1 October Tuesday
It is a simple method for making a tall support. One barrel is placed on top of another barrel. Both ends are cut off the top barrel. The bottom barrel might have its bottom cut off or it might be left on to help to keep the shape. The two are held together somehow while they are filled with a cement mix. When the concrete is hard this makes for a tall strong column. The column can be used to hold up a fence or a gate. I am sure it can be used for others things but what it cannot do is to be moved.
30 September Monday
Everything is Grand. An event is Grand. Dinner is Grand. The weather or a day can be Grand. Grand can be a refusal as well as a positive description. If someone is offered a cup of tea and they do not want a cup of tea they will say “No, you’re Grand.” Or “I’m Grand.” Getting the hay in before a rain is Grand. If something is suggested to do or to be done, the answer to imply agreement will be “Grand”. It is a multi-purpose word which gets used every day in a great number of ways. I doubt I will ever get all of the ways.
29 September Sunday
They call the mannequin Mandy. She is propped up near the potatoes when there are any potatoes growing. Otherwise she just stands or leans around somewhere outside. Robert had some duct tape wrapped around her private parts “Just for The Decency” he said, because her old clothes had worn out or blown to bits or somehow fell off when they moved to the new house. Brendan came up on his tractor to break up the soil with a rotavater. He was shocked by Mandy’s near nudity so he halted his work and drove all the way back to his own house and went upstairs and found some of the clothes left in the press by his mother. His mother has been dead now for at least ten years. He chose an outfit for Mandy and drove back up to Robert’s house on his tractor. Driving from Robert’s to Brendan’s house and back again is a slow enough journey on the tractor. It took Brendan most of the morning. He dressed the mannequin carefully and stood her up beside the ditch. He then finished the job he’d been hired for which was the tilling of the soil.
28 September Saturday
I meet the Dulux Man every Saturday. Every Saturday he asks me if I have found a new dog yet. Every Saturday I tell him I have not found a new dog. I tell him that I am not really looking. Or I say that I am not actively looking to find a new dog but if the right dog happened along I would not be averse to the idea. His current dog is a spaniel and she is perpetually eager to go. She is always tugging at the leash which helps to keep conversations with the Dulux Man brief. He tells me that he takes the dog out four or five times a day so sometimes people say to him that they have not seen him out walking that day but he says that his walking times are always changing and the dog does not mind so neither does he. He never speaks of the dog by a name. The dog is just She. The Dulux Man spends a while at the market talking to the people who are there every week. He talks to those who are customers and those who are vendors. He does not buy anything himself. He just talks. He always wears one of those fishing vests with many pockets. In the summer, he wears a sleeveless T-shirt underneath the vest and when the temperature drops he puts on a long sleeved shirt. It is only September but he has already moved into his long-sleeved mode. I do not know his name so I still call him the Dulux Man in my head. He does not know my name but he does not care. He remembers my dog and dogs are what interest him. One Saturday he told me that his mother was originally from Cahir but she moved over to England when she was young and that is where she lived and that is where he lived too somewhere near Lancaster until he came over here and he has been here since. These are the things I know about him. It is rare that we speak of anything except dogs.
27 September Friday
So far the cows have not arrived in the yard. They now appear to be held at a close distance by a thin string. It is that kind of white string stretched taut between metal posts. The string has a little thin bit of wire with an electric charge in it and I think the cows have learned not to touch it. Sometimes I do not believe there really is a charge in the string. I think the cows just believe there is a charge when they recognize the white string so they stay well away from it.
26 September Thursday
I have received a Jury Summons. I really do not want to sit on a jury again. It was 2016 when I did so before. The older man who was on trail was defending himself although he knew little or nothing of the legal process. He attended proceedings wearing the jacket, waistcoat and trousers from three different tweed suits. He did not wear a tie but his white shirt was clean and buttoned right up to the top. The case was confusing as it involved the accusation of himself entering a solicitors office and throwing a large quantity of used motor oil along the receptionist’s counter and onto the carpet. He made a terrible mess and then he raced out of town on a red bicycle followed by a female Garda on her own bicycle who stood up in court as a witness. After a prolonged flapping of papers, the accused announced to the court that he had never owned a red bicycle. Things in the courtroom progressed very slowly. After several days of this kind of slow procedure, the man changed his plea to Guilty and we. the jury, were sent home. I never understood why he was angry at the solicitor nor why he chose to throw oil around as a way to vent his anger.
25 September Wednesday
What a week for weather. Rain. Sun. Rain. Sun. Rain. Rain. Rain. It is hard to do much out of doors. I am keeping a close eye on the cows in Joe’s field. They are not in the near field but they are in the field just beside the near field. They are very close. If they come back tonight after milking and move into the near field as is their normal way, they will barely be contained. The fence is rotten. The ground is wet and the wood is wet and the fence is old and now it is rotten. It is not rotting. It has rotted. In the last few months, we have propped up bits of the fence and nailed lengths of wood along the horizontal parts but now our temporary fixes are not enough. The posts are rotting from the ground up. We know that Joe is aware of the problem. He will get around to repairing the fence when he has a chance. I just hope he doesn’t forget and let the cows into the near field because if they are in that field they will be here in our yard in a matter of minutes. With everything so wet and so squishy their heavy feet will make a terrible mess.
24 September Tuesday
A sparrow hawk sits on a utility pole between here and Old Grange. He has been on the same pole every day for a week. He sits very very still and moves his head slowly from left to right, right to left and left to right again. The movement is so slight he could be almost asleep. When he sees the prey he wants he swoops off from his pole and he moves fast. He is gone in a flash.
23 September Monday
The car situation is not as dire as feared. Mike says he can repair what is wrong next week and if we pass the re-test we can put off looking for a new car. Or else we can take our time looking for the right second-hand car. At least we need not leap into a decision.