Friday, 1 August 2008

Sunday 27th July 2008

Stunningly warm weather at the moment. I can’t believe a month ago when I was in Ireland; it was freezing and pouring with rain.
I adore Ireland. I have had some of the best times of my life there. Everyone has a great capacity for fun and the most generous natures of any other nation that I have met. And, even though I have since found out my great grandfather was a Cork man, I only went there for the first time five years ago to film with UKTV Food.

I travelled back then with Martin the producer/director/camera/sound (there is a lot of multi-tasking in TV nowadays!) and Fanny. Our first port of call was Margaret and Michael Browne’s house. Margaret, or The Duchess of Cork, as I like to call her is now one of my dearest friends and my collaborator in various silly evenings. In fact the first night there, I discovered Poteen in the middle of filming, their wine cellar by eight o’clock and their infamous warm whiskeys by twelve.

‘Just one more small one Lotte?’

Yeah, that would be lovely.

‘Just one more small one Lotte? Go on, it’s good for you, it will help you sleep.’

Ok, just one more then I really have to go to bed.

‘Just one more small one Lotte?’

One more, then that is it.

‘Just one more small one Lotte?’

Slurring – I have to bed the stairs and up sleep teeth paste.

I left them all, including ninety-three year old Kitty (mother of Duchess) downstairs as I stumbled to bed. Kitty was still at it til four in the morning.
If you are ever in Ireland, and offered ‘just one more small one’ may I offer a free piece of advice. Say yes – they are delicious!
However, be prepared to do nothing the next day.

Since then, Duchess and I have stayed at each other’s houses a lot. Recently we went to Calcutta together for The Hope Foundation, to organise an Irish Food Festival. Bonkers idea, bonkers time. It worked, and together we also saw the amazing work Hope does for the street children there. I am now a director on the board of Hope UK – this was the reason for my trip to Cork in June.

Maureen, Michael’s sister, is the lady who founded Hope. She had invited me to their Midsummer BBQ. Apparently Hope’s patron, Jonathan Rhys Meyers was also attending...would I like to come? It took three seconds to say yes and a further thirty to book my flight.

I was hoping Jonathan would take one look at my aristocratic features and offer me the part of his last wife (the one that didn’t die) in The Tudors. Ms Parr was after all a little older and I fancy myself in a bodice.

Unfortunately the lovely Johnnie didn’t make it in the end but we still had a fabulous night, I entertained everyone on the bus home with a rendition of Molly Malone – in my best pleasing soprano! Oh, how lucky they were.

The next day, Margaret had to work, so Maureen was given the task of looking after me. Which she did with great aplomb.

‘Lotte, just one small one at the pub? Dickie (her husband) is there with my son and some friends.’ (Oh, Lord, I knew where this was going)

Would love to Maureen, sounds a fabulous idea, but just one small gin and tonic.

I love Irish pubs – all the men talk to you. Maureen’s son was there with some friends, including Kieran who took a bit of a shine to me. I’m not sure whether it was my glowing personality or the fact that his friends had told him that I owned a twelve million euro house in Dublin, but he fell hard and proceeded to sing Irish love songs to me.

‘Just one more small one Lotte? I’ll pop home quickly and put the chicken in the oven, we’ll have a small one and then go back and eat it.’

Ok, one more.

Twelve small ones later, when the live music started I got up and under the hazy influence of good Irish humour thought I could do a jig.

Apparently I can’t.

My achilles tendon strapped up with a large tubi-grip and two aspirins told me I really, really can’t.

Still, I had Kieran at my feet, so it wasn’t that bad. His name is Kieran Leachy (pronounced Leakey). I did have to break it to him gently that I couldn’t possibly marry him. If I did, my name would be Lotte Leachy - and that is what I do when I sneeze or laugh too much.

No recipe here. The chicken was burnt to a cinder by the time we left the pub.


*emily* said...

that "just one more" conversation sounds remarkably like daisy!! :)

lotte duncan said...

Oh, how right you are Emily!!!