A Good Grubber
14 January Thursday
Is He A Good Grubber? This was the question I overheard the pharmacist ask to find out if someone who was not well was taking his food in a normal and robust way.
13 January Wednesday
There was a hard frost last night. Everything is white this morning. The roof of the barn is completely white. It is good to see the roof all coated with ice because that means it is well-insulated. If it were less well-insulated the heat inside would be making areas of slate look melty and unfrosted. I suppose the fact that there is not much heat at all in the barn is another reason why the white stays white for so long.
The snowdrops are coming up. Most of them are only in bud now but there are two in full bloom beside Em’s stone. I am happy to see them. I like to think she would have been happy to see them but usually she just walked around them. Oscar steps on flowers. He never walks around them. I saw one primrose in flower in the boreen.
12 January Tuesday
An elderly man came into the barbershop and he told the girl that he wanted A Zero and A Close Shave. A Zero is a number on the scale of haircuts for men. I think the numbers match settings on the cutting device. The man was very old. The couple who run the shop are Serbian. The girl was very nervous to cut the man’s hair because he was so old. She was even more nervous to shave him. She cut his hair very short with the zero setting and then she gave him a shave with a cut-throat razor. When she was finished he said the shave was not close enough. He insisted that she do it again. She was terrified to cut closer but she did it. Everyone in the shop, which included the husband and three people, was watching. I was one of the people. I had never been there before and I was only waiting so I was watching every single thing. The old man announced that he was going to the Tropics. He was going to Africa. He said he was 94 years old and he wanted a short haircut and a close shave because it was going to be very hot where he was going. She asked which country he was going to but he would not say. He said it was a secret. After he left she laughed out loud nervously. She announced to the shop that maybe he was like an elephant and he was going to Africa to die.
11 January Monday
I am not afraid of mice but they can make me jump. They move quickly and so suddenly. Tonight I went out to the shed in the dark. I was wearing my head torch. I was carrying an enamel cup in order to bring back peas from the freezer. It is easier to carry the cup to the shed rather than to bring the bag of peas into the house and pour some out and then return to the shed to put the rest of the peas back in the freezer. Especially if it is raining. Tonight it was not really raining but it was drizzly and it was cold. And it was very very dark. Just as I was pouring my peas into my cup a mouse rushed along by my feet. I squealed in surprise and spilled a lot of peas. I left the peas on the floor and returned to the house with my cupful. If the mice don’t eat them, I can sweep them up in the morning. They will stay just as frozen on the floor as they were inside the freezer.