Beginning the third year

The seasons are rolling around again and it is one day shy of our initial move into this little house.  As we begin our third year here we can reflect on all we have done – and all that has happened.  It seems fair to say there have been a few surprises along this journey.  And a few bumps on the way.  But despite this we are still very happy here and feeling more settled than we have in years.

Sometimes it takes a new pair of eyes to highlight what we have managed to achieve.  We look around at the wood, better than it was but still needing so much work.  The house could do with painting, the roof needs fixing and the electrics are better but still dodgy. (I’m sure it’s not usual for the lights to dim when the kettle is on).  Last weekend our friends, Helen and Adrian, arrived and were delighted with “how much” we’d done.  Like the best visitors in the world, they were eager to add their contribution and cleared, trimmed and lifted with gusto.  We now have our mower safe under cover and a lot of the rocks are cleared away from projected mowing areas, thanks to them.

Buzzard on the lookout

Hard labour is not compulsory however.  Any visitor who just needs to relax, enjoy the peace and sleep late is also welcome.  We had one very clear night and spent some time looking at the night sky.  Despite the full moon it was still dark enough to see Mars, Venus and Jupiter as well as the Milky Way unfolding overhead.  We are now blessed by our own murmuration – over 200 starlings and growing.  They’ve settled in the trees opposite at night and take off with an audible “whoosh” in the morning.  They fly in a cloud across the fields, making some wonderful shapes and patterns.  This attracts the attention of the buzzards but so far the flock seems to have the upper hand.

Mammal Highway
A Gift – From Whom?

The undergrowth has died down in the wood over winter and there are some very clear tracks weaving across it.  The mammal gates are a great success from these indications and we are curious to know who is using them.  We know animals trek through the drive and wood as they trigger the security lights.  Occasionally we find a little offering on the front step too. Trail cameras are a good option I think.  Some of the paths are quite wide, with several larger flattened areas.  One patch in particular looks as if there was a small animal rave one night.  It is reached by five different diverging paths and opens out into a rough circle.  A mammal party perhaps, or (more sinister) the fairies coming visiting?  I’ll let you know if I find out.

With “Puppy Brain” now ticking away in shops and platforms like Amazon I decided to try some different writing.  When I began after the MA I decided to try entering competitions to see if I was actually any good.  This proved to be remarkably successful leading to an international award (Lit Award of the Ruhr, runner up) and publication of “Death of the Elver Man”.  This time I looked around for something different, away from fiction, and found a competition for memoirs.  I’ve never written one before but it seemed like a suitable challenge.  I managed the 5000 word entry in January and then spent a week composing and polishing the synopsis.  Having judged writing competitions, I know this is absolutely crucial – and so often neglected.  I don’t expect to win but I enjoyed the challenge and I’ve learned a lot from stretching myself.

Oh the joys of dyslexia!

It’s been good to focus more on writing as I’m losing the routine and need to start working more regularly.  Also I suspect I’m getting more dyslexic in my later years.  We often notice unfamiliar signs or buildings whilst out or in town.  I spotted a sign for the 750 year old Franciscan Friary recently.  Imagine my delight in reading it was, at one time, the Chief Irish Fairy. 

We have a new public holiday on Monday, to celebrate St Bridget’s Day.  Bridget is dubbed the “Matron Saint” and celebrated for many years. Some more devout households make cornstalk crosses for their doors. 

Ah Pollocks!

We’ve had a very busy few weeks and have another few coming up so will enjoy a quiet day at home.  I always used to make puzzles on Bank Holidays when younger so I’ve taken up the challenge of the Jackson Pollock once more.  It must be the most fiendish puzzle ever.  Even the 3D jigsaw and Esher’s “Waterfall” are easier but I will finish it this time.  You can see how hard it is – the plain white border is the easiest bit.

So that’s us, beginning the third year.  There are things going on in the background that need some resolving but – hey, there’s always something.  Every day brings a smile and we can look around and feel we are making a home here. 

Thank you for reading and a happy St Bridget’s Day to you all.