The final day Ring of Kerry

Village, the Loughs (lakes) of Caragh and Acoose.

A dilemma! Do I settle in for the day at Carrig House – curl up in a downy soft sofa, open fire, read “The Pickwick Papers”, indulge in more creative writing whilst continuously gently grazing on a large fruit and cheese platter with a chilled bottle of Pinot Grigio, then around mid afternoon adding coffee and cake, and almost certainly, intermittent power naps….. OR…. Walk into the local village (16 km return ) then cycle the scenic lakes loop ( 36 km )?

The choice is obvious.

Let me explain: there are some remarkable similarities between myself and Percy Grainger – the gifted Australian musician, composer and conductor at the height of his critical acclaim in the 1920’s (that’s got the dissimilarities out of the way).

Percy Grainger had a tempestuous relationship with his mother, indeed some say, incestuous. He was a masochist and indulged in extremes of physical exertion. In the days of train travel he was on a conducting tour for the ABC and, travelling to Melbourne for a concert, he asked that the train stop at Ballarat. He alighted and ran the rest of the journey to Melbourne, conducting the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra that same evening, if not a little out of breath!

On other occasions for a piano recital, he would enter the concert hall from the back, dressed in gym gear, sprint up the centre aisle, hurdle onto the stage and presumably execute a sort of gymnastic floor routine, culminating in a final somersault, with tuck, onto the piano stool!

He eventually married when, on an ocean liner to London with his mother, he met a strong, large Swedish woman who also, he discovered, enjoyed giving as much as she got! They married and whipped themselves into a frenzy most nights I believe.

My next holiday will be a P & O cruise liner, I think.

Having almost completed my cycling saga, I think the ultimate Irish Holiday would be to cycle the Ring of Kerry and combine it with fishing and golf- if that perchance was your bent.

If you were not a cyclist, then come in Spring, enjoy the sweet Spring Showers and swim the bloody Ring. Why do I immediately think of Wagner?

This is a very funny song about the English Weather written and performed by Flanders & Swann:

January brings the snow
Makes your feet and fingers glow
February’s Ice and sleet
Freeze the toes right off your feet
Welcome March with wintry wind
Would thou wer’t not so unkind
April brings the sweet spring showers
On and on for hours and hours
Farmers fear unkindly May
Frost by night and hail by day
June just rains and never stops
Thirty days and spoils the crops
In July the sun is hot
Is it shining? No, it’s not
August cold, and dank, and wet
Brings more rain than any yet
Bleak September’s mist and mud
Is enough to chill the blood
Then October adds a gale
Wind and slush and rain and hail
Dark November brings the fog
Should not do it to a dog
Freezing wet December then:
Bloody January again!
(January brings the snow
Makes your feet and fingers glow).

I have been surprised at the ubiquitous availability of Wi-Fi in Europe and even Ireland. It is free in every guest house, pub, cafe and the more modern buses and intercity trains! Carrig House by the lake was remote – no mobile service and the Wi-Fi dodgy at the best of times – I was almost going to complain about signal drop out in the bathroom.

Speaking of bathrooms, I discussed the issue of European shower cabinets in a previous blog. However plumbing is another issue to-wit the taps. I am but a simple man and 2 taps, one marked “hot” the other “cold” is straightforward. but the Europeans have a unique ability to complicate this simple solution. There may be one tap which is pushed, pulled swivelled up, down, in, out – in any number of permutations and combinations. There is another variation – a stainless steel horizontal cylinder with a knurled nob at each end. One nob controls the amount of water, the other controls the mix of hot and cold. There are other plumbing permutations which defy logic but the end result of all these is that until you master the logic of which tap does what and when, you are very likely to turn, push, pull, elevate or depress one, either or both of these taps and suffer an instantaneous cold shower. I could do that quite easily in Ireland by mounting my bike at any time during the day. I don’t need to have the same experience, unexpectedly in the bathroom of my guest house!

On the final day/night I dined at the Carrig House Restaurant in silver service style. A gift to myself after a rather sadomasochistic day, if not 10 days! Two entree meals: duck liver with caramelized figs and the second was a scallop dish! Both divine. Home made bread and local butter. Glass French white wine then to the drawing room for coffee and petit fours!

Thursday is a day of travel to Dublin, not much I can write about that unless there is another unexpected Irish bun fight on the train! So next blog possibly a day late?