Swinging the Beans

by ericavanhorn

9 June Tuesday

Yesterday Tommie and I went to the dentist again. He was in high spirits. He was looking forward to his new dentures. He was looking forward to eating toast without first dunking it into his tea. He was not in Daniel’s office for long. All that happened was that he had more measurements taken and he had his mouth yanked about a bit. He was disappointed to be leaving yet again without his new dentures. We walked down the ramp slowly. He was not tearful. He was cross. I drove him home on a different road. I slowed the car to look at a field where small bales were strewn all over the place. They had not been properly stooked. They were a mess. It was obvious that the bales had been in this disarray for a week or more. I could see the error in this because of my recent education about stooks and stooking. These bales were exactly as they were not supposed to be. Tommie was outraged. He has spent his whole life knowing the correct way to care for hay. He could not believe how wrong this was. He told me that I should go right in and inform those people of the Error in Their Hay. He said he would wait in the car for me. I said it was way too late to save that hay. Tommie was invigorated by his anger. It was the best thing that happened on the whole trip.

10 June Wednesday

She was unhappy to learn that she was listed in his mobile phone under W for Wife. He wanted her to list himself in her telephone under H for Husband. She had him listed under his own name and she felt like that was where she wanted to look for him and that was where she wanted to find him. He had a perfectly good name. He explained that this was not about his name. His name would, of course, stay the same. This was a practical detail. This was about A Possible Future Emergency. She understood what he meant but she said that she did not like being reduced to being Noun. He pleaded. He said, “Sometimes it is important to be a Noun.”

11 June Thursday

We set off early for a walk over Joe’s fields. The cows had been gone from the near field for long enough. We knew that they were already up in the milking shed by the time we set out. We would not be in their way and they would not be in our way. We passed a group of calves with ear tags as big as their ears. They were no longer babies. They were off the formula and now eating grass and hay. These were adolescents, or maybe teenagers. They ran to the gate to look at us.

12 June Friday

The expression everyone is using is Letting Out. We are still only in Phase Two of the opening up of services and shops and movement in the whole country.  Already the language has changed to accommodate our new freedoms. Letting Out is what happens for the cows in the spring.  They have been cooped up in open sided sheds and when spring is finally arrives they are let out and they go a bit crazy frolicking and jumping and racing around the meadows.  We are not Coming Out of Lockdown. We are being Let Out.

13 June Saturday

The fox moved through the long grass. His head and body and tail moved as one long curving line. His legs were not visible. The grass was too long for that. He was just a slither of colour. The cows were in the same field. They did not pay any attention to the fox weaving in and out very near to them in the grass. The cows paid no attention to the fox and the fox paid no attention to the cows. They were all in the same field but they were doing different things.

14 June Sunday

The sign was very small. It was tiny. The road is not a busy road. The arrow pointed down a side road which is even less used. The smaller road is a narrow dead end with only four houses the whole length of it. One belonged to Pa and Peggy but they have both died and their cottage is empty.  I walked down to the Bake Sale because I thought it would need some customers.  The little girls doing the baking would be disappointed if no one came to buy their cookies and cupcakes. I could not have been more wrong about the lack of passing trade. Everyone from their primary school was there, plus the parents and a few grandparents and it was a lovely afternoon so people were lingering in the sun and drinking tea and staying two meters apart from each other in all of the official ways, but happy to be together and happy mostly to be anywhere at all.

15 June Monday

I love these days with the doors and windows open and the bird activity and noises of tractors in the far distance.  I stepped outside to drink my coffee on the bench beside the kitchen door. As soon as I sat down I had to jump up and move to another part of the garden. Something has died in the honeysuckle. The smell is terrible. There is a rotting corpse in there getting heated up by the late morning sun. No doubt I could dig around in the foliage and find whatever it is and remove it, but I am not going to do that. I shall just wait for the smell to go away.


16 June Tuesday

Twice a week we do a Zoom exercise class. There are about 30 people participating in the class. At the beginning of each class we greet the people we know and the people we don’t know but who we now recognize as other regulars and when it is over we all wave good bye to one another. We have named this class Swinging The Beans because some of the exercises require us to use tins of beans as hand-weights. Simon started out using chickpeas but now he claims to prefer cannellini.