Monthly Archives: October 2015

I’ll Take Manhattan

200“Don’t be remorseful. It just confuses me.” Oh Inspector Jack Anderson & Lady Detective Phyrne Fisher we do love you.

Son Andrew recently posts a photo of ingredients for a mixed drink that takes him four stops to acquire. He asks for guesses as to what he is concocting, offering a free drink for the first correct answer.

I figure it probably has something to do with season three of the charming series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries many of us are watching but what specifically would Phryne and Jack have been drinking? Andrew & Jenn are finished with the episodes, we have several to go.

Almost simultaneously Lewis and I guess Old Fashioned. Phryne was known to enjoy a hearty Old-Fashioned mixed to perfection by Mr. Butler. Nope, but we still get a free drink.

Then I look closer at the ingredients, two kinds of vermouth. Aha, it’s a Manhattan. Kat beats me to the guess (but she did spell it wrong). She has completed the series too. We’re both right, confirmed by Andrew and later the episode where Phryne and Jack have a Manhattan nightcap.

Manhattans and I have a long history. It is my first mixed drink. I am a freshman in college. My family has recently moved from Whitehall, Ohio where we live from fifth grade until I graduate. Dad’s job with the newly formed Department of Transportation investigating air plane crashes takes them to the DC area. No way I can get there from the cornfields of Oxford, Ohio where I attend Miami University and back for Thanksgiving break and so I find myself tagging along with dorm mate Sandy Mathison to her home in Cleveland.

Her parents own a Dairy Queen and she has her own horse. Another first for me on that trip. Riding a horse. It is harrowing invigorating. I do not fall off. I do not get kicked. Success. Probably has something to do with that Manhattan her aunt fixes me the night before.

We land at Sandy’s home shortly before dinner time. After dinner we head over to her aunt’s house within walking distance (good thing). “Show us how to drink,” Sandy commands. Her aunt, a real Phryne type free spirit, is delighted to oblige. Drinking proteges! She mixes. We drink. It is a happy combination. Many drinks later we stumble home. But upright we are. We can hold our liquor. We’ll take Manhattan.



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“You couldn’t believe anything John T told you. He was a great fibber.” My new friend, Buster Moore, is explaining his grandfather and, as history happened, the youngest eye witness to the first flight. But Buster is not referring to that day, Johnny really was there, just his rascally character in general.

Friend Ed Beckley is writing an article on the history of Colington Island and asks me for information about the multi-use path project and anything else of interest that I might know. I tell him about the little yellow house that John T Moore, or Johnny Moore to historians, used to live in and describe it. Ed sends me a photo of what he thinks is the right house, but my description is off base as Ed has the wrong house. I tell him that I will get some photos for him.

I have taken several a few months back when I got the information about the house from Tanya Hill. John T Moore was her great grandfather. She is caretaker of the Hilltop Cemetery near the little house. I could not find my photos so I decide to not only take more but also take a photo of John T’s grave site.

moore grave

John T and Cloey Moore. John witnessed the first flight in 1903 when he was sixteen. He is famous for running up the beach, before there were dunes, shouting “They done it. They done it. Damn’d if they ain’t flew.”

It’s not a big cemetery, still I have to walk the entire thing, which is extremely interesting before I find John T and his wife Cloey smack dab in the middle. As I am straightening the silk flower cross to get a nice photo a gentleman walks up. Now if you do not know this cemetery, it is about a quarter of an acre on a hill but pretty much flat. You can throw a football from one end to the other or side to side. I was easy to spot wandering around.

He doesn’t say a word and I stand up explaining what I am doing and ask if he is Stanley. Stanley is the last living child of John T’s double digit brood and Tanya has told me that he lives nearby. This gent laughs and says words to the effect of not on your life.

He then begins to tell me about his father, Dallas, one of John T’s children, whose grave site is a few over. And his mother May, who as it turns out is Tanya’s grandmother, and still living. He tells me lots more family history, citing the names of all the children of John T. I listen so enthralled that I do not even think to take notes. I ask if he will let me take his picture, but he declines. He also is not interested in letting me take photos of his many clippings about the Wright flight and his grandfather. My new friend is part Indian and believes that photos take part of your soul. Later in our chat I ask his name. Buster he tells me, named after an uncle who was killed in WWII. One of my favorite uncles on my mother’s side was named Buster too. Buster Moore and I are instant kindred spirits.

I do think to ask if he had a relationship with his grandfather. He tells me he did and that he remembers sitting on the porch of the original house. It was a much bigger house than the abandoned current house built in 1954 that sits on about the same site.  He tells me that the crepe myrtles were as close to the road, then a dirt path, as they are today.

He tells me that Stanley would talk to me about John T but to not bank on anything that he says because he fibs as much as his dad did. He tells me a story about John T and the Colington game warden. Geese were out of season and the warden asks John T if he’d seen any. John T who always wore an overcoat smiles and tells the warden that he has not as he squeezes the dead geese tucked under each arm a bit tighter.

I do not know how to get up with Buster but I plan on going back to the cemetery in hopes that he’ll show up. He does live close by. I want to ask him if his grandfather talked about the Wright brothers, not as much about the day they flew, but just about them in general. John T did name one of his sons Orville Lindbergh Moore, so he must have some good memories. Trouble is can we believe anything he told Buster.

many greats grandfather

Starke Jett my great great grandfather

Seven year old grandson Edward was at fall camp recently getting some down time, as he told his mom, before his new baby sister arrives. While we were sewing a bed for shy cat Huey’s newly designed and created by Edward outdoor home, Edward notices a portrait hanging on the wall and asks who it is. I fumble through a few greats and give up, I need to review the time line. And yes, Edward did a lot of the sewing. He and Sebastian have now had a camp sewing machine lesson and both did really well.

Back to the portrait. I have an awesome book on the entire Jett lineage my cousin Jeter put together decades ago. It starts with Peter Jett & his wife Mary who settled in Peppertocks Creek near Bray’s Wharf (now Leedstown) in or around in 1663 and goes forward until publication in 1977 so fact checking is easy. Still the details of the painting escape me until today when I am wandering through my old blog posts on LiveJournal and find this. This first part is about a big birthday party we threw for Mom at the Reedville Fisherman’s Museum. She got to invite anyone she wanted to include and we provided all the rest.

