We walked out from The Boulders.
7 May Thursday
We walked out from The Boulders. There has been a lot of rain lately but this morning was bright. Everything was squishy underfoot. The Boulders are large stones beside the narrow tar road about two kilometres up the New Line. There is a little bit of blue paint on a few of the stones. We call this spot The Boulders. The Boulders is just the place to pull off the road and park in order to walk in the Knockmealdowns, in one direction toward the Mass Rock and in the other direction down toward the river. There is just enough space for one car to pull in at The Boulders. As we walked we were closely followed by twenty or thirty sheep who must have hoped we were the farmer bringing them something to eat. After we left the river, we went through a gate and left the sheep to their free wandering. We dropped down through grass roads for about an hour. We met Michael who was on his way home for his dinner. We told him that we had heard a cuckoo for the first time this year. He had heard it too. We reported on the heron which we see every time we are up there. He spoke of some unknown birds being From Foreign. He just meant that they were not normal birds for these parts. After arriving down in the village, I drove Breda back up to The Boulders to get her van. A tiny lamb tumbled out of the undergrowth and right onto the road. I nearly ran over it. Another one had his head stuck out of the vegetation. I turned in at the next farm and knocked on the kitchen door. A woman shouted for me to come in. She was setting the table for dinner. A big table. Six or seven places were being set. Four cars and a tractor were parked out front. I explained about the escaping lambs and she asked questions about the location of the breakthrough. I described the spot and told her which side of the road it was on. She nodded and said she would ring Johnnie whose sheep are in that field. Her kitchen was full with the smell of potatoes and cabbage. Today’s walk was both quiet and eventful. We felt fortunate that it did not rain.
6 May Wednesday
For a couple of years there used to be two kids in the SuperQuinn car park in town. In the middle of a school day there would always be the same two kids. There was a boy and a girl. The girl was about twelve and the boy a little younger. They would pace all around the car park constantly watching for people returning to their cars. One of them would politely offer to return your shopping trolley for you. It costs a euro to get a shopping trolley and the only way to get your euro back is to return the trolley to the correct place. The kids must have thought we were all stupid. Today, I found myself wondering when I last saw them. SuperQuinn was taken over by SuperValu more than a year ago. It must be a good while before that since they were last doing their rounds.
5 May Tuesday
Clearing weeds off the patio always seems mad. The patio is not a patio. We just call it a patio. The patio is the remains of an old milking shed. The concrete floor has grooves in a diagonal pattern to allow for run off. The places where the concrete meets other areas of concrete are not tight. Weeds and daisies and all sorts of things grow up from the cracks. I am torn because I love the daisies when they are all in bloom, but when they are all in bloom there is no way to walk on the patio without marching through all of the plant life. Increasingly there is no way to walk through the patio at all. The good part is that the ugly concrete is disappearing. The plants are taking over the whole patio. The bad part is that on a wet day it means that our trousers get soaked.
4 May Monday Bank Holiday
An announcement on the radio about failing to pay your TV license ends with the warning that as well as a fine, you risk having your name listed in your local paper.
2 May Saturday
I was told that a sure method for defeating weeds was to throw shells onto a path. Any sort of shell will do the job: mussels, oysters, scallops, cockles. The shells break down when pulverized and the weeds will not grow, probably because of the salt or calcium and whatever else shells are made of. I love the idea of a shell path. I love the sound of crunching shells. Today, after shucking some oysters, I took the shells out onto the gravel of the car park area. Even while doing it, I knew it was a ridiculous effort. The weeds are so dense this spring that in some places, it is difficult to see the gravel. I lined the shells up in a spot where I knew they were going to be rolled over and well crushed by the car tyres. I have been doing this for years. It has never stopped a weed. At this point, we could dump a ton of oyster shells out there and I do not think we would defeat one weed. I looked out and saw the fox arrive about ten minutes after I came inside. He quickly flipped the shells over and licked out the taste of the oysters. When he was finished, he left the shells scattered about and walked off into the field.