I'm on a farm in the middle of the Irish countryside, possibly in Clonfeacle,* which may be the most unpleasant name for a town I have ever heard. I am wearing waterproofs supplied by Chris and wellies supplied by a farmer's wife. They are slightly too large and the ground is soft from recent flooding, so every step is a tug of war between myself and the earth. At the moment I am winning but I don't fancy my chances against the elements. As soon as I put pen to paper the page is spotted with rain. It looks like a love-letter, never sent.
Chris has taken a photo of me in my all-terrain clobber, of course, as it is hilarious. And I suppose it is hilarious. I can't remember the last time I had a pair of wellies on but I suspect it may have been on a school trip to...actually, I don't know if I even had wellies as a child. I can vividly remember having some "bumper-boots" (Edward threw one into the English Channel. I had to walk home with one shoe from the sea-side)sandals, (I knew they were wrong even then) some crepe-soled pointy black things with a tricolor on them (I'd probably still wear them)some pointy grey suede slip-ons (which I probably wouldn't) and some naff white trainers (a proto-pub shoe). I even remember a money-box in the shape of a blue and white football boot, coincidentally the colours of Brighton and Hove Albion, my alleged team. But I don't ever remember owning any wellies. I know they were about because I've seen photographic evidence of my brother, Barry, wearing them. He is also wearing a plastic policeman's helmet in the same picture and maybe there was a comparative rareness between the two.
I'm here to hang about like a spare prick while Chris films a wind-turbine, some cows and a farmer. I went out last night and got drunk at the Century T.V. end of month booze-a-thon. As a consequence I have mad hair, pissy eyes and a frazzled demenour. I have also eaten a sausage and egg farl in a speeding car. I feel like I'm in the Sweeney. It's a grey day, there is little of interest going on in the sky as we try to film it. By the time we make it into the cow-shed however the rain is deafening on the plastic roof. The cows are unperturbed, ruminating. I find cows unnerving. They're too big and patient and docile, with steam constantly billowing from their nostrils. They must be furnaces inside. They stare at you, they follow you, but if you stare back they look away, lowering their heads. What do they think we are? The myth of the Minotaur starts to look very attractive. A man with the head of a bull would be a very handsome man indeed.
I'm now watching a farmer walking up and down in front of his cows like a general in front of his troops. Indeed he has pinned medals on some of them, right behind the ears.
On to the milking sheds! Again the cows are freaking me out. We are filming from a high gangway and the cows are lead into the milking shed by a tattooed giant with a broken nose and an apron. One cow spots us and stares us down. We both know that shower attachments are being clamped to her nipples, but she never breaks eye contact. In the back-ground Bobby Pickett's "The Monster Mash" is playing over the crackling tannoy system. It is genuinely odd. Sur-ruralism.
There's a toilet here with a picture of a toilet on the door. The word toilet is written on it too. I've never seen that before.
There is a fridge containing a box of "Combiclav: lactating cow, intra mammary suspension". If that wasn't disturbing enough it is stamped "includes four free leg bands".
*we are actually in a place called Bumburb, I think. I shit you not.