And other people’s holiday photos are always sooo interesting.
Friday, August 7
We drove to East Cork. Over the details of the day long trip, I draw a veil other than to say that we had a wildly successful picnic en route and a stop with the Dutch Mama and family – she was visiting Mitchelstown, her ancestral home. Hurrah.
Saturday, August 8
We awoke in our friends’ delightful house which they had very kindly lent to us. Large, airy, sparsely, yet elegantly furnished, great books to read. I took in the two white sofas they had purchased and my heart sank somewhat. I spent the next week saying “No feet on the sofas; no markers on the sofas; no pens on the sofas; no food on the sofas.”
Other than that, all was perfection in the house. A text message to friend M as to bin collection arrangements on day 2 elicited the alarming response that there were none and we were to bring our rubbish home with us. This ensured that thereafter, we visited my poor parents in Cork city every second day. Meet the litter tourists.
Weather was a little seedy but we had the long beach at Garryvoe to ourselves.
Sunday, August 9
We visisted my lucky parents with our rubbish. Children delighted to be reunited with my father’s exercise bike.
Monday, August 10
Ballycotton – all very pretty. Many lifeboats. Michael ate a cheese sandwich thereby expanding the range of foods he is willing to ingest by 100%.
Tuesday, August 11
An absolutely glorious day. Again, we had the beach across the road from the house to ourselves.
Later we investigated the farmers’ market in Middleton. Middleton which is about 30 minutes drive from where I grew up is not somewhere I would ever consider visiting under normal circumstances but it is surprisingly charming. Mr. Waffle and I went out to dinner in Ballymaloe which was disappointing. Into every life some rain must fall, I suppose.
Wednesday, August 12
Back to Cork. Hugely entertaining trip up Shandon.
Note the way this image captures the safety headgear but not the bells. Sigh.
Here they are trying to play the bells. A number of possible tunes are given. Most people seem to go for Air Supply’s “All out of Love”. I wish I were joking. The people of Cork suffer greatly, particularly those who live within earshot of Shandon.
Who would have thought? The butter museum, is, frankly, less than fascinating (FT says “do not miss” but I think the FT man was not accompanied by small children). I learnt a lot about the CAP from the DVD playing on a loop. Children had not seen tv since the previous Thursday and sat rapt in front of it. We brought more litter for my longsuffering parents and made them feed us.
Thursday, August 13
The culinary highlight of our holiday which on examination after two weeks away appears to be their only memory ocurred in Youghal . If you find yourself in Youghal (and I appreciate that might be unlikely), your trip is not complete without a visit to the Bay of Capri. Let joy be unconfined – the children loved this restaurant and so did we. I was keen to stroll around the town (historic little place, Walter Raleigh’s old stamping ground and all that). This wore out the troops.
They insisted on collapsing on the beach in the town which was small, stony and a little rough. This despite our attempts to persuade the children back to the car so that we might drive out to the really beautiful beach outside the town (possibly also a little rough – Youghal is that kind of town).
I am turning into my mother. At the water’s edge, a boy of about 13 was holding his little sister. This touching scene was marred by the tossing of a crisp packet in the water. Cunningly, I said to Daniel, “the little girl has dropped her crisp packet, will you pick it up for her?” He dutifully did. I felt sorry for young hoody as he was, obviously, a nice boy and it had not occurred to him that he would be called upon to take the crisp packet back and he had a bit of difficulty juggling it and baby. I, therefore, ignored further littering and, in due course, left the foreshore armed with several other crisp packets which he and his little sister had tossed out to sea. Am I unbearable? No, don’t tell me, I think I know the answer.
Friday, August 14
We took ourselves to Cobh. There was supposed to be a Regatta. We saw little sign of it. For as long as I can remember, Cobh has been a depressed, grim place. It could be lovely – it has many fine buildings but it’s not. A superliner had pulled up at the quayside and Americans were milling around filled with admirable but, in my view, unnecessary enthusiasm. I feel very disloyal writing this but there it is, I cannot understand why I keep going there hoping that it will improve. Sigh. We went to the Cobh experience. I wouldn’t exactly call it unmissable. Alright, I suppose, if you haven’t seen it before. The children watched the DVD on the maritime history of Cobh, like heroin addicts given a shot of methadone. A full week since they had seen the Power Rangers.
The trip to Cobh did give me a further opportunity to ponder the housing crisis. All around E. Cork there were loads of new housing estates. All empty or largely so. Do you think that these apartments will ever be ready?
Did these people choose a good time to sell?
Yes, really, look more closely.
Suit DIY enthusiast etc.
The grimness of the morning was more than atoned for by the bizarre, yet delightful, Leahy’s fun farm. This had been adapted from farm use to a centre of entertainment. Its primary agricultural use was still very visible – the indoor play area featured what had once, clearly, been slurry pits. Mr. Leahy himself turned up as we were being shown around and he was lovely. On Mr. Waffle asking him when he got out of cows and into camels he said pithily, “2 years ago.” He had monkeys, puppies, kittens, sheep, llamas and snakes too. They were able to feed all of them except the snake. He pointed us in the direction of the tiny house where he had been born and brought up which is now a haven for all sorts of old bric-a-brac and brought back memories from my youth (sacred heart picture with flickering flame, scales with weights etc.). There was a mannequin in the bed in the bedroom dressed up as an old granny and she gave me a nasty shock. God it was tiny and it must have been grim. No wonder the farmers of Ireland decided en masse to build themselves new bungalows when the CAP money came through. The children adored every moment and kept asking to go back. Am very tempted to take them again in December when farmer Eddie gets Santa in – could only be fascinating, you must concede.
Saturday, August 15
Are you still there? Very dull aside but we found out the truth about Shanagarry pottery which has been mildly peplexing me and is of no interest to you (my blog etc.). It was supposed to be closed but it was open. Still terrifyingly expensive. I spoke to one of the staff as she wrapped my tasteful offering. Apparently Stephen Pearse decamped to Spain years ago (making it most unlikely that the stuff we got as wedding presents was thrown by the master or even when the master was in the country) and the business had been going downhill. The collapse in the economy was the final kick in the teeth. The bank are now running the operation and the staff don’t know from week to week whether they will be staying or going. Poor them. The assistant said that they were hopeful as the bank have taken on an extra potter. Where will it all end? No wonder the banks won’t lend to small businesses (allegedly), they’re too busy running them.
Had very elaborate lunch at my parents’ house in Cork where Michael utterly mortified me by sitting in my father’s chair and refusing to budge. That child has a will of iron and a mother of putty. An unfortunate combination.
Lads, that was only week 1. Week 2 in Kerry follows. On the edges of your seats, I’m sure.