A Happy New Year to All

It’s a bit late but may I wish you all a very Happy New Year.  It is getting lighter now, slowly but surely.  Soon there will be signs of spring and everything will start to grow again.  We will get the hedge trimmed before that happens!

January sky

We are past the worst of the cold spell here but it has been very wet – fearful wet, as they say.  The New Year brought some storms and heavy rain and the kitchen roof really began to leak.  The tiled floor is rather like a skating rink when it gets wet. We put mats and towels down.  A selection of plastic tubs caught the worst drips and thankfully no-one, dog or human, slipped and fell.  Faced with the usual problem of finding someone to repair anything we turned to our friend Piers for advice. He recommended a roofer called Morgan who has been a godsend.

Firstly Morgan kept in touch and let us know when he expected to call.  Secondly he not only knows the area, he knows the house.  Finally – he actually turned up.  After a heart stopping half hour walking across the roof and checking every slate he gave some dreaded news.  “A new roof”.  I sighed – it was what we hoped to avoid but if needed it can’t be.  Then he laughed and said, “No, just kidding yer.  Think it’s the lead on the joins.”  He showed me some pictures of the flashing which would have made a good collage.  The whole join is a series of mis-matched patches with a pair of long cracks in the centre.  He went away, got some lead and repaired the breaks in an hour.

Just in time as it turned out as a series of fierce squalls blew in that evening.  We watched anxiously but the roof was sound.  Morgan is coming back next week to do a complete fix, replacing the mishmash of lead with a continuous run.  The one thing you can count on in Ireland is rain so I cannot describe how relieved we are.

The long break always causes some problems especially up here where services are patchy at the best of times.  Well, I managed to get an abscess in a back tooth just after Christmas, the same day I broke a tooth on the opposite side.  I was not a happy bunny.  Our splendid doctors’ surgery emailed a prescription to our equally splendid pharmacist and I was beginning to recover in a couple of days. Everyone grumbles about the health service here but that was so fast and efficient.  I am grateful and impressed in equal amounts. Next week I’m heading to the dentist for the really nasty bit – think of me on Thursday please.

The other big problem we have at present is boiler fuel.  We have an LPG tank and a contract for remote monitoring and refilling.  After running the heating all day during the cold spell I checked the tank and it was below 20%.  I am a naturally anxious person so I rang the supplier who said they had arranged a delivery.  Nothing arrived. 

I rang again just before Christmas and was assured that they could read the tank. They would deliver our gas before it got too low.  Nothing arrived.  I rang this week and they said we didn’t have a remote meter but even so we should have had a delivery earlier that week.  I insisted they check and yes, we do have a meter. Though it’s not linked to our account.  But we are a priority now so not to worry. Our dial now reads 2% which is less than a little tank to run a caravan.

Tomorrow should be an interesting day.  We are expecting our gas delivery (yeah, right) and Jacqui has her first appointment with the Cardio Rehab unit.  It’s her birthday this week so I’m hoping the long-promised parcels will arrive too.  If everything goes to plan we will be celebrating later in the week, warm and dry and well on the road to recovery.  Well, you’ve got to have a plan haven’t you?

I got some lovely and different jigsaw puzzles this Christmas.  Two are wooden – beautiful things with pieces cut into animal and bird shapes.  Jacqui made me a smaller frame for them as the bits tend to slide around – until finished they’re more like mosaics than jigsaws.  I spent a happy few afternoons with them.  They really are quite stunning when completed and, unlike the second-hand puzzles from charity shops, have all their pieces.

As we are running the heating a lot less we’ve been mining the log pile and using the wood burner in the snug.  Piers repaired the door for us last month and the glass is now fixed properly. This means we’re not at risk of fumes.  We wait for a break in the rain to dash out and fill the dog-show trolley (now re-purposed) to drag a load inside.  Fergus and co did such a good job stacking it is all drying out very well and a few bits are sporting some attractive fungi.  However we are not tempted to try any of them. We remember the excellent advice from Wild Food Mary .

So that’s our New Year.  Stormy skies with occasional power cuts, a warm fire and lovely views when the sun comes out.  We have finally unpacked some of the stained glass and it makes a beautiful focus on one back window.  I hope we can continue to take the best of our old life in England as we move forward into our third year in Ireland.  That should make for a Happy New Year I think.

Keep well, stay safe and thank you all for reading.

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