Much more than January, I find September to be the month for fresh starts and new beginnings. Like the tradition of ‘la rentree’ in France, I find myself setting new goals, reinvigorated too by the thought that autumn, my favourite season, is getting underway. And so, in that spirit, I have come back to this blog after a challenging few months, ready to try and write more consistently and capture the simple things that bring me joy.
September marks our wedding anniversary and having not been far all year, I booked a short staycation which took us back to the beautiful North Coast. We stayed at an Airbnb property called ‘The Cook’s Quarters’ at Camus House in Coleraine and from there it was a short drive to the beaches at Castlerock and Benone. No matter how familiar the scene and no matter how often we visit, I am still struck by how beautiful these beaches are. And so we spent most of our first day enjoying the sea air and taking in the spectacular scenery before heading home to our cottage to enjoy a glass of wine outside, warmed by the fire from the chiminea.
I should also mention at this point that our accommodation was characterful and cosy and is set in beautiful grounds overlooking the River Bann. The cottage ‘The Cook’s Quarters’ is part of Camus House, built in 1685 on the site of Saint Comgall’s Monastery and the family home of our host Nicola. During our short stay, I made friends with the family dog Basil and their cat Billy who, I have to say, stole my heart.
Billy the cat and some scenes of the gorgeous old outbuildings that surrounded our cottage
The Cook’s Quarters
Our second day was spent exploring Downhill Demesne – a National Trust property consisting of the remains of Downhill Castle and the world famous Mussenden Temple (surely one of the most photographed sites in Northern Ireland). We took a wander through the fading golden tones of the hay meadow, reaching a point where the dome of the temple rose in the distance beyond the swathes of seedheads and then continued to the edge of the headland to admire the sea beyond. The colours, tones and textures of this part of the world at this time of year are just breathtaking.
Mussenden Temple and the hay meadow
All in all, it was a wonderful weekend in a beautiful part of the world so close to home and the perfect way to start September.
You can find out more about The Cook’s Quarters here:- https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/44476175?source_impression_id=p3_1632601413_F4ZVhpF8Qual70pI&guests=1&adults=1
Stay well and stay safe,