As we pack the car, he wonders if I've packed enough provisions for a week as he hauls the over-filled shopping bag into the boot. He also wonders why I have so many bags for two nights. We have everything we could possibly need - food, clothes, basic essentials, all the Sunday newspapers, books (for me), hiking boots (for both of us), we're all set.
He then announces we need to make a quick detour to IKEA along the way. My momentary confusion is replaced with a swell of affection when he explains why. First off, I'm a massive coffee addict. Well, caffeine addict but for the sake of respectability, we'll stick with "coffee" on this occasion. The boyfriend, among many other things, sells proper coffee. I'm talking he orders in beans, grinds them up, and sells them by the bagful. When he told me this on our first date, I was half-convinced that he was trying to soften the ground before telling me he actually dealt coke because honestly, who deals coffee? The boyfriend does. Why does this matter? It ties into the need for the trip to IKEA.
With me being so ill and lethargic over the last while, I've needed more and more coffee to keep me running. The boyfriend had offered to give me some of his proper coffee (anything seems more proper next to my jar of instant), but I didn't have the necessary equipment to wield sweet, dark, energy gold from the grinds. So, we were stopping in IKEA so he could buy me my very own stove-top coffee-pot to make said coffee from the beans. If you think it's strange that I find this sweet, well then I guess I'm just strange. But I do. This is the pot, the jury is still out on the name (I have a compulsion to name any inanimate object I'm given) - Herb? Stew? Gurglepot?
It's a Sunday so naturally, it's beyond busy in IKEA and I teasingly tell him that if we get through this and the holiday and can still stand the sight of each other, we're doing good.
We make it out onto the motorway to Cork and he tells me to look through the glovebox to find some CD's to listen to. I cannot contain my glee when I find a Nelly album in his collection. Que him telling me I've a narrow taste in music (which I refute) and my open laughing at this addition. We finally settle on an old Arctic Monkey's album, wind flying in through the open windows, the city falling away behind us.
He's tracking our route on the GPS on his phone so I've nothing to do except sit back and enjoy the ride. He monitors our ETA with vigilance, punctuating our conversation with updates on our arrival time. Until that is, he notices our journey time has gone up by an hour and he's momentarily dumbfounded before he releases a string of expletives with some thumping of the steering wheel. He announces that he missed a turn and we're on the wrong road. It's all I can do to contain my laughter (although I'm not sure how well I managed that). The perfectionist that he is, he's completely frustrated with himself at making an error so knowing the best thing I can do is sit there quietly while he gets us back on course, that's what I do. A quick spin down some backroad's while BellX1 plays and we're good.
Lost in conversation once again, he nearly misses the final turn off at the roundabout to bring us where we're meant to be, before swerving the car to bring us down the slip-road. I definitely laugh this time.
We arrive at the cabin in the early afternoon and as we drive into Oysterhaven Bay, I'm just completely taken aback by the beauty of the place. Looking at the water, the rolling hills of farms and mountains, I imagine that painters look at such scenery and feel how I do when I look at words - a source of never-ending inspiration. The hundreds of shades to play with, the nuances of the blue sky and sea, the excitement at how to capture this, this shining moment in time, to share with others.
Our hosts, Ann and her son Thomas, are lovely and wonderful, settling us into our perfect cabin with eggs, milk and bread. Leaving us to ourselves, himself looks around the cabin while I call my Mum to let her know we've arrived. The weather we've gotten is amazing; the sun peppers the bay with sparkles as the sun beats down on our home for two.
We while away the best of the sunshine reading papers, adjusting to our surroundings and generally, unwinding. It's bliss and I genuinely can't remember the last time I felt so calm, so free.
Dinner is spent in a bistro we stumble across as we roam the streets of Kinsale, Crackpots, and the food is decent and the music cheesey.
How does one describe peace? The absolute luxury of doing nothing, of sleeping late without guilt; leisurely drinking the delicious coffee an amazing man makes me, as another beautiful day pours in the windows of our cabin? The contentment of reading each other funny and interesting things, discussing everything and nothing all at once, solving the world's problems and feeling like we have none?
The only slight blight on it all is my stomach kicking off on the second day, disabling me from taking advantage of the free canoes our host kindly supplied. Himself takes one out and splashes around the bay as I write on the decking. After I cook lunch, we take to the roads to explore the locale, discovering a graveyard dating back hundreds of years and a winding path that brings us to the other side of the bay.
On our last evening, we go out to Fishy Fishy and it's just amazing. From the twinkling lights outside to the great food, it's a perfect evening. I order a seafood platter as a starter and not only try, but enjoy, more seafood than I have in my entire life. I'm particularly proud at having my first oyster which fittingly, came from our bay. I'm a little nervous before doing so, but the other half quickly schools me on what to do and while I'm not sure I'll be ordering a dozen of them anytime soon, I can see the appeal of a few. Maybe.
I'm not a sedate person, but he brings out my brave and adventurous side - encouraging me to really push the boundaries and try new things. Whether it's sailing, or looking at a situation differently, or discovering I really like seafood, he challenges me in the best way possible. Someone like me needs someone who will challenge them. I really believe he brings out the best in me... I hope I do in him.
It's refreshed and happy that we set off from our cabin in Cork. I think we made it about six hours home before we started to miss it.