by ericavanhorn

10 January Wednesday

Joe’s field stands two metres above the boreen. The boreen passes inches beside the house and the field sits above it. It is a peculiar situation. The machine cutting the hedges is roaring by at that height. It is necessary to look out the window and then to bend one’s neck upward in order to see the angled cutter crashing through the growth. The third time the tractor with its cutting machinery passes by, the side of the house is pelted with sticks and branches and thorny pieces of the hedges. It makes a racket. We can hear nothing in the big room until it passes. It feels like the house is under attack from something bigger than hail. The loud mechanical metallic chewing, tearing and spluttering makes it sound like something dangerous. Thwack. By the fourth time the tractor roars by, the sound is more even aggressive as the pieces being spewed at the house have been getting both smaller, and more plentiful. The hedge cutting man finishes the job in darkness with bright lights on the top and front of the tractor to guide him. After he departs, the silence is profound. I could go out with a torch and examine the scattered detritus, but I think I will wait until the morning.

12 January Friday

The man had only just been buried, so people were eager to say something good about him. The worst thing you can say about a man is that he was Harmless. That is a kind of insult. In the shop, I overheard several women reminding each other that Jack had been a great dancer in his day. When I reported this comment to Tommie, he told me Not To Believe A Word Of It. He said that Jack was not a good dancer, only that he himself thought he was. He said that Jack had spent his whole life two beats behind any music and that his wife learned to follow his lead even though she was well able to follow music properly herself.

20 January Saturday

The bathroom is cold. The entire house is cold but the bathroom is extremely cold. It is not a place to linger. The towel rack, made of copper pipes and built by our plumber friend, John, a long time ago, was intended to function as the radiator in the room. It is hooked up to the pipes where a radiator would have been. It is wide and generous, but it does not do much to spread warmth. I enjoy looking at it on the rare moments when there is not even one towel hanging upon it.

21 January Sunday

Two days of wild and battering wind. They are calling this storm Isha. There are multiple weather warnings as well as lots of rain. The rain is not falling but it is being blown in different directions by the endlessly gusting winds. Yesterday it was too wild to venture anywhere at all. Today I drove to the shop. On the way home, I had to stop the car twice to get out and drag large branches off the road. Neither branch had been on the road when I drove down to the village. Each had fallen while I was at the shop. One was large and heavy and I could scarcely shift it. The other one was not so big but it was large enough that I did not want to drive over it.

22 January Monday

All flights in and out of the country were cancelled yesterday because of the wind. Flights trying to land in both Dublin and in Belfast were re-directed to Paris. Thousands of people lost their electricity. We had our candles ready but we did not need them.

23 January Tuesday

Three plastic feed bags from the Italian firm Mazzoleni have been blown down from the farm over the last few days. They have arrived at different times. The bright white and red and black of the bags is cheerful and a stark contrast to the heavy grey sky.

24 January Wednesday

Today is calm. There is no wind. There is barely any sound at all. The world feels different. The sun is out, as are the snowdrops.

25 January Thursday

A letter for an appointment at the hospital always arrives in a sealed brown envelope with a piece of clear tape over the flap, for extra security.

26 January Friday

Another calm morning.  It would be beautiful except for the stench of slurry. I know when Slurry Spreading will happen because the big blue hose is visible in the farmyard.  I think it is used to bring the slurry from the holding tank into the mobile spreading unit. I do not really need to see the hose. The sharp smell tells me what is happening.

27 January Saturday

I repaired my cardigan. Again. This cardigan is old. It might be twenty five years old. It has stretched and drooped and it is now long and shapeless. It is big enough that I can wear it on top of any number of bulky garments. There are many small repairs. The sleeves were shredding a few years ago. I rolled the cuffs up a little bit and stitched them into position. Today I repaired another unraveling down the front that kept getting caught on things. It is not a beautiful repair but I am pleased with my efforts to keep the sweater going in this cold house.

28 January Sunday

Tommie had three outdoor hats laid out on the back of his armchair. He had three spectacle cases on the table in front of the television. He had three glasses of water beside him on the big table. One glass was half empty. He told me that he has been told to drink three big glasses of water every day but he does not enjoy drinking water so he avoids it. The three glasses were placed right beside him so that he could not forget.

29 January Monday

The word Mind is used frequently. It is used in the sense of taking care and watching out: Mind the Child. Mind One Another. Mind Yourself.

30 January Tuesday

My egg sizing device is one of my favourite things.  It is a scale for measuring one egg at a time: Small. Medium. Large. Extra Large.  I have a rubber egg which I keep in position on the little curved hand.  I think the purpose of this egg is to be hidden in a nest to encourage a chicken to lay.  I have no chickens so I keep the rubber egg on my sizing machine. Because the egg is rubber and lightweight, it frequently gets knocked off the little curved platform , and then it bounces away.  Sometimes I have several spent days looking for it, but it always turns up again.