What I miss about Cork

The dust has well and truly settled after our anniversary weekend.  Flurry is in great form, thankfully, but my fingers are still very much crossed that he doesn’t colic again (thanks to everyone for the nice comments here and on Facebook, Twitter and HayNet, I think I can honestly say that Flurry has a world-wide fan club).  Our daughters have settled back into their lives in Cork and London, Tansy to prepare for a final gig with her classmates and the ED to commence two weeks of temp work and continue her job-hunt.  It’s strange; they have visited us a couple of times but, this time, we miss them much more than ever before.

Miss these girls!

Miss my girls!

Missing the girls reminded me of a blog post I did just before we left Ireland, What I’ll miss about Cork.  I thought it might be fun to revisit this post and see how accurate I was in the list of thing I expected to miss.

The first three things in the post were our neighbours, family and friends.  

Well, that goes without saying.  Of course we miss them.  But I’m happy to say that we’ve made a whole pile of new friends here.  Mostly expats, it must be said, but there are a few French people who I now consider to be my friends.  I just hope they feel the same!  Not only have we made a whole pile of new friends, but we’ve also been having a more active social life than we’ve had for years.  I think that’s what living in a village does for you – you’re much more likely to go for a meal or a coffee from day to day.

The post continues :

Our lovely vets.  I am going to have to learn a whole pile of new veterinary terminology.

Ouch, this one is a sore point.  If Flurry had colicked back in Ireland, we’d have had a vet up to the yard within half an hour at the very most.  There were times on Sunday afternoon when I wondered if my horse was going to die because I had chosen to live in an area where the nearest horse vet is an hour and a half away.

And then there’s the food :

My newly discovered favourite potato crisp, O’Donnells.  They taste like they’re full of MSG but they’re not, so I can eat them, yum!

Yes.  O’Donnells crisps.  God I miss them.  Granny sent us a care package last week with two bags in it and we had scoffed the lot before the evening was out.


One of Granny's care packages!

One of Granny’s care packages!

Rashers, O’ Flynn’s sausages & Clonakilty black pudding.  Boudin (a French blood sausage) is almost an acceptable substitute for black pudding, but not quite

Interesting… I don’t miss these at all.  We have plenty of Clonakilty black pudding in the freezer, but I’m not craving it in any way.  The same for the rashers and sossies.  We’re just not eating fried food any more.

Barry’s Tea (future visitors take note, a box of Barry’s is ALWAYS a welcome gift)

Ahhh Barry’s Tea.  I’m not missing this either but that’s because we have a steady supply of it thanks to our visitors.  Well, some things you just can’t live without!

Chowder (that’s an interjection from the LSH.  I don’t really like seafood)

Nope.  I don’t miss chowder at all.  Someone else does, though.


One of my giant mushrooms

One of my giant mushrooms

My Giant Mushrooms (sniff)

I missed my giant mushrooms (shaggy parasol mushrooms which grew in our old manure heap) during mushroom season and then my friend’s husband turned up with a huge crate of lactaires (milk caps) and I stopped missing them straight away.  AND we froze loads of them, so we had wild mushrooms for most of the winter.

Chinese TakeAway

Oh God yes.  I miss Chinese food.  And Indian food.  The French just don’t understand spicy food.

Going into town on a Saturday morning  (another interjection from the LSH.  Hey, whose blog is this?)

I don’t miss this at all (it wasn’t something I ever did) and I don’t think the LSH misses it either.  He goes off to the market in Apt regularly, or to Manosque or Forcalquier.

Going to the rugby matches (but we might look into being French Munster supporters)

We’ve managed to see most of the Munster games via the internet (when we weren’t out having a social life), and we’ve attended two Munster matches since we came here.  One was a Heineken Cup semi-final in Montpelier against Clermont Auvergne last year and the other was a Heineken Cup semi-final in Marseille against Toulon.  Munster lost both times but they were both great matches.  So no, I’m not missing going to matches, because we’re still managing to do it in some way. 

Allez les Rouges!

Allez les Rouges! LOW LIE THE FIELDS!

Having fresh eggs every day (I’m tempted to get chooks in Provence… )

Yes I miss my chooks.  But right now the LSH is trying to reduce his cholesterol, so it’s probably a good thing that we don’t have a steady stream of eggs to eat.

My two favourite tack shops, O Brien’s Saddlery & Country Clothing and Thoroughbred Remedies Ireland (the latter isn’t in Cork, but I’ll still miss it)

Another interesting one, in that I don’t miss these shops (apart from the lovely, friendly personnel in O Brien’s!)  I’m not spending nearly so much on stuff for my horses any more.  I feel that I have everything I need.  Well, except for my new saddle pads with pockets.  And the Natural Horsemanship style rope halter and lead rope that I bought recently.  And the second hand jodhs I bought on-line.  And Aero’s new fly-rug.  And the new schooling whip.  And plaiting bands.  And wormers… supplements… Hmm, it seems like my favourite shops have been replaced by a combination of on-line shopping and visiting the local tack shop in Manosque.

