21 May Thursday
Tomorrow is voting day for the referendum on Same-Sex Marriage. Both radio and television have been full of discussions and arguments. The newspapers have been teaming with articles and essays. There are posters up on trees. Polls report daily on the swings of the Yes, the No and the Undecided. It has seemed clear that the Yes vote is way out ahead but I think no one dares to feel certain. The rural vote is less positive than the urban vote. And now we are dropping into this day of silence from the media before voting begins. The referendum is a huge thing in this old-fashioned but strangely progressive country. It is a huge thing, period.
20 May Wednesday
Late afternoon sun. Suddenly at 5.30 it is a beautiful day. It is almost enough to make me forget the rain and hail and the broken heating system. It is almost enough to make me forget how unpleasant it is to even be thinking about a heating system at the end of May. We have had Thor staying for a few days. It has been so nice to have a dog in the house again. He is quite deaf so he follows us around because he needs to know where we are. I find myself looking for him if I do not see him often. I do not know who is following whom. I took him out walking. We met Oscar. Male dogs do not always get along very well but both Thor and Oscar are agreeable animals. They quickly fell into step together. As a result of their exploring and sniffing, I made the walk much longer. Thor would look back every so often to check if I was with them. I could shout out a direction to Oscar and I could be certain that Thor would follow. It is not possible to shout directions to a deaf dog but hand signals do work. Oscar became the guide dog. A guide dog for a dog. We all had a great walk yesterday. We had another great walk today. Thor is very small and Oscar is very big but somehow they managed to find a pace to satisfy them both. I was worried about Thor struggling through the cow parsley and the long grasses but he was so determined to keep up that no obstacle slowed him down. It is so much better to walk with a dog. Everything is better with a dog.
18 May Monday
Jo Hyland locks and unlocks the church and keeps track of the cleaning. I do not know if she does the cleaning herself, but I think she does. She is also the bell-ringer. She pulls the thick ropes to ring the bells for Mass and for funerals. She is a very small woman. She is described as being Low to the Ground. I just learned that she is 93 years old. She will let her daughter or someone else unlock or lock the church if she is unwell or if the weather is wretched, but she will not allow anyone else to ring the bells.
17 May Sunday
We have eaten Lumpers! Up until now my only experience with a Lumper was in reports of the famine. It was one of the potatoes which suffered badly from blight. Because there were so many Lumpers planted at the time of the famine, they contributed to massive crop failure. I understood Lumpers to have a bad reputation. I have never seen a Lumper for sale in a shop nor at a market, so I was surprised when Simon arrived home with a bag of them. He was excited. My heart sank. I feared that we were stuck with yet another bag of floury potatoes which would not behave properly. I feared that we would complain and moan through this bag of potatoes. The Lumpers were ugly. They obviously earned their name because of their bumpy and not beautiful appearance. To our surprise, the Lumpers are lovely to eat. They are a delicious potato with a great texture. They are not at all floury. We cooked them in several different ways and each time the eating was pleasurable. These Lumpers came from Antrim. I wonder if we will be able to find them again or if their presence here was a freak. If no one but us likes them, the shop where they came from might be tempted to say No when next offered a load of Lumpers.