I could see the sun illuminating the window blind as I opened my eyes, and drew it up to reveal a cracking morning out there. The early morning sun rays were streaming across the hills and the golden ripening barley field just below my window. I felt a painting coming on!
Twas to be a creative day! After breakfast of delicious homemade Irish wheaten bread and coffee, off for walk down the muddy lane at the back of the house to the fields below. Fortunately Margaret had a pair of wellies that fitted perfectly. The views were wonderful as we made our way down the farm track to a field of young bullocks. They stood inquisitively while I sketched them. It was a beautiful bright sunny morning and you could see for miles across the hills.
We returned for a cup of coffee before embarking on some serious clay sculpting. I had no idea that Margaret had a purpose-built studio hidden among the trees which had the perfect view of the Antrim Hills. She handed me a large lump of ‘paper’ clay and I set to work sculpting a spaniel dog, while she worked on a plate with wheat prints.
I found this a lot of fun and quite therapeutic. My sculpture actually resembled a dog, although his head kept sagging. I was advised to put a little cardboard prop under his chin.
It had warmed up considerably by lunchtime so we decided to eat al fresco, an appetising salad assortment Mediterranean style. Jim, who had spent the morning at work TB testing (he’s a vet), arrived home to join us. It became quite cool again after lunch so he lit the wood burner in the converted stables, where we relaxed after lunch. We all fell asleep!
Eventually Margaret reminded me that I needed to try the potter’s wheel! This was something totally different from sculpting and I certainly found it very difficult to keep the lump of porcelain in the centre of the wheel.
‘Practice makes perfect’ Margaret said, it takes about 80 throws or 10 years! I did eventually produce something that resembled a small receptacle, so felt reasonably pleased with my endeavours.
In the evening we set off to Ballycastle for jumbo cod and chips. I couldn’t believe my luck when, while Margaret and I waited in the car for Jim to return with the fish and chips, I suddenly saw what looked like a dolphin breach in the harbour. I leapt out of the vehicle yelling dolphins at Margaret, and ran down to the quayside with my camera. Sure enough, there were two leaping out of the water. I just about got a fin on camera.
We drove on round to the other side of the bay to eat our food. Jim had also bought deep fried scallops for starters. All so delicious and fresh. He had also brought me along an Irish Beer, and we all sat in our element watching the light changing across the bay as the sun got lower in the sky.
Jim then proceeded to drive back along the scenic coast road to make the most of the setting sun. We passed Dunluce Castle, Whiteparks Bay, Ballintoy, Bushmills, Portrush, and finally stopped in Port Stewart for an ice cream. It was getting pretty chilly by this time and the sun had finally set, leaving a blackness to the ocean.