Monday, April 22, 2013

Prelude April 21, 2013

Prelude .....                                                                                                                         

            This is the day … another day of transition from Dublin to Ballymaloe and Ballycotton.  We say goodbye to Pauline and David, and drive south through the countryside and find the place where we will live and I will study/learn/cook/refine/stretch for the next three months. Brian keeps asking me if I’m nervous. “no… I’m numb”… on overload. So much has gone into this, and now it’s here. I know what  it is, but I don’t know how it is. People I’ve just read about I will meet. People I don’t know, I will know. The curtain is before me as it has been for the last few years… but now it is about to be drawn.

Brian doing his navigational work.

Brian has discovered lunch!

                   I am glad Brian is driving because it still throws me. Most of the driving today is on highway at 100 km/h (62 mph). I keep waiting for the Ireland of my imaginations, which is ??? Hobbit homes? Brigadoon? Everything looks far newer than I imagined in the country. Maybe “new” isn’t the right word; rather, “clean/timeless/well-kept.”

            We decided to stop for lunch. ‘fraid Trip Advisor isn’t going to pop in here. We are at the mercy of road signs. We choose one and turn off. OK… my first time in an Irish pub. On the way in an award proudly displayed: “Best Irish Pub, 2007.” 

Pub of the little people...
          Ok, maybe we lucked out. Where to sit? I think I’ve walked into the Seven Dwarves’ cottage. Lots of little tables with little stools around. We ask the server what is good and are told: the lamb is lovely, as well as the beef. Big disappointment came with a big bill. Sigh.

            Last leg of the trip where I can dream up any illusions I want before I meet the real thing.

            We follow signs to Ballymaloe. A sign is just being put out: “Welcome.” They know my name! A great all-round guy Toby is assigned to drive in the lead to our cottage, which is about 3 miles down the road. The town of Ballycotton is a small fishing/seaside/visitor town. I won’t say “tourist” because the usual “tourist” stuff is absent. But there are places to stay and a few pubs…. Beside the killer location.

            Brian and I have only seen our place on Google Earth, and then only the outside. We have no idea what the inside looks like, how big it is, or the square footage.

            What follows is pure squealing delight. We are absolutely overlooking the bay. The kitchen is as large as the living room with a table for 6 in a three-sided bay window with THE most beautiful view. It is fully equipped with everything including a washer-dryer (yes, that is one machine), excluding a microwave. The living room has a wood/coal (coal??) stove, a TV, Wi-Fi (yeah!!!), a chaise and an overstuffed chair. In each window is a big geranium plant (memo to self: don't kill it!). Up the stairs is our bedroom and bathroom. There is room for all of our stuff (though wondering where we are going to put three daughters, a son-in-law and grandson in one week). We even have a mini balcony with two chairs and a table. Outside is a patch of grass, and a lower terrace with a dining wood table and chairs. This could not be nicer (well maybe a shower)... and all this in about 700 square feet.

Outside our cottage

looking from living room to kitchen/dining room

chaise in living room

looking from kitchen to living room and our sweet coal and wood burning fireplace

lovely view

looking down the stairway to living room 

comfy bed

great bathroom... narrow tub :-)

sitting terrace off our bedroom

A man's home ...

                  As we were unloading our “boot” (trunk), there was a parade of antique tractors (of course!) through the town.

a parade of antique tractors??

            I have a bit until I am due back at school for an opening pizza dinner. These are always interesting. The class looks large; I know the limit is usually 60ish. It is an international crowd. The posturing begins. The pizzas are from the wood-fired oven, and Rory is making beautiful salads w/ flowers and greens from the garden. 

Rory O'Connell welcoming new students. Rory worked for Chez Panisse in Berkeley.
Wild garlic pizza ~ Incredible!

           It is like a beginning tease because nothing really happens except we eat. 

the students gather and make those first, awkward gestures... sizing up the competition

         Meanwhile Brian has gone back to Ballycotton to take a walk and find a pub to eat.

Ballycotton Bay from our kitchen window

            He brings me home, we unpack, and I fall into bed about midnight wondering about tomorrow and how it all will go!

waiting for the first day ... tomorrow


  1. Oh my goodness! There is sooooo much to take it and it's all just excellent...wonderful....beautiful... and I am so thrilled for you and Brian to experience this special time together! You will have a book of memories when finished I just know it! Love the helps us who are on the other side of the pond visualize your surroundings and life for the next few months! Hugs to you both!

  2. Your place is adorable. Maybe you should send the pictures to the Realtor for their advertisements since they only have an exterior shot - LOL.

    Enjoy your classes. I am very curious about the foods you learn to make.

  3. Another fascinating entry. I am loving your adventure and getting to go step-by-step through it with you and Brian. The photos are stunning!