The village of mine, this sleepy, a bit drowsy place, where the sheep rule with crown and sceptre, suddenly wakes up on every Saturday morning. The reason is as simple as obvious, big SUV’s arrive from the towns, those who get off bang with the doors, as if we would need a wake-up call of those who want to experience the uniqueness of the countryside. For whatever reason they all wear Wellies or Dubarry boots, such as if they expect to pull a tractor out of mud hole in due course. Ohhh, the women sigh and look at the crooked house I live in. Cuuute, they say and then they all shoot many, many pictures with the newest iPhone. I do not want to know how many instagram accounts are full with“ look we went into the countryside and there we saw this old, tiny, tiny, crooked house“ and how medieval, a rather weird-looking women lives inside. People, who search for the unique experience do not feel offended by a fence and a bell, but just walk into the front-yard and make signs of surprise that inside, behind the window, someone sits, eats Porridge and tries to convince a big cat to move a bit, so she has the chance to catch a glimpse of the newspaper. But adventurer’s are most often not patient enough to fancy a cuppa or to chat, but rush on, they race down to the meadows where all the sheeps live. Sheeps, they cry, look, sheeeeps. In their enthusiasm they fumble through their bags and they produce the most awkward things from there. I saw people offering yoghurt and marshmallows to the sheep. The sheep looked offended and hurt in their pride. Now they do not even look up any more, but as soon as they see adventurer’s approaching, they move their back to them. That’s pretty direct. But adventurer’s of their kind do not mind or do not find in their dictionary „Sheep-English, English-Sheep“, the right expression. So they offer more stuff, just to be more ignored, take their obvious photo shots, and walk on. They storm across the churchyard, ignore the priest, who wants to offer a tour through the church, race up and down the three streets the village has to offer. Their cries of aahhh and oohhh are astonishing and widely to be heard.  Then, the good, fresh air we all enjoy here, makes hungry, they enter the village’s last and only store, run by the famous grocer’s wife, whose appearance would remind anyone of a Jane Austen novel, even those who never read Jane Austen. The grocer’s wife beams of joy, adventurer’s means big business and new gossip for the coming week. Only on Saturday’s the daughter helps out in the shop, while the vet is still stubborn and does not even think of asking her out to the pub, the grocer’s wife hopes for a Prince Charming of Dundalk or even Dublin. But so far, without success. Scones eat the visitors and apple crumble,they enjoy her famous Eggs Benedict the grocer’s wife serves with pride. But sometimes even the grocer’s wife gets a bit annoyed, especially when the adventurer’s won’t believe that there is no chance to get an almond milk triple shot latte, because the only coffee you will get is black as turf and comes with 3,5% milk, fresh from the farmer, the visitors have passed, before entering the village, but they drive far too fast to notice. When the vet enters to grab a coffee before he gets back to a farm to vaccine calves, all women present are close to a stroke, the grocer’s wife and daughter included. Rural masculinity at its best. But the vet does not care, he indeed is always in hurry. And in the early hours of the afternoon, the visitors head back home, amazed by the quietness, the peace and the uniqueness of the countryside. They all agree that food never tastes this delicious in the town and the air, so fresh, so clean. Then they leave in their big off-road cars. Half an hour later nothing, but a coke can there and a bit of trash there, reminds of the adventurer’s who are off to greater things by now. The grocer’s wife puts her legs on a stool, the vet is nowhere to be seen, the sheep turn themselves around normally, the priest plays chess with a neighbor, the pub owner smokes on the street, and I sit on the little stone wall, finally read the news and the sun shines warm on my back. We all breath out with deep relief and not because of the fresh air, but sometimes I wonder how easy it is to forget about all the perfect countryside pictures that the countryside is no paradise at all. The bus just comes twice the day, the library is closed, a cinema has never existed, the loneliness exists here as same as elsewhere, the fresh air does not help much against the boredom that exists here, and we all know the spots off-road, silent and sad, where again and again people are found who end their life in silence. Sometimes not even the vet can help, then the slaughterer arrives at a farm and we all stand in silence behind the windows of our so pretty, so picturesque, so very crooked houses.

2 thoughts on “Offroad

  1. Thanks very much! I adored the photos of Sarah Kirsch’s house. One of the poets I fell in love with immediately. I truly do envy you for the visit and hope you write more about it!

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