I’ll just run to the creamery he says, anytime we have to go anywhere in a hurry. When timing an event on a farm, well on this farm in any rate, you have to factor in the ‘just’ time. Just one more round of slurry to spread. Just one more round of cows. Just one more load of silage to give out. Just one more cubicle to clean out. You’ll never, I was told by a neighbour on marrying, have empty hands on a farm. In a given twenty four hours there is so much work to get on with. And it never ends really. You have to give the farmer plenty of notice as he will always find another job that needs doing as priority when he’s about to leave the yard.
I was once upon a time punctual, most likely ridiculously so. I would stand over the clock-in machine with minutes to spare so that I wouldn’t be late back to my desk in the office. And then I learned cow time. Twice a day milking came to signal morning and evening. The flexible clock showing lunchtime and dinnertimes as movable feasts and bedtime comes when you find your body involuntarily throws itself down with the tired at the end of the day. And most likely, you’ll never be on time for any event ever again. Before you know it you’re on the mountain road between Lyreacrompane and Castleisland, Kerry’s own natural rollercoaster, with three young children in the back roaring at the time that has caught us out again. The audacity of the clock to move so fast. Santa Claus will wait for us don’t worry boys.
And when finally you reach your destination, this evening to meet a certain fella in a white beard, you relax. You enjoy immensely your time off the farm, when paper work and pitchforks are that little bit out of reach. Time off is so precious that we take our time over conversation with others, enjoy that bar of chocolate with coffee and watch our children out in the world. I’ll just have one more cup he says and we settle down, just in time.