Had set the alarm on my iPhone for 6.30 so as to be awake in good time to see John to say goodbye before he went to work. I woke a few minutes earlier as is usually the case if I set the alarm. Had a quick shower and had a go with the straighteners to sort out my hair….. looked at the time and realised I might have missed John. Damn! Sure enough he was backing his van out of the drive – I waved frantically but too late! I returned to the kitchen to find his note….I sat and had coffee with Christine and we said our goodbyes before she too went off to work. Packed my bag then headed back over to the farm as Raymond had phoned the day before inviting me round for coffee.
Raymond and Kay took me into Larne to a Coffee Shop right beside the docks where we could see the Larne/Stranrare ferry going out. We each chose huge fruit scones and Cappicinos – delish, and chatted non stop about everything – a good old catch-up!
on the way back they showed me Ryan’s new house on a quiet little estate nearby and then the footings of the new house being built for Lindsay up at the other farm beyond Gleno that I had no idea existed.. It was a dreadful morning with typical Irish fine rain. Eventually we returned to Ballyvernstown where Raymond showed me various new farm buildings, but the hayloft that I fell through over 50 years ago still remained like a constant memorial.
We said our goodbyes then I set my google maps for Carrick and before long I was sitting round the table in the kitchen with Jim and Rosemary having soup and sandwiches. Jim had come home from work especially to see me but had to get back soon after. Rosemary and I sat and chatted a while and before long Gemma arrived home early from work. She was delighted with the pastel I had done of Bella, her black retriever.
Finally I headed out into what had become a thick fog and slowed my speed down to 10mph. It cleared a little as I got on to the main road. I had left Isle-O-Glass a little later than planned as Gemma turned up and I got a little caught up in heavy traffic around Holywood. However I eventually arrived with Sandra and didn’t recognise the place inside. She had painted all the dark wood work white! It looked very spacious and light. I took a photo of the newly painted staircase as I thought you’d be interested Dad – you’ve often said you would like yours painted white!
After tea (supper) we walked round to see Uncle Alec and Auntie Jean in their bungalow not far from Sandra’s. Uncle Alec was sitting in his usual chair by the window waking from a doze. Auntie Jean was the same as ever, cheerfully bringing in tea and cakes despite my protests that I had just eaten a big tea…. in fact I’d hardly stopped eating since I’d been in Ireland! By the time we got up to leave Uncle Alec was much more cheerful having discussed politics, one of his favourite topics, he proceeded to show me round the house and garden. It was good to say our goodbyes on a happy note as they both waved cheerfully from their front door.
Next we walked round to Sandra’s sister’s house. Again not far away. Shirley and Ian greeted us along with three barking dogs.. I had done a pastel painting of Fizz previously. Now there was a new addition to the family – a Yorkie pup – the cutest little thing you ever saw!
We sat a while chatting over a glass of wine and Molly joined us. She had now just completed her first year at Durham University and was loving it.
Finally, with an early start in mind for the morning, we took our leave, vowing we would meet up again next year, unless of course there were any more parties to bring us together sooner.