Wednesday 5 September 2007

Part One - County Cork!

Pat and Isabella stay in a little piece of heaven, the house is like a
dollhouse and the setting is farms with a view of a tidal pool from
the house. On Thursday evening we feasted on the bestestest
lasagne I have ever eaten with a yummy salad and I knew that the diet would not begin until we left Cork! Friday morning Pat and Isabella had to go to work so we were left to our own devices. We decided to go into Killbritain to get a few groceries as we did not want to eat our hosts out of house and home. Killbritain was not a good choice, I have never seen such a little village in all my life, there was a shop, but there was no way we were going to fill a basket there so we drove to the end of the village (about 100 m) and turned around and set off for Kinsale. Driving around that part of the world is horribly pleasant, the roads are windy and tiny but the views are magnificent and there is a sense of calm and peace until some maniac in his BMW comes whizzing by, why are they the same the world over? (Bar a few of my friends that is!) Anyway we knew we had to get into Kinsale early as it is exploding with tourists during the summer, very much like Knysna. In fact Kinsale and its setting reminded us very much of my home town. Finding parking was a breeze because we got into town early, 9:30 so early by Irish standards!!! I had seen a breakfast place called Mother Hubbards which looked really quaint so we set off to find it for breakfast. The kids were very pleased to see that pancakes were on the menu and Malcolm and I had an Irish breakfast sans black pudding thank you very much. With breakfast in the expanding waistline we strolled around town and called gus for his birthday while window shopping. Then off to SuperValu where we stocked up on staples and bought some hot fresh bread for lunch and headed back to HQ. By the time we got home from town it was time to make lunch and pack some things to go to the beach. The kids were very excited at the prospect of swimming in the sea and the weather was obliging so another scenic drive ensued to the beach.
Swimming did not last very long for Jess as the water was icy cold, but Kirstin stubbornly remained in the sea for about 20 minutes and then could not take it any longer! But the sun was shining and we had to make the best of this situation so we went for a nice long walk and found a gully amongst the rocks where a river flowed into the sea and there were lots of kids playing there on boats and with fins. As the waves came in the kids got washed upstream and then as the waves receded they got "dragged" back down. Kirstin joined in the fun but even though Jess desperately wanted to join in she could not stomach the cold water again! We decided to continue exploring along the coast as Malcolm wanted to find the Old Head of Kinsale which he knew was in the same vicinity as the beach. We found it really easily with a lot of oohing aahing as we drove because it really was such a scenic drive, the sky was so blue with little white puffy clouds painted against the blue. Malcolm said that the sky looked like it does in the show The Simpsons. (Isabella said the same thing to me about the clouds later, so no Malcolm is not imagining it) Unfortunately we could not go all the way to the Head as it is a links golf course but we parked the car and walked along the top of the cliffs, a bit like Morgan's Bay actually...
took loads of pictures and just stood there in awe of such beauty. The contrast of colour is awesome.
This picture does not really capture its true beauty, but it is the best I can do! After being growled at by a stupid dog, (ow embarrassing because according to the owner "he has never done that before" until Kirstin walked past and the mutt did it again, never done it before my foot!) it was time to head home. We had told Isabella that she must book at a nice restaurant for Friday evening so that we could take them out for dinner to say thank you for having us and she made an excellent choice by reserving a table for 20h00 at the Pink Elephant. Again we had outstanding views, this was all getting a bit much, system overload!!!!
The setting of the restaurant was outstanding, rolling green lawns going down to the sea with green hills along one side and open sea on the other side. Children were playing on the grass while their parents sat at tables outside enjoying drinks or dinner. The food was fabulous and nobody regretted the choice that was made, Malcolm and Jessica had steak with pepper sauce, Kirstin had pork wrapped in bacon, Isabella had a smoked salmon salad, Pat had black sole and I chose monk fish and salmon gratin. All the food came with chips, mashed potato and veggies in separate dishes so our table was overloaded. I definitely should not have chosen a dessert but the rhubarb and strawberry crumble was squealing "pick me, pick me" so I obliged....Jess had sticky toffee pudding and Kirstin had Eton mess, pavlova gone wrong! Isabella had a cheese board which she shared with Pat,and Malcolm set a good example by having no pud....he had filled up on too much beer!!! During our feasting we were also treated to a spectacular sunset which we tried to capture on film, again it did not do much justice, but does give some idea. The moon shone on the water and the water was this long bright white light while the surrounding water was navy blue with a hint of a sparkle to it, lucky lucky us. So, day one was full of sunshine, spectacular scenery, great company, scrumptious food and lots of fun. The weather prediction for Saturday was good, but at least we knew we had done a lot on day 1...just in case!

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