Well, it’s August again so some things are the same as last year and some are rather different. The schools are closed, of course, and the shops are now filled with families dragging around behind tired parents. Small children run up and down the supermarket aisles demanding toys or their choice of dinner. Here there are a lot of fathers doing the shopping which may be laudable but the less experienced slow down everything. I guess that is happening in Britain too.
The weather has been rather more changeable than usual over here. It’s August so it was blazing hot last week with glorious sunshine most days. The humidity is higher over here and so late afternoon and evening tended to be very sticky and uncomfortable but the temperature was nowhere near as high as in parts of the UK. Then we had an enormous thunderstorm that was glorious in sound and light, so I am told. I astonished Jacqui by sleeping right through it and now it is cool, grey and showery. It is actually quite a relief and the garden and wood perked up immediately.
This, however, came with two similarities to last year. Firstly the flies are back. Not as many – in fact probably less than a quarter – but still a buzzing nuisance. We have a new mesh on the back door and after some cunning work on Jacqui’s part it is now firmly in place and thwarting most of them. The swarms from inside the house are mainly gone though a few did hatch one night, probably from the window vent. They were all dead the next morning and no more appeared so I think we have solved that problem.
The second repeat is the explosion of growth around us. Well, it is August so the heat, the mix of rain and sunshine can be expected to encourage everything to grow (and seed) unless curtailed fiercely. Our tatty old mower has never worked properly and so we are looking to trade it in for a different, hopefully lighter and more reliable model. These machines are very popular in Ireland where cars and other vehicles are regularly kept for 10 – 15 years. If nothing else it will be a source of spare parts. In the meantime I spent a few hours in the wood trying to remove the worst of the thistles before they seeded. I was partially successful but came away with an interesting selection of insect bites!
We had our first visitor this last week – my niece who was visiting Dublin with some friends. She hopped on a bus and we picked her up a few hours later. This had spurred me into action, cleaning and tidying the spare room. When we arrived there was still too much stuff and not enough storage space and so a lot of it (mainly textiles and my things) languished in boxes upstairs. We made a concerted effort and the room was certainly fit for a visitor when she arrived. A very happy few days were enjoyed by all.
The visit was disrupted by another hospital appointment in Limerick but as the weather was blazing hot we let my niece off near the lake. She is a great walker and explored the area, sat in the shade with her feet in the water and relaxed until we returned to collect her. And before there are any “child abandonment” concerns, she is a few years over 21, lived in Japan for 7 years and is quite capable of looking after herself!
For years our least favourite month has been either November – gloomy, dreary and wet – or February – just beastly. Now I feel as if it is actually August here in Ireland. The weather is highly temperamental, either too hot or too stormy with nasty, high humidity. The insects bite and swarm. The undergrowth becomes uncontrollable. And bad stuff happens in August. Last year Jacqui had her heart attacks, the absolute low spot of the year. Of most years, actually. She is doing much better now but recovery is slow and frustrating.
This August I received the lovely news that my publisher, Impress Books, is about to go into administration. This could tie up my novels for months leaving me with no way of selling anything. This means the new book, “A Long Shadow”, is not going to be published. This is despite being under contract for two years now. I am working on retrieving my rights and will be looking to make different arrangements. Fortunately though I have all TV and film rights already. There are only a few Impress copies still around however. I have some and am happy to sign/dedicate and sell if anyone is interested. There are Kindles of the first three available but “Smoke and Adders” is only available as a paperback. If you’ve not got a copy, grab it while you can.
Well, it is August so that’s the month’s round up. Not a brilliant month though it had some bright spots. The birds are already lining up on the telephone wires ready to leave already. Let us hope September brings better news.
Thank you for reading and all good wishes.