When I woke up this morning the first thing I did was to look out my windows and scan the sea from the back and the front of the house. In less than a minute I spotted the black, finned curve of a whales back to the west and decided to drive out to the cliffs for a better look.
I usually watch from Dunabrattin but the whale I had spotted seemed nearer to Kilfarrasy but when I got to the junction I found that the road down there was closed. I nosed my car out a little at the intersection I stopped to consider what to do. At that moment somebody honked me and a car sailed by and down the Kilfarrasy Road. An elderly couple were in the front with a desperate and hunted looking teenage girl in the back seat. They were probably returning from Mass.
I started to wave an apology but I froze when I saw the face that was turned towards me through the passenger window. It was the elderly woman, her jaw set hard, her mouth a thin line, like a badly healed scar and her eyes glinted with enmity. The recrimination and hatred that seemed to radiate from her face shook me. I knew then for sure:they were definitely returning from Mass.
I decided to continue onto to Annestown and climb up the cliffs from there. The last time I was in Annestown I was with a friend of mine and her two sons. Her oldest, an 8-year-old, decided, unbeknownst to us, to go on a climbing expedition and ended up stuck and panicking under the lip of the 50 or 60 foot cliff. In our defence I will say he climbs VERY fast. Talk about a Hoo-Ha. In the end we had to lower a burly Eastern European clutching a life belt to save him. Lucky there was one to hand. A life belt I mean…and an Eastern European I suppose.
Annestown is a tiny village and is the wonder of the area as it has no pub. I believe this came about as the landowners who built the village for their employees were religious and abstemious-possibly Quakers. I am willing to be corrected on that though.
Up on the cliffs the wind was getting up and there were clouds scudding in from the west. To the east the horizon was blurred along the line of a shower I had driven through on the way. I scanned the sea with my binoculars but I didn’t spot anything and really I didn’t try very hard. I am a bit preoccupied at the moment and it was just nice to be out on the cliffs with the sea spreading out for miles all around. Anyway I have seen a lot of dolphins and two whales this week and there will be more. It’s that time of year.
I spotted a sea pink, the only one blooming bright amongst a shrivelled clutch of stems. She shivered with glee at the edge of the cliff as the withered ones shook with aged fury:
“You’ll know all about it soon enough!” they screeched enviously as she leaned into the breeze, glorying in her fresh pinkness.
The cliffs along the coast are stunning. There are islands and sea arches and the sea, on a sunny day, is a patchwork of turquoise and indigo. You would travel far to find somewhere as beautiful.
The path has given way in places and I had to negotiate some bouncy grass, falling into two rabbit holes as I did so though the world seemed unchanged afterwards. Luckily I didn’t turn an ankle. I come from a long line of tall people whom nature has seen fit to balance on spindly princess-like ankles which is awkward for the men of the family.
I stopped at the highest point on the walk and scanned the sea. There were a few trawlers far out but the weather was beginning to break and wind was streaking the sea and no whales in sight. Time to go back to the car and home for second breakfast.