The birthday party for mom was a lot of fun. She was in her element. The weather was perfect. A nice group of family and friends. The Melinda cake was awesome as always, and it survived the eighty flaming candles. 

While I was in Reedville I stopped by cousin Miriam’s house and found out some information on the mystery painting. Seems that the painter, Sidney E King, was Miriam’s art teacher. He went on to become rather well known in the area. He was even hired by Jamestown to paint a series of landscapes. Well, anyway, Miriam commissioned him to paint portraits of Starke I, her great grandfather, and Theodore Augusta, her grandfather. They now hang in the courthouse in Heathsville. The one I ended up with Mr King painted specifically for Miriam. She likes it more than the official portrait. My dad got it because he asked her for it years ago and so she gave it to him. 

And so for this generation of grands the portrait is of their great great great great grandfather, Starke Jett, a well respected minister with the Methodist Episcopal Church of the South. He was also a Democratic delegate to the Virginia Legislature.

Family matters are fun to matter.

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Packing a LOT into & on our last DAY

Ireland 2005 Day 10

cat youghalyoughal turret overlooking youghalOur last day in Ireland. We have so many things to do. Becki and I start with an early walk. I show her the beautiful garden I discovered. Then we explore the church yard. We are just a step behind the man with the keys opening up the locked gates for the day.

The church yard has graves everywhere. Front, sides and back. Behind the church and up the hill to the city wall the graveyard continues. There are new and old graves. We climb a turret in the city wall. We can see everywhere from here.

We are due back at nine to help pack the costumes for shipping home. We meet the guys and drive to the Mall Arts Center as B,B & D’s costumes are in the car.

Everyone has assembled to move the process along. I make lists of what goes into each box. It doesn’t take too long to finish up. We load the boxes into our car and Carl’s car until a decision can be made about which courier to use.

Becki and I head for the Tourist Office to meet Pascal and see the jewelry she has. Her office is on the second floor. It’s a cute cluster of filing cabinets and desks etc. The girls who work with her were at the Rendezvous.

She clears off her desk and gets a black cloth to display the pieces. Becki and I have a hard time picking but we finally make our choices. I leave to go to the ATM machine to get the funds I need. Becki is still finalizing her decisions. Back, I pay Pascal and go downstairs to shop in the gift shop. Becki joins me, we tell Marsha, who is shopping, about the jewels. She wants to see what Pascal has. I take her up to the office. She is as delighted as we are with the selection.

Downstairs I run into members of our group shopping. Becki is doing some last minute shopping too. lebame tells me that we are to meet the mayor for lunch. She wants me to take pictures as discussion about twinning with Manteo is to be discussed and preliminary papers signed. We are to meet at Harvey’s dock at one. I am in my jogging clothes. I need to go change.

Donny has gone on ahead of us after the packing was finished. No one else in my group knows about the lunch. They are all too busy anyway. I shower and change and head out to meet whoever. No one is anywhere around. I circle the parking lot and decide I must have gotten my information wrong (not unlike me).

I go back upstairs. Donny and Becki suggest I ring lebame’s doorbell and see if anyone is there. I go back downstairs and around the corner to her building. I ring the bell, lebame answers. She says Carl was looking for me and then went on. She is not sure where the luncheon is to be, but she thinks the Quality Inn outside of town. She tries to get into the office to call The Nook which is where she sent Carl to look for me. The office is closed for lunch. Just then Chris comes around the corner. lebame borrows his cell phone to call the Nook. I go upstairs to ask Bill to drive me or I can drive myself but Bill can go faster.

contractor and undertaker

Typical Irish sensibility, put together what works together best for you. We found it very amusing.

lebame has not been able to reach anyone. She suggests stopping at the tourist bureau to check. Bill is in the shower. I know driving myself will go a lot slower. Bill runs downstairs barefooted. We are off. I reason all of the offices are closed for lunch. We decide to check the Quality Inn. We head out of town past the lighthouse toward The Strand with only a vague notion of where we are going. We pass where I think lebame is talking about. We are ready to turn around as we are in the country when we see a sign for the Quality Inn. It is several kilometers more down a couple of country roads which puts it on the ocean. It is a beautiful setting. But there is no luncheon going on. The staff suggests I try the Raleigh Hotel. We drive back to town. As we are passing a restaurant called The Tides I tell Bill I think that is where they are, but I have no basis for this (trust the dousing Sandra trust the dousing). Bill almost runs into a parked car looking for Carl. He thinks he sees him in the window, but we do not go back.

We try the Raleigh. They know even less than the Quality Inn folks. Bill is sure the luncheon is over anyway. I want to try the tourist bureau, but they are closed for lunch still. We check the Mall Arts. They are open. The girls tell me that the group is at The Tides! Back we go. I hop out and check. Yes, they are and have only just finished their appetizers. They say Bill can join in. He is in the car waiting for me to report. He declines, no shoes you see. During this entire escapade I was not panicked just determined to go the extra mile, or kilometer. I figured John was there with his camera which turned out to be true. But lebame had asked me to do this and I did not want to let her down.

The lunch is excellent. John and I take some great pictures of the document signing.

Actually what Bill saw in the upstairs bay window of The Tides was the mayor. Her short hair makes her sorta look like Carl.

bill distillery bill tasting midleton distillery midletonWhile we were shopping earlier we learn that Joe, our bus driver, has been hired to take us to Midleton to the Jameson Distillery this afternoon. Becki feels pressure to stay in town and tidy up her shopping. Marian tells her she can shop there. At last minute Becki caves in and joins us.

The old distillery is amazing. To check a batch of whiskey to see if it was ready the workers struck a match to a sample. If nothing happened, the batch was not ready. If it burned it was perfect. If it exploded it was overdone. No wonder they had their own fire department.

Bill gets selected to take the whiskey taste test. Three kinds of Irish, all of which is distilled three times, Scotch only twice, and lowly bourbon just once. The three tasters pick their favorite Irish and then compare that to a fine scotch and aged American bourbon. They pick their favorite. Of course it must be an Irish or they fail the test.

