Quiet but Fruitful
4 August Thursday
When people speak of The Small Paper they mean South Tipp Today. South Tipp Today is a free weekly paper with lots of advertisements for builders and chimney sweeps and painters and window cleaners. The advertisements listed by individuals are called the Small Ads. There is always a bit of news and some photographic coverage of local events but mostly the paper is a vehicle for the small ads. People looking for jobs and people looking to hire other people advertise. People offering garden work and applications for building permits are listed. If people are selling a washing machine, a motorcar or a sofa, they take out a small ad. Agricultural contractors list their services, as do farmers selling hay or animals. Today I noted a Bull being offered for his reproductive possibilities. He was described as Quiet But Fruitful.
3 August Wednesday
Every field in every direction all over the county is full of bales. There are round bales, and rectangular bales and round bales of silage wrapped up tight in black plastic. Already the fields are going from yellow to a deep golden colour. There are some fields that look nearly red in their goldenness. Today I saw a long trailer in the middle of a field. The trailer was stacked high with square bales. The trailer was no longer attached to a tractor. All of the bales still on the ground in the field were round bales. It looked like that trailer load of square bales had been driven to that field full of round bales for some purpose but it was hard to imagine what that purpose might be. There were so many round bales in the field it is difficult to know how the trailer load of square bales even got driven into that position. Another field had every bale collected except for one. That single bale sat all alone in a large expanse of field. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out the logic of these activities.
1 August Bank Holiday
Tommie told me about a man whose car failed the NCT test last week. He said the car did not get far enough along the testing procedure for the inspectors to find out if anything was wrong with it. The car just failed because it stunk so badly of dog. The inspectors refused to get inside the car and since they could not test it, they were obliged to fail it. Tommie said he could not say the name of the man whose car had failed, but he was quick to assure me that it was not his own car which had failed because it smelled so bad. He reminded me that he did not have a dog nor had he had a dog himself for many years now and certainly not since he has owned the car that he is driving today. And anyway he said that he himself had never been a man to take a dog out driving around the countryside.
31 July Sunday
I walked the Long Field at the end of the afternoon when there was a gap in the rain. I forgot what I had been told about a recent crow massacre up there. Two men had been shooting crows. I do not know why. I quickly came across dozens of bodies and a lot of feathers. Some dead crows were visible out in the middle of the yellow stubble of a field. Most of them were on the dirt track where I was walking. There were dozens. I could see the place where the two men had sat in long grass off to the right. The grass was all flattened down. There were cigarette butts in the grass. There was a bad smell off the many corpses. It was more than bad. It was revolting. Some of the carcasses had been torn up while being eaten. In some places there were only wings left or some bits of boney stuff. It was horrible but it was fascinating. I could not stop checking each new body as I came upon it. I thought maybe I should turn around and go for a walk elsewhere but then I reached a clump of bushes and rounded a curve and there were no more bodies. I guess the men did not want to leave their shooting positions. I was relieved to be away from death and its thick smell. After a few minutes of walking and breathing fresh air, I came upon one more crow. He was lying on his back. He was a good distance from all of the other corpses and he had not been found by predators yet. He was a dark profile in the grass which grew in the middle of the track. After all the wild carnage, this crow looked peaceful. He looked like he was just sleeping.
30 July Saturday
Laura and Richie have a new puppy. His name is Ted. He arrived today from the dog shelter. He is three months old and a mix of a sheep dog and a springer. He does not really have hair. His black and white coat is a fuzzy surface. His hair is more like a stuffed animal than like a sheep dog’s hair. He looks like the sort of toy which might have a zip in the tummy for storing pajamas. I am smitten.
29 July Friday
My Friday afternoon trip to Cork was a mistake. I did not think it through. I should have thought it through. The Friday before a Bank Holiday. Who would do that? The city was full of people arriving with suitcases. The city was full of people departing with suitcases. Backpacks, rolling luggage, duffel bags, everyone was on the move with stuff and everyone else was in a mad shopping frenzy. The Gay Pride Parade Weekend was commencing. Some other festival was also cranking up. All over the whole country things will be happening. The August Bank Holiday is a big summer event. Everything everywhere is planned for that one long weekend. That is why everyone is on the move to somewhere. I made the trip to do one single thing and to settle my mind about that thing. Once I had done my errand, I walked through the English Market and bought an enormous bag of cherries. I collected my car and headed home. The traffic was terrible. Everyone who had not specially gone to Cork for the weekend was trying to leave Cork. I ate cherries all the way home. This is not a country where cherries are easily available. When they are available they are crazy expensive and often not very good. These cherries were perfect. I love cherries. I kept saying to myself that I must stop eating the cherries while I was driving, but I never did. I just kept eating them. They made the entire wretched journey worthwhile.