Thursday, June 6, 2013

5th June: Cathy Pentek and Sherkin Island

The day began with a visit to artist Cathy Pentek’s home in the country beyond Skibbereen.  Coincidentally the house was next door, albeit a kilometre or so further along and on the opposite side of the road, to the cottage we had rented last year when, in the course of our evening strolls,
Lisi and I must have strolled past Cathy’s house several times.  Cathy, surrounded by several dogs, was waiting at her
gate for us.  She led through her garden, where more dogs joined us as we all filed into the house to find yet more dogs occupying the living room settees and easy chairs.  I noticed too a number of resident cats and, as my eyes adjusted to the light, a fine black pig - house-trained Cathy told us - asleep in front of the television.  Cathy is an animal rescuer - a kind of latter day St Francis.  Shuffling for space with her animals we looked at several of Cathy’s charming paintings, bought one and commissioned some others then moved on into Skibbereen for coffee and cake at ‘Apple Betty’s’.

The Sherkin Island ferry leaves Baltimore at two-thirty.  We arrived there at one o’clock conveniently in time to enjoy my favourite Irish lunch, crab sandwiches washed down with a glass of Murphy’s Stout.  Sherkin Island, of which, during our few hours there, we saw not a lot is worthy of more time; on our next trip we shall take and earlier ferry.

The ruined fifteenth century abbey.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

4th June: Further instruction

Today I spent another valuable day with Castletownshend watercolour artist Barry Dawkes.  Through the course of the day I painted these copies of two of Barry’s paintings picking up  as I worked a mass of useful hints and tips; the trick for me will be to remember enough of them to continue to make paintings as satisfying to me as those I made, with Barry at my elbow,  today. 

Essay to create mood.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

3rd June: A bitty, but nonetheless pleasant, day

Mist lifting over the Ilen estuary, Baltimore.
The day dawned misty; overcast and cool.  At ten-thirty Lisi and I were seated in Field’s Café, Skibbereen, waiting to meet artist Cathy from whom we had hoped to commission a painting.  Shortly after eleven o’clock, having failed to meet her we left the Café.  We learned later that Cathy was there, sitting on an adjacent table with three other people but had not remembered that we had an appointment with her; we have made a new appointment with her, this one at her home, for a meeting on Wednesday morning.

After lunch the mist cleared to a sunny afternoon which we began with a drive to potter Mairi Stone’s studio on the lower slopes of Mt Gabriel to meet her an buy from her a few pieces of her delicate, beautifully decorated pottery.  On our way back to our cottage we stopped at Schull where Lisi shopped again in the craft shop ‘An Siopa Sli Bheag’ a delightful Aladin’s Cave of hand-made goods.

The afternoon ended as the morning had begun, with something of a failure; a planned ‘Sea Safari’ to hunt whales and dolphins had to be abandoned because, it being a Bank Holiday, there was no afternoon sailing.

The remains of the day; sunset at ten o'clock

Monday, June 3, 2013

2nd June: Sheep’s Head Peninsular, a tour and a tale.

It was from just such a ledge as this, on the the north coast of the Sheep's Head peninsular from which, in 1979,  author J G Farrell slipped while fishing.  A month later his body was recovered from the sea.
Friends  Barry and Margaret, whom we first met years ago in Finicounda, have come to Skibbereen with their caravan to visit Lisi and I.  Yesterday we spent our day with them describing in the car the perimeter of the Sheep’s Head Peninsular.  Through shifting swirling mists views, including those of adjacent peninsulas terminating to the South at Mizzen head and North at Dursey island, mysteriously presented and faded.

As we drove Margaret related the following tale:

“In the early hours of the morning Paddy was driving his car unsteadily and erratically along the road.  A Garda officer parked in a lay-by waved Paddy down.  Paddy stopped his car and lowered the window releasing into the officer’s face a rich decoction of pub.  
“So, to where is it you are off to at this time of the night Paddy?” the officer enquired. 
“Ah” replied Paddy, “I am away to a lecture.”  
“Indeed”, said the officer, “and what might be the subject of the lecture?”  
“Twill be a lecture on the evils of alcohol, tobacco and the keeping of late hours.” Paddy slurred. 
 “Oh yes”, said the incredulous officer, “And who is to be giving this lecture.”

“Why my wife of course!” said Paddy.