Gone Down With The Weather
7 October Tuesday
The shops in the Market Place in Clonmel are all being painted. I do not know if they are owned by one person but suddenly almost all of them appear to be getting a fresh coat of paint. All of the shops being painted are unoccupied. Each of the empty ones has a sign in the window advertising that it is For Rent or To Lease or To Let. The signs vary in the shops. The street is a narrow pedestrian street. Today I counted five places which are still active while twelve of them are empty. The new and fresh colours on the shop fronts does cheer things up a bit but mostly it is very dreary to walk along there. I tend to walk a different route just so that I do not have to view all of the vacant buildings. It used to look toothy to see a few empty shops in between those which were open. Now that there are so many more empties than fulls, it is just sad.
6 October Monday
Breda’s father Jim slipped on some oil and broke his hip. He was operated upon down at the hospital in Waterford. I understand that he is already walking again, carefully and with the help of a frame. He is 85 years old and has always been a very robust and active man. He has seemed more youthful because of his terrific attitude and energy. He has a reputation as a great dancer. Now I am told that he will need to Soften His Cough. I did not understand the expression but the more I think about it, it is making better sense. It is just a way of explaining the slowing down and accepting of being a little bit older and a little bit more careful. To Soften His Cough means that he will need to accept change.
5 October Sunday
There are a huge number of spiders around. There are a huge number of spiders in this house. I thought it was just me because I am not so fond of dusting in corners. Now I read in the paper that there are a remarkably large number of spiders everywhere. It is a combination of the very mild weather we have been having and the fact that this is the mating season for spiders. I know so little about spiders that I do not know if they are laying eggs which will be waiting to hatch until next spring or if these new spiders will all be born right away. They must be arriving later otherwise we would have spiders crawling up the walls and in corners of the room all winter. I hope this is not the case. I do not relish a house full of spiders all winter long.
4 October Saturday
David had no eggs left. We were not very late arriving at the market. It was only ten o’clock, but he was already out of eggs. He had his table set up and he had his dark red umbrella in position as normal, but he was just standing and chatting with people who came to buy his eggs. He was happy to collect the empty egg boxes which we brought for him. He explained again and again that his hens have Gone Down with the Weather. He reported that with the cold mornings and the cold nights and the early darkness the hens go off to sleep sooner and that means they are laying fewer eggs. He said they might just get accustomed to the early darkness and then return to their usual production. But he said that for the moment it is A Tragedy. He said this is exactly the moment when everyone is making their Christmas Cakes. This is when they need eggs. He said there could not be a worse moment for his hens to have Gone Down with the Weather.
3 October Friday
An older man leaned over a pram in which a small child was sitting. The child was probably about two. The man made some little cooing noises at the child. Then he stood up straight and asked the mother ” Now was that one the baby once?”
2 October Thursday
I had a cup of tea in the kitchen of a friend this morning. Her table is directly in front of a large window. It is pleasant to look out this window. The view and the light across the hills and fields changes all the time. It is a pleasure to sit there. Everyone who passes directly in front of the house, in a car or on foot, is also visible. We watched a man in a red fleece walking rapidly down the hill. He had a dog running along with him. My friend asked me who the man was. I did not know his name but I described where I thought he was living. I really thought I recognized the dog more than the man. A few hours later I was back at home and I heard shouting. I looked across the valley and I saw a man with a red fleece up on the hill which used to be part of Johnnie Mackin’s land. It is such a steep hill that it seems as though it is at a right angle to the meadow below it. Anyone walking on the hill looks like they are balancing impossibly sideways in space. The man was shouting at a dog who was far behind him. From where I was standing I thought maybe it was the same man but I could not be certain that it was the same dog. At the end of the afternoon I was driving back up from the village and I saw a man in a red fleece in the distance. I felt confused. This might have been the same man and the same dog. It might have been the same man two of the times and a different man one of the times. I thought the dog I saw in the morning was black. Then I thought I saw a yellow-ish dog. Then I thought I saw a black dog again. If there was someone around who regularly wore a red fleece I would know exactly who it was. But no one would be walking all day long. Ordinarily I do not see too many different people out walking. This makes me feel I should know anyone and everyone that I do see out walking. Maybe these were three different men and three different dogs. Maybe it was a coincidence that today they were all three wearing red fleeces.