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Published: June 19th 2016
Saturday 18th June (Happy 74th birthday Paul MacCartney)
Cobh classic car rally saw 25 or so classic cars (and my van) lined outside the Commodore hotel on the esplanade. There were MGs, Beetles, Rover, Wolseley, Alvi, all with men peeping under bonnets. I chatted with a couple in their Austin 7; they were English but had retired to Tipperary. They had four vintage cars and a big motorhome that towed the trailer, and went to many vintage rallies round the country.
I met a woman who had blagged a lift in one of the cars. She was American, and had left the States 18 years ago and was traveling the world couchsurfing, spending three months in each country.
At 11.30 we set off in convoy; a steward at the front in a modern car with a flashing light on the top, the Austin 7, me, a red MG, then the others. For 20 out so miles we wound through Cobh and the surrounding area to Shenagarry, where we stopped at the Goalpost pub for coffee and scones, before setting off back again along a different route. The Austin 7 set the pace and as 40mph was his top speed, I could enjoy the views of the surrounding countryside and Cork Harbour. There were questions to be answered at various points along the way, not hard and each one indicated by a marshal.
Lunch was back at the Commodore hotel; spot prizes were given out (I won a hydrangea) and the correct results of the questions were put in a box, and one drawn out as the winner...which was me. I won a Cork crystal vase, and my name will be engraved on the silver cup marked as Cobh Classic Car Competition Winner. It will be the first name on the cup too! The cup stays here but I get to keep the Cork crystal vase. Let's hope I can keep it in one piece till I get it home.
We went to the Roaring Donkey, the pub run by Michael's son. It was full of fairly resigned Irishmen who had watched Ireland lose at football and rugby.
Mary and I have been walking her two sweet black Scottie dogs at various country and beach locations.
My van is on the main drag of the town, where Mike and Mary live, and staying there at the weekend shows me the seamier side of life. One young girl, on her way to the local club, was swigging from a bottle filled with what looked like bitter lemon and presumably alcohol, stocking up beforehand rather than paying nightclub prices. She stood by the waste bin near my van to finish it, gagged a little, retched and upchucked some of the liquid on the pavement, before draining the rest of the bottle, and binning it. I wondered whether I'd have a bespattered van by the morning. I didn't, but four jokers thought it fun to bang on the van on their way past between 2 and 3 am. The next night I parked the vsn on the other side of the road, and left the pop top down, hoping it would look less conspicuous. Certainly I had fewer disturbances.
Sunday I went to Mass with Mary in the beautiful Gothic cathedral. I've never been to Mass before, and this was run by a bishop, which seemed to make it special. Sunday afternoon we were invited to Michael's daughter's for lunch (Father's Day). Everyone seems to know everyone here; the cab driver's brother went to school with Michael's nephew; and the lady in the tourist office plays golf with Mary's sister. Another liner came in today, and the town was full of damp Germans all with the same colour umbrella supplied by the ship. Monday I shall leave here and head off to Ballylickey on Bantry Bay where I shall visit another ex-yacht club couple.
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