Around the World a Bit at a Time

Travels: Past, Present and Future

Archive for May, 2007

Back to Work

Posted by Leanne on May 22, 2007

By 22nd May 2007, we were back home and at work.  

This post is more to fill in the gaps: if we didn’t go to the Butter Museum, what did we do with our final hours in Cork?

We had a luxury breakfast and then made the most of the fine weather:

Cork

Cork

We combined ringing the Shandon bells with going to a high bit and looking over the city where Paul bumped into a colleague from work.

Pendulum in the Shandon Bell Tower

Pendulum in the Shandon Bell Tower

Then we sunbathed at the airport whilst waiting for boarding time:

Steve, Cork Airport

Steve, Cork Airport

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Butter

Posted by Leanne on May 21, 2007

We spent much of the weekend speculating on what delights might be found in Cork’s Butter museum.

If I owned a butter museum, I’d make sure that in amongst all the boring bits about the history of butter and how it is made, I’d give people things to do. For example, you could have a butter sculpting workshop, and maybe a butter sculpture display full of celebrities moulded out of butter- just like in a wax museum. Except with butter. Maybe I’d make a room where you could have your photo taken so it looks like you’re in the Lurpak advert….

Obviously you’d get to milk a cow and churn some butter. Then, if you were feeling clever, you could enter the butter tasting competition, where you have to match the taste to the packet. The prize would be a stress ball in the shape of a butter soaked crumpet. Or a cow. I can sort out the finer details later.

Finally, just for fun, you’d head out to the gift shop through a hall of mirrors because when a museum has funny mirrors, they always end up being my favourite thing about the place and I’m sure that eveyone else in the world feels exactly the same.

In the corner of the gift shop, there would be a small cafe selling some freshly made scones (preferably baked by nuns) which you could spread thickly with your free sample of butter, and sit back and relax to the idyllic ‘Sounds of Cows and Churning Butter’ CD while you eat your scone.

People would come to my butter museum from miles around and take pictures like this outside it because they had so much fun when they were inside. 

A Lot of Excitement Over a Bit of Butter

A Lot of Excitement Over a Bit of Butter

According to the flyer we picked up, the real butter museum has an audio-visual display. We didn’t go in.

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Fun with Nuns

Posted by Leanne on May 20, 2007

Until today, my only experience of nuns is from looking at the pictures on my ‘Nuns Having Fun’ calendar, and from watching the Father Dowling Mysteries.

For some reason, Daniel had it in his head that he wanted to visit his friend’s aunt today. His friend’s aunt is a nun.

For some reason, the other 5 members of the group agreed to go along with him (probably because he told us that all nuns do all day is bake, so we were likely to get cake) which is why we started the day by getting on a bus and being dropped off near the wrong convent.

While Daniel knocked on the door to find out where the right convent might be, the rest of us hung back and looked at the cows, commenting on the sudden waft of freshly baked scone smells which filtered through the air when a nun opened the door. 

After quite a long wander around (“I better get a cake after all this.” Julie muttered under her breath- I agreed whole heartedly with the sentiment) we decided to give up and go to the pub while Daniel searched for the nuns himself. Before we got to the pub, he caught up with us, bringing the news that we were heading in the right direction for the convent.

As we walked towards the second convent of the day, my little doubts about this whole excursion got a lot bigger. As Daniel knocked on a convent door for the second time that day, the rest of us stood back, trying to disappear into the background. A nun opened the door.

“Hi, I have a gift for Sister P from her neice.” he said, presenting an envelope of Marks and Spencer’s vouchers.
“Oh how lovely,” she replied in her thick irish accent. “Would you like to see her while you’re here?”
“Yes please.” He replied
“Come in” she said. “Would your friends like to come in too?”

He waved us in. We were about to enter a convent.

We nervously followed our host through to a room at the back of the convent, with spectacular views over the city of Cork framing the statue of the virgin Mary just outside the window. I perched uncomfortably on the edge of a chair, as did everyone else. Seperate chairs that is- we didn’t all sit on the same chair.

“So do any of you know Sister P?” asked the Welcome Nun.
“Erm… no. But I used to work with her neice five years ago.” Replied Dan. I don’t think anyone really wanted to be there at that moment.
“Can I get you a cup of tea?” she asked, unfazed.

We must have agreed to a cuppa because she left us, in the nun’s living room to get some tea. Somewhere outside the room, we could hear the clanking of pots and cutlery.

“Sounds like they’re having dinner.” Steve commented. “We’re definitely not staying for dinner.” He added hastily. We all agreed whole-heartedly- this was too weird. Simon looked petrified. 

