Oh dear! Christmas came early for the turkey!

I live in rural Ireland and we had snow last night. Today was bright and fresh, so I went for a walk down to the village before lunch. The road conditions are very slippery. The minor roads here have not been gritted at all and in places are covered with ice. On my return trip I was met by a surprising sight, a 50 or so yards short of my home.

As I came round a bend, and approached a dip in the road, I could see two large pick-ups at the side of the road, both with hazard lights flashing. I assumed (rightly) that there had been some kind of incident, but I couldn’t have guessed what I would find. As I got closer I could see several crates in the road, so I thought that perhaps one of the pick-ups had shed its load. When got to the actual scene I found something rather different. Between the two pick-ups, and still attached to the front one, was a small horse-box, lying on its side. The horse-box had jack-knifed. Had the pick-up been a lighter vehicle, I expect it would have been turned over as well.

The crates were the load which had been being carried in the horse-box – live turkeys for Christmas, on their way to slaughter. As you can imagine, being upended like that had not been a good experience for the turkeys! Some of the turkeys were alive and unharmed but looking a bit puzzled, some were dead and some were injured. The people in the pick-ups were in the process of separating the living from the dead and dispatching the seriously injured at the side of the road. Everything was under control, even if the scene was a bit chaotic. Fortunately nobody seems to have been injured. I don’t know how they are going to right the horse-box, but I’ll check on progress a bit later.

All in all, not a nice experience for the turkeys, and not a good start to the Christmas period for those involved… and my wife has already ordered and paid for our turkey!

And a brief update on Christmas Eve:
This even made it into the local press. The Corkman (Wednesday December 23rd, 2009) has an item “Turkeys killed” on page 2. The story says there were “at least 40 turkeys in the trailer” and a Garda (Irish Police) spokesman is quoted as saying “The rest of the turkeys were fine, but four didn’t make it”. I’m disappointed that he didn’t say that the rest were on the critical list, and not expected to survive the week. Unfortunately the story didn’t make the front page, or a mention online! I suppose the editor was using it as “filler” (or maybe that should be “stuffing”).

Planning changes – and a white field of view

It’s happened at last. The end is in sight. I can see the objective (metaphorically) but I can’t see that far into the distance (literally).

I’m writing this looking out of my patio doors across the garden in the direction of the other side of the valley. The ground is covered with a light dusting of snow (not more than half-an-inch or 1 cm) and there some fog which limits visibility to 100 yards or so. Sometimes in the fog I can see the ghosts or shadows of trees. According to the digital thermometer, the temperature outside is just below freezing. I slightly distrust an instrument which declares “-0.5 degrees C”, but I’m sure it’s right, at least within the limits of its own accuracy and the location of the sensor.

I’m now in Ireland and planning to remain here. I have been persuaded to retire from full-time employment, so there is no longer any real need to base myself in the UK. I need to return there in the New Year to tidy up some “loose ends” but after that I will be in Ireland (unless of course I decide to travel elsewhere! 😉 ). The tidying up will be very literal and practical. I have a house which I have effectively moved out of, but which still contains remnants of my possessions, and just plain junk.

The prospect of impending “retirement” is both challenging and liberating. Challenging; because it represents a major change in my life, and a change in income. I shall have to watch the pennies for a while. Liberating; because I have exchanged money for time, less money (or less certain money) but the freedom to use time as I choose. The question I’m working with, is: “What to do next?”. As if as a omen, the fog has cleared, and I can see the other side of the valley. The sky is blue, even if a little snow is falling. Somehow everything looks brighter. A plain white canvas on which to write or draw something new!