Going for lessons at Skevanish – I had hoped to get back there before I left, but that’s not going to happen.

My lessons with Frank at Skevanish have been successfully replaced with my lessons with Alexandrine.  I’m really enjoying the mix of stuff I am doing with the horses.  One week we’ll do dressage, the next week, some Natural Horsemanship groundwork, the next week, Natural Horsemanship ridden stuff.  Variety is the spice of life, after all…

Still 3

Having just had major medical check-ups, inside and out, I am pretty certain I will miss dealing with medics in my own language.  I kept thinking to myself “Imagine trying to fill this form out/answer all these questions in French.”  Gulp.

This is was definitely a struggle initially.  I was pleased with myself recently, though, I had an appointment with a doctor which we conducted entirely in French, even though his English is perfect.  The last time I was with him, I struggled to understand his accent – he is from Mauritius, so he sure doesn’t have a Provençal accent – but this time I understood everything he said.  Yay!

…. and I think that’s about it.  Thanks to the internet, I’ll have daily access to Irish news, sports programs (ie rugby matches) and chat with my friends.

I have to confess that, at this stage, I pay very little attention to Irish news.  I read the rugby reports and I scan over the lead news stories but I am finding them less and less interesting.  Celebrities and politicians leave me cold, but I do keep up to date with the Irish equestrian world via Facebook.  Chatting with friends – I miss this, despite Skype.  Especially the closest ones.  You know who you are.

I don’t think I’ll miss the gloomy air of morose pessimism which pervades society at the moment, although I will miss the black sense of humour which helps us to cope with all the doom and gloom.

I don’t miss it, but I do think that the Irish economy is improving and there is more of a positive feel about the place now.  Or so Tansy says, anyway.

I don’t think I’ll miss our very creatively corrugated road surfaces, which have caused poor Jeepy to develop an interesting and varied array of squeaks and rattles.

From Joe.ie

Irish pothole, from Joe.ie

Provençal roads are still better than Irish roads!

And, finally, I don’t think I’ll miss the weather, although I have to confess that a certain 22 year old who was living in Los Angeles in 1984 got fed up with all the sunshine and craved a soft Irish day (just smack me if I ever say that again, ok?)

Well it’s raining here at the moment, so I can’t say I miss the rain now, can I?

* * * * * * * * * * *

So am I missing anything that I didn’t expect to miss?

Well, yes.  A couple of things.  Some of these are a bit strange…

Believe it or not, our on-line office supplies company, Viking Direct!  We could order pretty much anything from them, even our Barry’s Tea, and we’d get it in the post the next day.  Sure, there’s a French equivalent, but I just haven’t got into it.  I invariable end up doing an emergency run to one of the giant supermarkets to buy my printer inks, paper or envelopes whenever I run out.  Costly…

Dealing with bureaucracy in my own language.  This one is really killing me at the moment, much more than the ‘dealing with medics in my own language’ ever bothered me.  We’ve just submitted our tax returns and I’m currently trying to get my trailer registered here.  We’ll have to apply for our Carte Vitale (medical card) soon.  Nightmare.

Our local Apple repair centre.  You’d think Apple standards would be the same the world over, but they’re not.  The LSH cracked the screen on his iPad and had it replaced in a local Apple-approved repair centre.  It took them ten days, and they screwed up the aerial so it couldn’t connect to our WiFi anymore.  He had a trip home planned anyway (when he collected our new doggie) so he left it into the local Cork centre, Atmac, and it was handed back to him, fully repaired, the next day.

My mechanic, John Dooley (near the Viaduct on the Bandon road.  He’s great.)  I never thought I’d miss him but I do!  When we replaced Ole Jeepy with Jeepy, I would have loved to have him peer under the hood and assure me that the engine was fine.  I’m still hoping that I haven’t bought a lemon, but she’s going well so far anyway!

The LSH misses the sea.  He grew up near the sea and has always lived within an hours drive of the coast.  He’s one of those people for whom the sea is restorative.  Me, not so much.  Mountains are my thing.

And I miss my bath terribly… we had a fab whirlpool bath installed in our house about twelve years ago.  I reckon it saved me a fortune in chiropractor bills!  Neither of the houses we’ve lived here in have a bath and I really, really miss having a good, relaxing soak.

On a sad note, there’s one person I miss very much, who I think of every single day, but staying in Cork wouldn’t have stopped me missing him.


My sidekick, my righthand man.  I hope you’re at peace, Denis.

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