Did you know a baby cow can lick its own bottom, but a fully grown adult cow cant reach its rear? Fascinating. And indeed useful information. This is but one of many life lessons I have learnt since my return to the Emerald Isle. And here I was thinking I knew everything there was to know about Ireland, having spent a year immersed in its culture, surrounded by its cows.
I can also pass on to you the following recently learnt knowledge:
Lesson: Knitting is not like riding a bicycle.
Lesson: If one bus takes a corner at a certain speed – or velocity if you will – and a van travelling in the opposite direction at another certain vel-oc -ity attempt to pass said corner at equal times, the laws of vel-oc-ity – and also that guy who got hit on the head with an apple – dictate that said vehicles will collide. Therefore we can determine the following: Van plus Bus plus velocity squared equals Crash. I haven’t just learnt this, Ive experienced it so Im sure my scientific equations are sound.
Lesson: Greece is where my soul belongs.
This last lesson learnt in the days shortly after my arrival back in Doolin. Days of rain and (runny) noses. After three weeks in 20degree sunshine and a constant supply of moussaka, I arrived back in my surrogate home in peak condition (despite the moussaka), tanned and gleaming like a Greek goddess. Only to spend the next two weeks sheltering from the constant rain, hovering under the kitchen lights and next to the gas stove, vainly trying to maintain my colour. I emerged from my re-initiation into Irish-dom a dull, pale, regular goddess with a hacking cough and multiple stove burns…
Actually I wish I’d written to you about the rest of my time in Greece. I could have told you about the sunsets (though couldnt tell you much about the sunrises) and the whitewashed towns of Santorini lit up by the setting sun, the golden beaches of Crete, the bustling markets in Athens. A two hour walk up a river, climbing waterfalls, passing whitewashed churches. Old women in scarves. And donkeys. Sometimes old women on donkeys. And Canadians everywhere – but not on donkeys (and not on old women).
And I should have told you about the food. In Greece they have oranges that taste like oranges, the tomatoes taste like tomatoes, the snozzberries taste like snozzberries. And greek yoghurt with honey, and frappes sweet with milk. (And it is at this point that I realize that Greece is less where my soul belongs as it is where my stomach belongs). I have tried to recreate such edible wonders but they always seem to be missing something – special Greek herb and spice, or secret Greek msg.
About a week after my return, my moral drowning in the wet weather, I had the brilliant idea of taking up knitting again. Starting anew, forgetting about that half a sweater I knitted 10 years ago that’s probably still waiting in a box, in the dark, for someone to come and finish it. I hope you all feel very sorry for my abandoned sweater…all alone…and cold… and broken, unable to fix itself… Anyway, back to starting anew. I decided to stop by the wool shop in Galway to buy some fresh victim balls of wool to continue my cycle of wool knitting abuse and abandonment.
To get to Galway I take the bus. I get on at the normal stop and sit in my normal chair and look with my normal gloomy face out at the cows and everything’s going just normal until something happens. Something abnormal. As the bus is slowly negotiating a narrow road I see this calf bend around and lick its arse. Okay. And then I swear, I saw the mummy cow next to it see this show of hygiene and try in vain to reach round to its own behind. It seems adult cows grow out of this sort of thing, rather the same way baby humans grow out of being able to hook their ankles around the back of their neck. And the look on its poor face, of failure and resentment was just enough to break my heart. (And its true, when I see a baby kicking its feet up around its ears I feel just the same way as that cow). And that my friends, is why cows have dirty bums.
So Im just reminiscing about being able to do the splits, when something else very abnormal happens. Probably more abnormal than the cow thing. Our bus crashes. Or rather it scrapes. Buses aren’t s’posed to crash and they aren’t s’posed to scrape. Thats why nobody wears their seat belt and why the drivers are so friendly. But it happened. And it was right under my window where the scrape with the van ocurred. To my shame I was slightly amused after it happened, as the drivers were swapping details. But it did freak me out a little when I thought about what might have happened had our bus had a fight with a truck or a petrol tanker rather than a measly van. And I sat on the other side on the way back (the side opposite to the side of death) and closer to the driver so I could keep an eye on him, make sure he wasnt drinking or reading comics.
I did get my wool. And I did try to knit. I knew you had to knit one and purl one but I couldnt remember what those words actually meant – I was sort of hoping my womanly instincts would kick in and I could whip up a new set of cushion covers. After much trial and error I got the groove going and now there is an abandoned scarf thing cowering in the corner of my room. Every now and then I hear its little cry for attention and I pick it up and give it another row or two just to keeps its false sense of hope up, then I discard it and throw some clothes over it so I dont have to look at it.
Lately, in an attempt to actually see some of the world outside my room (and escape the cries of that poor little deformed scarf -cries that echo in my dreams…), Ive taken to biking down to the coast and sitting on a rock to watch the sun set – I have a sunset rock. Or wandering the fields while I wait for the sun to go down. There’s hardly ever anyone there so its incredibly peaceful, and Im left alone to contemplate life – and what Im going to have for supper when I get back. And on the bikeride home, in the half light of dusk, if I am very quiet…. and listen very carefully…. I can hear the most extraordinary, and ever so slightly frightening sound…of cows passing gas enmasse. Honest. Im usually deep in thought, on the brink of realizing my life’s calling, or the answer to the mysteries of life itself when.. parp….pffttt… and then Im back to wondering if I really do like Cheddar better than Edam.
Somehow, for some disturbing subconscious reason that I do not wish to uncover this blog has turned into a commentary on the backsides of cows which I realize is information not beneficial to either one of us. Sorry bout that.