Taking the Bloods
2 November Wednesday
Yesterday I saw two vehicles with small dog trailers parked down by Cooney’s wood. Later I heard gunshots. November 1st marks the start of shooting season for pheasants and woodcock and wood pigeons. If I had heard the gunshots earlier I might have been startled but the little trailers that the dogs get transported around in gave me the warning. There are never more than one or two hunters who wander around these woods but it is a good idea to start wearing reflective vests when we walk out just so we do not get shot. At about nine o’clock last night I heard a thumping at the kitchen door. I looked out and there was Oscar pushing and turning to make himself comfortable as close up to the door as possible. He had knocked down the walking sticks in the corner so he was having an awkward time getting settled with sticks all over the place. It is unprecedented for Oscar to come down here at night and especially to come down without a person. I tried to send him home but he ignored me. I rang June and she was puzzled too. She was puzzled but she was fearful to drive down our boreen at night so I offered to take him home. Oscar is a big black Labrador. With age, he has gotten fat. He could not jump up and into the jeep so I had to ask Simon to help me to hoist him up and in. I drove the mile up to Oscar’s house with his head jutting out between the seats and resting on my shoulder. He was happy to be home and jumped out easily. He did not return again last night but I still do not know why he arrived in the first place. I wonder if the days shooting disturbed him.
1 November Tuesday
Condon’s, the undertakers in Cahir, have repainted their premises. The front of the building is now glossy black with enamel paint. The windows have been edged with bright red. On a sunny day like today the shine off the black paint is blinding.
31 October Monday
Taking Care of Your Own is the term used for the duty towards anyone who is elderly or sick. It is one thing to give care if someone is your own blood relation but if the ailing person is only related by marriage it is something altogether different. Responsibility apppears to have limits.
30 October Sunday
There are lots of brown crunchy leaves underfoot and there is no mud. Every walk up the track is noisy with the leaves underfoot. As soon as I write this, I am reminded that there are stretches with lots of yellow not yet crunchy leaves too so the contrast between walking noise and walking silence is great. I was walking the Long Field today and saw some garish orange pellet stuff spilled onto the soil. At first I thought it must be some kind of poison. Then I decided it might be seed. Some farmers have planted winter wheat so the fresh new green shoots give a sense of springtime in this peculiar autumn. We have had day after day of mild, bright days with no rain. Birds are singing like crazy. The birds are behaving like it is spring. None of them seem to be flying south. The cows are out in their fields all day. Nothing feels right or normal. Nothing feels like it is almost November. Last night we changed the clocks so as of today darkness will fall earlier. The weather may or may not change.
29 October Saturday
Dilly is insisting that the little shrubs on her banking get cut back almost to the wood. Some of them she wants pulled or dug right out of the ground. She is adamant that these things get done before the winter comes on. She cannot do these jobs herself as she keeps telling anyone who will listen but even if she is not Able For It herself she wants it done her own way. She cannot bear for two plants to be touching one another. Dilly likes to see a lot of nice cleared and clean weed free soil in between each plant. She cannot cut these plants back and she cannot dig them up and out of the ground and she certainly cannot bend down to pull the weeds and rake the soil clean, but she is determined that all of these things be done. She is instructing John to do all of these jobs and she insists he do the jobs her way. He is grumbling about her demands but he is allowed no say in the matter. She says The Bare Look is the only way to give a plant the attention it deserves.
28 October Friday
Simon had a morning appointment with the nurse to Take His Bloods. It is usually not possible to Take Bloods on a Friday because of the weekend. He offered to deliver his own blood to the hospital so they said okay and had him come in at 9 am. While the nurse was labeling his tube and putting it into a bag, she asked if he would mind also taking the bloods of the Lithuanian woman who had been in just before him. The woman had to rush off to her job and anyway she did not have a car so she was not able to take her own blood up to the hospital. Simon was hungry. He had been fasting since the night before. He asked the nurse if he had time to have some breakfast before going to the hospital. She said No Problem. She told him to just be sure to deliver the bloods to the lab before midday. At the hospital he was directed to walk down several long corridors to drop his own blood and the blood of the Lithuanian woman into a hatch cut into some hard plastic.