Hayfield Manor

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Derk and the spa ladies

Derk Richardson

Derk getting a manicure after high tea at Cork’s Hayfield Manor. Photo by David Lansing.

So I mentioned yesterday that while we were having high tea at Hayfield Manor in Cork, Lisa Leahy, our host, also offered up the services of two of her spa manicurists (I’m not sure that’s a word—manicurist—but let’s go with it). No manicures for me. I bite my nails (yes, I know, disgusting). But I was curious about how this would work. Who, I wondered, was going to be the first lady to quickly down her tea and run over to the spa ladies to get her nails done?

Actually, it wasn’t a woman; it was Derk Richardson, an editor from AFAR magazine in San Francisco. I like Derk and I’ve been trying to get something in AFAR since they first came out a few years ago, so I did what any ambitious writer would do: I grabbed my camera, ran to the spa table, and snapped several pics of Derk getting his nails done. Not by one manicurist, mind you, but by two!

But Derk wasn’t cooperating; he was scowling at me. “Listen, Derk,” I said as I continued shooting, “I’m going to use these photos for blackmail. Either you give me an assignment or I publish these babies.”

That made him laugh. But he still hasn’t given me an assignment. So I have no choice but to publish…and probably perish.

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High tea at Hayfield Manor, Cork

Hayfield Manor in Cork, Ireland.

Lisa, who works at Hayfield Manor in Cork, has invited us to tea. Not like a cup of tea or something but the full on high tea with a three-tiered silver serving dish full of little triangle sandwiches and smoked salmon on rye bread and an assortment of little tarts and cakes and such. Oh, and some tea…after the champagne.

Lisa has strawberry blond hair and blue eyes and is gorgeous but that’s not why I love her. I love her because when we first met at Ballymaloe and I asked her where in Cork I should go to get the famous Cork clove rock candy that I’m addicted to she went and found some and gave me four jars of the stuff. That alone is enough to make me be in her debt forever.

So she invites us all to tea at Hayfield and tells us she has a little treat for us. I’m secretly hoping it’s more clove rock candy but instead she’s had a couple of manicurists come down from the spa and tells us that if anyone wants to get a manicure when they’re done with their tea, they’re more than welcome.

Wow. Smoked salmon, champagne, tea, and a manicure. This is why I love Lisa. And want to do something for her but I can’t think of what. Until she starts talking about her daughter, Belle, who is crazy about all things related to Disney’s Toy Story. “She’s got just about all of the dolls,” Lisa says. “Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie. About the only one we haven’t been able to find is that silly horse, Bullseye.”

So that’s it. When I get home I must see if I can find a Bullseye doll. And then ship it off to Belle in Cork. Clove candy for a Bullseye. A good trade, I think.

High tea at Hayfield Manor in Cork. Photo by David Lansing.

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