A bit of a rough week overall

It’s been a bit of a rough few weeks here overall. Some of it was good with progress on several fronts but, as with life in general, some was not so encouraging. We finally got the hospital appointments for Jacqui, after changes to times, changes to dates and cancellations. The first, last Monday, was for an ECHO (Echocardiogram) and this was good news. Her heart is fine, not damaged and working well. We were quite relieved by this as we’ve been working hard to make sure she is strong enough for surgery if necessary.

Wednesday was supposed to be the appointment with the cardiology professor but again it promised much and delivered nothing. We got a registrar again – thankfully a different one from last time. We probably wouldn’t have stayed otherwise. It was one of the staff who had worked so valiantly when she had the “episode” in hospital so that looked hopeful but alas he reverted to type. It is almost impossible to actually talk to most doctors let alone have a proper conversation. There are some exceptions of course and we are so fortunate to have one as our GP. He is ace! Just the sort you want. Generally however they sit behind a desk delivering “the message” with all the grace and empathy of a machine gun. The message in this case was “You’re stable so go home and keep taking the tablets”. No further intervention unless there’s an emergency.

The Bird Sanctuary
Two of a number of shells

That left us rather down, understandably. We are looking at different options and considering what we can do to improve matters. Short of our own attempts at surgery on the kitchen table of course. It made for a rather subdued St Patrick’s Day for us, enlivened only by a local dip-stick driving a digger down the road and firing about 10 shots into the bird sanctuary just over the road. I suspect he was a bit inebriated – it was 3.30 and his face was bright red. He also left evidence – the shotgun shells, probably complete with fingerprints – scattered in the hedge. Not the actions of a thoughtful person I would say. Life is certainly different here. We did get some interesting green-iced cakes for the 17th so didn’t ignore it completely, even though they look a bit like “Fungus the Bogey Man” treats.

A bit battered but still serviceable.

On the plus side we have got a rather battered but serviceable tractor type mower. With my floppy arms and Jacqui’s health we will struggle to keep the grass and brambles down again, especially in the wood. If we can’t keep up then all the gains from the last year will be lost so now I need to learn to drive a mini tractor. I have done it once before, when working at Brean Sands holiday park, but that was 35 years ago. Still, we will start in the wood and I’ve downloaded the manual so what could possibly go wrong?

The solar system is switched out now but like most things here it’s not finished yet. Tom, the pump man, was supposed to be here to move the pressure vessel/pump and pipes on the same day. Through no fault of his own he couldn’t get here so will have to come another day. We do have water but it is not properly set up yet. And now the solar panel man who is the electrician for the system says he’s completed his job and won’t be coming back. We have a lot of almost finished jobs all around the house, many of them stopping us from completing the unpacking and actually using some rooms.

There seem to be far more “specialists” in Ireland. Plumbers won’t work outdoors, that’s for drain men who won’t touch anything vaguely indoors. Builders don’t plaster or paint – or lay floors. There are indoors and outdoor electricians. With the shortage of labour at the moment this means everything takes weeks to arrange, in tiny steps.

The silent bird deterrent

On the plus side I think we have solved the problem of the bird bashing at the window. We cut some pieces from a couple of plastic bottles and attached them to the fence and got a rather extravagant windmill. It’s supposed to stick in the garden but Jacqui mounted it on an old piece of scaffolding board. The bird returned, made one half-hearted lunge for the glass, hovered like a hummingbird for a few seconds and flew away in disgust. Thank you Lesley for your excellent advice!

To cap off the rough few weeks however, the rats are on the march again. I spotted one gobbling up the contents of the bird table and chased it off on Thursday. On examination I saw several new holes at the base of the wall, below the lawn level. Recalling my previous attempts, I applied expanding foam with some caution. This type is horribly sticky and I got a small amount on my fingers where it began to act like super glue. Water, washing up liquid and various soaps were all useless. I finally resorted to a pan scourer, removing several layers of skin along with the smears of foam. Should have read the label and worn gloves!

The “Impossible” Puzzle!

So there we are. A bit of a rough few weeks but we still move on – and spring is definitely peeking round the corner. And I have finished the “impossible” jigsaw.