Slow but steady progress

Hooray – February is finally over!  Universally loathed as a “beastly month”, the arrival of March suggests Spring is just around the corner.  We will be very happy to see that as at present we have almost ground to a standstill on some important jobs.  The most pressing is the roof to the kitchen.  This was making slow but steady progress after a fit of over enthusiasm on the first day.  The men set up scaffolding, scrambled up and ripped it all off, throwing slates down into the garden and hauling them away.  Then they did some covering up and left for the day.

Rain in Ireland – who’d have thought?

Alas, a very wet patch rolled in, the rain came down and water began to run through the ceiling.  That was an absolute low point.  We used every spare towel, mat and durry as the floor is like glass when wet.  All the furniture had to be moved, lights off and appliances unplugged.  It eased off after about four in the morning and I emptied the buckets and went back to bed.  There was no serious damage but it was not a pleasant experience.

Dry – but cold

There has been some slow but steady progress since with roofing felt and new battens fitted.  It is at least fairly watertight but a cold spell means the house is much cooler than before.  The new slates with special runners have arrived at last so work should resume this week.  Keeping everything crossed as a final icy blast is due according to Met Eireann. 

The flood evening came as we were taking part in our first on-line quiz game.  I’ve never done a quiz before – well, once at a conference 20 years ago.  This is a small group of “local” people, some of whom are currently residing elsewhere.  Despite the dodgy infrastructure and water coming through the ceiling it was quite fun and we joined in again the next week.  It’s a good way to get to know people even if some are remote.  And it feels as if we are slowly but surely settling into the area.

Mr Badger, late home
Mr Pine Marten, still shy
Mr Fox

There’s some good news about the trail cameras.  After weeks of wrangling, cursing and getting pictures of waving grass we’ve got something.  You may remember the badger’s bum from last time?  Well, he is certainly a big lad and we’ve pictures and a short video of him waddling off for a night out.  The very nervous pine marten has finally made an entrance and a couple of days ago we got our first fox too. If you click on the pictures you can enlarge them. Look for the eyes!

 It is one thing to know (or suspect) we have wildlife using the wood but quite another to actually see it, and to be able to share with our friends. It’s a bit of a clamber through the wood at present as the ground is still uneven.  The brambles are making a comeback already and I’ve several nasty scratches.  We hope to get John, the digger man, back this month to smooth a path.  Once the stumps, holes and rocks are shifted we can use the mower to keep it clear.

No, not 25 metres away

The water analysis came back and one reading, for nitrate, is only just under the threshold.  This is almost certainly due to agricultural fertilizer and slurry that has been applied ten feet from our well.  The dogs are back on bottled water as all three have had some health issues.  We have another set of bottles ready and will be retesting 24 hours after the next slurry.  This could be the major issue this year and I’ll let you know what happens.

Ah Pollock…

As it has been cold throughout most of the house we’ve been using the fire in the snug a lot.  This room is well named and being in the centre it does warm a lot of our home.  We’ve been enjoying some of the more eccentric offerings from Sky.  The Discovery Channel is re-showing “Alaska Homestead Rescue” which is most enjoyable.  We have little to complain about compared to some of these people (though what were they thinking?).  I’m fairly sure I’m not going to check the cameras one morning and find a bear or a cougar staring into the lens!  Jacqui is working on a crochet jumper – very impressive.  I am the epitome of slow but steady progress as I work on the impossible Jackson Pollock puzzle.  Maybe in a few months I’ll finish it…

Kindle edition is listed under Jem’s name!

I’ve had a couple of queries about the Kindle edition of “Puppy Brain”.  It’s listed under Jem Cooney if you are looking for a copy and very reasonably priced at £3.99.  The paperback is currently on special offer at £8.24, 25% off so grab a cheap copy if you’ve not got one.  Work on the next book last week and I have the plan set out.  I also took the first big psychological step and wrote the first page so I’m going to be a busy bunny this summer.  In other good news, the first option for the TV production was up last month but Jon has taken up the second.  This is a huge vote of confidence on his part and I am pleased and so grateful to him.  May this year be good to us all, especially the writers!

Well, it’s getting very cold up here in my room as we’ve not begun our daily assault on the huge log Jenga.  I’m next to the stripped off roof and there are draughts galore so I’ll sign off now.

Have a good few weeks and I hope to see you in a fortnight. 

Thank you for reading.