Wednesday, 23 November 2016
I've come across a photograph of the shed that was taken last summer. It's not much tidier now, I must admit. But it does show the full, rich life of the writer (too busy thinking of poetry to tidy the place) and those oblong things on the left of the photograph are sods of turf. Peat, some people call it. That is the way everyone in rural Ireland used to heat their houses and it's the fuel over which all the cooking happened. My neighbour Johnny Geary still heats his house with turf only,and there are thousands like him, so it's far from just a piece of history. Cutting, turning, (so that the top side is out of the wet ground and dried by the wind and sun) turning again and turning yet again, thousands and thousands of sods is the backbreaking work that produces the turf in the shed. Not to mention stacking it for further drying in the wind and then throwing onto a cart and finally - finally! - throwing it from the cart to the shed. Some people like to add another little layer to the work by dumping the turf from the cart into the yard and then stacking it neatly. I am not one of those.