A new bench
18 August Monday
A World War One commemoration is being prepared in the village. I think the discussions and planning for this have been going on for a long while, but it is only now that we are seeing it taking shape. A large stone has been placed on a raised plot just at the corner of the car park beside the church. I don’t know what kind of stone it is or where it came from but it is big. The area around the stone is paved and there is a ramp gently leading up to it. In the last week, someone has carved out a square. The next step is that a plaque with the names of the five local soldiers who died in the war will be placed in the square. At the end of the month, a ceremony is to take place. The people who are doing the presentation have been rehearsing with Irish songs and Irish poetry of the time. Everyone has the date marked on their calendars.
17 August Sunday
The three puffballs which we have been watching and waiting for have been destroyed. They were kicked by an animal or maybe by a child. There is nothing to be done about it. We will continue to watch that spot and maybe some more will begin to grow near by.
16 August Saturday
Some apples are ready to pick and to eat. The ones called Irish Peach are splendid. Lots of others are getting riper by the day. Our trees have never been so full of fruit. The blotcheens are ripening, as are the wild damsons. We lost a lot of the damsons in the boreen when Ned came down to cut the hedges with his big machine last week. We were pleased to have the heavy growth cleared but it is a pity he could not have timed it so that we had picked all of the damsons first. There are raspberries to pick every day. I pick some in the morning and some in the evening. The Mirabelle plum tree has only one plum on the entire tree. The figs are ripening but they need a few days of very hot weather. The mornings are cool and the nights are cool and already drawing in , but the growth is going well. It will be a great year for blackberries.
15 August Friday
Stopping at Rose’s for a quick drink, we talked with another Michael. He was complaining about how few choices we have for going out to dinner. We agreed that there were plenty of places for a certain kind of Big Feed dinner with lots of potatoes and piles of vegetables and meat and gravy. There is always somewhere for Bacon and Cabbage. For any different kind of eating, or for a more considered quantity of food on the plate, options are limited. Some places appear but they do not last long. If we do not test out a new restaurant quickly, there is always a chance that it will be closed by the time we do get around to going there. In cities, there are lots of places and the pricing is competitive. Here there are fewer choices and the prices are higher. This Michael spoke of a restaurant on the coast that we like very much. He was interested that it exists in an old industrial building. He liked the look from the outside. What he did not like was that a woman clapped her hands every time food was ready to be picked up from the kitchen and served. He did not like the clapping and the echo of the clapping. Most of all, he did not like the high ceilings and the exposed beams. He did not like the industrial look indoors. He said he did not like paying good money to go and eat in a shed. His wife did not like eating in a shed either, although she liked the new and shiny details of everything else inside.
14 August Thursday
I met a farmer I had not seen for months. We stopped to talk and to discuss the things that had happened since we had last seen one another. We both commented at how close by we can all live but how easy it is to not cross paths. Just walking a different field or driving a different route can change all kinds of things. He said “We lose each other in the landscape.”
13 August Wednesday
We have a new wooden bench and a new wooden table outside the kitchen door. They were made for us by the brother of the the woman at the timber yard. The bench is wide and comfortable. We sit there every chance we get. The old bench has gone down to the burn pile in the meadow. It is has not been possible to sit on it for a very long time. It had a narrow seat with a very straight back. It was originally a church pew. I loved how it looked but it was never a pleasure to sit upon it. Simon rebuilt its legs several times just to keep it standing. In recent years, we put things on it and we put things under it but we rarely sat upon it. Now we are enjoying this new bench and the new table which is more narrow than the previous table but is just fine for the space it occupies. The old table has joined the bench down on the burn pile. Half of its top had rotted and it was unsafe to put any weight at all on the surface. Everyday I expected it to collapse. One leg was rotten at the bottom and was held up by a brick and some pieces of slate. As with the bench, Simon had repaired this table many times. He built the table originally and he kept it standing upright for more years than perhaps he should have. It was positioned right up close to the bench so even if we had wanted to sit on the uncomfortable and shaky bench we would not have been able to move the table enough to get into the space to do so. Now that we have finally replaced both of these things we are wondering why we waited so long to do so.