3 November Monday
Thinking about which county Knocklofty Bridge is officially located in sent me to look for the postcard Coracle produced a few years ago. It is a reproduction of a painting done in 1940 by Johnnie Mackin. Johnnie’s abandoned house is just up the Mass Path. I walk through his land most days. I pick apples and pears from his orchard.
Johnnie had a big reputation locally as an inventor. Most of the things he invented had already been invented but that did not bother him. Once he invented a gun. When he went to see how it would shoot, the gun backfired and the bullet lodged into his head. The bullet did not kill him. He spent 6 months in bed being cared for by his mother and his sister. He would not go to the hospital. He died decades later at the age of 88 with the bullet still embedded in his head. While he was recovering from his gunshot wound, he taught himself to paint. Many of his pictures were of religious subjects but sometimes he painted the local and non-religious world. The paintings were done with house paint so they have not lasted well. We thought we should reproduce the painting before it self-destroyed.
The text on the back reads: One of the first service buses crossing the River Suir on the border of Tipperary and Waterford. The donkey and trap carry the artist’s mother and their dog and flour brought from Clonmel, as well as a bottle of Guinness for Jimeneen English, standing by the water pump opposite his lime-kiln.
It still does not answer the question of which county claims Knocklofty Bridge, but it is nice to show this card.
2 November Sunday
I am so pleased that we are able to walk up the Mass Path again. Every day I enjoy it. There is still a lot of ducking under branches and fallen trees, but it is now passable. Most of the brambles and nettles are dying back. The remaining apples have fallen and the small yellow crab apples and the larger russets are all over the path in two different places. They make the walking treacherous and a bit exciting. They offer a surface not unlike spilled ball bearings. Stones covered with slippery moss make other obstacles. Over all I find the hazards to be an important part of the climb.
31 October Friday
When I drive over Knocklofty Bridge in the direction of Clonmel, the first thing I see once over the bridge is a sign saying You are Entering County Waterford.
When I drive over Knocklofty Bridge in the direction of Ardfinnan, and away from Clonmel, the first thing I see once over the bridge is a sign saying You are Entering County Tipperary.
The River Suir is the border between the two counties. I am unsure who claims ownership and responsibility for the bridge.
30 October Thursday
I need to chose my days carefully. A windy day is a bad time to empty the ashes from the wood stove. I have never found a better method than to scrape the ashes from the top part of the stove so that they fall through the grating into the bottom pan. Then I ease out the flat pan with its little handle and I walk carefully and very slowly to the back door. There are three rooms to walk through and at any moment a draft or trip of the foot could send ashes flying all over the place. I used to try to empty the ashes into a bucket placed just beside the stove, but that seems to spread them a lot. It makes a mess. A gentle easing out and slow walking is my preferred method. It is always tricky to open the kitchen door. I like it if someone else is around to open the door for me. Otherwise I have to put the tray down carefully, open the door and then proceed outside with the same slow steps. I always take the ashes to dump at the foot of a rose bush. I was told years ago that wood ash is good for roses. I do not know if it is true. I do not know if my climbing rose benefits from the copious amount of wood ash it receives. It is convenient that the rose is located in a straight line from the kitchen door and that it is far enough away for the ash not to blow back. So far my slow walking method has never failed.
29 October Wednesday
I love my head torch. I love the way that I can angle it to project higher or lower on its elastic strap. I love the perfect circle of light as I move out into the darkness. I can pick apples off the last producing tree even when the night is pitch black and moonless. I have two hands free to do whatever I want to do. I thought about getting a head torch years and years ago. I wish I had not waited so long. I would have loved this perfect circle of white light to have been part of my evening walks with Em.
28 October Tuesday
Veronica went for hospital tests after fasting overnight. She had to wait all day long for the tests to be completed. At 5.30 she was given what she called a Fairy’s Cup of Tea and a Fairy Scone. She said she felt like she was being fed in a doll’s house. She had never seen such a tiny scone. She had never seen such a tiny cup. She was still grumbling about this miserable scone two days later. She said It was so small it wouldn’t fill the holes in your teeth.