After the dead porpoise yesterday~The Sad & the Dead~ it was time to head out onto the cliffs and have a look for some live ones so I grabbed the bike and aimed for Dunabrattin my regular whale watching haunt six hilly miles to the west.
It’s a little too early in the year for Fin Whales and though they are being spotted off Kerry and Cork along with Humpbacks and Minke it will probably be November before the sprats lead them our way. It wasn’t a good morning for watching as the wind was getting up a bit and there were a lot of white caps. I suspected it was a Bicycle Wind a wind which is in your face no matter what direction you go in.
In a sunny field outside Fenor a young foal was crashed out on the grass and I felt envious. I passed two pedestrians walking east from Dunabrattin in brown autumn walking clothes that made them invisible to motorists and wondered again at the disregard of my fellow countrymen for their own safety.
I got to Dunabrattin but the sea was too wild to see much and it was getting wilder. A sleek older couple in a black Dublin registered Mercedes pulled into the car park and left their car running as they peered out the window at the view before moving on. A man out walking stopped to talk to a couple in a camper van while his husky dog came unseen to where I was sitting and squeezed between me and the pillar that was beside me scaring the hell out of me.
There have been theories that humans and Neanderthals mated and more recently the discovery of another ancestor, the Denisovans have muddied our ancestry a little more. The invisible walkers, irresponsible dog owners and people who leave their cars running in beauty spots may look like me, talk like me and identify themselves as humans but they surely do not have the same antecedents as me. I’m still not sure how they get to be driving Mercedes though…
The wind and the clouds and the light meant the day was constantly changing. The mountains to the west blurred with incoming showers while the islands and sea arch of Kilfarrasy to the east were still lapped by turquoise dotted with the funereal black flags of lobster pots and there were some boats out. A charter boat, ripped a white trail west to Ballycotton light house where it was swallowed by a veil of rain, as if vanishing to the other side. The sea was iron-grey along the edge of the shower but the rain passed by to the south and the water lightened and calmed again.
Along the cliffs the crows tumbled and rolled as the gulls slid by on the air currents and far out to sea the gannets, their wings looking as if they were dipped in ink, dive bombed the water.
I gave up watching after an hour and returned the way I had come. The sun was out again but the wind had died so I didn’t get the push I had expected and had to pedal hard on the hills. True to form, when it rose again as I passed Annestown it was in my face. A Bicycle Wind for sure.
The shadows of the brambly ditches were inky on the pale grey tarmac as I pedaled, the blackberry dotted hedgerows flashed by. In a low field a black bull stood brooding over his harem of piebald cows. Dandelions and Rape Weed nodded at me from ditches that lined yellow fields toggled with bales. I passed a farmer spreading slurry as I cycled up a hill and nearly gagged as I was forced to take in gulps of thick, fetid air.
An old man with a stick walked slowly up the road outside Fenor village. Another man who looked like a cross between Larry Hagman and Ray Liotta marched out of his house fresh in sleeveless blue shirt. A white and tan Jack Russell stood in a drive way and pale sparrows flitted from fence to lawn. Startling white stones incongruously marked the gateway to a neglected house as the road curled and rose and dipped speeding me past the mini tableaux of every day life. Soon I was back in Tramore and whizzing down the hill to home.