The Egg in The Window

by ericavanhorn

17 May Friday

I was feeling deeply exhausted with a terrible headache and all kinds of muscle aches.  I finally decided that I was suffering from more than ordinary jet lag. I took a test and discovered that I had Covid. It seems unfair that I strolled all the way through the many months and years of the entire pandemic in Full Health and now I get this nasty variant that is making the rounds. I cannot write more. I must go and lie down.

20 May Monday

Simon has it too. No wonder we all worked so hard to avoid Covid during all of those many weeks. We are both feeling horrible and not really knowing how to identify one kind of discomfort from another. I must go and lie down.

22 May Wednesday

It is a month ago today that we heard the cuckoo. I had taken Barbara up into the Knockmealdowns to walk across to the Mass Rock and I promised her that if we were lucky we might hear the Cuckoo. We were lucky. Over the next few days, we told every single person we saw about hearing the cuckoo, and everyone we told was pleased and a little bit envious. There is an extremely short period of time in which to hear the cuckoo. Increasingly one needs to be far away from people and civilization, preferably in the mountains at the exact right time. Tommie told us that he had not heard one for fifteen years, or more.

24 May Friday

Each morning, I am woken up by birdsong. This is a good thing. They are busy and noisy all day long.

25 May Saturday

I am finally able to read again. It was impossible to read much of anything with the throbbing Covid headache. As always, I turn to the Maigret books of Georges Simenon when I am feeling fragile. I have devoured six in the last three days. It does not matter how many times I have read or re-read them. They always engage me. I must go and lie down.

27 May Monday

Other victims of this strain of Covid told us that we must expect that it will take at least three weeks to get over the deep fatigue. I did not believe them. Or I did not believe that I would fall victim to such debilitating exhaustion. Now I believe it. I am forced to believe it. I must go and lie down.

28 May Tuesday

Jacinta brought us a bottle of Vitamin Tonic from Maher’s Pharmacy. The owners make their own tonic from a special family recipe.  I have no idea what is in it but it tastes like root beer.  Jacinta promises that it will help to Put Us Right.  I am willing to believe anything if it makes me feel better.

31 May Friday

We have slowly been crawling up and out of the endless feeling of weakness. A small wander around the garden is plenty.  I can accomplish a few short jobs and that is all. Every day is punctuated with naps. Every time I feel that I am fully back to normal, I am overwhelmed with both physical and mental fatigue. It is an uphill battle. I must go and lie down.

1 June Saturday

The gooseberries are not ripe, but they are ripening. They are hard and not ready to pick yet. I hope they do not ripen too quickly. I know that I must watch them carefully. Last year the birds had many more of them than I had. I do not have the energy yet to go out and fight for my share.

3 June Monday

The day has been in and out with every kind of weather. Believing it to be a great drying day, I hung out a laundry. Torrential rain fell in the middle of the afternoon. The rain stopped and then the wind began gusting. The washing line snapped with the combination of the extra weight of sodden garments and turbulent surges of wind.

4 June Tuesday

Mary, the black cat, never comes down from the farm looking for food any more. The big black and white cat who used to fight her for scraps arrives, as does a bad-tempered tortoise shell cat who is happy to fight with the black and white one. I do not have names for these two. I do not like them well enough to give them names. I rarely put out food for them anymore. They can go up and drink milk and catch mice at the farm which is what they are supposed to do anyway. Two magpies swoop down to check out any dish that is left outside. When one of the magpies eats, the other one sits on the table watching and then they change places. Simon is as delighted with them as I was with Mary. He wants to make a bread and butter pudding for the magpies.

5 June Wednesday

Maura is old and she is not very well.  Her two younger brothers came to visit her recently because she might not live much longer. They wanted to say their goodbyes.  One of the brothers lives somewhere in England. Near Gloucester, I think.  The other brother has lived as a missionary priest somewhere in Africa for forty-six years. One morning the priest cooked breakfast for Maura.  It was an egg fried in a square hole that had been cut out of a slice of white bread. He called it The Egg in The Window. It is the only thing he knows how to cook.  Maura said the egg was overcooked, but she ate it and pretended that it was delicious.

6 June Thursday

Applications forms are now available for anyone wishing to enter the Clonmel Show. As always, I peruse the categories eagerly. My favorite is No. 21. 6 Fruit Scones

7 June Friday

Today is election day all over Europe. We are voting for local councilors, as well as for Members of the European Parliament. I knew there were a large number of people running for these offices. We have received pieces of paper every day. Each piece of paper has been the exact same size with a photograph of the candidate as well as information about their party, or their independence from any political party. Some times the information was in both Irish and English. Sometimes the piece of paper was delivered to the door by a candidate, but most of them arrived with the postman. With two voters in the house we received two of everything. Signs with faces have been posted on trees and on telephone poles. Their presence changes our landscape. I am ready for these faces to be gone. We went down to the grade school in the village to cast our votes. There were at least 25 names on the MEP ballot paper. It was printed on a very long sheet of paper. I liked that each person’s profession was listed: Nursing Lecturer, Architect, Bricklayer, Barrister, Farmer, etc.

8 June Saturday

I am feeling better and stronger every day. I am taking fewer naps. I do not feel all the way well, but the terrible weariness is finally fading.

11 June Tuesday

Last night, Breda convinced me to join herself, Siobhán and Jean for a walk in the mountains. She promised that it would be a gentle walk, and not too long. I said yes. I fell asleep wondering what I might take with me for my lunch. I knew we had no more bread, so I could not make myself a sandwich. In the morning, I changed my mind and said no. I did not know if I could make a two and a half hour walk. I did not want to slow the others with my weakness. Then I said yes, and off we went. We started at The Vee, just to the right of the painted arrow, and we climbed steeply for a bit.  When the path evened out, we walked along the side of Sugarloaf. We passed close by the Grubb Monument, which is the tomb of Samuel Grubb, a lapsed Quaker, who died in 1921. Before he died, at the age of 65, he designed a beehive shaped stone grave for himself. He said that he wanted to be buried standing up straight so that he could keep watch over ‘his people’ and ‘his fields’. He was indeed buried vertically, but locals claim that the men doing the entombing placed him into his grave upside down, so that his head is at the bottom, not at the top. He was not as popular with the masses as he thought he was. It is said that his dog is buried with him.

We continued down as far as Bay Lough and ate our lunch by the lake, the hills covered by masses of rhododendrons just coming into blossom. I returned home completely exhausted, but for the first time in weeks, it was a good kind of tired not the debilitating kind.

14 June Friday

Rain. Hail. Sun. Rain. Cloud. Rain. Hail. Hail. Sun. Hail.  Another day full of rapidly changing weather. It is not the same for more than a few minutes at a time.