Cobh – day 266 (J)

I have heard stories of the infamous white chocolate and raspberry tart out at Fota House – nestled in the hundreds of acres of Fota Island, behind the Wildlife Park and next to the golf course. Not needing the excuse or lure of cake and coffee, rather the chance of seeing red squirrels, we (Mam & I) headed out with the Griz-meister. We parked up and wandered down the back road towards the train station. The weather couldn’t make up it’s mind what it was doing and this was reflected in the mood of the two tigers, laying in the grass at the back of their paddocks, occasionally looking up, swishing their tails and then going back to sleep. They weren’t half as big as the one we saw in the Sunderbans but still pretty cool. Fota House is beautiful. A Victorian era mansion (which I’ve never gone into myself), the gardens have fantastic memories. Ponds, manicured lawns, rose gardens (not a fan of roses themselves, but the colours and scents are nice), flowers and fern gardens, massive trees and a green house. We used to run around the gardens as kids, pass out with exhaustion, have a picnic and watch the squirrels go zooming about the place. No such luck today seeing the fluffy rodents and we didn’t go past the big pond, but the rest of the place was incredible and the gardeners were hard at work in the brief bit of sunshine to get as much done as possible. At home we watched a Disney Classic and favourite of ours… The Sword In The Stone. We couldn’t quite believe that it was released in 1963. The colours were brilliant and the plot was simple and enjoyable. 53 years old and we enjoyed it far more, and it captivated us far more, than some of the new releases in high definition and crystal clear sound. 

Mam went off to do some bead work; still busy doing jewellery and clay pieces. Apparently, the beadwork shop is still online, (, while the other is temporarily offline, being too busy teaching grinds and what not to do enough pieces to meet demand. While she was off being creative, I set to preparing a roast dinner so we could all chill out for the evening.  Wednesday 29th June 2016

Shepparton – day 266 (K)

It was clearly going to be one of those days the moment I woke up. Having chatted to Jayne, showered and dressed, I went into the kitchen to make breakfast where I proceeded to drop every single thing I picked up, making huge amounts of noise and generally creating a mess! Managed to eat my muesli without choking and drank my coffee without scolding myself… An achievement in itself based on the trail of destruction that I left in the kitchen! Sat at my desk (the dinning room table that I have taken over with my map and extensive post-it notes) and started to work through the list of jobs, booking accommodation and coach travel. Until HSBC decided to block my card (again) after the first purchase. Cue the rest of the morning on the phone trying to reassure them that I was actually trying to spend my own money and unblock my card. I wouldn’t mind (nice to know that my money is safe, perhaps slightly too safe) but there is a note on my account that shows that we are travelling and that we will be in Australia at this time of year. Even the guy on the other end of the phone was embarrassed and apologised as he read the note on my file. Couldn’t use my card for the rest of the day as, due to the time difference, the department that could unblock it wasn’t open yet! So, I headed into town and helped Ashleigh with some of her errands, booking myself in for a haircut tomorrow and eyeing up some jeans to replace my ones that are now massively too big (not that I am complaining but they are my favourite FatFace jeans!). Popped into Coles to buy some ingredients for dinner tonight and got started cooking when we got home. However, totally forgot that I lack any sort of culinary ability and, based on my day, I should have ordered us take away!! An hour in the oven and neither the potato gratin or the chicken thighs were cooked as the green beans and carrots were slowly beginning to disintegrate on the hob… Thank goodness for wine! Fortunately, dinner wasn’t too much of a disaster and, as we settled down to watch some Modern Family, I told Tracey all about my day. Then I got a text from HSBC fraud department asking me to call them… Another half an hour on the phone sorting out my card, placing another travelling marker on it, with the reassurance that I’ll be able to use it tomorrow – fingers crossed! Tracey’s aunt had made some sweet bread for us which was amazing and well appreciated after today.Flopped into bed, talked to Jayne and am glad that this day is over. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. 6 days to go.

Wednesday 29th June 2016