Midleton is a special blend of Jameson that is bottled in limited quantities each year. You can only buy it at the distillery. Donny buys us a bottle and also a bottle of 12 year old Powers packed in a nice tin. Our Midleton is packed in a wooden hinged box. It is numbered and the label is signed by the master distiller. Ours is number 027822 bottled in the year 2004.

Now Joe takes us to Ferry Point so that we can see Youghal from across the cove. Becki has been itching to get to this point since we first got to Youghal. It is directly across from our rooms. Donny and Bill have divided up the few houses on the spit and figure running a pub and B&B from there would work. On the way from Midleton to Ferry Point, Marian falls asleep on my shoulder. This is the way the week has turned out. We are all now family.

another across the way across the inletIt takes us a while to get across the river as someone has crashed the rail the night before in a drunken drive. It is a small bridge anyway and now it is down to take turns traffic.

Carl is having fits. He has things to do before the party he and John are giving for our hosts and hostesses tonight. We tell him we will help. Breeda says they will not know the difference. We tell her in this case she would (the gifts are baskets of goodies not yet completely put together).

Ferry Point is lovely and Carl is glad we did not skip it. Marian’s in laws live just up the road. They have castle remains on their land. Joe’s sister rents the house on the spit that is Donny’s B&B. We see her in the yard and wave. We are going to be late for the party. But this is Ireland, everyone is late. And Joe, Marian and Breeda are with us so they will be as late as we are.

Back at the Harvey Becki and I grab Gloria and we sprint up to Carl & John’s apartment to wrap the baskets. Carl has cellophane paper but no ribbon. It’s me to the rescue with my ribbons I got from the little boys.

Becki and I go home to freshen up. We will wear our new jewels from Pascal, even though Carl said casual dress.

Off to the Nook we go. A few of our guests are there but the evening is early and even though we are late the party is only just beginning to get going. Tommy Bulman, my Irish sword friend, sees me come in. He pulls me aside and hands me two packs of pictures he has had printed of our day at the craft fair. He says that the one package has pictures for me. The other is for sharing. How sweet. Like I said we are all family now. I’ll be sending him a group of pictures from my lot including his sword photo. Tommy has also made me a list of Irish phrases for me but it is in his car and we do not connect again. No worries I have his address. He is proud of the list as he quit school quite young, but he knows how to speak and write Gaelic.

It is a wonderful night. Iona has walked over from Myrtle Grove. Carl has a gift basket for her. When he hands out all of the gift baskets later everyone is delighted. Mid-evening Marsha assembles us to give lebame a gift from the group, she is the glue that holds us together. Bill has brought his guitar. There is much music, singing and merriment.

Then Bill’s G-string breaks.

john and sibs

Breeda’s brood. Shiv, Claran & John.

A new friend Michael has a replacement and he and Bill strum together. Everyone sings and dances, jigs and solos. Breeda’s rugby player son sings a haunting Irish ballad.

The mayor has a gift for Carl. It is a piece of Waterford crystal. And also a piece of Waterford for John Wilson, the mayor of Manteo. During the gift exchange Carl begins a story about arriving in Youghal and trying to park the car he has rented. The mayor steps in and fills in a few amusing details. It seems that upon arriving in Youghal from Shannon airport, Carl pulls the car into a street space. Being from a small town himself he understands small towns and limited street parking issues so he calls out to a lady close by to ask if it is okay to park where he has. She goes over to him. She is dressed in pajamas and floppy slippers. Her hair is rumpled. She begins telling him the parking rules.

Carl is looking at her wondering whether to believe her or not since she very much looks like a bag lady. Just then the town constable comes along unlocking the various gates and so on. Meanwhile the floppy slipper gal, who has slipped into town to quickly sign some papers figuring that no one of importance would see her, has figured out that Carl is one of the expected guests from North Carolina. She welcomes him and tells him that she is the mayor. The constable laughs and tells Carl that she actually lives in the home for the mentally unstable up the way, to pay her no mind. The mayor explains to Mike that these are the guests from North Carolina and to please acknowledge who she is. Mike repeats his story adding that she has probably forgotten to take her medication. Carl begins to believe Mike since he is so convincing and the mayor doesn’t look very mayoral. And since it is okay to park while he gets the room keys etc from the tourist bureau he moves on.

Later that week at the opening reception, the mayor addresses the audience. Carl sees that he has been a victim of Irish humor.

me and marsha irish toast irish friends breeda flowersFor once we have started earlier than usual at the pub and so end up leaving not that late, even so it is after midnight. We are still the pub closers, for our group anyway. Goodbyes are sad. Everyone is in tears. We would stay longer but we must pack and drive to Shannon in the morning.

We are walking home with Greg. Suddenly I remember that we have not made our Abbey Road picture that Becki wanted to do. The perfect crosswalk is back a few blocks. Everyone is hesitant. I declare that if I can walk back in my party shoes surely they can make it. And Greg can take the picture. But Bill points out that Becki is still walking home. Greg tells Becki to turn around. She does. Bill is amazed, saying we should have had Greg to herd us along all week.

Even though it is after midnight, there is occasion traffic fortunately only one way but still it is usually someone hurrying home so we time our moment in the crosswalk. Becki has on a light jacket so she is the barefoot Beatle.

We take a picture of Greg climbing a street light.

Back home we get to packing. We must leave by seven in the morning to make our noon flight.

abby road ireland

Recreating Abbey Road cover Youghal style. Heading home to the Harvey one more time.


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We See The IRISH Sea

Ireland 2005 Day 9

donny sandy irish sea

Donny & Sandy and the Irish Sea

Today we are going to explore on our own. We want to go to Galway but everyone tells us that we will only get there before we have to come back again especially if we want to be home in time for the classical concert that will end the festival. It is being held at St Mary’s Church this evening at eight.

So we consider Killarney still a long trip but closer than Galway. We could go to Waterford but decide to save that for another time.

