Yet, it’s the colours that projected from those blackened nights that are most vivid in my childhood memories. I’d tiptoe up to peer over stone walls, gawping into cosy Irish living rooms, where open fires flickered and hot meals bubbled from turf-fuelled stoves. Oh, the envy, rising from our growling stomachs as the peeling soles of our sodden boots blotted up the melted snow, while our woollen coats pathetically performed their osmotic transfer of a Roscommon midwinter.
But now I can write from the other side of the fence. Tonight, from Seascape Lodge, a timber fence dressed in lavender and native rosemary bushes encases what must be one of the cosiest luxury stays on Kangaroo Island. It’s midsummer, but chilly winds that howl outside justify the hearty free-range chicken roast that spills its flavours from the ovenware to our hungry plates.
The next night we are treated, while dining with our hosts, to a starter of Island Pure halloumi cheese with prosciutto, and a main of local King George whiting in cider sauce, netted by a mango and avocado salad. And it gets better… with a chocolate and walnut lava pudding. Believe me, granny too would have been peering into this kitchen had she smelt such decadent a dessert! And the Poitín would have been happily traded for the more refined Bay of Shoals Moscato Riesling that pours into our glasses right now.
Looking out from the inside… I like how that feels!