Bert generally does not tell me things. So I wasn't a bit surprised yesterday when a large truck containing stones arrived on the yard. As Bert thinks receiving a load of stones an important task accomplished it would therefore be deserving of a cup of tea. When he came into the kitchen I attempted to engage him in conversation.
What are the stones for?
No. Tell me what they're for.
Just tell me. Other husbands tell their wives things.
The back garden!
And off he stomped clutching his cup of tea in hand.
Did I ever mention that he's not really a morning person?
I pondered this information. The back garden? We have various areas around the house that could be described as garden but I wasn't sure which he meant. And why would he be needing stones for it? Gardens are my department too. I deserve to be consulted.
I broached the subject again the next time he came in for refreshments (thirty minutes later).
So, exactly where is this back garden you speak of? Back of where?
I didn't say back garden. I said stack garden.
Yes. Every farm has a stack garden.
Round the back. Where the pigs are.
Bert – In nearly thirty years I have never once heard you call any part of this place the stack garden. Have you just made that up?
I have to say here that the naming of places is something we
argue about discuss often.
Bert went on to argue that this area, which I call the pig paddock, has always been referred to as the stack garden and that if I had been brought up on a farm, as I claim, then there would have been a stack garden.
And what would this stack garden be used for?
What kind of stacks?
Hay! Corn! Logs!
No. We had sheds for those and the hay was baled and stored in a hay shed.
He continued to insist that all farms had stack gardens and I argued that stack gardens were all in his head or else something only hill-billies know about.
Currently his names for fields are,
The Field Across The Road
The Corner Field
The Hall Field
The First Hill
The Second Hill
The Third Hill
The Big Hill
He claims not to remember the names of the six fields planted in trees apart from The Whinny Field. These fields are now known as The Trees. I pressed him on this and he managed to recall that two of them had been referred to as,
The Wee Field On The March With Gregg's
The Boag Field
Boag Field. Do you mean bog?
It rhymes with doag*. So what did you ones call a boag then?
We called it The Moss and cut turf in it. We didn't make a field out of it.
Youse were that grand out at Tannaghmore.
I'm certain sure that when I met Bert he didn't speak of doags, boags or stack gardens. And he used to (I think) tell me things so when the man from the quad bike shop pulled into the yard this morning I thought he wanted to buy a tree, or perhaps he was looking for directions. But no. Bert has bought a quad bike. And never said.
*doag - dog