Making cheese

Although it had stopped raining we had decided on a fifth pint. There was no real flow to the conversation. In fact the conversation was sparse but the company and the view through the window was enough. Out over the bay the sky was starting to clear and the grey clouds were starting to turn light and white and over the hills of The Mizen the blue sky was starting to widen. Maybe the man was right and there would be fish tomorrow.

We finished our pints and the man looked up at Sinead and she got off her chair and started to pour another round. As she left the pints to settle the man looked at her again and she turned her back to us and filled two glasses with Powers.

‘It’ll help settle the stomach,’ he said as we snatched them down. The taste of it was raw at the back of my throat and I had to catch at my breath as it went down.

The man waited until the pints were put in front of us. There was no need to hurry now. We’d had enough and from now on it was just down to greed.

‘You’ve had the cheese from round here and you know why its good. Feck you look at the rain that came down today and the colour it gave to the grass. If you spend your day eating something as green as that it will be good for you. Cows they are supposed to spend some time of the day with their other stomachs thinking on the grass that they’ve been chewing but when its raining like that they will spend all day eating it down and that is the grass that makes the milk that makes the cheese. Feck you want to taste some good cheese you could go out there and chew at some grass and it’ll give it to you.’

‘Now the man from Wales that I told you about. The man Jones. He had some thoughts on the making of cheese. He kept his goats and if you have heard it right there are still some deep cracks in the rocks there where he put his rounds of cheese so that it would be ready. Jones would tell you that all good cheese started with goats and not cows and the cheese you got from a cow was cheating.’

‘Jones said that the making of cheese was easy. The first man to do it kept goats for their milk and they drank it at the end of the day and that was enough. Then one of those goats  cracked its neck or something and was left there dead for some days and when it was found there was nothing to be done. But the man who found it he took a knife to the pink balloon under its back legs and the milk there had gone hard and when he took it back home it lasted a while and they tasted it and it wasn’t so bad’

‘Now with a story like that you’d expect them to be up in the hills waiting for the next goat to break its neck so they could have more cheese. Well maybe they did for a while but them one of them just took the stomach from a dead goat and left it there with the milk and they were found with cheese.’

‘Its too sour for me,’ he said and we took at our pints.


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