Firelighters

by ericavanhorn

6 December Sunday

Thursday was a terrible day and then Friday was fine.  The world was very squelchy underfoot but it was clear and even sunny for a while.  Friday night the winds started up again. Saturday was terrible.  The wind was fierce and the rain lashed and beat down for a straight 36 hours.  We were promised a months worth of rain in that 36 hours.  All of the places that were badly flooded on Thursday are now even more flooded. Flooded fields have joined with other flooded fields and the new lakes are enormous.  The landscape looks like it belongs somewhere else. We did not lose our power but a lot of people did.  After having the loud noise of wind in our ears all day and all night, today’s silence over the land is spooky.

4 December Friday

The woman ahead of me in the shop was old.  She was old and she was distressed.  The woman wanted to buy some firelighters.  She wanted to buy firelighters and she wanted to buy the kind of firelighters that are individually wrapped in paper.  She knew that they were a bit more expensive but she did not mind.  She explained that if she bought the unwrapped kind, she was then required to break off a piece from the big slab of firelighters and she always ended up dropping bits onto the floor while breaking off a piece that was too large.  If she broke off a piece that was too large, she then had to break it again. Her hands were swollen and stiff with arthritis. There was a good chance that she would end up with two pieces which were both too small rather than one the right size and one small one.  She wanted to buy the wrapped firelighters because with those she was able to start her fire without needing to go and wash her hands after touching the smelly firelighters.  She hated how the smell lingered on her hands for hours even after the washing.  She wanted to buy the wrapped firelighters and there was only one box on the shelf which had wrapped firelighters in it.  The box had been opened and some of the contents had been taken out.  The girl at the till offered to count what was left in the opened box and to then charge the woman only for the number remaining in the box.  The woman was frustrated with the effort of explaining and frustrated with the opened box. She became querulous. She was prepared to buy a box of wrapped firelighters which she needed and wanted.  She did not want to buy a partially full box of firelighters as then she would need to come back soon and buy another box.  She felt like she was being tricked and this made her angry.  I felt sorry for the woman.  I felt sorry for the girl behind the counter.  I left before the issue was resolved and now I find myself worrying about it.

3 December Thursday

The rain is lashing down.  It has been raining all night. The rain has pounded down without even a small break.  This rain is a steady beating rain.  There is no wind and there is no changing of direction.  It just rains, hard and without cease. There is a leak in the bathroom where we need to fix the flashing on the roof.  We have known about the need for this repair since last winter.  We have known about the need for this repair since the last installment of relentless rain. This is not the weather for climbing up on a roof to do it but it is certainly the weather for being reminded that it needs doing.

I drove to the village.  There are huge flooded sections of road everywhere. The grass that grows down the middle of the boreen is underwater. The river is overflowing in all directions.  There are lakes in the middle of fields. There are swans swimming in the lakes.  The entire landscape has changed. There is no place for the water to go. It is bucketing down from the sky too fast and too hard. When I returned from the shop, I thought to go for a walk just to be out in the weather rather than just continuing as a prisoner of it.  It was all so awful I kind of wanted to be outside with it.  I dressed in full waterproofs and got as far as the stream.  The stream had overflowed and there was now a large deep lake which I could not wade through.  I came back home and made a cup of tea. Probably it was a bad idea to go for a walk anyway.

2 December Wednesday

Will I put your name in the pot?  is the question, or I’ll put your name in the pot as a statement.  Both function as a way to know that one is being included and expected at the supper table.

1 December Tuesday

Yesterday Liam Harper phoned and asked for the electricity reading.  Simon was standing nearby so he went up on the step stool and shouted out the numbers to me.  I then repeated the numbers to Liam Harper. I guess I was sort of shouting because Simon was shouting so Liam shouted back to me.   He shouted thank you and then we shouted good bye.  Today he phoned back because he was worried.  He said our reading had gone up really fast in just 24 hours.  He was worried that something was wrong or why would we be going through so much power? We had no answer and neither did he so he said he would keep his eye on it.  Today Simon spoke in a normal voice so Liam did too.  There was no shouting.

30 November Monday

Non-alcoholic beer is not sold before 10.30 in the morning because regular beer is not sold before 10.30 in the morning. They both come up as beer on the till even though one is not an alcoholic drink.  It is still called beer. There is no logic in this but it is not possible to challenge it.

29 November Sunday

Fiona told me that there used to be a Pet Mass each year.  People could bring their dogs and cats and even their birds in cages into the church and the priest would say a special group blessing for the animals. It was a day when the church would be full and every single person there would have a pet with them.  She told me that the animals were always well behaved and that everyone looked forward to that particular Sunday.  She could not remember when this special Mass stopped.

28 November Saturday

Are You Feeling Alright in Yourself?  This is another way of asking How Are You?

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