& Again, The Man Who Waits By His Car While His Sister Walks the Dog.
27 October Bank Holiday Monday
Twice in the last week I have seen the siblings. He stands leaning against the front of his car and waves aggressively at each car that passes. Not many cars pass so he puts a lot of energy into the wave. Perhaps I should call it enthusiasm rather than aggression. He takes a step out into the narrow road just on the off chance that as a driver you might not see him. This means that not only do you see him but you have trouble not hitting him. The sister is not far down the road. The dog cannot escape these mad people. He is held tight on the lead. She allows him about a foot of length on the lead and he has the big black cudgel held inches over his head each time a car comes along. There is no chance that he can forget anything. His life looks like hell. The sister stops and holds the beating stick over the dog’s head and watches each car as it passes. The brother smokes his cigarette without using any hands and he waves manically. On the trip down to the village I felt so annoyed that I did not salute and I did not even turn my head. On the return trip, he stepped out into the road even more dangerously than usual. I nodded. I did not salute. Seeing them twice in one week makes me cross. Wondering why they choose this busy patch of road for a dog walk is one question Why I let them annoy me so much is another.
25 October Saturday
I can hear winter rodents in the walls. They are either in the walls or under the floor. Sometimes they are noisy and working or just generally scrabbling about. Every year we think there is no way for a mouse to get in. Every year the mice find a way in.
24 October Friday
She is very ill and will need some chemotherapy or some radiotherapy or maybe both kinds of therapy. She has also signed herself up as being willing for some medical trials because she knows there is not much hope for her anyway because her illness is very advanced. She feels she might as well be useful as research. Maybe it will help someone else. Her niece is furious with her and says she has no right to be a human test tube so she has turned off her phone most of the time as she does not need or want the niece shouting at her. Because her phone is so often turned off, it is not easy to phone her and we have to wait until she turns it on again. She was glad to hear good things said about the radiotherapy being done in the hospital in Clonmel as that is where she will have to go because Waterford is just too far and she will need to be in and out a lot and often. Her Home Help has been the best person to advise and reassure her about the hospital and their competence. She always speaks of her Home Help as My Home Help. She never says a name so I do not know the Home Help’s name. Her Home Help has told her to eat lots of garlic and local honey as these things are especially good for fighting cancer. She does not like garlic so she thinks she will double up on the amount of honey she eats. I think it is very late for these solutions but when she is on the telephone she speaks a lot and very quickly so I do not have a chance to tell her anything she does not want to hear anyway.
23 October Thursday
My old hat is not even my hat. It is Simon’s hat, but it is so old and faded and beaten that he never wears it. It has a bite out of it on the brim. Some visiting dog did that. This is a hat from far away. It is made of felt. It is called a Crusher because it is made to crush up and stick into your pocket if you are out wearing it and then decide that you do not need it. These hats used to come in two colours. Maybe they still do. One was a day-glo orange. The orange is preferred by hunters when they are out deer hunting. The hat makes sure the hunter can be seen. This hat which I now think of as my hat was once a forest green. It has faded and it is pretty much not a colour. It is just dirty looking. This hat has become my preferred walking hat. If it rains when I am out the hat will keep the wet out for a while. Not forever, but for a good while. It also has a bit of warmth. Each time I wear it, people comment on it. They are not commenting because they like it. I think they are commenting because it is a sort of surprising thing to be out in the world wearing. If I were an old farmer it would be okay but I am a woman and not a farmer and it is not really okay. People who comment on it are always a little bit embarrassed for me. I am not embarrassed. I like my hat. I like that it reappears every year just now as the weather changes.
22 October Wednesday
There was a diagonal stripe on the road. It was several feet wide and was made up of purple and black and bluish marks. I looked at it and I looked at it again and I thought about it as I walked by and over it yesterday. I could not figure out what caused this colour nor its odd angle and width. I thought about it again today as I walked by. I think I passed over this stripe of splotchy colour three times before realizing that it is made up of bird droppings. The birds sit on the electricity cables crossing the road overhead. They sit on the cable and they excrete all of the blackberries they have been eating. A simple solution to my question but it took three days for me to get to the answer.