A week of miscellany – but better than the last one

This week we were expecting a fairly quiet time but life does throw a lot of stuff at you, doesn’t it? We had a few things we had to do, chiefly sort the damn bins and get to the hospital in Limerick. There was a delivery to be organised and we hoped there might be some progress on outstanding jobs. In the end there was a big rush of miscellany with varied outcomes, but hey that’s life.

First, the hospital visit on Friday. For some reason the main car park is still closed so it is a bit like a game of musical cars. Not what you want when you have a heart patient on board. And especially as the first act of the clinic is a blood pressure reading. Fortunately we arrived very early and had time to amble slowly across to reception. Then we traversed long, crowded corridors to the lift. The only way up to the clinic is by lift – but the lift can only be operated by a member of staff. There was, of course, no designated lift operator. Instead you flag down a passing staff member and hope you look respectable enough to be allowed in. Don’t ask me – I didn’t plan the system.

Once there we had a generally positive meeting with a very competent and friendly nurse. Jacqui is doing well and recovering slowly. She will need more “interventions” but these will be decided on by the specialist and a meeting is scheduled for December. For now she has to rest, take a gentle walk each day and be patient. She really does her best but she is not the most patient of patients. In her defence she says she gets bored!

The bins are another story. Finally, after five weeks a truck arrived and “swopped them out”. We managed to get a brief chat with the driver and he said the bin man was refusing to come down our road. It seems he broke a mirror in September and lost his work bonus. Well, it wasn’t our fault and we would have liked to know they weren’t coming. Especially as I’d just paid a year in advance. Monday is a public (bank) holiday here but on Tuesday I am on the phone to a supervisor.

Yesterday (Saturday) we met Fergus, the tree man. He arrived with a HUGE trailer of dried hardwood logs that will need to be stacked. We hope to get them into the Majestic but this depends on the pallets being moved and space cleared first. This also needs the newly delivered freezer installed in the grooming room – which needs the floor laid. So we are still dealing with building dominoes, though we are making some progress.

Fergus looked around the wood and agreed we had a bad case of ash dieback in the centre. However on the road boundary he pointed out a venerable ash tree, seemingly untouched. It was next to a big sycamore and there is some evidence the sycamore can help to fight this horrible disease. Fergus is something of a local historian and poet and he said that in the C19th and early C20th people ate from wooden bowls. Bowls made from sycamore wood. The wood had antibacterial properties and will grow a penicillin type fungus if left wet. We are considering sprinkling new sycamore trees through the wood when we replant to spread this protection to the other trees.

One of the great joys of the house is the view across the field from the kitchen diner. It is slightly diminished by the dog-proof fence we had to install but is still breathtaking. It is also ever changing, never the same one day to the next. Actually it’s never the same one hour to the next. We have seen small mammals and large birds in the field, buzzards circling the Fairy Fort, sunrise, sunset, full moon and the Milky Way. There are skies straight out of paintings – Casper David Friedrich, Constable, Turner and (my favourite) John Martin. He does a good apocalypse sky, does John Martin. This morning a murmuration of starlings landed in the wood and flew back and forth over the field. It is enough to lift the lowest of spirits. There were only about 200 birds but I hope it will grow and we will see them again.

A mini Murmuration

So here we are. We are being sensible, doing quiet things and trying to be patient but the great thing is we are together. Jacqui is getting better. We have to go more slowly but stuff will get done and we will both be able to enjoy the results.