There is much talk of Fodder Shortage. The things that cattle are eating now are the things that they should be eating in the winter. What will they be eating in the winter? Some hay fields are being baled up. I do not think any of whatever is done is can be enough at this late stage. We are not finished hearing the term Fodder Shortage. I think I just like the word Fodder. Silage Widow is another favorite seasonal expression.
4 August Saturday
Tipp FM announced the winner of last nights lottery as someone from Waterford. Actually, they are not sure that the winner is from Waterford but they know where the winning ticket was sold. The ticket was sold from a shop in Waterford. This makes everyone happy. The radio announcer named the shop and said there was no doubt that having a winning ticket sold right there in that shop for a win of one million euro would provide a great cheering boost to the people of Waterford on this Bank Holiday Weekend.
3 August Friday
Replacing the roof was one thing. Clearing up after two years of leaks was another. Every time a new place flowed with rainwater, we gathered things into boxes or piles and pushed them somewhere just to get them out of the way quickly. Every time a solution came along we assumed it was the final one and that the dripping walls would end. The leaks moved along the seam between the fold where the two roofs joined together. The bathroom leak was a constant and always in the exact same section of wall. Except for the one time when it took over the ceiling and then the water came in everywhere. The kitchen leaks were in several places and they moved back and forth.The most worrying leak was the one that made its way through the fuse box and continued straight down to the floor. The kitchen ceiling flooded too. Both ceilings have big stains which are yet to be fixed. One part of the ceiling was ripped open and closed up again. That place is a large raw plaster area waiting for paint. It has been easy to condition myself not to look up.
In the big room, the three meter long shelves above the cupboard and the six shelves inside the cupboard, also three meters long, will no longer be soaked in the next rain. We cleaned and oiled the shelves. We cleaned and coated the wall behind them with stain-covering paint. I was amazed at how black even the very bottom shelves were. Water damage is pervasive. The pans and plastic containers and newspapers and towels catching the rain water were never enough. After cleaning and painting, I began collecting the bags and boxes of stuff which had been spread around the house and down into the barn. Things just kept appearing. Books had been lined up on the floor and piled up on other parts of the floor. The trouble with it all was that the books had been rushed away from pouring water. They had not been examined. They had been moved in a state of panic and with great speed. Many cookbooks were completely destroyed. The pages were rippled with moisture and sometimes stuck together. Things had been moved and then they were moved again. There was no sorting.
With this dry weather, I moved chairs and rugs out doors while I struggled to regain order. Flashlights which had been on the shelves inside the cupboard and then moved out of the way were useless. The batteries and innards were full of rust. Some were still wet inside. They are good for nothing. Several old dog collars belonging to Emily had been saved. Why I do not know. They are now mouldy, but how can I throw them away? A dog whistle on a white string that never worked anyway but that someone gave me when Em was first going deaf. It is not water damaged but should I throw it out or shall I just move it somewhere else? Bowls and cups full of silvery lichen gathered on various walks. The big bowl of lavender from last years garden, or maybe from two years ago. Innumerable stones from various beaches. Every single thing in the room and from the shelves and on the windowsills came under scrutiny. Pine cones. Everything is precious. But a clean-up is a clean-up. Everything that I look at in the entire room demands a decision. I am no longer restricting the purge to the shelves that got wet. Usefulness is not always the best way to decide things. Do we need this stone which looks exactly like Prince Charles’ ear?
It has taken all week to get to the end of this indoor work. The roof is finished. The out of doors is cleaned up. The indoors is now cleaned up too.
There are now boxes full of stuff up in the barn. They are ready to take to sell at the Car Boot Sale in Fethard. I shall probably never get around to doing the Car Boot. Maybe Pat Looby wants them to sell at her weekly table.
30 July Monday
It seemed an auspicious way to begin the week. I trapped one of the enormous house spiders in the bathtub. It might have been a Cardinal Spider. Or just a Giant House Spider. I took it outside and a long way from the house. I am certain these spiders come back and crawling up the drain pipe and back in the tub. The spiders are everywhere especially at this time of year. The spiders make lots of cobwebs and the cobwebs get full of sticky dust and I feel the house is always in the process of being taken over. I never see so many spiders nor webs nor so much dust in other houses.
29 July Sunday
I drive past three farms on the way to the village. Only one has the flattened sheep dog. He is at the last farm on the way down. He is at the first farm on the way back. He lies on the road as flat as he can make himself. He sticks out quite far into the single lane road. He is black and white. He thinks he is making himself invisible but he is completely visible on the grey road. He waits until the car is almost beside him and then he rushes out as if he is going to bite the tyres. He never does more than a quick dash and then he gets back in ready position to await his next victim on wheels. He does not want to bite a tyre. He does not want to catch a motorcar. I always slow for him and his almost attack. It is a game we play together. There is so little traffic on the road he does much more anticipating than dashing.
27 July Friday
The yearly National Tidy Towns competition is underway. Some places get really busy with their floral displays and presentations. Some towns just ignore the whole thing. This year is proving tough for everyone because it is so hot. Everything is dry. Things like hanging baskets need a designated person with water standing beside them nearly all day long. As a village, Ardfinnan always takes its place in the competition quite seriously. There is a painted boat at a jaunty angle full of flowers on the green. Lambert’s garage has their usual painted tyres mounted on the wall with flowers tumbling out of them.
I am not sure if the painted cart is a new addition or just one I might have missed in recent years. In addition to the floral arrangements the cart has two milk churns, one inside with the foliage and one on the ground beside it. Both of the milk churns are chained to the cart and the one placed inside is full with a cement block and some rubble just to make sure that the display position stays fixed.