We all slept well and celebrated our contentment with a good Irish breakfast. Our sense of wellbeing was somewhat disrupted when Francois received a phonecall with the unwelcome news that his locum had broken his ankle on the first day of surgery and would be unable to fulfil his contract to cover the medical practice for Francois’ two-week absence. Some fruitless calls were made to try and find a replacement locum but to no avail. A covering system was set up with the help of an efficient secretary, and fall-back arrangements with the other local doctor then we all proceeded to get on with the business in hand – our Connemara holiday.
Full of energetic enthusiasm we decided to walk into the village to explore our victualing possibilities. Geraldine told us it would take about 40 minutes, but clearly she has never covered the journey on foot. We worked out that it was something like 11 km. We covered the distance in intermittent rain (a constant companion during our Irish days) and enjoyed ever-changing views.
We found two grocer shops, one of which, J. Woods, is a family-run business and which became a regular haunt. I’ve lost count of the number of home-baked soda bread loaves we bought, but it went well into double figures. On that first morning we were invited into the kitchen to meet the business matriarch, Christina, who gave us tips on how to make our own soda scones. Anne and I experimented with cheese and cumin versions and fruit ones too. Soda scones are now a regular part of my diet – brilliant with soups.
Just after the middle of the day we popped into O’Dowds, the bar area of which is open at this time of year. Francois and I chose a gorgeous crab salad with home-made soda scones to accompany. Their scones were the best we tasted in Connemara. I drank glasses of Guinness, too, whilst in Ireland and loved its velvety feeling in my mouth.
Before we left Roundstone Nick spotted the arrival of a small yellow fishing boat. We bought 6 fresh crabs for 8 Euros and cooked them later, back at the cottage.
We started back on foot with a new array of sea- and landscapes and at some point Nick walked ahead to pick up the car and scoop up stragglers.
We roasted a small piece of gammon for supper and relaxed during the evening before the peat and log fire. We all have books and Anne has knitting. We taught Francois how to play Spite and Malice, a card game which seems to engage whomever we teach.