By the time we get up, shower and eat it is almost noon. We strike out toward Killarney anyway. We decide to take the long way following the coastline when we can. Our first stop is on the Strand right here in Youghal. It is the closest beach to town, rather on the outskirts of town. It is where the train used to stop. Train service in Youghal dried up in the mid-seventies. Everyone blames that for the decline in tourism.

sandy vamping from the water donny running becki bill irish sea becki and billThe tide is out and the beach is wide and wonderful. The sand is very fine. There are a few smooth rocks near the water. There is a lot of seaweed, but it is harmless. Bill decides he has not come this close to the Irish Sea to skip putting his toes in. He sheds his shoes and socks. I agree and follow. We roll up our pants legs and wade into the very shallow water. There is barely any surf and the drop is non-existent. The water is not that cold. I would not swim, but I could if pressed. Donny & Becki join us. We take pictures of each other.

We decide that although we could stay here all day, as the sun is bright and beautiful, we must move on.

boat slicker

Lobster pots

boat tractor

Pulling the boat out


We weave our way westward staying as close to the coast as we can get. We wander into a boat launch area clearly for neighborhood fishermen. A farmer on a tractor is pulling a boat shaped trailer into the water. He is getting set to load on a single man boat. It is a lobsterman who has been pulling up pots as the season is over. Bill chats with the fisherman for a few minutes and then we leave this tiny rugged area.

red cow cow farm b&w cowWe continue westward. We wander down small Irish one lane roads. We spy a small herd of wonderful looking cattle. They have horns and shaggy fur. A gentleman out for a walk tells us they are his. Their breed is called Highland. They grow the fur in the winter and will shed it in the springtime.

We tarry on. Next we find a deserted cove although there are signs indicating dangerous rocks, so it is not too deserted. On the map it is called Knockadoon Head.

sea life tide pool rocks tide pool blue rock tide poolThis cove is very rocky with small pockets of sand. There are high rocky cliffs. The rocks are not jagged, but smooth. They are pink with green low growing seaweed. There are numerous tide pools with sea anemone and other life inside them. There are many small snails and barnacle like creatures. It is absolutely wonderful. Getting the car out is a bit tricky but not for Bill. No L sticker for him. An L sticker is what all beginner learners must post on their car windshield while they are still novice drivers. It is a large solid white decal with a big red L in the middle. It is about eight inches square.

Now we are getting hungry and decide to find a suitable pub for lunch. That doesn’t take long. We wander into a village and park the car. The women’s football championship is on. Cork is favored to win. Later I find out that they do. Bill orders the Irish breakfast. B, D & I order sandwiches and of course we all order beer. Murphy’s is the beer of choice for our guys As far as beer goes it really is good. But I like cider best overall.

becki sitting

cliff ireland After lunch we tarry on to Ballycotton. There is a very cool cliff walk adjacent to the beach in this coastal village. The day is just a bit breezy although still sunny and lunch has worked its charm on me. I take a nap in the car while the others explore. Donny comes back after a short walk and joins me. B&B elect to try the cliff walk for awhile.

Suddenly everyone is tired. And we have not gotten near Killarney. We have not even left the south coast of County Cork, but it has been a great day of exploring. We head for home. We arrive in time to freshen up before the concert. Becki is concerned that we will get hungry before the concert is over knowing that the pubs do not serve food later in the evening. So she is very happy at intermission to find that finger sandwiches are served along with the wine.

The concert is very good. There are two choirs and a violin soloist as well as a flute soloist.

marian singing

Marian entertains. All the Irish sing at the drop of a hat and do it very well.

irish gals toasting

These amazing committee gals made our trip very special.

Now we go to The Point, Marian’s brother-in-law’s pub. He has invited us to hear some Irish music. We gather in a back room. This pub is a bit newer and the room is more modern. Still there is a fireplace and everything is wooden. As the evening goes on Marian hires the accordion player to play just for us. He has been playing out front where we could not hear him all that well. He is a delight. He plays all sorts of songs. We sing, dance and have a merry time. We pass the hat to give him a tip. He is very sweet. He rides his bike everywhere because his eyes are not good enough for him to drive a car.

After sitting so long in the drafty church Greg is chilled and asks the bartender for something warm. When he gets his drink, it looks so wonderful we all want one. It seems that we have rediscovered the hot toddy. Whiskey, hot water, a slice of lemon with cloves stuck into the rind. Perfect for a chilly evening. Members of the group begin to drift away. We are the last chapter again.

Every evening in Youghal is our favorite until the next one, which becomes our new favorite.

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Ransoming the QUEEN’S Gown

Ireland 2005 Day 9

street fair

Youghal street fair

Today there is a craft and goods fair set up between the two streets at the Clock Gate. We are to parade in costume and the madrigals sing to draw attention to our Rendezvous Dinner to be held this evening at the Walter Raleigh Hotel. Joan has a wench costume for me to wear. We parade to town single file lead by Greg also in costume, then the YaYas and I (now a YaYa). The queen is last.

It is a sunny day, a bit chilly but the sun is nice. The madrigals sing at the fair and then we mingle with the crowd. Some of us buy a bit of food. I get a mulled wine and Chester Cake. The cake is awesome. I ask the lady for her recipe. She is dressed as Mary Queen of Scots and has had a good time getting her picture taken with Barbara. Her real name is Frances. She writes down the recipe for me. She is a little old lady who recently got married again. The extra cloth from her wedding dress has been used in her costume. She baked all of the goods in her booth, cakes and pies, early this morning.

tyntes castle

Tynte’s Castle is right in the heart of the town

Now we move on to Tynte’s Castle. It is a town castle, mostly a very tall tower shaped building, than a sprawling edifice. It is amazing to have a chance to see the inside of this structure. Tom, who had us to dinner at his pub a few nights back, owns the castle with his two brothers. They are restoring it. They have just purchased two cinderblock sized stones for a doorway. They cost 700 sterling.

We parade up the up street to the castle. All of the shoppers, merchants and car folk wave to us. We go inside the castle tower which for now is all that is open at this stage of its renovation. We assemble here for photos and then the madrigals sing for the video that is being made. The room is fairly small but open all the way up so you can get an idea of things to be done. Exposed doorways and wonderful huge wooden beams are visible.

