Rupert To The Rescue!
Looks like we made it! First week under our belts and damn glad of it! We all wound up at the Blackbird Pub this evening to celebrate, but that's getting ahead of myself.
Today went off without a hitch and I got very good feedback from Florrie, my teacher. The tomato purée was so good! I am really looking forward to the tomato soup we'll be making from it on Monday. And, who knew jam-making was so simple? Just following a few simple guidelines and voila! I'll be making lots more jams, believe me. Everyone, it seemed, had gotten into the same good zone and did so well. Presentations were all well thought out and beautiful and the proof was surely in the pudding. Or, jam.
With the end of the day came the relief of having survived this first week which was so intense and stressful. As the lecture waned and the demo food for Monday was served up for us to taste, there was a palpable difference in the feeling of the room. A sort of quiet reverie. All week, I sensed this tension coming from every direction and now, it had dissipated. People were busily getting their packets for next week and so on, but now it felt different to me. Soaking it all in and floating a little, I looked for Rupert to formalize our plan to go into Midleton to the grocery store.
Rupert is a lovely guy from Scotland who was gracious enough to offer to take me into town to a real store. We had a fine drive over and a happy chat, getting to know one another. When we got to the store, I decided I needed more than just a basket, since I intended to stock up. I went over to their "trollies" and noticed they were all locked together. Rupert said, "Put in a coin to release it." So, I opened my purse and discovered my wallet wasn't there! My heart sank to China for 10 seconds until I remembered I'd put it into my backpack the day before when I was on a rampage for sparkling water and TP. I hadn't put it back into my purse. Yet, here we were, 25 minutes from my wallet and this kind man said, "don't worry about it. Get what you need and you can pay me back." I wanted to crawl under the pavement.
My enthusiasm for shopping vanished instantly. Rupert put the Euro coin in to release the trolly and in we went. I got laundry detergent, more sparkling water and enough TP to not have to worry about it for the rest of the course. All the while, my phone was blowing up with the Ballymaloe WhatsApp group making plans to go into Ballycotton to the Blackbird Pub. I thought, "I'm going to get home from this bust of a shopping trip and everyone's going to be gone, partying." We headed for the checkout and paid and drove back to Shanagarry. Rupert tried to buy me a bottle of wine but I was just too embarrassed to accept any more of his goodness.
We got back and he helped me carry everything inside and I ran for my wallet and paid him back plus gave him gas money. He took his leave and I set about putting things away in the deafening silence of this place. Everyone had already made it to the pub by various means. I tried to hire a taxi but the number I'd been given was enroute back from Dublin and wouldn't be available for a few hours. I heard voices in the cottage next door and saw Sam Guinness in the doorway and asked if they were going to the pub. "Yes," he said, "but I've already got 7 people in my car." Cars around here don't hold 7 people! Obviously, someone(s) was riding in the boot! Sam agreed to take me, tight as it was going to be, and in we all piled.
It was a wild ride with some kick-ass music with 7 "gap-years" out for a night on the town. I was proud to be with them and happy as hell to get to the pub with everyone and see Arden. Merriment was on draft at the Blackbird and we were all imbibing. Two of our friends, Kenzie and Xandra, had amazing toasts which I must share with you now: "Arriba, a bajo, por centro, para dentro." Meaning, "up, down, center (when you're supposed to clink glasses), and, down the hatch." Kenzie's toast was German and went like this: "Zur Mitte (glass outward), zur Titte (glass inward), zum Sack (glass downward), Zack Zack (glass to mouth)!" We laughed like hyenas and enjoyed the moment so much.
About that time, Rupert, who'd arrived shortly after me, said he was heading back to the school and asked if I'd like to ride back with him. Two nice glasses of wine and some fish-n-chips in, I said, "you betcha, I've got sourdough in the Bread Shed tomorrow at 9:00!"
TGIF to all!