by ericavanhorn

17 January Saturday

Most Friday nights the fish and chip man sets himself up across from the bar.  He has a very long van which he drives into position in the afternoon.  He parks it right in front of Shirley’s house.  If she were at home she would not even be able to see the street because the van is that big and he parks it that close to her front. Luckily it does not matter anyway, because she is in France and her house is for sale.   After positioning the van, he drives off in his car and returns at about 5.30 to get things set up. He spends a lot of time going in and out of the bar.  He comes in to get a pint of lager for his fish batter.  Sometimes he comes in to borrow a bit of kitchen equipment from Rose.  I never see many people going to his van to get fish and chips but if he is inside the bar he can keep an eye on possible customers by just looking out the window. When he was first locating himself in the village he used to bring in free chips so that everyone could taste his wares. He still does that at the end of the evening when he has left-over chips but when the customers have stopped coming. In the summer months he is rarely around because he sites himself at seaside locations or at the fairs around the country. He comes back for the dark and winter months and he must get enough customers as he returns week after week.  Everyone knows him even if they do not know him by name.

18 January Sunday

Both pockets of my jacket are full of dry pieces of lichen.  Each time I walk up the path I see lots of lichen and I cannot pass without picking it up.  Lots of the pieces are still attached to sticks and branches that have fallen into the path.  I love the silvery green colour of it.  Some days when I come home I remember to remove the days collection from my pocket and I put it into a bowl.  Most times I forget.  That is why my pockets are full of dry pieces of lichen.

19 January Monday

I rushed down to the post to get some parcels there in time for the pick-up deadline.  I thought I had timed it exactly right to get there before the pick-up time at 3.45.  As I got out of the car I saw the postman loading up his van.  I felt cheated as I knew it was not even 3.30 yet.  I called out to him and said “Is that the afternoon collection?  Are you early today or am I late?”  He said  “No, no, you are grand.  This is a sack of coal.  I am just getting it in now to save time on my way home.”

20 January Tuesday

Three young men were standing on the street talking.  Maybe they were not even young men.  Maybe they were boys.  Anyway, they were young.  They looked very rough.  They looked like they hoped that they looked tough.  They all wore similar clothes.  They had hooded sweat shirts and baggy track suit bottoms.  They were all skinny and two of them had tattoos visible on their necks.  They were all smoking cigarettes.  I was standing near them as I waited to cross the street.  I heard them discussing something in loud voices.  Every bit of their conversation was full of swearing and cussing.  One of them punctuated a sentence by saying “Well, I know I am Blessed that way.”   One of the others answered by saying “Yes, I know.  I am Blessed in that kind of a way myself.”  It is not unusual to hear people speaking of being Blessed.  It is usually older people who say it.  When these boys said it I know they meant that they were fortunate or just lucky. As many times as I hear someone speaking of being Blessed, I am still surprised by it.

22 January Thursday

I have a new text message from the Community Alert system.  It instructs us all to be on the look out for a Silver Opel Vectra.  It describes a tell-tale dent on the driver’s side and says the car is using two different sets of number plates.  One number is a Cork registration and one is a Dublin registration.  We are to alert the Gardai if we see the car.  They end the message with this warning: The Occupants May Engage in Crime.