EXPLORING THE VILLAGE

greyabbey cemetary

The day began at 8,30h. The streets glistened with rainfall though it was not raining at the moment. I took advantage of that fact and went on my morning run to explore the village of Greyabbey. The ruins of the abbey are across the street from our cottage which is located at the north side of the village of Greyabbey.

The gate was open and I had hoped to find a trail where I could run amidst the ruins. Quails made their exit as I disturbed their morning ritual. For some reason I thought they were thinner turkeys but when my boyfriend and I returned to the ruins in the afternoon, he informed me they were quail.

There was no trail where I could run so I jogged around the ruins and out the gate. I continued up the street towards Ballywalter until I ran out of sidewalk at which point I turned around, passed our cottage, and continued up the opposite road towards Carrowdore. I greeted the sheep I saw alongside the road before I turned around once again as the sidewalk came to an end.

I jogged south past the centre of the village until I came upon a beach on the shore of the Strangford Lough where the smell of kelp in the air reminded me of times I would walk along the Californian beaches. Living in Austin the past ten years, I have not seen a coast so this was a welcomed change.

As I jogged back to the cottage, I glanced inside the only grocery store in the village and noticed there were four freshly baked baguettes left in the basket. I quickened my pace and grabbed some Scottish pounds at the cottage then turned straight around where I bought two of the baguettes.

After a shower, I set out to make a banana pineapple smoothie with the hand blender/food processor I found in one of the lower cabinets. It would do, I thought. We finished the smoothie and walked down Main Street where I noticed a contemporary looking coffeehouse. I had my taste buds set on a cappuccino but disappointment set in when I noticed the place was closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Across the street we noticed a cake shop - A Cake for all Seasons.  It was the only option we had, so we walked in and looked around the offerings on the counter. There were two scone options, Sara informed me. Raspberry chocolate and date wheaten. 'Date what?' I asked her to repeat. Perhaps I misunderstood her thick Irish accent because I had never heard of 'wheaten'.

I ordered cappuccinos for us and the date wheaten scone. Looking at the triangular shaped scone, I assumed it was made with whole wheat flour. The texture was certainly unlike the scones I have had elsewhere in Ireland and Scotland and reminded me of the ones I make back home. It was simply a scone and the cappuccino was simply a coffee which ended up being too hot for my taste. As we left, I handed her a £10 note I still had from my trip to Scotland. ‘Dad, Bank of Scotland?’ she quizzically looked at her father who sat behind us. As she glanced at the back of the note, she realised she could accept Scottish pounds.

Once back at the cottage, I gathered the ingredients to make carrot coriander soup for lunch. Two carrots, a potato, and one small onion in addition to ground coriander, salt, water, and two bay leaves. I debated whether I should add the bay leaves but decided to leave them in this time. Though I prefer to see the chopped vegetables, I chose to puree two-thirds of the soup before I added double cream and heated the soup further another ten minutes.

carrot coriander soup

Over lunch, I talked with my boyfriend about a book idea I had. Seeing how I put my bakebook on hold close to three years ago after having two publishers reject my proposal, I wanted to revisit my creative endeavour. Ideas are there. I simply need to organise them into another proposal and look for more publishers.

As the sun was about to set, we walked across the street to the abbey ruins. The gate was closed by this time but we were able to stand in front of the cemetery from behind a stone wall. Most of the headstones dated from the early 1800s with the abbey itself dating back to 1193.

Once back inside our cozy cottage, we retreated to our separate quarters. He in our bedroom watching Ano, šéfe! on his computer. Me on the small white sofa reading a few more pages of A Girl on the Train and trying to edit photos as Lightroom kept shutting down due to my old laptop's low memory constraints.

greyabbey bw

Though it took us a while to get used to being away from civilisation, even having considered leaving early on the second day, we are glad to have decided to stay and give this village a chance for two weeks.