Remaking the bench and eating turbot

One of the casualties of the storm at The Cottage was the made wooden bench at the end of the garden just behind the sea wall that overlooks the beach. It was put together about eight years ago from two stumps of wood and a thick plank which was screwed into place. Perhaps the surprising thing is that it managed to last so long.


It sat just above a corner of the beach that leads round to the pier patch and where in the summer evenings we build our fires. Over the years people have sat on it wrapped up in rugs to keep warm, played guitars from it and it has been used as a tray for plates of food and drink.

It went in the storms although the plank survived and was found washed up against a wall of The Cottage. It was put to one side to be used in a new bench.

Having spent an afternoon splitting wood and filling the wood shed I came across a couple of lumps of wood that were just too heavy, wide and thick to split. I pushed them to one side. Maybe another year or two of weathering would brittle them up and make them easier to crack.

The storms had also washed in another piece of wood. It was about seven foot long, a foot wide and six inches thick. It had been pushed into a corner of the garden in the expectation that it could be cut up for firewood. But then looking at it I realised it would fit well on the stumps of wood that were too thick to split.

I took a wheelbarrow up into the field and manhandled the stumps of wood into it and brought them down into the garden. The length of wood was too big to lift and I manhandled that onto the wheelbarrow and was just about able to manoeuvre it onto the two stumps of wood. And there we had it. A new bench overlooking the water.

That evening we ate a whole turbot that I roasted in the oven. All I did was chop up an onion into the bottom of the terracotta dish and put the trimmed turbot on to. I seasoned it with olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper and it then went into the oven for about 45 minutes.

The turbot had come from Central Fish in Bantry. we were there for a few hours in the morning. it felt strange to be there and the market not being on  but it was good to be without the crowds. unfortunately Ma Murphy’s was closed and I was not able to refresh myself with a pint there.


We left the next day to come home but not before i was able to manhandle the old wooden rudder I found last year into the back of the car. it is now stood against the wall in our hall, smelling vaguely of the sea, and there is some debate in the family as to what we should be doing with it.


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