We have three classes of adventure: Mini-venture, Maxi-venture and Midi-venture. A mini is confined to one day. Midis are up to one week and Maxi any more than that. Maxis tend to involve long plane trips and hire cars such as our recent three-week trip to Virginia and New York.
This most recent Midi was the first trip in our new toy: A Peugeot 306 Cabriolet that has acquired the name: Prim-pretty-pug. A convertible or soft-top car is the supreme gawping tool here in Ireland – when it’s dry. Too hot and the hood must go up to protect the fair skinned but fortunately too hot isn’t something we do here often.
We booked three nights in an Airbnb cottage on the shores of Strangford Lough in County Down, Northern Ireland. It proved to be a perfect retreat; comfortable, beautifully located and close to some stunning scenery best viewed from a slow driven Prim-Pug. The weather was mostly kind-we had only one day when the top had to be up.
Those are the facts: here are the impressions.
Both tense and work worn we needed this to be good and it was. The first day cruising through the Mourne Mountains, we chilled and felt the tension melt from our bodies and blow away in the gentle heather scented breezes. Memories of my youthful time spent in an ancient semi-derelict farmhouse in the midst of these lovely soft low mountains, tripped from me in a Joyce stream. B smiled and wished, as I wished, that we’d known each other then. I let the bad memories out too, the violence that stalked this land then and that scars it still, leaked from me in words of events made more dream and less nightmare now with times dulling. The village flags and buntings celebrate divisions and distrust at this time of year and I try not to see what that means and B tries to understand why such pretty places still have ugly memories for me.
Later we walk in the pristine and prim village of Strangford and watch the ferry battle the fastest tidal rush in Europe. The Terns screech on the near island with their young, fluffed and begging for sand eels dived for in the shallows.
People look at the bright yellow Pug with eyes of envy or Calvinist disproval of its shouty thereness but kids love the primal colour and shout quick approvals.
Next day we walk the long shore walk through history and nature and art in the woods. B’s not-right shoes give her stumbling grief on the lose rocks shore but the sea weed tang and Curlews pipe mend her little hurts with smiles and sighs, as more tensions lap away in the sea washed beauty. This goes down as one of the great midi-ventures to add to our storehouse of memories and mendings.