Little Cups and Saucers
11 December Sunday
Mardhea is the spelling.
It is pronounced Mah-re-Ah.
Someone might say Mardhea, I was watering the flowers. What they mean is AS IF I was watering the flowers. To preface an action with the word Mardhea means to say that you are doing one thing in order to find out something or to be on the watch for something happening or something which might have happened. You are not really watering the flowers because they need watering. You are watering the flowers so that you can keep an eye on the activity next door or down the road. It is basically a way to admit to being nosy. I do not think I can incorporate this expression into my daily conversation, because few Irish words sit easily in my mouth, but I am quite pleased to know what it means. I am glad to be able to listen for it. When I next hear it said I will know that it is a kind of code and I will feel included.
10 December Saturday
The barber poles were not made of plastic nor of glass. They were not rounded. They were not lit from within. These barber poles were simply painted red and white stripes on two inch by four inch planks. They were planks not poles. There was one nailed flat onto the wall just beside the door so that it was visible head on and especially from across the road. On the other side of the door there was another board mounted on its narrow side. I guess that one was to attract passing trade. There was a third one which was about one and a half inches by one and half inches square right over the door. It was long and it sort of stuck out at a bit of an angle. The word barber was not visible anywhere but the red and white stripes did the full job of advertising.
9 December Friday
This is the message received on Text Alert today:
Please be mindful of Elderly Friends and Neighbours who today may be receiving double Christmas payments from the Post Office and report any Suspicious Activity.
The elderly and any other people on benefits receive extra money to help them get through the holiday period. It helps them to purchase special things as well. To announce it like this might be a good thing or a bad thing. Everyone knows the extra payments are made and in rural areas there are no banks. People can only take their money home and hide it. Any robber would know this and any robber will know there are just so many places that cash can be hidden. I am sure the Garda mean this alert as a good thing but it seems like it might be a bad thing.
8 December Thursday
It is slippery and dangerous walking over the last of the apples falling off Johnnie’s trees and onto the path. The apples which fall on that side sort of roll into the gully which is the path. Or the path is a gully and it is where we walk. Every day I tell myself I should use a walking stick for walking through the rolling apples and the slimy mud but every day I forget to take one along with me. Rats or mice are eating out the flesh of the apples and leaving the tough skins spread around like delicate little cups and saucers. I slipped and landed hard on my hands and knees today which gave me a good chance to examine the tidy nibbling and the fragile remains. I am hoping the rats hurry up and eat the rest of the apple flesh or at least that everything rots down into moosh before I take another tumble.
7 December Wednesday
The days continue mild. Ever since the recent spate of frosty frozen bitter days, I feel I have had my warning. I am now saving and filling water bottles. Water pipes are not buried very deeply here. A week of freezing temperatures mean that the outdoor water pipes might well freeze. Each winter I fill water bottles Just In Case. Sometimes we never need the bottles of water but sometimes we do and then we are glad to have them. I fill each bottle as we empty one. We buy bottled water for drinking. We do not buy bottled water as a fashion choice. I would prefer not to buy bottled water. We buy it in big five litre containers. We use our well water for cooking and making tea and for everything else but for drinking a glass of water we drink bottled water. We need to have the well tested again. We probably need to have the well cleaned again. Last time we were told the e coli content of our water was a bit high. We were advised not to drink the water. So as well as filling water bottles to guard against the possibility of frozen pipes I must also buy extra bottles of drinking water to have on hand. I am not doing too well. I have only 25 litres, three large bottles, stored so far.
6 December Tuesday
A totally gloomy day all day. The light never changed. At any moment, it might have been dawn or it might have been dusk. The sky was heavy and grey. The sky stayed heavy and grey. Sometimes it rained a little and sometimes it did not rain. In the early afternoon, I took a walk up the boreen and around. I felt I could not wait any later to walk as it might not be any better later and there was a good chance it might be worse. It was difficult to focus on anything because of the uncertain quality of the light. It made me feel like there was something wrong with my eyes. It started to drizzle as I left the house and it kept drizzling all the way around. It was never proper rain. It was soft. It did not feel like rain. When I reached home I was soaking wet.