Driving around our own country for pleasure is a great way to get to know it properly. There’s time to really see what’s going on in the fields of rural Ireland. It’s also an opportunity to listen to what people are saying. Tim and I spent two days last week in Co Clare. It was not too far away so there were no long journeys and I was still getting over the vertigo episode. We started in the regal Bealkelly Country House, near Killaloe and the beautiful Lough Derg. One forgets how large and picturesque the lake is with its interesting lakeside vegetation.

Anita was our host in Bealkelly. A big open fire greeted us in the hallway. Tea and hot scones on arrival and a massive most comfortable bed awaited. I had to steel myself not to get into it straight away. Anita had booked Pipers Inn Gastropub nearby for us. We had scallops and liver pâté, lamb and steak. All dishes were lovely served by a wonderful waiter who was jolly and helpful. His name was Fatih and he was from Turkey.