Keeping secrets

Feb 20th, 2008 | By | Category: Ireland

They are both long dead.

He drove his tractor until the end. Each morning he left the house and drove to the farm. His daughter lived in the farmhouse and gave him his midday meal, each evening he drove home again.

His wife was a quiet and homely woman, their long low cottage was always warm and welcoming.

He never attended church, he had been a member of some evangelical group in the past but had long since lost any faith he may have had. She never missed, arriving Sunday by Sunday with a prayer book she hardly needed, for the variety of prayers in our little church was so limited that she must have known them all.

When they were both gone, there was a remaining air of mystery, nothing ever articulated, just odd comments, pieces of the jigsaw not quite fitting.

One family member was not like the others, even to a fellow barely in the place, there seemed a genetic mismatch. It was not something to ask about, anyway the odd one out lived a distance away.

It was sometime later that the picture became clearer, a bachelor farmer from another parish had let fields in the parish to a local family for some time. When he died his fields were left to someone with whom he had no connection, no connection at all, the person who didn’t match the rest of the family.

“Why would he make such a will?” I asked the tenant farmer who rented the fields.

“Why do you think?” the farmer replied and winked and walked on.

Country people are good at not saying things.

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  1. Ian you must have heard the phrase “I’m saying nothing!” Sometimes it says plenty!

  2. The mind boggles 🙄

    I have a very dear friend who is a farmer in deepest Herefordshire, who has remained a bachelor. I shall keep a look-out for any ‘secrets’ the next time we visit 😉

  3. Ian I remember this type of secret from childhood in Somerset. There was always a bit of mystery about the boy who lived at Turn Hill

  4. Steph,

    There seems to be a way in the country of keeping secrets as secrets, perhaps it’s because everyone would know who had told if a secret was not kept.


    I had forgotten about that – perhaps that’s part of how things remain hidden, we all learned not to speak and in not speaking, we forgot what we had heard

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