Autumn is very much on its way in here and there are changes all around. Things are leaving and new things coming, some welcome and others less so. The past week has seen more and more swifts around the house. They line up on the electricity lines in the evening, all pointing in the same direction. Then after half and hour they disappear until the next day. On Thursday the garden was suddenly a dangerous place to be as they swooped low over the grass and dived off the roof, calling and performing elaborate tricks in flight. They stripped the food from the bird window and then all lined up, over two wires this time. Then on Friday – nothing. Well, a few lonely stragglers that were too late for the flight. We will miss them, though I don’t think the flies will!
Speaking of flies, they have been far fewer this year, although just a eager to bite any exposed patch of skin. I cleared out most of the hatching sites last autumn – with one exception. We don’t use the upstairs bathroom a lot and I noticed a large number of dead flies on the floor this week. Eager to clean up I opened the top window and was mobbed. A very unpleasant new thing had arrived and set up home around the frame and tiles. And possibly in the roof space too. I resorted to filling the room with fly spray and slamming the door as there were so many. Then I went outside to check if there was a dead body hanging from the chimney (there wasn’t). The wise survivors are leaving the premises, the new, young, and foolish are still coming but they are fighting a losing battle.
The new mower is a joy and we’ve been able to cut the grass again – twice in a month, yahoo! I say “grass” though being in Ireland there are clumps of moss scattered throughout. Still, it stays green so who cares? We were also going to do bit of the path in the woods and drove it round to the gate. Imagine our surprise to find several huge patches of wild mushrooms growing in the chippings from the Leylandii trees. Knowing very little about wild fungi we cut several to photograph and get an expert opinion before trying them. They don’t seem to last very long – a week and they are turning black and melting away. Anyone recognise them?
The wood never fails to amaze us. The path remains uncut as when we drove in we spotted several tiny frogs scrambling away. They are a lovely bright green colour with a black stripe and I reckon if we saw two as we entered then the wood is probably full of them. I’ve also seen a couple of brown newts too, one in the garden which is a long way from the wreckage of our pond. That, by the way, is a project for next year. We hope Fergus will bring his digger, clear out the debris and help us plant up a decent ecosystem. There is some water rising from the ground, some seeping in from the old peat workings over the road as well as the inevitable rain to fill it.
And the first of the storms has already passed. An amazing evening sky led to a night of heavy rain and winds. This one was called “Danielle”. Who thinks of these names?
Now, things leaving or lost – well my excellent old “Brother Brick” laser printer suddenly refused to feed any paper. I ordered a new roller, at a shocking price, but to no avail. I now have another, equally brick-like printer and a trip planned to the dump to dispose of the old one. I’m sad to see it go, not least as I’d just installed a new print drum. I’m still running an old computer whilst trying to find a decent replacement PC I can actually use. I will NOT use Windows 10 – a monster that seems to take control of everything – so am seeking something with Windows 7. I’m still using a 20 year old version of Word as I can’t cope with the newer “we will do everything!” versions. As I hope to get back to some serious writing this winter I need something I know and trust.
And finally we come to the writing. What can I say? Everything is now frozen as the publisher has called in the administrators. This is actually a good thing as Company House has just given two months’ notice to force the winding up. If they go ahead first then all “assets” become property of the Crown. And books are considered “assets”.
I was in despair when I read this – twelve years work seized and sold on without my consent. Yes, it is legal, though it doesn’t seem particularly moral.
We are hoping the administration will go ahead first however, hopefully next Friday. The moment it is official all book rights revert to us, the authors. All we need is the official documentation to prove our ownership. A dozen (or more) of us are keeping our fingers crossed. I have a new Alex Hastings book ready to go – it’s been ready for two years, waiting for publication. And half of a sixth novel too, though I’ve been too despondent to look at it recently. On the bright side, my collaboration with Jem Cooney is in its main proofing stage and looks good to go for Christmas.
So here’s to “Puppy Brian” and a good outcome on Friday.
Thank you for reading. I will post a quick update if I have any news from the administration meeting.