THE SUN'S RARE APPEARANCE

abbey doorway

Though I was awake before the sun, I lay awake in bed scrolling through the tweets on Twitter looking for anything of interest. I came upon an article containing the transcript of Reese Witherspoon's speech at Carnegie Hall about women, ambition, and her role in getting movies produced where the woman was the lead and not simply the sidekick to the supporting male lead.

She ends her powerful speech with these words: '...I believe ambition is not a dirty word. It’s just believing in yourself and your abilities. Imagine this: What would happen if we were all brave enough to be a little bit more ambitious? I think the world would change.'

With those words in mind I crawled out of bed and dressed for my morning run. This time I went straight towards the beach on the main road to Portaferry and ran along the side of the road with the narrow sidewalk. As cars passed by me, I stayed close to the stone wall dodging overgrown ivy and trying not to get stuck by the lone thorny blackberry branch.

I passed by some swans on my left, an old bike tire, and a smashed cardboard coffee carrier. I wondered how long the sidewalk would last but decided to run up to the sign signaling a curve in the road. My curiosity would have to wait for another day as I turned around and jogged back to the cottage.

After a quick shower, I got ready for coffee at the contemporary place. It was open today. As I approached the counter, I noticed a repairman at the coffee machine. The waitress informed me it would be another ten minutes until she was able to use the machine.

I enquired about scones since I did not see any on the counter or in the glass case to my left but saw a sign advertising cinnamon scones along with bacon and French brie scones. She informed me they were just coming out of the oven. I told her we would wait for coffee before placing our order.

As we waited at a table close to the counter, I noticed a man carry out two baskets of their version of scones. 'Those are not scones' I told my boyfriend. 'They look like cinnamon rolls' I continued and was once again reminded that travel is an experience where nothing is the same wherever we go.

The chef magazines I perused whilst waiting for our order had a stamp 'Property of Hoops Coffee'. I wondered why as Hoops coffee was across the street. Perhaps they borrowed the magazines, I pondered. The flat whites arrived. I put in three of those little sticks of raw sugar into my tall cup as I watched him pour four.

The coffee was once again hot and tasted the same as the coffee we had yesterday at the other local coffee shop - meh. Both with perhaps one drop of caffeine and too much milk. The scones were nothing to write home about either. My cinnamon 'scone' was a bit salty. He liked his bacon and French brie scone.

As I glanced at the receipt, I noticed Hoops Coffee written across the top. 'I thought Hoops Coffee was across the street' I looked at the waitress. She informed me they just moved last week as they needed more space. I guess that was the reason for all of those cards of congratulations and wishes of good luck on the wall behind the counter.

We returned to the cottage where my cooking and baking frenzy began. It started with the pizza dough followed by the plum jam. It was my first time making jam as I remember. I had three plums still from the flat in Edinburgh which I brought over in my luggage. I diced them and cooked them with a bit of water and lemon juice.

plum jam and shells

After forty minutes I added brown sugar and granulated sugar and cooked the mixture another twenty minutes longer. Perhaps I cooked it too long. Perhaps I should not have used brown sugar as the jam was thick enough to stand a spoon in it though it was tasty. It was edible and that was the most important aspect of this experiment.

Next was the lemon thyme cake. I wrote the recipe, mixed the ingredients, and baked the cake in the new 5" push cake pan I bought at Lakeland in Edinburgh last week. After thirty minutes, I took the cake out and realised I should have baked the cake without the convection option. The next cake will be better, I thought. We still have another week.

Whilst the cake was cooling and the pizza dough was rising, I walked around the cottage and made a few photos of the antique typewriter and the plum jam. Afterwards, we took a walk to the abbey ruins across the street. The sun made a rare appearance today as I set out to make photos of us. Just as I balanced my camera on the stone walls along with the proper settings, the sun emerged from behind the clouds and messed up my manual settings.

antique typewriter

'The rocks are cold' exclaimed my boyfriend. 'You can't move' I told him, but he did. Eventually we got a somewhat decent shot using the 10-second timer which was better than no photo at all as we have only two other photos of us.

abbey sunlight

I looked up and noticed a contrail behind a tree. 'Oh, you like trees. I forgot', stated my boyfriend. I turned to my right and noticed the bright yellow tree with the small patch of red leaves. I made a few more photographs before we headed home.

contrail tree
yellow red tree

Seeing how the sun had already set a few moments prior, I wanted to photograph the four balls of pizza dough. My boyfriend took the cookie sheet on which were the dough balls and set them on the table outside. 'It's cold' he exclaimed as I had him hold the cookie sheet whilst I configured my camera settings. 'Ok, that will do' I told him as I put the lens cover on my macro lens.

He chopped the baby tomatoes and multi-coloured bell peppers whilst I prepared the dough. We enjoyed one pizza each for dinner. We took our time with the lemon thyme cake with plum jam and whipped cream as we devoured it in three sittings throughout the evening.

We then retreated to our separate spaces where he watched his Slovakian television shows online whilst I read the introduction to the book I purchased at Looking Glass in Edinburgh - Elsewhere. A nice end to day 6 at our cottage in a remote part of Northern Ireland.

pizza dough