A summer of “plagues” in Tipperary

Summer has always brought “plagues” to most places and Tipperary is no different.  Many of these are due to moving into a house that has always been a rental property.  With the really big plague – Covid – still circulating the rental market has collapsed.  This brought our house onto the market (definitely not a plague!) but has exacerbated some issues. 

Left empty for almost two years, a lot of uninvited guests moved in.  I’ve already introduced you to the rats.  We got very serious about them when I was using the upstairs bathroom.  Glancing down I saw a furry little snout poking out under the loft door.  It was too large to be a mouse (I’ve suffered a plague of them before in bed-sitter land).  We sealed the gaps with expanding foam and invested in bulk tubs of poison.  I was in a hurry and really should have read the instructions for the foam first.  Who knew it kept on expanding so much?  Fortunately the rats did not keep expanding and we seem rat free at the moment.

A bit over enthusiastic with the filler

Way back in February I opened a door downstairs and was greeted by a swarm of flies.  They were literally everywhere – flying, crawling, battering at the window.  A nightmare encounter.  We rode into town and grabbed a can of spray – there was no other way to contain the insects.  The woman in the shop was sympathetic.  Empty houses are plagued by this, she said.  The flies get in, hatch, nest in every corner and just multiply.  Over the past months I’ve tackled a swarm in every room – twice in some.  Now we have a heat wave and they are back, in even greater numbers.  We’ve put up fly papers, sprayed empty rooms and are waiting for our rechargeable zappers to arrive.  Meanwhile I do occasional hunts with a very efficient swatter. Jacqui is of the opinion I have “fly rage”.

One tiny bit of my floor this morning

The plagues of Egypt included frogs and we have frogs but I don’t consider them a plague.  In March I kept finding tiny brown newts in our back garden.  I collected each one and put then into the wood.  Then in late spring we saw our first frog.  Just a couple of inches long, green with brown patches, it was hopping through the grass.  We’ve seen a fair number since, probably emerging from the remains of our pond in the far corner of the wood.  I say “remains of” as we seem to have a plague of fly-tippers.  It is choked with branches, undergrowth and strange lumpy things.  Next spring we will get the digger back, clean it out and fence it off.

This is actually a pond!

A couple of days ago the heat wave brought on a thunderstorm of biblical proportions.  I was trying to record the latest episode of “Tipperary Tales” and you can hear drop out from lightning in places.  It was so loud we abandoned Book of the Month!  https://www.podbean.com/site/EpisodeDownload/PB10983147NNKI

After twenty minutes it turned into hail (also a plague in Egypt) – huge stones that settled in the corners and persisted despite the continuing heat.  A bit of a plague as it didn’t do the more fragile plants much good.  On the other hand it was a little bit cooler that night, and I didn’t need to water the garden either.

We have other “plagues” – really nice ones.  On my walk down to photograph the pond I saw six different types of butterfly.  They are very numerous here and only a plague when they fly into the house.  This happens several times a day and I’m getting adept at catching them gently and taking them outside.  We also have what could be considered a plague – many spiders around the windows and doors.  We started to clear the webs and then the flies arrived so now we leave them.  The enemy of our enemy is our friend.  Though last week I was so frustrated I apparently threatened one with eviction for not doing its job.  Jacqui swears it is true.  I don’t remember – it was very hot.

Note the empty web!

The final plague is not confined to Tipperary, or even to Ireland.  It is the plague of bureaucrats.  Moving to another country means navigating a minefield of new and different regulations.  Due to Covid (still a plague) the usual advice channels are closed, out of date or contradictory.  For example, we could not exchange our driving licenses before the deadline at the end of December.  Then we could drive for a while on an International Driving Permit, then we couldn’t as we bought a house.  Suddenly we could exchange licenses but needed other documents to do so.  At one point we needed to take the driving test (with mandatory driving lessons) first.  Then that changed again and we rushed to get the documents needed.  And tomorrow we finally get to swap our licenses.

Everything is like that! 

I can’t wait until we try to swap our tax status.