Love our home but hate the infrastructure

Pondering over the last month or so over last night’s dinner we both agreed we love our home.  When we were first considering the move we had a short list of what we would like.  A very short list actually.  We wanted off road parking, one of the growing problems in Saltburn.  In fact it had become a bit of a nightmare with the flood of visitors, not just at weekends but every day.  The other thing we really wanted was a bit of garden, mainly for the dogs.  We had a little yard, less than 12 feet square, so whatever the weather we were out with them, several times a day.  Combine the parking problem with the rising crowds and it was not always a nice place to be, for us or the dogs.  So, a very short list, and we got both our wishes.

Being a good distance from the nearest town we have no problem with other cars (though there are occasional tractors driving very fast).  The front is gravelled and big enough for several cars, work vans and even, on one memorable occasion, a road stripping machine.  We have a decent sized garden too though it’s been dug up and churned over a bit recently.  Jacqui has it in hand however and is already planning how to make it a comfortable and restful space.  We also have rather more land than we bargained for, with the back area and, of course, the wood.  Both are somewhat challenging as they’ve been fallow (read overgrown) for some years.  Still with the help of friends and occasional mechanical intervention we are moving on.  A lot of work is needed to consolidate what’s been achieved but the more we do the easier it becomes.

One aspect of our almost-idyllic rural life is, however, the almost complete lack of infrastructure.  A sizable chunk of the back garden is taken up by the gas tank (no mains here) and solar panels.  We will hopefully be adding more later on as the mains is still extremely unreliable.  We got the wiring fixed so the fuses didn’t blow several times a day after a mere 8 months.  Then earlier this year we were granted our own transponder box so the lights no longer dim if you put on the kettle.  Alas, there are still sudden power cuts, sometimes for several minutes, sometimes for almost a day. 

The latest set of outages is the reason this blog is late (for which I apologise).  On Tuesday the power went on and off every few seconds for at least a minute.  We’ve taken to unplugging the computers, having already lost 3 to sudden cuts, but this lot toasted the wifi extenders and seems to have removed all settings from the router.  I’m not sure about the dongles either.  We are now waiting for over 120 euros worth of replacement equipment, paid for by us of course.  We’ve also invested in a lorry load of surge protectors, both plug boards and single plugs.  We are just grateful the new fridge/freezer wasn’t damaged this time!

To finish this moan about the infrastructure, we are still struggling with the soak-away systems.  One seems to be blocked completely and when it rains the water from the gutter bubbles over onto the path.  It also sets up a loud burping sound in the bathroom sink and other drains, which is a bit alarming.  We have several things we can try but otherwise it is back to John Gleeson to set it right before winter.

Despite this we do love our home.  It is quiet, private and we’re getting it the way we want now.  We’ve room to work, room to sit around the table and eat and a lovely snug for relaxing.  The dogs are very settled here too.  As one visitor said, “You seem much more chilled now.  Even the dogs seem more relaxed”. We are, I hope, putting the worst of the last few years behind us and looking more to the future.  Jacqui is developing new skills, seemingly every week.  Whether building the Majestic into a workshop or crocheting a wide range of objects, she’s going for it. 

And I’m writing again after the awful year just gone.  The collapse of Impress, my publishers, was a real blow.  It was made worse by the fight over copyright and the imminent threats to pulp the books.  Thanks to support from the other Impress writers we wrested our rights back.  Thanks to wonderful friends Helen and Noel my books were saved.  And thanks to Jacqui’s quiet but persistent support I finished my first new story last week.  I’ve returned to the Levels, to look at some of the characters in more detail.  First up is Iris, wife of Derek Johns and mother to Newt.  How did such a smart, capable woman come to marry the despicable Derek?  Well, “Iris’s Story” has the answer.  I intend it to be followed shortly by similar tales for the redoubtable Ada Mallory and the slightly mysterious Tom Monarch.

I’m looking at e-books for these at first, maybe all 3 in one as they are short (8,000 word) stories.  What do you think?

So, provided we can stop our infrastructure exploding in the future we will keep on doing, making and loving our little Irish home.

Thank you for your patience, thank you for reading and I hope to be back on time next fortnight!

I’m just up and plodding again, if not running but cannot add pictures this time.