If the weather plays nicely tomorrow we're going on a graveyard exploration...I'm anxious to see a memento mori and I have heard there is one in the old burial ground in Roscommon town...they are the blatantly obvious reminders of mortality. Like a skull and cross bones for instance...
I've only ever seen two of those...both quite close together in a small burial ground, where there is also the remains of a round tower. I didn't have my camera the first time...the second time I went I simply couldn't find those grave slabs again no matter how hard I searched. But it was sunny that day, which is the worst weather for reading and seeing old inscriptions.
But that is for tomorrow...today we sort of fiddled about really and achieved little in the process. Though I've finished quilting the top of a small scrappy quilt for my bed aka the settee. It wouldn't do to look too closely at it mind you...the lines are a bit wonky...Heaton's...the cheap and cheerful shop...had very soft throws on sale, I've used one as the backing for the quilt. And I learned how to make another type of crochet flower by watching a video on YouTube.
Himself had seen a dubious looking heap of rubbish lying on the big river bed when he took the dogs out this morning so I went this afternoon to have a look...goodness knows what it is. It doesn't look very nice...much like a long dead animal actually. But the water lilies are coming out and the fish were jumping and it was so quiet and peaceful...not a sound, but for the plop of a fish landing back in the water...we wandered about for a while and lamented the demise of the Bishop's old fishing cottage...no point in my trying to take a photo because it's smothered in the hateful Japanese Knot Weed.
It's been many years since the Bishop spent his weekends there...pottering about in his garden and going sailing on the river with his cronies. I suppose the Church must have sold it after his demise...it passed into private hands anyway, about fifty or so years ago. Now it's a sad little place.
The river crossing must have been really busy before the bridge was built...there were few cars in the district then...everyone was still using donkeys and pony carts to move the turf from the bog and hay from the fields...there wasn't a ferryman though. It was a sort of raft which was attached by strong ropes to each side of the river and you hauled on them to bring the raft to you and float across to the other side. That'd be fine at this time of the year when the water level is low and the river flows along slowly...but in winter, when the banks are under water and the river is a seething torrent, it must have been awful hard work.
Paddy knows a great deal of the history of the street and he's lived through some of it, being in his late seventies now...it is he who tells us the stories of bringing cattle home from the fields on the raft...sometimes they'd be skittish and would jump off into the water and go wandering down the river...Paddy owns the land which was once the Bishops flower garden...our two old boys spend their summer there, munching on brambles and lying in the sunshine. It's odd to think it was once neat flower beds with a productive vegetable patch...only cabbages and tatties of course.
Paddy's small barn has an upstairs room where the Whiteboys held their illicit meetings...the Whiteboys were an illegal faction fighting against the English landlords for better housing and working conditions but they were short-lived as a society, having poor leaders who were hell bent on violence rather than negotiation. Not that violence much bothered most of the illegal factions...some positively revelled in it, and paid the price when they were caught, with transportation for life or hanging at the next Assizes.
I'd like to have seen it all...liked to have witnessed donkeys and their carts laden with new mown hay coming across the river...it'd have been interesting, to say the least, to be privy to a Whiteboys meeting under cover of darkness one night...I'd liked to have seen the corn mill on our little river in operation...it's in ruins now. And to be privy to the people coming to and fro to the lime kiln to collect lime for painting their homes and animal houses...the Bishop would have been a funny old man I expect...in his dusty black robes and wearing hob-nailed boots, without the benefit of socks. He probably drank Irish Whiskey to excess, unless the local people gave him bottles of potent poiteen...maybe he drank both. And he'd have eaten fresh caught fish for his supper.
I'd not really want to join in...standing on the periphery would be quite enough for me I think...but wouldn't it be grand if that were possible.


The beautiful river Lung.