My Day


GAIL MacALLISTER, owner West Cork Sailing: I LIVE IN the village of Adrigole, about a mile from the sailing centre. I’m up at 6.30am because it’s the only time I have to get the housework done, though my husband and two boys, who are aged 10 and 11, won’t let me Hoover then.

By 8.3am I’m in the sailing centre’s cafe. First I clean then I’ll start baking the scones and soda bread, by which time the customers start arriving.

At the moment I’ve 20 of them downstairs putting on their wetsuits, which my sons have handed out. I’ve to go down now and sort the buoyancy aids and do the safety checks. After that I’ll go through email bookings and queries, and answer the phone.

For lunch we stick a pile of sandwiches under cling film and we scoff them as we go.

We have a 37 foot yacht that my husband Niall does weekly sail training courses on so at some stage during the week I have to do enough shopping, cooking and stocking up to make sure there is food on it for a week.

I make 40 portions of everything I cook at home in the evenings for the family, and then freeze it to make sure we have enough food in.

In the cafe I’ll be selling a cappuccino for €2 to one customer while another will ring looking for information on our six month winter sail training course, which is worth more than € 9,000 to us.

I have to give the guy on the phone my full attention and answer all of his queries, but the coffee guy is standing in front of me also requiring my best attention. It’s a juggling act.

Because of that there’s no real rhythm to the day, just us trying to keep all the balls up.

Last night I went to check our two sheep, whose job it is to keep the grass cut, and saw that the plums in our orchard were ripe. We had to get them before the crows did so we were up till all hours getting that done.

On a normal day I’d be flopped on the sofa with a pot of tea and a bar of chocolate in time for the nine o’clock news. Then bed.

In conversation with SANDRA O'CONNELL