Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Weekend in cork

We spent this weekend in Cork, visiting Nick's Dad who is seriously ill in hospital over there. It is a tough time for all the family, and everyone is rallying round to help their Dad and each other in the best way they can.

Being in the hospital for all those hours made me realise again how amazing nurses and porters are. They have such a difficult and demanding job, physically and emotionally - a job far beyond the demands I have sitting in my nice comfortable office all day drawing lines and making phone calls.

They work long shifts and never outwardly show irritation or tiredness, although I'm sure they must feel both. I could NEVER do what they do and not feel irritated by demanding patients, or freaked out by some of the pretty gross tasks they have to undertake several times a day.

We felt immense gratitude to the wonderful nurses caring for Nick's Dad, and our gift of a box of chocolates seemed somehow totally inadequate.

Our stay in Cork was largely helped along by the breakfast laid on by the Garnish House B&B. I would highly recommend it should you ever go to Cork. They boast of having the best breakfast in Ireland, and while I was dubious of this claim at first, I would now go as far as to say it was the best breakfast in the WORLD.

They are up at 5 to bake their own bread, scones and pastries. You have these with homemade jam and cream. Next is the buffet bit. They make their own yoghurt and musli, and you can have this with a large selection of fruit. There are loads of Irish cheeses, cured meats and smoked salmon on the buffet as well. Oh and chocolate cakes too!

Next they try and force you to eat a bowl of porridge with whipped cream and baileys or whiskey. We managed to avoid this in order to save room.

Now you order your cooked part. Along with the usual bacon and eggs they have about 15 other options, like French toast, poached eggs en cocotte, waffles, fish dishes, avocado concoctions, and loads more I can't remember. You can mix and match anything you liked as well, they are totally flexible.

In the end it doesn't really matter what you actually order because 2 minutes into your plate arriving the landlady is round with platters of fried potatoes or herby patties or something, muttering 'oh you haven't got any potaoes - here have some potatoes - they're gorgeous - there you are' and your protestations are totally ignored.

After squeezing down your cooked breakfast (cooked to absolute perfection by the way) The landlady appears with plates of perfect pancakes and strawberries, delivering them to you in a way they is impossible to refuse. On our last day she put down our plates and then handed us a foil packet, saying 'here you go, here's some pancakes for your journey'. If you want more courses you just keep going, in fact they will just keep going until you summon up the courage to say 'No more - STOP!'

It was quite an incredible spread and each day we had to have a little lie down afterwards to recover.


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