The requisite pond hop to visit my Sweetie was delish, if too short. I can’t believe I have been back in Texas for only two weeks. It feels like an eternity.

The weather was divine; sunny and mild. We picnicked with fresh Irish strawberries on the Hill of Tara. With the blanket spread, we stretched out on the soft grass. He read the papers; I napped and listened to bird song.

Later we went into town for the final performance of The Shawshank Redemption at the Gaity. It was surprisingly good! Having never seen the film or read the book, I would not have chosen to see the stage adaptation. The acting was superb, and the frontal nudity in the opening shower scene, delightfully scandalous. I’m very glad my sweetie surprised me with tickets, and expanded my horizons.

I also met the niece. Three weeks old and cute as a button. She definitely has the family resemblance! Her uncle (my sweetie) was allowed to bottle feed her while the Mom napped. I have never seen a funnier sight in my life! There’s the Dad, new to this himself, at the ready behind his brother. “Now, lift her head a little more…about an inch. Ok, now, when she makes that face you can put the bottle in. Not so high. Take it out, take it out!” He managed, though, and at the end of the day she was fed and fell back to sleep a happy girl.

We later took a stroll down the Dún Laoghaire harbour, stopping in at the Saturday market, where I found the strangest vegetable. I asked the girl how it was used, but nobody seemed to know. They look like a pile of twigs. I guess beauty, and delicacies, are in the eye of the beholder!

The next day we drove down to Wicklow, as I had never been. I had the pleasure of enjoying one of my favorite treats on the way down, which always makes for a good start. We visited Glendalough, with our trusty picnic blanket (sleeping bag), tea flask and assorted crisps. It was a gorgeous day and we fell dead asleep! Napped for an entire hour there by the upper lake. It was heaven. We ambled through the cemetery, marveled at the round tower, made art of various kinds, and on the journey home took random roads with unknown destinations.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Our remaining time together was spent walking the beach near his house, and cooking. Neither one of us are culinary experts. In fact, he’ll tell you how mistreated he is in that department. Claiming I only feed him summer sausage, pineapple and cheese when he visits. But we do have fun together when we cook. There is always loads of laughter, a fair bit of Bulmers (for me), and many hugs. And what more could you ask for really? After all, the best ingredient is love.

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