Yesterday Fortnight

by ericavanhorn

24 November Wednesday

Tommie is extremely clear about when he does not want to be disturbed. Sunday morning is an important time to him. He does not want to have to answer the door nor the telephone when the television priest is performing Mass. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, there are always matches being played on the television. These matches are as important as the Sunday Mass is to him. They are so important to him that he feels that everyone he knows should know this and they should neither stop in for a visit nor ring him on the telephone. He feels that anyone who knows him should know about these times and that they should know better than to interrupt him. He told me that last week a woman called to visit and she came right in and sat in the old chair that used to be Margaret’s chair and this woman talked to him in a great big long gust for half an hour while the match was playing on the television. He did not listen to what she was saying and he did not turn down the volume but he swears that the woman did not take one single breath for the whole time that she was talking. He says that he has no idea who she was but she seemed to know him so he let her talk and then when she was done talking she said good-bye and she left. He was still annoyed about it when he told me and at that time this interruption was already five or six days ago.

25 November Thursday

The house is on a corner. The upstairs windows are undamaged. None of the panes are broken although the house looks like it has been empty for a long time. The single downstairs window has been covered with plywood and painted to look like the other windows. Someone went to a lot of trouble to make sure that the panes were delineated as six over six, just like the windows upstairs. I think the painter used masking tape to mark out the dividers between the glass.

27 November Saturday

I had a little cold and I was at the doctors surgery. I was not there because of the cold, but when I sneezed a tiny little sneeze the receptionist rushed out from her cubicle and shooed me outside. I was the only person in the waiting room and I was wearing a mask but she shooed me out the door anyway and she told me to go home. She said I could not come in and she promised that the doctor would phone me later. He did telephone me and he told me that I must have a Covid test. He said that things have gone so rampant and contagious in the area that they can take no chances. I was certain that I did not have Covid but I had to drive to a shed on the Fethard road at seven the next evening and I was given a PCR test while I sat in the car. I was also given a box of fifty masks and told that I would receive my test results within 48 hours. When I got the text telling me that my test was negative, I was completely relieved even though I had been sure that all I had was a very mild cold. I still have the little cold, but it is getting better.

2 December Thursday

Yesterday Fortnight means two weeks from yesterday. It is a common expression used to project a time two weeks in the future but not from today. It is always marked from yesterday.

Monday Week means a week ago Monday.

Half Two. No one says Half Past Two, nor do they say Two Thirty. It is always Half Two.

3 December Friday

Michael O’Sullivan the musician and composer was born in Clonmel. The house he lived in, or the house he was born in, now houses an insurance company called O’Sullivan Insurances. The building and the business might belong to his brother or his cousin or another of his relations, or it might not. Opinions and theories seem to vary greatly. I have not been able to ascertain if any of it is fact. When ringing the insurance company office it is not unusual to be placed on hold. The music played while waiting for a human to answer is one of Michael O’Sullivan’s compositions, performed by himself. Which might mean something, or it might not.

4 December Saturday

A Cattle Crush is an alley that a farmer builds to encourage cows to keep moving but to move in a single line. Mostly it is to get a cow into a safe position to be taken care of individually. It is used when the cows need injections or new ear tags or any old thing where the farmer needs to address an animal’s issues one at a time. Sometimes a Cattle Crush is made of fencing and sometimes it is made of cast concrete. Sometimes the side of a barn is used for one wall and fencing is used for the other side. The Cattle Crush beyond the Abbey has not been used for animals for as long as I have been using it. We open the little gate and walk through it on our way to the river.

7 December Tuesday

For two days the radio was been full of the approach of Storm Barra. Now it has arrived. Coastal areas are all under Red Alert. We only have an Amber alert. We have been sitting inside with rain and wind beating on the house from every direction. It feels like the roof might blow off. The bamboo is blowing itself horizontal. I went down to the barn for a bit of book-packing but it was too cold to stay down there for long. Branches kept flying and smashing against the windows. When I gave up my work to return to the house I could barely open and close the barn door. The wind was stronger than me. We heard on the radio that there are gusts of up to 132 km an hour in County Clare. The birds are going mad for the nuts. They are swarming all over the feeders while the feeders themselves are rocking and flapping in the wind. They need refilling but I cannot see the point of going out as the nuts would just fly away with any attempt to scoop them out of the bucket and into the small openings of the feeders. It is not only slates and chimneys and branches crashing around. The radio tells us that trampolines and lawn furniture are blowing and flying all over the roads and across fields. This is not a day to go out and empty the compost.

8 December Wednesday

Last night I filled buckets and bottles and pitchers with water. I knew that if our power failed we would have no water because the generator that pumps the water from our well is powered by electricity. Without electricity we would not be able to flush the toilet nor brush our teeth nor do any of the dozens of things that we expect to do with running water. There were multiple texts back and forth between neighbors as we checked in with one another. I laid out candles and made sure that the torches were fully charged. By bedtime, we had still not lost power. The wild blustery wind had not stopped once, not even for a minute. The noise of the wind filled the air and it filled our ears. I was so prepared for disaster that I think I was a little disappointed that my preparations were not needed. We have lost the internet, but we did not lose our electricity.  All day today we have continued to be buffeted and beaten but the sun is shining and the rain has stopped. We now know that the end is in sight. The radio assures us that this storm is moving eastwards.