After the singing we march back to the fair where the madrigals sing again. I am getting chilled. Pascal, a young French member of the committee, offers me her shawl. As she is selling Sharovski jewels at the fair for a friend she is dressed for the weather, so I take the shawl. There is another photo session and then we are excused. I do not see Pascal to return the shawl. I stop to say good bye to Frances as her booth is nearby. She admires my shawl and says she has one just like it. She says she has loaned it to the French girl selling jewels. I laugh and say this must be her shawl. Later before I leave the market, I return the shawl to Pascal. She promises to show me the entire jewel collection later at the tourist bureau which is where she works.

youghal gang street costumes craft fair barbara and her guysI want to buy a few things at the market but have no euros. Donny doesn’t either but he heads for the ATM machine to replenish our supply. A cute lad selling flowers wants me to buy. I tell him I will be back when I get some euros. When Donny gets back I buy a beaded necklace which I have also promised to procure when I get cash. Then I go to get my flowers. The stall is maintained by two boys who are about ten years old. They have picked the flowers and made scented pinecones. They also have a basket of ribbons. I hand them five euros to buy the flowers which are three euros fifty. They tell me I can get pinecones and ribbons plus the flowers for my five euros. They want to be sure I get a fair deal. They keep telling me to get one more pinecone or ribbon. I want to be sure they are getting a fair deal. I tell them I am satisfied. They insist I take some ribbons. They dig in their box for the most scented pinecones. The mom who has been visiting a nearby stall and has her own things next to the boys returns and asks if they are treating me well. She says that her husband has been doing all the video work of the festival group.

market flowers

Flowers I bought at the fair.

We go to the Mall Arts Center to undress and pack up costumes, either for going back to the states or being transferred to the Walter Raleigh Hotel where the Rendezvous is to be held. Finally all the costumes are settled and we have swept up the dressing rooms.

Back home I dress the window with our flowers. They are prettier than any I have seen for sale in the shops. Becki says we have just enough time for a soup lunch before meeting at Myrtle Grove. It seems that we have been invited after all to tour Myrtle Grove. But only us. The owners are very protective of their heirlooms and privacy.

mrytle grove

Myrtle Grove is still occupied today

Myrtle is the house Raleigh would have lived in when he was in Youghal. It is still privately owned and lived in. We are so excited to have this opportunity to see history closer to the way it actually was rather than in a museum type setting.

BBD&I go for soup and no sooner have we eaten and returned to the Harvey where we are to meet than we find Marian and Greg walking toward Myrtle Grove. The rest have gone on by car. We are cautioned by Carl, lebame and our Irish friends to not take any photos inside the house. The grounds are permissible but not inside.

The entrance to Myrtle Grove is literally right next to the St Mary’s Church entrance on the quaint cobblestone up up street. Once inside the gate we feel like we have stepped back in time. We all know that the shops and town homes of Youghal are just outside the wooden entry but here inside it feels like we are in the countryside and another era. We take a lot of photos of Chris, who has come dressed as Raleigh, in front of the manor.

ds myrtle grove holly berry myrtle groveWe are to tour inside in two groups. The interior is truly amazing. There are so many family antiquities that anyone could spend an entire day or more in just one room. We all love the family touches, pictures, papers and such. Our lovely guide, who now maintains the house with her sister and brother, tells us great family stories. She continually apologizes about what she considers her lack of tour guide knowledge. She does fine by our account. One of my favorite stories Iona tells us is on herself. As a young girl she used to ride her pony all over the lawns and to this day her mother blames her for the poor condition of the grounds which is not true, they are beautiful.

Now it is time to get ready for the Rendezvous. As the result of a few miscommunications we feel that my costume is no longer at the Raleigh Hotel so I dress with my French silk skirt and an extra ruff and Elizabethan hat Becki has on hand, even though Joan told me earlier that she had an extra wench costume at the hotel.

me dressed up john costume guys at the bar donny close upWe drive to the hotel so that we can get our costumes back to our apartment easier after the show. Joan says my costume is fine. As Gloria is also costumed for the event I think she has worn the extra wench costume so this works out perfectly. She, the YaYas and I decide to go into the bar for a drink while the rest are dressing. The local paper photographer takes our picture. Maybe this one will make the paper too. I have not seen the last one he took of me with Carol and Jacquie at the opening but I hear it was in the paper. He always asks for names and even writes them down. Gloria says we have gotten lots of press. She has enough for a scrapbook. We have only found one picture, that of Jacquie at the ploughing.

Evidently the story of Barbara’s queen dress being held ransom by customs made all the tabloids. This happened before we got there. Customs would not release any of the boxes containing the queen’s clothing because they thought we were trying to smuggle them into the country. Finally customs said we could get the gowns for a $4000 fee. Carl almost croaked. He finally got the Bank of Ireland to post “bond” and the costumes were released one day before the first show which was the day we arrived.

It is time for the Rendezvous but few people are here. I notice that the announcement board in the hotel lobby says nine as the starting time. It should say eight. We wonder what the tickets say. Also the Irish are a very relaxed people about time, they would do well on the Outer Banks.

bill barbara chicken

Raleigh teaches HRH how to eat chicken

assisting hrh

HRH assisted by What and Sir Walter

The Rendezvous is to be like the one on the Outer Banks, a dinner with the queen type show. Bill Rea is to be Walter and Chris his son, fondly known as What. Calling out What, throughout the event, works well to cover mistakes and add extra merriment to the party. Now anytime someone says, “What?” We all holler back, “What? What? Where’s What.”

Donny & I have great seats since I am photoing for lebame.

When it comes time for the titling, our new Irish friends are delightfully surprised and pleased to have European titles. You can see they are going to have fun with them.

tynte's castle guys breeda dressed up becki and irish gals barbara pascale ann and paulEveryone has had a grand time. Carl has held up well. He is getting the ick that started with Chris and has wound its way through most of the company.

Donny has a toothache that is really bothering him now. It started this morning. I ask Breeda if she has any ideas. She suggests a clove and whiskey. She says she will get some cloves from the kitchen. She is our wonder worker. She saved Bill from totally losing his voice with some antibiotics left over from her niece’s ailment.

After the Rendezvous a two man band sets up on the stage and plays tunes for us to dance to. Most members of our group change into street clothes. I chat with Barbara’s mother, Connie, while Barbara changes. Connie loves line dancing but by the time I discover this the band has switched to slow numbers to close out their evening.

Slowly our group dwindles away. We remain conversing with members of the committee, friends, and family until well into the morning. The bartender is very gracious and does not push us along. It is well after two before we say our final goodbyes for the evening.

