Posted in 40.40 CHALLENGE

Day 22 – Bad news

Oulart Hill monument from the outside

Now some of you might not utter a sigh of surprise at all – but I have only lost 1 pound last week – which collectively means that I am one whole week behind schedule!

Am I feeling blue? Not at all! I said I would tell you about Picnic on Picasso, and maybe then it will all be clear… You see, twice last week I could have been anywhere on planet earth.

First there was the dip in the outdoor pool in the celtic garden with the water flowing everywhere, and then there was yesterday – which proved once again, sometimes the best things in life are right under our noses, yet we’ll travel to eternity and beyond for a glimpse of past.

The knowledge came in the shape of our darling neighbour Justin, who suggested why do we not try Oulart  Hill. Now we all know what it’s like to live “nearby” a touristy spot. When ever you see the sign for a local attraction, you merely use it as a beacon to how far away from home you are. In my case no matter from which side I enter the village – it means only one minute more before I kick off the shoes, pour a drink and relax into the next day.

So when himself suggested what is theoretically our back yard – I would have to admit to being more than sceptical – as you recall – it was meant to be a romantic picnic! Imagine my surprise when I discovered yet another marvel in the Irish countryside. To celebrate the 1798 battle, they have erected a monument in a mound (like historic Newgrange) that is supposed to catch the rays from the solstice dawn and light up the other side of the hill. I sigh “Only in Ireland”- yes, it is apparently about 3 degrees off – so not quite as anticipated, but still makes for a marvellous spot in the middle of nowhere.

Inside the concrete bunker are two slabs of original oak dating further back than 1798 … and no such sight would be complete in its solitude if the remnants of youthful escape was not visible here and there. Some discarded beer cans, a condom and the odd dabble of Graffiti – although I have to admit to the latter being far less prevalent than in similar or even lesser monuments elsewhere in the world. We walked around new crab apple orchards, and entered more established woods, with the basking sun illuminating the young leaves and kaleidoscopic in patterns of green.

We found a quiet spot where only the din of bees and whisper of insects could be heard between the rustling of newspapers and the sipping of wine. We had forgotten plates, so the cover of the Sunday Times Culture magazine had to suffice – and so we had picnic on Picasso, with him smiling up knowingly – as you could only imagine he might have done just before he captured beauty on canvas.

Oulart Hill Monument on the inside... Bunker to boot!

So why should I worry about the lack of weight loss this week? I mean – forest temperature Brie, chilled crisp wine and most excellent company to name a few – what if life is shorter than we think? Who am I to deny these most basic of pleasures?

I’m off to do my 10 x 40 Calve Ups, or something to that effect, and yes, we all know I will have to move this 40.40 Challenge from an enduring speed wobble into magnificent overdrive!

But in the interim I bask in the warm memory of a day in the Irish sun and the arms of a wonderful man.

P.S. Please keep on encouraging me, and as for the mortification – humiliate me if you see me not doing what I should!

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