One person I met was a local farmer, born and raised and lived all his life in the house by the yard where we were standing. Yes, there are still people like that. Was I local? From across the bay, sez I, and pointed, because as you can see from the photo, up here on the mountain one can easily see across the bay. Takes less than half an hour to drive there. Ah, sez he, I was never across that way more than maybe three times in my life, no need to, you know? And town? Well now isn't there everything I need Grange-way? And the hay? Well now its a fierce wet time of it we're having. Interesting and interested.
I know the locals put on the bumpkin Irish for the tourists; I've been guilty of it myself, and, what's more, got a reprehensible amount of enjoyment from winding people up. But when you're local talking to locals you do receive all sorts of information and local folk knowledge just by chatting. A sense of place? Connection? Like minds? Whatever it is it gives me thinks to think.
On the way back I looked for and found the ancient enclosure I had noticed on the map. On the photo above, in between the two parallel field walls there is a transverse wall, like the cross bar on a rugby post. It is the back wall of an ancient enclosure which loops around in a semi-circle, but the rest is too fallen down to be seen clearly. (sorry, phone camera). An ancient enclosure, built more than a thousand years ago, still used as part of the field system. And outsiders wonder why our sense of history is warped, how yesterday can be five or ten generations ago and why we still tell the stories and muddle the 'when's'.
In East Africa I visited Olorgesailie a few times and there I found the same time warp that is all around us here. There were many ancient places like that in East Africa where the past and the present merge, which is partly why the Leakeys found so much in the way of artefacts, and why the Rift Valley is so well documented.