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Kissing THE Blarney Stone

more corkIreland Day 8, September 2005

Today we are venturing off on our own. There is a bus with room for us on it going to Blarney and Cork, the same places we are headed for, but we have rented the car for the week and we want to get some use out of it and also set our own pace.

We leave shortly after nine and plan to first stop in Cork so that Donny & Bill can get their cell phones fixed at the phone doctor there. Cork is a big city, a very big city compared to Youghal. Actually it is the second largest city in Ireland. We decide that we need to ask directions to the phone doctor. Two shop girls tell us we can walk from where we are but that driving our car will be harder.

We elect to drive anyway. We need to cross over the river, one block over, and then it is just a few blocks beyond. Well the girls were right. We eventually find the shop but we do not find a place to park our car. The city is a mad house of shoppers and cars with potential shoppers looking for a place to park. Donny finally hops out to take care of business while we continue to search for a parking place. Cork is one of those cities with very narrow streets half of which are one way, always going to wrong way. We find ourselves weaving farther and farther from Donny. Finally we get back closer and begin circling a pull in parking area that is very convenient but no one is leaving. We circle and circle. Then Bill spots Donny. He comes over to the car and announces that he has had to leave the phones and that they will be ready in about an hour.

We decide to go back across the river, park there at a carpark and then walk back to this central shopping district called Centre City, old Cork modernized. We do that and find the food market particularly interesting. We locate ourselves at a pub across from the Beamish factory for lunch. It is very old and has that usual old pub décor, rustic wood, tilting floors and low ceilings.

cork pubAfter lunch we go to the phone store. The new clerk tells Donny that she cannot move the phones up in the queue and that it will be hours before the technician can look at them. Becki and I have gone across the street to the shoe store. The guys come along and give us the news that they have scrubbed the project. We move on after first purchasing Lydia a very cute pair of aubergine colored suede boots. I know, Emily, but they are so adorable and the inside is very soft. We will certainly hope the size is good.

Now we wander into a music store but not before buying coffee and cheese at the market.

Bill finds a drum that he likes and a concertina but he will not spend the money.

We retrieve our car and leave town, none too soon for all of us who prefer the quiet countryside but especially Bill who is doing all the driving.

blarney looking down blarney turret way out dsbb blarneyIt’s on to Blarney Castle. We find parking there easier and pay the entrance fee. We start up the winding walkway through a pleasant park like area to the castle. We take a foot bridge over a stream called the Martin River. We stop to take our pictures by the river. Imagine our surprise to see our bus group walking on the path toward us having just toured the castle. We all laugh and say that could not have been staged any better. We all get a good chuckle out of our magnetic attraction.

bill kiss sandy kiss donny kiss kissing stone becki kissThe castle is huge and we tour several rooms on our way up, up, up to the stone itself. There are nothing but stone edifices at this point in their history, still it is fun to imagine life here. The famous Blarney stone is located on what would be the eaves of a modern house. Two gentlemen help you lean back by means of holding onto two rails and kiss the stone. You are supposed to be blessed with Irish eloquence. Becki and I are very excited to think we will be as eloquent as our new friend Marian.

Outside we tour the grounds which are full of huge old trees and rolling lawns. It is a great spot for children and adults too. Like a huge park. Many of the trees are over a thousand years old. There is a Fairy Glade, a Druids Circle, a Sacrificial Altar, a Witches Stone to name a few specific areas in this ideal park

bill gnome bill shadow becki shadow donny cute bd sacrificeWe get back to the picture place too late to see ourselves kissing the stone. I took pictures of everyone after the kiss but the guys were too quick with you for me to get the actual kissing on camera.

We buy a few things at the gift shop and go into the tiny village of Blarney which is just across the street. Most shops are closed for the evening but we find one open. The guys go to the pub while Becki and I shop.


Cohb, last port of call for the Titanic

titanic plaque

This plaque explains that the Titanic would have anchored at the mouth of the cove in the photo above.

We decide to wind our way home through the town of Cobh where the Titanic made its last stop. It is not too far away. By the time we get to Cobh most stores are closed and we only find one place open for dinner. They are full so we decide to move on. We have seen where the Titanic would have docked in the harbour. She would not have been able to actually dock because of water depth.

Near home we stop at a very old pub called The Thatch for dinner. This dinner is presented like a fine French meal. And it tastes just as good. We are stuffed full of good food.

Back at home we run into Chris who says the lecture at the arts center is over. They are having a short intermission before starting the play about witches in Ireland. Bill and Donny decide to stay in. Bill’s cold is coming back and Donny is worn out. Becki and I regroup and head for the arts center to catch the play. But once there we decide not to be disruptive and stay in the lobby until it is over. We do buy a book by the lecturer on witches in Ireland.

Ann has invited everyone to her house for a late dinner after the show. But she did not anticipate it being this late! It seems the lecturer went way over his allotted time. And Marian could not signal him to stop as he had asked her, because he talked the entire time with his eyes closed. We are ferried to Ann & Paul’s house in various cars. It is not far. Their three young daughters are there to serve the food. It is wonderful. The house is very cozy with a lovely fire burning in the fireplace.

There is so much food and it is all marvelous. Ann & Paul’s youngest daughter and her two friends put on a short play for us. The youngest daughter nails Carl and his opening speech to theater participants. We all howl with laughter. Their play is very short but cute. It is Madame Butterfly. A short while later they put on an encore production. This is Elizabeth and Raleigh complete with Virginia Dare. We are all impressed with how much of our show they have retained.

Ann has a wonderful dessert that is so simple to make but gives the appearance of hours of work. You dip chocolate chip cookies into red or white wine. Then you layer them side by side with whipped fresh cream (here is the real clue, fresh cream) in between each cookie. Next you ice the entire confection with the whipped cream, add a few chocolate sprinkles if desired and chill.

Paul gives Becki, Greg and I a ride back to our flat. He takes us the scenic route by the city wall. Along the way Becki and Greg discover that Greg has worked with Marty in DC on some productions but he cannot remember which ones, he just knows Marty’s name is very familiar.

When Becki and I get home the guys are tucked soundly into bed.

