2 November Friday
There are three dead leaves hanging outside the window. I see them each time I sit at the table. They have been there for ten days. The one dangling from the top of the window twirls in the breeze. The two on the left side of the window are held firmly in place by cobwebs. From where I sit the cobwebs are invisible. Every day I think that I should maybe go out and brush them away. Every day I do not do it. I have become fond of how firmly they maintain these incidental positions.
1 November Thursday
I heard gun shots up the hill and from the woods this morning, but there were never enough shots to make me think about what I was hearing. Later Siobhan and I went for a walk. On her way to meet me, she said she saw the Long Field being paced out by several men in camouflage clothing. Their guns were broken over their arms. The first of November is the start of bird shooting season. I forget it every year. It always comes as a surprise. Pheasants and partridges are the birds in danger. We were glad that we had decided to walk down by the Abbey and by the river. No men. No guns.
31 October Wednesday
It was a Mart Morning. Every Wednesday is a Mart Morning in Cahir. Intake begins from 8.30 am. The farmers are all out with trailers full of animals. If we do not remember that it is Wednesday and if we do not remember that Wednesday is the day for the mart in Cahir we might be confused by the extra number of trailers being towed around and into the town. The approach roads are all a little slower than usual. Today it seemed like all of the trailers were full of sheep. Sheep are auctioned at 11. Cattle and calves are auctioned at 11.30. Some of the sales are from Farm to Farm. Other sales are from Farm to Factory. There used to be a hall with a kitchen and a canteen at the Mart. Joan Looby cooked a big hot dinner for all of the farmers who wanted to eat before they left for home. It was a big part of the day and almost everybody sat down to eat. It was the time for the farmers to chat. There was a fire a few years ago and the building burned down. Now there are no more cooked dinners. A decision was made not to rebuild the kitchen. There is a snack wagon that parks near the intake gate but most people ignore it. Snacks are not proper food. The farmers now go home for their dinner, with or without animals in their trailers.
30 October Tuesday
The flattened dog maintains his position and his watch on the road. This has been going on for months now. Sometimes I do not see him for four or five days. Then he is back again. He does not chase the car when it is going downhill. He only chases on the return trip when the car is going uphill. It is as if he knows that when I drive down to the village I will certainly be driving back up. He watches the motor and his head wiggles back and forth as I pass. His back and white sheep dog colours are crisp and bright against the sand and the drab grey tarmac. He lies a flat as he can. He thinks he is invisible. His chasing does not amount to much. It is all in the planning.
Bank Holiday. It was frosty this morning. There was ice in the water butts. The water is frozen solid in the butts while roses are still blooming. It is much too early for such deep cold. The frozen water feels wrong. The roses are in the right.
28 October Sunday
There is always another version of a stile. There is always another way to climb into a field which provides easy access for people but allows no escape for animals.
27 October Saturday
TJ has a lovely new sign. I think of him as a blacksmith. This sign offers his services as a welder. A welder with a bright attention-grabbing sign. Once again I find myself pleased with this new bit of language in my landscape.
26 October Friday
We have a new postman. We have had several temporary postmen in recent years ever since John became ill. Once John retired, we had Lee. Lee has been the most constant of all the substitutes. We assumed that he was our permanent postman now. A few weeks ago he started driving down with Derek. He was showing Derek the route so that Derek could take over. Lee himself has been given a new route. We thought he was going to Kilsheelan but it turns out he is doing Marlfield. He had the choice of a town route with a bicycle or being out of town in a van. Derek said it was no contest. Lee took the van. Lee always arrived with the post very early. Usually he was here and gone by 7 or 7.30 in the morning. He had a speedy manner in all things. Talking. Walking. Driving. Delivering the post. Derek said that Lee was always in a rush because he always wanted to be back in town for his elderly Nana. She made him his dinner every day and he hated to disappoint her by being late. Derek does not come early. He arrives any time between 8.00 and 10.30. This lack of certainty makes driving out the boreen in the morning a little scary for us. It is terrible to meet anyone because if we do, one driver must back up for as far as it takes. We got spoiled by Lee and his early delivery. Derek ends every sentence with the word Girl. This is a very Clonmel way of speaking. It does not matter if the person being addressed is a man or a woman. The sentence still ends with the word Girl.
25 October Thursday
I went into a small shop in town to buy some Pinhead Oatmeal. The woman at the counter told me that Pinhead Oatmeal is very old-fashioned. She was scornful that I was even asking for it. She told me that absolutely no one eats Pinhead Oats anymore. What they eat is Pinhead Buckwheat. She asked if I had ever eaten Buckwheat. I said, Yes I have eaten Buckwheat but what I want is Oatmeal. They are not at all the same thing. I told her that I was not interested in fashion when it came to breakfast. She herself is interested in being With The Fashion, so she no longer carries Pinhead Oatmeal in her shop. I purchased my oats elsewhere.