Campbell’s Tea

by ericavanhorn

27 November Monday

Going to the village to post a few parcels before the afternoon pick up became a long trip. There was work being done between the
graveyard and the bridge. It was big work with lots of men and lots of trucks. Yesterday there was one truck and a few men there with two at each end. They had STOP & GO signs that they turned around every few minutes. Today I had to wait about 15 minutes for a little white
van with flashing lights to arrive. This was the Convoy Vehicle. He arrived and turned around and then led myself and two other cars down
the road where one other car was waiting to come up. Then the Convoy Vehicle turned around to lead that car back up. I had to wait to
travel in The Convoy as I went back home too. There was no other way to go unless I drove all around by way of Ardfinnan and that would
have been stupid. It seemed to me that the two men with their two signs and their mobile telephones did the job just as well, and faster.

26 November Sunday

Simon found a pumpkin in the ditch. We had walked down the Long Field in cold windy sunlight. He chose to return by walking around by the road. I walked back up the way we had come. I wanted to look again at the metal things on the rock in the low place where rocks and rubble have been dumped to keep them off the fields and all in one place.This rock depositary has been used for a long time. Years. Most of the rocks are probably parts of the stone walls that separated many small fields before the Long Field became one enormous field. There are
plenty of furze bushes and brambles growing around the piled up stones. It is a place to aim for on the walk. I always think of it as
about halfway but it is not really halfway. And of course it depends from which end of the field you begin your walk. There are eight metal
things on the rock. They have been there for at least two months. Each one has two big bolts in it. I guess they were taken off a piece
of machinery during the harvest and replaced with new parts. Or maybe they are waiting for collection and will be used again. It might be
that the farmer knows exactly where he left them. Lined up together on the rock in the sun they looked like a little flotilla of boats.

Back to the pumpkin. Simon was walking up the road just after the fork. There are no houses nearby. He saw a pumpkin in the ditch. And
of course the ditch was not a down ditch as most people know a ditch but a Tipperary ditch meaning a section of hedgerow. Someone had
thrown the pumpkin there, maybe from a moving car. It was resting deep and snugly within the tangled brambles and hawthorn branches. It was not visible to anyone in a car or a tractor, but it was visible to a walker. He scrabbled in the ditch and rescued it. It was not broken nor were there any gashes from the thorns. Simon was not able to walk too far with the pumpkin in his arms so he waited under a tree until I
drove down that way. I was wondering why it was taking him so long to get up the hill. Now we have a pumpkin sitting outside waiting to be
cooked and made into a pie or a cake or eaten as a vegetable.

25 November Saturday

Yesterday morning was cold and frosty. There was a thick covering of snow on the Galtee Mountains. They looked like the Alps. The
Knockmealdowns and the Comeraghs were less heavily coated. They were only sprinkled with snow. We had no snow down here. It was all in the distance. The good thing about the snow and the cold was that I thought there might be fewer slugs alive and crawling around in the
bathroom. The unnaturally mild weather has meant that they have not died off or gone into hibernation or whatever they do in the winter.
Every evening I have been finding at least one stretched out on the sink or the tub or the shelf and every time I throw him or her out the
window. There was no slug to toss out last night. I hope that means the end of them until next year.

Tuesday 1 slug
Wednesday 1 slug
Thursday 2 slugs
Friday 0

24 November Friday

I turned the corner in the boreen and surprised the fox. He surprised me too. He turned his head and saw me just exactly as I saw him. I was close enough that I could have touched him with an outstretched arm. He leapt high across the track and into the woods without missing a beat.

23 November Thursday

Young people do not go to High School. They go to Secondary School. I was surprised to see a musical event listed to take place at the CBS
High School. The CBS is the Christian Brothers School. The ground floor of the school is for Primary School boys and upstairs is the
Secondary School, for the older boys. It is called the High School because it is upstairs. It is higher off the ground. The man who explained this to me said that he himself left school early. He told me that he never got Up the Stairs.

22 November Wednesday

I was stopped going through the security line at Cork Airport. The security woman took me and my bag aside. Before opening it, she said “You are carrying coffee in a tin?” I said “No, I have tea. I have two tins of Campbell’s Tea.” I had been a little worried that the security people might consider the metal tins to be potential weapons. I babbled a bit and said that I liked to take Campbell’s tea as a gift because I love the big yellow tins and because people love to receive them. I forgot that I was in Cork. The woman was not worried about the metal and the possibility of it being bent or shaped into a knife or a weapon once I was on the plane. She did not care about the tins. She was disgusted that I was not taking Barry’s tea as a gift. Barry’s tea is the only tea to buy or to drink if you live in Cork. Barry’s tea is a Cork product. It is a Cork institution. The Barry Family are from Cork. They still live in Cork. They donate generously to all things Cork. Barry’s tea is synonymous with Cork. I worried that she was going to confiscate my Campbell’s Tea. She made me wait around a bit. She let me and the tea go, but she did not want to.

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