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Ireland Day 7 September 2005

fruit tart

Typical bakery fruit tart

Donny has set the alarm for seven so Becki and I can walk before the cast call at ten. When the alarm goes off I start to sleep on but a brightness catches my attention. It is an Irish sunrise complete with clear skies. I dress quickly, grab the camera and head down to the street for a better view although the one from our window is pretty good. I leave Becki sleeping.

I take some pictures of the colorful sky but still do not see the actual sun. I decide it might be behind a cloud or might still be rising. I decide to walk uphill and see what’s what. I find Myrtle Grove, Sir Walter’s home while he was here. It is right beside St Mary’s Church but I cannot see over the wall. St Mary’s is still locked up. I will have to look for the grave with the tomb marker declaring, I Told You I Was Sick, later. We think Donald in particular will find it amusing.

I walk along the upper up street and find a lovely garden chapel open. Inside I discover that it is huge. It flows uphill and has large lawns and walkways. It has flower beds and a small orchard. It is surrounded by old parapets and parts of the old city wall. I take lots of pictures.

I leave the garden and continue south along the upper street. I pass the Catholic Church. A service is going on. There is a little dog tied up outside on the stone steps leading into the church.

I descend the stairs leading to the clock. I check the bakery and the butcher. They are not open yet. I buy a newspaper and head home. I find Donny up but B&B are slumbering on. They have time yet. Donny has made coffee and gotten up early to shower and leave it free for B&B.

I decide to take a short nap to warm up and keep out of the thespians way. Their big show is this morning and it is overbooked. They leave for cast call. I get up a bit later and shower. I have time to go to the café and upload photos but Donny has found an open site in the area of the theater. I decide to go for that option.

At the theater everyone is ready. Donny tries to access the site but cannot. I get him to fix the camera for filming. He wants me to video the show. Because I have not let him delete yesterday’s photos from the camera until I am sure they are on Picasa (he has already uploaded them onto the computer) there is not enough room on the memory card for the video. I tell him it is okay to delete. As soon as he does I remember that I have the other memory card in my purse. Later I realize that I have let him delete my sunrise pictures.

I find a spot among the throngs of school kids that have come for the matinee. I plan to stand in the rear window sill. There are so many kids Greg has to seat them two to a chair. It really is a full house. They are very well behaved and seem to enjoy the show. It must be difficult for all to totally understand our dialect. We definitely struggle with theirs but I bet they are better at deciphering than we are.

After the show I head for the internet café. Becki comes with me, she is going to try again to access the blog she has set up at school to tell the children about her adventures. At the café I find that my AIM is not on the computer. I also find that the clever Picasa program has the latest pictures tidily in a folder. So I could have let Donny delete last night and thus saved my sunrise pictures as they alone on the camera would have not taken up so much space. Later Donny reminds me to boot the computer to get my AIM back. I do not know why I always forget that option, but I usually do until he reminds me. At the café, I move on to LJ update and email. Becki finishes and leaves for practice. I am still at it. A drunk man wanders in and tries to engage me in conversation. The shop man tells him I am busy and sends him on his way but not before the drunk cusses him out.

I take the computer back to the apartment and go out shopping. Bill is trying to stay well and has skipped practice. Although he would not mind me being around, I figure shopping is a good way to let him have the apartment to himself.

shop window 2

Youghal shop window

I go north on the up street this time. There is a shop there that looked like it might have something good for Donny. I find it and do spot a nice shirt for him. I decide to look around a bit more. It is a tiny shop but the prices are good. A customer is trying on a very cool orange sweater. The clerk is telling her that she just got them in and only got three. She has bought the medium for herself. The customer is trying on the large. I ask her what size the third one is. It is XL but under that she has two more new sweaters that are black and white strips sewed together in a diagonal pattern. She has a medium and a large. I try the medium on. It fits well but I am not sure about the bold pattern. The orange sweater lady and I admire each other. We decide to treat ourselves. As I am buying my two items another customer comes in. I am wearing my new sweater. She loves it. I tell her she can have the only one in Youghal as mine is going to America. This pleases her.

Eileen the clerk tells me to look up the Fox’s Lane Museum before we leave town. She tells me where it is.

I head that way but stop by the bakery and buy a fruit tart and then the butcher to buy lamb shops and sausage. I think Bill might like to eat in tonight. If not we will eat the chops another time.

I take the packages back to the apartment. B&D are still not back. Bill wakes up and I tell him the cooking plan. He nods and drifts back off. I leave to shop some more and find the museum. The museum is just about to close but the owner, Mr Lynch, who is just sweeping up invites me in for a quick look see. It is full of things he has collected over his life time. It will be fun to go back with more time to visit. He has not been able to get to any of our shows or the lectures because his wife’s brother died suddenly this week.

I stop in the children’s shop across the street and inspect the clothes. They are so cute. I think Donny will like to help me pick out some things for Lydia. I go to the apothecary for hair color and decide to go back to Kidsz because with our driving tour tomorrow and the gala occupying Saturday, Donny & I might run out of shopping in Youghal together time.
Back home I unload. D&B are still not there. I decide to do my hair. I tell Bill that will bring them home. Sure enough five minutes later Donny walks in. Still no Becki. We decide to cook supper. Bill is appointed chef. He cooks the chops, fries some apples, boils some eggs, makes hot tea, slices up our brown bread and with our tart for dessert we are well off. Just as we sit down to eat Becki walks in. She has timed it perfectly.

After the delicious meal, Becki and I decide to go hear lebame give her lecture on Raleigh’s colony in the New World. It is to come after a panel discussion on old Youghal. But when we get to The Mall Arts Center is locked up tight. We can see lights on in the lecture hall but we cannot get it. As it is on the second floor we cannot get anyone’s attention. We check every door and gate. Becki is ready to go home. I want to check the front door one more time to see if anyone is coming downstairs to the bathrooms. Ah ha, there are two women leaving. They let us in.

the quays

The Quays Youghal

We tiptoe into the lecture. The panel is still discussing Youghal of old. I cannot follow their dialect at all. Becki does better. Finally it is time for lebame to speak. Her talk is very thorough and quite informative.

