After waking briefly three times during the night due to the odd sleeping arrangements I got up on Tuesday morning to see thick frost on the pavements and roof tops; it looked cold but the sun was shining so I looked forward to going out later on to do a bit of exploring. Michael was already up when I went downstairs so Nellie made us both a brew then while she was cooking breakfast I grabbed the camera and went out to photograph a couple of things nearby. First was what’s known locally as the ‘fancy fountain’ – it doesn’t seem to have a proper name – then the ancient entrance to St. Cronan’s Church. Both were only a couple of minutes walk from the house so I was back before breakfast was put on the table.
We had just finished our second brew when Paul arrived and we were banished to other parts of the house so he could give Michael’s dad a wash and shave and change his pyjamas; this was a good opportunity to go out again as there was a caravan/camping site a couple of miles away which I wanted to check out for sometime in the future. Nellie was quite surprised when I told her where I was going – she considers two miles to be a long way but that’s nothing compared to the miles I can cover when I’m walking Sophie and Poppie on a nice day. I did actually suggest taking Trixie with me so she was dressed in her little jumper and off we went.
The first thing I came to, only a couple of minutes walk from the house, was the entrance and tree-lined driveway to someone’s property; it looked so nice with the sun shining through the trees, so with no-one around and no gate to prevent access I couldn’t resist taking a few steps past the stone gate posts to snatch a quick photo. My walk took me along a country road which ran past a patchwork of fields dotted with cattle, sheep and a few farm buildings and eventually I came to the camp site I was looking for. Unfortunately it was closed for the winter and the gate was padlocked so I couldn’t get in to look round, but it was in quite a nice location so it could possibly be a place to stay sometime.
Another quarter of a mile took me to the Cistercian monastery of Mount St. Joseph Abbey where visitors are welcome to walk round the grounds or have a cup of tea in the guest house. A long driveway led through the landscaped grounds to the abbey itself and at the side of the guest house several paths ran through an area of woodland. Most of the trees still had plenty of leaves on them and the autumn colours in the sunshine were so beautiful I was glad I had the camera with me.
After almost an hour of wandering round the abbey grounds I set off on the pleasant two-mile walk back to the house. I don’t think Trixie had walked as far for a long while as when we got back she hopped up onto one of the chairs, curled up and went to sleep, and stayed there for quite some time. While I’d been out Mari had arrived, plus another lady called Noreen who also helps out – she was very friendly, easy to chat to and I liked her straight away. Like Nellie earlier on she was surprised that I’d walked all the way out to the monastery and back, though she was suitably impressed when I showed her the photos on my camera.
When Mari and Noreen had gone Nellie served up an early cooked meal for tea – it was so filling that I felt like I couldn’t have eaten another thing for days but only three hours later she came in with a stack of sandwiches and another brew. I didn’t really want a sandwich so she disappeared back in the kitchen and returned with the remainder of the previous day’s cream cake cut into three large chunks and told me to eat it up. I settled down with my book after that and spent the evening reading, though the rather loud volume on the tv (Jimmy is a bit hard of hearing) encouraged me to go to bed much earlier than usual. It was gone 11pm when I noticed that the tv had been turned off and the house was finally quiet – Nellie had been in bed for a while by then and though I still wasn’t fully comfortable with the strange sleeping arrangements I could manage for one more night.