All to one side like the town of Fermoy

by ericavanhorn

17 March Patrick’s Day

I just watched the 6 o’clock news. This is my favorite television programme of the year. They show clips from the big and small Patrick’s Day parades taking place all over the country: farm machinery, little girls doing gymnastics, and every Ukrainian refugee who has arrived here was in a parade. The Ukrainians were put in front position in a great many of the parades. They led their parades with tears pouring down their faces. Blue and yellow pennants and flags and banners were everywhere. Green was not the predominant color. There were doctors and nurses from the Indian subcontinent, Jamaican musicians and a gay tractor convoy — the whole diversity of the country out in force. Tae kwon do and karate clubs in disheveled groups tried to keep moving down the street at the same time as they showed off their skills. One parade was led by the oldest woman in the country to survive Covid, at the age of 102. She waved cheerfully from an open topped red car. There were groups of children dribbling basketballs, and line dancers with cowboy hats. Troupes of Brazilian singers and dancers. A dozen eleven-year-old boy swimmers flapped along wearing flippers and masks and taking huge gasps of rhythmic breathing. Their feet flapped and slapped while their arms practiced the crawl. Each boy wore his swimming togs but most had long underwear underneath. It is still March after all.

20 March Sunday

It has been a wild morning. The winds are gusting and thrashing. Birds are flying into windows from all directions. Three have already knocked themselves out and one is dead.

21 March Monday

We were both waiting in the plastic chairs at the clinic. There were several empty places between us. I had never seen the woman before. She started talking and she just kept talking. She told me that she was a painter. She explained that her family had owned a fruit and vegetable shop when she was a child and she said the whole family lived upstairs. She began by painting pictures of fruit. People praised her. Everyone said that her fruit was so real that they could reach right into the paintings and take it out and eat it. She trained to be a primary school teacher. All the time that she was teaching, she never stopped painting. Each time she enrolled in an art class she was told to go away and paint. Each teacher told her that they could not tell her how to do what she was already doing so well. She thought to go to art college but was told that if she did get a place in art college, she would have to Go Abstract because her kind of painting was old fashioned and nobody would teach it and anyway no one wanted it. She did not want to Go Abstract so she continued painting fruit and vegetables, and sometimes landscapes. She was happy now that she was retired because she could paint all day. She had just begun to paint birds but she found them difficult because they always moved. Sadly, she now has a dislocated shoulder, or maybe it was a frozen shoulder, and that was making painting difficult for her. She was hoping that physiotherapy would solve the problem soon.

24 March Thursday

This time of year is full of firsts. Today the first sorrel arrived on our plates. We ate the young leaves in a delicate paste tasting like citrus and making a perfect omelet. The wild garlic is pushing its shiny leaves up all along the path and it is blanketing the orchard. Small flowers are in bloom everywhere: Primroses. Stitchwort. Dandelions. Forget-me-nots. Celandine. Robin Run The Hedge. And the blossom on the fruit trees….

28 March

We received the notice from the ESB promising that our electricity would be cut off for at least a few hours or maybe all day. We received the same notice three times in the post, although every time the address printed on the card was wrong. Usually when we are informed of this kind of power interruption it turns out that it is only for a few hours.  This time it was all day.  It is amazing how many things stop working when here is no electricity.  The water is always a surprise as the generator bringing our water from the well is an electric pump. No electricity means no water, except for whatever we have put aside in jugs and buckets.

30 March

There is a bee flying around up high. He bashes himself up against the skylight and buzzes loudly. He must have ridden in with the firewood. There are some bees, or maybe they are wasps, who sleep tucked into the crevices of the wood over the winter.  If I see a sleeping bee when I am loading up the wheelbarrow, I put that piece of wood aside and leave him or her to continue with their winter sleep. Sometimes I miss seeing one and I bring it in with the firewood by mistake. The warmth of the house wakes the bee up and soon there is a groggy banging on the window. If I catch the bee and take it outside it might be killed by the cold, but I do not want it in so it must go out. Today I found an earthworm, long and stretched out on the floor. I thought it was a piece of twine. I can only think that it came in with the firewood too.

2 April Saturday

The first asparagus of the year. Or what I thought was the first asparagus of the year. Pat told me that he had a few bundles of it last week but it had disappeared before I got to his fish stall. He buys it from some people in Wexford. If they have any left at the end of the market day in Kilkenny, they sell it to him and he brings 12 or 18 small bundles to the Farmer’s Market in Cahir. It was tender and delicious. I cannot wait to get more next week, but I will have to get to the market early because I am not the only one who wants it.

6 April Wednesday

There are two bulls in Joe’s field. They have been there for a month or more. The was one bull all alone for a few months. These two seem to be both companionable and quiet.

10 April Sunday

We have changed our clocks. The stretch in the spring days has already been enormous but now it is still not dark at 9 in the evening. Dusk goes on for another forty minutes. Bird song goes on until nearly ten o’clock. Birdsong seems to never stop. Soon people will begin to use the expression Going To Bed in the Bright. No one likes to go to bed when it is still light outside but as the days stretch out lighter and brighter each week, very soon there will be no choice in the matter.

12 April Tuesday

It was cold and wet and the winds were the kind that cut right though you no matter what you are wearing. The waitress brought us a big pot of tea and as she put it onto the table she said: There is nothing like a pot of tea to Put the Heat Back Into You!

15 April Friday

The cable must have been tight up against the tree when the tree was small.  The tree kept growing and the cable was eventually embedded into the growth.  Now the tree has been cut down and the part of the tree that the cable is trapped in has been left to hang off the cable.  It is a curious thing. I enjoy seeing it each time I drive to the village.


20 April Wednesday

I jumped up on a chair to get something out of the bookshelf and then I jumped down again and I hit the floor at a bad angle and I fell and I rolled to a stop but I was not fast enough with my roll over the stone floor to avoid having hurt my foot.  I think it is a sprain. It is definitely not broken, but I cannot bend it. I can barely walk without a stick.  I am hobbling with the stick and when I am without the stick, I lurch. I cannot wear a shoe so if I go outside my heavy green wool sock gets wet in the grass. It has been three days now.  I have read three books while I rest the foot which is black and blue and swollen.  When I look up from whichever book I am reading, I see a cow looking down on me from Joe’s high field. I like to think it is the same cow keeping an eye on me but it is probably different ones who wander by. And I would like to think I have more sense. I am not 16.  As a short person, I have spent my entire life jumping up on things to reach high things. Jumping. Hopping. Climbing. Stretching on tiptoes. It is not easy to change the habits of a lifetime. I cannot go anywhere because I can barely walk and I can certainly not drive, so Derek the Post is the only person to have seen me lurching about.  He laughed with me at my predicament and declared that I am All to One Side Like The Town of Fermoy.