We congratulate her on a job well done. Carl tells us that the group is meeting at The Quays for a drink. We go home first to see if the guys want to join us. They are watching a mens’ soccer match. We decide to go back and leave them in their comfort. We meet lebame and Gloria on their way home. They tell us a few are still at The Quays. We find Carl, John, Breeda, Marian & Barbara (Aoile’s mother) there. Becki and I have a nice visit with Breeda and Barbara telling us many childhood stories between them. Per our usual style, we close the bar.

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Castle in the Clouds and an Irish Jig or Two

Ireland Day 6 September 2005

dressing room

Ladies dressing room. Joan, Marsha, Ellie, Jacquie, Marj

So far today I have managed to sleep in again. Becki has a school trip on her schedule with John and Chris. The guys are not due at the theater until 1:30. The madrigals will sing before the matinee show of Elizabeth R.

Donny wakes me at 12:30. He brings me the computer which I have left in the living room for Becki to upload pictures on, so that I can finish my journal in lazy style. He brings me breakfast in bed. This is very nice. Our room looks out over Youghal cove. I can see a rolling farm on a small hill all of which is on a spit into the water from the our bed. It’s a great view to write by. It is a very typical Irish day. Pouring rain which for the moment has tapered off to drizzle. The sky is entirely gray and the air is chilled.

show finale

The Lost Colony Concert Version finale. Donny is holding the flag.

ellie barbara chris

Ellie Chappell, HRH Barbara Hird, Chris Chappell


Reception after the show

Becki comes in from school and shortly they all take off for the theater. I finish my journaling, take a leisure bath and dress. Just as I finish they come in from their show. B&B have decided to go on the tour a castle about thirty minutes away. Donny wants to stay and wash clothes and clear his email.

I elect to go but have enough time beforehand to check my email. I leave to do that, Donny will spell me when it is time for me to meet B&B as we are driving our own car to the castle.

Donny shows up but I have only half finished my tasks. I do a few more and then sprint for the apartment to get my hat and coat. I run literally to the Mall Arts Center only to find the group waiting for lebame and Barbara to finish an interview. B&B are not even there yet. Finally they show up and we go to the tourist bureau a few buildings away to get a map. Since it is raining Bill drives us.

Back at the arts center the bus has arrived. Carl says there is room after all for us but we elect to stay with our car. We drive through Tallow and onto the town where the castle is located. Breeda negotiates the price for our group. Bill will buy Breeda’s ticket as well as ours. Breeda says she will give her money to two Americans that the castle lady turned away as they had no euros only American money. I split their fare with her so they can see the castle.


The castle and people actually live there


Sunflowers are universal

bill nose to nose

Bill nose to nose in the castle garden

me garden

Me in the lower castle garden

We tour the castle gardens which are beautiful. There is a working vegetable garden planted in plots. There is a small orchard. We are the only people in the garden. The weather has turned sunny on the drive over and stays that way. We munch our way along testing rose hips, apples, tomatoes, mint, anything that suits our fancy.

The grounds are vast and well kept. Boxwoods and other shrubs separate the areas. The castle is occupied so we cannot go inside. Prince Charles and Camilla recently visited. There is an upper and lower garden. The bus group decides to skip the lower garden. B&B, Greg and myself want to see the lower garden. Greg will ride back with us. We get his stuff off of the bus and wave goodbye.

The lower garden is mushy but nice. There are green lawns, big trees, flower beds and very modern sculpture. One is about six feet tall, made of bronze and has a floral design on the face. Nice enough, but when you look on the other side of this slightly bowed piece there are the elements of a nude female. Bill and I decide it is the flowering of a woman.

We almost get locked in but clever Bill has been whistling to announce that we are still here.

Back in Youghal we have just enough time for Becki to upload a bit of music before we head out to a special dinner held for us by Tom, one of the committee members. His pub is called McCarthy’s. He has planned a buffet meal for us that is beyond words. We are treated to all the drinks we want and the fabulous meal. We have our own room in the back of the pub.

ds dancing

Donny & I waltzing

carol chris ellie

Carol, Chris & Ellie jigging

After dinner a trio of girl musicians that performed at the hotel the night that Donny & I missed have been hired by Tom to repeat their performance. We finally get to hear traditional Irish music. There is a banjo, a button accordion, and a concertina. The girls are very young but very talented. The banjo player also sings and dances for us. Members of our group join in a various times. Donny & I waltz. Marilyn, Chris’ wife who is a dance instructor, does the jig. Their daughter Ellie who is about seven, also jigs. Others sing and dance. It is a lot of fun for all. Bill has joined the picking but as his voice is going he does not sing. He does tell a joke to appease the audience.

irish entertainment

Our Irish entertainment. There’s Bill Rea in the foreground picking along.

Finally Tom tells the girls to play one more tune. They do and then play the Irish national anthem. The show is over. Bill decides to go home and rest. Becki will walk him there and then join us at the Hotel Raleigh. A friend of Mirian’s, our main hostess, has organized a country dance for the ploughing visitors and Mirian wants to support the effort. We decide to support her. We have finally met her husband, Patrick, tonight. He is a very busy dairy farmer. We thank him for sharing her all week.

Aoile, one of our younger guides, offers Donny & me a ride to the hotel. We can walk but we take the ride. We are the first of our group there. We go into the bar and get settled. After a bit, Aoile goes to find our group. She discovers that they are in the events room, not the bar. There is a fee. We will pay but Aoile decides she wants to hang out with her friends at JD’s.

Shortly after we get settle with Mirian, Patrick and Gloria, Becki comes in. She has ridden over with Breeda who decides to bail out too. The music is loud and very country. While Donny is getting our drinks a young guy asks me to dance. I agree but am rather bad at following his excellent lead. He says he learned to waltz from his parents who are very good Irish dancers. He is in town for the ploughing. He lobbies for the farmers. He has friends with him. They all lobby for better farming conditions. His one friend tells me that if I want to hear really good Irish music to get up with Martin, another friend in the group. It appears that Martin’s neighbors are excellent musicians. They are all from Limerick. We get Martin’s phone number and promise to call over the weekend.

It sounds like a plan to find some more good Irish music. For once we do not close the place down. We leave before the band is finished. The group has their big show tomorrow and everyone wants to rest. Still it is past midnight when we get home.


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