Simon, Looking Petrified

Simon, Looking Petrified

“Don’t look so scared Simon,” I said. “It’s not a job interview or anything.”
“No- it’s worse- it’s an interview for my soul!”

The Welcome Nun knocked on the door. “You’ll have a little something to eat?” she asked in her sing-song Irish way. “It’s no bother- the food’s already there.”

Each of the six of us looked at each of the others like rabbits caught in headlights.

“Are ya hungry?” she persisted.
“Well, a little bit.” admitted Simon. “I could eat something.” She disappeared to get us dinner. As soon as she was gone Steve spoke up.

“Was I the only one that heard the conversation where we decided we weren’t staying for dinner?” He hissed out of the corner of his mouth.
“I heard it- but she phrased it differently to how I was expecting it. I got confused.” I said.
“She asked me if I was hungry!” Simon exclaimed. “You can’t lie to a nun.”

At that point Sister P entered to talk to us and yet again we awkwardly explained that out of the six of us, only one person actually knew her neice. Then she tried, jokingly (I hope) to recruit me* before dinner arrived.

At the dinner table, we were presented with six plates of sunday roast with gravy and they left us alone to eat. 

Sunday Dinner in a Nun's Living Room

Sunday Dinner in a Nun's Living Room

“Do you think we should say grace?” someone joked before we tucked in, and gradually began to relax a bit. That is until Julie noticed the spoons laid out on the table.

“There’s going to be dessert!” She exclaimed.
“Do you think we should make a donation to the convent?” said Steve. Of course we should.

So after the roast dinner, there was meringue and ice-cream and a little tour of the chapel, and Sister P kept popping in and out with some tourist information she’d found out from some of the nuns who were from Cork.

She was delighted by our generous donation to their Tanzanian water project.

All in all, it was brilliant way to spend Sunday: we had lunch with Nuns!

 

*Actually, nun work sounds quite interesting. The sisters in this particular convent spend a lot of time on missions in Africa helping out with aid work

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Wishing, Kissing, Jumping, Running and Dancing

Posted by Leanne on May 19, 2007

Most people go to Blarney to see the castle and to kiss the Blarney Stone.

Of course we did all that, and had a go on the wishing steps (I wished for a new job), but we mostly ran about a lot, climbed a tree and did some jumping before heading back to Cork for a nap.

Blarney

Blarney

The next part of the day was spent trying to find a restaurant by following this map:

Map

Map

Jon, who drew me the map had never been there but saw fit to recommend it. The only other information he gave me was that it looks like it should be in New York. Anything useful, like a name or a type of restaurant was deemed unecessary (by Jon).

The map led us to a really nice Thai restaurant where we spent the evening eating, drinking, eating a bit more, then eating and eating some more.

It was following on from this that I mysteriously found myself in what can only be described as a disco pub – the kind of place full of women who think they can get away without wearing a bra but can’t; where old men think that they can pull women half their age but can’t and where your feet stick to the floor.

After 10 minutes of observing this with trepidation, Steve leaned over and shouted in my ear.

“IT’D BE A SHAME TO WASTE THAT DANCE FLOOR.”

I tossed my jacket to one of the others and followed him onto the raised platform where we pushed our way through, dodging flailing limbs to find a safe place next to the DJ box. The DJ looked like he should be rock band but didn’t quite make it. Instead he was doomed to a life playing cheesy pop music at a disco pub.

It wasn long before Simon joined us and suddenly it seemed like we were back inToffs, (the worst excuse for nightclub you’ve ever seen in your life only rivalled by absolutle horror of being Flares or Reflex) or

However, it wasn’t long before we realised that we weren’t students anymore and that dancing to ‘Come on Eileen’ wasn’t going to win us any street cred, so we headed back the hostel at respectable 1am to get a good night’s sleep

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Welcome to Cork

Posted by Leanne on May 18, 2007

I suppose the weekend started at the airport… with a delayed plane-type scenario which was OK because it meant that I had time to drink my first Guinness of the journey. Start as you mean to go on… 

Guinness

Guinness

Once in Cork- a cluttered busy city with too many cars and the need for some tender loving care, I found Simon, Steve and respective partners and we went out for dinner. Simon ate an Irish Stew out of a loaf of bread: 

Simon and his Bread Encompassed Stew

Simon and his Bread Encompassed Stew

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Where’s Me Passport?

Posted by Leanne on May 17, 2007

Well, after conferring with Steve and Simon for what seemed like forever, we finally did it… we’re going away for a weekend:

A Cork

A Cork

It only took 107 emails and 12 google chats to organise.

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