20 September Sunday
Today I am going to The Honey Show in Clonmel. Clonmel, which is Cluain Meala in Irish, means Honey Vale. I am not sure if the Honey Show is located in Clonmel because of this name or if Clonmel is simply a convenient and central location. The Honey Show is organized each year by the South Tipperary Beekeepers Association. It is a two day event. I do not know exactly what happens at the Honey Show. I assume that there are competitions for wax and honey and mead and other things. Maybe there are discussions and presentations on all kinds of topics. I cannot really say what the topics are as I have not been there yet. No doubt one topic will be hives. Every year I mark the show on my calendar and every year I miss it. The paying public is allowed in to The Honey Show between 2 and 4 o’clock on the Sunday afternoon. It is a narrow window.
19 September Saturday
I passed a field with about fourteen cattle in it. Each one had a wide white stripe around its middle. The rest of the animal was black. The hair was very fluffy. It was almost more like sheep’s wool than the usual cow hair. These are obviously some special breed. Maybe they are not special at all but they are new for around here. Maybe they are not new for around here but they are new for me. They were so odd to see that I had to turn around and go back to look at them again. One of these heifers alone looked odd but in a group they were difficult to read.
17 September Thursday
The fields are all full of stubble. They have changed in the last week from golden stubble to just light brown stubble. There is no longer a glow off the fields neither from a distance nor close up. There are still a lot of hay in bales spread around and waiting for pick-up. Some of the hay is in big round bales and some is in the big square bales. Sometimes, in small fields, there are very compact rectangular bales which are leaned up against one another to let some air move through in between them. There are also the black plastic bales from the second cutting of silage. I keep thinking that we should be at the end of the season of dangerous driving and ferocious roaring farm machinery rushing up and down the roads. There is always another enormous machine roaring toward me whether I am on foot or in the car. The driver is always on the phone with his head bent sideways to keep the phone wedged between his ear and his shoulder. The drivers are often smoking and drinking minerals from two litre plastic bottles and mostly they look very young. Mostly they look too young to be driving.
16 September Wednesday
I walked out into the darkness before bed. The sky was clear. It is unusual for the sky to be so clear and perfectly cloudless. There were millions of stars. The large constellations were all easily visible and zillions of little tiny far away stars were visible too. The sky was bright with stars but it was extremely dark on the ground. I could not see my own hand. I lay down on the bench in the meadow and looked at the stars until I got cold and I had to come in.
15 September Tuesday
The man who is camping beside the road in Marlfield is not camping for a holiday. He is living in a tent because he has been evicted from his home in the village. I am not sure why he was evicted. His presence beside the road is a protest. As soon as I mentioned him, people have been telling me things about him. His name is Tommy. He has been living in the tent all summer but at first the tent was inside the gate and near to the boundary wall of the big house. That is why I never noticed it. Someone advised him to move out into this new and more prominent location so that people like me will wonder about him and wonder why he is there. He is waiting to be re-housed by the council. The area around the tent is spotless. I still wonder where and how he eats. If he were to make a mess around the tent, I suppose he could be removed as a public nuisance. He is so tidy that he is almost not there. Maybe someone is feeding him at their house. There is neither a restaurant nor a shop in Marlfield. Tommy has a long way to go to get anything at all, and he would have to go wherever he goes on foot. I do not see a car or a bicycle near his tent. As far as I can see there is only the aluminum lawn chair and his umbrella for equipment.
14 September Monday
It poured with rain all night and all day. Larry Doocey arrived in his red tractor and trailer bringing us a load of pebbles. He was not bothered by the rain except that he had to take a different route to get here. He told us that he drove over to Silver Sands on the windy hilly road to Cahir but he drove back to us on the flatter route through Grange. He needed to compensate for the 6 ton of stone in his trailer and he needed to compensate for the slippery wet roads while towing such a weight. His journey was slow. He was ready for a cup of tea when he got here. He had several cups of tea while he talked. We all ate biscuits too. We had always assumed that he was a native of Newcastle but he told us that he had moved down from Ballinamult to live in the village. He said he did not miss it up there. He said “There’s nothing exciting to me about a mountain.”