez!

On Saturday myself and my wife celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. Well I certainly celebrated that Niki has been able to put up with me and my foibles for that length of time. Given the current circumstances we were a bit stumped when it came to options for marking the occasion. Last year we took a trip to Paris and strolled around Le Marais but malheureusement that clearly wasn’t going to happen this time round. Instead we decided to go for the slightly less exotic option of a takeaway from Kinara, one of our favourite restaurants and a consistent source of lovely date nights. Now normally the takeaway routine involves the retrieval of the food and a return home to consume it, but we have found that with certain youngsters around the place it is very difficult to have a quiet and calm time while eating your Tikka Masala or whatever. So this time we tried a different approach, thankfully we had auntie / saint Orla ready as babysitter, which allowed myself and Niki to actually got dressed up for a night out, I even shaved for the occasion, a definite rarity in lockdown! We packed our plates and cutlery and headed for Clontarf (where Kinara is located). Once we had picked up our food from Kinara’s highly efficient collection system we were then faced with the quandary of where we were going to eat it. We had harboured (excuse the pun) ambitions of eating by the Clontarf seafront wall but the continuous drizzle and gale force winds put an end to that idea so we found a “public” car park near Clontarf yacht club with nice sea facing views and opened up our tasty grub. Well I had thought it was a public car park but only later realised it was the Dublin Bus overflow car park for the Clontarf depot. This became quite evident when a double decker bus pulled up alongside and loomed over us as we chewed through our nan bread! Not quite the ambiance of the Place des Vosges but hey we managed to swallow it down without getting any sauce on our clothes or on the interior of the car which was a win as far as I’m concerned! For dessert Niki decided that she had a sudden yearning for a sundae from McDonalds so we drove to nearby Artane Castle (one of the 6 McDonalds back in operation as a drive-thru) and were laughed at by the voice taking our order as the sundae had been discontinued back in 2018! We take it as a badge of pride that we did not know this!! Oh well, a McFlurry will have to do then! We returned home about 90 minutes after we had left (there is only so much driving up and down Griffith Avenue you can do, but with the added bonus that St. Orla had put the kids to bed so we avoided the usual pandemonium associated with bedtime chez nous. For that alone our anniversary was regarded as a huge success and will be remembered fondly for years to come!

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