Thursday 28 June 2018

A Muck Sweat

Hi. As I write this it is half past 5 in the morning and a beautiful peachy-orange sun is rising into a(nother) cloudless sky right outside the back door. It is going to be another scorcher peaking up into the 29º to 30º area. The Woman of the House is still very much enjoying them, ambling about in her shorts determined to get "at least some colour" into her legs while batting away the mozzies. I must admit, my appetite for heat is a tad jaded at this stage but you will not see me writing a word of complaint; you only have to look at the endless cold, wet, snowy, windy blog posts from about September to April to know that we get enough of the "other stuff" and our memories are raw.

Blue skies
My current state of health has added its own seasoning to this mix. I am messed up completely and unable to do a stroke of work. Those antibiotics in the previous post ran their course and finished this Monday and although they had given me a promising explosion of 'productive' coughing, a muck sweat or two, bursts of dead-tiredness that had me snatching 2 hour naps morning and afternoon, they did not seem to free up my lungs. Shortness of breath still has me leaning, gasping on a fence after the shortest walk or easiest job.

Young ducks discover the pond.
I was back to the doctor's on Tuesday to see what was progressing but, not only was the real doc still away, but the very competent nurse who saw me was away too, and a locum was taking the calls. Obviously this means telling the story all over again and, in this case finding the locum unwilling to do anything positive as my notes were still not back from Sligo Hospital. So, take it easy Mr Patient and none of that heavy lifting / mucking out now (kinda got that one, thanks) and come back and see us next week when another new medic will be on hand to tell you whether your notes are back yet.

So, another week for me of shirking round the place doing a lot of healing sleep, while for Elizabeth, the stock tasks made a bit more interesting by the heat. All the birds and animals need extra attention to their water supplies, shade sheets for their runs (and even freezer packs for some). There are buckets and tubs everywhere. Those young 'Appleyard' ducks have outgrown their big Tupperware "bath" and the Duck-Master General has invented for them a paddly pool made from a big blue plastic fruit-juice barrel split in half and propped at a jaunty angle. Filled with a hose, this gives them a nice depth of water for some total-immersion baptism malarkey, one at once, supervised by Mumma-Duck.

St John's Eve fire heap
The perceptive among you (and those not knocked sideways by an excessive need to sleep in the shade) will have noticed that this post is 2 days late. I don't know what happened to Tuesday. I'd been a bit short on stories going into the weekend but on Saturday (23rd), Bonfire Night had happened so I was looking good for the Tuesday, business as usual.

Arsonist #1 soon has a good blaze going
Regular readers will know that the only day we can legally light bonfires in (Republic of ) Ireland is 23rd June, St. John's Eve, one of these Christian-ised festival dates presumably derived from Mid Summer's Day. The Ladies are traditionally meant to engage in lots of leppin' about, singing and dancing, while we blokes go in more for the feats of strength and athletic (cough) stuff. There was jumping through the fire and, I guess, the odd drink was taken.

Tha Appleyards get a new pond
There is also a fair amount of the 'warding off bad spirits' stuff. I read mention of a tall, herby plant which has the Irish name "hocusfian" (though I've not manged to find out what this is in English). Bonfire attendees would run round tapping their plant off as many folk as possible to pick up the bad vibes before throwing the plant in the fire. You could also pull up examples of all your most troublesome weeds and thrown them in which would ensure they were not so troublesome next year. Look out 'creeping buttercup', I say. I can see that working...hmmm..... the actual plant you throw into the fire would not trouble you again, I suppose.

January born lamb Tigger comes back from the butcher
In the morning, you could then scatter the ashes from the fire about your land to spread the good stuff about. If there was a new built dwelling in the village it was good to light the first ever fire in that hearth from the glowing embers of the St.John fire.

Apricot flan
Especially auspicious

No comments: