It’s wonderful what a plan comes together

Isn’t it wonderful when a plan comes together? Well, almost comes together anyway. And it is always rather unexpected. I am reminded of my (many, many) Open University days. Looking into the future with at least six years of study ahead could be extremely dispiriting, however engaging the current course might be. The only way to keep moving forward was to focus on this year. Ignore the long trek, just enjoy (or occasionally tolerate) the present. This has proved to be a valuable lesson as a number of our projects are jusy about finished at last.

The grooming room in the back porch has thwarted us for several reasons, most recently due to the lack of a plumber. We have a lovely space with cupboards and work tops. We’ve even moved the freezer in there so have access to cupboards in other areas. The main feature however, the sink, remains determinedly unfinished. We tried to source the waste pipe over the last eight weeks, to no avail. It is a particular brand with a “weir” overflow and none of the pipes would work. We moved through two types (plans A and B) to something we looked up on YouTube (plan C). This almost fitted – but not quite. On to plan D for desperation.

Oh poop!

We got a fitting with no overflow outlet and Jacqui sealed off the weir at the base. The sink is deep and only for washing small dogs, and we had the same arrangement in Saltburn. In 25 years we never needed to use the overflow so unless dementia strikes we are confident it will work. Then, after dry-fitting the pipes, we found the back outlet was about two inches too high. Aaargh! So our friend has agreed to come back on Monday, shorten the pipe and maybe, just maybe that plan will finally come together.

There’s still no movement yet on the final stage of the water pump and system. That plan is constantly floated every week but no-one comes. We are going to have one last push next week before trying something else. Watch this space (but don’t hold your breath).

Dog, hunter and fly-tipper proof

We do have a rather splendid fence however. This is the most recent of the plans and the ever-reliable Fergus and the lovely fence man Bill did it all in a couple of days. We now have a secure boundary with stock quality wire to keep out stray dogs, random hunters and fly tippers. Fergus made and fitted two “mammal gates”, lining them up with the main little tracks across the wood. This means the wildlife that lives, crosses or hunts across the land will still have access. When we’ve saved up a bit we will do the same up on the top area.

The road before…
and after. Good job!

The most unexpected plan to come together was the appearance of the road men. Our lane has been in a terrible condition, broken down and torn up by years of neglect and farm traffic. For two days we had loud – occasionally very loud – machinery up and down. The roller was so loud outside it felt as if it shook the walls – no mean feat as they are over a foot thick. It certainly shook everything inside them and on them. Doors, windows, gutters, roof tiles and the occasional startled blackbird all rang in unison as it ground along. The end result is excellent but (this is Ireland) not without a couple of surprises.

Most impressive parking I’ve ever seen

At the end of the first day I looked out of my window to see the tarmac machine reversing onto our front drive. I ran downstairs to see what was happening and was told they’d been informed they could store the vehicles overnight as the property was empty. I pointed out there was a car by the front door, there were lights on and three dogs were shouting through the windows at them. Did it look empty?

They were very nice and a bit apologetic and after some negotiation we let them use the drive overnight. I have to say their parking was jaw-droppingly impressive. Then was they casually mentioned they began work at seven in the morning, something three dogs confirmed the next day. Oh well, the road is very good now though – the second surprise – it’s six inches higher so we can’t open our small front gate.

We both had Covid boosters last week and they provoked a bit of a reaction. I ran one of those interesting temperatures – over 38.5, which makes everything ache and shake. It’s better than the real thing though so no regrets. Jacqui is finally getting some energy back and is now tackling some of the long laid plans with great enthusiasm. She’s almost finished a stand for a new bird feeder sent by my lovely sister. We have drained the bath in the garden and got it up on blocks and yesterday we finally wrestled the old taps off. In the end it took a pipe wrench, a Stanley knife, a wire brush, a 12” adjustable spanner, a heat gun and two determined women. Now we are going to paint the outside green, get some gravel and compost and we will finally have our herb garden.

Yes, it’s wonderful when a plan comes together. Now on with the next lot.