“The Slog of The Bog”
As a “Townie”, “City Slicker” Jackeen who moved to the country three years ago, there are many changes that I needed to get used to.
The first is everyone knows who you are as soon as you arrive and you know nobody. Now that’s an unfair advantage if I ever saw one.
The world seems so much quieter. You can hear the birds singing everyday not just in springtime. People wave to you as they pass you by on the road. There is a tremendous sense of community, whether you like it or not. I tend to embrace that closeness now
Last year during our terrible summer I was initiated in the joys of drawing turf from a midlands bog. Every time we went it rained or had been raining and it proved to be a highly exhausting experience. The ground was wet, the turf was soaking and the body was cold, but as they say down my way, “It has to be done”
Last weekend, the hottest of the year I returned to the same bog with family and friends to gather and stack our heating for the coming year, or as they say down my way “we went to make some “Stucks” whatever that means.
The sun was shining the birds were singing, the car radio was blaring and the Mi Wadi was flowing. It was great fun. The wider family, brothers, sisters, wives girlfriends and children all together in the age-old pursuit of keeping warm.
The sun was splitting the stones and there we were worrying about the coming winter.
The conversation flowed as we made our way up the rows of cut turf. The slagging of the “Dub” seemed to be the number one topic, but I stood firm and took it like the soft-handed city boy that I am.
Gloves or no gloves were another topic of conversation.
The older lads in the group tended to go commando and I am sure they are still trying to get the pieces of sod from out under their nails, but they seemed not to care. I on the other hand wore the gardening gloves and took the glares of distain as they were issued
The sense of family and teamwork was a sight to behold. Everyone doing his or her bit for the common good. After three solid hours of work I was knackered, ready to quit on the spot, but I was not about to admit it, then I heard what could be considered in the circumstances the most beautiful word in the English language – “Pub”
The work was complete and we were off for a late afternoon pint.
On the way there was deep discussion on whether we should pop home and change before we went. This is where I came into my own.
I am going for a pint now. The blackened knees and arms were my “Badge of Honour” and I was not about to give up the opportunity that some of the locals might see me and think. “Jasus look at yer man, he can’t be too bad if he helps in the Bog”.
There were no detours we did not go to jail; we did not collect 200.00 pounds. We went straight to the pub.
I took up residence outside in the bright afternoon sunshine and watched as the ice in my glass cracked as I poured in my pint bottle of fermented apple juice.
I sat and waited a second and then raised it to my lips, took a large gulp and in that split second, the previous three hours of torture had become a distant memory
This country can on occasions like this be a truly special place to live.