I landed and found my hosts and their adopted daughter, (who is gorgeous, if tiny (seriously, she is petite. I would have taken her for an 8 year-old, not 12!),with newly dipped red tips in her lustrous black hair). We drove from Dublin, past the two ports – Dublin and Dun Laoghaire, to Glasthule: home,which is a beachfront house next to a delightfully long pier – two-story, large, filled to the brim with artworks and books, as well as two small poodle-like dogs and a few exotic-looking fish. They have a sloping backyard with lots of fragrant flowers; lavender and two types of jasmine, as well as small potted ferns and roses and petunias, among others. There’s also a nanny-flat at the top of the garden for relaxation and ‘quiet time’. They have two barbecues – one a small little cooker, the other a huge silver beast called RedFyre. Along the way, Eileen pointed out the Martello Towers, which are all across the coast of Ireland, in case of Napoleon’s invasion (which never happened).

The scenery, which I later saw more of as we went to walk the dogs in a Killiney Hill Park that had some gorgeous views of Sandycove and Dalkey Island, is very similar to that of New Zealand. Same sort of climate, similar flora and fauna; it almost felt like I wasn’t on the other side of the world! We went to a café for hot chocolate and a muffin, and then straight to Yoga class, which was all about sticking the bum up (the instructor literally said those words almost 10 times a minute… that, and ‘glut’ muscles), and your heart up. It was rather different from the lasses I’ve experienced before. Then – a blissful shower after two days without.

Later, we went grocery shopping, and after that it was back to the house, where I tried really really hard not to fall asleep too early.

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