It was raining a good, solid, grey-sky-not-breaking-anytime-soon rain. We walked down the street to a few little freshmarkets on the main drag of Newcastle. There were tables outside the doors of these markets bearing boxes and baskets of strawberries, gooseberries, and dark red cherries from local farmers, farm-fresh eggs, chanterelle and morel mushrooms...completely picturesque. We were waiting on some special-order coriander so Carly, Chad and I decided to have a bite at a place called the Shimna Cafe. It was chilly outside on the street with a grey sky above, windy and ill-tempered; inside it was warm, good-smelling, friendly, cozy. I ordered a mini Ulster Fry which included a perfectly fried egg, a roasted tomato, a sausage (SO diffferent from what one expects when one reads the word "sausage" but SO extraordinarily yummy), a rough little slab of ham, a toasted square of potato bread and a side of mushrooms. A proper cup of tea rounded it out and we were happy campers.
Once back at Murlough we all walked, in the complete pitch black dark, through the thick green growth down to the shore. We came to the clearing and the sand path that led down to the water and stood in its shelter of trees as we clipped and lit our cigars. It was a fine, jovial time. We stood in a tight little cove of ourselves so that our cigars wouldn't disappear so quickly; Asher told redneck jokes and we shivered and laughed ourselves silly, teeth chattering all the while. The wind was whipping violently but the warmth of smoke and bodies kept us content. When we were all down to stubs we walked further down the path to the rocky shoreline. The water was crashing on the huge boulders, tide was far in. There was an eerie orange glow in the east that I think was the sun beginning to rise. The boys were dune-jumping up on the hill and screaming with delight. The other gals walked back with Pete but I stayed and sat on a rock in a blissful, grateful state. God seems so much bigger in extreme situations like this one -- His creation speaking for Him, the waves He made crashing at my little feet. A good place. I walked back up to the house swiftly and jumped in my warm bed, full-headed and happy.