12 August Wednesday
Every night there are slugs in the bathroom. I never find them anywhere else in the house. That is not to say that they are not anywhere else. I just do not see them anywhere else. I throw at least two out the window each evening. In the morning, I try to remember to pick up the pieces of tissue off the ground outside. Maybe the same two or three slugs just creep back up the wall and into the window every day. Even on the nights when I do not see any slugs, I know they have been there. I see their wiggly trails all over the steamed up mirror in the morning.
11 August Tuesday
Mary arrived this morning. She and Simon had just started working on their separate computers. I was half-way listening to them discussing plans for the day and halfway listening to a lot of noisy bellowing from the cows in the field. I looked out the kitchen window and saw two cows in the yard. I rushed out and Mary rushed out behind me. We chased the cows down the meadow and they jumped over the banking back into the field the way they had come in. They had broken through the last section of the fence. Maybe they wanted to get at the apples. Just as we were congratulating ourselves, we discovered five more cows running up towards Johnnie Mackin’s. Or they had been running up towards Johnnie Mackin’s but now they were coming back. They saw us and turned around again. Simon was guarding the place where the cows were trying to come back in from the field. Each time he turned his back a cow jumped the banking. Mary followed the ones up the boreen and managed to drive three of them back down and over to Simon. Joe was on holiday but I got through to his brother Michael who was just having a cup of tea. He came rushing down with Tommie, the young man who is taking care of Joe’s herd while he is away. It was all exciting and chaotic. They both had short lengths of stiff black rubber hose to wave at the cows. We had sticks. Two of the cows who were being pursued up the mass path by Mary crashed over another banking and off into Paul’s field. Tommie went after them and drove them across the high field toward Paul’s farm yard and eventually to the road. Except for those two, the rest of the cows are back on their own side of the fence. Every single one of them is lying down and they are all silent. The broken fence is blocked off with one of Simon’s old wooden gutters. He has been wanting to find a use for those gutters.
10 August Monday
John the Post is not well. He had surgery last year. I thought he was getting stronger but he is now off work again. When I last saw him a few weeks ago, he did not look good. He was in a lot of pain. For now we get our post delivered by Mick or Tom or Lee. If Lee is on, the delivery is very early in the morning. He arrives so early that we rarely even see him. If Mick or Tom are on, there is a chance we will receive some news about John.
9 August Sunday
I strolled down the meadow path this evening. Earlier in the day Simon finished making a new bench which he made with a long piece of Douglas fir. He had been saving the wood for a long time waiting until he knew just what to do with it. The new bench was just the right thing. I sat on the new bench and looked at the pink clouds. It was a beautiful evening. I admired my new vantage point. I had never sat in just this spot. I knew right away that I would enjoy sitting exactly here in the future. I thought about Em and about how often I had stood down there in the dark just waiting for her to finish barking and to come back and join me. I thought about sitting on the bench in the darkness later in the year. It might be a bit lonely to just sit there unable to see a thing if the sitting were not also waiting. Tonight the cows were all in the adjoining field. I could not see them through the bushes, but I could hear them pulling and tearing grass. It was a companionable kind of quiet.
7 August Friday
I spoke to a young man who regretted that he had never been inside a pub where people were smoking. He was too young. The smoking ban had already been in place well before he started going to any pub. He had heard of the strong smell of old cigarette smoke mixed with the smell of fresh cigarettes and pipes and cigars. He had heard stories about yellowed paintwork and nearly brown ceilings after years of smoke held inside in bars with closed doors and closed windows. He was proud that the ban on cigarette smoking in public places was one of the first such national bans. But he sort of felt like he had missed something.