Rain. More rain.
14 December Monday
Rain. More rain. Rain all night. Rain running down the wall in the bathroom again. Water is rushing down the the boreen like a stream. Wind. Rain. It is desperate, this rain day after day. The fields which have become lakes get bigger and bigger. The greyness never lifts. There is barely any reason to get out of bed. But I am out of bed and there are endless things to do. All of them are connected to rain.
13 December Sunday
We walked in the mountains. It was soggy underfoot but we were ready for the wet. We were fully expecting rain but we went anyway. And instead it was wonderful to be out for a few hours without being rained upon. In some places, there were torrents of water running down off the tops. The streams we crossed were full and fast moving. Breda has named this walk The Cottage Walk as we begin and end near an old cottage. She likes giving each walk and each place a name. Anyone who walks with her is quick to take up the use of the name so that we all know exactly where we are talking about. We used to go in the same vicinity for The Mass Rock Walk, but now we are hooked on The Cottage Walk. Even though we start this walk quite high up, there is still a good climb in it and as usual we did not see a single human. Even the sheep were absent today.
12 December Saturday
We walked up the path, around and back down the boreen. We wore rubber boots as the bottom was flooded again. The little bridge made of a wooden pallet has been swept away by the rushing water. There has been astonishing force in the rushing water from the not very large stream overflowing. The water was deep. We walked very very slowly through the water so that it did not spill into our boots. Moving in our boots was a sideways movement rather than an up and down movement. The mass path was full of mud. Everything was slippery. Many things have died back but the ivy and the ferns and the Hart’s Tongue are rampant and lush. I have never seen so much Hart’s Tongue. I like it as a name and I like it as a plant and I like that it is taking over the path this year.
11 December Friday
On Friday nights bread is delivered to the bar. Usually the two women who make it and deliver it arrive at about 5. Tonight it was nearly 5.30 before several of the regular customers started to ask one another where the bread was and if it was coming tonight. Finally somebody said that they thought that Carmel had a new job and that she did not get out of work until 6 so tonight the bread would arrive sometime after 6 o’clock. This news made all the bread buyers relax and most of them opted for another drink as they waited. Once the bread arrived, there was a feeling of calm in the bar. One man left right away as soon as he received his loaf. Otherwise the big dark loaves of soda bread wrapped in cling film sat on tables and on the counter right beside pint glasses. Each person seems to keep their loaf near.
10 December Thursday
Oscar walked home with me as usual. He flushed seven pheasants just near the entrance to Scully’s wood. It was not a proper flushing. I think that would imply intent. Oscar did not really know what he was doing. He just walked close to where the pheasants were and they all fled. The woody clattering sound as they rushed up and into the air en masse startled us both. They were such a crowd. They made such a racket as they lifted. Oscar did not know where to go or what to do. He stared at the place they had come out of and then dashed into the undergrowth as if perhaps there were more in there.
9 December Wednesday
I am certain it would be different to live in a house where we did not hear the rain. We could live in a house which was well sound-proofed from above and we would not be aware of this endless beating down of rain. In most of the house the sound of the rain only comes in through an open window but in the big room, the sound is present all day. When it rains all day long the rain is in our ears all day long. To go outside means the rain is on us and all around us but somehow it is quieter than being indoors with this desperate noise.
8 December Tuesday
I walked into the hardware bit of the shop and asked Kieran a question. The fellow wearing a wooly hat much like Kieran’s wooly hat looked up at me said “I am Kieran but I fear I am not the Kieran you are looking for.” He was right. He was the wrong Kieran. He was only a customer like myself and his name happened to be Kieran. It took a while to get anything done while down there today. The things I needed to buy were behind some plastic coal bunkers and some signs and a bunch of leaning Christmas trees. There was a lot of lifting and moving around of things before anything could be reached and moved and carried into the back of my motor. One of John’s daughters was behind the till. I think she is only 12 or maybe 11. I asked why she was not in school today. She said there was no school because there was some kind of religious thing going on. Outside there were a lot of cars arriving and turning and parking in lumbering kinds of ways. None of the movements was fluid nor easy. Any vehicles passing up or down the road had to wait. People were going in and out of the church. Most of them seemed to be elderly. I could not tell if they were settling in for a Mass or if they were just popping in and popping out. As I was leaving someone told me that today was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. I do not try to keep up with church activities but I was surprised to learn that this one was important enough for the schools to be closed for the day.
7 December Monday
More rain. More wind. More reports of disaster in all directions. The lakes around the village are getting bigger. The lakes around the village look normal. They look like they have always been there. The swans swimming around in the lakes look like they have always been there too. Nothing is as it should be. The day is mild and strange. Roses are blooming. The blackcurrant bushes are sprouting buds. Trees which should have lost all of their leaves by now are still covered with leaves. The grass is growing. There are lots of flying and biting insects. December is rarely a month for insects. The weather is the only topic of conversation.