We are very lucky to be working in education and therefore able to take quite a few weeks off during the summer months. All of our annual leave is greedily stored up and we divide our holiday (vacation) time between a trip abroad for a few weeks and a few weeks in our little country hideaway. This combination is perfect for us because we get to chase the sun to help us de-stress and wind down, and then I chill out in the country cottage while the Ban Chéile, completes a continuous pilgrimage catching up with family and friends.
Today is the final day of a little over two weeks in Cork and amidst the packing and the squeezing in the final visits for this summer, the mixed emotions of seeing another summer wind down and the anticipation of going back up north to Dublin and starting another academic year, play with my heart and mind.
Our ‘hideaway’ is just a little 3 bedroom country cottage with a little bit of space around it for a garden and a vegetable patch, but to TBC it’s home and that means a lot. There have been many changes over the years including children flying the nest and returning with broods of their own, the addition of a serious wooden cabin where the driveway used to be (extra sleeping accommodation for the aforementioned brood and a man-cave for me), the installation of wooden vegetable boxes (and the subsequent replacement with concrete versions) and the planting of trees and lots and lots of flowers and shrubs.
The Dublin dogs get to spend the summer with the Cork dog (and even a cousin or two) and the grandkids get to come for sleepovers. All in a setting surrounded by a working dairy farm, minutes away from woodland walks by the River Lee and just a quarter of an hours drive from the city centre. Perfect.
GUC No. 4 lives there all year round and that helps prevent it from becoming a ‘holiday home’ but there are draw backs too. It’s old and has swallowed quite a bit of money to get it up to scratch and keep it there (one of the sons-in-law referred to it as a money pit once and it kind of stuck). The plan is to retire to this little corner of heaven when the time comes and we’ve been busily trying to set it up as low maintenance in anticipation of that day. We both like to read and watch movies (too much TV in the winter too!) and write and draw. Mostly we want to garden (a limited amount in my case until the vegetable boxes are finished), cook and, when we can, stroll along the country lane outside the house and beyond.
I’m sharing our place to escape to the country with you because I intend keeping you up-to-date with the developments over the coming months and years and thought I should introduce you to the ‘Scary A Ranch’ as I have called it (an in-joke I’ll share later…maybe).
As Don McClean wrote in his song Castles in the Air- “Oh but how can words express the feel of sunlight in the morning in the hills away from city strife… I’m city born but I love the country life.”