Nor the sky over him
3 October Saturday
Two women at the market were discussing someone who had returned after being away for a very long while. They both agreed that this man had changed beyond all recognition. To emphasize how different he was now from how he had been before, the older lady said, “I would not know him nor the sky over him.” The other woman said that she felt the same.
2 October Friday
We have not missed potatoes on our plates. I guess it has only been about a week. Oddly, there is a large potato plant growing in the compost heap. Strange to see it when we did not plant any potatoes this year and we do not care if any are growing. I shall have to pull it out and see what kind of volunteers are growing there. I am not averse to eating whatever is growing. I am only against the buying of potatoes for now. Several people are shocked with our decision not to purchase or cook potatoes. Some people are disgusted. One man said “Sure all the meat in the world wouldn’t fill you unless you had a potato.”
1 October Thursday
Thick fog this morning. We could not see beyond the fence until after eleven o’clock. The grass was wet with heavy dew. Even while wearing short rubber boots my socks got soaked, and my hands were frozen as I picked the morning raspberries. The leaves were wet and it was hard not to get soaked all over just from reaching in among the canes. It is time to start collecting our fruit for morning the night before. The postman arrived down the boreen while I was picking berries. He had his headlights on but he said they were not much help in the fog. He was not surprised to see me picking raspberries in my dressing gown. He said the first days of back to school waiting for the bus are over. The children now go out and wait by themselves. The mothers in their fluffy robes and slippers are no longer standing with the youngest children by the edge of the road making sure that they get on the bus okay.
30 September Wednesday
Mornings are cold and a little foggy and wet. When the fog burns off we have hot summer days. We have hot summer days every day. We have summer days which are better than most of the days we had in the actual months of summer. Everyone is enjoying the weather but they are all making noises about how it cannot last. There is an ominous tone. We are promised or threatened that we will pay for this good weather.
The barn has been emptied out. We moved things to the sauna and to the print shed and to the upstairs room. The barn is clear and clean and it looks like a new place. The man who came to put down some carpet for us said that what we had planned will not work. We thanked him for his time and we thanked him for his honesty. I did not really want so much carpet down there anyway. I did not want the wide boards covered up. I do want a workshop where the cold does not come up through our legs while we work. Already we have found a more flexible solution. We feel like we have had a lucky escape.
29 September Tuesday
There was a radio announcement from the horse races. I think it was from Leopardstown but maybe it was somewhere else. The man said “We have a change to the Going. The Going is now soft.” He seemed very pleased.
Thor went back to his own home yesterday. We miss him. The house seems empty and a little bit lonely.
28 September Monday
I went to visit Pam in the Knockmealdowns. She lives in a castle which is full of home-made solutions. When she was a young woman, her husband was in the British army. They moved frequently around India and the Far East as his assignments changed. She said that is how she learned to make do and to furnish a home with things that did not need to last forever. She said her curtains were never hemmed up with proper sewing. They were always pinned so that when she got to a new home she could just unpin them and then pin them again to fit the next set of windows. The castle is full of these solutions even though she has lived there for a great many years. She pointed to a large pouffe or hassock in the middle of a room. It was covered with chintz and made a nice wide low seat or footstool. She giggled when she explained that underneath the chintz was a tractor tyre. The pelmets around the top edge of most rooms are made with plywood. They are quite roughly cut and then painted a bright red or whatever the colour the room is. They sort of blend in. One staircase was rotten so they had a new one cast from concrete. That too is painted red. Pam likes red. At the age of 90 she finds it a cheerful colour.
27 September Sunday
Jim announced that he is glad that the haying season is over so that he can stop Consulting the Glass. Consulting the Glass is often discussed as an essential activity before doing out of door jobs during hay and silage season. It is done at night and it is done in the morning. I am pretty sure that what he calls the glass is a barometer.