The sun was shining last Sunday as I drove to Roundwood, County Wicklow, one of the highest villages in Ireland. It was an easy drive with Motorway for over half my journey. Gloria was sitting on the dashboard, talking non stop. On the seat beside me I had my trusty section of map. You can have Gloria all you want I prefer the ‘old-fashioned’ method. Gloria in case you are wondering was a GPS that Elly insisted I borrow, since I had not travelled this road before. She seems to have forgotten that I drove the two of us from home right across England to Co Durham without even looking at a map, in the days when GPS was science fiction.
Pity I didn’t have time to explore The Indian Sculpture Park, it will have to wait for another day.
As I arrived at my destination for the day, I was welcomed by a handsome Toyboy even before I had parked my car. Anne my friend was waiting at the door. It was time to meet the man of the moment who had no idea that I was invited.
His face was a picture and our greetings quite emotional. The extended family were already gathered with friends from all arts and parts. This would indeed be a very special birthday.
Large tables were placed in the garden and another one indoors for those shy of the strong sunshine. It was a real pet day. I recharged the batteries of old friendships and made new friends. Conversation was easy and interesting. The younger generation flitted from group to group making sure that glasses were refilled and everyone was comfortable.
In the kitchen there was an air of confident quiet activity as Amos the caterer added final flourishes to the buffet. It was a mouth drooling display, a work of art to tempt the eyes and the taste buds all at once. All dietary needs were catered for. The food lived up to all expectations. I described the desserts as sin on a plate, alas I had to avoid most of them but made up for it with birthday cake.
The banter and chat continued and the hours passed in minutes but since I was driving alone, on roads I was not familiar with, I reluctantly took my leave as the sun began to sink and headed back to Elly’s. I later heard the singing went on into the early hours.
A couple of hundred yards out the road I passed a stationary pick-up truck with lights flashing. The driver was returning to the vehicle having off loaded a car. It was not very long before he was on my tail. I pulled close to the verge to let him pass. He did and acknowledged me with a flash of his lights and continued on ahead of me. Almost immediately he slowed, tapping his breaks several times and very soon I discovered why. In the gloom of a winding country single carriage road three horses had jumped a fence. The third and largest animal was struggling to release his back leg from the fence. As he did so he jumped further into the road. Thanks to the driver in the high recovery truck I had plenty of warning and time to take evasive action.
The remainder of the journey was uneventful and I arrived at Elly’s in one contented piece. It had been a great day.