Mary on My Mind

by ericavanhorn

Thursday 3 November

We were unable to land at Cork Airport. We tried. The pilot tried. The plane circled for thirty or forty minutes, bumping and thudding through clouds while waiting for the high winds to drop. The winds did not drop. Several passengers turned green. Cork Airport is located on a hilltop beside the sea. It is always windy. It was a terrible place to build an airport. After several announcements and a lot of circling, we were diverted to Shannon Airport. The landing there was wild and scary and bumpy. We all had trouble walking down the steps to disembark because the cross winds were pushing and gusting so hard against us.

Shannon Airport is a large, mostly empty, space. There is one shop and one restaurant/bar. The restaurant is not big. The rest of the building, on two floors, consists of cavernous unfilled spaces. Shannon never became the busy hub it was planned to be. There are few flights in and out of the airport. It is a two hour drive to Cork Airport. 130 kilometres. Coaches were being arranged to transport the passengers off our flight from Airport to Airport, but it was going to take a little while to get the two or three coaches organised. Everyone was hungry or thirsty or else they needed a strong drink to settle their nerves. Everyone from the entire flight went to the little restaurant. The restaurant was not expecting such a crowd in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon. There was very little food left. All of the tables filled up with people drinking tea or pints of stout. Some people stood up and some went to sit outside in the smoking section which was in the howling wind. No one stayed outside for long.

We did not avail of the Cork coach. We caught a bus to Limerick bus and train station, and then another bus to Cahir. We were about three hours later than planned getting home. As the bus dropped down the hill into Cahir, we saw Breda through the window at the SuperValu check-out. We knew what she was doing. She was buying milk and a few things to make our arrival more pleasant. She delivered us home to our cold damp house. The door was swollen and difficult to open and it was difficult to close. The Black Cat was waiting for us beside the kitchen door. I greeted her as Mary and I have been calling her Mary ever since. There were a lot of people named Mary on the Limerick bus. They called out to one another and always used each other’s names which was usually their own name too. I had Mary on my mind.

There was a small hammer in a holder above my head. Below the hammer was a sticker announcing the presence of the hammer. In an emergency, the hammer should be used to smash the glass.

Friday 4 November

I have spent most of two days in Cahir. The car needed work before I could have the yearly inspection done. The library was closed and the second-hand book shop run by the Lion’s Club was closed. There is one cafe and it is cold in there. They are economizing by keeping the heat turned off. There is no where to wait at Mike’s garage. It is open to the elements and it is cold. He left me there while he went to take care of the first of my two flat tyres. He asked me to Woman the Fort so that he did not need to lock the place up. I thought to make myself useful while he was gone. I asked if I should answer the phone while he was away, but he no longer has a land line. A small economy. He does everything on his mobile phone now.

Saturday 5 November

It has been raining for weeks. Lakes have replaced fields and the river is swollen wide and running deeper and faster than ever. Everyone is weary of the non-stop downpours. The word Desperate is said a lot. Even when the sun comes out and the sky is blue, the sun does not last long enough to dry the land. I was in the shop and I heard one woman asking another: “Sure, could we be any more depressed?

Monday 7 November

Slugs usually disappear as the weather gets colder. But this November is not cold. It is mild and it is wet. It feels cold but that is not about the temperature. It is because the dampness gets into our bones and we feel chilled. When I put out a dish of food for Mary, the slugs are quick to climb up and over the plate. She is not bothered and seems well able to eat around them.

Tuesday 8 November

The waiting area for the NCT test is all new since last year. It is much bigger and there are large windows looking both into the inspection bays and out doors. There are three banks of four chairs each bolted to the floor. The seats are wide and long. The seats are too big for me. If my back is up against the backrest, my knees are unable to bend. My legs stick straight out. If my feet are on the floor my back is slumped awkwardly against the backrest. We can all sit at a safe distance from one another and if there is a toilet for use by the public, it is out of sight. We no longer have to sit gazing at the toilet and the sink if the last user fails to pull the door shut. We no longer sit knee to knee, but we remain as curious and alert to the goings on of everyone else’s car as we are to our own.

I forgot to bring my Drivers License or any other form of identification. I told the man that I had my library card with me. He sighed and said okay to that even though it has no photograph and it is not really an ID card.

The car failed the inspection test, so I spent another half day in Cahir. Once again the library and the book shop are closed. The river path and Inch Field remain flooded. I could not walk far in the sideways rain even if I wanted to. Mike replaced a wishbone on the right front side of the car and the suspension has been corrected. The re-test is scheduled for Tuesday.

Friday 11 November

It is so mild that the raspberries continue to ripen. There are not a lot but I gather a handful every day, between downpours.