Ours was quite a beach-combing courtship. At the beginning, we lived a county apart, I was working in West Cork at the time and he, well he, as you know, was on a busy dairy farm in North Kerry. The following was a typical Sunday before I knew life on the farm.
Sunday mornings were luxurious. Living in Clonakilty in West Cork for a spell, I had my first taste of the countryside and I liked it. Sundays meant a little lie in and on waking, I’d open the curtains onto the lovely Clonakilty bay. There was a cycle to the village for some pastries and the purchase of ingredients for making my new beau some dinner followed by a Sunday morning walk on the beach.
It was during those Sunday morning strolls on Inchedoney beach that the most utopian outcomes were dreamt up; a wedding, a house, children (a mix of us both) who would be perfectly groomed and very well behaved. There were to be weekends away in Dublin and Paris, yearly holidays abroad, a dream job, sweet smelling cows. In my Sunday reverie (or morning after stupor), my wellies were cosmetic, for show as it were, not a trace, of what’s that they call it, cow slurry?
As a keen cook, I would spend the late morning cooking up a feast trying to impress my beloved only to learn that when I was expecting him a mere five minute drive away from the dinner table, he was often just leaving Hearthill (a two and a half hour drive away). So by the time the overcooked dinner was consumed and hardly digested, my farmer was back on the road in time (or not) for evening milking. On his leaving, the reality of life on the farm gradually began to dawn on me and so I dreamt differently. I dreamt that no matter how hard, it would be great to be side by side, not just stealing Sunday afternoons between milking.
Today, on this Sunday afternoon, while the Cork grandparents were doting on our very gorgeous baby, the farmer, myself and our two older boys ran wildly into the sea at our local beach, Kilmore Strand (a five minute drive from Hearthill). Along the water’s edge, we pulled our little boys along on our red boogie board, bought during the days when Dan was trying to persuade me that Kerry beaches trumped Cork ones and so I should move to be near him. Life is a bit rougher around the edges. Our boys are rowdier than I imagined but there was no way of imagining how beautiful they would be. No, the wellies are not clean, nor are the dishes. A holiday might be a few milk cheques away but my farmer is by my side and so are the boys who are just like him with a little bit of me.
Image: Kilmore Strand, Ballyduff, Co. Kerry.