I am sitting here tapping on the keyboard, door open. Across the landing in a darkened room, door also open, sleep Martha and Evie. I had to go out tonight for a few hours so Bert was the one responsible for putting them to bed. He did OK. One out of two isn't bad. When I got home Martha was asleep but Miss Evie was wide awake. One yogurt, a nappy change, brush teeth and a story and she was sleeping too. She'll still be up at six am tomorrow.
On Monday I went to Eelburn, just me and the brown dog. When I was in Vancouver I decided that there would be no more respite for Pearlie. She was becoming thoroughly fed up with it and the thought of going into residential care for two weeks at a time was spoiling her life. From now on we go on respite, she stays at home. That was what my three days in Donegal was about. I thought I'd be lonely but was not. It was so relaxing to have nothing to do. I spent a deal of time just staring into space. How come I never realised how great that is? Just staring into space. Wonderful. Judy and I did lots of walking and clambering over rocks which was fun but sadly I appear to have overused my knees which became apparent this evening.
For this evening there was lots of kneeling and up and downing at the chapel for it was Cousin Joe's anniversary Mass. One year since he died. The service was beautiful with astounding music. While he was ill last September, too ill to receive visitors any more, I passed some time picking blackberries. Tonight when I got back Bert had opened a bottle of blackberry wine made from last year's picking. It was pretty fine. I wish I could have given Joe a share of it.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Seamus Heaney's grave, Bellaghy
We were in Portglenone yesterday collecting vegetables for the kune kunes and decided to drive over to Bellaghy to visit Seamus Heaney's grave. It is just over a fortnight since he was laid to rest in that quiet cemetery and, it appears, that there is not a daylight hour passes that his grave is without visitors. It is a beautiful spot, Heaney's last resting place. Homely. I found myself thinking, as I've often thought at graves - Taken far too soon. There was still so much to do.
And that is the way it is. We live and we die.
Last year when I picked blackberries I filled my ears with Sebastian Faulks' Birdsong and Nelson Mandela's Long Walk To Freedom. This year, no iPod so I just did thinking. Last year I thought about blackberry wine and jam and crumbles. Last year my audiobook blocked out anxious thoughts about my cousin Joe who was dying from a brain tumour. This year I thought of the very first Heaney poem I ever read. The blackberry one. I must have been in my early teens, the poet in his late twenties. It was the first piece of poetry I'd ever come across that spoke of the life I knew. I recognised that lust for picking.
So I picked blackberries and I got scratched and stung, my fingers stained purple and I thought about how fleeting and ephemeral life can be. We live, we die. We wither, we rot. No matter how much we love people, no matter how much we need them - they might leave us. Or we leave them.
Morbid? No. It is just life. Which is for living. The very best we can.
And that is why I will be making wine from my blackberries.
Monday, September 09, 2013
This has been my birthday weekend. Big special birthday, sixty years old. Guess this means I'm old now but being a glass half-full sort of person, I like to think I'm still on the young side of old.
Some of our guests