It was dark and the wind had picked up so we could hear the rain hammering against the windows of the pub. There wasn’t much point in going outside and getting wet to go back to the Cottage so we stood by the bar and took another pint. We saw the lights of a car pulling up outside. The lights went off and the man with a black beard walked in bringing the wet and the weather and air with him.
He shook out his hair as he closed the door pushing it back against the force of the wind.
‘Feck there’s some weather’ he said. ‘You could fill a bath with cold water with the weather out there.’
He walked up to the bar and Mary started to pour his pint.
‘This is a bastard month. All there is to it is grey sky, the wind and the wet. Have you ever seen a hill so bleak as it looks out to the world in February. There is nothing to grow on it and its as dull as the blade on a blunt knife.’
‘The only good thing about the month is there are no fish. Feck it’d be miserable to take a boat out in a month like this. Did you hear Tom Cronin here the other night telling the world that he was sick of mackerel and swearing on his last pint that he would not sit down to eat with the fish again? Well you give Tom Cronin the month of February to sit through and there’d be no feckin’ fish on his plate and he’d be hungary by then end of it.’
He took his pint from the bar and drank at it.
‘You missed the weather a month ago but you’ll still be clearing away the beach from your lawn. That house has been there two hundred years so you’ll not be worrying that some wind, rain and a bit of seawater will be washing it away but the weather that night was something to see. The sea it came in on the pier and it hit so hard you couldn’t see the top of the lights down there. What are they forty foot high and the light from them was wiped out by the sea.’
‘And it went at it like that for the whole of the night. We stood here and waited for the tide to go back and the water to go and it was if the moon had turned on its back and the tide stayed up and the water kept on coming in. Outside of here on the road going down there was a foot of water on the road coming down from where the stream up there had quit its banks and given up on its path down to the sea.’
‘You were lucky that all you had on the lawn there was stones and seaweed. Any other time of the year with a sea like that you could have been picking up mackerel from the grass there to have for your breakfast.’