I left you in Shannon, Ireland, drinking black and tans...
My Aunt Rita and Uncle Billy, parents of 9, arrive in Shannon and we begin our journey to a small village near Youghal, where Billy inherited a nice cottage by the sea. We arrive, and Joan and I are in HEAVEN - the place is cosy, and has a large, fenced yard with -- CHICKENS! These chickens are so friendly, we can hold them. They will follow us into the house. These wonderful, fat chickens provide us with lovely eggs every day. There is also a big yellow lab from down the lane who visits frequently. He is given tasty tidbits from our plates. Neither my aunt, uncle or Dad say a word about this dog or the chickens frequently in the house.
The huge fireplace in the kitchen is what heated the house. There was a mechanical bellows that assisted with creating a good blaze. Joan sets to getting the fire going, with my direction, first morning there. I neglect to actually light the kindling, and she works up quite a sweat before I say "Oh! I guess we better light the wood!"
May I just say a few words about my love of rashers of bacon? Oh yummy, this bacon from Ireland. It's from the back v. the belly as in America, and is so much leaner. We polished off pounds of the stuff. Joan and I would shoot out of bed, scramble into our clothes and run out to the chickens. They were waiting in their hen house and we quickly got brave enough to reach under their toasty bellies and get the eggs. We'd run the eggs into the house and then play with the chicken for a while. We'd cook up the bacon and a dozen eggs every day, and I remember my dad expressing a great love of those eggs. In fact, he was asking Rita if she'd successfully carted any home in their luggage. She said "Oh yes, in socks!" and he was planning to do just that. He loved those eggs that much.
After a couple of days, Joan and I found if we turned over the big garden stones, the chicken would grab the big grubs and any bugs under them. Well, one morning, Daddy comes out with his cup of tea, stretching and remarking what a glorious day it was. He didn't notice what we were doing at first. Suddenly he squawked "Oh NO! Is that what these chickens have been eating?!" He declined to have any eggs that day and for the rest of the trip!
Next up: A Fishing Story