08 June 2012

Summer showers and driftwood

Driftwood and seaweed on the pebbles and the sand on the beach in Bray this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

Patrick Comerford

I have had a few long, hard-working days. Looking out of my study window is normally a delight, with the wide open lawns, the variety of trees and shrubs, the colourful flowers, and the varied songs of a variety of birds.

But there has been heavy rain for the past few days, the clouds are low and grey, and the only difference in looking out on this weather and at the gardens today from doing so in winter is knowing that the evening lights last longer in June.

It was difficult today to imagine that only a week ago I had been enjoying warm summer sunshine on the banks of the Shannon as I explored ancient monastic sites, or that two weeks ago it was a warm summer weekend in Lichfield, with strolls along country lanes or into the cathedral.

I worked through lunchtime finishing off my preparation of power point presentations for tomorrow’s lectures, and putting the final touches to a short sermon for an ecumenical service next Sunday afternoon
But I needed to get out, and eventually I left for a late lunch in Kilmacanogue, near Bray, Co Wicklow.

Set in the grounds of an old estate that once belonged to the Jameson whiskey family, the Avoca cafés and shop in Kilmac’ are surrounded by ancient trees and rolling gardens.

Summer flowers in the rain in Kilmacanogue this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

This afternoon, the trees and gardens were shrouded in mist and covered with an unceasing downpour of rain. But we enjoyed a generous, albeit late, lunch in the Sugar Tree Café, finding a large table with comfortable pew-style seats in pavilion-style veranda, looking out onto the garden terrace.

Despite the rain it was just possible to let the imagination run a little and imagine days in a cricket pavilion – if only we had summer weather. But the doors out to the terrace were locked and the wind was blowing the garden furniture around.

The pavilion-style veranda in the Sugar Tree Café, with large tables and comfortable pew-style seating was an ideal venue for lunch this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

It was still raining heavily as we were leaving, but we decided nevertheless to go back to Bray for a walk on the beach. We parked on the seafront, and it seemed for just a few moments that the rain had eased and was going to allow us to enjoy our walk on the beach.

One lone boat braved the waters outside Bray Harbour this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

A little to the north, one lone boat with sails had braved the sea. But the winds were high, the water was choppy, and the strength of the storm was visible in the driftwood scattered along the sand and the pebbles.

We turned back, and near home I stopped briefly at Saint Colmcille’s Well, where I am speaking on Sunday. A little higher in the mountains, it was possible – despite the cloud and the rain – to see across Dublin Bay to Howth Head.

It would be a pleasure if summer returned – sometime during summer.

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