Nutmeg has been fortunate enough to visit the Blasket Centre on the Slea Head drive twice, but she has yet to see this view.
The Blaskets are a group of small islands located just off the coast of the Dingle peninsula in Ireland, the westernmost tip of the European continent. The largest of the islands is called the Great Blasket or An Blascaod Mór in Irish it was inhabited until 1953.
The low-altitude, damp, misty, drizzle made for a cool Irish autumn day. Nutmeg was as the expression goes – chilled to the bone. However, Mother Nature’s blows vanished after her first spoonful of carrot-ginger soup. This core-warming broth and the classic brown bread were one of several choices on the market menu in the café at Louis Mulcahy Pottery located in Ballyferriter a remote part of the Dingle Peninsula.
Inch Beach, Slea Head Drive – Dingle Peninsula
Nutmeg does not really like beer, which may surprise some readers. If the truth were told, she may have consumed more than her fair share during her university days. So, a brewery tour was not high on her list of things to do in their short few days, in Ireland. The hook for Nutmeg is when an interesting product intersects with a unique history. That is certainly the case with the Dingle Brewing Company in County Kerry, Ireland; a story of water, a creamery, an explorer and a lager.
As Nutmeg looked out the window at the hotel, 8am in Dublin looked like midnight in Provence. Was it always this dark? Or were the low hanging rain clouds enhancing the depressing view?
David Cooke’s warm smile and hearty handshake quickly wiped away any gloomy thoughts that the tour group participants might have had. Cooke owner/operator of Dawn2Dusk Guided Photography Tours apologized several times for the weather on that October morning. The moist skies might have been beyond David’s control, but the rest of the guided trip ran like clockwork.
Nutmeg is uncertain if sculptors Ursula Hanes and Donni Buffalo Dog were visionary or slightly crazy when they purchased a five-acre property on the outskirts of the hamlet of Aureille, in Provence, the year was 1993. Their interest was not in the house. It was the 600 square-meter mothballed chicken and rabbit coop that had grabbed their attention.
A visit to Provence can be a sensory overload:
Purple-blue lavender rows combing the landscape
Market stalls brimming with wild mushrooms in a palette of earthy browns
Pincushions of creamy goat cheese
Butcher shop chickens roasted on portable spits on Sunday mornings
Rosé chilling tableside
What should I take home from Provence?
Nutmeg often gets asked this question by friends who are visiting Provence, these are five gifts that she would suggest, each one uniquely representative of the region.
All I want for Christmas is a photo workshop in Provence.
If that is number ONE on your Christmas list this year, then Nutmeg would like to help you out.
Andrew Squires is a professional photographer based in the village of Ansouis, in Provence. He runs photo workshops for both groups and individuals; photography on-location, with social breaks, fun festivals and time to explore Provence behind your camera (any type will do).
Colour, gesture, all help tell the story.
The sun was baking the rolling hills, and the annual harvest of ruby-purple grapes was underway – Indian summer days were still gracing Provence. Visions of glasses of chilled rosé danced in her head…
What was Nutmeg thinking?
It was a lazy afternoon in Provence, under a scalding sun, seated on a suspended terrace in the village of Ansouis. As she sat drinking in the pastoral vineyard views, Nutmeg understood why this might be Andrew Squires’ favourite French expression.
Ça depend … it depends.
Andrew was born in the United Kingdom. His artistic leanings emerged early on as he experimented with both drawing and painting. He discovered photography as an artistic medium, and a magnetic force pulled him to Arles for les Rencontres d’Arles an annual photography festival that was founded in 1970.
What does forgiveness mean to you?
He has lived in Provence permanently for a couple decades, and he considers it home. He took a few minutes over lunch, and a pitcher of local rosé to tell Nutmeg a little more about his passion for the region and photography.
Enjoy his photos as you read this blog post.
Barely 9:30am 15 glasses sampled and suddenly flaky, cheese pastries looked quite appealing. Blood-red stains were visible in every direction and the lighting under the curved ceiling was at best dim. Ginger and Nutmeg were at the Cuverie des Hospices de Beaune, the wine cellars, for the first degustation of the weekend, with 44 wines available for tasting from the 2012 harvest.