19 December Tuesday
A box of birthday candles in the shop has been opened and 3 candles have been removed. Or maybe 4 candles have been removed. The box held 24 candles when it was new. Near the top of the box the price sticker has been amended to read 21 only. At the bottom someone has drawn a zero over the 4 of 24, so there are either 20 or 21 candles in the box now. I do not know if the price on the packet takes the smaller number of candles into consideration.
18 December Monday
For as long as we have lived here, we have been run off the road by enormous shiny milk tankers. It is a regular thing. Some of the tankers are from Glanbia and some are DairyGold. They rush around the countryside several times a week collecting the milk from farms. We are lucky they do not collect every day. Both kinds of these tankers go too fast. They are dangerous if we are walking and they are dangerous if we are driving. Maybe it is more dangerous to be driving because they take up the entire road and they never slow down for anyone. I never thought the word GLANBIA was anything more than a company name. Today Breda told me that it is the Irish word for CLEAN FOOD. Knowing this translation does not make the milk trucks any less dangerous. If anything, it is disconcerting to imagine being run over by Clean Food.
17 December Sunday
I took a cake and a card down to Tommie and Margaret. Tommie was alone and he looked exhausted. He told me that Margaret fell outside the house on a tiny bit of ice yesterday and broke her leg. The ambulance arrived within half an hour which Tommie thought was good timing but he said it was a very long half hour for Margaret. She had to wait on the cold ground as he dared not move her. She is now in Waterford awaiting surgery. He slept very badly last night with the worry. This morning he went over to Grange for Mass as he could not deal with going in the village as usual. He would need to be answering questions from everyone and he had no answers to give. I knew he was not able for the drive to Waterford so I asked if he needed a lift. He said, “Not to worry.” He said that Some of His Own will be driving him.
16 December Saturday
The little chicks are growing up at the Farmers Market. Each week they arrive in a cloth lined box that sits on the end of the table at the egg stand. There are four of them. This week they are four weeks old. They are fuzzy. Everyone who sees them smiles. I think this is the third egg seller we have had since David retired. One of them was charging so much for his eggs that people started to boycott his stand and there was a lot of grumbling among the customers. I had never before heard grumbling at the market. People said “Can you imagine paying that much for a dozen eggs! And they are not even organic!” as if they always bought organic when mostly they never bought organic. It did not take many Saturdays before that egg man stopped coming to the market. These new egg sellers have a huge stack of boxes out on their long table. The baby chicks are at one end, the eggs are in the middle and at the far end of the table are jars of chicken broth. David had a tiny round garden table and he only ever had two or three boxes of six eggs out at any one time. As he sold them he would bring a few more cartons out from the back of his car.
15 December Friday
The sun was out. It was cold but bright. I walked over Joe’s fields. The ground was wet and squishy. It was not cold enough to be frozen. I stumbled a bit in and out of the deep hoof marks left by the cows in the mud. Cows always churn up mud and when it gets really cold the hoof holes freeze. Because we had the deep cold and now we have this strange mild weather the hoof holes are deep but soft. It is a different kind of treacherousness than the frozen kind. Later I spent part of the road walk detouring into any long grass to wipe mud and muck off my boots. As I neared the turn into our boreen, I heard a siren. It is rare to hear a siren. I stopped to figure out where it was coming from and where it was going. I could hear that it was up on the Ardfinnan to Knocklofty road but I could not decide if it was going towards Ardfinnan or away from Ardfinnan. When I saw a Garda car speeding up the road towards me with lights flashing and the siren going, I waited to watch it pass. It was the only car I had seen all day. The car stopped beside me and the siren was turned off. The Garda opened his window and asked if I had seen a car crash. I said No. He asked if this was the Knocklofty to Newcastle road. I said No. I said, “This is the Grange to Newcastle road.” I told him to take the left at the top of the hill and to drive a short distance, about a kilometer, which is the entire length of that road, until he reached a T-junction. I said, “That will be the Knocklofty – Newcastle road. The car crash you are looking for could be either down hill to the left toward Knocklofty or down hill to the right toward Newcastle.” He looked a little confused about what to do when he got to that decision-making moment. He thanked me, turned on his siren and set off again, at speed.